House of Commons Hansard #148 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senators.

Topics

Senate Appointment Consultations Act
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not like to speculate in this place, but I will use accountability, for an example.

It is something that should have been passed. We all want accountability, at least one would think that we all would in the House. A very simple act should have taken no time at all. While I forget the exact amount of time, it was almost an embarrassment to that great institution over there how it was dragged and drawn out. I do not know whether that is the reason they do not want to see, as long as we are in government, things improve over there. I have no idea.

I know previously a colleague from British Columbia over there talked about the leadership. I know my colleague from Selkirk—Interlake and I are proud to stand behind our leader. I am sure that hon. colleague from British Columbia wishes he was still over here.

Senate Appointment Consultations Act
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Miramichi has the floor for 10 minutes, of which half will be today, and he will be interrupted at 6:30 p.m..

Senate Appointment Consultations Act
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is certainly interesting to hear what is projected for the House with this bill. I know Conservative Party members have problems because when they established themselves as the new Conservative Party, even within the Senate, some Progressive Conservative senators did not want to join the new establishment. So even within the Senate itself I know they perceive some problems with who they think supports them in the Senate.

I am a member from New Brunswick, a region of Canada which has 10 senators. We have to look back at the Constitution of this country whereby Atlantic Canada, the maritime provinces were provided with 24 senators, in other words at that time one-quarter of the Canadian Senate. Over the last 140 years numerous changes have occurred within Canada. We hear people speak about the need to make some changes to the Senate, but I have always been proud of the Senate. In fact when I went home this past weekend I heard as many people criticize this House as I went around the streets of my constituency as I did those who might want to criticize the Senate.

When we look at bills like this and the accountability bill that is tied in with this one, we have to wonder how accountable we are to the people of Canada when we spend the whole day talking about Bill C-43. It is 51 pages long and my impression is that I am disappointed if our justice department wrote this piece of legislation. If the justice department did write it, there certainly must have been a lot of instructions from somebody who had some very different ideas on how the future of our Senate should be determined.

The House of Lords in Britain at the present time is undergoing some changes. Certain restrictions are being placed upon the future of that house. Who should be members of the House of Lords in the future is a matter of great debate within the British parliament .

Two houses are part of our federal system. Each house reflects different ideas, different backgrounds, different concerns. When I heard today about setting up a consultation process, it is simply an attempt by the Prime Minister and the Conservative government to get around what really should be the Constitution of our country. They want to rely on a complicated system of people in an election giving preferences and a long list of who might be a senator in that particular province or region.

I have not heard, for example, a comparison to the United States Senate where each state has two senators. We should look at the costs of running for the U.S. Senate and what the people of Canada might spend on getting a consultation process that might be used for the Prime Minister to appoint somebody to the Senate.

We had a recent debate on justice and the appointments to the judicial system. Will the next step be to have elections of judges as they have in some countries, in fact in parts of the United States? Maybe that is the next step the government is considering.

In my own province recently, talking about the concept of offering party followers some of these appointments, we have had three judicial appointments recently. One was a former leader of the Conservative Party in New Brunswick. Another was the chief organizer for the government and that party in the last federal election. The third one has very close ties to a former member of Parliament.

Senate Appointment Consultations Act
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

These are qualified people.

Senate Appointment Consultations Act
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Miramichi, NB

I wonder where we are coming from in terms of openness, in terms of providing a better government for this country.

Mr. Speaker, I see I have roused a little bit of concern on the other side when I bring those points forward. I think I may have to stop because someone's jacket is on the floor, who is going to step on it? Back home when people talk tough talk like that, they throw their coat on the floor and someone jumps on it.

Senate Appointment Consultations Act
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

That is so low. These are qualified people. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Senate Appointment Consultations Act
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Miramichi, NB

But these Irish. I have Irish friends and they always attempt to show their real strength.

I am sorry if the hon. member wants to interrupt me on something different.

Senate Appointment Consultations Act
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Whitby—Oshawa, ON

Shame.

Senate Appointment Consultations Act
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is a shame when the Minister of Finance wants to interrupt somebody on a different issue from what I was talking about. It is a shame. He should apologize to the hon. member from Nova Scotia and not try to disrupt this House.

The House resumed from May 3, consideration of Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum penalties for offences involving firearms) and to make a consequential amendment to another Act, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

It being 6:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division at report stage of Bill C-10.

Call in the members.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The question is on Motion No. 1. The recorded division will also apply to Motions Nos. 2 and 17 to 20.

(The House divided on Motion No. 1, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #172

Criminal Code
Government Orders

7 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I declare Motion No. 1 carried.

I therefore declare Motions Nos. 2 and 17 to 20 carried.

The next question is on the amendment to Motion No. 3.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

7 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, if you were to seek it I think you might find unanimous consent to apply the results of the vote just taken to all the remaining motions dealing with amendments to Bill C-10.