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Evidence of meeting #28 for Procedure and House Affairs in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was question.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

John Hollins  Former Chief Electoral Officer of Ontario, As an Individual

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Yes. And actually Garry Breitkreuz is a good buddy of mine, and I worked with him, and I said, “Look, I'll speak to my party, I'll speak to people on this issue, I will see if we can't get more New Democrats who think my way to vote on a simple bill”, which eventually we were able to do. And I thought if they treat me like this, imagine what they do to people who really like the registry.

So basically there is the work that I've been doing over the years trying to promote the end of the registry, because I believe there's a different way that we can handle certain gun crime in the legislation of this country, there's a different way of doing it, instead of the one that we had with us from Mr. Allan Rock. And all of a sudden these people now question my ability and are thinking that maybe I wasn't telling the truth and was just being a political opportunist. That's where the privilege comes in. And then they're reading, “No, no, all of what I said for 25 years is correct. This is an unfortunate error, and it's a lie.” “Well, I don't know. It comes from the government; they wouldn't do that on purpose, would they?” I go, “Well...” What can I say?

Thank you.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Thank you, Mr. Godin.

That's once around. I'm willing to take more speakers. I have one on the list. But we know if we go one more time around, we'll have very little time at the end of the meeting with which to talk about what we're doing. It's the choice of the group.

Madame DeBellefeuille, you're the one I have on my list.

12:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

I would like to ask a question.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

You have the floor.

12:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Stoffer, thank you for being here.

Regardless of the ten percenters, it is a matter of principles. This week in the House of Commons, I heard a lot of things that surprised me, as a woman. Mr. Vellacott, for example, seemed to be attacking women. Immediately, I wondered what he would say if his riding received ten percenters saying that he was discriminating against women. That is my perception, my belief. It may be a matter of opinion. I could have easily responded with an accusation. Unemployed workers were also treated like no-good bastards. We could take advantage of that to attack the Conservative member who said it. How can an elected representative treat the unemployed and those who are losing their jobs like no-good bastards?

The member apologized, but one could think that he believed what he said. Given your experience and Mr. Cotler's, that kind of comment makes me think that we are so far gone that we need to question people and set boundaries. Communicating with voters through householders is a privilege. So the fact that that privilege was used to launch vile attacks on a member regarding their beliefs means that we really need to stop and look at the problem, discuss it and set new boundaries.

I am very disappointed by these events. Thank you for your remarks. I hope that your testimony and that of others will prompt the Board of Internal Economy to define more appropriate parameters for the use of ten percenters.

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Madame, and sir, if I may say in conclusion, thank you all very much, and you're absolutely right: this was an unfortunate circumstance, but out of every unfortunate circumstance there are ways at the end of the day that maybe we can learn something from all of this collectively—not individually but collectively. And maybe, just maybe, we can actually be nicer to one another, and the information that we send across the country using taxpayers' money can be of a kind that either we're building our own party or we're sending out messages about what we've done, or maybe we moved a motion or bill that was very happy.

I looked at Mr. Watson the other day. He moved the unanimous motion on adoption. Fantastic! Now, if he sent that into the riding and said, “You know, your member of Parliament, as a Conservative member, I did this. We got consent from everyone, and this is a great thing for adoptive parents”—beautiful. That's great. If for whatever reason somebody decided to vote against it, like the Bloc did on the issue of the children, that's the Bloc's decision, or the Conservatives', the NDP's, or the Liberals'. How we vote is always important, it's always on the record, but to go and slam people repeatedly on that with taxpayers' money I think needs to cease. I think at the end of the day this committee and others will get together and maybe have a couple of beers, or a glass of red wine from the Niagara region—may I say they have very good wine there—or the Annapolis Valley, and maybe start looking at each other and realize, you know, we're not bad folks. As Bob Dylan says, we sell things from a different point of view.

At the end of the day, we have to be responsible to the taxpayer, and responsible to each other, because tit for tat never works in this game.

Again, I thank the honourable members, and Mr. Chairman, your committee, and you, sir, for the opportunity, and hopefully at the end of the day something good can come out of it. I thank you so much for your time.

Merci beaucoup.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Thank you for coming today, Mr. Stoffer. It's been very good to hear.

We will suspend and go in camera to talk about what report this committee will do and how we will deal with the question.

Thank you very much for coming. It was a class act, Peter.

[Proceedings continue in camera]

[Public proceedings resume]

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

We are now in public.

I believe, Mr. Godin, you have a notice of motion.

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Yes, and it reads as follows:

Given that the Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Wanuskewin used his mailing privileges to send misinformation and untruths to the riding of the Member of Parliament for Sackville-Eastern Shore, be it so moved that the Member for Saskatoon-Wanuskewin reimburse the House of Commons from his member's budget and/or the Conservative Caucus Services budget for the cost of this mailing.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Mr. Godin, before we go further I have to rule that motion out of order. It goes well beyond the mandate of this committee and the matter we're speaking of on privilege.

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Is there an explanation for why?

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Yes, it goes beyond the mandate that we're allowed to do here. It is, in fact, asking for something this committee cannot do.

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

But we're writing a report to be sent to the House of Commons, and that could be part of our report. If the House accepts the report, that means they accept what we have said to them. The House could refuse the report.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Sir, that could very well be part of the report, if we were at the point where we were writing the report. You've given us a notice of motion, and the motion doesn't say that. The motion asks for things to happen that are beyond the mandate of this committee to do.

Mr. Proulx.

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Chair, I think we have more witnesses that we should be hearing. I think we should probably invite Mr. Vellacott.

November 26th, 2009 / 12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

On a point of order, is this issue...?

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

I've ruled against it at this moment, so we're not on the motion, that's for sure. We're on committee business.

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

We're on committee business.

I think we should hear more witnesses. One of the witnesses we should hear is the member for Saskatoon--Wanuskewin, to understand exactly how it happened this way.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Point of order, Mr. Chair.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Excuse me, Mr. Proulx, I have a point of order.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Should we go back in camera?

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Isn't the conduct of future business normally done in camera?

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

We're on business, it's not future business. It's the business of the point of privilege that we've been discussing. It's not new business.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

I follow that. All I'm saying is that normally, when we start discussing who we're going to have as witnesses and that kind of thing, that is done at an in camera meeting. I think Mr. Guimond's point is that may not be binding upon us. That may well be the case, and if that's the case and it's the will of the committee to stay in public, we can do that. But I raised a point of order because normally it is conducted in camera.

12:45 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

We had a majority motion.