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House of Commons Hansard #227 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was punishment.

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Point Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Dear colleagues, as I said yesterday, I will review Hansard and make a ruling within a few days. It will not be long in coming.

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to call your attention to irregularities in the proceedings of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

For your information, Mr. Speaker, my colleagues and I sought remedy within the committee to the problems which arose and we were unable to achieve or obtain adequate satisfaction.

Although committees are creatures of this Chamber, I understand they are masters of their business within limits prescribed by the standing orders. Your Honour has recognized that Speakers have always been hesitant to interfere in the proceedings of committees of the House.

However, as Speaker Fraser explained in a ruling on March 26, 1990, at page 9756 of the Debates :

The Speaker has often informed the House that matters and procedural issues that arise in committee ought to be settled in committee unless the committee reports them first to the House. I have, however, said to the House that this practice was not an absolute one and that in very serious and special circumstances the Speaker may have to pronounce on a committee matter without the committee having reported to the House.

Also there is Your Honour's ruling of June 20, 1994 at page 5582 of the Debates .

Mr. Speaker, this committee has a history of past irregularities, including the case to which I have drawn your attention. The irregularities from yesterday are as follows.

First, as soon as the clerk's gavel fell I submitted a motion to elect a chairman. As Your Honour knows, under the standing orders the first item of business for an organizational meeting is the election of a chair for the committee. However the clerk acknowledged my speaking and asked me to wait until he had read his first item of business. I asked that he recognize that I had given notice of a motion. After the clerk read the item of business he proceeded to recognize someone else first.

Second, once the chair was elected my colleagues repeatedly attempted to move a motion to elect a vice-chair, but the chair appeared to be intent on stalling so that a motion to elect a member of the Bloc could be put forward by the Bloc or by the government for the so-called opposition vice-chair.

The chair stalled by insisting that we were to consider motions for government vice-chair. This is a false distinction. The standing orders do not recognize a government vice-chair per se. The standing orders only require that two of the three positions go to the government side.

As soon as a motion to elect a vice-chair is put forward, whether to elect a government or opposition member that motion is surely in order. The chair made it clear that he was accepting no motions from the Reform.

Third, once a member of the government moved to elect the Bloc to the vice-chair, my colleagues and I asked for debate on the motion. We were not only cut off; we were not allowed to debate at all. As Your Honour knows, Standing Order 116 makes clear that there is no limit on debate on a regular motion in committee.

Fourth, when we put forward a motion to overturn the election of the Bloc member as vice-chair, the chairman refused to entertain the motion, which was surely in order. The chairman then summarily adjourned the meeting.

We appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, to uphold the standing orders and our rights. This kind of conduct by committee chairs is surely less than acceptable. Are the committees and their chairs obligated to conduct their business according to the standing orders and according to the rules, or can the standing orders and the rules be ignored or changed at any committee chair's whim?

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to the points raised by the hon. member.

First, the member acknowledged that it is customary for these issues to be dealt with in the committee and not in the House. Having said that I want to respond to some of the matters that were raised because I believe there are some factual inaccuracies in what was said.

Second, there is an inaccurate knowledge of the rules, at least in my opinion. I would like to so submit, Mr. Speaker.

The matter of which position to be elected is dictated by the agenda duly prepared by the Committees Directorate of the House of Commons. I have a copy of the agenda in front of me which has the draft motions written on it as well as the various positions to be elected.

The member suggested there was no such thing as a vice-chair from the government. I read here from the draft agenda point number two, which I will gladly table or at least give a copy to you, Mr. Speaker, to consider. "Moved by" whatever member rises to make such a motion. Then there is a "that" and there is space for the person nominated "be the vice-chair from the government". It says so in the draft agenda prepared by the staff of Mr. Speaker, by the clerk staff, to be utilized by the person elected as chairman to then select names or invite nominations for those to be the two vice-chairs.

Even if such a draft agenda did not exist at all, the member across has acknowledged that two of the three positions had to be from the government and one from the opposition.

In view of the fact that the chair had already been elected from the government at the time that the two vice-chairs were elected, it stands to reason mathematically that at least one more position had to come from the government and one from the opposition. Otherwise, there are some mathematical differences in calculating things between the hon. member opposite and the majority of the rest of us.

In addition to that the hon. member makes a claim that there was some difficulty in having a point of order recognized. It should be brought to the attention of the Speaker that under our rules members of the committee are recognized by the chair at the chair's discretion. There is also a provision whereby members of the House who are present in the room but who are not members of the committee can be recognized at the chair's discretion.

In fact, the point of order was raised by the hon. member for Prince George-Bulkley Valley. The hon. member for Prince George-Bulkley Valley did not receive recognition for his point of order. He was not a member of the committee nor was he a substitute at that particular time because both members of the committee representing that party, the hon. member for North Island-Powell River and the hon. member for Surrey North, were present in the room. As the Speaker knows, a member can only be a substitute provided that the regular member is not in attendance at that particular meeting. In view of the fact that both of them were in attendance, then the other member was not a member of the committee at that particular time.

That should take care of that point.

Finally, I have before me the blues, or at least the rough Hansard of that particular committee, in which the hon. member, who in fact was not a member of the committee, the member for Prince George-Bulkley Valley, asked the chair for the following: ``Can we receive assurance that the vote on the nomination of Mr. Murphy will be called?'' In fact, this was the second nominee. He asked if we could have that assurance.

Furthermore, the hon. member stated the following: "What we asked, Mr. Clerk, was that both names be put on the ballot, which the members of the Liberal Party agreed to do", and so on.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure you are quite aware of citation Nos. 781, 782 and 783 of Beauchesne. Citation No. 782 states that the clerk of the committee conducts the election of the chairman by putting a motion moved by a member of the committee. It says further that if this motion fails successive motions are moved. In other words, there was no provision for the two names to be on the ballot. It is contrary to our practices and contrary to the standing orders. What the hon. member was asking the clerk to do was to be in breach of the rules in order to gain something that he wanted.

The clerk of the committee obviously followed the rules and so did the chairman subsequently. Just because the member has brought the matter to the House does not mean that the rules were breached. Perhaps it means that he did not have his way, but that is not the same thing as the rules not being observed.

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I do not want to get into a debate on this.

If there is something that is relevant I will recognize it. Is the Reform whip rising on the same point of order?

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, very simply, in view of the counter argument given by the chief government whip and in view of the fact that he has used some of the argument here himself as a whip in opposition or as a member of a committee, I respectfully ask that the deposition by the hon. member for North Island-Powell River be taken by the chair and be given back in written form as an answer, not just accepting the verbal answer given by the chief government whip today.

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, you will remember that in the course of the last 18 months we have had at different times members bringing up situations which took place in committee.

As the hon. member for North Island-Powell River said, it is rare that your Speaker would intervene in a matter of a committee.

I have heard both sides today. I imagine there are some nuances I am not grasping because many times in the telling of both sides the whole flavour is not there. That is why this House in its wisdom has made the committees masters of their own destiny, if you will. It is only in really extraordinary circumstances that the Speaker has intervened.

Having heard from both sides, and both sides seem to have very good arguments, I would be inclined to once again say very briefly that it seems to me the hon. member does have a grievance but that the grievance should be settled in committee. I would suggest that the hon. member or members who feel aggrieved should bring this up in the committee proper. I would like to have this matter rest for now.

Are there any other points of order?

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I passed written notice to you that during question period at approximately 2:40 p.m., if my eyes did not deceive me and I do not have a videotape, it appeared to me that a stranger entered the House and spoke with the hon. member for Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup at his desk in the front row. If my eyes did not deceive me, this would be a very serious breach of the rules and traditions of the House. Under Standing Order 14 either I or one of my colleagues who witnessed this could have risen at that time during question period with an appropriate motion in relation to strangers but we did not, given the fact that it was an interesting question period.

I put the matter to you now. I place the matter in your hands to clarify as you see fit, keeping in mind that if it did occur the way I saw it this would be a very serious breach of the House's rules and traditions.

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member's point is well taken. Only members of Parliament are allowed in this House. I did not see anyone who was a stranger. I seem to recognize everyone, but you know my eyes sometimes fail me. This matter can be cleared up very quickly. We simply have to put the question to the member and the hon. member can answer the question at this time.

I ask the hon. member this simple question: Did someone who is not a member of Parliament come to see him during question period?

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, indeed, someone who is not a member of Parliament but who might be one some day came to see me. That person is the head of the pages.

Point Of OrderOral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Thank you. So, we have the answer.

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Peter Milliken LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to nine petitions.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

September 20th, 1995 / 3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the privilege to present on behalf of residents of my riding of Bramalea-Gore-Malton a petition signed by more than 100 citizens requesting that Parliament change the Immigration Act to allow landed immigrants to leave Canada for up to two years without having to prove that they did not intend to abandon Canada as their place of permanent residence thus losing their permanent resident status.

[Translation]

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of submitting two petitions. The first one was signed by more than 300 people who oppose the introduction of BST in Canada.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition was signed by close to 4,000 citizens of Limoilou, Quebec, who want the Minister of Canadian Heritage to act quickly and allocate funds to improve Cartier-Brébeuf park in Quebec City.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Reform

Jack Frazer Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, it is my duty and honour to rise in the House to present two petitions on behalf of individuals from the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands and surrounding areas. The petitions have been duly certified by the clerk of petitions.

In the first petition the petitioners pray and call upon the House to enact legislation to reform the justice system.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Reform

Jack Frazer Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

In the second petition, Mr. Speaker, the petitioners call upon Parliament to enact legislation against serious personal injury crimes being committed by high risk offenders by permitting the use of post-sentence detention orders and specifically by passing Bill C-240.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the constituents of Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt to present a petition which has been duly certified by the clerk of petitions.

The petition draws the attention of the House to the following: "That the rights and interests of citizens residing in nine provinces and two territories cannot be adequately protected by the disloyal one province Bloc Quebecois as Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition and that this is accordingly a travesty of the institution of Parliament. Therefore, we call on Parliament to preserve Canadian unity, parliamentary tradition and to protect the rights of all people of Canada by prevailing upon the Speaker of the House of Commons to recognize the Reform Party as the official opposition during the remainder of the 35th Parliament of Canada".

I present this petition on behalf of all Canadians.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Valeri Liberal Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 it is my honour to table on behalf of the constituents of Hamilton East and my own constituents of Lincoln a petition calling on Parliament to ensure that the present provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada prohibiting assisted suicide be enforced vigorously and that Parliament make no changes in the law which would sanction or allow the aiding or abetting of suicide or of active or passive euthanasia.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have several petitions. The first is signed by 100 petitioners who pray and request that Parliament not amend the Canadian Human Rights Act or the charter of rights and freedoms in any way which would tend to indicate societal approval of same sex relationships or of homosexuality, including amending the human rights act to include in the prohibited grounds of discrimination the undefined term of sexual orientation.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Also, Mr. Speaker, 675 petitioners call upon Parliament to eliminate the right of a convicted pedophile being let out of jail on bail pending an appeal. This would thereby ensure the protection and safety of the victims and the community from such a convicted offender.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I also have 100 petitioners calling on Parliament to act immediately to extend the protection to the unborn child by amending the Criminal Code to extend the same protection enjoyed by born human beings to unborn human beings.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have 89 petitioners who pray that Parliament not repeal or amend section 241 of the Criminal Code in any way and to uphold the

Supreme Court of Canada decision of September 30, 1993 to disallow assisted suicide and euthanasia.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of my constituents dealing with the amendment or the non-amendment of human rights, the Canadian human rights or the charter of rights, in any way which would tend to indicate societal approval of same sex relationships or of homosexuality.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a second petition on an entirely different subject, very interestingly calling on Parliament to halt negotiations on native land claims in British Columbia and turn Indian reserves over to the bands, fee simple, and to make our natives come under the same laws as the rest of Canada.

These petitions come from a very central area in my riding, centred around Lake Cowichan, Honeymoon Bay and Youbou.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Peter Milliken LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I suggest all questions be allowed to stand.