House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was standing.

Topics

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

It being 1:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's Order Paper.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-205, an act to amend the Statutory Instruments Act (disallowance procedure for regulations), as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

June 13th, 2003 / 12:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

moved that Bill C-205, an act to amend the Statutory Instruments Act (disallowance procedure for statutory instruments), be concurred in at report stage.

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

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

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

When shall the bill be read the third time? By leave now?

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Madam Speaker, on behalf of the constituents of Surrey Central I appreciate the opportunity to conclude the third hour debate on Bill C-205, an act to amend the Statutory Instruments Act concerning disallowance procedure for statutory instruments, commonly called regulations.

I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Vancouver Island North for seconding my bill. I am proud to recognize that Bill C-205 is the work of the collective efforts of members of all parties in the House as well as senators, particularly those who now sit on the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations which I had the honour to chair. I would like to thank my co-chair, members and the staff of the scrutiny committee for their support and input on the bill.

I would also like to thank the hon. member for Nanaimo--Alberni for allowing me this opportunity by giving away his spot scheduled for today in exchange for my bill.

While I am thanking everyone, I would also like to thank the staff of the House who helped me in the drafting of the bill. I highly appreciate the efforts made by everyone who was involved in the bill, particularly all the House leaders who were very cooperative on the bill. I am feeling very lucky that the bill will soon become law. I appreciate the cooperation I sought from members and senators.

For the people who are watching, disallowance is one of the traditional means at the disposal of a legislature to control the making of delegated legislation by giving legislators an opportunity to reject a subordinate law made by a delegate of Parliament. The disallowance procedure has been in existence in other Commonwealth jurisdictions for many years. This bill is intended to provide a legislative framework for a similar procedure at the federal level in Canada.

The bill would provide, first, a legislative basis for the procedure that is currently set out in our standing orders, so we will have a legislative footing for the disallowance procedure; and second, it would extend the application of that procedure to regulations made by persons or bodies other than the governor in council or ministers of the Crown.

In other words, all regulations in Canada would be reviewed and scrutinized by the standing joint committee or by the authority of Parliament through that committee. All regulations would be under the scrutiny and review of the elected officials in Parliament.

The Parliament of Canada is the source of all legislative authority, In fact, that authority is delegated not only to the governor in council and ministers, but also to various other regulation making authorities such as the CRTC, Canadian Transportation Agency, and many other agencies and boards.

When those agencies exercise that delegated authority to make regulations, those entities are exercising a power that finds its source in the House of Commons and in Parliament. Parliament, therefore, has not only a right but a responsibility to control the exercise of those powers which are delegated to it.

Effective parliamentary scrutiny must be accompanied by effective parliamentary control. That effective parliamentary control was not there before. This was not always the case for many years, since regulations have been subject to parliamentary oversight and scrutiny for almost three decades. The gap was partly addressed in 1986 when the government of the day agreed to be bound by standing orders providing for a disallowance procedure.

However, because of the non-legislative nature of our standing orders, the current procedure could not deal with a portion of the regulations subject to parliamentary review and scrutiny.

As everyone knows, of all the laws we see in this country, 80% of that law comes through the back door by way of regulations, and 20% we legislate in this House. All the bills that we passionately debate and vote for are about only about 20% of the total complement. So the significance of this bill is huge, and moreover, the statutory instruments in fact affect every Canadian. As we wake up in the morning and have coffee or cereal for breakfast, there are regulations which govern them. For everything every Canadian does in a day, I am sure there is some sort of impact of regulations. Moreover, for businesses the compliance costs for the regulatory burden, commonly called red tape, is huge. It is estimated to be about $113 billion. It is a huge cost to businesses.

Regulations have huge implications on the day to day life of Canadians. Moreover, there is a huge demand and need for regulatory reform in Canada and I am sure that we will be working on it. There is a need for moving from red tape to smart tape and from smart tape to smart government. For regulations where there is any overlap or anything like that, we have to reform them.

I will not take much time but I want to mention a couple of facts. When the current procedure was first implemented in 1986, it was stated that it was to be an experiment, with its success leading to a statutory disallowance procedure. The experiment has been a success, and after ignoring this for many years, this success justifies us in extending the scope of the disallowance procedure in order that parliamentary control coincides fully with parliamentary scrutiny. This can only be achieved by means of legislation. That is what Bill C-205 is going to do.

More than three decades after the enactment of the Statutory Instruments Act, I believe that the time has come for the Parliament of Canada to give itself the means to ensure the democratic control of federal delegated legislation. If my bill is passed, this legislation would be a major historic milestone in restoring accountability and democratic and parliamentary reforms for which my party, the Canadian Alliance, has been asking for a very long time. Placing the current disallowance procedure on a statutory footing will make it possible to close the gap between parliamentary scrutiny and parliamentary control. It will also ensure that the procedure is legally effective.

Bill C-205 is intended to ensure that parliamentarians are in a position to exercise their responsibility for the effective oversight of the exercise of legislative powers they entrust to various delegates. This bill will restore democracy to the system rather than having bureaucrats controlling regulations that affect all aspects of Canadians' lives.

The procedure set out in Bill C-205 for the reform of the current disallowance procedure has been endorsed by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations. The concerns raised earlier by some members have already been accommodated since they did not go to the principles of the bill but rather to some perceived practical difficulties.

I see that the government House leader is very anxious to have this bill go to the Senate, so I would like to conclude that a consensus has been reached among all members of the committee and the House leaders of all parties. I can assure the members that the bill is now absolutely ready to be sent for the next step. I urge and ask all members to give their unanimous consent to send this bill to the other House for it to be enacted into law. I thank members in advance for their support of this important initiative.

Since I am the last speaker before we adjourn, I wish you, Madam Speaker, and all the members of this House a wonderful summer recess break.

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Is the House ready for the question?

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

It being 12:54 p.m. the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 15, 2003, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1) and order made earlier today.

(The House adjourned at 12:54 p.m.)