House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

Public Service Modernization Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Halton, ON

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Public Service Modernization Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

The Speaker

With that change, is it agreed to apply the vote?

Public Service Modernization Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Public Service Modernization Act
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3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to be recorded as voting in favour of this bill.

Public Service Modernization Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dale Johnston Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadian Alliance members will be recorded as voting in favour of this motion, with the exception of some who may identify themselves as voting opposed.

Public Service Modernization Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. members of the Alliance Party who wish to oppose will stand and their names will be called by the clerk to try to save time.

Public Service Modernization Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, members of the Bloc Quebecois vote against this motion.

Public Service Modernization Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Progressive Conservative Party will be recorded as voting no.

Public Service Modernization Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the members of the NDP will be voting no to this motion.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Public Service Modernization Act
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed.)

Public Service Modernization Act
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I wish to inform he House that, because of the ministerial statement and the deferred recorded divisions, government orders will be extended by one hour and eight minutes.

The hon. member for Calgary Centre on a point of order.

Points of Order
Government Orders

June 3rd, 2003 / 3:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order concerning the government's intention to call Bill C-7, an act respecting leadership selection, administration and accountability of Indian bands, and to make related amendments to other acts.

This bill was reported back to the House on Wednesday with amendments, in fact, with over two dozen amendments. That is proof that at least in the mind of the committee this bill was flawed when the cabinet approved its introduction into the House of Commons at first reading.

This bill was the subject of considerable committee work. When he presented the report last Wednesday, the chair, the member for Nickel Belt, said the following, and I quote from Hansard , Wednesday, May 28:

The committee held a total of 61 hearings on this bill from January 27 to May 27, 2003, travelled over a period of four weeks from Prince Rupert, British Columbia--

Points of Order
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. The right hon. member will want to make his point promptly. It is a point of order and not a debate yet. I know he will want to come to the point. I have not grasped what his point of order is and I would like to hear that, please.

Points of Order
Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will forgo the details of the committee chair's report, simply to say that he indicated at what great length there were hearings and discussions across the country.

The bill has now been returned to the House. We are at report stage. The government itself has introduced new amendments, which indicate that in its own judgment the original bill was flawed.

We must remember the purpose of report stage. In speaking about committee stage and report stage, the Speaker said on March 21, 2001:

Accordingly, I would strongly urge all members and all parties to avail themselves fully of the opportunity to propose amendments during committee stage so that the report stage can return to the purpose for which it was created, namely for the House to consider the committee report and the work the committee has done, and to do such further work as it deems necessary to complete detailed consideration of the bill.

Mr. Speaker, it is impossible for the House to consider the work that the committee has done without the transcripts of the committee debates. The work of the committee extends beyond the passage of amendments.

The committee travelled. It took evidence. The committee debated and deliberated on the record. Why would it keep and publish a transcript if it were not primarily for the reason of assisting the House at this report stage and at third reading?

Members of the House are entitled to have the entire case in front of them before we are called upon to judge the work of the committee. I make this case emphatically. We are entitled to have it “dans les deux langues officielles du Canada”, in both official languages of Canada.

These transcripts are not yet available in both official languages. Members of the House were and are today precluded from being able to examine the work of the committee in their language of choice. If we cannot know the evidence, we cannot decide if amendments are needed at the report stage.

The Speaker should not assume that the report stage is simply a matter of setting out party positions. At the report stage all members of the House, especially those who are not members of the committee, have an opportunity to propose amendments. The Chair should not assume that members are always acting as party representatives. There may well be members, who have an interest in the bill, who may have been shut out of the process by their parties or for other reasons. I think, for example, of the member for LaSalle—Émard who is known to have an interest in this matter.

The report stage is the members' opportunity to suggest amendments. However they cannot do that in an informed way unless the full record of evidence taken by the committee is available in both languages.

All members, regardless of party affiliation and regardless of the language they speak, have that right. The committee blues are not in both languages. They are in the language used in debate, but they are not available in translation. This puts a large number of unilingual members at a disadvantage and makes it impossible for them to consider the work done by the standing committee.

The majority of the committee's discussions were held in English. It was almost impossible for the more or less unilingual francophones to understand exactly what was happening during the committee's debates.

As of yesterday at least six meetings, including the most contentious and important meetings, have not been available in both official languages.

One thing is certain, if committee evidence is withheld from members in a language they can understand it is not likely that they will propose amendments.

Bill C-7 is about the rights of first nations. The government is now infringing on the linguistic rights of the members of the House by calling the bill for House consideration before members have available the full record of the standing committee.

The government is making it impossible for members to do the job the Speaker described in the ruling of March 21, “to consider the work the committee has done”.

I want to quote the Constitution of Canada, the charter of rights--

Points of Order
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I appreciate the zealousness of the right hon. member for Calgary Centre on his point of order but this matter has been dealt with in the House before. As a very experienced member I am sure he is well aware of previous Speakers' rulings on the very point he is seeking to make.

Citing the Constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, statutes or whatever he is going to cite will not help the Chair in making a decision because, as he knows, the Chair has to make its decision based on the precedents in the House and the practice of the House.

I am quite prepared to deal with the matter. I think I have an obligation to do so. I refer him to the decision of Mr. Speaker Parent on page 4350 of Hansard for March 3, 2000.

On that occasion, in dealing with a very similar point, because the argument was that certain of the proceedings of the committee were unavailable to the members at this very stage, the Speaker quoted, and I will cite him. He said:

--I am quoting Speaker Francis who was quoting Speaker Macnaughton. This is what Speaker Macnaughton had to say on March 17, 1965 as reported on page 12479 of Hansard:

Accordingly, I would strongly urge all members and all parties to avail themselves fully of the opportunity to propose amendments during committee stage so that the report stage can return to the purpose for which it was created, namely for the House to consider the committee report and the work the committee has done, and to do such further work as it deems necessary to complete detailed consideration of the bill.The basic question is whether or not a bill in the House of Commons can be discussed, assuming that the evidence has not been completely finished in its English and French printing. I have made a search of the records since Confederation, and there is no case that says that a bill in the House of Commons which is up for discussion cannot be proceeded with until the evidence has been filed. If we were to accept the suggestion of the hon. member for Lapointe, emotionally pleasing as it may be, nevertheless procedurally in my opinion it would be completely wrong, and would establish a very bad precedent.

Again Mr. Speaker Francis stated and I quote from page 4631 of Hansard dated June 13, 1984:

And the right hon. member was in the House at that time.

I really do feel uncomfortable when hon. members do not have the transcripts. However, I am guided by the precedent of Mr. Speaker Macnaughton. I am guided by the fact that the rules are silent as to the form of printing.

Therefore I must decline to accede to the suggestion of the right hon. member that transcripts of proceedings in committee must be available before the House can proceed with a bill. It is not uncommon for bills to be called before committee proceedings have been completely transcribed and are available in both official languages let alone one.

Accordingly, while I have great sympathy, and I know there are dozens of members of the House who want to read these proceedings of this committee, I am afraid that I am not able to accede to his request. Accordingly, it would not be out of order for the House to proceed with the bill at this time, barring some other problems that may arise.