House of Commons Hansard #138 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was vehicle.

Topics

Canadian Heritage
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the UNESCO General Assembly has just adopted the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. In Canada, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, in conjunction with all the provinces and territories, made the Canadian position clear to the UNESCO member states. This culminated in an historical vote: 151 of the 155 members voted in favour of the convention.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage has made Canada the champion of respect for cultural diversity, and the concert of nations heeded us. How does the minister plan to implement the convention?

Canadian Heritage
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Jeanne-Le Ber
Québec

Liberal

Liza Frulla Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. This is indeed a great day for Canada, since the convention has been officially ratified by UNESCO, in an unprecedented consensus. This is why it is being termed an historic convention. This is a new international right.

The next step is for Canada to ratify the convention. We are aiming at being the first to do so. We will therefore try to move quickly in order to preserve the lead role we have played so far in this matter.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Independent

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, education is critical to improving the social and economic strength of first nations people. The community of St.Theresa Point has over 700 nursery to grade eight students attending school in trailers and satellite rooms that were supposed to be temporary. They have no gym, no library and no playground. Indian Affairs says it will start design planning in 2009 for a new school. In the next five years 500 more children will reach school age.

Would the minister and the Liberal government accept their children receiving their education under these conditions?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Western Arctic
Northwest Territories

Liberal

Ethel Blondin-Andrew Minister of State (Northern Development)

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is very concerned about the quality of education for first nations children and all aboriginal children across Canada. We invest millions and millions of dollars across the country. The first ministers will be meeting in November to plan along with the government the results that are desired by the first nations on education for their children.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration suggested that he would yet again postpone the creation of a special refugee appeal section, thereby going against legislation passed in this House four years ago now. The United Nations Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees have been calling for its implementation for a long time.

If the minister does not intend to create the refugee appeal section, then he should just say so instead of leaving refugees in uncertainty, as he has been doing for far too long with all his postponements.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, people who work in this area all agree that the system works well. For example, last year we accepted 22% more refugees than in previous years.

Does the hon. member opposite want us to say no to more refugees or does she agree that the system works well since we are already welcoming more refugees?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

October 20th, 2005 / 3 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, earlier this year the Prime Minister of Canada said that it is time to stop the rape of our oceans. The fisheries minister said “no habitat, no fish”.

We know the Liberal government is very good at dealing with bottom feeders when it comes to pay and patronage.

Will the government now support a moratorium on dragging or bottom trawling within our economic zone and will it support the UN call to stop bottom trawling or dragging in the high seas throughout the world?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, in fact over the past three years in the NAFO regulatory area there were no Canadian vessels using the kind of gear that was displayed yesterday on the Hill by the group that was here. In fact, inside Canadian waters Canada is the only country in the world with toggle and chain regulations ensuring minimal contact between the ocean floor and the shrimp trawl.

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that members of the House and indeed all Canadians would be interested to know what the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons has planned for his agenda for the remainder of this week and the next week.

In light of the fact that we have already sat 14 days in this fall session without an opposition day and there are only 35 days left, that works out to one opposition day every seven days. When will we get an opposition day?

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I find the last part of that question a little puzzling, given that the hon. member was at the meeting where I in fact outlined the opposition days. They will begin the week of November 14 and will go right to December 8. We are meeting our commitment and our obligation to provide seven opposition days during this supply period.

We will continue this afternoon with the second reading debate of Bill C-65, the street racing bill, followed by Bill C-64, the vehicle identification legislation, Bill S-37, respecting the Hague convention, Bill S-36, the rough diamonds bill, and reference to committee before second reading of Bill C-50, respecting cruelty to animals.

Tomorrow, we will start with any bills not completed today. As time permits, we will turn to second reading of Bill C-44, the transportation bill, and reference to committee before second reading of Bill C-46, the correctional services legislation. This will be followed by second reading of Bill C-52, respecting fisheries.

I expect that these bills will keep the House occupied into next week.

On Monday we will start with third reading of Bill C-37, the do not call legislation. I also hope to begin consideration of Bill C-66, the energy legislation, by midweek. We will follow this with Bill C-67, the surpluses bill.

Some time ago the House leaders agreed to hold a take note debate on the softwood lumber issue on the evening of Tuesday, October 25.

We also agreed on an urgent basis to have such a debate on the issue of the U.S. western hemisphere travel initiative on the evening of Monday, October 24.

Accordingly, pursuant to Standing Order 53.1(1), I move:

That debates pursuant to Standing Order 53.1 take place as follows:

(1) on Monday, October 24, 2005, on the impact on Canada of the United States western hemisphere travel initiative;

(2) on Tuesday, October 25, 2005, on softwood lumber.

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

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

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in response to a question during question period the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons said:

—the hon. member for Pontiac denies any wrongdoing on his part, but has written to the Ethics Commissioner to ask him to look into this matter. I hope the member opposite waits for a response from the Ethics Commissioner before commenting on this issue in the House again.

Later in question period the member for Nepean--Carleton asked the following question:

The Globe and Mail is reporting today that KPMG had found irregularities in the activities of the firm run by the family of the MP for Pontiac.

The Speaker then ruled the question out of order, citing subsection 27(5) of Appendix 1 to the Standing Orders which reads:

Once a request for an inquiry has been made to the Ethics Commissioner, members should respect the process established by this Code and permit it to take place without commenting further on the matter.

Mr. Speaker, the subsection you cited is a subsection of section 27. Section 27 deals with the matter of a member who has reasonable grounds to believe that another member has not complied with his or her obligations under the code. Under section 27 the Ethics Commissioner would then conduct an inquiry into the matter.

In the case involving the member for Pontiac, it was not another member who initiated an investigation; it was the member himself who made an inquiry. Such inquiries are covered under section 26. Section 26 deals with seeking an opinion and has nothing to do with an investigation. Subsection 26(1) states:

In response to a request in writing from a Member on any matter respecting the Member's obligations under this Code, the Ethics Commissioner may provide the Member with a written opinion containing any recommendations that the Ethics Commissioner considers appropriate.

Therefore, there is no investigation under way. An opinion has been sought and under the rules there are no restrictions regarding the asking of questions in this House.

The remaining subsections of section 26 deal with the opinion being confidential, that the opinion is binding on the Ethics Commissioner and that the last subsection provides rules for the publication of said opinion.

Mr. Speaker, with respect, I contend that you applied the wrong section of the code. A member cannot initiative an investigation into himself. A member can seek an opinion and that is covered under section 26 and not section 27.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I would submit that if your ruling were to stand, it would mean that at any point when government members' activities were called into question, all that would be required to avoid any further questions in this place would be to have those members request the Ethics Commissioner to look into the matter. Given the government's propensity toward questionable behaviour, at some point soon the Ethics Commissioner could be looking into dozens of Liberal members and the opposition would be unable to ask any further questions.

Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I understand and appreciate the comments made by the opposition House leader.

I am conscious, Mr. Speaker, that the rule was designed precisely to allow the Ethics Commissioner to complete his work obviously in a timely way but to complete that work free from increasingly nasty comments made about the work he has undertaken in this particular case.

If we want the Ethics Commissioner, who is an officer of the House, to be able to do his work, I think that the minimum respect for the institution of the Ethics Commissioner requires that he be able to do that work free from undue comment which can be publicly very harmful to members of the House before the Ethics Commissioner has in fact arrived at some conclusions.

Mr. Speaker, I want to tell you and members of the House that it was always the intention of the member for Pontiac that the Ethics Commissioner's report, once it is completed, be made public. I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the member for Pontiac that once the Ethics Commissioner completes his work and arrives at a conclusion, the member for Pontiac will be very happy to make that report public.

Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. House leader for the opposition and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government for their interventions on this matter. I was going to say something on the issue anyway before the issue was raised. I will say it now.

Yesterday during question period, this matter was alluded to in a question by the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth. The government House leader replied, as indicated in the comments earlier, that the hon. member had asked the Ethics Commissioner “to look into this matter” and asked for members to refrain from referring to the case until the work had been completed.

Later in question period, the Chair reminded members of section 27(5) of the Ethics Code in Appendix 1 of the Standing Orders that enjoins members from referring to an inquiry being conducted under that section.

I now understand that a request made by an hon. member to the Ethics Commissioner to clarify his obligations under the code is mandated under section 26 of the code, which governs opinions sought from the commissioner.

Accordingly, I wish to clarify that there is no specific rule prescribing members from raising this matter in the House. However, I urge them to be judicious in their language and the phrasing of any such reference.

I remind them that the questions that are asked about this must deal with government business and government responsibilities, and not the responsibilities of the hon. member under the code. He cannot be questioned on this matter in the House during question period because questions must be directed to ministers and must deal with matters of ministerial government responsibility.

I know that all hon. members would want to avoid a situation where, in the heat of the moment, they would find themselves contravening Standing Order 18 which specifically prohibits the use of offensive words and I quote:

—against either House, or against any Member thereof.

I think that will deal with the matter. We could now move on to orders of the day.