House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

Bill C-280, Employment Insurance Act—Speaker's Ruling
Points of Order

November 19th, 2009 / 10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised on November 5, 2009, by the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader. The point of order dealt with the admissibility of an amendment adopted by the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in its consideration of Bill C-280, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (qualification for and entitlement to benefits) and reported to the House on November 5.

I wish to thank the hon. Parliamentary Secretary for having raised this issue as well as the hon. members for Chambly—Borduas, Acadie—Bathurst and Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord for presenting their arguments on the matter.

The parliamentary secretary reminded the House that Bill C-280 was identified by the Chair as requiring a royal recommendation in a ruling delivered on June 3, 2009. He argued that the amendment in question, which seeks to increase the weekly benefits payable to a claimant from 55% to 60% of the average weekly insurable earnings likewise infringes on the financial initiative of the Crown. He completed his presentation by referring to page 655 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, first edition, which says:

An amendment must not offend the financial initiative of the Crown. An amendment is therefore inadmissible if it imposes a charge on the Public Treasury, or if it extends the objects or purposes or relaxes the conditions and qualifications as expressed in the Royal Recommendation.

In his intervention, the member for Chambly—Borduas insisted that the committee was well aware that certain provisions in the bill already contained proposals which would result in increased spending and that the amendment was consistent with those proposals. The member for Acadie—Bathurst added that in situations of private members’ bills requiring a Royal Recommendation, the Speaker is responsible for deciding the question only once the bill is returned to the House. Finally, the member for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord claimed that there had been no discussion of admissibility regarding this amendment at committee.

As the House knows, the Speaker does not intervene on matters upon which committees are competent to take decisions. However, in cases where a committee has exceeded its authority, particularly in relation to bills, the Speaker has been called upon to deal with such matters after the bill in question has been reported to the House. In doing so, the Chair is guided by Speaker Fraser's succinct explanation of April 28, 1992, at page 9,801 of the Debates.

It reads:

When a bill is referred to a standing or legislative committee of the House, that committee is only empowered to adopt, amend or negative the clauses found in that piece of legislation and to report the bill to the House with or without amendments. The committee is restricted in its examination in a number of ways. It cannot infringe on the financial initiative of the Crown, it cannot go beyond the scope of the bill as passed at second reading, and it cannot reach back to the parent act to make further amendments not contemplated in the bill no matter how tempting that may be.

Having examined the specific amendment at issue and reviewed the submissions of all hon. members, the Chair finds that the amendment in question does propose a charge on the public treasury and therefore infringes on the financial initiative of the Crown.

While the Chair can appreciate the difficulties that may arise when a committee must examine a bill which, upon its reference to committee, is flawed with respect to the royal recommendation, a committee must carry out its mandate without exceeding its powers. In my view, by adopting an amendment that infringes on the financial initiative of the Crown, even when it is directed at a clause itself needing a royal recommendation, a committee ventures beyond its mandate.

Consequently, I must order that the amendment to clause 5, adopted by the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities be declared null and void, and no longer form part of the bill as reported to the House.

In addition, I am ordering that a reprint of Bill C-280 be published with all possible haste for use by the House at report stage to replace the reprint ordered by the committee.

I thank the House for its attention.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

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

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the reports of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group respecting its participation in the 50th annual meeting of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group held in La Malbaie Quebec, May 15 to May 18, 2009; and the Legislative Summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 20 to July 24, 2009.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food in relation to the removal of Canada's state trading enterprises and supply management systems from the Doha agreement.

Business of Supply
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Prince George—Peace River
B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this is not really a motion, but out of respect for the House I would like to designate tomorrow as an allotted day. While I should have designated it earlier, the House should be aware that the Bloc Québécois was notified on Tuesday.

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, I believe if you seek it you will find unanimous consent for the following travel motion. I move:

That, in relation to its study of the federal contribution to reducing poverty in Canada, 8 members of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities be authorized to travel to Vancouver, British Columbia; Whitehorse, Yukon; Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; Edmonton, Alberta and Winnipeg, Manitoba, in the fall of 2009 and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is it agreed?

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Justice and Human Rights
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on organized crime, 12 members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights be authorized to travel to Toronto, Ontario in the fall of 2009 and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.

Justice and Human Rights
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is it agreed?

Justice and Human Rights
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Justice and Human Rights
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

National Defence
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study of Arctic sovereignty, 12 members of the Standing Committee on National Defence be authorized to travel to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.A., and Winnipeg, Manitoba in the fall of 2009 and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.

National Defence
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is it agreed?