House of Commons Hansard #102 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was change.

Topics

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Again, this is a debate. We are not dealing with points of order here and I stress that. The hon. member should put her question on the late show, as I have suggested to the member for Malpeque and have a more extended discussion about it.

When questions are asked and answers are given in question period, or replies are given, it is question period and not answer period, there is bound to be disagreement from time to time on what is said in either the question or in the answer. It is not for us to continue the debate after question period. This is unnecessary. It happens, in my view, with a little too much regularity these days. I prefer we move on to tabling of documents which is next.

Bill C-288—Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act
Points of Order
Oral Questions

12:10 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 do have a legitimate point of order with regard to Bill C-288, the Kyoto implementation bill.

In your ruling of September 27, 2006, you concluded that Bill C-288 did not require a royal recommendation. I would appreciate your consideration of two developments that have occurred since that ruling.

First, the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development amended Bill C-288. In particular, I would like to draw two of these amendments to your attention.

One amendment was to include the require in clause 5(1)(a)(iii.1) that the government report:

measures to provide for a just transition for workers affected by greenhouse gas emission reductions

The second amendment added a new requirement in clause 10 for the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy to undertake research, gather information and advise the minister on the new climate change plan required by the bill.

The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy is funded through government appropriations and reports to Parliament through the Minister of the Environment. While the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy does currently undertake research on the environment, the specific research this amendment requires is a new and distinct responsibility and as such would involve expenditures for a new and distinct purpose.

On May, 2005, the Acting Speaker ruled that expenditures for a new purpose require a royal recommendation:

—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.

The second development that I wish to draw to your attention is recent public comments made by the member for Honoré-Mercier that Bill C-288 would necessitate the spending of public funds.

In a CBC radio program on December 9, 2006, the member stated, “The bill forces the government to meet its Kyoto commitments”. When the member was asked to elaborate on the cost to meet the emission reduction targets in the Kyoto protocol, the member stated:

Even the worst case scenario, which would be to buy almost all the credits on the international level, is within the range of the cuts of the GST they made.

The 2006 federal budget estimates that the cost of reducing the GST from 7% to 6% will be in the $8.69 billion range over the next two years.

It seems to me that Bill C-288 has been written in a way that appears to avoid specifying a requirement for direct new government spending.

However, the member's recent media statement indicates his belief that the bill would result in a very large requirement for new government spending. To use the member's own example, this could involve costs of over $4 billion a year.

Since this new information has become available after your ruling on Bill C-288, I would request that you clarify your ruling on whether Bill C-288 obliges the government to spend additional public funds.

If the House agrees, I am prepared to table a copy of both the transcript of member's remarks in both official languages.

Bill C-288—Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act
Points of Order
Oral Questions

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have two different issues.

Bill C-288 does not propose spending. It proposes monitoring. That is the whole purpose of it. What the government does outside the bill to meet climate change is the government's business. The bill does not do more than simply say the government must have a plan for Kyoto and must tell how that plan works.

The second point is that the two amendments do not propose specific programming spending. Both amendments could be dealt with by reallocating funds within the relevant agencies, whether it is the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, which could reallocate within its spending package what it chose to do and drop something else. So could the worker adjustment funds. There is no specific spending proposal that cannot be met by reallocating funds within those two categories.

Therefore, I request that this be taken into consideration in making your decision, Sir.

Bill C-288—Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act
Points of Order
Oral Questions

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary's intervention at this point really does underscore the government's great fear with respect to climate change and the Kyoto protocol.

Even today in Paris the Minister of the Environment said that he was, as of today, surprised to learn that climate change occurs as a result of human activity. Maybe that surprise is the reason why, as President of the Treasury Board, he spent the last year cutting $5.6 billion in climate change programs, which goes directly to the issue of fiscal flexibility available to the government and the very point the parliamentary secretary made.

One of the ministers, in answer to a question today in question period, made the point that the government now has, as of the last two months, $2 billion in new money on the table with respect to climate change.

All of this reinforces the point just made by the member of my party who spoke before me, which is that indeed the flexibility exists.

There is nothing that has changed that would materially affect your previous ruling, Mr. Speaker, and the government in fact does have the resources available, and this bill does not call upon the government or require it to spend anything new. It is indeed a matter of reallocation, as you yourself found in your previous ruling.

Bill C-288—Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act
Points of Order
Oral Questions

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Wascana just underscores my point that this bill will obligate the government to spend new money. As you know and I know, this requires a royal recommendation.

I thank the member for Wascana for supporting my case.

Bill C-288—Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act
Points of Order
Oral Questions

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am not surprised at this new move by the government, which from the start has done everything in its power to kill this bill. It does not want to do anything to implement the Kyoto protocol or fight climate change.

I would like to point out that absolutely nothing has changed. We debated all this the last time around. You deliberated on this point and, in your wisdom, rendered an articulate, thoughtful ruling that a royal recommendation is not required.

My colleague is trying to distort what I said. But I stand by what I said: it is up to the Conservatives to decide that they want to do. They do not have to spend a cent. The bill says that there are measures to be taken, but it is up to them to decide. They can take action simply by making regulations if they want, which would cost absolutely nothing. None of the amendments changes anything in this respect. What I said on the radio the other day was that, if they wanted, they could purchase credits from other countries. There would be a cost associated with that, but it would be their choice. The bill does not force them to do so. The bill does not force the government to do anything. It can regulate, it can buy credits abroad, and it can set limits. There can also be credit trading. All that is possible. It may or may not cost money. The ultimate choice is up to the government, and only the government.

Bill C-288—Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act
Points of Order
Oral Questions

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to add that the member opposite just pointed out that it could or it may not, but the fact is that the member himself said that it could cause the spending of government funds, and on this side of the House, we follow the rules when it comes to spending taxpayers' dollars.

Bill C-288—Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act
Points of Order
Oral Questions

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. I think we have heard enough on this for now. I will take the matter under advisement. I want to thank all the members who have made submissions. Obviously in my view the ruling was correct, but I will examine the amendments and the arguments that have been made in respect to the amendments to the bill and get back to the House in due course.

I also note that this bill is up for debate today.

I will not likely make my ruling before the debate begins today, but another day. In that case, the vote will no doubt be delayed.

The hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier on another point of order.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, I raised a question yesterday and hoped that the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons could address this point of order.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, in one of her answers, cited a letter from a minister in the Government of Ontario. I feel that the Standing Orders of this House require that the letter be tabled here in this House.

Did the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons follow up on that request?

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

12:20 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, I was unaware of the request to table it, but I would be happy to pursue that.

Income Tax Act
Routine Proceedings

February 2nd, 2007 / 12:20 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I wish to table the draft legislative proposals to amend the Income Tax Act.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today to present the 30th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding membership of the committees of the House, and I should like to move concurrence at this time.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member for Cambridge have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

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