Mr. Speaker I rise on a point of order with regard to an amendment which I submitted to Journals and which did not appear on the order paper yesterday, nor did it appear on the order paper today. I assume because of that you considered it out of order.
I would like to comment on this particular amendment in some detail. I realize it was a task for the clerks involved in all of the amendments that we had submitted. We were in touch with the Clerk's office frequently. I think perhaps it is just a misunderstanding as to why this particular amendment has not shown up.
The one amendment attempted to attach the Nisga'a final agreement to the bill as a schedule.
I would refer you, Mr. Speaker, to Beauchesne's sixth edition, citation 690 which talks about new schedules in the context of how they are considered. The sequence in which a bill is considered is new schedules after other clauses and schedules.
Citations 702, 703 and 704 state that schedules are treated in the same manner as clauses; in other words in terms of acceptability and form. Erskine May states the same thing on pages 497 and 498.
Mr. Speaker, there is no prohibition listed anywhere in any procedural text against the inclusion of a new schedule in a bill. The important factor to be concerned with is relevancy. Certainly the Nisga'a final agreement is relevant since it is mentioned in just about every clause of Bill C-9.
In 1956 there was a Speaker's ruling discussing this very point. The Speaker said on page 568 of the Journals of that year:
The hon. member's main objection is this. It is his contention that, because this bill refers to an agreement and the terms of the agreement not being a part of the bill and not being printed in extenso in the bill, the control of the House over the expenditures which may be involved therein is being denied.
The Speaker suggested on that same page that he cannot be expected to study every bill in an effort to find out whether or not something has been omitted.
The Speaker went on to say:
Honourable members have taken care of that by insisting in their procedure that after second reading all bills be referred or committed either to one of their standing committees or to the Committee of the Whole.
He suggested that proper amendments may be moved and new schedules may be inserted.
In that case the complaint was that the bill did not contain the agreement. The Speaker suggested that it could be included as an amendment in the form of a schedule.
In the case of Bill C-9, which we are talking about today, the agreement is also omitted from the bill. I think it should be part of the bill so I am attempting to include it as the Speaker suggested could and should be done in 1956 and as Beauchesne's and Erskine May support.
I was not the only one concerned that the agreement was not attached, Mr. Speaker. Professor Stephen Scott of McGill University raised this in committee. Professor Scott, as we know, is a very knowledgeable individual on these matters. He said:
I am concerned at what seems inadequate provision in the agreement and in Bill C-9 to ensure the continuing integrity and preservation of legislative and administrative archives in the Nisga'a government and indeed, the lack of obligatory provisions for publication of legislative and executive acts. In Bill C-9 itself, the Parliament of Canada has set the worst possible example since the final agreement and related instruments, though they are to be separately published, are not annexed to the bill itself. In practical terms the final agreement and other instruments will often be unavailable to users of Canadian statutes in Canada and abroad, even though by section 4 the agreement is given force of law, and by section 5, binds third parties and can be relied on by them. This is a travesty of the rule of law and a total disgrace. I feel so strongly about this as to think that no responsible that no responsible member of either House could vote for Bill C-9, at least until it is amended to annex the final agreement to the bill and, I think, the related agreements too.
That says it all of what the concern of the official opposition is.
Mr. Speaker, if you and the members of the House are wondering why I want to attach the Nisga'a final agreement to a bill that gives effect to the Nisga'a final agreement, I think Professor Stephen Scott articulated the need very well.
I was thinking about raising the fact that the bill did not contain the agreement at second reading but since Speaker's rulings, Beauchesne's and Erskine May suggest that such an omission could be rectified by inserting it later as a schedule, I do not want to waste the time of the House by making that argument.
I am concerned that today a new precedent will be set wiping out any opportunity to attach a new schedule to a bill in the future. There does not appear to be a sound reasoning to disallow it. Procedural authorities and constitutional experts support including Nisga'a final agreement as the schedule to Bill C-9, an act to give effect to the Nisga'a final agreement.
With respect to any minor, and I say minor, technical deficiency which may have existed with the amendment we submitted, the Speaker and/or Journals could have made the necessary corrections. This is done all the time. It has been done since we have been in the House of Commons and even recently. It would be improper for the Speaker to choose to make minor corrections in some cases and not in others, or to choose to do it for some members and not for others. This particular amendment was brought to the attention of the clerk and it was made clear that I wanted to have the Nisga'a agreement attached to Bill C-9.
The Reform Party is alone in the House in opposition to this bill. We are faced with the tyranny of the majority when it chooses to close off debate. We do not need another obstacle to our opposition. We do not need another form of closure with respect to our amendments and the consideration of our amendments.
Not only do I think it is procedurally correct to attach the Nisga'a final agreement to Bill C-9, but I believe it is our duty in the House to attach it.