House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drugs.

Topics

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-23, an act to provide for real property taxation powers of first nations, to create a First Nations Tax Commission, First Nations Financial Management Board, First Nations Finance Authority and First Nations Statistical Institute and to make consequential amendments to other acts, as reported (with amendments) from the committee; and of motions Nos. 3, 4 and 5 in Group No. 2.

First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier
Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, discussions have taken place between all parties and there is an agreement. If you were to seek it, I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion I move:

That Motions Nos 3, 4 and 5 of Bill C-23 be deemed agreed to on division, and that the motion for concurrence at report stage be deemed put and a recorded division deemed deferred until Tuesday, May 4, 2004, at the expiry of Question Period.

First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Does the hon. chief government whip have the consent of the House to propose the motion?

First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The House has heard to the terms of the motion. Does the House give its consent to the motion?

First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

(Motions Nos. 3, 4, 5 agreed to)

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

April 29th, 2004 / 5:25 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the whip for having corrected this small error on our part.

I was saying that people might be surprised to see the Bloc Quebecois supporting a government bill. When it is a good piece of legislation that needs no changes because it is done properly, we can support it.

The Bloc Quebecois is in favour of the principle of Bill C-29, however we must ensure that the proposed amendments will effectively protect the rights of people suffering from mental illness, while protecting society.

To do this, we must understand why the federal government did not adopt all the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

At this point, I want to make a comment and propose that the government, through its committee on the democratic deficit, consider what happens to unanimous committee reports. We are talking about addressing the democratic deficit and increasing the role and responsibilities of members in the House; all too often, unanimous reports are written and voted on after the committee has heard from numerous witnesses and often after the members have travelled across Canada to consult lobbyists and the public.

This afternoon, we were discussing the budget for the committee dealing with prebudget consultations. After spending $100,000, $200,000 or $500,000, after working on a report for one, two or six months, when all the parties recognize that the recommendations are supported unanimously, why is the government all too often taking this committee report and shelving it? In this case, I think that the recommendations are almost totally supported.

However, I am talking in general terms, but, in the committee study on the democratic deficit, I think that we should focus on the use that we are making or not making of unanimous reports of the House. I believe this is like when there is a vote on a motion where two-thirds of members in the House are in favour—such as the motion on the Armenian genocide—and the government says: “We will not change our position on this situation or issue”. The democratic deficit is there and can be corrected. I will now return to Bill C-29 to give a little background.

On March 29, the Minister of Justice introduced BillC-29, an act to amend the Criminal Code (mental disorder) and to make consequential amendments to other acts in the House of Commons. The purpose of this bill is to modernize the Criminal Code provisions respecting persons not criminally responsible or found unfit to stand trial on account of mental disorder. This bill is in response to the recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, which examined the Criminal Code provisions relating to mental disorder in a report tabled in the House of Commons on June 10, 2002.

At the time, the Bloc did not produce a dissenting report. In conclusion, I want to recognize the enormous work done by the member for Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier on the issues examined by the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and, among others, on Bill C-29.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

It being 5.30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Canada Marriage Act
Private Members' Business

5:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Pankiw Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

seconded by the member for Elk Island, moved that Bill C-450, an act to amend the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees) Act in order to protect the legal definition of "marriage" by invoking section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker,I would like to thank my colleague from Elk Island for seconding the bill. Despite any political differences he or the leader of his party may have, he certainly is very respectful of democracy in seconding my bill and allowing it to come forward for second reading debate in the House.

The definition of marriage in the dictionary is “the legal union of a man and a woman”. To propose changing that definition we are actually trying to change the English language and what marriage actually is. I have always defended the legal definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, which is why I tabled Bill C-450 in Parliament: to protect the legal definition of marriage from being changed by taxpayer funded court challenges and special interest groups.

The method by which the bill would seek to do that is to invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution, in other words, allowing Parliament to exercise its supreme authority over activists, courts and judges and taxpayer funded lobby groups which we do not see enough of.

I would also like to note for the record that I have voted in Parliament to preserve the current legal definition of marriage on two occasions. I am opposed to efforts that would force religious organizations to perform same sex marriage ceremonies if that is against their wishes.

I would like to highlight what the political parties' positions are on changing the legal definition of marriage and what their leaders have had to say. I will quote directly from a policy document of the New Democratic Party at page 31. This was moved by the NDP's lesbian, gay and bi-sexual committee and ratified by NDP convention delegates and MPs. It states:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the NDP fully supports same-sex marriage--

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that an NDP federal government would, within its first mandate, introduce legislation, without a free vote, to make same-sex marriage legal; and--

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that should the issue come before the House, members of the NDP caucus shall vote in favour of same-sex marriage--

Just before I move on to the other leaders, I would like to note that the portion of the NDP policy document that states “without a free vote” is italicized and underlined. That is a highly contradictory policy because how can it be a democratic party if its policy is to not allow free votes?

With respect to the Conservative Party, their leader said that he could support codifying civil unions in law for same sex couples. He was quoted as saying on August 13, 2003 “I think that would be a reasonable compromise”. On March 23, 2004, he said that he would accept the concept of same sex civil unions under provincial laws.

With respect to the Liberal Party, former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien on August 13, 2003, said “We want to legalize the union of homosexuals”.

The current Prime Minister on March 13, 2004, said “In all likelihood I will probably support same sex marriage”. On January 29 of this year the current Prime Minister promised that he would follow through on his predecessor's bill to legalize gay marriage.

Despite what misleading media reports want us to believe, recent polls show that a clear majority of Canadians, 67%, want the legal definition of marriage preserved. Unfortunately, none of the political parties are prepared to stand up and defend traditional family values or prevent the courts from taking the next step and ordering religious organizations to perform same sex ceremonies.

It is therefore up to Canadians to send Ottawa a message. In the upcoming election, I urge the constituents of Saskatoon—Humboldt to analyze this very closely and carefully in terms of my strong defence of the legal definition of marriage to make sure their voices are heard.

More than a year ago, as members are well aware, the rules of the House of Commons changed and since that time all private member's bills before the House are automatically deemed votable.

Canada Marriage Act
Private Members' Business

5:30 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Except yours.

Canada Marriage Act
Private Members' Business

5:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Pankiw Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Except for mine, that is right.

There is a subcommittee that reviewed my bill. All parties have participating members on the committee and their finding was that my bill should not be votable for the reason that it was unconstitutional. That was the reason given.

However, my bill proposes one thing and one thing only and that is to invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution to protect the legal definition of marriage. It is highly preposterous to suggest that a bill that proposes using a section of the Constitution could be unconstitutional. That is absolutely ridiculous.

What this amounts to is a lack of willingness by politicians to stand and be held accountable. Clearly they can see where the public is on the issue, but they do not want it to come to a vote in Parliament.

Mr. Speaker, I am seeking unanimous consent of the House to override the ruling of that subcommittee and deem my bill votable.

Canada Marriage Act
Private Members' Business

5:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Does the hon. member for Saskatoon--Humboldt have the consent of the House to propose this motion?

Canada Marriage Act
Private Members' Business

5:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada Marriage Act
Private Members' Business

5:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.