House of Commons Hansard #109 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fishery.

Topics

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Dale Johnston Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of constituents in Wetaskiwin, Ma-Me-O Beach, Millet and Westerose, I am pleased under Standing Order 36 to present a petition on their behalf.

The petitioners say that marriage is the best foundation for raising children. They note that the institution is under many challenges in Canada. They also note that the institution of marriage and its definition is the exclusive jurisdiction of Canada's Parliament. The petitioners therefore pray that Parliament pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being a lifelong union of one man and one woman.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by a number of Canadians, including from my own riding of Mississauga South.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that the majority of Canadians believe that fundamental matters of social policy should be decided by elected members of Parliament and not by the unelected judiciary. They remind Parliament that it is its duty to ensure that marriage is defined as Canadians wish it to be defined.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to use all possible legislative and administrative measures, including the invocation of section 33 of the charter, commonly known as the notwithstanding clause, to preserve and protect the current definition of marriage as being the legal union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present two petitions from my riding. The first one is from the community of Asquith.

The petitioners ask that the government immediately stop closing rural post offices as it had promised citizens years ago.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, my second petition is also from my constituents.

The petitioners call on Parliament to withdraw Bill C-17 and any legislation designed to decriminalize the possession and use of marijuana, that the government provide increased funding to the RCMP and Canadian police forces to ensure the elimination of marijuana grow operations, and that the government impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in a federal penitentiary without parole eligibility for conviction of grow operation owners, and finance this initiative by redirecting the funding of the ineffective $2 billion long gun registry into a program to eliminate grow ops in Canada.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to rise in the House today and present a petition on behalf of my constituents from Hanna, Rumsey, Coronation, Gregg Mount, Delia. The petitioners call upon Parliament to refrain from ending the community access program, commonly know as CAP.

The petitioners believe that the absence of CAP would result in a step backward in the ongoing goal to improve the quality of life for Canadians. In my rural constituency this program is one that does help develop and improve the quality of life for rural Albertans.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have with me six petitions, not just from my riding of Cambridge North Dumfries but also from the surrounding ridings of Guelph and Kitchener—Waterloo. These petitioners call upon Parliament to respect and uphold the current definition of marriage which is the union of one man and one woman.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition on behalf of the members of 17 churches, primarily the Netherlands Reformed Church. They are from across Canada including a number of churches in my riding. The petitioners call upon Parliament to restore capital punishment.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. parliamentary secretary I think has some incisive comments he wants to make on a point of order.

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, you will see as I briefly go through these comments exactly how incisive they are.

I would like to draw to your attention the two reasons why the government believes that Bill C-280 requires a royal recommendation.

My committee colleagues are currently engaged in discussing the advantages of the bill. My objective is simply to clarify the procedural and constitutional issues relating to royal recommendation.

First of all, this bill would create a new employment insurance fund and set out the amounts to be paid into it. Section 71 and subsection 72(a) of the Employment Insurance Act stipulate that the moneys paid into the EI account are part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

All of the money currently allocated to EI is virtual. When contributions are made, they become part of general revenue, and the same amount is credited to the EI account.

No amount is actually transferred to an EI account, however, which is why this is a “virtual fund”. When there is an EI expenditure, particularly for a pilot project, it is covered by general revenue and debited from the EI fund.

There is no transfer from the EI account, because there is no money in it. The actual funds are integrated with general revenue. Over time, the EI fund eventually reports some figure which represents the current balance of transactions—annual surplus or, as used to be the case, annual deficit—but this is also a virtual amount.

Section 72 would make it possible for moneys allocated to the Consolidated Revenue Fund under EI to be paid to legal entities other than Her Majesty. I would invite you, Mr. Speaker, to consult section 23 of the Human Resources Development Act.

This represents a potentially significant change in how these amounts are managed and disbursed. Subsection 72(2) requires the amounts in the account to be deposited with a financial institution. Subsection 72(3) provides that the commission is to manage the amounts paid into this account “in the best interests of contributors and beneficiaries” as opposed to the more general public interest. Subsection 72(3) would also require the commission to deposit the amounts with private financial institutions. Section 73 would allow these amounts to be used by Her Majesty subject to a decision of the commission to extend a loan and would be subject to the payment of interest as rates established by the commission. Currently, the commission has no role in such use and the Minister of Finance decides what, if any, interest is to be paid per section 76 of the Employment Insurance Act.

Section 54 of the Constitution Act, 1867, provides:

It shall not be lawful for the House of Commons to adopt or pass any Vote, Resolution, Address, or Bill for the Appropriation of any Part of the Public Revenue, or of any Tax or Impost, to any Purpose that has not been first recommended to that House by Message of the Governor General in the Session in which such Vote, Resolution, Address, or Bill is proposed.

Section 2 of the Financial Administration Act defines the word “appropriation” as meaning “any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund”.

Erskine May, at page 765 in the 22nd edition, specifies that “the following are categories of expenditure provision...which require authorization by Money resolution...” It then provides a list of items which includes at number five: “The authorization of a single payment out of the Consolidated Fund”.

The objective of Bill C-280 is clearly to ensure that the EI account is kept separate from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. The payment to the new account represents “a new and distinct charge” on the public revenue that is not currently provided for under existing legislation. Clearly, the appropriation of a sum of this magnitude, which some members have estimated to be as high as $46 billion, must require a royal recommendation.

The second reason the government believes this bill should be accompanied by a royal recommendation is that the purpose of the original appropriations would be changed by this bill. The Acting Speaker indicated on May 9, 2005, that changing the purposes for which moneys are appropriated requires a royal recommendation:

In this particular case, Bill C-312 contains some provisions which caused the Chair to pause and consider its impact on the financial initiative of the Crown. As most members know, bills which involve new or additional spending for a distinct purpose must be recommended by the Crown. The royal recommendation is also required where a bill alters the appropriation of public revenue “under the circumstances, in the manner and for the purposes set out” in the bill. What this means is that a royal recommendation is required not only in the case where more money is being appropriated, but also in the case where the authorization to spend for a specific purpose is being significantly altered.

Amendments concerning the Canada Employment Insurance Commission's structure and responsibilities would change the purpose for which money allocated to run the commission would be used. The commission would be assigned new responsibilities for independently managing and investing as much as potentially $46 billion in funds but at least $15 billion, as well as providing independent recommendations for policy and legislative changes to the employment insurance program.

In addition, the purpose of the funds collected and granted under the existing Employment Insurance Act would be altered, since that act clearly did not provide for the investment of these assets as required by subsection 72(3)(b). These are clearly new purposes both for the money granted for the administration and operation of the commission and for the treatment of premiums currently collected under the employment insurance system.

For these reasons, Mr. Speaker, I conclude that this bill requires a royal recommendation and I hope that you will consider these most incisive points very carefully.

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's South, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of things to say on this issue. This is a fairly comprehensive statement that the member has just made dealing with a very important and, I suggest, contentious topic. I question why such an item as this would be raised as a point of order.

It is not just a matter of moving one thing from here to somewhere else. We are talking about huge sums of money. We are talking in excess of $40 billion. We know how much bureaucracy it takes for the government to move that kind of money. This is an extremely comprehensive piece of work and I am concerned about the mechanism of dealing with such a topic on a point of order.

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I do not pretend to understand all the ramifications of the point of order. I do understand that the hon. parliamentary secretary is suggesting that a royal recommendation is required before the bill can proceed. That, it seems to me, is a point of order. Whether there is another way of doing this without requiring a royal recommendation is another argument I suppose that could be advanced, or whether this does require it.

If there are no other submissions on the question of whether a royal recommendation is in fact required, I will be glad to take the hon. parliamentary secretary's comments under advisement and return to the House in due course with a ruling on this important matter.

Fisheries Act
Government Orders

June 6th, 2005 / 3:50 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

moved that Bill C-52, an act to amend the Fisheries Act (terms and conditions of permissions, leases and licences), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Scarborough--Rouge River.

I appreciate the opportunity to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-52, a bill to amend the Fisheries Act. The amendment that the bill contains clarifies that it is a requirement of the act to comply with fishing licence terms and conditions. In particular, the amendment is designed to address a very specific issue which has been raised by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.

I wish to thank the committee for its diligence. I really value its work, and I appreciate its continued interest in the Fisheries Act.

On March 15--