House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the countries of the European Free Trade Association are some of the wealthiest and most sophisticated markets in the world. Earlier today the Minister of International Trade opened debate on Canada's first free trade agreement in over six years.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade please inform the House of the exciting progress being made on Canada's trade relations with other countries around the world?

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Chatham-Kent—Essex for his support for the EFTA treaty.

Certainly, I would like to thank the Liberals for their support for the free trade agreement as well. They rose in the House today and said they will be supporting this treaty, which is a good deal for Canada and a good deal for the four European nations that we will be signing it with.

It should be noted that Canada's exports to the EFTA countries are worth $5.2 billion and Canadian direct investment in the EFTA countries is in excess of $8.4 billion. This is a good deal for Canada. It is a good deal for the European Union. It gives us a toe hold and a foothold into a greater marketplace than we have ever had and it is important for the economy of this country.

Lebanon
Oral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are concerned about the recent escalation and violence in Lebanon. We hear news reports that 10 people are dead, 20 people are wounded, and those are just recent reports.

I have very simple questions for the government. What is the government's plans, diplomatically speaking, to help stem the violence and prevent further violence. Also, what is the preparedness for Canadians if they have to leave Lebanon quickly if the violence gets out of hand and is further to what we have heard today?

Lebanon
Oral Questions

Noon

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, we strongly condemn the actions of Hezbollah to incite violence. These actions only serve to inflame sectarian divisions. Hezbollah and its supporters must not be allowed to pull Lebanon toward war.

We are monitoring the situation closely and are providing information to Canadians who are registered in Lebanon.

Manufacturing Industry
Oral Questions

Noon

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to a study by an economist named Stanford, with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the nearly $15 billion in tax reductions that the Conservatives made in 2007 have widened the gap between provinces and benefited the oil companies and banks at the expense of Quebec's manufacturing industry, which is in crisis.

Given these findings, will the government face facts and introduce targeted measures to help the manufacturing industry, such as refundable tax credits for research and development?

Manufacturing Industry
Oral Questions

Noon

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the manufacturing industry, as members are aware, Canada Economic Development is preparing the 2008-2011 strategic plan to support economic development in all the various regions of Quebec.

About two weeks ago, we put in place what we call “major economic and tourism facilities” for the targeted regions, and within two or three weeks, we will be implementing new measures to better support the manufacturing and forestry industries.

Health
Oral Questions

May 9th, 2008 / noon

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to ignore mounting scientific evidence proving the efficacy of the safe injection site in downtown Vancouver. Instead of acknowledging the success of this program, the Minister of Health has left its future hanging in limbo. This is an ideological attack against people who desperately need our help.

Scientists, health experts, the province, the city and the police all support the Insite program. Why does the minister believe his personal bias should trump the health and safety of Canadians?

Health
Oral Questions

Noon

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia
Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Parliamentary Secretary for Health

Mr. Speaker, no decision has been made on this issue, but I will share with the member a statement on the safe injection site, “it's an ad hoc scheme that has nothing to do with treating addictions and getting people off drugs”. Who said that? The member for Vancouver South.

Bill C-377—Climate Change Accountability Act
Points of Order
Oral Questions

Noon

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to respond to the point of order raised on May 8 by the member for Windsor—Tecumseh on the selection of report stage amendments to Bill C-377, An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change.

It will be my contention that the member is, in effect, Mr. Speaker, asking you to allow his party, and especially the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, to act in variation from the principle you laid out for us on March 21, 2001, when you said:

—motions in amendment that could have been presented in committee will not be selected....Accordingly, I would strongly urge all members and all parties to avail themselves fully of the opportunity to propose amendments during committee stage so that the report stage can return to the purpose for which it was created...

Let me give you some background, Mr. Speaker.

Bill C-377 was referred to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on April 25, 2007, in the previous session and was subsequently reinstated in that same committee pursuant to Standing Order 86(1).

The committee began its study on December 11, 2007, and was granted an extension on March 12, 2008, which gave the committee until May 7 to report the bill to the House.

At its April 17 meeting the committee adopted a motion, on division, which had been put forward by the New Democratic member for Windsor—Tecumseh, to put an end to the committee's clause by clause examination of the bill and to report it back to the House with amendments.The committee adopted the motion well in advance of the May 7 deadline imposed by the Standing Orders.

The bill was subsequently reported to the House on April 29. The committee had more time to complete its work than it used, but it chose not to do so. It chose to do so, on division.

Procedural considerations that should be taken into account are the following. The note to Standing Order 76.1(5) states that the purpose of report stage is:

—to provide Members who were not members of the committee, with an opportunity to have the House consider specific amendments they wish to propose. It is not meant to be a reconsideration of the committee stage of a bill.

The committee decided to end its clause by clause examination of the bill prematurely. One of the persons involved in that decision was the member who is now proposing further amendments. The new Democratic Party is putting forward amendments at report stage therefore that ought to have been considered in committee. Thus, the course of action being proposed to you, Mr. Speaker, by the New Democratic Party is inconsistent with the purpose of report stage.

In this vein I would note that the amendments on the notice paper stand in the name of the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, who is a member of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, where the bill was considered. He therefore had ample opportunity to introduce the amendments at that time.

Mr. Speaker, I apologize for the fact that I sound like I am doing a bad imitation of Brian Mulroney, but I have a cold.

Furthermore, the Standing Orders state, at page 270:

Motions which were considered in committee and subsequently withdrawn are also generally not selected.

I would note that the amendments that appear on the notice paper are the same amendments the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley had given notice of during the committee's clause by clause examination of the bill. These amendments therefore were effectively withdrawn when the committee decided to report the bill back to the House.

In his point of order, the member for Windsor—Tecumseh took note of the lengthy debate on the bill during the committee's clause by clause consideration of the bill and stated that this was the committee's rationale for ending its work prematurely.

I would concede that this point might have been relevant if the debate in committee had prevented the committee from reporting the bill before the May 7 deadline, at which time, in accordance with the Standing Orders, the bill would have been deemed reported without amendments, thereby depriving the member of the ability to present those amendments in committee. However, this was not the case as the committee decided, with the support of the relevant member, to end its study of the bill three weeks before it was obliged to report the bill to the House.

We turn now to some precedents.

To support his argument, the member for Windsor—Tecumseh raised two previous rulings where the Speaker selected report stage amendments that could have been moved in committee. However, the circumstances in each case were clearly different from the case before us today.

In the first case, the January 28, 2003 ruling, Mr. Speaker, you selected report stage amendments from the member for Mississauga South on the grounds that the member was not a member of the standing committee and therefore could not propose amendments in committee. This is clearly not the case with the report stage amendments to Bill C-377, as the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley is a member of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

The second example. In a ruling on November 6, 2001, Mr. Speaker, you selected report stage amendments from the member for Windsor—Tecumseh on the grounds that the member sat on two committees that were seized with bills at the same time and therefore it was not possible for the member to be present at the relevant committee at the time when such amendments would have, in the normal course of events, been introduced.

This precedent does not apply to the present case since the committee's minutes of proceeding show that the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley was clearly an active participant in the committee's clause by clause study of Bill C-377.

In short, unlike the precedents cited by the member for Windsor—Tecumseh, the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley would have been able to move his amendments if the committee had chosen to continue clause by clause consideration. Instead, the committee decided to stop its work and report the bill back to the House, thereby precluding the introduction of the said amendments.

I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that this is a blatant abuse of the rules of the House. This is clearly an example of the majority on a committee effectively suspending or bypassing the Standing Orders in order to abrogate the protection that these Standing Orders provide to the rights of the minority.

By using such tactics, the opposition majority on any committee could theoretically rush through any bill by deciding to report the bill without any study and then proposing report stage amendments to amend the bill. This would be a dangerous precedent to set for private member's bills as such items are already subject to a significant time allocation and are already fast tracked relative to government bills.

Mr. Speaker, to conclude, I would like to draw your attention to your statement of March 21, 2001, on the guidelines for the selection of report stage amendments:

—motions in amendment that could have been presented in committee will not be selected....Accordingly, I would strongly urge all members and all parties to avail themselves fully of the opportunity to propose amendments during committee stage so that the report stage can return to the purpose for which it was created...

I have emphasized that quote because it is so important.

Clearly the New Democratic Party has chosen to ignore the Speaker's wise advice by not availing itself fully of the opportunity to propose amendments during committee stage. NDP members cannot have it both ways. They cannot decide that clause by clause consideration should be terminated prematurely and then expect people to propose its committee amendments at report stage. The NDP is essentially asking that the committee stage of Bill C-377 be continued at report stage, and this is exactly the opposite of what is stated in the Standing Orders and what has been confirmed by the Speaker.

I therefore submit to the House that the amendments to Bill C-377 should not be selected for debate at report stage.

Bill C-377—Climate Change Accountability Act
Points of Order
Oral Questions

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

I thank the hon. member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington for his submission. It will be considered by the Speaker and he will give his ruling in a timely manner, probably Monday morning.

Meanwhile, I am sure the whole House will join me in wishing the hon. member a prompt and complete recovery.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to one petition.

Unborn Victims of Crime
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am encouraged by the number of people who are responding positively to Bill C-484, the bill that would provide protection for unborn children when they, as well as their mothers, are victims of a criminal attack.

The people who are sending in their names today come from right across the country, as I have experienced over the last number of days. They draw particular attention to the fact that forcing upon a pregnant woman the death and injury of her unborn child is a violation of a woman's right to protect and give life to her child.

This petition contains another 735 signatures today. I am very proud to present the petition.

Human Rights
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Anders Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition that has been signed by a number of people in my riding and from across the country.

They draw to the attention of the House that human rights in China have not improved as a result of being granted the 2008 Olympic Games and, in fact, have become worse, and that the continuing crackdown on Tibet by the Chinese government is an egregious violation of human rights.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon Canadian politicians to boycott the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing and that athletes do not attend the opening ceremonies.

I would like to add that I have Tibetans in my riding who have relatives who have disappeared since the arrests and have not been seen since.

Unborn Victims of Crime
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I, too, have received quite a number of petitions with regard to Bill C-484, which was spoken to earlier in the House.

The petition contains hundreds of, if not over a thousand, signatures, many of which are from my riding. Therefore, I, too, take the honour of presenting this petition.

Unborn Victims of Crime
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, I, too, have received petitions from my constituents who are concerned that under the current federal law an unborn child is not recognized as a victim with respect to violent crimes.

The petitioners began the petition when the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park introduced his private member's bill. They are very much in line with his position and call upon the House to enact such legislation.

I am very proud to present this petition on their behalf.