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House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agriculture.

Topics

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege.

During question period, the Minister of Industry commented erroneously on my participation in the activities of the Canada-NATO Parliamentary Association, which took place last November 18 to 20. I was present at those activities.

In addition, the minister implied that I had wasted taxpayers' money by not taking part in the activities and meetings of the association, when in fact I was present. Furthermore, I would like the minister to note that I was seen there by the Liberal members for Nipissing, Hillsborough, Saint-Denis, Mississauga West and South Shore, as well as by Senator Rompkey. I certainly had enough witnesses.

I therefore ask the Minister of Industry to withdraw his untruthful comments about me.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Dear colleague, the minister who made the remarks is here. He may wish to clarify.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, let me make one thing very clear.

If there is one thing that I consider to be despicable and beyond reproach, it is to make accusations of people who are not in a position to defend themselves. I admit I accused-

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Cheap.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Manley Liberal Ottawa South, ON

There is a bird in the front row over there. I accused the member for Saint-Hubert, based on information that I received from two of the members of the committee that she has just cited.

If she is prepared to stand in the House and say in the presence of all of us that she attended the working sessions and not only the social sessions of the Canada-NATO Parliamentary Association in Paris, that she attended the plenary session and voted on the resolutions, then I abjectly apologize to her.

I wish that she would accord to others the right to be able to answer accusations that are made of them.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I think it is now clear. Accusations were made. He said he was mistaken.

We are trying to clarify a situation. Let me put everything into perspective as I understand it. During the course of question period, the hon. Minister of Industry raised a point about whether another hon. member attended some meetings that had to do with NATO.

The hon. member, who was mentioned, stood in her place and said that she was at all the meetings. That was her position. I then asked the hon. minister if he would clarify what he said and, in my view, he said that if the hon. member claimed that she was there, and she did, she said in front of all of us that she was there and she did everything, I can only accept the member's word.

Having accepted her word, the hon. minister said that he abjectly apologizes and withdraws. In the absence of any other information, unless there is more information, I have an accusation and a withdrawal. I do not want to get into an open debate.

This is a question of privilege and the hon. member has asked and the statement has been withdrawn. In my view, the statement has been withdrawn.

I address myself to the hon. Minister of Industry. Did the hon. Minister of Industry withdraw his statement?

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Manley Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was not there. If the hon. member is saying in this House that she attended the working sessions and that she voted in the plenary session, then I cannot deny that. I cannot say otherwise. Therefore I abjectly apologize if that is what she is saying. I accept it.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

In my view an abject apology is a withdrawal and I accept it on behalf of the House. I consider this matter to be closed.

I am going to move on to a point of order, the hon. whip of the Reform Party.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

December 12th, 1996 / 3:10 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, as you know, there is an all-party agreement on the way question period is run; the order of the questions, the rotation and how it goes from one party to the next.

During question period after the fourth question from the official opposition you then go to a Liberal member and then normally to a Reform member. Mr. Speaker, this time you failed to recognize the fourth member of the Reform Party and I wondered why. We had a member standing who was not recognized.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I consider that to be a reasonable question. There has been an agreement for three years that we have gone to. When I come to the ninth question, which is the fewest questions I believe we have had in this session, I usually go to an independent member. That is the reason why today in my judgment I went to the independent member for Kamloops. That is a reasonable question.

Do I have a point of order over here? Is this the same point of order?

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that I cannot speak on it but I was named by the member opposite.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. Is the hon. member talking about the point of order by the hon.-

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I tried to be recognized.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

As far as the question of privilege is concerned I have ruled on that and we are beyond that now.

I am talking about a point of order here. Let me clear up this point of order and I will return to the hon. member's question of privilege. I am going to the hon. member for Sherbrooke on a point of order.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is on the same point of order. I was interested in the remarks made by the whip of the Reform Party about question period and how it operates. This is fundamental to the very workings of the House of Commons.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Sherbrooke has the floor. I would like to listen to him.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, as I was about to say, my understanding of question period is that this is very much the preserve of the Speaker. You will know that taking instructions from the party as far as I am concerned and as far as my knowledge of the rules and the traditions of this place is concerned is a direct contradiction.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

As I was saying, this is a direct contradiction of the role of the Speaker which consists of first and foremost of protecting the rights of the individual member of Parliament. That being said, I noticed during question period something unusual in that the member for York South-Weston, if I understood correctly, was given a position in question period by agreement with members of the Reform Party who substituted one of their members with the member for York South-Weston. With the complicity of members of the Reform Party, who are now controlling the order of questioners that you, Mr. Speaker-

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I address myself to the hon. member for Sherbrooke. I thank him for his vote of confidence. Ultimately the Speaker has to take responsibility for question period, and I do.

At the time when I was looking for a questioner, I looked to the House and the member for York South-Weston was on his feet. No one else was on their feet-

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I can see we are going to get into a protracted discussion on this, but today I recognized the hon. member for York South-Weston and I take complete responsibility for that.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we all know how it works here in the House. There is an agreement between the parties, and the Speaker protects the rights of independent members. It is very clear that today the member for York South-Weston worked out an agreement with the Reform Party so that he could have a turn to speak.

The member for York South-Weston has been successful in his attempt to join the Reform Party, unlike the member for Sherbrooke who tried to do the same thing almost one year ago. It is as simple as that.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, on the point of order raised by the hon. member for Sherbrooke, I would concur with what the hon. member has said.

We certainly accept, Mr. Speaker, your intervention that you are in fact responsible for question period and we abide by your rulings, but I would hope that in the future, if the practice is going to be what the hon. member for Sherbrooke has said, that perhaps there could be a fuller debate among all the political parties and

members in order that we fully understand the practices which are going to commence.

As the hon. member for Sherbrooke has said, if these cozy relationships between the Reform Party and the hon. member for York South-Weston are to take place, I think the House should be informed of them.