House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Kenora
Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

moved that Bill C-38, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It appears that Bill C-38, as tabled in the House, may not be the correct version.

MPs have been given at least two different versions of Bill C-38 in preparation for today's debate. One version has 421 numbered pages of legislative text, and that was the version that was given to opposition MPs in the opposition lobby immediately after the legislation was tabled in the House. Another version has 425 numbered pages of legislative text, and that is the version that has been distributed to MPs through Parliament's postal and distribution service and online through the Parliament of Canada website. It appears that either the opposition MPs were given the wrong copy of the bill when the bill was tabled in the House, or the wrong copy is being more widely distributed to MPs and the public in advance of today's debate.

Is there text that appears in one copy but is missing from the other? We do not know. We are relying on hard copies of legislation that are over 400 pages in length, so it is virtually impossible to verify the source of each discrepancy.

How can everyone follow the debate on Bill C-38 when what is on page 310 in one version is clearly nowhere to be found on page 310 in the other?

It is also not clear which version of the bill we should use to propose amendments or prepare for clause-by-clause at committee.

On page 728 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, it states:

In the past, the Speaker has directed that the order for second reading of certain bills be discharged, when it was discovered that they were not in their final form and were therefore not ready to be introduced.

The fact is that MPs have been preparing for today's debate with two different versions of Bill C-38. That will certainly impede our ability to properly debate the bill. We are told by the Parliamentary Budget Officer that the government has kept two different sets of books on F-35 costs, but it is a little much when the government presents two versions of its own budget implementation legislation.

If the government tabled one bill at first reading and then printed another version for members of Parliament, the debate cannot be allowed to continue at this time. I ask that this matter be clarified and corrected before the debate on Bill C-38 is allowed to proceed.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the process for the introduction of a bill is that the bill is provided to the Journals branch of the House of Commons that then distributes it as the official bill when it is introduced, and it is available through Journals to all members of Parliament. As for any other copies that may have been circulating, I cannot comment on that.

This is the official bill that has been introduced, and that is the bill we intend to have debated. There should be no confusion, unless some error has been made by Journals in what has been distributed, but I cannot imagine that this is the case.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague across the way for the explanation of the discrepancy, if in fact there is a discrepancy that has been pointed out by my other colleague.

There is a certain amount of “trust us” in this, that the bills are in fact the same. For something as critical as this, I am not sure what powers you, Mr. Speaker, actually have to answer the request made by my friend down the way.

It seems to be a very important one, particularly if we are essentially meant to take the government at its word that there is no difference between the bills that we saw in the House and the bill that has been distributed to Canadians and MPs outside of the House, also through official channels. I suppose that is my point. It is meant to be the same source.

I know you will take some reference on this, Mr. Speaker, but we will be very curious for your ruling if there is an ability for us to pause debate for a moment while the government rectifies this. Is there more important legislation than the budget implement act? It is hard to say.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will make one further brief submission. I do not believe there is any difference in the content of the two bills that are circulating.

I am told that one of them has a table of contents and that accounts for the difference in the page numbers. I expect that none of this should result in a delay of the debate or an impeding of the debate of the bill. I would be happy to examine, if there is in fact, exactly what the difference is between the bill that he has and the official bill which we will debate, which is the one that has been circulated through Journals and introduced into Parliament.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader has not clarified and confirmed whether in fact opposition members were given the wrong copy. There are two choices. Either opposition MPs were given the wrong copy or the current copy now being distributed by the government is wrong.

This is material. This is not a trivial matter. In terms of the proposal of amendments and the discussion, it is important that we have the identical copy.

I suggest we cannot proceed with debate until you, Mr. Speaker, have had the opportunity to rule on this.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

May 2nd, 2012 / 3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I understand the one that was tabled with Journals is the one that has the table of contents. There may be another that is circulating for people if they wish, which was the old form in which these bills were done in the past.

This one was done with the table of contents. That is what was introduced and that is what we are here to debate. There is no reason why we cannot proceed with that debate. In terms of every clause, the table of contents not being part of the clauses of the bill, the working copy he has versus the one that was introduced are identical.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, for the sake of clarity here, when the clerk, a few moments ago, called the title of the bill in response to your indication that we were now at orders of the day in our agenda for today, the clerk rose in response to that, as is traditional, and called Bill C-38, reading the title of it.

Could the table indicate to us which version of the bill was before the clerk when the clerk called that item for discussion today, so we know exactly what we are debating from here on forward?

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to table the two different versions that have discrepancies between pages, for example, page 310 in one version is different from page 310 in another, to help aid you in your deliberations, if that is helpful.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I can inform the House that the version of the bill called, Bill C-38, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, has 425 numbered pages. The short title is “Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act”. This was the version of the bill that was tabled in the House. This was the version of the bill that was before the clerk when the clerk called orders of the day. With that, I am prepared to let debate proceed.

In terms of what was distributed, we can look into that and find out from Journals. If there was an error, we can come back to the House on that. In terms of what is before the House, the version that was called today is the same version that was tabled in the House.