House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was infrastructure.

Topics

Privilege

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised on April 11, 2003 by the hon. member for St.-Hyacinthe—Bagot concerning the conduct of the Chair during several committee meetings of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Development and Natural Resources.

I would like to begin by thanking the hon. member for St.-Hyacinthe—Bagot for having raised this matter, as well as the hon. Minister of State and Leader of the Government for his intervention in the discussion.

The hon. member for St.-Hyacinthe—Bagot first raised his concerns regarding proceedings of the Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Development and Natural Resources Committee on April 3, 2003. At that time he claimed that certain procedural irregularities had taken place relating to the use of the previous question during debate. He also raised the issue of the use of unparliamentary language by the Chair of the committee

On April 7, 2003, I delivered my ruling on that point of order and took the opportunity at that time to remind members of our usual practice with respect to procedural irregularities in a committee. Marleau and Montpetit, at page 858, states:

If a committee desires that some action be taken against those disrupting its proceedings, it must report the situation to the House.

At page 128, we read:

Speakers have consistently ruled that, except in the most extreme situations, they will only hear questions of privilege arising from committee proceedings upon presentation of a report from the committee, which directly deals with the matter and not as a question of privilege raised by an individual Member.

I went on to state that the matter should be dealt with in the committee. Order and decorum in committee is an internal matter and the judgment of what is or is not acceptable must be made there. I will not review the portion of my earlier ruling relating to the moving of the previous question, since that issue was fully dealt with on April 7 and is not relevant to today’s discussion.

I will instead direct my remarks to the hon. member's concerns related to the conduct of the committee chair, including the use of unparliamentary language.

As members may recall, prior to the delivery of my April 7 ruling, the chair of the aboriginal affairs, northern development and natural resources committee, the hon. member for Nickel Belt, rose in the House to withdraw the remarks complained of by the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot and to apologize to all members of the House, especially to members of the standing committee, for the language he used in the heat of the moment.

In my ruling, while expressing appreciation for the gesture made by the Chair of the committee in offering an apology in the House, I pointed out that it was in committee that the issue needed to be resolved and it was there that the relationship between the Chair of the committee and the hon. member for St.-Hyacinthe—Bagot needed to be repaired

Despite the suggestion of the Speaker that members of the committee attempt to resolve the issues previously raised, it would appear the hon. member for St.-Hyacinthe–Bagot continues to have grievances about the committee’s proceedings on Bill C-7.

On Tuesday, June 10, 2003, the chair of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Development and Natural Resources wrote to the Speaker to provide further explanation on the issues at hand. I thank him for doing so and I have shared the content of his letter with the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.

Our parliamentary system is predicated on freedom of thought and expression and indeed encourages active debate. I would remind hon. members that conflict and differences of opinion are inherent in the work we do as members of Parliament. On the other hand, members are expected to conduct themselves with decorum and to show respect for their colleagues in committee just as they are in this place. Establishing and maintaining a working environment in committee that respects both these principles is entirely within the responsibility of the committee and its members.

While it is regrettable that there continues to be tension between members of the standing committee, I would point out once again that there has been no report from the committee. Therefore, the matter remains one which, in the first instance, the committee itself must deal with.

The reluctance of previous Speakers, and of myself on earlier occasions, to intervene in the business of committees is procedurally well founded. Accordingly, as was the case the last time the hon. member brought this matter to the House, I can find no basis for a question of privilege, nor am I willing to intervene in matters that ought properly, and indeed still can be, addressed by the committee itself.

Business of the House

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

Since today is the final allotted day for the supply period ending June 23, 2003, the House will go through the usual procedures to consider and dispose of the supply bill.

In view of recent procedures, do hon. members agree that this bill be now distributed?

Business of the House

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the House

10:10 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there has been consultation among all parties this morning and there has been consent among all House leaders for the following motion. There are actually two of them. On one I will need a few minutes more, but on this one there is unanimous consent and I therefore would like to submit it to the House. I move:

That all questions necessary to dispose of ways and means proceedings No. 7 be put and decided immediately after the business of supply is disposed of later this day.

Business of the House

10:10 a.m.

The Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the House

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-45, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal liability of organizations).

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved for leave to present Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (capital markets fraud and evidence-gathering).

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

June 12th, 2003 / 10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, entitled “HIV/AIDS and the Humanitarian Catastrophe in sub-Saharan Africa”.

This report is the work of our Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Development, which is chaired by the hon. member for Mount Royal.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Judi Longfield Whitby—Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, entitled “Raising Adult Literacy Skills: The Need for a Pan-Canadian Response”.

The committee is extremely concerned that 40% of working age Canadians lack the necessary literacy skills required for successful participation in our rapidly changing workforce. We have tabled a report with 21 recommendations that we hope will address this.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the clerk, Danielle Bélisle, and our outstanding researchers, Chantal Collin and Kevin Kerr.

I also would like to table the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, entitled “Building a Brighter Future for Urban Aboriginal Children”. The chair of the subcommittee, the hon. member for Don Valley West, has worked extremely hard. He and his committee have eight recommendations that hope to address the concerns of urban aboriginal children.

Finally, I have the honour to table the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, entitled “Listening to Canadians: A First View of the Future of the Canada Pension Plan Disability Program”. The member for St. Paul's and her committee have done an outstanding job with their e-consultation and I know the House would like to congratulate all the people involved.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Wood Nipissing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs, entitled “Honouring the Pledge: Ensuring Quality Long-Term Care for Veterans”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109 the committee requests a government response within 150 days.

Also I would like to take a few seconds to express my personal thanks to some people for their dedication and help in the preparation of this report. First I would like to thank Diane Deschamps, the clerk of the subcommittee, whose leadership and organizational skills helped keep the committee and me on track and on time, Michel Rossignol, who authored the report, and Wolf Koerner from the Parliamentary Research Branch.

I would like to thank the staff and administrators of all the facilities we visited, regional and provincial authorities and Veterans Affairs Canada officials. Most of all, I must express our deep gratitude to the veterans themselves, who shared their personal thoughts and ideas, quite openly I might add, with members of the committee.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Tom Wappel Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, entitled “The 2001 Fraser River Salmon Fishery”.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government provide a comprehensive response within 150 days of the tabling of this report.

The main thrust of this report is that the 2001 Fraser River salmon fishery was badly managed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Among the reasons for this we find that the pilot sales program failed to do what it was intended to do, which was to bring order and legality to the aboriginal fishery and stability to the commercial fishery. In order to avoid a disastrous repetition of this 2001 salmon fishery, the committee recommends, among numerous other recommendations, returning to a single commercial fishery for all Canadians.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Kilger Stormont—Dundas—Charlottenburgh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons, as well as the committee's fifth report with respect to the taking of divisions by electronic means.

The task of modernizing and improving the procedures and practices of the House is never complete. We must continually review and evaluate how we do things. We hope that this report, like its predecessor in 2001, will be a contribution to improve the House and the work of its members.

The issue of electronic voting has been discussed and studied by members over the last number of years. During its work, the committee decided to table a separate report on the question of the principle of electronic voting for consideration by members of the House.

Because the committee's recommendations had to be unanimous, there were some it was unable to make. However, those it has put forward have broad support and represent attainable solutions that take into consideration diverse interests with regard to context and modern requirements.

I would like to thank my colleagues on the committee for their candour and the generous spirit of cooperation they brought to this exercise. I also want to thank their staff as well as staff in procedural services for their technical assistance.

Finally, on behalf of the committee, I especially want to recognize the contribution and grace under pressure of James Robertson, our Library of Parliament researcher, and to thank the clerks of the committee, Audrey O'Brien and Diane Diotte.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 39th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the reports of the electoral boundaries commissions for British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Pursuant to subsection 22(1) of the act, the committee hereby recommends that the period of 30 sitting days provided for the consideration of objections to these reports be extended by a further 15 days. If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in this 39th report later this day.

I would like to thank for their work the members of the subcommittee, the staff of the subcommittee and all members who made presentations to the subcommittee on riding boundaries.

If the House concurs in this motion, this subcommittee would be able to continue its work even if the House of Commons should be suspended for the summer.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-443, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

Mr. Speaker, my bill deals with the provision of statutory release which, in fact, requires people to be released from prison after serving two-thirds of their sentence, even if they have done absolutely nothing to earn that leave.

Canadians are appalled that someone, for example, who is sentenced to 12 years gets out after 8 years, having not done anything to earn that parole. We support the concept of parole and early release so that people are out under supervision to reintegrate, but only if they have done something to earn it.

This bill would address that and hopefully change things so that criminals incarcerated in jail would realize they have to mend their ways if they want to be released before the end of their full sentence.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)