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House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was referendum.

Topics

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

Just to make sure, Mr. Speaker, that you do understand what is at stake here, it is not that the member opposite used words that are inappropriate, but they were irrelevant to the debate. More than that, it was contrary to what is going on actually with the minister of HRDC through the employment embezzlement of over $1 billion.

Actually the members opposite should not talk about things. They are looking for a straw in Quebec's eye when they have a two-by-four in their own eye.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

That is obviously a matter of debate and that is why we are here. It is certainly not a point of order.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Like you, all the members in the House want a calm debate. You know that you can count on us in this regard.

However, my colleague has made some accusations about the Government of Quebec that are unworthy of us as parliamentarians. Out of respect for what will follow in the House, I ask that our colleague apologize because we have in Quebec a most competent government, far more competent than the one in front of us. Consequently, I am asking him to apologize to the House.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

The government of the province of Quebec, I am sure, rests very comfortably in the knowledge that it has such competent defenders of its interests here in Ottawa, but that is still a point of debate.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think you will see on page 244 of Beauchesne's that there is such a thing as the indivisibility of the Crown principle. When the Quebec government is insulted, all members of parliament from Quebec are insulted too. In the rest of our proceedings, you should ensure that such insults—

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

I am very patient, but there are limits. The hon. member for Pierrefonds—Dollard.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, had my colleagues opposite listened carefully, they would have realized I did not say anything against the Quebec government. All I wanted to say is that everything was done in harmony.

To answer the hon. member for Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, my remarks are nothing compared to those we hear from the other side. You are the ones who accused me of being a traitor, of having sold out.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

I request that members speak to each other through the Chair. To suggest that one member is calling another member a very pejorative word is just not appropriate.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Lebel Bloc Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I just heard the member who just spoke say “traitor” and “sold out”. These are unparliamentary expressions and I would ask him to withdraw them.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

I heard the form and the context and it was reflected toward himself. He was not addressing that to anyone else.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. With all due respect for the hon. member, there were two violations of the rules. First, as you appropriately pointed out, the member was not speaking to you. Second, he mentioned some words and accused us of saying these words in reference to him and his colleagues.

I cannot accept being accused of unreasonable and disrespectful motives such as the ones the member just attributed to us.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

We dealt with the question of addressing each other through the Chair. I very clearly heard the member for Pierrefonds—Dollard address his comments in a general sense; not addressing them to any one person specifically, but reflectively.

Having said that, we should have honour for the Chamber and for the debate that is unfolding. Let us use our wit and our imagination. Let us not be mean to each other.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, a unilateral declaration of independence would be illegal, not recognized internationally and impossible to implement, to name just three of the many reasons behind our government's decision to define the prerequisites to any negotiations for the secession of a province.

Pursuant to Standing Order 26, I move:

That the House continue to sit beyond the ordinary hour of daily adjournment for the purpose of considering Bill C-20.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

Will those members who object to the motion please rise in their places?

And more than 15 members having risen:

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

Fifteen or more members having risen to object, the motion is deemed to have been withdrawn.

(Motion withdrawn)

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a simple question for the member for Pierrefonds—Dollard.

Would he try to tell us, as the Prime Minister did today, that the clarity bill applies to all provinces in Canada? If it does, and if it is a bill that is intended to ensure the clarity of the question in the event of a referendum on secession, can he tell us which other provinces intend, like Quebec, to become independent?

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert for her question.

The Canadian parliament's legislation applies to all Canadians not just to one people.

This is simply a bill on clarity and its purpose is to follow up on the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada. This opinion said that the political stakeholders must determine what is a clear majority vote on a clear question given the circumstances under which a future referendum could be held.

Thus, it is very simple, no province should be specified. As far as I am concerned, the province of Quebec will not secede, there will not be another referendum and we will live in harmony.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-De-La-Madeleine—Pabok, QC

Mr. Speaker, I understood the hon. member wanted to share his time with some other member. I do not want members opposite to think that I am that other member.

I will first make a comment and then put a question to the hon. member opposite. If I understood well the proposal he made earlier, he wishes us to deal with the bill on the clarity tonight during the night shift.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

An hon. member

In the dark.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-De-La-Madeleine—Pabok, QC

They want to enlighten the House but they want to do so stealthily, after normal working hours, when no one will follow the debate.

In a way, this is what the hon. member proposes to do. They refuse to let the committee travel to meet Quebecers and hear their views on the goal of the act, its contents and its effects.

When we say that the act is for all Canadians, I believe it entails that we should travel to the nine other provinces and the territories also. I would like to know the opinion of the hon. member about that.

I noted something else in the member's speech and I hope that other members will use different arguments to defend the bill on clarity, rather than using arguments saying that the Quebec government does not have the capacity to assume functions like passports and similar functions.

I will read the speech of the member. It smacks of colonialism. It is as if they are the only ones able to do something. Now, Quebecers are precisely asking to take charge of their own affairs.

The same issue exists with natives. Natives want to take their future into their own hands. What answer do they get? “No, you're not good enough”. This is the attitude of this government. I cannot believe it.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, in reply to my colleague, the hon. member for Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-de-la-Madeleine—Pabok, I will say first of all that the member knows as well as I do that the legislative committee will be the one to decide if the committee will travel or if witnesses will come here to Ottawa. Therefore, we will leave that decision to the chair of the legislative committee.

Second, the hon. member asked me questions saying that it was an issue of clarity and that he wanted some clarification.

Well, the purpose of the bill now before us is clarity. I think that all Quebecers have the right to demand clarity, and that includes aboriginal people and each and every Quebecer without exception.

This bill basically explains what clarity means. I was with the hon. member for Beauharnois—Salaberry recently when someone asked him what is a clear question; he replied that a clear question is “Do you want Quebec to separate from Canada yes or no?”.

That is a clear question, and I look forward to hearing my hon. colleagues tell us the exact same thing in committee.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is now 6.29 p.m. We know that the debates must be adjourned at 6.30 p.m. You have the power to decide what time it is and move the clock forward by one minute and, voilà, we will resume debate in a coherent manner, with a whole period of time ahead of us, when the government sees it fit.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

That is a very generous attitude.

Before I go into the final stage I would like to just say a word of thanks to the translators. I know how difficult it is, particularly to translate my French. I think they have done a marvellous job and I thank them very much.

It being 6.30 p.m., the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6.30 p.m.)