House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics
Points of Order

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The Standing Orders do not give the Speaker any powers to decide a committee's mandate. The Standing Orders state what they are. The Chair is able to decide something when the report comes here. If the report is beyond the scope of the committee, it is thrown out, and I have done that. But the Standing Orders do not say that the Speaker has a supervisory power over committees to decide whether rulings by chairs, in relation to the jurisdiction of the committee or any other aspect of a committee's work, are appealable to the Chair. It is not permitted.

In my view, we are stuck. The committee can file a report. If the report is beyond the committee's scope, beyond its powers, then, as Speaker, I can refuse a motion to concur in the report and send the report back to the committee, which is exactly what I have done once already.

Now, the hon. member's question of privilege, we will hear that.

Committees of the House
Privilege

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have been around here as long as some of the older members. In fact, of all the members of Parliament, I have some pride in stating there are only now four members of Parliament who are older than I am, although some have been here longer because they started at a much younger age.

In all my years here I have gained a bit of a reputation of being a substitute. I often go into different committees for different people and so I have observed many different committees working over the years. In fact, I am so frequently at other committees that I got a permanent nameplate made for myself so they do not have to hand write one.

I have seen different chairs operating over the years and it has been a real privilege to observe that. But occasionally, we see things that do not seem quite up to par.

I remember, in an earlier Parliament, where a chair obviously breached a fundamental rule of democracy. That was an occasion, about 10 or 12 years ago, where the chair, when we were going through a bill clause by clause, asked, “Shall clause, whatever the number was, pass?” Nobody said anything except me. I said, “No”. He said, “Carried”.

So, I raised a question of privilege or point of order in the House, and I pointed that out because chairs of committees are not infallible. When it comes to something like that, I think that they have to be challenged. I did that and there again, you said, Mr. Speaker, that the committee was the master of its own fate. That is fine, but that is a fundamental violation of democracy.

I have another one that happened last Tuesday when I was, as usual, substituting in this committee for one of my members who had other duties. When I was in the seat as a substitute, I allowed the regular members of the committee to carry the debate because I am not one who usually intrudes into other people's work. I was there to help and to serve. I put my name on the speaker's list, but I dutifully awaited my turn.

Observing the way the committee meeting was going, I saw the chair, over and over again, cut off the mike. He turned around in his chair to signal the switcher to turn off the mike. My colleagues were busily making points with respect to the issue that was being debated and when the chair, and I will say this gently, heard things that he did not like, he cut them off. It was not that they were out of order or that they were repeating, but he cut them off.

So, Mr. Speaker, I think that it is important for you to hear my first intervention. I am going to read this into the record of the House, even though it is from the committee, because he finally gave me the floor, and then I--

Committees of the House
Privilege

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. I am afraid I have to cut the hon. member off because it is 11 o'clock and we have to move on with other business. However, I will hear him after question period and he will be able to complete his question of privilege then, but at the moment, under the Standing Orders, we have to move to statements by members.

I call upon the hon. member for South Shore—St. Margaret's.

Standing Committee on International Trade
Statements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, my Conservative Party colleagues on the Standing Committee on International Trade respectfully dissent from the report, “Human Rights, the Environment and Free Trade with Colombia”.

It is clear that this report does not accurately reflect the views of all the members of this committee, nor does it reflect the testimony of the majority of the witnesses who appeared before the committee.

It is our opinion that a Canada-Colombia free trade agreement would expand Canada-Colombia trade and investment and would help ongoing efforts by the Government of Colombia to create a prosperous, equitable and secure democracy.

Our government's commitment to deepening its engagement in the Americas seeks to promote increased prosperity, greater security, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Furthermore, the Conservative members of the committee believe these objectives are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. That is why we cannot align ourselves with the recommendations expressed in this report.

We believe that this report lacks balance as the opposition members played partisan politics to--

Standing Committee on International Trade
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. member for Thunder Bay--Rainy River.

Carbon Tax Proposal
Statements By Members

June 20th, 2008 / 11 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, when I was in university earning my graduate degree in environmental studies, the future of our planet seemed mighty grim. Eagles were disappearing and rivers did not freeze in the winter because they were so contaminated with mercury.

Since that graduation, I have been working on many environmental causes, as a councillor, as a mayor and as a member of Parliament, but yesterday, it all came together. The green shift is a plan that gives us all hope for the future.

Since yesterday's announcement people have been calling. They are excited and have encouraging words. For me, it is with a dynamic sense of optimism that I can tell my constituents that we have a plan that will work; that we have a plan that will help; that we have a plan that will bring about a richer, greener and fairer Canada and will restore that sense of democracy and optimism in our country.

World Refugee Day
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, refugee assistance agencies, such as the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, are joining together today to mark World Refugee Day. This year's theme is “Protecting Refugees: Rebuilding Lives in Safety and Dignity”.

This day is an opportunity to pay tribute to the incredible strength, courage and determination of refugees throughout their ordeal. They have been uprooted and must make the journey from oppression and persecution to asylum and protection before finally finding a place they can call their own. Today is also an opportunity to recognize the people who help refugees rebuild their lives in safety and dignity.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I commend the agencies that help refugees rebuild their lives in safety and dignity. We must take real steps to protect refugees. Bill C-280, which was introduced by my colleague from Laval and is designed to protect refugees, will finally bring about the implementation of the refugee appeal division.

Carbon Tax Proposal
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Liberals announced their carbon tax plan, which can only be characterized as a won't get it done plan.

As the British Columbia minister of the environment said, “They really are not actually taking the bull by the horns”. As Dave Martin of Greenpeace said, “In our view, the [Liberal] plan really doesn't go far enough”

There are so many things wrong with this plan that it is hard to know where to start, but here are two. First, it has absolutely no targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; it does not even mention Kyoto. Second, there are no measures to encourage Canadians to embrace renewable energy.

All this plan would do is make Canadians, especially northerners and rural people, pay more, while large corporations continue business as usual.

This summer the NDP will be consulting with Canadians on how to best move forward with renewable energy. After listening to this, we will be putting forward a plan which would move Canada quickly toward a more renewable energy future, provide energy security, create new green collar jobs and, combined with our cap and trade plan, take real action to reduce greenhouse gases.

Carbon Tax Proposal
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, after finally getting the details of the Liberals' carbon tax grab, my constituents are very concerned.

Regardless of the Liberal leader's claims that his plan is revenue neutral, it is plain to see that this is impossible. The reason for this tax shaft is that the Liberal leader needed to find a way to pay for all his unbudgeted spending promises and he is doing it on the backs of the Canadian taxpayer. He plans to spend all the money it brings in on programs, on special interests, on endless priorities.

Canadians would feel the effects of this tax grab directly and indirectly. We cannot drive up the cost of transporting gas, groceries and everything else without hurting consumers. We cannot prevent manufacturers, once taxed, from passing their losses on to their customers.

The only green shift that would occur is the shifting of money out of Canadians' wallets.

Municipalities
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the previous Liberal government implemented its new deal for cities, municipal governments across Canada found a seat at the national table. Cities like Toronto, home to millions of Canadians, finally found a partner in their federal government.

In contrast, the Conservative government policy can be summed up in one statement, no deals for cities, leaving Toronto and other cities to fend for themselves.

The facts are alarming: $123 billion is needed for infrastructure work; soaring demands are being placed on municipal public transit systems; and the economic prosperity of our urban centres is being threatened.

The government must start responding to the needs of Canadian cities. Cities like Toronto deserve to be treated with respect.

Carbon Tax Proposal
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, my constituents will not be deceived by the Liberals' carbon tax.

We know that the Liberal leader's plan is to impose a permanent new tax that would hurt all Canadians. On farms across our country, fertilizer prices are already costly and will be more expensive if the Liberals get to launch their new tax grab.

There are sin taxes already on alcohol and tobacco, and now the Liberals want to apply a sin tax on rural and urban Canadians who are heating their homes in the winter and driving to work year-round. They want to tax electricity even if it kills manufacturing jobs, and hits seniors and everyone else on a fixed income. The Liberals are promising to almost triple the tax on diesel. This would also hurt farmers and increase the cost of everything transported by truck or train, including food.

My constituents know that every carbon tax imposed in Europe has hit gas prices hard, very hard. The Liberal carbon tax plan would be a dirty trick and would hurt all Canadians.

New Squadron in Bagotville
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has still not fulfilled its promise to form an expeditionary squadron at the base in Bagotville, despite the announcement made there in July 2007 by the defence minister at the time.

In light of the delay in completing this project, I recently submitted a brief to the conference of elected officials of the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region. I recommended that the region's elected officials join together to ensure that the Conservatives fulfill their promise and do everything necessary to bring in new soldiers as soon as possible.

The Conservatives must fulfill the promise they made to the people of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean during the last election campaign. The people of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord will not accept half-measures when it comes to the Conservatives' commitment.

I remind this government that a promise is a promise.

Carbon Tax Proposal
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in The Chronicle-Herald, the Liberal member for Cape Breton—Canso suggested that he too is worried about the massive Liberal tax hike. I quote:

When you cross the street and get hit by a car, it doesn't matter if you were in the crosswalk. You're still dead. If we don't get this right, politically, we'll pay.

How prophetic for the Liberal Party. But while the Liberal members are worrying about their jobs and electoral prospects, Canadians are worried about paying for heating their homes, getting to work and putting food in their children's mouths.

This deceitful tax grab is supposed to be revenue neutral, but in fact it bleeds income from students, families and small business and puts it in the grips of the Liberal Party.

I am not going to be fooled. The Conservative members will not be fooled. The good people of Prince Edward--Hastings will not be fooled. All Canadians will not be fooled. They know when they are getting the shaft and not the shift.

World Refugee Day
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Glen Pearson London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of World Refugee Day, held annually on June 20.

It is a day to recognize the hardships that the world's refugee population faces, especially those who live without material, social or legal protection. It is also a day to celebrate the tireless efforts of all those striving to protect and improve the lives of forcibly displaced people, from the provision of food and shelter to support for those lacking legal status, or helping those who wish to return to their home country.

This year, World Refugee Day focuses on the fundamental need for protection. For some, protection means economic security. For others, this means freedom from violence, persecution or even death.

I ask my colleagues in this House and all Canadians to help protect refugees by raising awareness at the grassroots level, in local communities, workplaces and online. By forming a global network of supporters, we help ensure that protection is extended equally around the world and that the plight of refugees is in some small way improved.

Carbon Tax Proposal
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, a Liberal dirty tax trick by any other name, say, a green shift, is still a Liberal dirty tax trick.

The Liberal leader gleefully announced he would permanently up the cost of gas, electricity and everything Canadians buy, killing Canadian jobs. Peel back the green veneer and this permanent new Liberal tax is not about the environment. There are 40-plus pages about the crushing tax and not a single word about how many greenhouse gases this green shaft will reduce.

Polluting industries will not pay. They will pass on the tax to consumers. But truckers and farmers will pay. Canadians will pay on everything, including ultimately the price of gas. In fact, the only green shift that will occur with this Liberal tax is hard-earned money from Canadians' wallets to the Liberal leader's coffers.

The Liberals once promised to kill the GST. Now they are adding a tax as large as the GST, permanently, on virtually everything we buy so the Liberal leader can spend it all on programs, on special interests and endless priorities.

Under this punitive tax, the Liberal leader gets the green goldmine, while Canadians and the environment get the shaft.