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House of Commons Hansard #8 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Supreme CourtOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the hon. member missed my response to an earlier question on this point.

Let me first make it very plain that I think the appointment process in this country has served us very well. One hundred and thirty years of the most distinguished jurors in this country have served on that court.

In response to an earlier question from across the floor I did indicate there may be merit in having a broader consultation process to help me in making my recommendation to my colleagues in the government. Therefore I will take that under advisement.

Naming Of MemberOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

During question period we had what I considered to be the use of unparliamentary language. I decided to put off any action until the end of question period.

I address myself directly to the member for Burnaby—Douglas. The hon. member is an experienced member of the House of Commons. Over the years he has served this House well with distinction and with honour.

I ask the hon. member to stand in his place forthwith and to withdraw the word “treasonous”, I believe it was. I do not want any other words added or taken away. I put the question directly to you, my colleague. Will you withdraw, yes or no?

Naming Of MemberOral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

No, Mr. Speaker.

Naming Of MemberOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, in choosing me as your Speaker you have vested me with, in many ways, awesome authority. This is one of the most onerous tasks of the Chair and surely one which I do not relish. It is the last thing I would ever want to do in this House.

However, I believe we are setting the tone for how we are going to work in this Parliament. I appeal to all hon. members that when situations such as this arise we should always remember that we are the members of the House, representative of all Canadians.

As such, Mr. Svend Robinson, I have to name you for disregarding the authority of the Chair.

Pursuant to the authority granted to me by Standing Order 11, I order you to withdraw from the House for the remainder of this day's sitting.

VacancyOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

It is my duty to inform the House that a vacancy has occurred in the representation, namely Mrs. Sharon Hayes, member for the electoral district of Port Moody—Coquitlam, by resignation effective October 1, 1997.

Pursuant to section 25(1)(b) of the Parliament of Canada Act, I have addressed today my warrant to the Chief Electoral Officer for the issue of a writ for the election of a member to fill this vacancy.

VacancyOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I seek the indulgence of the House to provide a brief explanation of the resignation today of the member for Port Moody—Coquitlam and pay tribute to her dedication to the House, to her constituents and her family.

Members will know that the member for Port Moody—Coquitlam was a tireless advocate for and defender of the Canadian family both within our caucus and without.

In the House and in committee, Sharon Hayes was a tireless advocate for tax relief for families, protection for the unborn and the elderly, protection of the family from violence and state interference.

In all her work she was supported by her own family, her two daughters and her devoted husband Doug. However, in April of this year just before the federal election was called, tragedy struck her family. Her husband Doug, an insurance industry executive, suffered a heart attack followed by a number of serious complications which affected his eyesight and other faculties. These complications have not gone away. They have in fact increased Doug's dependence on his family's care and support.

For five months through the election campaign, through the summer and the opening of Parliament, Sharon valiantly struggled to perform two duties, to her constituents and to the House, and her duty to her husband who needs her more than he has ever needed her before.

Like many of us when we are confronted with two hard choices or options, she attempted for a while to pursue both. Just this week she decided that a real choice had to be made and, consistent with her attachment to the supreme value of the family, she has chosen to devote all her time to Doug's support and recovery.

I want to thank the people of Port Moody—Coquitlam for their understanding of Sharon's dilemma over these past five to six months. We assure them that other members of Parliament are more than willing to help represent them until a successor for Sharon is chosen.

Today I want to pay tribute to Sharon Hayes, who is now demonstrating her commitment to family in the most profound way possible. Our prayers and best wishes are with both Sharon and Doug.

VacancyOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Sharon Hayes has been a very good member of Parliament, very dedicated, and an extremely nice person, respected in the House of Commons.

We all know how close she is to her family and her husband. Her husband was so proud of her. Every time she made an intervention in the House he made sure that she received flowers, even if she was giving me hell.

I want to wish Sharon a lot of strength and good luck. As the Leader of the Opposition said, we have her and her husband in our prayers.

VacancyOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Bloc quebecois, I would also like to extend our best wishes to Mrs. Hayes, who, I think, has done an outstanding job in representing the citizens of her riding.

I think it takes a great deal of courage to make the kind of decision she has made today. It is not an easy decision, but it certainly shows her nobility of soul. I want to express our wholehearted support to Mrs. Hayes and her husband.

VacancyOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues in the NDP caucus, I share in the regret that we all feel about this vacancy being created in this way.

Sharon Hayes and her husband will be in our thoughts and prayers. She has been a friendly and devoted member of this House.

I was speaking with her the other day and I am shocked to hear that she will not be with us for the remainder of this Parliament. Our prayers are with her and her family at this difficult time.

VacancyOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, Sharon Hayes was a good friend to me. As I sat alone in the House of Commons many times, she always reached out to me. She is a very special person.

I saw Sharon the other day because I was looking for Daphne, another lady who was very kind to me. I knew at that time something was wrong because there were tears in her eyes. One of her colleagues told me after about the illness of her husband and the difficult times for Sharon.

The prayers of my friends and colleagues here are with Sharon, her family and her husband. They did not know her like I did but she was very special. We will reach out to her. She had respect for every person who sat in this House. We will miss her, for she did fight for the family and we know that is most important these days.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. In light of the developments of this afternoon I would like to point out to the Chair that in sitting here along with some of my colleagues I could not help but notice there was a motion which, from my vantage point, I perceived to be one of disrespect and even to be threatening toward the Chair. I am not sure if Your Honour noticed this but I did want to point that out to the Chair.

Mr. Speaker, in keeping with your efforts to maintain decorum in the House I felt it was inappropriate that this occurred.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The nice part about being in the Chair is that you do not always see everything.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 48, I would like to raise a question of privilege regarding the premature disclosure of a committee report. I am presenting this question at the first possible opportunity since committees of the House were only struck yesterday.

Access to information documents reveal that on April 18, 1997 the industry minister and industry department officials were in possession of draft copies of the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Industry. The final report of the committee, entitled “Review of section 14 of the Patent Act amendment, 1992” was reported to the House of Commons only on April 23, 1997, five days later.

I have a copy of that draft report with me. In accordance with Beauchesne's reference No. 116 on page 29 I would like to table that document with the House.

Beauchesne's reference No. 877 on page 241 states that “no act done at any committee should be divulged before it has been presented to the House”. Beauchesne's citation No. 877(2) goes further to state that “the publication of proceedings of committees conducted with closed doors or of reports of committees before they are available to members will constitute a breach of privilege”.

With respect to the privileges of the House, divulging an in camera draft report is a breach since it runs against the tradition that members of the House have the right to first view reports of committees.

Beauchesne's reference No. 57 on page 18 states “the House has in the past regarded the publication of the proceedings or reports of committees sitting in camera to be a breach of privilege”.

Therefore, I move:

That this House refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if I understand it correctly, the issue brought to our attention by the hon. member is that the Minister of Industry of the last Parliament saw a document before it was tabled in the House. Mr. Speaker will know that the Minister of Industry is a member of Parliament and all members of Parliament can avail themselves of the privilege of seeing a document that is before a committee. It is the revealing of it generally that is prohibited under the rules.

Notwithstanding that, I believe that you, Mr. Speaker, claimed the privileges of the House for this Parliament on Tuesday of last week. Prior to Tuesday of last week no privileges were claimed. You had not previously claimed them on behalf of this Parliament because this Parliament did not exist.

I believe that one who says that there has been a breach of this Parliament for an act that occurred in a previous Parliament is not a question of privilege. There is perhaps a point of order that could be made were it to be in the same Parliament, but it is not even that. It was in a different Parliament.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would urge you not to be persuaded by the rather feeble argument offered by the government House leader that whatever happened in the last Parliament is somehow immune to your judgment or to the judgment of members of its appropriateness.

Is the government House leader actually saying you can do anything you like in the dying days of a Parliament because once the election is called there is no more privilege, there are no more rules and it is perfectly okay for a committee to vet its report with the government minister?

The argument that the minister is also a member of Parliament completely evades the point of this point of privilege. What should concern us all, if we are concerned at all about the independence of committees, is that government members on this committee vetted the report with the Minister of Industry and it was subsequently changed. This is an affront to our notion of how committees should work and how Parliament should work. It is something that the Chair should take very seriously.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

First, with regard to the tabling of the document, I will accept as a submission to myself so I can look at the document, the draft I believe the hon. member called it. I would like her to put that in my hands following these procedures today.

I will of course take into consideration the point made by the hon. government House leader as soon as I get all of the information that I need to proceed on this.

I would like to hear, if at all possible, comment from the minister, but I would reserve even that judgment until I settle in my own mind the point that the hon. House leader has brought as well as that of the member for Winnipeg—Transcona.

I will take the information under advisement and I will study it. I will get back to the House after I have satisfied myself that I have enough information to proceed to make a judgment.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

October 1st, 1997 / 3:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, again it goes back to question period and the purpose of question period.

Mr. Speaker, correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that question period is there so the opposition to take the government to task for deeds it has either done or not done and answer to the people of Canada.

What confuses me in this whole process is in the last number of days we have had questions thrown at the ministers in advance. In other words, backbench members of the government are putting on average two questions a day and the ministers are absolutely prepared in advance and actually reading from statements—

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member and all hon. members will agree that all members in the House, except of course the parliamentary secretaries and the ministers, have the right to put questions.

The hon. member for Charlotte can believe or not that the minister is well prepared. Some people would look at that as a compliment and other people would look at it in another way.

As for myself, I intend to recognize members on all sides of the House when they stand in their places to ask questions. I know all hon. members will accept this in the spirit with which I say it. It is not my decision to judge either the quality of a question or the quality of an answer. I leave that to the House. It is my responsibility to see to it that hon. members' rights are respected in the House. Until the House decides to give me a new set of guidelines to work by, I will try to recognize all members of the House who feel when they have a legitimate question, that they will get, I hope, what they feel is a legitimate answer.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I wish to seek the unanimous consent of the House to move three motions that have been previously discussed and agreed to among House leaders. They are as follows:

That the Standing Committee on Industry be the committee designated for the purposes of section 33 of an act to amend the Business Corporations Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts (Chapter 24, Statutes of Canada, 1994).

This is a reference of a report to a committee.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

May I ask the government House leader if he is going to include the other two immediately?

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, there have also been consultations regarding the following:

That the report of the Security Establishment Commissioner for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1997, laid upon the table April 24, 1997, be permanently referred to the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs.

Mr. Speaker, I also move:

That Standing Order 104(2) be amended in subsections (h) and (j) be deleting the word “sixteen” and substituting therefor the word “eighteen”.

This has to do with adding two members of Parliament to two different committees.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the minister have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motions?

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motions. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motions?

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.