Colleagues, I am now ready to render a ruling on the point of order raised by the hon. member for Langley—Abbotsford on February 2, 1998 concerning Bill S-3, an act to amend the Pension Benefit Standards Act, 1985 and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act.
First of all, I would like to thank the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, the hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona, the whip of the official opposition, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House as well as the hon. member for Nanaimo—Alberni for their helpful contributions in this matter.
In his presentation, the opposition House leader expressed concern about the introduction of public bills in the Senate. He went on to state that Bill S-3, which had been introduced and passed in the Senate and was now on the order paper of the House, should be considered a money bill and that, as such, it should have originated in the House of Commons.
Before proceeding further I would like to make two points of clarification. With regard to the introduction of bills in the Senate, may I respectfully remind members of a ruling I delivered on October 9, 1997, following the question of privilege raised by the same honourable member on this very subject. At that time I indicated that according to our practice, bills may originate in the Senate or in the House.
Second, allow me to make a very small correction to a remark made by the hon. House leader of the official opposition. He reminded the House that Bill S-3 had been originally introduced as Bill C-45 in the previous Parliament. In fact the similar bill from the previous Parliament was Bill C-85 and not Bill C-45.
I will now deal with the substantive procedural issue before the Chair. The hon. member alleged that both bills were essentially the same. Thus, he argued, since a royal recommendation had been attached to Bill C-85, one should also be attached to Bill S-3.
In reply to this argument, the government House leader stated that Bill S-3 does not—and should not—contain a royal recommendation since it is not a money bill.
So-called money bills refer to those bills which raise taxes or bills which appropriate money, whether based on annual supply votes or on bills which authorize statutory expenditures. Bills appropriating public funds must be accompanied by a royal recommendation which establishes “the objects, purposes, conditions and qualifications” as explained in citation 596, page 183 of Beauchesne's sixth edition.
I have carefully examined Bill S-3 and find that there are four components to this legislation, none of which in my opinion either imposes a tax or appropriates money for any purpose.
In the 1987 legislation creating the Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions, responsibility for supervising federally regulated private sector pension plans was provided for. It seems fairly evident that the powers of the superintendent would be extended by Bill S-3. It may well be that additional expenditures would be incurred because of those enhanced powers of the superintendent.
Should an increase in resources be necessary as a result of these new powers, the necessary allocation of money would have to be sought by means of an appropriation bill because I was unable to find any provision for money in Bill S-3.
For these reasons I have determined that Bill S-3 does not require a royal recommendation and does not contravene the provisions of Standing Order 80(1). I rule therefore that Bill S-3 is properly before the House.
In making this or any other ruling, the Chair examines the arguments raised in light of the standing orders of the House and our precedents and practice developed over time. Although I may not always come to the same conclusion as a member raising a point of order, I share with all of you the common objective of having deliberations in this House unfold in a fair and orderly fashion according to our rules and practice.
I do not rule for or against a member or a party. The Chair rules to uphold the standing orders and the practice of this House. In this task I continue to depend on the vigilance and assistance of all hon. members and I wish to thank the hon. opposition House leader for raising this particular matter in defence of the privileges of the House.