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House of Commons Hansard #10 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want to know that their awesome team of armed forces are able to work in the most effective way possible with our allies. Could the Minister of National Defence give the House concrete examples of the Canadian Forces' interoperability with our allies?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

Noon

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her very good question.

I confess I was somewhat amazed to hear the contentions of the U.S. ambassador yesterday because notwithstanding stresses, the Canadian Forces operate extremely well with our allies. In the air we have been with Norad for almost 50 years operating seamlessly with the Americans. On the high seas, Canada is the only country whose ships are fully operable with the Americans. On the ground, our troops have performed fantastically in Afghanistan.

Do not take my word for it. Listen to General Franks. Listen to a U.S. lieutenant general, a U.S. colonel or a U.S. sergeant who have said our troops are--

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

Noon

The Deputy Speaker

Order. The House will now deal with a matter of personal privilege with the hon. member for Perth--Middlesex.

Resignation of MemberOral Question Period

October 11th, 2002 / noon

Liberal

John Richardson Liberal Perth—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, my parliamentary colleagues, my dear friends, constituents of Perth--Middlesex, the service to the people of Canada has been an important part of my life, as a teacher and as a member of Canada's armed forces and the reservists. I never found to fail the involvement I had with the reservists before I came back to the House of Commons. Since 1993, as a parliamentarian there could be no greater calling for any of us.

It is with so much regret I must tell the House today that personal circumstances have led me to conclude that I can no longer serve Parliament or the people of Perth--Middlesex as I have for the past nine years. Mr. Speaker, I wish to notify you and all the members of the House of my intention to resign my seat effective immediately.

I thank you, Mr. Speaker. Also I would like to extend my personal gratitude for the support and well wishes that I have received from all my colleagues and friends, and especially my family over this trying time. I thank you all.

Resignation of MemberOral Question Period

Noon

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, members of the House and Canadians had the opportunity to witness in the last few moments an act of personal courage that perhaps few, other than the member's own family in the gallery, appreciate fully.

The hon. member has served the House with distinction since 1993, but that was only the last phase, the most recent phase of his public service. He is known as someone who has dedicated his life to the service of the public and to public duty, as a teacher and educator as well as a member of Canada's armed forces in which he rose to the rank of brigadier general. That distinction with which he has served Canadians should be his lasting legacy as we look to him with confidence and hope that as he goes on from here, his life will continue to be one which is enriched by the love of his friends and his family and the support that he receives from them as it continues.

Resignation of MemberOral Question Period

Noon

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Canadian Alliance, the official opposition, I echo the words spoken by the Deputy Prime Minister.

The hon. member for Perth--Middlesex has been an outstanding servant not just of the House of Commons in the past nine years, but also of the country as a former general. As a retired general in the service of his country his efforts have been much appreciated.

He has been a man of integrity in the House. I know over the years in my earlier service here, all colleagues on this side of the House always spoke very highly of the work they did with the hon. member for Perth--Middlesex. It is unfortunate for me, having arrived here again recently, that we have not had very much time to share together because of the circumstances that have intervened.

Certainly I can tell the hon. member and the House that I know everyone in our caucus wishes him all the best in the future. We are all very much with him. Our thoughts and our prayers will be with him. We wish him the best of luck.

Resignation of MemberOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues from the Bloc Quebecois, I would like to tell John—seeing that we may now refer to him by name instead of as the hon. member for Perth—Middlesex—that we appreciated sitting with him on various committees.

I remember in particular the very efficective job he did on the Standing Committee on Defence and Veterans Affairs. Personally, I had the opportunity to work with him on the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. He was always a real gentleman.

I do not want to go on and on, but I want John and his family to know that the members of the Bloc Quebecois are behind him. We are sure the talent he demonstrated in this House as a real fighter will be put to good use and that he will win this fight.

We wish you the best, John, and good luck.

Resignation of MemberOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues in the NDP caucus, I would also like to express our appreciation to the hon. member for Perth—Middlesex for the work he has done in this chamber and for the distinguished service he has rendered to the Canadian public, not only as a parliamentarian but, as has already been mentioned, as an educator and through his career in the Canadian armed forces.

We regret that he felt he had to make the decision he made today, but we appreciate it. We recognize the personal courage it takes to make such a decision and then to come to the House.

We welcome the opportunity to wish him well. Our thoughts and prayers will be with him and his family in the days ahead and in the future.

Resignation of MemberOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is with some melancholy and great gratitude that I rise as well to join with my colleagues. I very much embrace their sentiments in wishing the hon. member for Perth--Middlesex the very best courage and best efforts in the days ahead. He has brought much to this place and much to the work that he did on behalf of his constituents. I think the word courage is certainly one that he embodies personally.

I would also say that the decision he has taken today is perhaps the more difficult one. It is a very difficult thing to get to this place, but perhaps for all of us, a decision we might face in the future, is the decision to leave.

With that, I want to as well on behalf of my colleagues in the Progressive Conservative Party send to him our prayers, our gratitude and our very best wishes in the days ahead.

Resignation of MemberOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

If I just might for a moment join all of you in your tributes to the hon. member for Perth--Middlesex with whom of course I worked somewhat ever closely in my previous life and as chief government whip particularly. I join you in saluting him for his service to his country, as a military person and of course as a member of Parliament.

Following this last procedural announcement I must make in his regard, I would invite all of you to join with John Richardson, the member for Perth--Middlesex, and his family for a few moments in room 216N. The Speaker has made his room available and invites us all to share a few more moments with Mr. Richardson and his family in room 216N.

VacancyOral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Mr. Richardson, member for the electoral district of Perth--Middlesex, having resigned, it is my duty to inform the House that a vacancy has occurred in the representation. Pursuant to subsection 25(1)( a ) of the Parliament of Canada Act, the Speaker will address a warrant to the Chief Electoral Officer for the issue of a writ for the election of a member to fill this vacancy.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would just make a brief point of order. The Chair will be aware that yesterday the Prime Minister made a major policy announcement, perhaps we should call it the Glebe doctrine, at a high school in Ottawa with respect to Canada's position on a possible war with Iraq.

Earlier this week we had a number of occasions to complain that the House of Commons was not being taken seriously and that major policy announcements, for instance the announcement with respect to softwood lumber which was made in British Columbia, were being made outside the House. Yet yesterday the Prime Minister answered a question that many people had been asking of the government for weeks and months, ever since the debate about a possible war in Iraq emerged, and the Prime Minister made this announcement outside the House. He may have had his reasons for doing that.

However, when we come to the House the next day, neither the Prime Minister nor the Minister of Foreign Affairs are here to answer questions with respect to a policy decision that has obviously now been made and announced. When the opposition raised a question with respect to that policy announcement, as I did of the Deputy Prime Minister, did the Deputy Prime Minister answer on behalf of the government? He has the ability to answer on behalf of the government. Did the Minister of National Defence, who was also present, answer? No. Instead, and I think this is a matter of procedure, we received an answer from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

My understanding of the role of parliamentary secretaries is that they answer in the absence of their ministers. I did not ask a question of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I asked a question of the Deputy Prime Minister in his capacity, presumably, as one who would be able to defend, explain, reannounce or whatever the policy announcement made yesterday by the Prime Minister outside the House of Commons. It is one thing to do it outside the House of Commons. It compounds the error and the lack of respect for the House if, on the next day when questions are asked of the government about that policy announcement that has been made outside of the House the day before, we cannot even get anything higher than a parliamentary secretary, with all due respect to the parliamentary secretary. She did her job just fine.

The fact is we the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence were here and they declined to answer the question. I think that shows disrespect for the House, and I want to register the way I feel about it.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Beauchesne's rules, starting at rule 407, establish exactly what the procedure is for answering questions in the House of Commons. The Speaker will know that members of the opposition have to ask questions of ministers about the departments for which they are responsible. The other parallel rule is that the government can choose any one of its members to answer a question asked.

In terms of a question being answered by a parliamentary secretary, the very excellent parliamentary secretary in this case does her job with distinction, Not only that, she has sworn and has a commission the same as others who are charged to answer questions in the House of Commons, as all of us know.

Finally, on the substance of the issue, the Prime Minister did not make an announcement yesterday. The Prime Minister gave a speech to high school students and answered questions from them. Surely no one here would take seriously that elected people in this Parliament can no longer address students in their schools. If addressing school students puts me out of order, I must be out of order a lot because I will continue speaking to students. I believe it is part of instilling the values of respect in this democratic institution.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the government House leader for his explanation. I will leave the question period part alone. However, with regard to the Prime Minister's statement, I feel it was a major statement that had not been made inside the House before. I agree with my colleague from the NDP.

I can only suggest to the government House leader that this is happening more and more. Since the Prime Minister has announced that he is leaving, major announcements are made outside the House.

The Speaker did rule the other day that under our modernization committee, he had no power to control that. I appreciate that. However the government House leader should know, and we have a weeks break coming up, that if we continue to have major announcements made outside the House of Commons instead of here, the opposition House leaders will get together and slow down the operation of the House of Commons.

It is not correct that major announcements are made outside the House before they are made here.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, just very briefly I want to voice complete agreement with my colleagues from the Alliance as well as the NDP of the growing concern felt by the opposition for the lack of accountability.

Question period, as the Speaker would know, is but 45 minutes a day in which members of the opposition are afforded the opportunity to ask direct questions of ministers of the Crown. We have seen numerous instances in the past two weeks, since Parliament resumed, where ministers have been present and sat stoney faced on the front bench while parliamentary secretaries leapt to their feet in their defence. This very much undermines the purpose of accountability, the purpose of direct responsibility to the people of Canada through members of the opposition who have every right to raise questions of those ministers when they are present. The government seems very content, although it states otherwise, to undermine the concept of accountability.

The Chair will know, as an active participant and co-author of the modernization report, that every effort was to be made and pledges were given that a greater emphasis would be put on making announcements in the House of Commons and being directly accountable to the House and therefore to the people of Canada.

Therefore we request an admonishment or at least an acknowledgment from the Chair that this should be followed and every diligent effort should be made on behalf of the government to be accountable and to be present in the House of Commons to take questions.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:15 p.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would just make one small point. There was no divergence in the Prime Minister's speech yesterday to the young people at that school. He did not depart from the position of the government which is that we continue to support a new resolution or resolutions through the Security Council, that the onus is with the Security Council and it is in that regard that Canada views the Iraqi situation. There has been no change or divergence or major policy announcement.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Let me thank all members for their participation on this point of order. Of course, as you would expect, the Chair speaks with one voice. Therefore, I simply refer members of Parliament to the debates of a previous day earlier this week when this matter was raised. The answer lies with the Speaker's own comments in conclusion of that debate.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:15 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Gerry Byrne LiberalMinister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, earlier, in response to a question during question period, I referred to Nova Scotia. The province actually should have been noted as P.E.I. at the time. I was thinking about all the positive things that are happening in Nova Scotia, about which hon. members opposite do not want to talk. Could I have that clarification on the record that my intention was to state Prince Edward Island not Nova Scotia?

Points of OrderOral Question Period

12:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I believe if that is at all possible that will be done. I know sometimes in our enthusiasm we get different regions of this country sometimes a little mixed up. However, as I leave the Chair, let me wish all of you and all of yours a very happy Thanksgiving.

Ways and MeansRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Vaughan—King—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1) I wish to table a notice of ways and means motion to amend the Income Tax Act. I am also tabling a legislative proposal and explanatory notes on the same subject, and I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Mississauga West Ontario

Liberal

Steve Mahoney LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Madam Speaker, just for the record, I am the parliamentary secretary responsible for crown corporations.

Pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to two petitions.

Antipoverty ActRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-228, Antipoverty Act.

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 86(1), I ask that this bill be given the same order of priority it had before the Speech from the Throne.

This bill adds social condition as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act and makes other consequential amendments.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Antipoverty ActRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

The Chair is of the opinion that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-326 was at the time of prorogation of the first session of the 37th Parliament. Therefore, pursuant to Standing Order 86(1), the bill shall be added to the bottom of the list of items in the order of precedence on the Order Paper following the first draw of the session.

Bank ActRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-229, An Act to amend the Bank Act and the Statistics Act (equity in community reinvestment)

Madam Speaker, this bill is modeled on a piece of legislation that has been in force in the United States since 1977; it will ensure that every consumer in every region of Canada has access to credit in a timely manner and without discrimination.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Mississauga West Ontario

Liberal

Steve Mahoney LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Madam Speaker, as the parliamentary secretary for crown corporations, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.