House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was organized.

Topics

Chuck Cadman
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the course of our duties, we often have opportunities to meet outstanding personalities, such as party leaders, heads of state, heads of government and ministers. But some of the outstanding people we meet do not often make the headlines. For me, one of those people is Chuck Cadman.

I had the opportunity and honour to work with Chuck Cadman for many years on the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Although we often had different opinions, we always had great respect for each other because Chuck was very human, a man who knew how to listen, a humble man, a man who was anything but an ideologue.

I will also remember with a smile—and I think that the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development will too—spending part of a night with Chuck Cadman in Saskatchewan when our bus had gone off the road during a snow storm. We had an opportunity then to discuss various matters. We also had a chance to get to know each other—a chance that we do not always have, unfortunately, in carrying out our jobs because we are pushed and pulled by various commitments.

As we know, Chuck Cadman entered public life as a result of a tragedy he had experienced, the loss of his son in 1992. No parent should ever have to bury his or her child. He channelled his pain and anger into a public career, which, in my view, was outstanding. He made himself the defender of victims' rights. He made himself the advocate of radical change in the justice system. I think that he left his mark on a number of his colleagues in the House.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to offer our condolences to his wife, his family, his community and his riding. We will all miss him.

Chuck Cadman
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with the deepest respect that I rise today to join all the members of this House in honouring the memory of our colleague from Surrey North. I thank the members who have spoken before me, particularly for their personal reflections and the light they have shed on this wonderful life.

For many Canadians, Chuck Cadman is best known as the MP who, with the eyes of the whole nation upon him, voted to keep us all here doing the jobs Canadians sent us to do. I had the pleasure of shaking hands with him on the night of that vote, and in that moment, with that glimmer in his eye and a mischievous grin on his face, it was confirmed for me that Chuck Cadman was not just an independent member of Parliament but truly an independent spirit.

He knew what he stood for and he stood up for what he believed in, not just on that night but in everything he did.

Even when he was first elected, Chuck remained impartial. He was here to fight for change, for results. He was prepared to work with all the parties to ensure that other families would not have to endure the pain and suffering that his family went through when his son Jesse died.

He was a legendary advocate for victims' rights. He counselled, with support and understanding, the families of victims. He brought their grief, their loss and their demands for change to this place. His life was a testament to how tragedy can spur work for positive change.

I was in Surrey on the day Chuck Cadman lost his battle with cancer. On the faces in the coffee shops and in the voices of those with whom I was able to speak on the streets, there was a deep sense of loss for the MP they simply knew as “Chuck”.

All of us in this House have been drawn to politics for various reasons. The reasons that prompted Chuck Cadman to come here were tragically beyond his control.

But come here he did. In the time he was here, in the time we had to know him, he reminded all of us of a sense of purpose, to give voice to the voiceless, to protect those who cannot protect themselves, and to do this with a sense of humility that befits the great responsibility of having the two letters MP follow one's name.

On behalf of New Democrats, I thank his wife Dona and his daughter Jodi for sharing him with us.

Chuck Cadman
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I invite all hon. members to stand to observe a moment of silence in honour of our dear colleague, Chuck Cadman.

Chuck Cadman
Oral Questions

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The Chair has notice of a question of privilege from the hon. member for Delta--Richmond East and I propose to hear his question of privilege now.

Privilege
Oral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

John Cummins Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a question of privilege in regard to a very grave matter relating to information that I requested through a written question in Parliament, placed on the Order Paper as Question No. 151.

On May 17, I used the Order Paper to ask what actions CMHC and the National Research Council had taken with regard to devastating building failures in British Columbia once they had learned of the problem. Part (a) simply asked: “Did Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation management consider this wet wall syndrome in 1981, and if so, what action was taken?”

All 20 or so parts of the question go in a similar vein. This is hardly scary stuff.

This detailed question is about a B.C. problem of massive proportions involving tens of thousands of homeowners, one that the premier of British Columbia, now the member for Vancouver South, in 2001 described as a west coast disaster when he asked the Prime Minister for immediate assistance for affected homeowners.

On Monday the ministers for CMHC and the National Research Council replied that they were unable to respond to my question as the matters raised are before the courts of British Columbia.

I am aware that Speakers normally do not get involved in the quality of answers to written questions, however, on December 16, 1980, at page 5797 of Hansard , the Speaker ruled:

While it is correct to say that the government is not required by our rules to answer written or oral questions, it would be bold to suggest that no circumstances could ever exist for a prima facie question of privilege to be made where there was a deliberate attempt to deny answers to an hon. member.

This ruling would be in keeping with Erskine May's definition of contempt, described as:

--any act or omission which obstructs or impedes either House of Parliament in the performance of its functions, or which obstructs or impedes any Member or officer of such House in the discharge of his duty, or which has a tendency, directly or indirectly, to produce such results may be treated as contempt even though there is no precedent for the offence.

The privilege of Parliament is founded on the necessity for the due execution of its powers. Necessity is the basis for any claim that an event was part of a proceeding in Parliament. As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, procedural authorities support the claim that a proceeding in Parliament covers both the asking of a question and the written notice of a question through the Order Paper.

I have thousands of constituents who have invested their life savings in homes that now require major repairs.

My question to the government was based on documents that CMHC provided under the Access to Information Act. The documents were prepared in the early eighties when CMHC became aware of the looming disaster but were not prepared as part of any possible court action today.

My question to the CMHC and NRC ministers was based upon the government's own documents. These documents may explain why the government now wants to avoid answering and why it pretends it is unable to answer. The CMHC documents state:

A link, real or imagined, may be made between government programs to encourage energy conservation and moisture related problems.... This linking may focus critical attention on the Corporation and could lead to a perception of responsibility.

There is potential for a drain on the Mortgage Insurance Fund as homeowners find the cost of repairs to deteriorating houses approaching the value of their equity.

Being aware of the problem, CMHC could be delinquent in not bringing appropriate aspects of it to the attention of others. The Department of Energy, Mines & Resources are promoting...programs [that] could lead to the promotion of structural deterioration. Enforcement of the provisions of the National Energy Program...could promote a further spread of the problem....

My question to you today, Mr. Speaker, relates to my work as a member of Parliament for Delta--Richmond East. The government is withholding information necessary to my parliamentary duties. The government is attempting to hide the failures of CMHC and NRC by claiming the issue is before the courts. The government is misleading the House when it claims that telling the truth about the actions of CMHC in 1981 would undermine its case in court.

That the Minister of Industry, the minister responsible for the NRC, claims that he is unable to answer the question is outrageous nonsense and is clearly an attempt to stonewall.

Members of Parliament deserve better. The House deserves the truth. It has been misled.

As members of Parliament, it is our duty to scrutinize the government and to hold it to account. It is our duty to ask questions. A written question on the Order Paper is one of those tools we as members use to seek information from the government. A written question on the Order Paper is part of our rules and is considered a proceeding of Parliament commanding respect from ministers and necessitating protection by the House.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that you allow me to move the appropriate motion to secure that protection and bring swift resolution to this matter.

Privilege
Oral Questions

3:25 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, you know and I hope all members know that the government takes written questions very seriously. We endeavour to provide fulsome and complete answers quickly.

Mr. Speaker, in terms of strict parliamentary responsibility, you are also aware of the government's obligation to respond to written or oral questions. You will want to think about that when you decide how to deal with this matter. If you are inclined to rule in a certain way, perhaps you could give us a day or two to get back to the House with a more formal response to the question of privilege raised by the hon. member.

I understand this matter refers to court proceedings, matters which may be before the courts at this time. For that reason, everyone will appreciate the government's hesitancy to respond to matters that are in fact at this time before the courts.

Privilege
Oral Questions

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Without in any way adjudicating on the matter at this point in time, I would urge the parliamentary secretary to review the comments of the hon. member for Delta—Richmond East, as I will. If there is some substantive material that he wants to bring to the attention of the Speaker before a decision is rendered, naturally I would be quite interested in hearing it.

The member for Delta—Richmond East has raised a serious question which I will take under advisement. I will await news from the parliamentary secretary as to whether he is going to have further submissions before I render a decision on the point, which I hope will happen reasonably soon.

Point of Order
Oral Questions

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

I rise on a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wanted to interrupt while my hon. colleague from Delta—Richmond East was putting his question of privilege, and I apologize for that. But at the same time, the Minister for Citizenship and Immigration, who is seated in the front row, was carrying on a long conversation on his cell phone. I find that unfortunate. A page supervisor walked up to him to notify him, as it looked like he was going to be on the phone for a while.

Mr. Speaker, would you please advise the House as to whether the use of cell phones is still not permitted in this chamber?

Point of Order
Oral Questions

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, collectively we know the rule is that no cell phones are to be used in the House and we take this rule very seriously, although I would say that I think from time to time members from every party have used cell phones and pushed the flexibility of that point. I certainly take this criticism very seriously and I will endeavour to make sure the members of the government adhere to the rule of no cell phones in the House.

Point of Order
Oral Questions

3:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the chief government whip for her comments.

I appreciate the point of order raised by the hon. member for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord. I trust that all members will observe the rules of the House in this respect.

The use of cell phones is not supposed to happen on the floor and that does include behind the curtains. I have had occasion to chastise hon. members for making this error even behind the curtains. They are supposed to go to the lobby to use these things. I would urge all hon. members to cooperate. It helps to maintain order in the chamber if we observe the rules, including that one, although not all the rules are observed all of the time.

Aeronautics Act
Routine Proceedings

September 28th, 2005 / 3:30 p.m.

Mount Royal
Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler for the Minister of Transport

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-62, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that this bill and another bill I will be introducing today are intended to reflect and represent the late hon. member Chuck Cadman's commitment to street safety and to the rights of victims. They are a tribute to his legacy.

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

Canada Elections Act
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier
Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Minister of Internal Trade and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-63, an act to amend an act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act.

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

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Mount Royal
Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-64, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (vehicle identification number).

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

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Mount Royal
Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-65, an act to amend the Criminal Code (street racing) and to make a consequential amendment to another act.

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

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

moved that Bill S-19, an act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal interest rate), be read the first time.

(Motion deemed adopted and bill read the first time)