House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was young.

Topics

Order and Decorum in the House
Point of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please.

The hon. Leader of the Government in the House of Commons on the same point of order.

Order and Decorum in the House
Point of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River
B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to use up too much time of the House, but all of a sudden it is such a big concern to my colleague across the way. I merely want to point out that you have a very difficult job, and all of us recognize that, in trying to maintain decorum, especially on Wednesdays and especially during question period.

I would point out for my colleague across the way that other things happen in question period that delay it and that delay the natural unfolding of the questions and the answers by the government, in addition to standing ovations, which he seems to be so incensed about. I hope his heart is all right today because he certainly was very worked up. I would hate to see anything bad happen.

I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, in your decision that the clock had run out, we noticed that all four political parties were impacted equally by that, that each of us had one question with no supplementary left in the agreed-upon lineup. The fact is everyone was impacted that way.

I point out for my hon. colleague from the Bloc Québécois that when there is a lot of hollering and heckling, when individuals resort to unparliamentary language, which creates a huge furor in the chamber, it makes it extremely difficult for you, Mr. Speaker, to manage question period and it always results in delays, similar with standing ovations.

I merely point out there are other reasons that make it difficult for you, Mr. Speaker, to maintain control than standing ovations. I would hope that from time to time members would want to show support for their leader and for others in their caucus.

Order and Decorum in the House
Point of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I wish to support my Bloc Québécois colleague. The time allotted for question period is very limited. We have 45 minutes to ask questions. We have 35 seconds to ask a question and 35 seconds to respond to a question. If the government and the official opposition enjoy supporting their leaders by giving standing ovations, this wastes time. We are the ones who lose out on our democratic right to ask questions here in the House. We lost the opportunity to ask questions yesterday and again today.

Is that what my hon. Conservative colleague, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, wants? Does he believe in democracy? Does he believe that the opposition has the right to ask the government questions? Or is this a tactic to prevent the opposition parties in the House of Commons from asking the government questions, because it is afraid of having to provide answers to Canadians?

Mr. Speaker, my suggestion to you, since you will have to make the decision, is that you hold a meeting with the four whips of the four political parties to come up with a solution. That is within your mandate. If people are going to play such games here in the House, take control, Mr. Speaker. If you think you do not have control, we know you have it. So cut off the question and move on to the next political party, who otherwise might miss the opportunity to ask their question.

If they want to stand up during their allotted time, let them do so and they can have their fun. We, however, have questions to ask the government and we have the right to ask them. We have the right to get some answers and we do not want those answers stolen from us by anyone.

Order and Decorum in the House
Point of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will make a quick comment on the same point of order. The Conservative member who has just spoken is trying to mislead you, because in fact what the Bloc Québécois whip has said is correct: the Bloc and the NDP are the ones who have been deprived of their time.

You do indeed have a difficult task. You are asked to apply the rules we have set for ourselves. But those rules are a reflection of our democracy and of the latest election results. Because of the systematic misconduct of the Liberals and Conservatives, who are acting like endlessly clapping circus seals, we are being deprived of our democratic rights. We are therefore asking you to intervene.

Order and Decorum in the House
Point of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, ridicule never killed anyone. I would encourage the hon. member for Outremont and his cheerleaders to compete in the 2009 Parliamentary talent show. This year, we will have a Just for Laughs festival in Ottawa. We are entitled to ask questions. If people's reaction is enthusiastic, they should stop seeing that as some sort of plot. If these members are not able to get to their feet because they are not asking the right questions, that is their problem, but I do not need anyone defining democracy for me.

Order and Decorum in the House
Point of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The Chair has heard enough. I must point out that there is virtually nothing in the rules about the content of question period. For example, there is nothing requiring each question and each answer to take only 35 seconds. It merely states that 45 minutes are allocated for the entire question period, nothing more.

The order of questions is not set out in the rules. That is something that is worked out by the House leaders. The list is submitted to the Chair after an agreement among the parties in this House.

The order of this list was changed at the beginning of this Parliament to reflect the makeup of the House, the size of the parties in the House and so on. I was not party to those discussions. Those were settled by the parties themselves. It has been that way since before I was elected Speaker for the first time, in 2001.

This is not a new procedure as far as I am concerned. When I was a student there was no order prescribed. The Speaker chose who got to ask the questions from whichever party and he enforced whatever time limit he felt was reasonable. That was taken away by agreement among the parties in the House. It was not by changes in the rules, but by agreement. We have that agreement today.

If the hon. Bloc Québécois whip does not like the order that has been agreed to, he needs to negotiate it with his colleagues. It is not up to me to set the order.

The rules have been set by the House leaders themselves. They agreed on this list, and I am only following the list that is there. I agree that if time gets taken up we can lose questions at the end, but sometimes we get extra and I am not told to cut it off when we get to a certain point. I am told to continue until the 45 minutes are gone.

Yesterday, we lost four questions on what I would call the normal list. Today, we lost four questions on what I would call the normal list. There was one from each of the four parties in those four questions.

I am not here to decide who has lost questions and who has not. I have the list here before me. I followed the list given to me by the parties in the House. It is not my choice. I did not decide who would ask questions and who would not.

I know that time gets wasted with applause. I would be all in favour of eliminating applause, whether it is standing or not. However, it is not my choice. Members do it, unfortunately. I usually use the time to announce the name of the next person who is going to speak, but sometimes it takes longer than that.

I encourage hon. members to maintain order in the House during question period. We would get through more questions, if that is what members want. We would get through more questions if the questions were shorter and the answers were shorter. However, it seems that most members prefer to use most of the 35 seconds that are allotted for the purpose.

I am not being critical of this. I am simply stating what I think is obvious. I would suggest that if hon. members feel that some change is needed in this list, they have a chat at the House leaders' or whips' meeting, which I am sure will happen again next Tuesday. If they make a change to the list, as your humble servant I will of course follow the changes dictated to me by the House leaders in that respect.

Order and Decorum in the House
Point of Order
Oral Questions

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I hope you are not happy with the behaviour of the members in the House of Commons today.

Order and Decorum in the House
Point of Order
Oral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

It was very loud.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.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 response to one petition.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

May 27th, 2009 / 3:20 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Parliamentary Delegation to the Election Observation Mission of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Moldova.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have two reports today.

First, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Parliamentary Delegation to the Visit of the Science and Technology Committee and the Economics and Security Committee Sub-Committee on East-West Economic Co-Operation and Convergence in Lithuania.

Second, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Parliamentary Delegation to the 70th Rose-Roth Seminar in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canadian Branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF) respecting its participation at the seminar of the United Nations Development Program and the meeting of the Political Committee of the APF, held in Luang Prabang, Laos, on April 8 and 9, 2009.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have three reports.

Pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Parliamentary Delegation to the Meeting of the Steering Committee of the Twelve Plus Group, Canadian Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, in London, United Kingdom, March 7, 2008

Pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Parliamentary Delegation to the Meeting of the Steering Commmittee of the Twelve Plus Group, Canadian Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, in United Kingdom, September 15, 2008.

Pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Parliamentary Delegation to the Meeting of the Steering Commmittee of the Twelve Plus Group, Canadian Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, in London, United Kingdom, March 2, 2009.

International Trade
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Lee Richardson Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on International Trade on Bill C-24, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Peru, the Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the Republic of Peru and the Agreement on Labour Cooperation between Canada and the Republic of Peru, with amendment.

Public Accounts
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following reports of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts: report 11, on Chapter 1, A Study of Federal Transfers to Provinces and Territories of the December 2008 Report of the Auditor General of Canada; and report 12, on Chapter 5, Surveillance of Infectious Diseases, Public Health Agency of Canada of the May 2008 report of the Auditor General of Canada.