House of Commons Hansard #111 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was young.

Topics

Delegated Legislation
Orders of the Day

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Scarborough Southwest for his remarks. I agree with all that he has said. I want to point out that he has served on the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations for an uninterrupted 16 years. I do not know whether that is a record, but I challenge anyone to improve on it. It is certainly worth a medal.

In any event, today's matter is serious. The standing joint committee has done its work. It has found a regulation to be ultra vires, essentially illegal, and it did so for good reasons, as explained earlier. Simply stated, this House, Parliament, cannot let the public service create offences unless they have authority from Parliament to do so. Our citizens would not allow us to do this and would not want us to do this. This is the situation that has existed for historic reasons.

The fishery in Ontario and in other parts of Canada has relied on this infrastructure of enforcement, which, in the view of our committee, is not properly founded. The minister and the ministry have taken steps recently to correct that by passing legislation. In fact, the bill to correct this problem, as before the House now, has only one section in it and all it does is put into statute form what was in regulation, thereby correcting the problem the committee found.

What is not comprehensible to me is why, when the source of the problem is technical but real and the bill put forward by the minister and the ministry to correct it is technical but real, the House would not pass this bill on an expedited basis. It seems as though there are some members in the House who wish to debate the bill in a bit lengthier fashion in a way that would not allow quick passage. The net result of disallowing a regulation, which will happen within 30 days of the debate here today if we do not adopt the minister's motion, and of not getting a correcting bill in, is that the enforcement regime in the Ontario portion of the Canadian fishery would be put in jeopardy.

It is not like there cannot be terms and conditions attached to licences after this, but the enforcement regime, as it exists there now, is based on enforcement of terms and conditions of licences in an offence regime. I do not think that we in this House should be disallowing a regulation if it is going to give rise to that type of public interest problem. Only in extreme circumstances should we do that, where rights and liberties are clearly at risk.

In this case, although I stand firmly behind the report of the committee, as does my friend who spoke prior to me, and as other members of the committee would stand behind the report, we see the public interest reason in this case in referring that report back to the committee. That would have the effect of stopping the disallowance, or postponing it, I suppose, depending on what the committee chooses to do, but it would achieve the public interest objective in causing the government to fix the problem.

The fix is not in the report. The fix is in the statute, Bill C-52, which is before this House. I urge members opposite and those on this side of the House too, who may differ with me, to endorse quick passage of Bill C-52. That would solve the problem for the committee and solve the problem for the House. The government has already committed, prior to this, to undertake a comprehensive review of the Fisheries Act and its infrastructure.

I also endorse the comments of the member for Sackville--Eastern Shore on some of the bells and whistles attached to that public policy issue.

I also want to note the historic nature of the debate today. It is the first time in history that this House has debated the disallowance of a regulation under the terms in the Standing Orders and in the statute. I trust we will deal with it appropriately. I intend to support the motion, but I do not intend to put the file away forever. I am sure the minister will act in good faith to have that bill passed and I encourage members in the House to please consider that option.

Delegated Legislation
Orders of the Day

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise to debate Motion No. 15. I will begin by reminding my colleagues that it is Motion No. 15, not Bill C-52, that we are debating this afternoon.

We are debating the motion of the government that the resolution of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations revoking subsection 36(2) of the Ontario Fishery Regulations not be adopted.

That regulation simply states:

No holder of a commercial fishing licence shall violate any of the terms or conditions of the licence.

It seems to me that the question before us is pretty simple. Considering its legislative mandate, is the conclusion of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations right? The committee concluded that:

--this provision not only lacks legal authority, but trespasses unduly on rights and liberties and represents an unusual and unexpected use of the enabling authority.

The committee concluded that it should be revoked.

Is the committee's conclusion right? If the answer to that question is no, then we need to support the motion of the government. If the answer is yes, then we need to vote against the motion. I think that is the only question before us this afternoon. The question is not “is this regulation useful?” or “is this regulation helpful?” or even “does this regulation work?”

The question is also not the following: would there be any negative consequences without this regulation?

Those are the points made by both the Ontario government and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and even by some of my colleagues here. In fact, as has been quoted already, the Minister of Natural Resources from Ontario has written two passionate letters on the matter before us, one to the minister and one to Conservative members.

For example, he stated:

I am extremely concerned about the serious impacts on Ontario's ability to manage and ensure the conservation of fisheries should the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations table a Report of Disallowance regarding subsection 36(2) of the Ontario Fishery Regulations.

Without this provision, Ontario would literally have its hands tied with respect to enforcement of the commercial fishery.

It is entirely likely that a revocation of subsection 36(2) would result in chaos in the sector and threaten the sustainability of our fisheries resources.

These comments are interesting, even compelling, but with all due respect to the Ontario minister and to some of my colleagues here today, they are not answering the fundamental question before us, that is, is this regulation legal? His comments might be relevant to the debate on Bill C-52, but they are not relevant to the question before us.

Is the standing joint committee right when it says the following? It states:

--this provision not only lacks legal authority, but trespasses unduly on rights and liberties and represents an unusual and unexpected use of the enabling authority.

Is the committee right when it says it should be revoked?

Are the committee members right? Is this regulation legal or not? To answer that question, we need to briefly consider the mandate of the standing joint committee. It is covered in the Statutory Instruments Act in sections 19 and 19.1. Section 19 states that every statutory instrument:

--shall stand permanently referred to any Committee of the House of Commons, of the Senate or of both Houses of Parliament that may be established for the purpose of reviewing and scrutinizing statutory instruments.

Section 19.1 states that once this is done, when the committee reviews a regulation it can make a report to the Senate and the House of Commons “containing...a resolution that all or any portion of a regulation...be revoked”. That is why we are here today.

The Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations, which I also serve on, as well as serving on the fisheries and oceans committee, fleshes out that mandate a little more in its first report of October 21, 2004. It applies certain tests. The committee members are looking to see whether any regulation:

  1. is not authorized by the terms of the enabling legislation or has not complied with any condition set forth in the legislation;...

  2. imposes a fine, imprisonment or other penalty without express authority having been provided for in the enabling legislation;...

  3. trespasses unduly on rights and liberties;

  4. makes the rights and liberties of the person unduly dependent on administrative discretion or is not consistent with the rules of natural justice;...

  5. amounts to the exercise of a substantive legislative power properly the subject of direct parliamentary enactment;...

For almost all those criteria, the standing joint committee for years has felt that regulation 36(2) of the Ontario fishery regulations violates those criteria.

The terms or conditions of a licence is not a provision of the act or the regulation, so the violation of a term or condition does not constitute a contravention of the act. Therefore, the offence and punishment section of the Fisheries Act, section 78, does not apply.

But this provision was created with a view to making a contravention of terms and conditions a violation of the act. That is its whole reason for being there. The committee stated:

In effect, the purpose of this regulatory provision is to do indirectly what could not be done directly, namely to impose criminal liability for the breach of a term or condition of a licence.

It should seem clear to us that this is not authorized by the Fisheries Act. The committee stated:

The only purpose of section 36(2) of the Regulations is to make the non-observance of the terms and conditions of a licence, which are not legislative requirements, punishable as if they were.

Now whether we want it to be that way, the act does not allow it to be that way: “It is beyond dispute that Parliament must authorize regulations imposing sanctions or creating offences”.

The Fisheries Act does not. In fact, it does the opposite. It lists in the act those offences that are considered offences as set out in the act. The act also confers the power to make regulations providing for the suspension and cancellation of licences if someone violates the terms and conditions of a licence. That is the sanction the act currently allows the ministry to enforce.

The purpose of the regulation is to treat contraventions of licence conditions, which are administrative requirements, as if they were violations of legislative requirements. The clear and explicit enabling authority for such a provision cannot be found in the Fisheries Act in its current form.

Parliament is left with no alternative but to follow the advice of the standing joint committee and revoke this regulation. The government's motion that the standing joint committee's advice be rejected should be defeated.

Delegated Legislation
Orders of the Day

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will take just a moment to indicate first of all the work of the committee dealing with this matter, the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations, of which I am a member. I am very proud to serve on this committee. It is a new committee for me and it has been a most enlightening experience, as is this debate today, a very rare debate in the history of the life of Parliament, and one that is being held today for a very good reason.

I want to remind the members of the House and the public who may be somewhat confused by the technicality of the debate at present that there is a fundamental issue at stake here. It has to do with the primacy of Parliament. It has to do with the right of Parliament, through statutes, to ensure that the laws of the land are upheld.

In this case, we have had a blatant violation of the provisions of this House and the legislative process in terms of allowing for regulations to do that which must be done through statute. It is as simple as that. It is about violations of fishing licences that must be dealt with through laws, through the law of the land, not by regulations which are not under the direct purview of Parliament. Nor have they gone through the rigorous process that legislation has.

It is clear that the committee on the scrutiny of regulations has done its job. This matter could have been handled very quickly if all parties had agreed, with a unanimous voice, to Bill C-52. The matter would have been dealt with. Unfortunately, the Conservatives blocked it. We are now at a point where we must proceed to rethink the disallowance report with the hope that this matter can be dealt with as expeditiously as possible.

Delegated Legislation
Orders of the Day

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. It being 2 o'clock, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.

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

Delegated Legislation
Orders of the Day

1:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Delegated Legislation
Orders of the Day

1:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Delegated Legislation
Orders of the Day

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

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

Delegated Legislation
Orders of the Day

1:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Delegated Legislation
Orders of the Day

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Delegated Legislation
Orders of the Day

1:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Delegated Legislation
Orders of the Day

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Delegated Legislation
Orders of the Day

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Pursuant to Standing Order 126, the division stands deferred until later this day at the expiry of the time provided for the consideration of government orders.

Brampton Sports Hall of Fame
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame will add six new members this evening at its annual induction ceremonies at the Pearson Convention Centre.

In the builders category, Scott Abbott, for hockey, Bob Bartlett, for lacrosse, and Jim Miller will be inducted. In the athletes category, Patrick Husbands, for horse racing, Bill Swartz, for golf, and Gary Walker, for lacrosse, will have their pictures included on the Wall of Fame at the Brampton Centre for Sports and Entertainment.

Abbott is the founder-owner of the Brampton Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League. Bartlett has served as an executive member of the Excelsiors, while Miller was a founder of the Chinguacousy soccer club, now Brampton East.

Husbands, a jockey, has won the Queen's Plate, while Swartz captured the Canadian amateur golf crown in 1998. Walker has two Mann Cup championships.

My heartfelt congratulations go out to the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame's six new members.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

June 8th, 2005 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Dale Johnston Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, entering year three of the beef ban, Canadian cattle producers are struggling to survive. Consumers continue to support the beleaguered cattle industry, but its future rests with United States judges. Why? Because the Canadian government has not stepped up to open the key U.S. border or even stood up for our producers in the court proceedings.

The Conservative Party is standing up for Canadian cattle producers. Sixty-nine Conservative MPs and senators have applied for intervener status in the R-CALF and USDA court dispute. If R-CALF is successful in expanding its injunction to include boxed beef and other ruminant products in addition to live cattle under 30 months of age, the possibility of a complete collapse of our cattle industry becomes a reality.

Farmers and cattle producers are a resilient lot, but when they are in dire straits, they and all the communities that rely on their success should be able to count on their government to help them fight for their livelihoods.

Landscape Architecture
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to congratulate Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre in Stratton, Ontario, and architects Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who were recently recognized by the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects with a regional citation award.

These awards of excellence recognize and encourage excellence in all aspects of the landscape architecture profession. I recently had the opportunity to visit the centre with Chief Albert Hunter of the Rainy River First Nation and was truly impressed by this massive impressive collection of aboriginal history and the beautiful landscape.

Also known as Manitou Mounds, this place was at the centre of a continent-wide aboriginal trading network. Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung is sacred to the Ojibway and to other first peoples of North America, thus marking an enduring spirituality.

I ask all members to please join me in congratulating Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre on this prestigious award.