The Chair is ready to rule on the point of order raised on June 5, 2000 by the hon. opposition House leader concerning Bill C-201, formerly known as an act to amend the Competition Act (protection of those who purchase products from vertically integrated suppliers who compete with them at retail) in the name of the hon. member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge, which is presently on the order of precedence.
At the outset, I would like to thank the opposition House leader, the leader of the government in the House of Commons and the hon. member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge for their contributions in this matter.
Standing Order 86(1) allows a private member's bill considered in a previous session to be reinstated at the same stage at which it stood at the time of prorogation. At the time of prorogation the bill in question, previously Bill C-235, had been reported from the Standing Committee on Industry with amendments that deleted the title and all the clauses of the bill and it was set down for consideration at report stage.
When the hon. member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge introduced his bill on October 14, 1999, pursuant to Standing Order 86(1), it was again placed on the order of precedence at the report stage with its title and clauses deleted.
On a number of occasions during the present session, the hon. member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge has given notice that he could not be present in the House to go forward with his bill.
Most of the time it was possible to arrange an exchange of positions on the order of precedence with another member. However, on two occasions, on February 15 and on June 2, the House was informed that it had not been possible to arrange an exchange of positions on the order of precedence for Private Members' Business Hour for the following sitting day.
Consequently, Private Members' Business Hour had to be cancelled and the hon. member's bill was dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence.
On June 5 the opposition House leader expressed concern about the number of times exchanges had been arranged for Bill C-201, and the fact that when no exchange of items on the order of precedence was possible, Private Members' Business could not take place.
On June 7 the hon. member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge responded to the point of order raised by the opposition House leader, and the Speaker undertook to return to the House with a ruling, which I am now providing.
Bill C-201 is once again working its way up the order of precedence, while the hon. member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge seeks a way to restore, through amendments, the effect of Bill C-201. However, the hon. member will agree that the situation is unfair to other hon. members who have items in the list outside the order of precedence that they consider of equal importance but which are unable to advance.
Standing Order 94(1)(a) allows the Speaker to ensure the orderly conduct of Private Members' Business and, with that in mind, the Chair has decided to allow the hon. member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge a further 48 hours to place on the notice paper motions in amendment to restore the title and clauses.
At the expiration of the 48 hours, if no motions in amendment are placed on notice, I hereby instruct the clerk to remove Bill C-201 from the order of precedence, the order for concurrence at report stage to be discharged and the bill withdrawn.
As I stated the other day, I would encourage the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to consider this specific issue and to provide the House with some guidance as to how it should proceed in the future with similar cases
The Chair would like to take this opportunity to thank all hon. members for their patience in awaiting this decision.