House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was madam.

Topics

Standing Orders and Procedure
Orders of the Day

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin Trois-Rivières, QC

Madam Speaker, to me this debate is crucial, but to some it might seem technical. I will try not to engage in partisan politics because I think we all have something to gain from this, or to lose if we do not make the right decisions about procedure.

I think that the public, who for weeks and months now have been calling for a change to the way politics is done at all levels of government, probably did not expect to see what has been going on for the past few months.

I would like to ask my colleague whether he thinks that failing to correct our current positions would make the public more cynical about politicians, which would make voter turnout in this political system, one of the best in the world, even more difficult from election to election.

Standing Orders and Procedure
Orders of the Day

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question. He is right. Clearly, there is already a great deal of cynicism in this country with regard to the behaviour of parliamentarians in this House. We must change our behaviour and we can do so in two ways. We can play with the rules. That is the discussion we are having today. It is a valid exercise to try to improve the rules so that they might indirectly help us to achieve mutual respect. Sometimes we can do this with the help of the rules.

However, the best way to improve our collective behaviour in this House is for each one of us to do some soul-searching and resolve to behave in a more respectful way in this great House of Commons, in this great democratic Parliament.

Standing Orders and Procedure
Orders of the Day

10:50 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I thank all of my colleagues for their attendance here today. I was quite surprised when I saw as many people in this place. My hon. colleague, the chief opposition whip, stated that some people may look at the Standing Orders as akin to watching paint dry. A lot of people find the Standing Orders as an extremely boring and extremely dry subject, but I do not think they should be

The Standing Orders are the very guidelines that govern us in Parliament. If we want to know what happens in question period, there are Standing Orders that tell us that. If we want to know what the decorum of speakers should be, there are Standing Orders that tell us that. If we want to know how we deal with financial transactions, there are Standing Orders that illustrate that.

Standing Orders have been around since Confederation and are really the rule book that tells all parliamentarians how to perform, what to expect and how Parliament itself should work. While that may seem somewhat boring to many, I know at least two people in Canada, former colleagues of mine from the Liberal side, Paul Szabo and Derek Lee, who will probably be watching the debate today. If those gentlemen are watching this today, I hope they are doing well in their afterlife from politics.

Standing Orders and Procedure
Orders of the Day

10:50 a.m.

An hon. member

I am getting a Twitter feed right now.

Standing Orders and Procedure
Orders of the Day

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

One of my Liberal colleagues says he is getting a Twitter feed right now from one of the two individuals I just mentioned.

All kidding aside, these were two very experienced parliamentarians who were very knowledgeable about Standing Orders and chose to share their expertise at every opportunity in the House. I am glad to hear that they are watching this debate.

This is the fourth time we have had the opportunity to debate Standing Orders in this place. In 1982 a special committee on Standing Orders and procedures recommended that in each Parliament in the first session following an election there should be a debate on Standing Orders. In the past there were many suspensions of this debate, sometimes because of an early election, or prorogation or because there had been debates on Standing Orders in other forums.

To stand here today and debate the Standing Orders and to talk about some of the proposed changes that we would like to see is a healthy thing for democracy. It allows all backbenchers as well as frontbenchers to express their views on how we govern ourselves and the rules that we adopt.

I should also point out that many of the Standing Orders that we follow today have been around literally for decades, in some cases for 100 years. There are many Standing Orders that just need to be modernized, that is some of the ones our party will be advocating and some of them will be suggestions that we will bring forward to committee.

I will give the House a few illustrations of what I mean to try and give a sense got the rest of the members in this place of the type of modernization that we think is necessary.

Standing Order 16(4) says “When the House adjourns, members shall keep their seats until the Speaker has left the Chair”. That has not been observed for generations, so why have it at all? We suggest we may want to look at deleting that phrase.

There are also references in the Standing Orders to something called “dinner hour”. In previous Parliaments many years ago, Parliament sat during the afternoon and evening and there was a specified dinner hour. That does not happen anymore, but we still have the reference in the Standing Order. We feel modernizations, deletions of terms like that, which are somewhat archaic, are necessary to ensure we have Standing Orders that actually fit the time.

I want to focus most of my remarks on a couple of issues raised by my friends in opposition, primarily on time allocation. A lot of members in this place, and a lot of members of the general public, confuse the term time allocation with closure. They are completely different elements of the democratic process that we follow in Parliament.

With respect to time allocation, what I hear from members opposite is that our government has used time allocation indiscriminately, that we have used it to try and advance our agenda without consideration to debate or to members comments opposite. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

My colleague and my friend, the chief opposition whip, said that time allocation should only be used in cases where the opposition tends to filibuster a bill. That is exactly what has been happening. We have seen time and time again with pieces of legislation that our government has introduced the opposition quite clearly and openly demonstrate to Parliament and to Canadians that it has no interest in simply debating the bill. It simply wants to delay the passage of the bill and if it had the opportunity, it would, with apologies to Quentin Tarantino, kill the bill. That is not democratic. That is simply an opposition trying to run roughshod over Parliament.

We have a democracy in the country that elects governments. We have been fortunate. We have been graced to have been given a majority government by the people of our country. Therefore, we feel very compelled to advance our legislative agenda as quickly as we can after adequate debate. However, the opposition does not believe in normal or adequate debate. It wants to delay, delay, delay and obstruct, obstruct, obstruct.

I will provide just two examples of many which prove my point.

The first example is Bill S-5, a financial institutions bill. This bill, quite frankly, is almost pro forma. The bill comes before Parliament once every five years. Its intent is to merely ratify the rules and regulations of financial institutions in Canada. In the past number of Parliaments that have dealt with Bill S-5, debate has primarily lasted one day. Usually one speaker from each party makes comments, the bill is referred to committee, in which members look at the legislation to ensure that all of the elements of the legislation in the bill are unchanged, and it is passed. Without doing so, the regulations that govern our financial institutions would basically be gone.

This bill is non-controversial and it is one that should be passed quickly. However, when we asked our friends in the opposition, primarily the official opposition, the NDP, they demonstrated absolutely no willingness to accommodate the quick passage of it out of this place and into committee so we could ensure our financial institutions would have the ability to perform as they always have. That is obstruction.

Standing Orders and Procedure
Orders of the Day

10:55 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

I am afraid I must interrupt the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. He will have three minutes to complete his comments after question period, followed by a five minute period for questions and comments.

Suicide Prevention
Statements By Members

February 17th, 2012 / 10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise to thank members of this House for their strong support of Bill C-300, an act respecting a federal framework for suicide prevention.

Bill C-300 enjoyed the unanimous support of my own Conservative Party, the NDP official opposition, the Liberal Party and the hon. members for Saanich—Gulf Islands and Edmonton East. I thank each and every one of them.

One week ago the House debated this bill. In that short week there have likely been 350 hospitalizations due to suicidal behaviours, 1,500 visits to emergency rooms, 7,000 attempts at suicide and, unfortunately, 70 of those likely ending in death.

Before the vote, Tana Nash of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council expressed her hope that Parliament would continue this vital conversation.

On behalf of Tana and the many others working on the front line to save lives, I extend my heartfelt thanks to this House for supporting Bill C-300.

National Housing Strategy
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

José Nunez-Melo Laval, QC

Madam Speaker, yesterday the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, who is the NDP housing critic, introduced a bill to establish a national housing strategy. This bill will counter the Conservative government's inaction by creating an affordable housing program that works.

On behalf of the people of Laval, I would like to take this opportunity to ask the Conservative government to support this bill. In Laval, as in most Canadian municipalities, access to affordable housing is a huge problem. Although 30% of families are renters, rental units have accounted for only 10% of construction in the past 15 years. Once again, we are feeling the effects of the government's failure to implement a long-term strategy. Families in Laval are paying the price.

Families
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Bernard Trottier Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise in the House today to salute families in my riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore. People across our community recognize that the family is the foundation of our society.

Families provide the nurturing environment for raising our children and looking after our elders. The deep bonds of family strengthen our community and make it safe, prosperous and beautiful.

On this coming Family Day weekend, Etobicoke—Lakeshore families will enjoy the skating trail in Colonel Sam Smith Park or take a stroll along the banks of the Humber River or Mimico Creek. They will enjoy the sights and sounds of our vibrant communities, from Alderwood to the Kingsway, from Islington Village to Humber Bay, from Sunnylea to Long Branch.

Families are at the centre of Canadian culture and values. That is why our government has implemented measures like the universal child care benefit, income splitting and children's arts and sports tax credits. We have also introduced tax credits for transit and text books. Measures like this help to strengthen families across this great country.

We are here for Canada and we are here for Canadian families.

Gary “The Kid” Carter
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Madam Speaker, last night, Montreal lost one of its great sons: Gary “The Kid” Carter died. Of course, my first thoughts are for his wife Sandy and their children. We would like to offer them our sincere condolences.

Gary Carter was one of my idols when I was young. In the winter, we were all little Guy Lafleurs, but in the summer, I was a catcher and I was Gary “The Kid” Carter. Gary was the real deal: he was a fighter who was full of charisma and extremely generous. He gave his heart and soul to his sport, his family and his community. He was a winner. He always made you feel important. He touched us all and was a source of inspiration for us all.

Gary Carter was a true gamer, a magnificent athlete with great values, always there when needed, a great ambassador for baseball, for sport, for Montreal.

I hope the City of Montreal pays tribute to him. In closing, I would like to quote “The Kid” himself:

“Thank You from the bottom of heart and for the many wonderful years that you gave me here. You will always be a part of me, you will always be family and you will always be #1 in my heart. Thank you—merci beaucoup—God bless you”.

Rest in peace, Kid.

Conception Bay South
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Madam Speaker, there is a great deal of respect in Canada today for our veterans, past and present, and for those who serve in the Canadian Forces. One community stands out.

The town of Conception Bay South in my riding has erected an impressive monument of honour recognizing the commitment and sacrifice of those who served in war and peacekeeping, and also our first responders in the fire and police services. To see the droves of citizens in attendance for services on Remembrance Day in November and on Memorial Day, July 1, is to realize that this extraordinary tribute reflects the feelings of the whole community.

The town of Conception Bay South has gone one step further and formalized its community's commitment to improving the quality of life of veterans and their families by being the first place in Canada to sign a veteran and family community covenant.

On Monday, February 27, the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs is visiting Newfoundland and Labrador. The members of the committee will see the monument of honour and visit with community leaders to discuss their unique way of providing needed assistance and support to veterans and their families.

Penticton Vees
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Madam Speaker, in 1955 a small-town hockey club from my riding represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships. In the gold-medal final, the Penticton Vees defeated the Russians five to zero and returned home as champions.

Fifty-seven years later, yet again something as magical is happening within my riding of Okanagan—Coquihalla. If the Penticton Vees win tonight's game against the Vernon Vipers, it will be their 33rd consecutive victory. Already the Vees have broken a 22-year-old BCHL record for the most consecutive wins.

However, what is really exciting is the leadership of this organization. From the governor through to coach Fred Harbinson they have built a culture of courage, character and commitment that is not just winning hockey games but is also a formula for success that builds great players who are model citizens off the ice. Three of these future leaders have been drafted by the NHL and a further 15 committed to the NCAA.

What is more important is that these young men visit local schools and share these values with students, which helps us to build better communities. Go Vees, go.

New Democratic Party of Canada
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Madam Speaker, the no development party has sent a leadership contestant to attack jobs and economic growth. The member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley must have been looking to upstage his colleagues from Nickle Belt, Edmonton—Strathcona and Halifax, as well as fellow leadership contestant Brian Topp.

The NDP travels abroad, undermining Canada and emphasizing its anti-trade, anti-development and anti-jobs policies. Here at home, it attacks our energy sector, lobbying to shut down the oil sands and with that, the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who earn a living in them.

NDP members also oppose the nuclear part of the energy sector, a sector that is important to my riding of New Brunswick Southwest. They even say that gas prices for moms and dads who drive their kids to soccer and hockey are artificially low. What industries they do not directly want to shut down, they hope to tax out of existence.

I hope the people of Skeena—Bulkley Valley listen very carefully to their member of Parliament and the NDP's anti-trade, anti-development, anti-jobs and anti-growth message.

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Philip Toone Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Madam Speaker, today, I would like to present a petition to the House on behalf of the people of Sainte-Thérèse-de-Gaspé who gathered signatures from 800 concerned residents. These people are concerned about the plan to abolish the employment insurance transitional measures and pilot projects as of April 2012. Fishers and forestry workers are still having a hard time.

Many people in the Gaspé have difficulty accumulating enough hours of work to even qualify for employment insurance benefits. Those who do qualify have to wait for up to six weeks without any income. We are calling on the government to maintain the transitional measures for at least two more years. The Gaspé cannot afford another exodus of workers with so many promising projects on the horizon.

The petition that I am tabling today shows that the people of the Gaspé are concerned that they will not be able to continue to live with dignity in their community for very long. The Conservative government is making a mistake by cutting employment insurance rather than eliminating subsidies for oil companies—

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order.

The hon. member for Prince George—Peace River.