House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, I also rise on a point of order. It has been the custom and convention of the House, and in fact, a welcome practice, that whenever there is confusion about documents, their existence or what was referred to therein, especially during the course of question period, the House has an opportunity to table those documents through unanimous consent. I would ask the House if I could take an opportunity to table documents that were indeed held in some confusion during question period.

There was reference to an October 21, 2010 letter from the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, which I believe was also copied to the Minister of State (Seniors) for her own information, that was sent to a Canadian senior citizen and investment counsellor regarding changes to the application of eligibility criteria to the guaranteed income supplement program under the Old Age Security Act and the regulations and guidelines therein.

There was some confusion in the House as to whether that memo existed. The Prime Minister said that correspondence did not exist. I am very pleased today to be able to table it for the benefit all members.

I am sure members of the Conservative Party of Canada would not want to embarrass their leader and Prime Minister by denying this opportunity to set the record straight and will give their unanimous consent to table the following letter, which says that the minister responsible for Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, in her correspondence of October 21, 2010, acknowledged not only that her department and she herself changed the eligibility criteria but defended the practice, also giving the following caveat to her decision, which states, “However, in January of 2008, with a tax court case, OAS regulations describe the types of income that qualify as pension income for the purposes of the option provisions of GIS-OAS. Annuity payments such as RRIFs are indeed included in those options.”

She describes that she made a voluntary and discretionary judgment based on a court case that allowed her to do this. It does not say she must do this; it gave her the option to do it.

I will also table for the benefit of members the fact that the court itself said, advised, pleaded with the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development to review the rules—

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. The member seems not to be telling us which documents he is asking to table but is in fact describing various things in the documents. I would urge him to tell us which documents he is seeking consent to table and I will ask for that consent.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, I would now ask the House for unanimous consent to table the correspondence of October 21, 2010 from the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development to a Mr. Gerard Lee, as well as the court cases of Ward v. Canada and Drake v. Human Resources that the Prime Minister referred to during the course of question period.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte have the unanimous consent of the House to table these copies?

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have noticed over the past 10 years that this dynamic of points of order has been used in ways that I think are not what they were intended for. I want to raise this in the House. This has come up before, when I was on the Board of Internal Economy, which was chaired by you, by members of the opposition and the government. We have raised this concern before and I want to perhaps put forward a suggestion with regard to the idea of points of order and the Standing Orders.

Each member of the House has a copy of the Standing Orders in his or her desk. We have question period in which opposition members can ask the government any questions they want, we have members statements before question period where people can declare what they want, and we have written questions to the House. We also have late shows, where if opposition members do not like the answers they got, they can use that mechanism as well.

Instead of using up time every single day, where we have question period and then, apparently, a rebuttal period, perhaps we should use points of order such that when somebody stands on a point of order, the member should first reference where in the Standing Orders there has been a violation of the protocol of the House and then make the case that the Speaker should appeal to their good judgment that the Standing Orders of the House have been violated.

Points of order are supposed to be about violations of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons. Instead, they are being used as a rebuttal period, using up good time that could be used to debate both government and opposition legislation.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I am sure all hon. members sympathize with the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages on this point of order, but I point out that at least in respect of the request for tabling of documents we have had suggestions in recent days that if members want to make allegations, they ought to table documents. So now we are getting more requests for tabling of documents, obviously, in response to suggestions from the other side of the House. On that point of order, though the member may have gone on a little in describing the documents, which I pointed out, we have at least dealt with the issue.

On the other one, there sometimes are points of order as to contents of questions and answers. Sometimes they are not valid. Usually they are not because they are matters of debate, but the Chair will make decisions in respect of these matters and deal with them as necessary.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond and simply say that it is a normal convention of the House. Whenever there is confusion, the production of documents, and the tabling of documents in particular, is built into the Standing Orders as a means of providing greater co-operation and understanding of the issues by all members of the House. I am simply referring to a very long-standing tradition and a long-standing convention.

I know that hon. members would not want to embarrass their leader, the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, the Prime Minister of Canada, by not allowing those documents to be tabled, especially when their leader denied their very existence.

Therefore, I will ask again, Mr. Speaker, if the unanimous consent could be afforded to table those documents.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is there unanimous consent?

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

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 three petitions.

Status of Women
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

December 1st, 2010 / 3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women in relation to the supplementary estimates (B), 2010-2011, vote 95b under Canadian Heritage.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Orders 104 and 114, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 23rd report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of committees of the House.

If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the 23rd report later today.

Justice and Human Rights
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

I am pleased to report that the committee has considered the supplementary estimates (B) under Justice for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011 and reports the same.

Canadian Heritage
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in relation to supplementary estimates (B) for 2010-11.