House of Commons Hansard #58 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Louis-Hébert, QC

I understand why the Bloc Québécois members might be a bit embarrassed after working here for 18 years.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

It is too bad, but if the House does not grant unanimous consent, that is the end of that request.

National Defence Act
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-45, An Act to amend the National Defence Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

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

Canadian Wheat Board Act
Routine Proceedings

March 3rd, 2008 / 3:10 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Canadian Wheat Board Act and chapter 17 of the Statutes of Canada, 1998.

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

Canadian Wheat Board Act
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. You accepted the introduction of a government bill to amend the Canadian Wheat Board Act that is clearly illegal. We know that the minister, in an answer during question period, said that he was going to do this, but section 47.1 of the Canadian Wheat Board Act is very clear in terms of what is required prior to a bill being brought into the House by the government.

The section is unique. It says that the minister cannot do what he is trying to do, that is, introduce legislation to diminish the Canadian Wheat Board single desk unless and until two conditions are fulfilled.

First, the minister must consult the Canadian Wheat Board's board of directors. The directors say that has not happened and they said that as recently as Saturday.

Second, the minister must hold vote among prairie grain producers about the specific legislative change the minister wants to propose. That vote has not happened.

The minister cannot say that his barley vote of a year ago satisfies that requirement. There was no voters list. There was only a fraction of eligible producers who voted. The ballots were marked and traceable. Three general options were raised and they were counted as only two.

More importantly, their questions might have been a multiple choice survey of general marketing philosophy, but they were most definitely not the specific and focused questions required by section 47.1 of the Canadian Wheat Board Act.

If the minister is allowed to introduce this barley bill, he will break the law. The act is clear. The Speaker must be satisfied, it seems to me, that section 47.1 has been fulfilled before this bill can be legally introduced. Again I say, the act is very clear. The minister therefore should not be allowed to proceed at this time, because in doing so he is breaking the very law that he took an oath of office to uphold.

Canadian Wheat Board Act
Routine Proceedings

3:15 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 admire the member for Malpeque's very enthusiastic critique of a bill that he has not even read yet, because of course it has only now just been introduced. I invite him to actually review the bill at some point. Then he could actually make some representations with some basis of knowledge, but that is nothing new from over there.

The reality is that the two points he raised about consultation were then refuted by his very own arguments. He said there was no consultation and then went on to explain at length the consultation that took place and why he did not like the consultation that took place. Clearly the necessary conditions have been satisfied. In both cases, the consultations that were required took place. As to whether or not he likes the form the consultations took or the outcome the consultations had, that is not the question. The fact is that the statute has been complied with in every way. The bill is in order and we would ask that it be allowed to proceed.

If the Speaker is not fully satisfied and wishes to have detailed submissions provided on the nature and the quality of the consultations that occurred, in order to satisfy the statute, we would be happy to provide that to you at a later date, Mr. Speaker. However, I really think that on its face that is not necessary.

Canadian Wheat Board Act
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The Chair will take the matter under advisement. Normally questions of law are not matters for the Chair to decide. The arguments by the hon. member for Malpeque, at first glance to me at this moment, appear to be arguments as to legal obligations that the minister may or may not have. I have not looked at the law. I have not seen the bill. Until we see it, I cannot say whether the bill complies with the law. Who knows, it may have a provision in it that repeals the previous law. I have no idea.

I think we will need to have a look at this before we can proceed, but in the meantime I believe the bill now has been read the first time and ordered to be printed.

When shall the bill be read a second time? At the next sitting of the House.

I hope before it is called for debate at second reading, I will have had a chance to review the necessary provisions in the law.

Employment Insurance Act
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-518, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (compassionate care benefits for dependent children).

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to introduce my private member's bill to amend the Employment Insurance Act with respect to benefits for the care of dependent children.

As we all know, being sick is hard, but being the parent of a very sick child is even harder. When a child gets sick and needs serious treatment, it is unthinkable for the parents not to be with their child. Sadly, the Employment Insurance Act shows little compassion in this regard.

People should not be punished for the fact that specialized hospitals for children are often located outside of their region. Today, parents who want to be with their sick child in the hospital must voluntarily leave their jobs and are disqualified from receiving employment insurance. My bill would resolve this senseless situation and make parents eligible for 15 weeks of employment insurance so they can be with their child in a specialized hospital.

The employment insurance program must adapt to today's realities, and that is the goal of my bill.

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

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Batters Palliser, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-519, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (bail for serious personal injury offence).

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present my private member's bill entitled, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (bail for serious personal injury offence). I will refer to this bill as Michelle's law.

The bill was inspired by the terrible circumstances surrounding the murder of Michelle Lenius in 2003. Michelle was my friend and my wife's friend and co-worker. Michelle's ex-husband was convicted of her murder. Unfortunately, this man should not have been out on bail when he killed Michelle. This tragic case was one of the main reasons I entered federal politics.

The passage of this bill would give our hard-working Crown prosecutors another tool to help them in their difficult jobs. This bill would provide that for those accused of a serious personal injury offence in the Criminal Code, before a judge rules on that person's release, the Crown prosecutor shall present the judge with the prosecution's evidence relevant to the release of the accused.

I ask all members to support Michelle's law.

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

Income Tax Act
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

John Cummins Delta—Richmond East, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-520, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (Home Buyers' Plan).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to speak to my bill, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (Home Buyers' Plan) This bill would amend the Income Tax Act to increase the home buyers' plan loan limit from $20,000 to $25,000.

The home buyers' plan currently allows individuals to borrow up to $20,000 from their RRSPs to purchase their first home. Home prices are substantially higher today than when the $20,000 limit was put in place in 1992. The home buyers' plan is the only mortgage program that focuses on first-time home buyers. The increase in the loan limit to $25,000 would help first-time home buyers in every region of the country.

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

Employment Insurance Surplus Transfer Act
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-521, An Act to provide for the transfer of the surplus in the Employment Insurance Account.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table in the House a private members' bill.

In his budget presentation on February 26, 2008, the Minister of Finance referred to the creation of the Canada employment insurance financing board, which is to be an independent Crown corporation responsible for implementing a new mechanism for setting employment insurance premium rates and for maintaining a cash reserve provided by the government.

The purpose of this bill is to have the government return to the employment insurance fund, which is to become independent, the $54 billion it has taken out over the past 18 years or so, since 1990.

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

Passport Office
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Diane Marleau Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, I present a petition today containing thousands of signatures from the people of Sudbury asking that the government open a passport issuing office in Sudbury. In all of northeastern Ontario there is not one issuing office. For people to have access to emergency passport services, they sometimes must drive 10 hours or 15 hours. The closest issuing offices are in Toronto and Ottawa.

The people of Sudbury, the people of northeastern Ontario deserve a passport issuing office. These signatures will continue to come.

Unborn Victims of Crime
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today from my constituents of Okanagan—Shuswap.

The petitioners point out that in current federal criminal law an unborn child is not recognized as a victim with respect to violent crimes and that when a pregnant woman is assaulted or killed, no legal protection is offered for unborn children and no charge can be laid.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to enact legislation to recognize unborn children as separate victims when they are injured or killed during the commission of an offence against their mothers, allowing two charges to be laid against the offender instead of one.

Darfur
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a number of petitions today.

The first petition has over 125 signatures and comes from Stanley Humphries Secondary School in Castlegar, a school in which I taught before retiring from teaching.

These dynamic young people are calling upon the government to support the NDP's three step plan in Darfur; namely, to support UN Security Council Resolution 1769 by committing troops and resources; by investing in the long term development of a civil society and the peace process in Darfur; and the divestment of all Canadian corporations that trade with Sudan.

This is an interesting and dynamic group of young people who have taken it upon themselves to circulate this petition in their school.

Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition comes from friends in Nelson, Castlegar, Grand Forks and the Slocan Valley.

It calls upon the Canadian government to establish a department of peace that will reinvigorate Canada's role as a global peacebuilder and will have as a top priority the abolition of nuclear weapons. The reasons given are that 50 of today's modern nuclear weapons could kill 200 million people, that there is no medical response to the effects of a nuclear war and that prevention is the only answer.