House of Commons Hansard #147 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the hon. member from the Conservative Party. I heard him say how discouraged he was about the way the committee acted, about all the emails he is receiving and all that. It is odd, but I am not receiving the same kind of emails.

Given the way it was presented, I would like to pursue the matter. He was talking about the way that big stack of information was delivered. Does he remember when Professor Franks from Queen's University told us during his testimony that it would take at least until July to read everything in detail? The Standing Committee on Finance had requested these documents four months earlier. It took the Speaker of the House of Commons to force the government to present its stack of documents through the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, who is not even answering members' questions today.

I would like the hon. member to say a few words about that.

Also, I noticed in committee that the Conservatives were able to illustrate every possible way a committee should not work.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the member from the NDP shared most of his time at committee with the member for Winnipeg Centre which really was part of the problem. I have received more comment on the behaviour of the member for Winnipeg Centre than anything I have ever seen in this House. As chair of a committee, I have never seen a more disruptive member than that member. I would ask his own whip, and perhaps his leader, to take him under control.

There is a meeting of volunteer firefighters and fire chiefs right here on the Hill tonight. For those who are thinking of voting against the budget, why do they not go and talk to them?

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise and ask my hon. esteemed colleague a question about this. I want to ask him what his constituents think? Because back home in Wetaskiwin here is what my constituents see. They see the plaintiffs, who consist of the majority of coalition members, putting a motion before a Speaker, who is elected as one of the members of the parties, who makes a ruling that sends it to a committee where the plaintiffs actually outnumber the defendants, and they come to a conclusion that we are in contempt.

Do this member's constituents see this as the sham that it actually is, as my constituents do?

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have to agree with my colleague's question, that yes I do. However, the real answer is it went further than that. The report was written before the committee was finished hearing witnesses. There was the report in front of us to try to find the guilt. This is like the members of a jury, before they arrive to be picked, all agreeing that it is going to be that way.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst on a point of order.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives were already of the mindset that there was no violation of the rules of the House or the rights of the MPs. They were already of the mindset to defend their government without even listening to the witnesses.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

That is not a point of order.

The hon. member for Mississauga South is rising on a point of order.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

March 23rd, 2011 / 5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the House is now seized with a question of the government being in contempt of Parliament and the questioner and the chairman of the committee both have stated in this place, denigrating Parliament and its processes under the rules of this place. This appears to be yet another example of contempt for the rules of Parliament.

I would like both members to withdraw their comments about characterizing Parliament as a kangaroo court.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have a hard time with a Conservative MP saying that the Speaker referred the question of privilege to committee because the Speaker was not from his party.

The Speaker was democratically elected by the elected members of this House. The hon. member may recall that his party also voted for this Speaker. He is showing a lack of respect for the Speaker of the House of Commons.

I would like the hon. member to apologize to the Speaker of the House of Commons. What he just said in the House is shameful.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is no way we call into disrepute the Speaker of this House. He is an honourable gentleman. He makes his decisions on the basis of the law.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the member should apologize for what he said about the Speaker.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

I have not heard anything that would require an apology. The Chair will examine the transcript. If there is any reason to come back to the House to make any kind of request, we will do so in due course. We will move on.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Joliette.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:15 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have left?

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

You have 10 minutes left for your speech.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

5:15 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would have liked to take the whole 30 minutes allocated to the Bloc Québécois. I would have shared my time with the member for Beauharnois—Salaberry. The government used an unfair tactic and moved to proceed to the orders of the day when there were mere minutes left. We obviously could not start debate on the budget. I believe that it was an attempt to muzzle the opposition parties, in particular the Bloc and the NDP.

I would remind the members that after the Liberal member for Kings—Hants raised a question of privilege, the Speaker gave a ruling in which he found a prima facie breach of privilege. He allowed the member to move a motion, which concluded as follows:

...Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs for a final determination on the government's compliance, or lack thereof, and that the committee report back its findings and recommendations no later than March 21, 2011.

Whether the government and the Conservative members of the committee like it or not, the majority decision of the committee is very clear. I would like to read the end of that decision:

...the Committee concludes the following:

1) That the government has failed to produce the specific documents ordered to be produced by the Standing Committee on Finance and by the House;

2) That the government has not provided a reasonable excuse;

3) That the documents tabled in the House and in Committee do not satisfy the orders for production of documents; nor do they provide a reasonable excuse [a point on which the Chair placed particular emphasis in his decision];

4) That this failure impedes the House in the performance of its functions; and

5) That the government’s failure to produce documents constitutes a contempt of Parliament.

The Bloc would be completely in favour of concurring in the report if ever there is a concurrence vote in this regard. Clearly, the government did not comply with the request of the Standing Committee on Finance and the House, under false pretences. First, the government told us that it would not submit the documents because they contained cabinet secrets. That was the response the government gave on November 24 regarding the F-35s and the tax cuts.

On December 1, the government gave the same response regarding the justice issue: it was a cabinet secret. As the debate progressed, the government knew it was in hot water. It tried to avoid the question of privilege that had to be raised.

On February 17, the government tabled documents. This is the first rather incredible thing. On November 24 and December 1, the government said that it could not table any documents because they contained cabinet secrets and then on a Liberal Party opposition day on the issue—