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Amendment to Bill C-228 at Committee StagePoints of OrderGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2022 / 1:10 p.m.
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Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to raise this point of order. What I would like to do is just give a brief summary of the issue and give a couple of examples of parliamentary precedent that I think bear on the case and then propose a remedy.

This is with respect to Bill C-228. At committee, an amendment was moved to not only protect the pensions of workers when companies went bankrupt, but to also protect their termination and severance pay. It was an amendment that was agreed to by the bill's sponsor in advance of the second reading vote. It was ruled out of order by the committee chair. That was overturned by the committee itself. Subsequently, in response to a point of order by the member for Winnipeg North, that amendment protecting termination and severance pay was removed by the Speaker as being out of order.

There are a few examples in parliamentary history where amendments that were removed for the very same reason, which was that it was determined it was outside the scope of the bill, have been put back in with the unanimous consent of the House of Commons.

I refer specifically to June 17, 1986, when Speaker Bosley ruled three government motions in amendment at report stage of Bill C-106, at that time, were out of order because they went beyond the scope of the bill. The parliamentary secretary to the president of the Privy Council at that time asked Speaker Bosley whether the motions could be put to the House for unanimous consent. The Speaker agreed, and the amendment motions were reintroduced in the bill with the unanimous consent of the House.

Similarly, on April 28, 1992, the House was about to begin consideration at report stage of Bill C-54. The admissibility of three amendments to the bill, which had been adopted in committee, were called into question on a point of order. The three amendments were ruled out of order by the chairman of the committee, as two of the amendments sought to amend the parent act and a third, like these, went beyond the scope of the bill, but the chairman's decisions were overturned by the committee.

After hearing comments from other members, Speaker Fraser ruled immediately that the inadmissible amendments adopted by the committee to Bill C-54 be declared null and void and no longer form part of the bill as reported to the House. Right after the ruling, the amendments in question were agreed to by the House, once again, by unanimous consent.

I submitted these amendments again for report stage of the bill, which will begin tomorrow, so it is timely that I am raising this point of order now, with report stage of that bill pending for tomorrow, and—