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House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebeckers.

Topics

FinanceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ought to look at the facts. If he would take a look at what happened to medium and long term interest rates following the last Bank of Canada increase of 25 basis points, he would find that long term rates went down virtually across the spectrum.

They went down because inflationary expectations went down. That is what really important. People invest on the basis of long term rates. Mortgage rates are at a record level. It is because of both the fiscal and monetary policies being pursued by the government and the Bank of Canada.

MuseumsOral Question Period

November 25th, 1997 / 2:55 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government is proposing a Holocaust display for the Canadian War Museum. To put it mildly, controversy rages around this decision.

Because of the importance of the Holocaust display, why is the minister bearing it at the war museum? She knows full well that the Canadian Museum of Civilization has far more traffic and is a far more appropriate place.

Will she commit today, if the Holocaust display is to go ahead, that it will be put at the Canadian Museum of Civilization so that it gets the exposure it deserves?

MuseumsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am certainly happy to see the interest of the hon. member in the workings of the Canadian War Museum.

He will no doubt be aware that earlier this week the Museum of Civilization, through the board of directors and the war museum, established a consultative process to ensure that every facet of society, and in particular the veteran community, is widely consulted.

They are expecting to have an end to that consultation by their next meeting in February. Whatever they come up with, I am sure the member and I will be working together to ensure the direction set by the board of directors becomes reality.

Quebec's PartitionOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

On November 21, in Minneapolis, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs stated, and I quote: “Nationalism in Quebec is a civic rather that an ethnic issue”.

Why is the minister speaking from both sides of his mouth since he stated the opposite last week, in his letter to Mr. Jacques Brassard, speaking of an ethno-linguistic cleavage to describe Quebec's plan?

Quebec's PartitionOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for giving me the opportunity to explain to him for the umpteenth time that Quebec society is not the problem. It is a great society that must stay within Canada.

The problem is not Quebec nationalism, which is an open kind of nationalism that can help all Canadians. The problem is the secessionist option, which is aimed at taking Canada away from Quebeckers, when we know that the vast majority of Quebeckers want to remain Canadians.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Last week students at Carleton University heard that as many as 13 programs could be cut. Students protested against the cuts yesterday and know the role the federal government is playing in the slow destruction of education.

Since 1995 alone $1.5 billion has been taken from post-secondary education. Students at Carleton and across Canada want to know when the government will listen to students and restore funding to education.

Post-Secondary EducationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for giving me the opportunity to discuss in the House this important situation for students. Our government is working very hard on it.

The Minister of Finance has already brought about a number of very important fiscal measures to help students in his budget last year, and we must thank him for that.

We are also working very hard right now on the Canada student loans program. We want to fix it. We want to improve it again. We recognized there is a problem. We are meeting right now with the provinces, with the lenders and with the students' associations that are doing great work.

Young Offenders ActOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Independent

John Nunziata Independent York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.

Sixteen and seventeen year olds are old enough to drive, old enough to leave school and old enough to get married. Yet they are not old enough to be held fully responsible for their criminal behaviour.

In view of the fact that 16 and 17 year olds are quite capable of understanding the difference between right and wrong, will the minister undertake in her review of the Young Offenders Act that she will commit to the House that 16 and 17 year olds will be removed from the provisions of the Young Offenders Act and prosecuted in adult court?

Young Offenders ActOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I should think the hon. member is aware that my predecessor made an important change to the Young Offenders Act, which in fact presumes that 16 and 17 year olds for serious crimes are adults.

In fact what we see in many provinces now is a large number of 16 and 17 year olds being transferred to adult court and being dealt with as adults.

AgricultureOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Drouin Liberal Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the secretary of state for agriculture.

There are a lot of farmers in the riding of Beauce and I understand that the Government of Canada and the province of Quebec have come to an agreement to provide Quebec farm producers with a security net.

Can the secretary of state tell the House what our farmers stand to gain from this agreement?

AgricultureOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bellechasse—Etchemins—Montmagny—L'Islet Québec

Liberal

Gilbert Normand LiberalSecretary of State (Agriculture and Agri-Food)(Fisheries and Oceans)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Beauce and take this opportunity to reassure farmers not only from Beauce, but from all over Quebec.

Yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture, always sensitive to the needs of farm producers, signed with his Quebec counterpart a $202 million framework agreement on income protection. Out of this $202 million, $146 million will go to income security, $49 million to crop insurance and an additional $7 million to vegetable producers.

Co-operation is always reassuring.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to draw to the attention of the House the presence in the gallery of members of the Portfolio Committee on Private Members' Legislative Proposals and Petitions of the Republic of South Africa.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I have two questions of privilege and two points of order.

I have two questions of privilege to deal with. I received notification from the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre. I also received notice during question period from the hon. member for Burlington. My question to the hon. member for Burlington is does this question of privilege arise from question period today?

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

No.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I will take the question of privilege from the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, and I would ask the hon. member to give me notification at least one hour ahead of time.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 48, I raise a question of privilege regarding the premature disclosure of a committee report. I base this question on new information obtained through access to information.

On October 1, 1997 I raised a question of privilege on a related matter, namely that a breach of privilege occurred when the industry committee's in camera draft report was released to the public. I indicated then that according to access to information documents the industry minister and industry department bureaucrats were in possession on April 18, 1997 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 on April 23, 1997, five days later. On October 9, 1997 the Speaker ruled that while the matter raised was important, it was not appropriate for the Speaker to intervene at that time and I stress at that time.

Access to information files show that House of Commons legal counsel argued on August 25, 1997 that the release of the draft committee report “could give rise to a question of parliamentary privilege”. At the time legal counsel advised that the draft report not be released. The letter and subsequent release of the draft report would indicate there are no formal rules governing the handling of committee documents.

I would contend that if the House of Commons precedent is the guide, the new information obtained through access to information provides the Speaker with the authority to intervene at this time since on August 25, 1997 it now appears House of Commons legal counsel was made aware the draft report would be released.

Responsibility for House of Commons legal counsel lies with the Speaker. This new information indicates the matter should therefore be dealt with by the House of Commons as a whole and not left in the hands of committees themselves.

By the same token a new element to the body of precedent in these matters has been introduced since persons under your responsibility were consulted and their advice on a matter of parliamentary privilege was not followed.

In the October 9, 1997 ruling, the Speaker referenced Speaker Fraser's December 7, 1991 decision indicating the Chair does not intervene in the proceedings of a committee unless a problem has been reported by the committee to the House, or in extremely unusual circumstances. The new information indicates there are indeed unusual circumstances.

For clarity I again refer to Beauchesne citation 877 on page 241 which states that no act done at any committee should be divulged before it has been presented to the House. Beauchesne citation 877 also states 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. Also Beauchesne citation 57, 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 regarding rules for the handling of committee documents to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

First, to the hon. member who has just spoken, the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, if I did find a prima facie case for a question of privilege, then I would of course invite the hon. member to make a motion, but the motion is not in order right now.

On the same question of privilege, I will hear from the government House leader.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I do believe that the Chair has ruled on this point in the past. The new information being raised today does not change the essence of what has been ruled on before. I think there are a number of points for the Chair to consider.

First is that this issue happened in committee and should be raised in committee. The Chair is usually reluctant to interfere with this, save and except for one item, that a report from the committee should of course be made available to this House before being made public. However that is an issue about which the committee itself should lodge a complaint before the House.

The committee in question was in a previous Parliament and because it was in a previous Parliament. That committee and the Parliament in question has ceased to exist with the calling of the election.

The new privileges claimed by this Parliament were claimed by yourself, Mr. Speaker, on the first day that we sat. Therefore any action being raised now has to relate to something that occurred after the date at which you claimed the privileges for this Parliament.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, it should be pointed out that if the hon. member is claiming that her own privileges have in some way been offended, she was not at the time a member of Parliament when the incident in question was alleged to have occurred.

The Chair might consider those points before adjudicating.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of my colleague's question of privilege with respect to the report being provided outside the committee before it was released to the members.

I was an associate member of that committee, Mr. Speaker, when the House was in session. As you will recall it was leading up to the election campaign. There was a great deal of problem with respect to maintaining a full complement of members in the House the day before they called the election.

With respect to the point of privilege, I want to add two points. The government House leader indicated that the member who just raised the question of privilege was not here and her personal privilege was not in question. She has raised this on behalf of the New Democratic Party caucus. We believe that the privileges of all members of the House who were members at that time and continue to be members have been breached. We feel this has to be reviewed by you, Sir, and that you should report back to the House at your leisure.

With respect to whether this happened in committee, obviously there was a request for this information. It really falls outside the realm of the committee because it was external to the committee. The people who requested it were not members of the committee. Therefore the committee is partially responsible but we do not know for sure.

Mr. Speaker, you might recall that the minutes of the industry committee which reviewed this particular document that was leaked in advance of being provided to members of Parliament were in camera and were destroyed when the election was called and dissolution of Parliament took place. We really do not know for sure what happened but that, in my view, is a breach of the privileges of all members of Parliament as it pertains to this issue.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, I well recall the decision I made earlier in this Parliament.

The hon. member has referred to new information. I take it she has documents. I would ask her to table those documents with me. I want to have a look at them and take into consideration what the government House leader has said as well as the comments of the hon. member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre. I will look at everything and if it is necessary, I will return to the House.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform West Kootenay—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, today in question period in frustration I used a word that was inappropriate. I do apologize for that. I hope the Speaker would realize that is not in character with the way I speak in this House.

However I would ask the Speaker if he could enlighten me as to why, when other people use words which are inappropriate, the Speaker rises and tells them that he finds that word inappropriate and asks them to withdraw it and then the question is answered. Why did he not do that in my case but simply passed me over and I did not get a response to my question?

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Far be it for me to ever pass you over my hon. colleague.

There are very few words, if any, that are of and by themselves unparliamentary. For the most part it has to do with the tone of the delivery. It has to do with the reaction and whether it causes disorder in the House.

I saw that the hon. member was frustrated. I saw that the hon. member used words that he would not, as he has said, ordinarily use in this House. I thought that the words used today and the fashion in which they were used were a bit provocative. I thought they were provocative enough that I would rule the statement out of order.

Another day in my fallibility I may say we will let it go and see what happens. I did not want to put you under the duress of withdrawing words. Sometimes when a member is frustrated like that, I like to give the member a little bit of time.

As the hon. member has stated, I know he has a very wide choice of words he can use. If he would consider not using those words again, it would probably help the House.

However, I thank him for his willingness to apologize to the House. Of course, on behalf of the House, I accept.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

An hon. member

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

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Usually when there is a question of privilege, if it arises out of the question period itself, I will hear it because it is here, this day. However, the rules are that I should have at least one hour's notice if it is a question of privilege which occurred prior to the question period.

I would invite the hon. member to put her question of privilege to me tomorrow, as soon after the question period as we can get to it. If she would give me an inkling of what it is about, I would appreciate that, just so I have an idea of what it is about.

However, I will hear it tomorrow, now that she has given me notice.