House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was representation.

Topics

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is it agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation Motion
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to Bill C-20, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867, the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act and the Canada Elections Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and

At fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business on the day designated for the consideration of the said stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation Motion
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Pursuant to Standing Order 67(1) there will now be a 30-minute question period. I would ask hon. members to keep their questions and responses to about a minute so we can accommodate more questions and more members.

As in previous question periods, members of the opposition will be recognized more often than government members to allow questioning from the opposition parties. Some members of the government will no doubt be accommodated as well.

The hon. member for Windsor--Tecumseh.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation Motion
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

11 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are again going down the same road which the government has obviously chosen to go down to thwart debate in the House, and quite frankly to thwart the democracy that the debate supports.

I want to put on the record again in Hansard that the Conservatives have obviously decided that they want to set a record for the number of time allocation motions. We are up to 43 sitting days so far in this session of Parliament. They are trying to catch up with the Liberals and are doing a really good job at it.

The Liberals took 122 sitting days before they set the record with nine time allocation motions. As this is the seventh one by the government in 43 days, I ask the government House leader, how many more are we going to have? On what possible basis can he say that we need time allocation for this bill which has changed quite dramatically from its earlier incarnation? There is a significant shift in the bill that requires significant debate.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation Motion
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

11 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the question, if there is a record being set, I think it has been set by the opposition. That would be the record for the most number of reasoned amendments ever in such a short period of time. Those are amendments from the opposition that aim to prevent a bill from getting past second reading. The opposition has moved such a reasoned amendment, saying that this bill should not go past second reading. The opposition has made up its mind. It has said that the debate is over. It has said that it is going to vote against the bill. All that is left is to allow this House to decide. That is the purpose of our motion, to allow it to happen.

The reason we think it is important to do so in this case is best captured in the words of the member for Hamilton Centre, the NDP critic for democratic reform, who said, “If we don't have those seats available”--the ones that are being generated by this bill--“for the next election, then the government has failed in terms of the promise they made”.

As we know, the census results will be released in February. The redistribution process will begin at that point. That means this bill has to get through this House at second reading, through a committee, back to this House for report stage and third reading, then over to the Senate for second reading, through committee, and third reading there, and then royal assent by the Governor General, all before the redistribution process in order to fulfill the objectives set out by the NDP critic for democratic reform.

That sets out the imperative of the timeline we are under, the reason we feel the need to move in this fashion to achieve those objectives. That is indeed why we are doing it in this case.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation Motion
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

11 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I listened to the government House leader, particularly when he was quoting me, which I stand by.

I think it is the purpose for all of us. We go through a lot of different processes in the course of debate. There is a lot of zigging and a lot of zagging, but at the end of the day, I think there is a collective commitment, certainly I know the government has one and we in the official opposition have one, to have the appropriate bill in place that gives our provinces and territories the appropriate number of seats.

We have a challenge in front of us. We have the government bill in front of us, which I believe is the third go-around on this matter. We also have the bill put forward by the official opposition. They are apart, but I want to say that there is a closer resemblance to our bill and where the government is now.

If the government is planning to slice off debate here due to the time limits, will the government House leader assure us that we will have adequate time at committee to do the work that is necessary, or is he going to thoroughly stifle all democratic debate on a democratic bill and deny us the opportunity to do the work we need to do?

Bill C-20--Time Allocation Motion
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park
Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal Minister of State (Democratic Reform)

Madam Speaker, our government received a strong mandate to move toward fair representation in the House of Commons.

We have presented a principled formula, a formula that is fair for all provinces and moves every single province closer to representation by population. It is based on population figures. It is based on the fact that we have growing provinces. The provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario are significantly under-represented. It is important that we add seats to those provinces to bring them closer to representation by population.

Again, this formula brings every province closer to representation by population. We have made a commitment that we would move forward on this. That is exactly what we are doing.

The NDP members have already staked out their position. They do not even want this bill to get to second reading. They do not even want it to get to committee. They are talking about committee, but they are the ones who do not want this bill to move to committee.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation Motion
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Madam Speaker, I have a question for the House leader.

This is the umpteenth time we are debating closure instead of using House time to debate bills. I am wondering how his calculation has now come down to one day. Does that mean all future bills will be debated in less than an hour or 10 minutes, or is it going to be brought down to a few seconds? That is my question to the House leader.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation Motion
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Tim Uppal Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Madam Speaker, it is important that we get this bill to committee and passed, so the seats are available to bring Canadians fair representation and every province closer to representation by population as soon as possible. We ask the opposition to support us in passing this bill.

I have a question for the opposition. What does it have against Alberta, B.C. and Ontario getting closer to representation by population? They are significantly under-represented. As members of the House, it is our responsibility to ensure that every province gets closer to representation by population.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation Motion
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I find the trend of the government to be deeply disturbing. One is an obvious contempt for the traditions of Parliament. We are sent to the House by people from across this country to represent our regions and people, and to ensure that there is balance in legislation. Nothing is more profound than the discussion about new seat distribution.

I see the second element of the Conservative agenda being wedge politics, to accuse opposition members, who want to ensure this is done right, of somehow having something against Alberta or Ontario. I find that an odious inference.

But I find it much more odious that the government will not allow proper debate on a bill which is fundamentally about nation building. Why does it continually show contempt for the House? If it does not want debate in the House, why is this place open at all? Why is not just a Mr. Harper autocracy?

Bill C-20--Time Allocation Motion
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order. I would remind all members to refrain from using the names of sitting members.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation Motion
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I am very sorry for saying Mr. Harper's name in the House. An autocracy of—

Bill C-20--Time Allocation Motion
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

I would ask the hon. member to come to order.

The hon. Minister of State for Democratic Reform.