House of Commons Hansard #105 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was gomery.

Topics

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Goldring Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadian troops were staged from the Turks and Caicos and sent 100 miles to Haiti to help bring about security, but were removed last August.

Conditions in Haiti have deteriorated, with many killings by gangs armed with military weapons. United Nations troops are unable to contain the violence. With 100 Canadian civilian police officers in Haiti militarily unequipped and an election looming, what will Canada be doing security-wise to better help stop the killings to ensure a democratic and safe election?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Papineau
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member is right to call to the attention of our country and the House the very difficult situation that we are encountering in Haiti at this time.

Clearly Haiti is in a transition. It is very important that we have lived that transition well. Indeed, security is a concern, but the Minustah, led by the Brazilians and the Chileans, with the Canadian police there as well, will continue to make the very best possible effort to improve the security, which will allow the healthy transition into a democracy with the next election in Haiti.

Furniture Industry
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, after cutting 80 jobs in February, Shermag announced yesterday that it is permanently closing its furniture manufacturing plant in Victoriaville, resulting in the definitive loss of 95 more jobs, another harsh blow to the region.

Does the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development realize that concrete measures are needed and that it is urgent to reinstate a permanent assistance program for older workers directly hit by these increasingly frequent plant closures?

Furniture Industry
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister responsible for the Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, up until 1995, Canada Economic Development contributed substantially to the development of Shermag. However, as you know, the company is now over 2,000 employees strong and the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec does not target this type of company. We regret the job losses. We hope Shermag will be able to develop again in the future.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

May 31st, 2005 / 3 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the human rights conflict in Colombia is critical. The internal armed conflict claims the lives of approximately 11 people each day and has created the third highest internally displaced population in the world after Sudan and Angola.

The security situation has improved under President Uribe's democratic security program. However, violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, both by the insurgent groups and by the security forces, continue. Civilians, particularly human rights defenders, trade unionists and civil society organizations, are most affected. What action is the Canadian government taking to improve the human rights situation in Colombia?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Papineau
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, of course we share the concerns of the hon. member about the serious human rights situation in Colombia. Our embassy staff in Bogota travels to the conflict areas of Colombia to provide strong and visible support to vulnerable groups and individuals and continually urges the Colombian government, directly and through the United Nations and other organizations, to respect its international human rights obligations. Canada currently chairs a group of 24 donor countries that are working with the Colombian government, United Nations agencies and civil society organizations to promote human rights across the country.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would also like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Greg Sorbara, Minister of Finance for the Province of Ontario.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. During question period the hon. member for Ottawa Centre made reference to events that took place earlier today in the procedure and House affairs committee meeting that was being held in camera. In fact, I have the notice of today's committee meeting no. 37, which states, “Orders of the day: In camera discussion of electoral reform”.

His presentation of the facts is extremely selective. He knows full well that having raised it publicly, I am in no position to respond to his statements other than to make the point that they vary considerably from an objective review of the facts of what actually happened and certainly in spirit are basically opposite to what actually went on, in my opinion.

He did this in a way that I believe violates the privilege of the entire committee by revealing in camera proceedings and, in particular, those members from the Conservative Party whose actions are being presented in a negative light and in a way that precludes their responding without making a similar offence to the Standing Orders.

I am well aware, as you no doubt are, Mr. Speaker, that Speakers have consistently ruled that except in the most extreme situations they will only hear questions of privilege arising from committee proceedings upon presentation of a report from the committee which directly deals with the matter and not as a question of privilege raised by an individual member.

However I believe this is an extraordinary situation. I draw your attention to pages 128 and 129 of Marleau and Montpetit where it states:

Committees have reported to the House on the refusal of witnesses to appear when summoned; the refusal of witnesses to answer questions; the refusal of witnesses to provide papers or records; the refusal of individuals to obey orders of a committee; and the divulging of events during an in camera meeting.

I would think the divulging of events in a selective manner that is not fully in accord with the actual events of what took place in the committee would seem to me to be a matter that requires the personal attention of the Speaker.

When you are finished with this question of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I wish to ask for unanimous consent for the tabling of the motion that was under discussion in the House so that all members can examine it and see that in fact the hon. member from Ottawa Centre was presenting the facts highly selectively.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Ed Broadbent Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the committee meeting that took place today in camera, what I had to say about it was factually accurate and obviously hoped it was totally consistent with the rules of the House. I did not name any particular member, nor did I cite any particular words. I described what went on. If the member wants to challenge that I welcome him to do so.

Hopefully, what will come from this is a committee in which all members will finally do some work.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, clearly what we have here is an admission of guilt. The member for Ottawa Centre has clearly indicated and confirmed the facts as presented by my colleague in the sense that he knowingly and willingly broke the confidence of that committee because that meeting took place in camera. Then he raised it here in question period which is totally inappropriate.

As my colleague says, Mr. Speaker, I hope you will rule in his favour on this question of privilege.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how the hon. House leader of the official opposition could suggest that the member for Ottawa Centre has made any admission of guilt. I think he was quite clear in pointing out that what he raised in the House today had to do with the procedure and mechanics of the committee working. He did not divulge information in terms of the substance of the motion or naming members or divulging debate.

He basically focused on the process and workings of that committee and the fact that the Conservative Party chose to operate in a way that made the committee completely inoperable and resulted in the action taken by the hon. member. In no way has this violated any ethics or privileges in the House and I hope the Speaker would agree with that.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Obviously the whole question has caught the Speaker by surprise. I had no idea that the meeting of the committee in question, which was the subject of the question today, was an in camera session.

In any event, the question itself dealt with future meetings of the committee which is what made the question one that was acceptable during question period.

I will look into the matter further and review the remarks made by the hon. member for Ottawa Centre in the preamble to the question which I presume are the items objected to by the hon. member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington and of course supported by the arguments made by the hon. member for Prince George--Peace River.

I will then have regard to the arguments put forward by the hon. member for Vancouver East and the hon. member for Ottawa Centre in respect of this and get back to the House in due course.

Is the hon. member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington rising on another question of privilege out of the same question?