House of Commons Hansard #9 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was riding.

Topics

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I must ask for unanimous consent. Is there unanimous consent?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Some hon. members

Yes.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Our friends in the Bloc and the Reform Party are consistent in their refusal. I will therefore use up the minute that is left to finish my comments, to tell briefly how worried I am by the new turn taken in this House, by the accent that is being put on regional views as a result of the elections when Canadians democratically made their choices.

We end up with, on one part, an official opposition party dedicated to breaking up Canada-it has the right to represent this view, I do not object-and on the other part, a Reform Party which just as legitimately represents a view, but a view that is not national. It did not field candidates in all ridings in the last election.

Facing them, we find a government seemingly determined to let events run their own course. I am worried. This country and this Parliament must squarely face this challenge to our future. Our duty requires that we better stress what unites us as a people. That is what a country is all about, not this expression of narrow viewpoints which tends to blame others for everything that goes wrong.

I do not agree with this type of nationalism, this rather narrow and simplistic view which has nothing in common with my own vision of our country. Canada is badly in need of a sense of its future and of a shared project.

In the next few years, I will be fighting to preserve this country's integrity and to bring out what exactly we have in common.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the stand-up comic from Sherbrooke on such an entertaining presentation. Members of the Progressive Conservative Party really missed out last June by electing someone else as their leader. They certainly made the most monumental mistake of their lives because history has proven that our gentleman from Sherbrooke is now a leader in opposition, a leader of the former Progressive Conservative Party.

I said "opposition" because he sees himself as the official opposition. The hon. member should recognize in his usual jovial manner that he is leader of absolutely nothing, but he is obviously a very good entertainer.

He talks of Canadian citizens. For five years straight I have heard the member for Sherbrooke, previously minister of this and that, talking about Canadian big business without ever mentioning Canadians. Today he remembers them.

I know the member is a grassroots politician. All of a sudden, he is forced to start all over again, to go from door to door. I congratulate him on his door-to-door campaign. It is a good start. Maybe, 25 or 30 years from now, the Progressive Conservative Party will become the official opposition.

I am not particularly attempting to reply to the member for Sherbrooke who seems suddenly to have taken it upon himself to change the rules of the game. I have always thought, during the five years that I was here, that one was not to address other members directly in the House, that one had to address the Speaker. The rules seem to have changed. I would like to comment on the House rules. Following the speech by the minister for Heritage Canada, opposition members were allowed to speak.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I would just like to remind the member for Carleton-Gloucester that when a point of order has been raised the Speaker deals with it after questions and comments.

The member for Sherbrooke's speech seems to have aroused a lot of interest. In order to allow members on both sides of the House to comment or ask questions, I would ask the member for Carleton-Gloucester to confine himself to the speech. Later, we could certainly discuss any other matter which he might want to raise.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, agreed. I give notice that I would like to raise a point of order as soon as questions and comments are over.

I wish to go back to our comedian from Sherbrooke and tell him that the difference between the new government and the old governement he was part of is that: there are glib talkers and then there are people of little action. The member for Sherbrooke has become one of those glib talkers.

The member for Sherbrooke for whom I have much affection and admiration, has made great progress. I would like to have heard him use the same tone to defend the public good over the course of the last five years. I must then congratulate him on his speech. He has finally seen the light. At long last, he is talking about people from Sherbrooke, from Chicoutimi. He has not mentioned the citizens of the national capital region but he has spoken of the westerners and the Reform Party. He referred to the Bloc Quebecois and to Canadians in general. He did forget to ask for absolution for the great sin he committed while in "another world" during nine years; that is, being spokesperson for big business rather than for Canadian citizens.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, allow me to return the compliment to my friend from Carleton-Gloucester. I know him well and have great affection for him, but I hope the showering of my affections on him will not be quite so painful as his on me.

I can accept the member's reproaches. I do believe the Canadian people passed judgment on October 25, as I recall, and that judgment was quite harsh. I do not know how long the hon. member intends to rehash the fact and harp upon it. There are two members left in the House representing the Progressive Conservative Party. My colleague still feels the need today to rise and strike another blow. What can I do? Such is human nature.

All I can say is that I have also seen that feeling. The member's comments, when he says that I am the leader of nothing, border on scorn. I heard him clearly. That is his point of view. About 16 per cent of the Canadian population would disagree with him. I do not need any advice from my colleague about going door to door or about winning people's faith. I wish to remind him where he is. He is in a Parliament in which each person present has been elected by his or her riding. I was thus elected and I defer to the good judgment of the citizens of my riding. I leave it to them to decide if my presence here has any less value than his own, as he seems to think.

If this is an example of his feelings and attitude to come during his tenure in government, I can only wish him luck. I have seen it before, and I have also seen the results over time.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have listened with keen interest to the speech by the former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. Obviously he has told us that in this House or in this Parliament, it is six of one and half a dozen of the other.

During the last election, Canadians elected a new government and Ontario has majority representation in this government, luckily for Canada and for its regions. In Quebec, we had another choice and the majority voted for the Bloc québécois. The same thing happened in the West where voters elected a majority of Reform Party candidates.

I think we must give the government a chance to prove itself. Obviously, it will soon have to tackle job creation and deficit reduction. It is true that the former government showed us clearly that it was incapable of solving the serious problems confronting Canada and Canadians let them know clearly what it thought of them.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think we must be serious in this House, and even if my honourable colleague from Sherbrooke rose to speak to this House, as he has the right to do, his speech reminded me of the death of a swan or, should I say, the agony of a swan. As far as we are concerned, in Quebec we had a choice and the majority prevailed.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is always comforting to see that in our democracy people have choices to make and that they can make them freely, albeit for different reasons. There are some in the hon. members ranks who claim that he was elected to achieve the independence of Quebec. Others will say that maybe his mandate was a bit wider and that many people who voted for the member from Shefford also wanted a change of government. It is hard to judge after the fact, but time will tell.

I want to say to the member from Shefford, while thanking him for his advice, which is always useful, that he has just arrived here. I too know what it is to be elected with the wind at my back and on a wave. When you arrive here in those circumstances, you are always full of confidence and very happy. Here is what I have to say to the member from Shefford for what it is worth, since I do not seem to have the benefit of his vast experience. If he is forecasting our demise, the swan's song, he surely knows things that I do not. I do not know him very well, but he must have a lot of parliamentary experience to be able to say that.

In any case, I can say to the member from Shefford in all humility that like him the member from Sherbrooke was once elected with the wind at his back and that the member from Sherbrooke has also been elected with the wave running in the opposite direction. When he has lived both experiences, maybe he will share with us his thoughts and his great wisdom.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

There is a short time left and I would ask for the co-operation of members.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Broadview—Greenwood Ontario

Liberal

Dennis Mills LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I will be very quick indeed. As the member knows, I have deep affection for the member for Sherbrooke.

When he was going through the litany of policy initiatives he agreed to in terms of supporting the government, I wondered if it was some type of early olive branch and that he might like to consider coming over here and joining us.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Just as short an answer from the hon. member for Sherbrooke.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am a little surprised by the comment. I have a lot of friendship for my friend from Broadview-Greenwood, but I think it would be the reverse. We could form the government pretty fast and continue the agenda. I look forward to sitting with the member for Broadview-Greenwood and forming a new Progressive Conservative government who knows?

I know the member for Broadview-Greenwood will acknowledge that I sat on that side of the House for a period of time. I would be curious to know whether he shares the view that things are a little different, the perspective on fund raisers and other things.

I heard the Prime Minister yesterday make a very good explanation on using government aircraft. Why did he not give that explanation when he was on this side of House? I look forward to working with him in this Parliament.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I was extremely disappointed a short while ago when you did not recognize me after the Minister of Canadian Heritage spoke. It has been my experience in the House and my observation of years before that when someone spoke in the House the Speaker would recognize people from different parties.

I understand full well that if someone from the government makes a speech, especially a minister, it would be good parliamentary manners to accept comments or questions immediately from opposition members of Parliament.

However, when members of the government wanted to make a comment or question to the minister I believe in the past they have always been recognized. A member may agree or disagree with his own minister. A member like myself may want to make a comment. I may want to make a comment about something that affects my riding. I may want to question the minister.

Are we changing the way we have been operating in the House whereby after someone's speech there is an alternance between parties so that backbenchers, members of Parliament, can have their say in the highest court of the land?

I beg you, Mr. Speaker, not to change that good practice. There should be an alternance among the five parties. We on the government side should not be muzzled as ordinary members of Parliament because of possibly a new practice of which I have not been made aware to date.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I thank the hon. member for Carleton-Gloucester for raising his point of order, particularly at this early stage in this 35th Parliament. I will quote for him two precedents that will enlighten us all, certainly including myself in the chair at this moment.

In the first instance I will refer to the Annotated Standing Orders of the House at page 144:

-preference in this period is to be given to Members of parties other than that of the original speaker, but not to the exclusion of Members of other parties-amendments to a bill cannot be moved-

And so on. In effect I largely founded my decision in the selection of members for questions and comments following the intervention of the hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage on the basis of my limited knowledge according to that annotated text.

On the same point of order raised by the hon. member, I have learned that there is also a greater latitude given to members from both sides-in this instance from the government side-when a minister of the government speaks.

I will refer him to the January 17, 1983 edition of Hansard as follows:

-the Chair will try, as much as possible, to give priority to Members representinga party other than that of the Member who made the speech. However, backbenchers on the Government side will also be entitled to ask questions following a speech by a Minister.

The point raised by the member for Carleton-Gloucester is an important one, as I said earlier, at the beginning of the 35th Parliament. I thank him for raising the issue at this time and making us in the chair even more sensitive to this procedure so that in effect we will address the matter with even greater justice in the days ahead.

I thank the member for Carleton-Gloucester for raising this point.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, I understand your reading from former Debates . When you mentioned that preference would be given to MPs of other parties and so on, I did not hear the word exclusive or must. I heard what I interpret as words like may and good practice and good custom.

I appreciate very much your diligence in checking to see what the proper practice should be. I also say that I do respect that you are new on the job, as it were, and I respect your position.

However you have just informed me, Mr. Speaker, that I was right but too bad, member of Parliament for Carleton-Gloucester, you could have had your day in court; you were right but sit down and we are going to go on with whatever we are supposed to go on with today.

Since I have not been hanged, as capital punishment does not exist any more, and I am still alive and standing, perhaps the Chair, as a gesture of penance or whatever it might be called, would allow me to have 60 seconds to comment on whatever I would like to say to the minister.

I think it would be fair to allow me as a backbench member of Parliament to make comments that would affect my riding after a minister has spoken.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

We have heard the request of the hon. member for Carleton-Gloucester. I do in the first instance as the Speaker at this time humbly submit to the member that I erred in my judgment, not being fully aware of all of the rules and procedures of the House.

I would ask the House for unanimous consent so that the member for Carleton-Gloucester might at this time make those comments.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have no difficulty giving my friend 60 seconds to make a comment. If he is simply reflecting the frustration he feels about not having ample opportunity to make interventions, I am sure it is something that we all feel.

The Standing Orders restrict us to 10 minutes for questions and comments and yet you will notice, Mr. Speaker, that at the end of that period there are still, almost inevitably, four or five members standing.

I simply want to say I respect the frustration my hon. colleague feels, but I remind him that it is probably a frustration that we all feel a good part of the time. We are restricted by the Standing Orders. However, if he has a comment which he feels compelled to make now and requires 60 seconds, I certainly would give him unanimous consent to do so.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Is there unanimous consent?

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

January 27th, 1994 / 11:20 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Unanimous consent having been denied, the debate resumes.

The House resumed consideration of the motion for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session.