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House of Commons Hansard #105 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was edc.

Topics

SupplyGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

Pursuant to the order adopted Monday, October 29, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the opposition motion standing in the name of the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean--Saguenay.

SupplyGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think you would find unanimous consent in the House that those who voted on the previous motion be recorded as voting on the motion now before the House, with Liberal members voting yes.

SupplyGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this way?

SupplyGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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6 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Canadian Alliance Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian Alliance members will be voting no on this motion.

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6 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, members of the Bloc Quebecois are in favour of this motion.

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6 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, members of the New Democratic Party who are present will vote yes on this motion.

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6 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, members of the PC/DR coalition present this evening will be voting in favour of the motion.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

SupplyGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-31, an act to amend the Export Development Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts, be read the third time and passed.

Export Development ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

Pursuant to the order adopted earlier today, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division at the third reading stage of Bill C-31.

Export Development ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, again if you seek it I think you would find consent that members who voted on the previous motion be recorded as voting on the motion now before the House, with Liberals members voting yes.

Export Development ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this way?

Export Development ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Export Development ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Canadian Alliance Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Alliance will be voting no to the motion.

Export Development ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, members of the Bloc Quebecois will vote no on this motion.

Export Development ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the NDP members present are voting no to the motion.

Export Development ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, coalition members are opposed to the motion.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Export Development ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Export Development ActAdjournment Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to use this opportunity to raise with my colleagues something that has troubled me concerning the Library of Parliament, a tool that is essential to us.

I had raised the question with the member for Ottawa West--Nepean as the spokesperson for the Board of Internal Economy back in May and requested an opportunity to respond to the question because I was not satisfied. I will break this into two parts, the issue itself and then the matter of accountability and the difficulty I and other colleagues will find ourselves in in trying to make the library accountable.

The difficulty is that the Library of Parliament issued a request for proposal for a news gathering service. One company that wanted to respond to the request for proposal uses a different system than the system that was specified in the request for proposal. It tried to get the library to correct that by calling for a generic system as opposed to a specific system on which the computer system was based. The library proceeded nonetheless.

The company appealed to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal. Through a series of protracted discussions and so forth, at the end of the day, the tribunal ruled that the library was in error, that the library had to correct its request for proposal or start over. This was a rather lengthy effort.

The library concluded by saying it was cancelling the request, that it did not need the service any more because it had fixed the problem. This begs the question as to why it was not fixed in the first place. The response it gave for cancelling the request for proposal and not issuing another one as per the CITT ruling was that it had used up all its money in defending itself at the CITT.

I have a problem with that. This was not a one year project; it was an ongoing one. Perhaps it could have delayed it, as I hope is the intent of the Library of Parliament, but not cancelled it outright, never to revisit it and never call for a proposal for implementing the system that might be required.

I have some problems with the rationale the Library of Parliament is using. The biggest problem I have is the total lack of accountability of the Library of Parliament to the House.

The Library of Parliament is accountable to the Speakers, the Speaker of the House and the Speaker in the Senate, yet members in the House cannot ask questions of the Speaker. We have to go to the Board of Internal Economy, yet we are told that the Board of Internal Economy is not responsible for the Library of Parliament.

Once, I managed to ask a question of the representative of the Board of Internal Economy in the House on the basis that the library offers services to the members, I am not sure that the Speaker would again allow me to do that.

We cannot ask a question of the Speaker. The library is not accountable to the Board of Internal Economy. The joint Senate and House of Commons committee on the library has not met. It has not even been struck. Therefore, I cannot ask a question of the chair of that committee in the House. There is no accountability. We are now almost into November. We have been sitting for a month and a half now and that committee has yet to be struck.

At some point the rules of the House are going to have to be changed so that the Library of Parliament is accountable to the members of the House. Then we can get information about the library without having to go through the hoops and a system that does not seem to work.

Export Development ActAdjournment Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my answer of May 30, the Board of Internal Economy does not normally deal with issues relating to the Library of Parliament. However, in the hope of clarifying this issue, I am pleased to have this opportunity to respond, on behalf of the board, to the member's question.

On May 30, 2001, the hon. member for Ottawa--Vanier raised the question concerning a request for proposal, which in fact is a call for tender, issued by the Library of Parliament for an electronic news monitoring service and which had been referred to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.

P&L Communications filed a complaint with the trade tribunal related to the library's procurement process, arguing that the library was subject to the agreement on internal trade and was therefore subject to the authority of the tribunal.

As the library's original deadline for the filing of proposals for the tender was June 1, it appeared unlikely that the trade tribunal would hear the case prior to the deadline. Therefore, at the request of an hon. member, the co-chair of the Standing Committee of the Library of Parliament, the parliamentary library agreed to extend the bid until June 31, 2001.

After several exchanges of arguments by the parties, on July 24, 2001, the tribunal informed the Library of Parliament that it had ruled in favour of P&L Communications and that it would issue its reasons for the determination at a later date.

According to the library's legal adviser and pursuant to the CITT act, the library had the obligation to inform the tribunal of its response to its decision on or before the deadline of August 13, 2001.

In light of this situation and based on an article of the library's request for tender, which stipulates that the Library of Parliament may at its discretion cancel and/or re-issue this RFP at any time, the library decided to cancel the request for proposal immediately to ensure that it would respect the reasons for determination of the tribunal.

The decision by the library was based on the following reasons.

First, as a result of the tribunal's decision the library had incurred legal costs. It was required to pay both the petitioner's and its own legal costs and, therefore, had insufficient budget to proceed with the project.

Second, since the request for proposal was posted the library has been able, with the technical assistance of the information services directorate of the House of Commons, to make improvements to the existing electronic news monitoring service, allowing the library to maintain these services for the foreseeable future.

In a memo dated September 25 and addressed to both chairs and to the members of the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament, the parliamentary librarian said that the library never intended to defy the tribunal. He also said that all parliamentarians could be assured that, from now on, requests for proposals from the Library of Parliament would comply with procurement rules.

Export Development ActAdjournment Proceedings

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, I find this answer very weak since the fact that the Library of Parliament is accountable to this House was not even mentioned.

We have a situation where the Library of Parliament serving members is totally unaccountable to the members of the House. We have no access to the library. We cannot ask questions of anyone speaking on behalf of the library in the House and the committee that is supposed to be overseeing it has not even been struck.

I would implore the chief government whip to make sure that the committee is struck as rapidly as possible because there is throughout this whole issue a sense of lack of respect for the members of the House by the library.

We have to get to the bottom of it. Why would they not have fixed the problem? Twice they requested proposals and twice they cancelled. Twice they were wrong.

All this mess, if I can call it that, has to be investigated by the committee which has not been struck. At the very least, the government should get on with striking the committee so that it can do its work.

Export Development ActAdjournment Proceedings

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I can only point out that the government is not responsible for the operation of parliament, but I believe the member has raised an important question.

It is not a question, frankly, that he raised in his original question in the House. The library committee will be having its first meeting later this week. It was delayed simply because the person proposed to be nominated as chair of the library committee was not in the country for the last couple of weeks.

The committee will be meeting. I suggest very strongly that the member take his concerns there and that he encourage the committee, as I will do personally, to pursue this matter.

Export Development ActAdjournment Proceedings

6:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Pursuant to Standing Order 38(5), the motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6.18 p.m.)