House of Commons Hansard #96 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Langley.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Don Jennison
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to inform the House of the passing of one of my constituents, Don Jennison. Don was a committed activist for many causes both in my riding in the city of Toronto and across the country.

I first met Don in his role as a founding member of world 19, a community group that grew out of the campaign against the rushed amalgamation of the city of Toronto. Throughout the years, I had several meetings with world 19 and Don was always one of its most committed and passionate spokespeople. His concerns covered a broad spectrum of issues, from neighbourhood development to maintaining a fully public health care system.

I always found Don to be a challenging, well-informed and dedicated advocate for the causes in which he believed. This concept of public service from a private citizen is commendable. In this sense Don Jennison serves as an exemplar of the public spiritedness to which we should all aspire.

I wish to offer my sincere condolences to Don's family, his friends and his community. His passing leaves many lives emptier and diminishes the quality of our public discourse.

Conservative Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party is the government in waiting and stands for what Canadians want.

Conservatives believe in honesty and accountability, not Liberal corruption and scandal.

Conservatives believe in the Canada Health Act and the right to access publicly funded health care, not a Liberal health care mess created by 12 years of Liberal mismanagement.

Conservatives believe in clean air, clean water and a healthy environment, not Liberal mismanagement where raw sewage is dumped into our oceans and much of our air is polluted.

Conservatives believe in the protection of Canadians, the right to live in safe communities. Dangerous criminals will serve their sentences in prison, not our neighbourhoods.

Conservatives believe in lower taxes, not Liberal waste.

Canadians want a government that keeps its promises. The Liberals have lost the right to govern this great country. Canadians want a Conservative government now.

Volunteerism
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize an outstanding Canadian from Brampton, Ontario.

Today, at the city of Brampton's annual citizens award ceremony, Mr. Bill Burrell will be receiving the citizen of the year award. Mr. Burrell's contribution to his city and to Canada is beyond words. As an 18 year old, he fought in the second world war. In his 32 trips over Germany as a gunner in a four engine bomber he received his operational wings.

Later in life, Mr. Burrell continued his community work. He was instrumental in developing local hockey in Brampton and he was a driver for the Red Cross. Today, he serves in various capacities for the Brampton First Baptist Church and he devotes his time to branch 15 of the Royal Canadian Legion.

I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Burrell a few times over the past few weeks. I can assure members that no one is more worthy of this honour. I hope the House will join me in recognizing the outstanding work by this volunteer.

Liberal Government
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Gaudet Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government is a tainted government and no longer deserves public confidence.

It lacks vision and has insulted the intelligence of Quebeckers by thinking it could buy their conscience. The people of Quebec are not prepared to forget.

When we are elected, we come here to serve the public. The Liberal government has instead chosen to work for its own personal gains in utter disregard of any moral obligations. By hiding the truth, the Liberal government has worked against Quebec and against Canada.

The Liberal government has lost every speck of integrity, no longer deserves to govern and must stop clinging onto power.

Fisheries
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Exploits, NL

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to bring to the attention of all members a very important issue to the people of my riding of Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor which is the food fishery.

This opportunity allows me to pay tribute to the hard work of Beaton Keats and his brother Tony, who started the Dover food fishery committee. They have heard from the entire island of Newfoundland and also Labrador about this very serious issue that concerns the cherished cultural right of fishing for cod to provide for the dinner table.

In fact, the committee has managed to collect 14,395 names for this cause and this cultural right of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Government of Canada
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the people of Essex understand that we need an election. We need an election to get rid of a corrupt and scandal ridden Liberal government for a clean Conservative government.

We need an election because the Liberal government is emptying the treasury, $22 billion in spending announcements since the Prime Minister appeared on TV begging for his political life. We cannot afford a 10 month pre-election campaign.

We need an election because the Liberal budget was bad and the new NDP budget is even worse. There is no auto policy and high taxes on auto makers, no aid for Essex farmers, no new money to fix our border congestion, and no rollback of the brutal 70% Liberal tax hike on Canadian seniors collecting U.S. social security.

We need an election because the Liberal government has lost the confidence of this House. The Liberals have lost the moral, financial and constitutional authority to govern. We need an election now.

Asian Heritage Month
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Kadis Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, the month of May is Asian Heritage Month. It acknowledges the significant contributions of Asian Canadians to Canada's rich cultural history.

In Canada our cultural diversity strengthens the country in a measurable way. Asian Heritage Month is an ideal occasion for all to celebrate the beauty and wisdom of various Asian cultures across Canada.

Today in Ottawa we will celebrate the launching of the Taste of Asia Festival 2005 as part of Asian Heritage Month. The festival is highly successful and promotes the awareness of Asian communities across cultural exchanges.

The success of the event is in large part due to Dr. Ken Ng, a constituent of mine, who is the chairman of the Taste of Asia Festival as well as the Federation of Chinese-Canadians of Markham. Dr. Ng is highly regarded throughout my community and across Toronto as a tireless leader of the Chinese community and other communities. He is always promoting peace and harmony.

On behalf of my constituents I would like to thank all Asian communities for their part in making Canada the role model for diversity and multiculturalism it is today.

Liberal Government
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Boire Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, last night, a motion calling on the government to step down was passed in this House.

With that vote, the Bloc Québécois has confirmed its commitment toward Quebeckers to defend the best interests of Quebec.

To do otherwise would have meant the Bloc Québécois was condoning the action of a government that denies the Quebec difference, that refuses to recognize the fiscal imbalance, that ignores the urgent needs of the unemployed and that scoffs at Quebec's constitutional jurisdictions.

To do otherwise would have meant the Bloc Québécois was condoning a corrupt regime that did not hesitate to pig out at the public trough.

To do otherwise would have meant the Bloc Québécois was condoning a government that, for two weeks now, as a last ditch effort, has been throwing around billions of dollars to try to hang on to power.

The Liberal government does not have the legitimacy or the moral authority to govern. Today we are vehemently denouncing it.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the supply management system has provided Canadian farmers, particularly dairy and egg producers, with stability and fair pricing for decades. However, our much vaunted supply management system is now being undermined to the detriment of hardworking Canadian farm families.

The government needs to act decisively to protect this essential Canadian value. My cousins Richard and Guy LeBlanc operate a very successful dairy farm in Memramcook, New Brunswick. Their father before them began this now high-tech business decades ago. Our government needs to defend these hardworking men and women and other farm families by refusing to lower tariff rates, by maintaining effective border controls, and by not allowing protein substitutes to circumvent these rules.

I believe the government needs to also immediately invoke article 28 of GATT to control these already damaging imports. This has to be done quickly before further imports damage our market.

Canadian farmers need our unconditional support.

Drug Strategy
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, crystal meth is a dangerous drug that is devastating the lives of countless young Canadians and putting our communities in peril.

I am pleased to rise today to applaud the premiers of the western provinces and northern territories for their recent decision to declare war on this highly addictive street drug. Realizing that it will take a united approach, the premiers agreed to convene a meeting of western health, justice and public safety ministers in June in Regina to develop a concrete plan to improve enforcement, public awareness and treatment. That plan will be brought to the national first ministers meeting in August.

Congratulations to the western premiers. This epidemic requires all levels of government in all areas of the country to work together toward a solution that will make a difference. We here in Parliament need to join hands with the western premiers in this battle with crystal meth and do our part. We should not only applaud the western premiers, we should commit ourselves to an effective national drug strategy that will save lives.

The Budget
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am astonished by the many groups and individuals who have contacted my office to indicate that the budget must be adopted and implemented. Groups such as the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, seniors, environmental and day care groups, parents with young children, students, and constituents as a whole are counting on this Parliament to deliver the budget.

What is at stake is funding for health care, defence and security, international assistance, support for seniors, strengthening aboriginal communities, early learning and childhood development initiatives, affordable housing, and delivering on a new deal for cities and communities.

Canadians elected this Parliament less than a year ago and expect the government to deliver on its mandate and that is exactly what we are doing.

I suggest the Leader of the Opposition put aside his personal ambitions and cut short his quaint little relationship with a party that has but one objective, to split this country apart. He should do what is best for Canada and support a budget that Canadians clearly want.

Justice
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the body of another murdered woman was found near Edmonton just a few kilometres away from where three other women have been found since 2003. In Winnipeg this past weekend, the body of another sex trade worker was found in a dumpster. In Vancouver at least 69 women are reported missing and presumed dead.

These women are vulnerable to violence because they have been pushed to the edge of society. My colleague from Vancouver East was instrumental in creating the subcommittee on solicitation, which is looking at ways to ensure that sex trade workers are protected the same as all Canadians.

Poverty can force women into addiction, homelessness and prostitution. Aboriginal women are among the most vulnerable. Throughout Canada, more than 500 aboriginal women have gone missing or been murdered over the last 30 years.

This Mother's Day more than 300 people participated in the Sisters in Sprit march in Winnipeg, focusing attention on the plight of women who are missing and murdered. How many more women will be murdered or go missing before Canadian governments move to action?

Member for Abbotsford
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Randy White Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, an election is imminent and this is the last time I will speak in the House of Commons. I want to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of Langley, British Columbia for their support and the citizens of Abbotsford, British Columbia for their support over the last 12 years.

Without their active participation in the politics of our country, there would be no victims' rights or sex offender registry in the Criminal Code. Together we worked hard on bringing the issue of drugs to the House of Commons, fought SE2 for cleaner air and dealt with the devastation of the avian flu.

I want to sincerely thank my staff, my children, Jason and Trena, and most important, my wife, Marty, for standing behind me. I wish all my colleagues the wisdom to come to this place as Canadians working together for the common good, and I certainly hope we see an election that sees that motley group of people over there removed.

Liberal Government
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Boulianne Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government is hiding behind rules of procedure in order to avoid admitting that it no longer enjoys the confidence of the members of this House.

While it refuses to call a general election, the Liberal members are acting as if they were in the midst of an election campaign, wasting no time in using that tried and true election strategy of doling out gifts.

Using taxpayers' money, this government will stop at nothing to distribute billions of dollars in order to buy votes. With a wave of its magic wand, it advanced $4.6 billion in investments in exchange for the NDP's support. The Prime Minister rubbed his magic lamp and produced $5.75 billion to try to buy votes in Ontario.

This Prime Minister is a sad spectacle of a man clinging desperately to power. The time has come.

The Prime Minister
Statements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, day after day the Prime Minister continues to stand before this House demeaning the democratic rights of Canadians. Last night was the final straw. He has ignored the founding principle of our country, democracy.

In ignoring the non-confidence in the House, as expressed in the House by last night's vote, the Prime Minister has confirmed two things. He has most definitely lost the moral authority to govern and it is his intention to continue to run the country as a Liberal dictatorship no matter what the voices of Canadian people state they want. It would appear that the Prime Minister has forgotten that it is this House that represents Canadians, not he or his party or his inner circle.

It is time the Prime Minister realized that Canadians will not stand for being stolen from, lied to and having their democratic rights trampled on. It is time for the Prime Minister to stop dithering and stop desperately clinging to power. Government is not about legacy. It is about democracy. The voices of Canadians must not be ignored. It is time for the Prime Minister to acknowledge that the House has no confidence in the government. It is time he realized that Canadians have no confidence in him.

Parliamentary Privileges
Statements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, by far the most important right accorded to members of Parliament is the exercise of freedom of speech with complete immunity. That being said, with rights come responsibilities.

The consequences of abuse of privilege can be terrible. Innocent people can be slandered with no redress available to them and reputations can be destroyed. Regretfully we have had recent instances with the member for York West and the hon. senator with his conflict of interest. Both of these have been found to be totally unfounded.

We also now have allegations coming out of the Gomery inquiry which have imputed criminality before all the facts are known. All of these cases are motivated by political opportunism and not as a matter of urgent or pressing necessity.

My view is that allegations without all the facts for political opportunism are an abuse of privilege which brings disrepute not only to this institution but to all parliamentarians.

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks we have learned that suitcases stuffed with illegal cash were used to fund Liberal candidates, present Liberal staffers were paid under the table with laundered money and laundered money was funnelled to Liberal campaigns.

Because the government is under a cloud of corruption and now under a constitutional cloud as well, could the chair of the public accounts committee tell us why none of this was revealed to the House and to Canadians last year?

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

John Williams Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the answer is that the Prime Minister never wanted the facts on the table. He shut down the committee and called an election last year, even though he said that he wanted the facts on the table. He set up the Gomery inquiry with no authority to assess blame or say who did wrong.

The Prime Minister made sure that this was a whitewash and the public accounts committee could never get to the bottom of the sponsorship scandal.

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we have just learned from the Gomery commission that phony employees and secretariats were invented on paper in order to launder money and fund the Liberal Party, and that judgeships were awarded to so-called Liberal Party volunteers.

Can the chair of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts tell us why this information was not made public last year?

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

John Williams Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the public accounts committee was doing everything it could to get to the bottom of the sponsorship scandal and find out who was carrying these bagfuls of money around and who was getting the bagfuls of money.

However, the Liberal majority on the committee at that time were dictating from whom we could hear. They only wanted to bring forward Liberal friendly witnesses. That is why the public accounts committee did not do the job last year. That is why the Prime Minister shut it down and called an election. The Liberals want to do the same again, and that is wrong.

Government of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, commenting on the historic passage of last night's motion of non-confidence in the government, Professor Andrew Heard, one of the leading authorities on the conventions of the Canadian Constitution, stated, “If a government loses a confidence vote it has only two choices: to resign or to call an election”.

Will the Prime Minister heed this determination by Professor Heard and either immediately table his own motion of confidence today or will he resign?

Government of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this morning I gave the reasons as to why a confidence vote on the budget should be held next Thursday. I had set those reasons out very clearly. In fact, Patrick Monahan of Osgoode Hall has confirmed that the actions the government has taken are the right ones.

In his remarks following my statement, the Leader of the Opposition gave other reasons as to why I was adopting this attitude. I have to say that the Leader of the Opposition goes too far. I would simply ask him to demonstrate better judgment. If we are to have civility, he should set the example.

Government of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the person who is going too far is the Prime Minister who will not uphold democracy in the House.

Professor Heard also went on to say in his writing, “The wording of the motion certainly conveys enough of the essence of confidence that the government should, at a minimum, respond to its passage with its own clearly worded motion of confidence”.

Will the Prime Minister listen to this finding and that of others and either table his own motion of confidence today, now, immediately, or will he resign?

Government of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, since we are quoting experts here, perhaps I also could quote the chairman of the public accounts committee on these issues. What he said is that there is no use going to the polls with rumours and innuendoes. There are all kinds of rumours and innuendoes flying around about what is being said at Gomery. Why do we not wait until we get all the facts about what has been said at the Gomery commission before we think about an election? Now there is an expert.

Government of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Darrel Stinson North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, in 1993, I was elected to come here fully believing that this was a democratic House. After the vote last night, for which some of us made extra effort to be here, I would like to know why the Prime Minister does not honour that. Why is he holding off on a vote? Is he hoping that some of us may not be able to make it?

Government of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a couple of points.

First, I will reiterate that the motion last night was not a matter of confidence. In your ruling, Mr. Speaker, as a result of the vote, you indicated that the motion would now proceed to committee. It is a procedural motion, not a confidence motion.

What I would really like to say is that the Leader of the Opposition has shown how low he is prepared to go by suggesting that anyone would take advantage of someone's illness. I would not wish illness on any anyone. I think there has to be a level of respect in the House. If Canadians did not know the kind of person the Leader of the Opposition was before today, they sure know now.

Government of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the majority of members voted in favour of a motion calling for this government to resign, but the Liberals are desperately clinging to power. The pressure is so strong that the Prime Minister, who wanted to wait until the end of the Gomery inquiry, is now proposing May 19 for a confidence vote.

In order to end the political crisis afflicting his government, can the Prime Minister commit to holding a vote of confidence today, rather than waiting?

Government of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what we are proposing is a vote on the budget, an important matter. If the opposition wants to defeat the government over the budget, it will have to admit to being opposed to Kyoto, to child care, to the cities and communities, and to a balanced budget. So let it do so, instead of using other excuses.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to confront the government on this budget, and to do so today. What I am offering the Prime Minister is to agree to speed up the procedures and to vote today on bills C-48 and C-43. Let us do that today, as we did yesterday for the veterans.

Is he prepared to take that challenge today and vote on that budget today, after the debate? If he has the slightest confidence in this House, let him take action instead of hiding and trying to buy some time, as he has done for too long already. Let him do something.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member must be aware that there is an election in British Columbia. Out of respect for the people of that province, I believe we need to wait. What is more, it is the centenary of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and again I feel we have a duty to respect the people of those two provinces.

Let's face it: the member is in such a rush to get back to Quebec that it is affecting his judgment.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister must understand that he himself has plunged his government into an unprecedented political crisis. That is so true that, in an effort to defuse the crisis, after sleeping on it, he decided today to call an election eight months earlier than planned.

He has no right keeping government in limbo all week long. A motion of non-confidence was voted on yesterday. If he wants to recognize it, now is the time, whether it deals with his budget or not.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister indicated, there is a reasonable proposal that has been put forward and allows a reasonable amount of time, frankly, for debate on the budget bills and also for other pieces of legislation that are in the House. It certainly respects the time, money and effort invested by both the people in the Governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta with respect to the Queen's visit. It does provide a legitimate test of confidence, which is what the opposition parties are suggesting should happen. In fact, it also has the agreement of constitutional expert, Patrick Monahan.

I do not understand what the rush is. In fact, there will be a test of confidence. It will happen next Thursday.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the government's budget and add-ons are as great as the Liberals claim, we will offer them this deal. If they do not want the government to fall as a result of a motion of censure, we are proposing that the budget bill be debated today and voted on today, so that the government can resolve this crisis it has created for itself.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the budget bills are scheduled for debate today and tomorrow. A number of members wish to speak to them. I was hoping that the hon. members across the way would actually like to speak to them. That is how democracy works. Members of Parliament get to stand in their place and speak to the issues that are important.

If what the hon. member is asking for is a debate on the budget bills, that is what he will get.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister and it concerns the NDP's better balanced budget proposal.

As the Prime Minister and the House know, the NDP has always argued that the budget must be balanced. As yet, we have not seen the corporate tax changes removed from the budget so that it will be a balanced budget.

When can we expect these final and most important changes to be brought forward to the budget so that it can be truly balanced and then we can have a vote?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is a bit of confusion in terms of the timeline here. The spending investments proposed by the New Democratic Party are in fact in this fiscal year and the next fiscal year. The tax changes do not take effect until the year 2008. So they are not congruent in the timeframe.

It is our intention when the bill gets to committee to make the appropriate changes and to put those two tax measures into a separate piece of legislation so they can be considered on their own merit.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, we do not expect games to be played on this. We want to see those changes tabled next week.

Those who would propose a vote today on confidence will break faith with the very veterans that the four leaders agreed we would work for just a couple of days ago. The view of the New Democratic Party is that we need to put political games behind us given the mess that happened around VE Day. The Senate approval and Governor General's sign-off on this bill is fundamental. We believe that has to happen before there is any such vote.

Could the Prime Minister give us his views on this question?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP is absolutely right. The four leaders got together on the plane on the way back from the Netherlands and we agreed that we wanted to see the veterans charter passed and passed immediately.

What has now happened is that the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of the Bloc have broken faith with the veterans because what they are saying is that we should have a vote of confidence. They were hoping to see the government defeated. If the government were defeated, the veterans charter would not pass in the Senate.

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's confidence motion was the clearest expression of the will of the 38th Parliament. One thing that is clear is that the NDP is getting duped. The other thing that is clear is that this House has lost confidence in the Prime Minister and the government.

Which part of the message does the Prime Minister not get? If he cannot figure out the will of the House why does he not introduce another motion this afternoon and then maybe he will be able to figure out what the House is trying to say?

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think that last question just proves the Prime Minister's point that the Leader of the Opposition, along with his friend from the Bloc, have no interest in seeing the veterans charter pass.

What we have said is a quite reasonable proposal. As I have said, there are constitutional experts who have said that it is a reasonable proposal. We will have a vote on Thursday of next week. There will be time for debate. We will be able to respect both the investment of the people in the Governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta with respect to the Queen's visit. I do not understand why the Leader of the Opposition cannot take yes for an answer.

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, that group had 12 years to help veterans and they did not bother to do it until yesterday.

The Victoria Times Columnist this morning said:

It's plain that this government can't function without the confidence of the Commons. It would be wise to bring in its own motion to secure it instead of dancing on the razor's edge.

If the Prime Minister cannot live with yesterday's results, let us have another motion in the House this afternoon; or better yet, why not respect the will of the House and just resign? Either way, let him figure out that the jig is up.

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, that was another example of some hysteria coming from the members opposite and, in fact, their understanding of the rules of this House and how they operate.

It has been made very clear that the vote on yesterday's motion was not a matter of confidence. Experts from various parts of the country have also indicated that it was a procedural motion, and it was a referral back to committee itself.

There will be a legitimate confidence vote. It will be in the form of a budget vote. We have a proposal on the table that does respect a number of other interests that we need to respect. That vote will take place on Thursday.

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Bill Casey North Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, in the last 20 days, the Liberals have made an incredible number of campaign promises at a rate of $36 million per hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

After the Liberals lost the vote last night the Globe and Mail said, “The government is testing their limits of legitimacy.”

Before they spend another dime, the Liberals must absolutely restore their legitimacy through a confidence vote. Will the Prime Minister call for a vote of confidence today?

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I cannot understand the position of the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues. They cannot take yes for an answer.

I would like to point out something. There are some fundamental inconsistencies in the position of the members opposite. Yesterday they agreed in the House that they wanted to pass the veterans charter. Today they are trying to end this Parliament, which would kill the veterans bill. Reasonable people would wonder what the opposition's commitment is worth.

Yesterday as well the justice critic stood in his place and wanted to get the DNA bill through the House. We are attempting to do that. Today they want to dissolve Parliament. They cannot keep their word.

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Chatters Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, Monday afternoon, out of respect for the traditions of the House, I made special arrangements with the Cross Cancer Institute, against the advice of my oncologist, to travel to Ottawa to participate in a confidence vote in the House against the government.

Why does the Prime Minister not live up to his responsibility and show the same respect for that democratic process by admitting that he has lost the confidence of the House and resign or call an election today?

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it is really unfortunate that the Leader of the Opposition was mistaken in his conversation with the hon. member. I have all due respect for the hon. member. It is very unfortunate that he is suffering from his illness. I would not wish any illness on anyone. There has to be a level of respect here that we can exchange in the House in a proper way.

If the Leader of the Opposition informed the member that yesterday's vote was in fact a confidence vote, the Leader of the Opposition was mistaken.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has spoken of the bill on veterans. He will have to admit that I was the one who spoke to the leaders of the official opposition and the NDP to obtain their agreement. I also went to see the Prime Minister to ask him, at the embassy reception, to speed up the process and reach a consensus.

That is what I did. I am asking him to do the same thing in the Senate, where he has a majority. He should be taking action rather than spreading falsehoods.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there was an agreement among the four leaders, and no one has claimed credit for it. However, if credit is to go to anyone, I say it should go to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, who reached the agreement and worked so long for it. I would like therefore to congratulate her.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was the Prime Minister who tried to take credit for this matter. The minister came and thanked me for approaching the Prime Minister, after discussions with the leaders of the official opposition and the NDP. That is what happened.

Since the Prime Minister has a majority in the Senate, I would ask him to stand up for once. He should go and see his Liberal senators and tell them that it has to pass today. He should act rather than try to stall for time. That is his only quality, stalling for time—

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we most certainly want it to pass, and to pass as quickly as possible. However, I have a question for the leader of the Bloc. If he wants it to pass today, why did he try to bring down the government yesterday?

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Richelieu, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should be ashamed of himself for taking advantage of our veterans to save his government and, I might add, taking advantage of the illness of some members of Parliament.

If the government had not, as it did, postponed the allotted opposition days to take away the opposition's right to speak and to prevent it from moving motions, we would not find ourselves in this situation now. This crisis was created by the government itself, because it refuses to see and recognize that it has lost the confidence of the House.

Will the government agree that the crisis—

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The leader of the government in the House.

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I have said over and over again in the House, a reasonable proposal has been put forward that the vote take place on May 19. I do not understand why the opposition leaders cannot take yes for an answer. There is an opportunity to debate the budget bill. There is an opportunity to get the veterans bill through. There is an opportunity to get the DNA bill into the House and get that through.

It is not just the government that sees this as reasonable, but constitutional experts do also, so I would hope that the members would participate, but have that legitimate confidence vote later.

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Richelieu, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the Prime Minister claim to have the legitimacy to govern when, as soon as it regained its right to speak, the opposition eloquently demonstrated, through a motion, that the government no longer had its confidence?

Should the government not clarify the situation by urgently holding a vote today?

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, again they link their argument to the vote last evening, which was a procedural matter. It was not in fact a confidence matter; it is a report that is going back to committee.

I do not understand why the members opposite do not see the merit in the approach that has been taken, but I would say this. That party has never stood up for Canada. In fact, it wants to destroy Canada

What is the rush? What is it that you are really looking for? You will have a confidence motion, a legitimate one, that--

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The government House leader will want to set a good example and address all his remarks to the Chair.

The hon. member for Calgary Southeast.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has had 12 years to pass a veterans charter. The Prime Minister has had 18 months to pass the charter. Yesterday the Senate could have passed it at all three stages in one sitting like we did here, but instead his hand-picked senators sent it to committee to delay it.

Has it come to this, that the Prime Minister has to bide for time and hide behind Canada's veterans in order to save himself from the Canadian public?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think what is very clear is that what is a reasonable proposal is deemed to be unreasonable by unreasonable people. Again, we had leaders of every party agreeing on a veterans charter and had it pass at all stages here. Those members were looking to dissolve Parliament yesterday when it did not have an opportunity to get through the Senate. It will be through the Senate on Thursday.

If anything, what Canadians understand is that there will be a legitimate vote of confidence and that will take place next Thursday. We will work to win that vote and we will continue to fight on behalf of Canadians.

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing reasonable about violating our constitutional conventions.

Everyone knows that this government lost a confidence vote yesterday evening. An editorial published in today's Le Devoir states, “The federal Liberals lost the confidence of Parliament yesterday evening; there is no other possible interpretation of the vote”. As for La Presse , it states that, “This non-confidence vote clearly shows that this government no longer has the confidence of the House”.

How can this government still deny the obvious and ignore both the democratic will of this House and the Canadian Constitution by remaining in office?

House of Commons
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we are in fact adhering specifically to democratic values. We are looking at a confidence vote on a budget, which will take place on May 19. I fail to understand why the Leader of the Opposition and the opposition party cannot accept yes for an answer.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think what Canadians are wondering is why the Prime Minister cannot accept non-confidence for an answer.

The Prime Minister's original story in trying to explain ad scam was that it was the “activities of a...few who...have colluded” in this scandal. The truth, according to sworn testimony, is that Alfonso Gagliano and his cohort Joe Morselli ran a team of up to 30 fake volunteers, which included ministerial aides as well as lawyers and engineers on loan to the party.

With this many people involved and millions of dollars, how can the Prime Minister still claim that he knew nothing?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, this is the same kind of smear campaign based on unproven allegations that the Conservatives perpetuated for weeks against the member for York West last fall. The member for York West has been fully cleared by the Ethics Commissioner. In fact, the Conservatives based their allegations in the House on a sworn affidavit from Harjit Singh, who has retracted his statement completely.

Let this be a lesson to all members of this House that they should never use parliamentary privilege to attack an individual in this House and destroy reputations unfairly.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, former Quebec Liberal organizer Marc-Yvan Côté confessed. He admitted to personally distributing $120,000 in illegal cash donations to the Liberal Party. Let me repeat that so the minister gets it: Marc-Yvan Côté has confessed to breaking the law in a way that financially benefits the Liberal Party.

When is the Liberal Party going to give back this illegal money?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the party has been clear. If any funds were received inappropriately, they will be returned to the Canadian taxpayer.

Harjit Singh was quite clear in his sworn affidavit as well and he has in fact retracted.

Beyond that, yesterday after the statement of the member for York West when she demonstrated an act of grace here in the House of Commons, I would like to say that the member for Calgary--Nose Hill demonstrated a graceless act. When all members of the House from all parties were applauding the member for York West and congratulating her, she sat on her hands. The member for Calgary Southeast is called the “Prince of Meanness”. Perhaps she is the queen of mean.

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

Canadians have expressed a strong desire to make this Parliament work and to see elected officials work together for the good of the country. Recently the federal government announced additional spending measures in cooperation with the New Democratic Party. Would the Minister of Finance advise this House as to how these new measures will support the 2005 federal budget?

The Budget
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-48, giving legislative authority to the government's understanding with the NDP, was made necessary by the 180 degree flip-flop by the official opposition.

It was made possible by four important principles: first, the assurance of no deficit; second, the assurance of continued debt reduction; third, the profiling of two particular tax measures in a separate piece of legislation; and fourth, investment priorities consistent with the government's own spending commitments, those being housing, learning, the environment and foreign aid. They are also Canadian priorities.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, crab fishing season has begun, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada has allocated 32,000 tonnes of crab to the fishers. The fishers have chosen to increase their landings this spring and shorten the fishing season, thereby preventing workers from qualifying for EI. This is unacceptable and disgraceful.

My question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Does the government consider it acceptable to send crab to the trash, or will it manage the vessels' fishing trips in order to avoid the unacceptable waste of this perishable resource?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I share my colleague's concern. This waste is truly unacceptable. That is why I have asked certain public servants to monitor the situation closely and determine what actions might be taken.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, hundreds of dairy farmers from across Canada came to Ottawa hoping to have serious issues in the dairy industry addressed. They have heard nothing in this House from those other parties. If we want to talk about a crisis of confidence, it is a crisis of confidence in the behaviour of these politicians while rural Canada burns.

My question for the minister is very simple. Will the government apply article XXVIII of the GATT and stop the flood of modified milk products into Canada? It is a yes or a no: will he give the answer to farmers today?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, as a government we will take the actions which are designed to and which most effectively will defend supply management, and which will ensure that all the pillars of supply management are protected so that our producers will be able to earn a livelihood, create wealth for themselves and create wealth for Canadians.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, sworn confessions show that senior Liberal Party officials were major ad scam players. Top Liberal organizer Marc-Yvan Côté admitted he received three separate wads of sponsorship cash totalling $120,000, which he doled out in envelopes as illegal cash donations to 18 Liberal candidates in the 1997 election.

This is more sworn evidence from another top Liberal organizer that tax dollars were used by Liberals to benefit the Liberal Party. How can Canadians believe that the Prime Minister knew nothing about this Liberal criminality and corruption?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

In fact, Mr. Speaker, we have seen before Justice Gomery allegations against the Liberal Party, the péquistes in Quebec and the Conservative Party. The fact is that in fairness to the reputations of all people involved in any of these political parties, we owe these individuals the responsibility to wait for the truth and to wait for Justice Gomery's work.

Those members can take selectively testimony that fits their narrow partisan position, but the fact is that Canadians know what they are doing. They are manipulating the work of Justice Gomery when Canadians want them to support the work of Justice Gomery and wait for that report.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the real fact is that Liberal admissions of Liberal Party corruption continue. Senior Liberal organizer Marc-Yvan Côté confessed his part in a Liberal Party network that laundered sponsorship tax dollars: a suitcase and envelopes with $120,000 in ad scam cash funnelled to 18 Liberal candidates.

With so many senior Liberals working together passing around taxpayer dollars to Liberal candidates in the Prime Minister's backyard, how can Canadians believe the Prime Minister knew nothing about that Liberal corruption?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we should listen to Justice Gomery, who said yesterday that this is not a witch hunt. We should respect his words and not use the House of Commons to turn it into a witch hunt. What we ought to be doing is allowing Justice Gomery to do his work in getting to the truth for Canadians. That would be the right thing to do.

While there are allegations against the Conservatives, while there are allegations against the péquistes in Quebec, there is only one leader who is actually dedicated to getting to the bottom of this issue and it is this Liberal Prime Minister who is doing the right thing, who is putting country above party, who is putting principle above partisan strategy. He is doing the right thing to get the truth for Canadians.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, the stench of Liberal corruption has made its way directly into the office of the Prime Minister's Quebec lieutenant and transport minister. Yet the transport minister refuses to demand the resignations of his director of communications and special assistant.

At least provincial Liberals implicated in ad scam have resigned while their names hang under a cloud of scandal and corruption. Why is it that the federal Liberal standards are so much lower than those of the Quebec Liberal Party?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, Justice Gomery has had many things to say about this. On Friday, May 6 he said, “I think it has been established that the Liberal Party operated in a legal manner. This has been established and I accept it”.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister himself said that anyone who knew what has going on and did not act should resign immediately. In spite of that, the Minister of Transport is refusing to demand the resignation of his political aides involved in the sponsorship scandal.

Since the minister is refusing to take responsibility for the actions of members of his entourage, when will the Prime Minister accept his responsibilities and demand their resignation?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I was interested in the comments from the member for Medicine Hat this morning about how some of these things are just technicalities. We notice that that party has a habit of treating these things as technicalities: the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Constitution, fundamental justice.

The people involved have denied it. They have taken legal action. Until there is evidence to the contrary, they deserve the respect of the House.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government was wondering where the dirty money went. Part of the answer was just provided by Marc-Yvan Côté, its former political organizer for eastern Quebec, who stated that he received $120,000 in cash in envelopes and that he distributed the money among the Liberal candidates in eastern Quebec in the 1997 election. This confirms what Jean Brault and Michel Béliveau said previously.

Now that we know where part of the dirty money went, what is the government waiting for to put the money in a trust account?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the party has been clear. If the party received funds inappropriately, it will reimburse the taxpayers. Our Prime Minister has taken action to deal with the sponsorship issue. The separatists should deal with their own problems, such as Gaspésia and Oxygène 9, where it would seem that millions of dollars in taxpayers' money were mismanaged.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his address to the nation, the Prime Minister said that, if so much as a dollar found its way into Liberal party coffers inappropriately, it would be reimbursed. We now know that the money found its way there in a bunch of envelopes.

So, I would ask the Prime Minister this. Will he hand that bunch of envelopes, with the dirty money inside, over to a trustee?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again the party has been clear and the Prime Minister has been clear that if the party has received funds inappropriately, the party will reimburse the Canadian taxpayer. It is impossible to make that transaction occur and to reimburse the taxpayer without all the facts. That is why party auditors are working with Justice Gomery's auditors to ensure that all the facts are analyzed thoroughly and we have, through his report, the analysis required to do the right thing and make this happen.

Let us be clear. The party will do the right thing because the Prime Minister will ensure that the right thing is done.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, we have heard confessions that Richard Mimeau, one of the top aides to the current Minister of Transport, received $6,000 in dirty money for working on Liberal election campaigns. What is very troubling is that Mr. Mimeau was not part of a parallel group; rather, he was another top supporter of the current Prime Minister. These revelations show that the current ministerial staff of this administration were directly involved in ad scam.

Will the Prime Minister have us believe that he was so inept that he was unaware of his key supporters being involved in swindling ad scam money?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Frankly, Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that questions like that are even allowed in the House, given the advice that was received in Marleau and Montpetit.

I will say the same thing over and over again. If he has a charge or an accusation to make about people who cannot defend themselves in the House, he should step outside and make it.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, the last thing this assembly needs is to have the minister lecture members on making statements that might be harmful to someone's reputation. Perhaps it is not all the fault of the minister. Perhaps the fault lies in his genes.

We heard confessions, not allegations, from Richard Mimeau that he pocketed $6,000 of dirty money, yet he is still working for the government. When will the Prime Minister stand up for Canada, do what is right and fire every ad scammer that is currently working for the government?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, that is particularly unique coming from that member, but I would invite the member to do as he has done in the past, to step outside and make those allegations.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Valley Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage--

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. We have moved on to the next question. The hon. member for Kenora has the floor.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Valley Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently there has been some uncertainty concerning the future of the urban multipurpose aboriginal youth centre initiative. The program is important to aboriginal youth across Canada, particularly in my riding. For example, the Ne´Chee Friendship Centre in Kenora serves approximately 250 aboriginal youth with important projects that help restore their cultural identity.

Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage provide the House with some details of her department's plans for the future of this very important initiative?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Jeanne-Le Ber
Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, indeed this was a matter of great concern for the aboriginal people so I am pleased to announce the extension of the urban multipurpose aboriginal youth centre initiative for $125 million for the next five years.

This means the activity of engaging urban aboriginal youth to improve their personal prospects will continue until 2010. I am meeting the president of the friendship centres on Friday because they are very important in dispensing the program.

This commitment is included in the 2005 budget which I urge my colleagues to support.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to draw the attention of members to the presence in our gallery of the His Excellency Amadou Toumani Touré, President of the Republic of Mali.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised by the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Social Development concerning comments made by the hon. members for Calgary—Nose Hill, Simcoe—Grey, and Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam during the question periods of Monday, May 9 and Tuesday, May 10, critical of individuals who are not members of the House.

I would like to thank the hon. member for raising this matter, as well as the hon. President of the Treasury Board, the deputy House leader of the official opposition and the hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill for their interventions.

On both occasions when the matter was raised, I indicated that I would take it under advisement, check the transcripts, and get back to the House. I have done so and am now prepared to rule.

In her initial submission on May 9, the hon. parliamentary secretary stated that during question period that day, the hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill had made accusations about an individual who does not sit in the House and who cannot respond to the allegations. Yesterday following question period she rose again to complain of unfair criticism of the same individual by the hon. members for Simcoe—Grey and Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam.

In her initial comments the hon. parliamentary secretary drew the attention of the Chair to pages 76 to 78 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice concerning the misuse of freedom of speech. She cited a ruling by Mr. Speaker Fraser quoted in Marleau and Montpetit where he urged members to exercise extreme caution when referring to individuals who are not members of the House. The same text was also quoted by the hon. President of the Treasury Board on Tuesday.

The hon. parliamentary secretary called upon the official opposition, and in particular the hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill, to refrain from impugning motives and making accusations and allegations about people who could not defend themselves in the chamber.

Yesterday, the hon. parliamentary secretary again urged the Speaker to ask members to refrain from mentioning those who do not have the protection of the House.

In his intervention on Monday, the hon. deputy House leader of the official opposition stated that in his opinion the questions were in order and that it was legitimate to comment on testimony before a quasi-judicial inquiry. He repeated this again yesterday, noting that the opposition had no compunction about repeating here in the House of Commons, where free speech prevails, comments in the public domain based on sworn testimony.

The sage advice of Mr. Speaker Fraser quoted on Monday and yesterday by the hon. parliamentary secretary and the hon. President of the Treasury Board addressed what he calls the grave responsibilities on those who are protected by the absolute privilege of freedom of speech.

I have reviewed the full context of that quotation and wish to draw to the attention of the House the fact that these remarks of Mr. Speaker Fraser refer to statements or allegations initiated by members in the House itself. However, the remarks that offend the hon. parliamentary secretary make reference to testimony given in a public forum, before an inquiry, and widely reported in various media.

I have carefully reviewed the situation to ensure that the references made here in the House are already in the public domain and I am satisfied that this is indeed the case. If the disputed statements were thus not linked to reports in the public domain, I might be inclined to view the matter quite differently. However, under these circumstances I fail to see how I, as your Speaker, can enjoin members from referring at all to this testimony or to these media reports, all of it already public. To do so would be to impose upon the members of this House restrictions that go well beyond the normal restrictions that apply outside this House.

That said, I will continue to urge hon. members to be more judicious in their language and more temperate in their arguments, as I always do. However, I can find no prima facie case of privilege in the matter raised by the hon. parliamentary secretary at this time, although of course we will continue to monitor the questions to ensure that the material mentioned in them is already in the public domain.

I thank all hon. members for allowing me to clarify this matter.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the ruling, but at the same time you did say at the end that we must caution hon. members in terms as to the extent. I would like to know if “in the public domain” means that any Canadian citizen's name appearing in any public domain forum in fact can be used in this House in the way that a name was used by certain hon. members in this House. They are not prepared to do it outside. There must be some limit in terms of the freedom of speech in this House.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I think if tomorrow, the hon. member for Ahuntsic reviews the ruling I just gave, she will see, as I believe, that I have answered her question. If allegations are made in a courtroom, those allegations can be repeated in the media, however damaging they may be to the individuals they concern, and the media cannot be sued for reporting what happens in a public inquiry. It seems to me, to give a very brief explanation, if those same comments are then repeated here in the House of Commons, if the same allegations are repeated in the House of Commons, it has not changed things.

What I am concerned about, as I stated, were comments about other people who have not had their names bandied about in a public inquiry or in a court, where the matter can already be reported. The report should not start on something that happens here. I think that is clear from reading my judgment, if I can put it perhaps in layman's terms.

The hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst has a question of privilege. I am going to hear him now.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege.

A ten percenter was sent by the Conservatives in the riding of Windsor West. The question of privilege was debated in the House of Commons. You recommended that the issue be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. That recommendation was accepted and the committee worked to settle the issue.

Yesterday, following oral question period, another question of privilege was raised by Conservatives who were not pleased about a ten percenter in their riding, and the member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley disclosed comments that were made when the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs was sitting in camera. This is in violation of the rules as stated in Marleau and Montpetit, where it says, “May 14, 1987, ...the divulgation by John Parry (Kenora—Rainy River) of the results of a recorded vote held at an in camera meeting of the standing committee”.

Yesterday, the Conservative member violated that rule. I will not get into further details, because I do not want to take the time of the House of Commons, but I am asking for your opinion on this issue. My recommendation would be to refer the issue to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, since there was unquestionably a violation of the committee's privileges as has already been recognized in this House.

Yesterday, the member told the House of Commons, and I quote:

The unit could not say to what ridings the 10 percenters went or who got them. It could not say how to reach back and correct that. Therefore, today we passed a motion in the committee for the House of Commons to issue an apology to the communities involved with this. I think that was the proper way to deal with it.

That is a direct violation of the in-camera meeting that we had. Mr. Speaker, I want you to give a ruling on this situation.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Bill Casey North Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, if I inadvertently made statements I should not have, I certainly apologize for that and withdraw them.

We went on for some time and allegations were made that a Conservative member of Parliament deliberately mailed a householder into another riding, which he did not do. He did not deliberately do that. It was not his fault. The House of Commons postal unit came to our committee and apologized for it, but if I did say anything that I should not have said, I certainly apologize. I did not mean to do that.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. member for his apology, but it seems to me that this is a matter for the procedure and House affairs committee to consider.

If the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst wishes to raise this point in committee, the latter can prepare a report on the situation and present it to the House for consideration. Normally, committee members raise this point of privilege. This may have been the purpose of the point of privilege raised by the hon. member.

In my opinion, the committee should consider this matter before the House does. It is not the responsibility of the Chair to compare what happened in committee with what the hon. member has just said. I did not see the committee transcripts. I cannot proceed until the report has been presented.

The hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean on a point of order.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of the House to a motion. I believe you would find consent for the following order:

That the proceedings on the motion for second reading and referral to the Standing Committee on Finance of Bill C-43 conclude at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon;

That all questions necessary to dispose of second reading of this bill be deemed put;

That a recorded division be deemed requested and deferred until 5:30 p.m. today;

That the proceedings on the motion for second reading and referral to the Standing Committee on Finance of Bill C-48 conclude at 5:29 p.m. this afternoon;

That all the questions necessary to dispose of second reading of this bill be deemed put;

That a recorded division be deemed requested and deferred until 5:30 p.m. today.

I therefore seek the consent—

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean have the unanimous consent of the House?

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

National Security
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table in the House of Commons a copy of “Securing an Open Society: One Year Later—A Progress Report on the Implementation of Canada's National Security Policy”.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to nine petitions.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 37th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the provisional Standing Orders governing private members' business.

If the House consents, I intend to move concurrence in the 37th report later today.

Mr. Speaker, while I am on my feet, I have the honour to present the 38th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the question of privilege relating to mailings sent to the riding of Windsor West that was the subject of discussions a few days ago.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present in, both official languages, the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Health. Your committee has studied Bill C-28, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act and has agreed to report it to the House without amendment.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Finance. In accordance with its order of reference of Friday, February 25, 2005, your committee has considered the Votes of Nos. 1 and 5 under Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and Vote No. 25 under Finance in the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, and reports the same.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Chatters Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. Given the uncertainty of this Parliament and the extraordinary need for the stability with all parliamentary officers and agents, the committee recommends that the appointment of John Reid, the Information Commissioner of Canada, be extended by an additional term of one year.

Agricultural Pest Control Products Replacement Act
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-381, an act respecting the replacement of agricultural pest control products.

Mr. Speaker, to deal with important issues of restoring access to farmers of products needed to control pests such as gophers, the bill would ensure that a product is not removed from the market until there is an effective and accessible alternative that will do the job just as well.

I certainly believe, and many farmers in my constituency believe, that as long as a product is not determined clearly to be unsafe, that they should have a replacement before a product is removed from them. The bill would ensure that is the case. This is needed to protect farmers and I will continue to pursue this issue.

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

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-382, an act to amend the Criminal Code (search and seizure).

Mr. Speaker, about 10 years ago the government passed Bill C-68, the much hated bill which put the gun registry in place. It also put in place extremely unusual search and seizure provisions which would allow police officers, without a warrant, even in cases where no offence had been committed or suspected of having been committed, to enter a home and seize the weapons and remove them.

This legislation would prevent that from happening and put in place the normal process. Unless police officers have evidence that a crime has been committed, they would first have to obtain a search warrant. My bill is proposing a much needed change to the legislation regarding firearms.

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

Members of the House of Commons Recall Act
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-383, an act to allow the recall of members of the House of Commons.

Mr. Speaker, my private member's bill would restore the very principle of democratic accountability to our system of parliamentary democracy.

It would permit constituents who are unhappy with the representation in their given riding to form a petition requiring 50% of them to terminate the employment of that member of Parliament from his or her elected office. In other words, it would give the electorate the same rights of accountability that most employers have over their employees. It therefore would restore the basic democratic principle that we as members of Parliament are servants and not masters.

I urge all members of Parliament who believe in accountability and are willing to put their records on the line to strongly and overwhelmingly endorse this measure.

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

ALS Month Act
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Dufferin—Caledon, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-384, an act to designate the month of June as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) Month.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a private member's bill that would designate the month of June as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis month, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

This bill would ensure that throughout Canada in each and every year, the month of June shall be known as ALS month.

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

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-385, an act to amend the Criminal Code (hate propaganda).

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to table my first private member's bill, an act to amend the Criminal Code regarding hate propaganda.

The purpose of the bill is to expand the definition of an identifiable group under the hate propaganda provisions of the Criminal Code to include any section of the public distinguished by its gender.

The way our current law is written, it is prohibited to propagate hate against an individual because of colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. However, it is not against the law to propagate hate against an individual because of their gender. By enacting this change to the Criminal Code, Parliament can begin to address the serious issue of promoting hatred and violence against women.

This is an amendment that should have been made long ago. I hope my colleagues on all sides of the House will support this worthy and overdue initiative.

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

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have more than one motion. The first one is pursuant to the report I tabled earlier today of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

If the House gives its consent, I move that the 37th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented to the House earlier this day be concurred in. That is the report on private members' business adopted unanimously at committee.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move that the 35th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented on Friday, April 22 be concurred in.

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to split my time today with the hon. member for Beauséjour.

We have before us the 35th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, concerning the Standing Orders. I am sure that most members will recall that what we were discussing in committee that day was whether or not the Standing Orders had provision for allotted days, which are commonly called opposition days or supply days.

As hon. members are well aware, government orders fall under the jurisdiction of the Government House Leader and not the other members. The government leader—at the moment the Deputy House Leader—determines the agenda for government orders.

As for the period allotted for private members' business, for example, for the backbenchers, the government will never interfere with that by trying unilaterally to change the order of the day or the time allocated to this type of debate.

For the same reason, and based on the same principle, I do not believe anyone has the right to try to change the hours for government orders, because that is the agenda of the government in the House of Commons.

The House will recognize that the government House leader designates under the Standing Orders a certain number of days to be allotted for supply. These days have to be allotted prior to the supply bill being debated.

Contrary to other legislation in the House, I am sure all hon. members will know that there is no debate on the supply bill per se. The debate is held ahead of time and then the supply bill is adopted without debate because we have already had that debate.

How does that debate take place? It takes place in the form of opposition days. We all recognize that it is the structure under which we operate.

When I was government House leader, and the House might remember this from some time ago, when we arrived at the 1997 Parliament with the five party system, the number of days allotted to the opposition did not function too well in terms of allotting them in a proportional way between parties. The government at that time offered unilaterally to increase the number of opposition days by adding one, which the House accepted unanimously. That was done in order to give more days for the opposition to reflect the proportionality.

I do not recall, when the party system descended to four after the last election, the government seeking to remove that additional day given to the opposition. In fact, we have more opposition days in this Parliament than the number would actually dictate should be the case pursuant to the conventions that we had for a number of years.

The government therefore decided to add, as I was saying, these opposition days.

I must also add that before 1997, the number of allotted days absolutely were not published in advance. Nothing was in writing. Historically, the leader of the government in the House of Commons indicated every Thursday in the House the projected order of business for the next five sitting days. Of course there have been variations in this practice. I too have sat on the opposition side. I recall very clearly a certain parliamentary leader at the time who would change the orders of the day at 9:55 a.m. just to provoke the opposition. I do not think such a thing ever happened when I or my two successors held this pleasant position in the House.

The fact remains that in 1997, a request on allotted days was submitted by the hon. member for Winnipeg—Birds Hill at the time, I believe. He had asked the leaders of the other parties if we could, out of courtesy and in a confidential manner, publish a type of schedule for a few weeks at a time. It was strictly agreed that it would be an approximation of what was to come, in order to indicate to the members of Parliament which days would be supply days and which days certain bills would be debated. This was done in the spirit of cooperation.

When I was the minister, I remember on many occasions colleagues on the other side of the House would ask not to put certain bills on a Friday because their critics would not be in the House, or to switch them to a Thursday. They would say that if I called it on Friday, they would talked it out. They wanted to wait until the critic returned because he or she had something important to say about the bill. That was fair game. We used that calendar for a long time in a practical way, such as the one I have described, to make the business of the House advance in a better way.

I think overall it has worked quite well in terms of modernizing the procedures around here. It was an innovation that I put in place in 1997, but was not my recommendation. It was a recommendation of my critic at the time from the New Democratic Party, but all other parties supported it.

The situation we have before us is the following one. The opposition has stated that their opposition day was taken away from them. An opposition day is not an opposition day until it is called that day. The Thursday before the government designates the day. I both designated and undesignated opposition days on a number of occasions when I was House leader.

The important thing is the principle, long established in parliamentary democracy, that the sovereign is not granted supply until the grievances of the people have been heard. Grievances of the people is the method by which members of Parliament can raise issues and with some of the modern day innovations vote on those grievances. That has been used, particularly in modern times, as a way of expressing confidence or the opposite in the government of the day.

If the Standing Orders provide that there is going to be seven opposition days before the granting of supply, I do not think the government has attempted to reduce that number. It is fixed. However, in exchange for the number being fixed, because it is an order of the day under government orders, the government designates which of the days it will be.

In the end, after the days have been exhausted, and only then, can the government bring in the supply bill, the one that I talked about at the beginning of my speech. The government is entitled to bring it in once the opposition days have been exhausted or from time to time, particularly when there is a shorter session of Parliament, when the parties have generally agreed among each, because that has been the general way, to reduce those number of days if deemed to be appropriate. That has not happened in any case over the last many years.

Following a decision by the government House leader to change a particular opposition day, the opposition, which outnumbers the government right now, has used the numbers in the committee I chair in order to change a Standing Order. It changes a Standing Order for only one day, but it still changes the Standing Orders of the House of Commons. That is essentially the report that we have with us.

I will not be here in the next Parliament, and I intend to give a speech in that regard tomorrow. Meanwhile, for my colleagues on all sides of the House, the government seldom changes Standing Orders without the consent of the opposition. The last time that happened was when the Conservatives were in power.

What I believe has never happened is for the opposition to change the Standing Orders without the consent of the government. The government has been recognized to be the party in power. That is a dangerous precedent. I alert the House to it. As I said, I will not be in the next Parliament, but I do not think that is a very worthwhile precedent.

I offer those words of caution to my colleagues. I know that the hon. member for Beauséjour, with whom I have split my time, will be speaking to this further.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, who has served this House with honour for many years, has made a number of important suggestions that I hope we can all keep in mind, those of us who hope to serve in the next Parliament and subsequent Parliaments.

I was looking forward to making an important intervention on this important committee report. I know the deputy government House leader, for example, was looking forward to my remarks. However I have decided that it perhaps is more appropriate that we continue the important work of debating the budget legislation that the government is anxious to pass in this House.

Therefore, I move:

That the debate be now adjourned.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

All those opposed will please say nay.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

Call in the members.

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

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

I declare the motion lost.

Resuming debate, the hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Madam Speaker, I rise today to perform what is the most essential job for any Leader of the Opposition: to hold the government to account.

At the end of this speech, I will be holding the government to account in the most direct way possible: by moving yet another motion of non-confidence in this government.

Before I do so, I feel I owe it to this House to explain the reasons why this step has become necessary.

In the normal course of events, the Leader of the Opposition is expected to hold the government to account on particular policies that the opposition feels are misguided, but in normal times the opposition understands and respects that the government has a mandate from the people to implement its policy agenda in general terms, even while opposing specific motions.

But there are also cases when the opposition must hold the government to account in a more fundamental way and tell the government that it has lost the moral authority and democratic legitimacy to govern this country.

Today is one of those more difficult days, where it falls to the Leader of the Opposition to tell the Prime Minister and the government that they cannot carry on: it is time, for God's sake, to go.

We see before us on the government bench a party that has been almost completely discredited. The governing party has been revealed as corrupt. It has been implicated in the most serious financial scandals in Canadian history, scandals which have so tarnished and destroyed its reputation in the province of Quebec that the very viability of the federalist cause is threatened.

Let us be frank. The most despicable abuse has been committed in the name of national unity and on the backs of Quebeckers. In over 12 years, the governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin have managed to erase everything Wilfrid Laurier—

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

Order, please. I remind the hon. Leader of the Opposition that members who are sitting in this House must be referred to either by their constituency or by their position and title.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Harper Calgary Southwest, AB

Madam Speaker, within a dozen years, the governments of Jean Chrétien and his second in command have managed to undo everything that Wilfrid Laurier, Louis Saint-Laurent and Pierre Elliott Trudeau tried to accomplish to serve the cause of federalism in Quebec.

They can blame the big bad separatists or the big bad Conservatives, but the federal Liberals are the ones who tried to buy the conscience of Quebeckers with their own money. They are the ones who lied to the people of Quebec. They are the ones who circumvented the laws of Quebec and Canada. They are the ones who diverted the money of Quebeckers and all Canadians.

Secondly, as a consequence, because the government has been revealed in this way, it has now pursued a wasteful and fiscally irresponsible path by engaging in reckless spending and vote buying in a desperate attempt to keep itself alive.

Finally, and as yet another consequence, this government has been revealed as autocratic and undemocratic by throwing aside some of the most basic democratic principles that are essential to our parliamentary system. Let me give examples.

At this very moment I am debating a concurrence motion moved as a filibuster by the government on its own legislation. This is the same day that the Prime Minister tried to claim he wanted to have a vote on the budget. This is the same day that the House leader of the Bloc Québécois moved a motion to have that debate and that vote and the government turned it down.

We are not fooled. We want to see this motion, but I believe the government has no intention whatsoever of having any kind of vote on anything next week.

Just to give an example, we saw what happened yesterday and today. After a trip to Holland, all the party leaders agreed to pass through the House the veterans charter. We gave four-party consent. It was passed through all stages, but no sooner was it done here than the Liberal controlled and Liberal majority Senate found yet another way to delay it and hide behind veterans.

As the official opposition, we can no longer abide supporting a government and a governing party which have been shown to be corrupt, fiscally irresponsible and blatantly undemocratic. Therefore, I will be moving a motion which is again designed to express our lack of confidence in the government.

Before I come to this, I want to outline this case in some detail as to why the government must be defeated because of its manifest corruption, its fiscal irresponsibility and its undemocratic actions.

First, on the issue of its scandals, this budget debate and the recent dramatic events in the House are not occurring in a vacuum but in the context of a government which has brought upon itself the most serious corruption scandal in modern Canadian history.

We have known for some time that there were serious irregularities in the government's sponsorship program. An internal audit was released in 2000. There is a long story behind the delayed release of that audit for the 2000 election, but that audit release in 2000 did indicate that there were serious administrative problems in the program.

This was followed up on by the Auditor General's report on government advertising, released in February of last year, which confirmed that out of the $250 million sponsorship program, much of which was spent on activities of questionable value in the first place, more than $100 million in commissions went to five Liberal friendly advertising agencies with little or no evidence of work being performed for the contracts.

We all remember the famous case where Groupaction received $550,000 to submit a photocopy of a report identical to a report it had prepared the previous year.

Public anger and outrage over this blatant waste and mismanagement of taxpayers' money was no doubt a factor in last year's election and in part responsible for reducing this government to minority status.

But at the time of that election, while we knew that tens of millions of taxpayers' dollars had been wasted, we did not know where this money had gone. To be sure, there were rumours, but there was no proof. Now, thanks to the work of Judge Gomery, work, I should add, which was not allowed to begin before the previous election was called by the Prime Minister, and work, I submit, which would never have taken place if the Prime Minister had a majority today, thanks to his work, we have proof.

Canadians are coming to know the bitter truth: that millions of their hard earned taxpayers' dollars were spent on illegal donations to the Liberal Party for Liberal Party political purposes and it was done through a sophisticated network and scheme of money laundering.

In recent days, we have been viewing the revolting spectacle of Liberal witnesses before the Gomery commission describing how thick the envelopes of money they received in secret were.

While the rest of Canada is striving to earn an honest living, support their families and meet their obligations, including paying income tax, we can see these Liberal organizers and their friends trying to remember whether they received their dirty money in $20s or $100s.

The Gomery commission has become a bad gangster movie. The money in those envelopes, those $20s and $100s, is in fact our money. That money belongs to Canadian taxpayers, not to the Liberal Party of Canada.

Over the past few weeks we have heard sworn testimony, backed by documentary evidence, that money from the sponsorship program was paid to advertising agencies which in turn used that money to make both legal and illegal donations to the Liberal Party--and no doubt some of it was pocketed--but to also illegally pay for Liberal election organizers and to pay for Liberal campaign expenses ranging from signs to party videos.

Just last week, as one of a series of confessions, not baseless allegations, not baseless accusations, not even mere admissions, but confessions from senior members of the Liberal Party under sworn evidence, the former president of the Liberal Party of Canada in Quebec admitted that he received $300,000 in cash from Jacques Corriveau, a close personal friend of Jean Chrétien, who benefited from millions of dollars of little or no work contracts from the sponsorship program.

I heard somebody over there calling “order”. We have seen the tactics of some of the members in the last few days, not wanting to have this evidence on the record of the House of Commons, but we will read every bit of it into the record of this House of Commons.

That cash was used to pay for Liberal Party workers in opposition held ridings in direct violation of the Canada Elections Act. We have also heard from many of the recipients of that money, admitting that they received illegal contributions, and we have seen cashed cheques and bank statements confirming that illegal payments were made.

I remind the House that after the release of the Auditor General's report last year, and with an election in the offing, the Prime Minister and his Quebec lieutenant, now the Minister of Transport, promised that the Liberal Party would not campaign with this dirty money. They promised that every penny that had been illegally donated or diverted from the sponsorship program would be paid back in full, but now we are hearing a different story.

When only a few weeks ago an opposition motion was put forth calling on the government to put aside the money that was stolen, to put it into a blind trust, it was voted on in this House and every one of the Liberals stood and voted against that motion.

I remind the House that the motion was nonetheless adopted and that the government is duty bound to respect the decisions made by the House of Commons.

The Liberal Party fought the 1997 and 2000 elections with dirty money. This is a fact. Since the Liberals did not return any of the money in 2004, they fought the last election with dirty money, and now it looks, in violation of an order of this House, as though they are willing to fight a fourth straight election with money that has been stolen from the Canadian taxpayers.

These past few weeks, billions of dollars have been promised throughout Canada without any discussions taking place in Parliament. The Liberal strategy is clear: they tried to buy the last referendum, and now they want to buy the next election.

The government is not listening to Parliament nor to the people of Canada; it only understands the language of money.

This is unacceptable. The government must be held accountable for this behaviour. Most disturbingly, we have heard serious allegations--well, I will correct the wording--confessions from the former executive director of the Liberal Party of Canada in Quebec, again not a rogue operator as the Prime Minister implied, but the chief staff person for the party in the province of Quebec, that Liberal sleaze and patronage extended even to the selection of judges. He has gone on record saying that a member of the judicial advisory committee responsible for selecting judges for the province of Quebec was in the habit of calling him to find out how much money lawyers who are potential judicial candidates had contributed to the party.

These are among the most serious examples of partisan interference in judicial appointments that have ever been heard in this country.

The Liberals have undermined Canadians' confidence in our political system and even manipulated our judicial system.

The Liberal Party of Canada, like the Government of Canada, is a threat to Canadian democracy.

When this was raised in the House, the Minister of Justice said that he will hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. He is apparently not open to any investigation into this potential corruption of our judicial selection process. In fact the minister keeps claiming, in spite of the claims of his own party officials, that appointments are made strictly on the basis of merit.

I would point out that research by journalists and citizens has revealed that 60% of lawyers appointed to the bench in Quebec since 2000 made donations to the Liberal Party. It is frankly hard to take the Minister of Justice or the Prime Minister at their word when they say that politics has nothing to do with judicial appointments.

The essential facts about Liberal corruption are not in dispute. No one is disputing that money was diverted or stolen from the sponsorship program. No one is disputing that it was done by some Liberals. No one is disputing that at least some of that money ended up in the coffers of the Liberal Party or was used for Liberal partisan purposes.

In fact I would point out that the Prime Minister of Canada went on national television to address these allegations and he never once denied them in his speech to the Canadian people. Their only comeback on this as these facts accumulate is to urge the House not to rush to judgment, but as they say, let Judge Gomery do his work so that, in the Prime Minister's words in the address to the nation on television:

There is conflicting testimony; only the judge is in a position to determine the truth.... Only he can tell us what happened and who was responsible.

The government is saying, “I am currently under investigation, I am suspected of widespread corruption, so I have no time for an election”.

The real judge of the honesty, candour and competence of the government is the public. The people of Canada are ready to judge this government.

What we know when I referred to that remark of the Prime Minister in his televised speech is that in fact it is not true. The government inserted clause k into the terms of reference of the Gomery inquiry that prohibits Justice Gomery from reaching “any conclusion or recommendation regarding the civil or criminal liability of any person or organization”. The government is telling the public to wait until Judge Gomery determines who is responsible for this theft of taxpayers' money, knowing full well that it has prohibited Judge Gomery from making any such finding.

The Liberal request to let them stay in office until the affair is investigated would be akin to the executives of Enron asking that they be allowed to continue to manage the business while they are under investigation for fraud and embezzlement. It is simply untenable to carry on with business as usual when the police are knocking on the door.

Let me say, so that the Canadian people are reassured, Justice Gomery will complete his work. His work is to hear this testimony. He will complete it and he will complete it before the voters render a judgment on the government.

Even more disturbing than any of this is the government's attempt to portray itself as a victim. These acts were not committed by some shadowy rogue group of Liberals. We have testimony from the former executive director of the Liberal Party of Canada, Quebec, and the president of the Liberal Party of Canada, Quebec, testifying that they were part of a kickback scheme. This is no rogue operation. It is the entire apparatus of the federal Liberal Party in the province of Quebec.

The victim line is when the government hears confessions from its own senior officials that it benefited from stolen money, the first act of the Prime Minister is not to apologize or to take action, but to try and claim that the Liberal Party was somehow a victim.

When these officials come forward, the first act of Liberal counsel at the Gomery inquiry is not to get all of the evidence. It is to attack the people who are coming forward, to attack the whistleblowers, to attack their reputation, to undermine their evidence to discourage them from testifying.

This is proof, and I do not think we need any more proof, that the government will never get, will never hold accountable those among its own who are responsible for this affair. That is why it has no moral authority to govern this country. That is why we need a new government to do what Judge Gomery is not allowed to do by these Liberals, and that is, hold the Liberal Party accountable for its criminal activity.

The culture of corruption within the Liberal Party is evident, but equally disturbing is the fact that the Liberals are now prepared to put the finances of the country into jeopardy for their own short term partisan purposes. In a sense this should not surprise us. The crisis was caused by the Liberal Party spending millions of dollars in an attempt to bribe voters in the province of Quebec. Now that the strategy has backfired, they are attempting to get out of the crisis by spending billions of dollars in the rest of the country to make voters forget about the scandal.

Scandalous waste and reckless spending cannot be allowed to bury scandalous theft and corruption. In February our party in good faith decided not to bring the government down on its budget, not because we thought it was a perfect budget--we were already concerned about rapidly accelerating government spending--but we thought the budget had worthwhile measures we could support.

The original budget repeated a previous agreement that had not been tabled in the House to grant the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia control over their offshore resource revenues under the Atlantic accord. It included a transfer of gas tax revenues to cities and communities to help pay for needed infrastructure. It included modest tax cuts for individuals by raising the basic personal exemptions and tax cuts for businesses that would have helped create jobs and improve competitiveness.

The Liberals say that they are still there. I say they should have been there a long time ago. All these are long-standing policies of this party. We have stuck with these policies long before this Prime Minister flip-flopped on them. We will stick with them now and we will bring them in when we are on that side of the House.

I wonder if the government really ever wanted this budget bill to pass. We now hear its strategy is to be defeated on the budget. What it did right off the bat was it roped the measures that we supported in with other measures including measures such as the CEPA amendments, Canadian Environmental Protection Act amendments, which were not even in the budget and which it knew this party could not support.

A far more serious and reckless blow to fiscal integrity was the new budget cooked up in a hotel room by Buzz Hargrove and the Leader of the NDP. It was then announced that the tax cuts necessary to create jobs and keep our business competitive with the United States would be eliminated. In their place we had $4.6 billion in new program spending on a grab bag of programs to be paid for out of mysterious reserve funds.

We now have before us a second budget bill. This budget bill has the innocuous title, Bill C-48, an act to authorize certain payments. What it in fact conceals is an unprecedented government slush fund that again allows the government to avoid parliamentary accountability for its spending programs.

Let me quote Don Drummond, one of the Prime Minister's former assistant deputy ministers when he was minister of finance, and how he has described Bill C-48. He said:

--for years government has wanted an instrument that would allow it to allocate spending without having to say what it's for. This act will do it.

Ironically, let me point out to my NDP friends that they have less reason to be pleased with this agreement than they thought. Bill C-43 is still on the government's agenda. The government has not removed any of the tax reductions it said it would remove. Bill C-48 does not actually set aside any money to be spent on priorities they had identified, like post-secondary education, housing and foreign aid. Instead it simply authorizes the government at its discretion to set aside reserves for these general priorities, but only after it has the final surplus figures for fiscal 2005-06, which will be in August 2006.

The bottom line is this bill will not even get money into the hands of groups and programs the NDP wants to support for another 18 months. When it does so, it will happen entirely at the discretion of the Liberal cabinet. The reality is it is the worst of both worlds. We have socialist spending delivered through Liberal undemocratic tactics and financial trickery.

Here is another scene from a bad film, which we are going to have to sit through: a secret meeting between the Liberals and the NDP in a Toronto hotel room in order to consummate the marriage of corruption and socialism and divvy up our money.

Perhaps even more concerning than this fiscally reckless plan is the fact that the Liberals continue to go around the country making announcements based on a flim-flam budget, the full details of which they still have not presented to this Parliament and on which they certainly do not have any approval.

In fact, over the past few weeks, since Jean Brault testified, which I am sure is a coincidence, and since the $4.6 billion agreement with the NDP, the government has announced $22 billion in spending initiatives. It is spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars based on an incomplete and unapproved budget. I will list the $22 billion worth of spending announcements.

The Liberals clap. They can explain it to the people who used to vote for them because of fiscal responsibility.

In our British parliamentary system there is perhaps no principle--

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I know that my hon. colleague is a seasoned parliamentarian and knows that no props can be used in the House. Therefore I would ask him if he would table the document that he just put on his table.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition knows he cannot use props but I thought he had picked up the documents and set them down with some alacrity. If the hon. member for Central Nova feels that waving them around is unparliamentary, I am sure he will restrain himself and wave them under the desk or whatever rather than make a scene in the House.

The hon. Leader of the Opposition has the floor and we will have proper decorum.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Harper Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the House will note that the Liberal whip has described the government's promises to the people of Canada in all the constituencies as mere props. That is what they are designed for: to prop up this government so no one will notice its corruption.

In our British parliamentary system there is perhaps no principle more important than that expenditures by the government must be approved by Parliament. It is this principle, more than any other, that distinguishes a parliamentary system from an absolute monarchy or from a dictatorship.

Over 200 years ago, even before Confederation, visionaries like Louis-Joseph Papineau and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine, with the help of Robert Baldwin and other reformers, fought for responsible government. This fight must be renewed today. We must rout the clique of profiteers and take back control of our money.

Josef Redlich, in this great study of the British House of Commons almost 100 years ago, wrote:

The whole law of finance, and consequently the whole British constitution is grounded upon one fundamental principle, laid down at the very outset of English parliamentary history and secured by three hundred years of mingled conflict with the Crown and peaceful growth. All taxes and public burdens imposed upon the nation for purposes of state, whatsoever their nature, must be granted by the representatives of the citizens and taxpayers, i.e, by Parliament.

The government, a minority government with the weakest position in this House and the weakest mandate from the Canadian people in at least two generations, is skirting the edge of this line and is violating the spirit of this principle which underpins the very foundation of our parliamentary democracy.

We are a democracy and a parliamentary democracy. If the government wishes to spend taxpayer money, or promise to spend it, it should be coming before this Parliament, it should have laid its plan before Parliament and sought approval of the Parliament, but it does not believe it has the confidence of this House, which, after last night, it plainly does not.

The government should stop flying around the country spending other people's money without the approval of this Parliament because, besides having no moral authority, the government has no financial authority to do this either.

The reckless and irresponsible way in which the government is spending taxpayer money without parliamentary approval is simply one of a series of steps where the government has flouted the democratic rules of this House.

Essentially, since Jean Brault's revelations, the Liberals have taken every step at their disposal to avoid accountability, even to the point of violating basic democratic and constitutional principles.

After Mr. Brault's testimony, everybody knew that it was only a matter of time before one of the opposition parties introduced a motion of non-confidence in the government. It was at that point, on the eve of our first supply day, that the government abruptly pulled the plug and cancelled supply and opposition days indefinitely. This broke a longstanding convention by which opposition days were allocated about once a week according to a rotating calendar agreed to by the opposition parties.

By denying the opposition its opportunity about once a week to choose a topic for debate and vote, the government is trampling upon one of the most basic democratic practices of this House and it is doing it all so it can avoid accountability for corruption.

In the last few days, since the opposition has been denied its normal recourse of moving supply motions to express judgment, we have been forced to seek other means to hold the government to account. Thus, through the auspices of the Standing Committees on Public Accounts and Finance, we introduced motions that were clearly intended as motions of non-confidence in the government as they expressed the view that the government should resign.

However the government, the same government that initially said that it would consider mild amendments to its throne speech an issue of non-confidence, even when those motions had been worded explicitly not to be confidence, now is saying that it will not consider even a motion calling upon the government to resign a matter of confidence.

Yesterday, a majority of members indicated they no longer had confidence in this government. What we are saying again today to the Liberals and the government could not be more clear. We are proud of our country, but we are ashamed of our government. Get out of here!

We are holding a debate today when everyone in this country knows that the government no longer enjoys the confidence of the House.

In fairness, there are some experts who believe that a motion to refer to a committee, even one that calls upon the government to resign, is not necessarily a motion of confidence. However the experts are almost unanimous that when a motion like this has raised a question about the confidence of the House, the government is obliged immediately to table a new motion seeking the confidence of the House.

I could quote at length the opinions of Professor Andrew Heard of Simon Fraser University, who is the author of Canadian Constitutional Convention: The Marriage of Law and Politics , from his website but I will not do that because every one of these opinions is clear: the government should either resign, seek dissolution or immediately put forward its own motion of confidence.

This is what happened in February 1968 when the Pearson government was defeated in the House over a taxation matter. The government moved immediately to bring in a new confidence motion that clarified that the previous vote was not a question of confidence. I will remind the Speaker that at that time the procedure by which that was moved and delayed a couple of days was done so with the collaboration of the then leader of the opposition, not made up itself. I should point out that the acting prime minister, who was responsible for managing that motion, was the current Prime Minister's father, Paul Martin Senior.

If the government believed in the role of Parliament the way Lester Pearson, Robert Stanfield and Paul Martin Senior did, then it would already have immediately moved to table a new motion of confidence, not to try to put off the moment of democratic reckoning.

The government has not done this. It is simply trying to rag the puck to avoid itself being held accountable.

The people of Canada are not interested in the sterile quibbling of constitutional experts. They do not want interminable parliamentary debates. They want nothing more than what is to be found among all democratic governments in the industrialized world, an honest and competent government.

Spending taxpayer money without parliamentary approval, cancelling opposition day debates, ignoring majority votes in the House, filibustering its own legislation and ignoring calls for the government to resign is not the behaviour of a democratic government. None of it is consistent with the spirit and the principles of parliamentary democracy.

This is the kind of abuse we hear about periodically, not just in dictatorships but in countries with democracies that are struggling. We have seen it in recent years in countries like Venezuela and Russia where the executive, although elected, is willing to run roughshod over the democratic procedures of their legislatures.

A year ago the Prime Minister was promising to slay the democratic deficit. Today he is threatening to slay democracy itself. The Prime Minister, I add, has no moral authority to govern. The government has no financial authority to govern and it has no constitutional or democratic authority after last night to govern this country.

I have outlined reasons why we should reject the government's most recent budget bill, but it is more than that. We must remove the government.

First, the Liberal Party is deeply involved in the most serious corruption scandal in Canadian history.

Second, the government has entered into a fiscally irresponsible, financially unprecedented cash grab, which will gut tax cuts for business, gut debt repayment and allow the government to pour billions of dollars into slush funds without any parliamentary accountability. It racked up $22 billion in spending commitments in 21 days.

Third, in its attempt to avoid accountability for the sponsorship scandal, the government has resorted to unprecedented, undemocratic tactics to cling to power, including removing opposition supply days and now ignoring a democratic vote and refusing to seek the confidence of the House.

The Liberal Party was caught acting illegally. The government is budgeting and spending illegally and it is governing illegally, all contrary to constitutional and parliamentary convention, I should also add that every day it stays in office it does incalculable damage to the image of this country and to federalism in the province of Quebec. The image of federalism in the province of Quebec cannot be corruption.

Quebeckers have a democratic right and options other than corruption or separation. Without corruption, Quebeckers will continue to vote for Canada and federalism. They will not vote for Liberal corruption.

Since we do not have the direct ability to put a direct question of confidence to the House because of the government's abuse of procedure, I intend to move another motion which will allow the House to express its lack of confidence. I firmly believe the life of the government is over, that it has lost the moral, financial and democratic authority to govern.

Therefore, I invite all hon. members who believe that the government should be removed from office to support the motion I am going to move. The purpose of this motion and its passage is to signal to the Canadian people at large, and more precisely to the Governor General, that the government no longer enjoys the confidence of the House of Commons.

I readily accept that the government has the ability to cling to office, but it has lost its moral legitimacy in doing so. If the government wishes to hang on even in defiance of a second vote of confidence, it may want to heed the words in some of the writings of the late Senator Eugene Forsey. I could quote from Forsey and Eglinton, but more important the essence of the quote is that “any motion in the proper context is a confidence motion, including a motion to adjourn”.

My colleagues and I, on behalf of millions of Canadians who believe the government should be removed from office, that business as usual cannot proceed, that the country can no longer put up with corruption, fiscal irresponsibility and undemocratic tactics, believe that the House needs to decide now and needs to move forward.

Once again, I reiterate that by voting for this motion today, it will be a clear signal to the country and to the Governor General that the government has lost the confidence of the House.

I move:

That this House do now adjourn.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:20 p.m.

The Speaker

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

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:20 p.m.

The Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:20 p.m.

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:20 p.m.

The Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Call in the members.

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

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

I declare the motion carried.

Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m.

(The House adjourned at 6:10 p.m.)