House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was companies.

Topics

Falun Gong
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present two petitions. The first petition is signed by Canadians within my riding who believe that there are atrocities being committed against members of Falun Gong and urge the government to take all measures to put an end to that.

Age of Consent
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by hundreds of people in my constituency who believe that the government should immediately raise the age of consent from 14 to 16 years of age.

Age of Consent
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a petition from my constituents that calls upon the House to make the protection of our children from sexual predators a high priority and for the government to take all measures necessary to immediately raise the age of consent from 14 to 16 years of age.

Age of Consent
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today signed by the constituents of Westlock—St. Paul who support an immediate increase in the age of consent from 14 to 16 years of age.

The petitioners feel that children under the age of 16 are the most vulnerable members of our society and that they need continual support against sexual exploitation. They therefore call upon all members of Parliament to enact the full protection of law by raising the age of consent.

Middle East
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 and on behalf of the constituents of Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, I am presenting a petition concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Canadian financial aide to the Palestinian Authority.

Age of Consent
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a second petition on behalf of my constituents of Hamilton East—Stoney Creek. The petition is in regard to the changing of the age of consent.

Age of Consent
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I present a petition on behalf of many residents of Kent County, New Brunswick, in my constituency, and from others parts, such as the Miramichi and great places like Shediac.

The petitioners ask Parliament to immediately take all measures necessary to raise of the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16 years of age.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

September 25th, 2006 / 3:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

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

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Private Members' Bill C-292--Speaker's Ruling
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The Chair is now prepared to rule on the points of order raised by the government House leader and the hon. member for Wascana on June 1, 2006 in relation to Bill C-292, An Act to implement the Kelowna Accord.

At the outset, I wish to thank both hon. members for having raised their concerns early in the legislative process for, in so doing, they have afforded all members an opportunity to become better acquainted with this initiative and its procedural implications.

I also wish to thank the government House leader and the hon. member for Wascana for tabling the Kelowna accord, thus adding to the material available to me in preparing this ruling.

The Chair has also noted that the hon. member for Wascana has explained that, in November 2005, as the then minister of finance, he had made provision in the fiscal framework for the implementation of the Kelowna accord. That said, I must make it clear that while the machinery of government could not operate without such planning, it is irrelevant to the question before the Chair.

Hon. members will know that, as Speaker, I can only address procedural issues and that these issues are separate and distinct from fiscal management issues.

The Chair must judge, not whether funds were set aside to meet the government's obligations, but rather whether this specific private member's initiative, Bill C-292, seeks authorization to spend funds. In other words, does Bill C-292 actually propose to spend public funds for a distinct purpose?

The contentious section is in clause 2 of the bill, which reads as follows:

The Government of Canada shall immediately take all measures necessary to implement the terms of the accord, known as the “Kelowna Accord”, that was concluded on November 25, 2005 at Kelowna, British Columbia, by the Prime Minister of Canada, the first ministers of each of the provinces and territories of Canada and the leaders of the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Metis National Council, the Native Womens’ Association of Canada and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.

The Chair must decide whether clause 2 is a provision that contains a clear authorization for funds to be drawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for a distinct purpose. If clause 2 does seek such authorization, then I must be guided by House of Commons Procedure and Practice, which explains on page 709:

Under the Canadian system of government, the Crown alone initiates all public expenditure and Parliament may only authorize spending which has been recommended by the Governor General.

In other words, the bill would require a royal recommendation.

As I stated in a decision on March 21, 2005, at page 4373 of the Debates:

--a bill effecting an appropriation of public funds or an equivalent authorization to spend public funds does so immediately upon enactment. Once Parliament approves a bill that requires a royal recommendation, there should be nothing further required to make the appropriation.

So, in the case before us, we need to ask what specific spending is contemplated?

Bill C-292 in clause 2 does state that the government shall “take all measures necessary to implement the terms of the accord”, but it does not provide specific details on those measures. The measures simply are not described. In the absence of such a description, it is impossible for the Chair to say that the bill requires a royal recommendation.

This conclusion may seem somewhat surprising and may well lead members back to a question raised earlier by the government House leader: namely, if Bill C-292 does not require a royal recommendation and the bill were to pass, what would be the obligations of the government in terms of implementing the Kelowna accord?

As I read it, the Kelowna accord tabled in the House sheds light on the plan of action, but it is not clear whether the accord could be implemented through an appropriation act, through amendments to existing acts, or through the establishment of new acts. From my reading, implementation would appear to require various legislative proposals.

In any event though, this is more of a legal question than a procedural one. The government House leader's legal advisors are best placed to reply to that question. As my predecessors and I have said on many occasions, the Speaker does not rule on matters of law. When, or perhaps if, enabling legislation comes forward, the Chair will, as usual, be vigilant in assessing the need for a royal recommendation.

In summary then, Bill C-292 can continue through the legislative process and the Chair can put the question at third reading since this bill does not require a royal recommendation.

I thank the House for its patience in allowing me to review this rather complex matter.

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

When this bill was last before the House, the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster had the floor. There are three minutes in the time allotted remaining in his remarks.

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, three minutes is not a lot of time. I have reviewed the botched legislation, Bill C-24, and the mistakes that the government has made on that bill.

I would like to come back to the principle of the softwood sellout itself. Then, before I sit down, I will be offering an amendment to the amendment offered by the member for Beauséjour.

The following issues are issues that are addressed in the softwood selloff. First, and this is one of the dozens of reasons why members of this House should be voting against it, it is based on the falsehood that Canadian softwood lumber is subsidized. We are erasing four and a half years of legal victories. If we enact this legislation, any industry, not only our softwood industry, will have to start over to re-establish that jurisprudence.

The Americans are able through this mechanism to erase all of our legal victories when we are two legal hurdles short of winning a final and complete victory that establishes the jurisprudence. The sellout gives away $500 million to the American coalition. It has already indicated it is going to use that legally to attack us again. It was dry. It had no money left. It could not continue litigation, despite the government's incredibly absurd protestations to the contrary. Now we are giving them half a billion bucks to come at us again. We might as well have a “kick me” sign on the back of every single Conservative MP who votes for this. It is absolutely absurd.

Through this sellout, we are giving $450 million to the Bush administration. Through testimony this summer we found out this is unprecedented since the Richard Nixon committee to re-elect the president that the White House has had $450 million to dispense to grease the political wheels of the Republican Party. Obviously, that does not concern Conservative MPs. It does concern Canadians. This sellout can be cancelled at any time. The Americans can keep the billion dollars and run.

As we have pointed out consistently throughout the summer, clause 34 allows the Americans simply to allege non-compliance by Canada and cancel at any time. I could go on and on.

The principle is not only are we selling out our softwood industry but we are selling out any other Canadian industry that wants to use dispute settlement. The Americans clearly, two weeks ago, signalled that they are coming at us. They see that big “kick me” sign on the back of Conservative MPs and they have said they are going to appeal the notorious Byrd amendment. They are going to appeal it because this government has shown such incredible weakness.

I will move the subamendment. I move:

And that the amendment be amended by adding immediately after the end of the amendment:

specifically because it fails to immediately provide loan guarantees to softwood companies, because it fails to unsuspend outstanding litigation which is almost concluded and which Canada stands to win, and because it punishes companies by imposing questionable double taxation, a provision which was not in the agreement signed by the Minister of International Trade.

We will continue to fight this because this is bad for Canada, and this is bad for softwood and any other industry.

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The debate is on the amendment to the amendment. Questions and comments.