Evidence of meeting #21 for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was amendment.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Bonnie Charron

9:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

Thank you, and good morning, everyone. Welcome to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, meeting 21. Orders of the day are pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, March 3, 2010, Bill C-442, National Holocaust Monument Act.

When we last left committee, we had dealt with the first Liberal amendment on clause 7, and we are now entertaining amendment LIB-3 on clause 7.

Mr. Jean.

9:15 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

I'm not sure if everybody has received a copy of the latest amendments from the government, but I think they have, and I would like to table those at this time, just to make sure they're all in order and that we can deal with them as we come up to the clause.

9:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

Okay.

Mrs. Crombie.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

I haven't received any amendments.

9:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

That's good then. That was my next question.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

I haven't received any amendments. I don't know what you're referring to.

9:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

Okay. Then we have them to distribute to you.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

A point of order. Are we going to entertain amendments that some of us haven't received and haven't reviewed?

9:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

We can entertain amendments in any fashion, whether they are presented previously or at the table during the discussion, Mrs. Crombie.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Is there not a procedure for tabling amendments the way you have to table a motion, with 48 hours' notice at a minimum?

9:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

No. When we're doing amendments, they can actually be drafted as we're having dialogue. They can happen instantaneously.

So does everyone have a copy now, just to be sure?

I think everyone has the information in front of them now. So we will now move to clause 7, the Liberal amendment 3.

(On clause 7—Public land and maintenance of Monument)

Mr. Volpe.

June 3rd, 2010 / 9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Chairman, might I be permitted a moment to review everything?

This is for all the members who were not present last time.

We left off on clause 7. Our Liberal amendment, amendment L-2, which you will find on page 8.1 of our documentation, says that Bill C-442, in clause 7, be amended by replacing lines 8 to 10 on page 3 with the following:

7. The Minister shall be responsible for the construction and maintenance of the Monument.

That particular amendment passed.

Then, because some members noted that we hadn't dealt with subclause 7(2) as we were voting for clause 7 as amended, some discussion began to circulate regarding the fundraising campaign to cover the cost of the construction of the monument.

It was our contention then that all that happened, as far as we were concerned, was that when we were preparing our amendment, we had inadvertently eliminated the portion that would have said.... Instead of lines 8 to 10, it should have been lines 8 to 13. Accepting clause 7, i.e. amendment L-2, would have made that subclause redundant.

What we've done to remedy that confusion is introduce our amendment L-3, which states that we delete lines 11 to 13 on page 3. It was, at the time, the suggestion of the Bloc member present that we could handle it in one of two ways: either make clause 8 as it exists part of clause 7 or just go on to clause 8 afterwards and move along.

It is still our contention that what we wanted, and what we thought was the intent of the mover of this bill, is for the Government of Canada to establish a location in the National Capital Commission for a national Holocaust memorial on behalf of all Canadians. I stress the words “all Canadians”; so that all Canadians would have an opportunity to commemorate the tragedy visited upon so many victims of the evil that was perpetrated by one ideological faction in the world. And we wanted to do that.

All of us accepted the idea that it would be Canadians and their government recognizing the importance of a Holocaust memorial, not a special group, not a particular group, and not anywhere else in the country except in the national capital region to indicate the commitment of the Canadian public to this. So we had accepted that principle through all the clauses leading up to clause 7. We feel that the elimination of subclause 7(2) of clause 7 is consistent with everything else the committee has accepted so far.

Moreover, nothing ever precludes a fundraising campaign by interested citizens from taking place--nothing. But it doesn't have to be prescribed in law. So if a council were not to come forward, and if a council were not to be a part of the spearheading of a fundraising campaign, and God forbid, if that fundraising campaign weren't able to bring forward sufficient funds to erect such a monument in the national capital region, what would then happen?

It was our contention that we shouldn't leave that to the vagaries of chance, when we already have at our disposal the mechanisms necessary for erecting such a monument. We have a bill that was unanimously accepted by the House. And we have, as we saw last week in a discussion of the estimates, the funds already available in the national capital region to be able to erect such a monument, to eliminate all of the potential mitigating vagaries of such a fundraising campaign, or in fact, if the government wanted to back away from something, it need not happen.

So significant is the erection of this monument that we need not put it at the chance of a council that may or may not come up with the funds in the prescribed period of time. The minister's answer to my question about whether the government was prepared to provide royal recommendation, i.e., to pay for it, was yes, no doubt.

So cost is no longer an issue. Implication on the finances of the government is no longer an issue. The legislative authority to act is already vested in the National Capital Commission, which is responsible to the minister we interviewed on the estimates a few days ago.

Mr. Chairman, the last time we went through a whole series of scenarios regarding amendments, etc., it took us all by surprise on this side of the House that the government would introduce an amendment to every single clause in the bill that their backbencher presented and that all opposition parties supported. For the government to come forward with amendments that would completely gut the bill, completely change the intention of the bill, and try to tactically buy into some other agenda is just absolutely unacceptable to us.

We regret the fact that for whatever reason we did not clarify subclause 7(2). We thought we did, and this amendment is there to ensure there is no confusion about the way the committee had already accepted all the amendments up to and including subclause 7(1).

I'm hoping that all members around the table will accept the third Liberal amendment, which reinforces the fact that the government must allocate the land and provide the funds for erecting and maintaining this monument. This monument will be a Canadian public testament to the horrors of the Holocaust and to the suffering of those who survived and those who didn't, and also a testament to mankind's need to stay ever vigilant against evils that find their way into government and perpetuate and perpetrate genocidal and other types of atrocities.

Mr. Chairman, I know all members around the table agree with that. That's why I'm sure everybody will support the Liberal amendment to clarify clause 7, subclauses (1) and (2) by eliminating subclause (2) of clause 7. Thank you.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

Mr. Jean, on a point of order.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Just a point of clarification, not a point of order. The first government amendment, G-6.1, obviously deals with that clause as well. I just wanted to point that out, that it is in the same....

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

I'll rule on that, yes.

For the information of all members, the LIB-3 amendment is admissible, but if it is accepted and adopted, then G-6.1, G-8.1, and a section of G-10 wouldn't be allowed to be moved.

Mr. Jean.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Yes, Mr. Chair. I think we've heard from Mr. Volpe, and certainly I would suggest that all of us at this table are very interested in making sure this happens. It's just how we get there, but certainly I think our proposal in relation to this particular amendment.... Do you want me to deal with it now or are we going to deal with...?

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

We'll deal with the LIB-3 amendment first.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

All right. I have nothing further to say. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

Okay. Any other comment?

Mr. Volpe.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Just a point of clarification on what you said, Mr. Chairman, and that is if members around the table accept our amendment to subclause 7(2), all the others, G-6.1, G-7.1, and G-8.1 will not be receivable.

I'm wondering whether it would be better, before you take the vote on the acceptance or not of our amendment, that you rule on whether these proposed amendments by the government are receivable anyway. I think you might want to do that, because members of the government side will probably condition their vote on our amendment on the basis of whether they can propose another amendment.

You haven't entertained a discussion on these yet, but I think you need to be able to clarify for us whether these amendments are receivable and in order, given all the decisions the committee has already made on the bill.

9:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

Before I recognize Mr. Watson on a point of order, to make sure the record is clear, if Liberal-3 is adopted, G-6.1, G-8.1, and a section of G-10.... You had included G-7.1 and it's not....

It wouldn't be fair for me to rule on an amendment that hasn't been presented. We are dealing with LIB-3, and that's what I want the committee to focus on.

Mr. Watson, on the point of order.

9:30 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

You actually corrected it, Mr. Chair.

I thought Mr. Volpe had said the wrong potential amendments would be affected, but you did clarify that it's G-6.1, G-8.1, and part of G-10.

9:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

Thank you.

Is there any other comment?

(Amendment negatived)

We will now move to government amendment 6.1.

Mr. Jean.

9:30 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Yes, Mr. Chair. This follows through with the government's commitment in relation to the planning, designing, construction, installing, and maintaining the monument, and other costs incurred, that Canadians can actually participate in this. The council itself will spearhead a fundraising campaign to cover these costs, and all Canadians and other people throughout the world can participate in this monument.

9:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

Mr. Volpe, on a point of order.