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House of Commons Hansard #225 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was development.

Topics

The House resumed from June 1, 1995, consideration of the motion that, in the opinion of this House, the government should take the measures necessary for the legal recognition of same sex spouses.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I would like to point out to the House that there are 42 minutes remaining in the debate on Motion M-264.

There are 42 minutes remaining in debate on Private Members' Business Motion No. 264. When M-264 was last before the House the hon. member for Jonquière had three minutes remaining for debate.

Resuming debate.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11 a.m.

Liberal

Jean Payne Liberal St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has moved that the government should take the measures necessary for legal recognition of same sex spouses.

By "legal recognition of same sex spouses" I am unclear whether he means same sex partners should be able to register, as I understand they can do on Denmark, or that benefits currently given to married and common law spouses should be extended to same sex partners.

Neither option is viable to my mind given the current state of the law. Perhaps it would have been a better motion had it been made in a provincial legislature rather than here in the House of Commons.

The federal government has very limited jurisdiction in the area of legal recognition of personal relationships. The constitution divides jurisdiction in the area of family law between the provincial legislatures and the federal Parliament. The jurisdiction for marriage is divided, with the provinces being responsible for the solemnization of marriage.

Until fairly recently historical common law spouses were not recognized by our law. The term is a misnomer in any event as common law spouses do not actually exist in common law or judge made law. They actually are created by statute law; not one statute at that but by a large number of statutes at both federal and provincial levels. In other words, unless a particular statute specifically provides that a reference to spouse will include common law relationships they are not included for the purpose of the benefit in issue.

The major statute laws that recognize common law spouses are the provincial family law statutes. These statutes create the major legal obligations imposed on common law spouses should the relationship break down. They deal with the division of property, support obligations between former spouses and any children, and yet even here the provincial law is not consistent across the country. Common law spouses are subject to different legal obligations under different provincial family law statutes across the provinces. They are not even recognized in two provinces including Quebec, the province of residence of the hon. member proposing this measure.

Common law marriage is a quite different concept from that of common law spouses. Common law marriage existed only in the early settlement days of Canada when a minister or a priest was often difficult to find. Although there is some speculation that the concept may still exist in common law in Canada, it would apply only in opposite an sex context. Therefore if the provincial family law is the main source of legal obligations between spouses, then it would seem more appropriate that any legal recognition of same sex partners would come first under provincial family law. As I understand it, this was primarily the way in which common law relationships first gained legal recognition.

As a result of several high profile cases before the Supreme Court of Canada, the courts recognized through the doctrines of unjust enrichment and constructive trust the contribution of a woman who had lived for a long period of time with a man as married, even though they had not married.

Legislative changes followed thereafter, starting primarily with family law and then slowly with provincial family law and then

slowly moving into the benefits field. This legal recognition is recent in Canadian law. The changes to the Income Tax Act to reorganize common law spouses have just come about in the last year or two, after the majority of provincial family law statutes recognized the status. It is only recently that the majority of the Supreme Court of Canada stated in the Miron decision that in the circumstances of this case it was discriminatory to treat unmarried couples differently from married couples.

The only references in federal law to personal relationships either follow blood or marriage relationships, which are relatively easy to prove, or copy provincial family law definitions of common law relationships. At the federal level spouses are mostly included in legislation for the purposes of employment benefits, government pension plans, income tax and so on.

The concern is that if we were to extend these benefits to same sex partners at the federal level first, before the provincial family law extends any legal obligations, this could create a situation of unfairness. Spouses, both married and common law, are currently subject to a package of legal rights and responsibilities created by a combination of federal and provincial laws.

It is because spouses are subject to legal obligations, such as support obligations on the breakdown of the relationship, that they are also eligible for benefits, such as survivor benefits under pension plans. It is for the provinces to extend the obligations before we should extend benefits under federal jurisdiction.

How would we accomplish what the hon. member is asking for? How would we take the measures necessary for the legal recognition of same spouses, even were we to agree that this should be done? It is clear from the history of the recognition of common law relationships that this was not accomplished by passing a statute called the common law spouses act, nor was this legal recognition even accomplished by the government at any level.

The fact of social change was first acknowledged by the courts in looking at unfairness and unjust enrichment between two partners who had not married. The courts felt strongly that individuals who were living together as if married and so were getting all of the advantages of being married, such as working together to afford a better lifestyle than either would have been able to achieve living alone, should not be able to avoid taking on the obligations of married persons simply by choosing not to marry. Particularly in a situation such as that represented in the first few high profile cases, the common law wife needed the protection of the law.

However, this is a controversial enough subject with regard to opposite sex common law couples. Many common law couples continue to disagree and feel frustrated that the law deems their relationship to be akin to marriage after a certain time has passed. Many still feel that their choice not to marry should be respected by the law.

How much more of a problem will this be with same sex couples who may not be public about their relationships? Conversely, is it fair to recognize those same sex couples who do wish to be open about their relationships?

For a numbers of reasons, the motion is premature and not feasible for the federal government to adopt without the full co-operation of the provincial legislatures.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Gilbert Fillion Bloc Chicoutimi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased with this opportunity to rise in the House today, especially since I unconditionally support Motion M-264, which seeks the legal recognition of same sex spouses. Voting for this motion will give nearly 10 per cent of the population the recognition to which it is entitled.

Since the Quebec government launched its prereferendum campaign, the federal government has spent millions of dollars of taxpayers' money to convince us that Canada is one of the best countries in the world to live in, a country that is tolerant and especially, a country that accepts diversity.

I therefore ask this government to act accordingly and support the motion standing in the name of my colleague, the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. In fact, the hon. member for Central Nova told us in her speech on the same topic that Canadians are tolerant and respect and appreciate diversity.

Will the government be as tolerant and show as much respect for diversity as the hon. member? In May 1994, the Minister of Justice also promised to redefine, in fairly broad terms, the ties between people who live together, are interdependent and should therefore have the same social benefits as traditional families, which does not mean-and I can understand that-changing the concept of the family. Let us be clear about this. The motion does not seek to redefine the family but to enhance the rights of certain people and ensure that discrimination against homosexuals is unacceptable in Canada.

Last June, the Reform Party member for Elk Island reminded us, and I quote: "As legislators, we have a responsibility, an obligation, a high calling to do what is right for our country and its citizens". He directed this message to all Canadians, without exception. It included all Canadians. Consequently, our role as legislators, in my opinion, is to set an example by being openminded, by our sense of justice and our sense of fairness.

That is why, according to this motion, we have a duty to amend, yes, amend all provisions of Canadian legislation concerning spouses. It is a matter of justice, fairness and equality for all citizens.

Let us recall that, last May, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously agreed that sexual orientation should be added to section 15 of the charter, thus prohibiting discrimination against homosexual men and women.

While the cities of Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa-to name but a few-as well as many private and public companies also recognize same sex spouses, we in the Parliament of Canada, a supposedly tolerant country that allows anyone to make racist comments or distribute hate propaganda, deny such a basic right to 10 per cent of our population.

I see this as an injustice. A closer look at the definition of the term "discrimination" shows that it means imposing on an individual or group of individuals certain burdens, obligations or-as in this case-disadvantages that are not imposed on other groups. Discrimination also means denying or restricting access to the opportunities, benefits or advantages offered to other members of society. That is discrimination.

In fact, the Quebec human rights commission has recommended that the government review all its laws and regulations and pass a law that would make all legislation dealing with spousal issues comply with the charter, so that same sex spouses can enjoy the same rights as heterosexual common law couples.

Will allowing same sex spouses to take bereavement leave when their lifelong partners die change anything for heterosexual Canadians? Will allowing same sex spouses to receive benefits from public pension plans after their partners die or to contribute to spousal RRSPs change anything for the remaining 90 per cent of the Canadian population? I do not even want to hear the argument that such a measure would result in higher costs.

According to the studies done by many private and even public companies, it would cost less than 1 per cent to correct this situation. Since this Parliament is supposedly not homophobic-as many members keep bragging about in this House-I see no reason why we should not recognize same sex spouses. This would be quite normal and not a privilege granted to one group of people. On the contrary, it would simply be fair to a segment of our population.

I remind you that this is 1995. Today's reality is completely different from what it was 50, 30 or even 10 years ago. Federalists boast that this institution, the Parliament of Canada, is not out of step, obsolete or ossified. They should just prove it and stop talking about the status quo. The status quo is nothing but a vacuum. Again, voting in favour of this motion does not recognize any special rights except for the right to equality. Quebecers are fed up with the double standard inherent in this government's policies. We already know that a sovereign Quebec will fight such measures. The question is: Will the Canadian government be as courageous as the Quebec government?

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, welcome back to the House. It is good to be here.

It is a privilege to speak to this motion today because the issue of same sex marriage has been raised to such a high level of awareness in Canada.

As I see it the motion can be approached in two different ways. We can talk about the morality of the homosexual lifestyle which is a bona fide thing to do. After all, the gay and lesbian community bases its arguments for inclusion on moral grounds arguing that what it does is morally acceptable and therefore worthy of government recognition. However, it is not necessary to cast same sex benefits in a moral framework. We can leave aside the moral question for another day and approach this from a pragmatic viewpoint. To set the stage for a pragmatic discussion, allow me to talk about definitions for a moment because this motion is really about societal definitions.

Our society is becoming less and less categorical in its societal definitions and more graduated in every way. Let me give an example. There used to be a huge distinction between social classes in society. If one was born a peasant one could never be a nobleman and vice versa. However, for a variety of historical reasons the distinctions between classes disappeared and status and influence are now seen to be on a gradual continuum, except perhaps for a few people born lucky like the Royals or maybe the Kennedys.

Morality is another example. Things used to be seen in black and white in a moral sense because the laws people lived by were held to be revealed by God. Although these laws seemed arbitrary, the sharply defined moral categories lent a certain stability to life in society.

Over the last two centuries people became less convinced about God and divine law so the old value categories became blurred and fuzzy. The new values are relative to each situation. People say that there are no absolutes and that each situation must be judged on its own merits.

The assault on all social definitions in our society also applies to the family. Last year was the UN year of the family and the theme was "The Family-The Smallest Democracy at the Heart of

Society". This statement marks an enormous redefinition in our culture, that a family is a democracy.

Authority used to be categorical with parents giving the orders and the children listening. If the UN had its way, family matters might be decided democratically. I do not know how but that is what the UN suggests.

However since any undemocratic organization is no longer considered to be legitimate in the eyes of the state, this would give the state the rationale to intervene in what it would call an authoritarian family or traditional family. The idea of a democratic family therefore reduces the authority of parents and fundamentally alters the security of the family in relation to the state.

Just as the authority within the family is being dispersed, the definition of family seems to be broadening. Listen to what Hillary Clinton said last year, ironically on Mother's Day. Talking about the family she said: "If it ever did, the traditional family no longer does consist of two parents, two children, a dog, a house with a white picket fence and a stationwagon in the driveway".

The First Lady went on to recommend what she called the extended family to fill the void as traditional families dwindle and to look out for friends, neighbours and fellow citizens as they would members of their own families. She concluded by saying: "When the traditional bonds of family are too often frayed we all need to appreciate that in a very real sense we have all become an extended family".

What the First Lady really said is that the traditional family, the defining boundary between the mom, the dad and the kids is now disappearing and a continuum of other relationships should be added to it. Here a conflict emerges. At the same time as societal definitions broaden, for financial reasons the ability of all governments to grant benefits is being severely restricted. In order to apportion benefits in some rational manner the logical answer for government is to narrow its definitions of who may receive them. Therefore governments should be looking to restrict their definitions, not broaden them.

I am not pronouncing a judgment on whether or not homosexuals should live together. However, I am saying that for the purposes of government benefits society cannot afford to broaden its definitions to apportion benefits to many more new groups, including homosexual unions.

The member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve may argue that he does not want benefits; he simply wants rights, specifically the right to be recognized as a married couple. He might say that a marriage ceremony does not cost anything but in Canada rights are the door to entitlements.

The concept of entitlement is a very powerful thing in Canadian law. If a person is defined as someone who is eligible to receive unemployment insurance for example that benefit becomes a right, an entitlement and no one can deny it to that person. Marriage brings with it entitlements as well. Once the right has been given there would be no way to hold back the benefits.

There is another reason to decide against this motion. The redefinition of the family would open up a Pandora's box of definition problems for other groups. There is no logical stopping point between a homosexual couple and any number of other unions. If a homosexual couple wants to be a family why not roommates or people living together in group homes? Why not close friends living under different roofs? By surrendering the traditional definition of the family, government would surrender its ability to choose who receives benefits and who does not.

I want to remind members that in practice the concept of the nuclear family is really quite static. As late as 1949 anthropologist George Murdock completed a study of 250 societies worldwide and said: "The nuclear family is a universal human social grouping either as the sole prevailing form of the family or as the basic unit from which more complex familial forms are compounded. It exists as a distinct and strongly functional group in every known society".

A Stats Canada study released last year found that in 1941, well prior to that study, 88 per cent of Canadians were living in nuclear families. In 1991, 87 per cent of Canadians were still living in this husband and wife model. In other words the number of people living in nuclear families or in husband and wife with children families has remained constant for 50 years.

Therefore attitudes toward the nuclear family and real life practice are not changing as much as we are led to believe by activists who manipulate or would like to manipulate members of Parliament and the media. Members should not be stampeded toward redefinition by media criticism and noisy pressure group tactics.

It seems to me that interest groups exercising profound political pressure over several decades have managed to slice up the government benefits pie in ways that are advantageous to them and disadvantageous to nuclear families when the nuclear family is one of the foundations of our society and needs to be strengthened, not weakened.

For this reason I introduced a private member's bill called the auditor general for the family act. This bill would establish a small body with a limit of 20 employees to advise Parliament about the ways it could support and strengthen the nuclear family in Canada. It is interesting that later this week we will be debating in the

House the need for the country to have an environmental auditor yet we do not have the same sort of thing advocating on behalf of the nuclear family.

I am proud of the bill I have put together because although society might accept a wide variety of living arrangements it should not be obligated to support every societal arrangement. It must allocate its precious resources to those tried and true social structures which have been common within Canadian society for centuries and are common across literally hundreds of cultures around the world.

The February issue of U.S. News and World Report details studies from the states showing that moms and dads together are the ideal parental form. Nothing else is as effective in cutting poverty and fighting crime, teenage pregnancies, suicide and mental illness. Even so, nuclear families continue to be discriminated against even in taxation within our own country. The time has come to expose this government sanctioned discrimination against nuclear families. That is why I hope when my bill does come up for a vote we will be able to deal with that properly.

In closing, I want the member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve with whom I sat on the standing committee for human rights in the last session to know that I appreciate him and his work on the committee even though we might disagree on this issue. Although I state freely that I have moral reservations about the homosexual lifestyle, I have approached the issue purely on the pragmatic reasons I have outlined. Same sex benefits are not in the public interest.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Maurice Bernier Bloc Mégantic—Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this debate on the motion put forward by my hon. colleague from Hochelaga-Maisonneuve:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should take the measures necessary for the legal recognition of same-sex spouses.

Mr. Speaker, I would like first of all to commend the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve for having the courage to table in this House a motion that makes us see, in terms of human rights, what is really at stake here and, more importantly, where the members of this House, particularly our colleagues from the Reform Party as well as certain members of the Liberal majority, really stand on this issue.

Several of my colleagues, including the hon. member for Chicoutimi who spoke a moment ago, the hon. member for Jonquière who spoke during the first hour of debate and, of course, the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, addressed the merits of the question of recognizing the rights of same sex spouses, the need to take action and the economic impact of such a decision. I therefore have no intention of repeating what was said as these points were quite aptly made.

I would like to address what appears to be the main issue: is this a debate on homosexuality or a debate on human rights?

It is true that we are used to hearing our colleagues from the Reform Party talk that way. One would think that Reform members have become all round right wing fundamentalists. We are used to this kind of language, but there is still a limit to what I can tolerate.

When it comes to despicable, shameful and downright unacceptable remarks, our Liberal colleague from Central Nova takes the cake. She was heard making such remarks more than once in this House; first, during the debate on Bill C-41 and again when she spoke on the motion put forward by my hon. colleague from Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. What she said was a disgrace-I repeat, a disgrace-for this House, the Liberal majority and democracy itself.

What is it that the member for Central Nova said and was applauded for by Reform members? In her remarks on Bill C-41, she said, and I quote: "Homosexuality is not natural; it is immoral and it is undermining the inherent rights and values of our Canadian families and it must not and should not be condoned".

And she added: "-a faction in our society which is undermining and destroying our Canadian values and Christian morality-We have the majority-I suppose she is referring to the heterosexual community here. We have a democracy. I am representing in my viewpoint the majority of Canadians".

If this is the kind of society and the kind of freedom that Canada has to offer, and if the member for Central Nova is, as she claimed, speaking on behalf of most Canadians, then it is urgent for us Quebecers to get out of this country.

We take exception to such comments. The debate in this House is on the motion tabled by my colleague, the member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, and it has to do with human rights, not homosexuality. If there are members in this House who have doubts as to their own sexual orientation, they should go for some therapy. This is not the place for group therapy. As a democratic institution, Parliament must ensure that democratic values are respected and promoted. I dare say that one of the most important democratic values is the respect of individuals in each and every one of our families.

We all know men and women who live their homosexuality. Do Reform Party members claim that these people should be eliminated, that their most basic rights should not be recognized? We are not saying that the House should pass a motion to promote homosexuality, no more than it should promote heterosexuality. What we are saying is that if two people, whether a man and a

woman, two men or two women, decide to live together, why should they not be treated with respect and fairness in our laws? This is what the debate is all about. This is the issue that we will vote on in a few minutes.

I did not hear many Liberal Party members speak in favour of this motion. Am I to understand that they support the views expressed by the member for Central Nova?

I am putting the question to them. There are a few minutes left and I would appreciate an answer. This is a fundamental debate on human rights. These days, and this is particularly true of Liberal Party members, many are trying to champion individual freedoms in Quebec. I would like to hear some Liberal members address the issue today.

It should also be pointed out that values evolve with time. Let me quote the member for Central Nova. She made these comments in this House, during the debate on this motion. I could not believe what I was hearing. On June 1, 1995, the member said, in reference to the motion tabled by the member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve: "All these demands are encroaching on and undermining the inherent and inviolable rights of families. Families have existed before the church. Families have existed before the state. Parliament has absolutely no legal or constitutional authority to redefine family, or to enter into the realm of the sanctity of marriage". Given the reasoning of the member for Central Nova, there would never have been a Parliament, since Parliament is there to pass legislation and grant rights to the population.

Again, since Parliament necessarily came after families and after the church, it would never have existed, based on the member's reasoning. As we all know, and as the member for Chicoutimi pointed out just a few moments ago, values change over time. Thirty or forty years ago, there was no recognition of common law spouses. Divorced people were pointed at, perceived within their communities as abnormal, as needing to be watched and reported on. Unwed mothers had to hide away, give birth to their babies in institutions and then give them up. All that barely 30 or 40 years ago. That is how it was in Quebec and I imagine it was the same everywhere in Canada.

The disabled were seen as invalids who generally had to be institutionalized. Seventy-five years ago, Canadian women did not have the right to vote. Fifty years ago that was the situation in Quebec. There was slavery in the United States 150 years ago. Four hundred years ago Galileo was imprisoned for saying that the earth was round. Human kind has evolved since it first appeared on this planet. I trust that this process will continue and that the example of the member for Central Nova will be nothing more than one unfortunate anecdote in the history of humanity.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:35 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I remind the House the question will be put at 11.45 a.m. We entered this debate at 11.03 a.m. with 42 minutes of maximum debate time. I want to forewarn the House.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Philip Mayfield Reform Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, in speaking to Motion No. 264 I will focus my discussion on three of the concerns I have relating to this motion: the opposition Canadians appear to hold in recognizing same sex relationships; the extremely limited number of people such drastic changes would benefit; the excessive cost both in time and money resulting from the passage and implementation of Motion No. 264.

Much of the debate over this motion has centred around the various financial and legal benefits currently available only to opposite sex couples. The reasoning behind these benefits lies in the desire of all levels of government to protect and preserve the two parent nuclear family.

From biblical times to the present day, the traditional family has been viewed as an ideal family structure. As well, it is the building block of the extended family, the cornerstone of contemporary Canadian life.

The dozens of programs directed toward traditional couples and families have been brought in over many years after careful study and discussion.

Support of the traditional family remains widespread today. According to a recent Angus Reid poll, 68 per cent of all Canadians believe the traditional two parent family is the very best family model in which to raise children. If we talk to educators and counsellors across the country they will tell us that on average the most well adjusted, well behaved children are those who come from the traditional ideal family model consisting of a father, a mother and children.

The sorts of radical changes advocated by the motion do nothing whatsoever to enhance the nuclear family. Rather, they remove the distinctiveness and uniqueness, reducing the traditional family structure from the ideal choice to simply one choice among a range of options. I refuse to stand by and let this happen.

It appears this opinion is shared by the vast majority of Canadians. Again according to a recent Angus Reid poll, a poll conducted for the international year of the family, a solid 60 per cent of Canadians rejected the idea of benefits for same sex couples and 85 per cent objected to paying higher taxes to fund benefits for same sex couples.

As well, a recent constituency poll showed me that 77 per cent of the people in my riding oppose the official sanctioning of same sex

couples in the manner the hon. member is advocating. The people of Cariboo-Chilcotin and the people of Canada have spoken out on the motion. They are not saying no to the principle of personal choice and they are not saying no to members' sexual orientation. They are saying no to full legal recognition of same sex couples.

Motion No. 264 is asking for our opinion as MPs on the issue. Members of Parliament are charged with the duty of representing their constituents and reflecting the will of Canadians in legislation. Canadians have clearly stated their opinion in the matter and I certainly intend to respect it.

We must also be realistic about the number of people the motion and the changes it could bring into being will affect. Often the figure of 10 per cent is cited as if to create the impression of a large invisible minority clamouring for rights. However, numerous studies have placed the percentage of homosexuals within Canada at between 1 per cent and 3 per cent. According to Professor Edmund Bloedow of Carleton University, fewer than 5 per cent of these individuals are in some form of permanent or committed relationship. Sociologists Alan Bell and Martin Weinberg, in their book Homosexualities, assert that a mere 1 per cent of people within the homosexual community are committed to a single lifetime partner.

I therefore question the necessity and urgency of debating the principle of same sex couple recognition. The hon. member has shared with the House the normality of same sex couples and how they are virtually identical to opposite sex couples. However, academics have gone on record to argue that committed same sex couples are more the exception than the norm by far within the homosexual community.

Before the House even considers making the kinds of changes advocated by the hon. member, we as members of Parliament have to see proof that committed relationships are the ideal majority preference, not the abnormality in the homosexual context.

To grant the sort of recognition the hon. member is seeking he would have the House use hundreds of hours of precious time, changing every piece of legislation mentioning the word couple and spending millions upon millions of dollars in legal fees, additional payouts, and supplemental benefits. The end result of the motion, when all is said and done, would be either higher taxes, increased debt, or reduced funding for programs supporting the traditional family. These are results Canadians do not support.

Canada has little to gain and much to lose with the passage of the motion. When the matter comes to a vote I intend to heed the wishes of my fellow citizens and my constituents and vote against Motion No. 264 as it now stands.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, I believe there is a tradition in this House allowing the sponsor to close the debate. If I may I would therefore request the consent of the House to make use of that entitlement, two minutes more.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:40 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Since the period of debate is over, the member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is requesting the unanimous consent of the House to conclude the debate, for a maximum duration of two minutes. Is there unanimous consent?

Is there unanimous consent for the hon. member to close the debate?

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:40 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:40 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

There is no consent. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

All those opposed will please say nay.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Call in the members.

Before the taking of the vote:

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

Noon

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

As is the practice, the recorded vote will be taken row by row, beginning with the mover. I will then ask the other members supporting the motion on the same side of the House as the mover to kindly rise. Next, the votes of those supporting the motion on the opposite side of the House will be recorded. The votes of those opposing the motion will be recorded in the same order.

Recognition Of Same Sex SpousesPrivate Members' Business

12:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I declare the motion lost.

Points Of OrderPrivate Members' Business

September 18th, 1995 / 12:10 p.m.

Lethbridge Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order under citation 501 of Beauchesne's sixth edition and a ruling of the Speaker last June with regard to the wearing of exhibits in the House. I would like to challenge that the member for Halifax is wearing an exhibit which I do not think is proper in this assembly.

Points Of OrderPrivate Members' Business

12:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I thank the member for Lethbridge for his intervention. Perhaps I might seek the counsel of the table officers for a moment, please.

The member for Lethbridge raises an issue following a ruling made by the Speaker on an issue as we drew near to the summer recess period. I would hope, as an occupant of this same chair, to maintain the consistency of the ruling of the Speaker at that time.

I must state unequivocally that I did not personally view the exhibit, be it a lapel button or otherwise. However, if in fact it drew the attention of a member or others we would hope and call upon members on both sides of the House to be mindful of the ruling of the Speaker in June regarding exhibits, lapel pins, et cetera. The Chair will endeavour to maintain a consistent interpretation of that ruling throughout this session.

I thank the member for Lethbridge for his intervention. I regret I cannot act differently. As I said, I did not personally view this exhibit. I trust that this intervention will remind us all of the ruling in June, that we will be respectful of that ruling and adhere to the intervention of the Speaker.

I thank the member for Lethbridge for his intervention.