House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Space Industry
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

John Cummins Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada has long been a world leader in the space industry and this government has maintained its commitment to the program.

Last year we saw Dr. Thirsk and Dr. Payette providing expertise and leadership aboard the international space station, essential components of which were manufactured in Canada by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.

This year's budget committed $397 million to develop the RADARSAT Constellation mission.

Would the Minister of Industry inform the House of the crucial work that is being done by our Canadian Space Agency?

Space Industry
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is indeed right. The budget did commit $397 million to develop the RADARSAT Constellation mission to continue the legacy in space that Canada has.

One of the astronauts who has done most particularly well is Dr. Robert Thirsk, the first Canadian to launch aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule and play an integral role on a six-month expedition at the international space station. With this mission he has surpassed the total number of days in space of all the other Canadian astronauts combined.

It is my pleasure to recognize the great accomplishments of Dr. Thirsk, a true Canadian hero.

Transportation
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, electric trains are the logical solution. People in the GTA are worried about how more diesel trains might affect their lives. This is not new technology, either. Electric trains are already used across Europe with great success.

I ask again, what is the minister and the government prepared to do to help Torontonians and the environment? Why are they not prepared to assist public transit agencies like Metrolinx electrify trains along this corridor?

Transportation
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the long-standing interest of my colleague from Davenport on this issue.

We worked constructively with the Province of Ontario and asked what its priorities were for federal investment. The province said it wanted us to invest in the Spadina subway extension. Done. It said it wanted us to invest in the Scarborough LRT. Done. It said it wanted us to make major investments in GO Transit. Done. It wanted us to get the job done in helping refurbish and expand Union Station in Toronto. Done.

We have had record investments in public transit and we have done it all in co-operation with Toronto and the Province of Ontario.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of Mr. Lu Yongxiang, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I would also like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of crew members of Mission Expedition 20/21: Koichi Wakata, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut; Frank DeWinne, a European Space Agency astronaut; and Canada's own Robert Thirsk, a Canadian Space Agency astronaut.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Admissibility of Amendments to Bill C-3—Speaker's Ruling
Points of Order
Oral Questions

May 11th, 2010 / 3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons on April 29, 2010 concerning amendments contained in the report from the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development on Bill C-3, An Act to promote gender equity in Indian registration by responding to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia decision in McIvor v. Canada (Registrar of Indian and Northern Affairs).

I would like to thank the parliamentary secretary for having raised this important matter as well as the hon. members for Labrador, Abitibi—Témiscamingue and Yukon for their comments.

In presenting his point of order, the parliamentary secretary argued that two of the amendments to Bill C-3 contained in the first report from the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, tabled on April 29, 2010, were beyond the scope of the bill as approved by the House at second reading.

The first motion presented by the member for Labrador during clause-by-clause consideration of the bill reads as follows:

That Bill C-3, in Clause 2, be amended by adding after line 16 on page 1 the following:

(a.1) that person was born prior to April 17, 1985 and is a direct descendant of the person referred to in paragraph (a) or of a person referred to in paragraph 11(1)(a), (b), (c), (d), (e) or (f) as they read immediately prior to April 17, 1985;

As reported by the parliamentary secretary, this motion was ruled out of order by the chair on the basis that it went beyond the scope of the bill as approved by the House at the second reading stage. The ruling was appealed and overturned by a majority vote and the amendment was subsequently adopted by a similar vote.

In respect of the second amendment under dispute concerning the short title of the bill, the parliamentary secretary argued that it had only been allowed to proceed because of the adoption of the first amendment. He noted that in the absence of any amendment requiring it, no motion to amend a bill's title was admissible under our rules.

The member for Labrador argued that the court ruling in which the bill responded identified discriminatory provisions related to registration in the Indian Act beyond those specific to the McIvor case. He stated that in its ruling the court of appeal pointed out that there may be other parts of the act that caused gender discrimination. He also drew to the attention of the House that there existed considerable latitude for the government to respond to the court's decision. In doing so, he cited a number of examples where legislation had gone well beyond the modifications to the law required by court decisions. He concluded that the amendment in question was entirely consistent with bills responding to court rulings.

The Chair has carefully examined Bill C-3, the Committee’s report as well as the proceedings in the Committee dealing with clause-by-clause consideration of the bill.

As has been frequently noted, the Speaker’s involvement in committee matters is limited except in cases where a committee has exceeded its authority. The adoption of amendments that are beyond the scope of a bill is such a case.

I would like to remind the House that the Speaker's role in these matters is limited strictly to determining the procedural issue that has been raised. While some members may be of the opinion that a different bill, perhaps broader in scope, ought to have been introduced, I must base my decision on the bill that actually was introduced and approved by the House at second reading.

House of Commons Procedure and Practice, p. 766, states:

An amendment to a bill that was referred to committee after second reading is out of order if it is beyond the scope and principle of the bill.

In the present case, in order to determine the scope of the bill, we need to put this legislative measure in its unique context. Bill C-3 was drafted in response to a ruling of the court of appeal for British Columbia, which struck down certain provisions of the Indian Act based on unequal treatment with respect to registration accorded to the descendants of some Indian women arising out of earlier amendments to the Indian Act made in 1985. The bill seeks to redress the specific inequality identified by the court. As such, it is of extremely narrow scope. It removes gender discrimination arising from transitional effects of the 1985 amendments as they relate to a particular family structure.

The amendment, adding a new sub-paragraph a.1 to the conditions of registration in section 6 of the Indian Act, deals with all persons born prior to April 17, 1985 who are descended from those registered under the Indian Act, or entitled to be so registered, prior to that date. Individuals, whose status is not affected in any way by Bill C-3 as adopted at second reading, would have a different status as a result of this amendment. It may be that the amendment seeks to redress an inequality arising out of the Indian Act, but it is not addressing the specific inequality identified by the Court and initially targeted by Bill C-3. Consequently, the amendment exceeds the scope of the bill as set by the House at second reading and is therefore inadmissible.

The second amendment, changing the short title of the bill, is dependent on the broadening of scope resulting from the first inadmissible amendment. As such, in the absence of any other amendment requiring a change to the original short title, it too is inadmissible.

I therefore rule that the amendment to clause 2 of Bill C-3 and the amendment to the short title are null and void and no longer form part of the bill as reported to the House. In addition, I am ordering a reprint of Bill C-3 be published to replace the reprint ordered by the committee.

I thank hon. members for their attention.

Royal Recommendation—Bill C-501
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 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, I rise on a point of order with respect to Bill C-501, An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and other Acts (pension protection).

Without commenting on the merits of the bill, I submit that its provisions to require the Minister of Labour to appoint an adjudicator to hear and adjudicate claims would require new government spending and therefore would require a royal recommendation.

Page 834 of the second edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice states:

—a royal recommendation is required not only in the case where money is being appropriated, but also in the case where the authorization to spend for a specific purpose is significantly altered.

Bill C-501 would amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act so that the unfunded pension plan liabilities would be accorded the status of secured debts in the event of bankruptcy.

The bill would also amend the Canada Business Corporations Act to provide for a procedure by which former employees of a bankrupt corporation who were owed amounts by the corporation could proceed with claims against its directors. That procedure is set out in clause 6, which would require the Minister of Labour to appoint an adjudicator to hear and adjudicate claims and would set out the powers and functions of the proposed adjudicator. Section 23 of the Interpretation Act makes it clear that the power to appoint also includes the power to pay.

The requirement for a royal recommendation for a new officer of the Crown is made clear in the Speaker's ruling of November 9, 1978, which states, “If this bill is to impose a new duty on the officers of the Crown, these objectives will necessitate expenditures of a nature which would require the financial initiative of the Crown”.

On September 19, 2006, in the case of Bill C-293, An Act respecting the provision of official development assistance abroad, the Speaker ruled on the need for a royal recommendation for the creation of an advisory committee that:

—the establishment of the advisory committee for international development cooperation provided for in clause 6 clearly would require the expenditure of public funds...

On February 11, 2008, in the case of Bill C-474 provisions, for the appointment of representatives for an advisory council, the Speaker ruled that this required a royal recommendation:

Clause 7 of the bill provides for the governor in council to appoint 25 representatives to the advisory council....As the provision in Bill C-474 is such that the governor in council could choose to pay a salary to these representatives, this involves an appropriation of a part of the public revenue and should be accompanied by a royal recommendation.

These precedents also apply to Bill C-501. As I have mentioned, the bill's proposal to appoint an adjudicator would increase government spending for a new purpose and therefore must be accompanied by a royal recommendation.

Royal Recommendation—Bill C-501
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I thank the hon. member for his submissions. I am sure we will hear more from other hon. members on the point before I render a decision. Therefore, I will take the matter under advisement at this time.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion—Quebec’s traditional demands
Business of Supply
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Before question period, the honourable member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel had the floor, and he had a minute and a half left for his remarks.

The hon. member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel has the floor.

Opposition Motion—Quebec’s traditional demands
Business of Supply
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, in my speech before question period I was mentioning the results of a survey which the Bloc Québécois conducted with the Intellectuels pour la souveraineté du Québec, a survey carried out from March 18 to April 6. There were 1,001 respondents in Quebec and 1,007 respondents in Canada outside Quebec.

There continues to be a strong impression in Quebec. Many Quebeckers would like to see Canada reformed. About 45% of the population is in favour of sovereignty, but Quebeckers have a very strong desire to reform Canada. What we are trying to get Quebeckers and Canadians to understand is that Canada is not going to reform itself.

In the survey, when Quebeckers are asked whether a new division of powers and resources should be negotiated between Quebec and Ottawa so that Quebec is recognized as having special status, 73% of Quebeckers say yes and 71% of Canadians say no. When asked whether the Quebec government should have more powers to protect the French language and culture, 82% of Quebeckers say yes and 69% of Canadians say no. Should the Government of Canada respect in Quebec the provisions of Bill 101, which makes French the only official language in Quebec? To this question, 90% of Quebeckers say yes and 74% of Canadians say no. When Quebeckers are asked whether they are Quebeckers, French Canadians or Canadians, 67% say Quebecker, 21% say Canadian and 12% say French Canadian. In 1995, however, 47% of Quebeckers called themselves Quebeckers

Quebeckers must be made to understand that Canada is not going to reform itself.

Opposition Motion—Quebec’s traditional demands
Business of Supply
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to give the member an opportunity to finish his last line. The statistics are important background information to have.

I also want to ask him about the responsibility Quebec has for representing the interests of francophones across the rest of the country. They rely very heavily on a number of jurisdictions or services provided by Quebec, many of which are funded by the federal government in terms of providing services to francophones across the country.