House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was artists.

Topics

Decorum
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, this is a separate point of order but ties in a bit with what has been happening in the last little while.

We are concerned about decorum in the House. The applause yesterday for the demonstrator is an encouragement for decorum to continue to decline. The NDP made a pledge for proper decorum in the House, but I was very disturbed today by the fact that the NDP applauded the statement made by the member for Halifax that was very demeaning to seniors in Canada. This occurred during question period.

At first one could view this as just the view of the one member for Halifax, but the laughter of the members opposite, like the member for Winnipeg Centre, demonstrates an attitude that really concerns me. The label given to seniors by this MP is totally unacceptable. The laughter she engaged in after making those derogatory comments reflects a problem that goes a lot deeper than just the comments made. The decorum in the House on the part of the NDP has slipped considerably.

I am asking you, Mr. Speaker, what could be done to remedy this situation?

The comment is an insult to seniors across this country. The member did not retract her statement. She had lots of time to do that. I would like you to review that and if you agree with me that this is demeaning to Parliament, I would like to pursue this further.

Decorum
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments made by the hon. member in defence of seniors. That being said, the comments that the minister is making about the hon. member for Halifax having twisted herself into a pretzel are no more ministerial or sensible.

We will take no lessons from a government that treats the opposition in such a cavalier manner, denies it the basic right to debate most of the bills introduced in the House and is acting almost like a dictatorship.

This results in a type of behaviour that is somewhat unfortunate. Indeed, we would like there to be decorum, but decorum and respect have to be earned.

Decorum
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will keep my remarks short. What is disturbing is using legitimate points of order as an attempt to create a narrative that then can go out to the public. That undermines the role of a point of order.

The idea that members of the New Democratic Party are to sit and be polite to whatever government insults they receive on a daily basis—

Decorum
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:25 p.m.

An hon. member

A point of order.

Decorum
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

This is a point of order.

Decorum
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I have just been informed that the earpieces are not working.

They are working now. The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

Decorum
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. colleague is concerned that the term that the member was acting like a grumpy old man was somehow to be inferred as a complete insult to senior citizens across this country. People back home would think this is kind of like the bully who suddenly gets challenged.

If we are going to talk about legitimate points of order, we should be following basic parliamentary procedures, not “he called me that” or “she called me this”, especially when we see the kind of ridicule that comes off the government benches on a daily basis.

I would urge you, Mr. Speaker, to be mindful of the larger role of parliamentary democracy and not be taken in by these attempts to rewrite the public record as being malicious attempts to undermine everything that is good in this country just because we are doing our job of challenging ministers who are refusing to answer questions.

Decorum
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I appreciate that some members may want to add, but we have gone on now for over half an hour on these points. The Chair has heard enough on all three issues raised today and we will move on to orders of the day.

The hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh is rising on a different point of order.

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Privilege
Oral Questions

November 24th, 2011 / 3:30 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I had advised you that I would be responding to the question of privilege that was raised by the President of the Treasury Board yesterday.

I stand to respond to the question of privilege he raised. He raised it with respect to the apparent altering of the official record of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

The first note I would make is that there seems to be some ambiguity. I was not quite sure where he was going with this, so I will perhaps pose this rhetorical question. Is he asking the Speaker to rule on whether and how the blues were altered? It was not entirely clear, but I think that is where he was going.

If that is the thrust of his question of privilege, certainly members on the official opposition side would—

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. I have just been informed of a problem with channels 2 and 5. In the interim, I would suggest members use channel 1, which is the floor channel, and there should not be any interference. In the meantime, we will try to resolve the problem.

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, if in fact the request is for you, Mr. Speaker, and your office to determine whether the blues were altered and how, members on this side of the House would be in full support of that.

However, we would note that the point that was at issue, and would ask you to address it if that is the thrust of where we are going, is how the formal commitment contained within the committee blues for the President of the Treasury Board to provide documents to the public through the committee was struck from the official record.

You have repeatedly heard the term “sure, sure” in response to questions from the member for Timmins—James Bay, and that those words had been taken out. I think the President of the Treasury Board was in fact admitting that it happened, that the initial draft came with the word “sure” twice in response to questions from the member for Timmins—James Bay, and that they were not there in the official record when it was finalized. How that came about, we would like to know.

On the other hand, if the government seeks to engage in a thorough debate about how it is that the Conservative government, through its ministers, continue to withhold vital information about how public money was spent by the President of the Treasury Board, we would respond very vigorously that we would like to do that as well; that is, engage in that debate.

It is entirely possible that the privileges of all of the members of the House were breached by his actions in the public accounts committee, first by saying “sure”, and then by not giving the documents as he appears to have made a very clear commitment in that regard.

However, if the President of the Treasury Board is hoping to correct the record as to what was said to the media in the press conference in the morning, if that was the thrust of where he was going, and I had some sense of that although it was not entirely clear, that is beyond the purview of you and this Chamber.

Therefore, if he wants to try to correct whatever impression was left there, that is a question of debate--

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. I am sorry to keep stopping the hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh.

Do we still having problems?

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I brought it up before. I think channel 2 is not working, which is the English channel. I am also getting tweets from the general public saying they cannot hear either.

I do not know what is happening. Maybe we want to suspend. I am not sure.

Suspension of Sitting
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

In light of the technical difficulties and in the interests of allowing members to hear what is being said, we will suspend for a few minutes while we try to sort this out.

(The sitting of the House was suspended at 3:36 p.m.)

(The House resumed at 3:44 p.m.)