Mr. Speaker, my point of order is with regard to Bill C-206 and the fact that it has been dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence.
Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, the status of the bill was challenged by the member for Athabasca, resulting in a committee study by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
The Speaker ruled on the complaint of the member for Athabasca and based his ruling on the recommendation from the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, which recommended:
That the Speaker require (the Member for Wentworth—Burlington) to demonstrate that Bill C-206 has the current support of at least 100 Members, including at least 10 Members each from a majority of the recognized parties in the House, by filing with the Clerk a list, in accordance with Standing Order 87(6)(a), prior to Bill C-206 being set down for the first hour of debate at second reading. For these purposes only, and without prejudice to any future cases or recommendations, “support” shall mean support that the item be added to the Order of Precedence. If (the Member for Wentworth—Burlington) is unable to demonstrate such support within the specified period of time, the Speaker should order that Bill C-206 be dropped from the Order of Precedence and replaced by the next eligible item under Standing Order 87(6)(b). Any such removal of Bill C-206 would not affect in any way (the Member for Wentworth—Burlington's) use of this procedure for Bill C-206 in the future.
During the discussions at committee, it was suggested that the member for Wentworth—Burlington be apprised of the intentions of the committee before the committee actually finalized its report, in order to allow him time to seek the recommended support for his bill. The reason for this urgency was because the committee intended the deadline to be the first opportunity for the bill to be considered for its first hour of debate. That should have been today.
By arranging to prevent his bill from being considered today, the member for Wentworth—Burlington has gone against the intentions of the committee and the spirit of the Speaker's ruling. His procedural manoeuvre blocks the next eligible bill from making it on the order paper pursuant to Standing Order 87(6)(b).
No other member enjoys the advantage of securing a position on the order of precedence until such time as he or she can obtain 100 signatures. All other members are now required to wait while the member dithers.
The House has been patient enough and it is unfair to all members to delay this any further. In the Chair's ruling of March 21, 2000, the Speaker said:
Failing the filing of the necessary list with the Journals Branch prior to Bill C-206 being set down for the first hour of debate at second reading, the item will be removed from the order of precedence. It will, of course, remain eligible to be returned to the order of precedence through a later filing of such a list or by the normal process of the draw.
The member for Wentworth—Burlington rose after the Speaker's ruling and sought further clarification. He clarified with the Chair that if he could secure 100 signatures by Friday, March 24, 2000, today, his bill could remain on the order paper. It is obvious that the member did not obtain the required support in time.
The member had his chance. He should now proceed as suggested in the Speaker's ruling. He should file through the normal process and stop tying up a position on the order of precedence that would allow other members to take advantage of Standing Order 87(6)(b).