House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Automobile Industry
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is cold comfort for the families of the auto workers who are going to suffer from this inaction.

The Minister of Industry sits with the Minister of International Trade, the same minister who was a flip-flopping, floor-crossing minister. As a minister for the Liberal Party he promised an auto policy and never delivered it to the House, broken promise after broken promise that is costing Canadians jobs.

Today we saw 20% of Canada's workforce at DaimlerChrysler get laid off and fired. What I want to know is this. Why do the Minister of Industry and the Minister of International Trade want to finish the sector off? Why do they want to continue with the Korea trade pact that is going to kill this industry and ensure that we are not going to recover?

Automobile Industry
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, maybe the hon. member should check with his leader to ensure that they are on the same page when it comes to an automobile strategy.

The leader of that party was also the author of a 76-point green vision for Toronto when he promoted the idea of banning cars altogether in Toronto. In fact, his comprehensive car-free plan would have Torontonians now trading their cars for bicycles. This is a strategy for bicycles, not for the automobile sector.

National Defence
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence knows a lot about hypocrisy and I say to him that if my question is not for him, then stand down, general. My question is for the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

If he cannot remember what he promised the people of 5 Wing Goose Bay, I can send him a DVD. He promised a UAV squadron and a rapid reaction battalion for Goose Bay, perhaps the same battalion of rapid reaction he wanted to send to five other places across Canada.

I ask the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development who is now in charge of defending the north, will he honour the Goose Bay commitments made by his absent-minded colleague in the Department of National Defence?

National Defence
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

National Defence
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. We will have some order. The Minister of National Defence now has the floor. We will have order please.

National Defence
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we will meet our commitments to the north. We will meet our commitments to Goose Bay, unlike the previous government which was planning to cut Goose Bay and eliminate all the jobs.

Senate Tenure Legislation
Oral Questions

February 14th, 2007 / 3 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Batters Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are wondering who is leading the Liberal Party of Canada. There are persistent questions about the capabilities of the Liberal leader. We have seen him bow to the wishes of the extreme wing of his party and flip-flop on the Anti-terrorism Act.

We have seen him confused about why he sent soldiers to Afghanistan and every day we see his Senate colleagues ignore his will on the bill to limit senators' terms.

Could the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform update the House on the progress of this simple 66 word Senate reform bill?

Senate Tenure Legislation
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, it appears that the Liberal Party is more leaderless today than when it did not have a leader. The member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville says that he supports term limits for senators but he cannot get his own party to follow. Today marks the 260th day that the unelected and unaccountable Liberal senators continue their obstruction of the bill limiting senators' terms.

The fact is that every day the Senate sits, which by the way is three days a week, the bill comes up for debate and every single day the Liberal Party votes to adjourn debate. Canadians want their Parliament to function. The Liberal leader should call on his senators to stop their obstruction and get back to work.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, following consultations with colleagues from all political parties, I think you will find unanimous consent of the House for the following motion:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should designate August 23 as International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie have the unanimous consent of the House to move this motion?

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The House has heard the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act—Speaker's Ruling
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Last night, just before debate on private members’ business began, the hon. government House leader raised a point of order relating to Bill C-288, the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, standing in the name of the hon. member for Honoré-Mercier.

The House will recall that on Friday, February 9, 2007, debate on Bill C-288 was completed and divisions on the report stage of the bill deferred to February 14, 2007. Because of this, I felt obliged to point out to the hon. government House leader that his intervention came very late although I proceeded to listen to his argument in case he had new light to shed on the bill.

After his intervention, the hon. members for Wascana, Scarborough—Rouge River and Honoré-Mercier offered their views.

I have now carefully reviewed the comments made by the hon. government House leader and I confess that I find them somewhat troubling, for the hon. minister presents no new arguments, but instead comes perilously close to an appeal of the Chair's decisions, an appeal specifically prohibited by Standing Order 10.

Despite two rulings from the Chair to the contrary, the crux of the argument presented by the hon. government House leader is that Bill C-288 does require a royal recommendation because the course of action it puts forward would require the expenditure of government funds.

This is substantially the same argument so ably presented by the minister's predecessor on June 16, 2006. It was not persuasive then and is no more persuasive now.

With respect, I would refer the hon. government House leader to Debates for September 27, 2006, at pages 3314 and 3315 where I ruled on the original point of order raised on June 16. Since this latest intervention provided no new insights, let me simply quote from that decision. Referring back to an earlier decision on a similar case, I said:

the Chair--in the case of Bill C-292, an act to implement the Kelowna Accord--made a distinction between a bill asking the House to approve certain objectives and a bill asking the House to approve the measures to achieve certain objectives. So too in the case before us--[Bill C-288]--the adoption of a bill calling on the government to implement the Kyoto protocol might place an obligation on the government to take measures necessary to meet the goals set out in the protocol but the Chair cannot speculate on what those measures may be. If spending is required, as the government House leader contends, then a specific request for public moneys would need to be brought forward by means of an appropriation bill or through another legislative initiative containing an authorization for the spending of public money for a specific purpose.

As it stands, Bill C-288 does not contain provisions which specifically authorize any spending for a distinct purpose relating to the Kyoto protocol. Rather, the bill seeks the approval of Parliament for the government to implement the protocol. If such approval is given, then the government would decide on the measures it wished to take. This might involve an appropriation bill or another bill proposing specific spending, either of which would require a royal recommendation.

As Bill C-288 stands however, the Chair must conclude that the bill does not require a royal recommendation and may proceed.

This first ruling on the bill seems quite clear. The House will also recall that on February 2, 2007, a point of order was raised by the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader to the effect that amendments to this bill reported by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on December 8, 2006 required a royal recommendation and some hon. members commented on his intervention. That exchange is captured at pages 6341 and 6342 of the Debates. It too concludes that the bill does not require a royal recommendation and I would commend it to the attention of all hon. members. In short, the Chair has not been presented with any precedents that would reverse the views it expressed earlier.

I can appreciate that the hon. government House leader is frustrated by the prospect of what he calls a bad law being enacted and by the constitutional difficulties that he foresees, but these are not matters within the Speaker's purview. The Chair's powers are limited to interpreting matters of parliamentary procedure, not matters of law, nor matters of public policy.

Bill C-288 seeks to ensure Canada meets its global climate change obligations under the Kyoto protocol ratified by Canada on December 17, 2002, but the bill contains no provisions authorizing spending to that end. Therefore, there is simply no procedural impediment to the bill proceeding further or to the House pronouncing itself on report stage and third reading.

Let me just say in conclusion that, as your Speaker, I take very seriously indeed the responsibility to interpret the procedures and practices of this House in specific cases, particularly where the prerogatives of the Crown may be at issue and particularly in controversial cases such as this one where parties are deeply divided as to the right course of action.

The House's new rules on private members' business bring out in full relief the Chair's role and responsibility in these matters. I believe that a careful reading of my rulings on such cases, including the two rulings already rendered on Bill C-288, reveals them to lie squarely within the traditions of this place. I thank hon. members for their attention.