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House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was million.

Topics

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I present this petition on behalf of hundreds of Canadians, not just from Toronto but from all over.

The petitioners call upon the government to request that the marbles from the Parthenon be returned to Greece. The petitioners are asking that these marbles which belong in their original form on the Parthenon be returned. They were taken away under questionable circumstances and they would like them to be returned prior to the 28th Olympiad in 2004.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if Starred Question No. 29 could be made an order fo return, the return would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Is it agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Return tabled.)

*Question No. 29Routine Proceedings

December 4th, 2002 / 4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, QC

Can the Minister(s) responsible for the Canada Elections Act and/or Elections Canada and/or the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Quebec provide the following information: ( a ) according to the information insert and the Supplement to the Canada Gazette, Part I (August 31, 2002), what is the exact population of each city, town, village, non-designated area, Indian reserve, etc., included in each of the proposed new federal ridings of (1) Abitibi, (2) Ahuntsic, (3) Anjou, (4) Arthabaska, (5) Aylmer, (6) Beauce, (7) Beauport, (8) Berthier, (9) Bourassa, (10) Brossard, (11) Chambly, (12) Charlesbourg, (13) Charlevoix, (14) Châteauguay, (15) Chicoutimi, (16) Chomedey, (17) de l’Outaouais, (18) des Mille-Îles, (19) Deux-Montagnes, (20) Drummond, (21) du Saguenay, (22) Duvernay, (23) Gaspésie, (24) Gatineau, 925) Hochelaga, (26) Hull, (27) Joliette, (28) Labelle, (29) Lachine, (30) Lac-Saint-Jean, (31) Lac-Saint-Louis, (32) La Pointe-de-l’Île, (33) LaSalle, (34) Laurentides, (35) Laurier, (36) Laval, (37) Lévis, (38) Longueuil, (39) Lotbinière,(40) Louis-Hébert, (41) Manicouagan, (42) Mégantic, (43) Memphrémagog, (44) Missisquoi, (45) Montcalm, 46) Montmagny, 47) Mont-Royal, (48) Nunavik, (49) Outremont, (50) Papineau, (51) Pierrefonds, (52) Portneuf, (53) Québec, (54) Repentigny, (55) Richelieu, (56) Rimouski, (57) Rivière-du-Loup, (58) Rosemont, (59) Saint-Hubert, (60) Saint-Hyacinthe, (61) Saint-Jean, (62) Saint-Lambert, (63) Saint-Laurent, (64) Saint-Léonard, (65) Saint-Maurice, (66) Salaberry, (67) Samuel-de-Champlain, (68) Shefford, (69) Sherbrooke, (70) Terrebonne, (71) Trois-Rivières, (72) Vaudreuil, (73) Verchères, (74) Verdun, (75) Westmount; ( b ) what is the area (in square km) of each of the 75 ridings listed above; ( c ) in which newspapers was the information insert included for distribution; ( d ) what was the cost of producing the insert; ( e ) what was the cost of distributing the insert; ( f ) what method (software or other) was used by the Commission to define the population of each of the proposed ridings; and ( g ) did Elections Canada participate in the process of defining the population of each of the proposed ridings?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Is it agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers be allowed to stand.

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Is it agreed?

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Request for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The Chair has a notice of an application for an emergency debate from the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough.

Request for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I gave notice to the Chair with respect to this request.

My request arises from the Auditor General's report yesterday in which the Auditor General gave the House a damning report on the abuse of Parliament and the taxpayers of Canada by officials of the Department of Justice in their incompetent handling of the gun registry program.

I will quote directly from chapter 10 of the December 2002 report of the Auditor General of Canada. That chapter deals directly with the Department of Justice costs of implementing the Canadian firearms registry. The Auditor General said:

Accountable government requires that the members of Parliament be able to approve the government's plans for spending and scrutinize the results of that spending. To do this properly, Parliament needs sufficient information about costs and expected results.

Request for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

4:10 p.m.

The Speaker

This is an application for an emergency debate. I am not going to hear readings on this. The member will have to put his point very quickly as to why we should have an emergency debate on the topic he is choosing. I am going to have to hear that.

I am not going to hear long readings from reports that have been tabled in the House. That is for the speech if the debate is granted, which we would all look forward to, I am sure. In the meantime I want to hear why he thinks we should have an emergency debate and that is all I really want to hear.

Request for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

4:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Thank you for your patience, Mr. Speaker. I will go directly to the quotations of relevance. The Auditor General said, “Even though the department has many explanations for this ballooning of costs”--this is the underlying part--“it never shared any of them with Parliament”. The Auditor General went on to say, “What is really inexcusable is that Parliament was in the dark”.

In botanical bureaucratic terms, this means that it was like mushrooms on a manure pile, the strategy in short being that it grows until somebody notices the smell.

Tomorrow the House will be asked to approve more than $62 million in additional funds for the gun registry, a program that is already estimated to be in the range of $1 billion. The government has failed to justify in any way this raid on the pockets of the taxpayers of Canada. The minister has yet to come before the House to justify this additional spending.

An emergency debate, I suggest to the Chair, is the only vehicle left for the House of Commons to hear an explanation on this issue. The minister has not made a ministerial statement. The time for committee examination and supplementary estimates is over. They have been returned to the floor of the House. The government has no initiatives or mechanisms in the House to shine light on this $1 billion mismanagement of public funds.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I ask that you order this debate to take place so the House can be fully informed of the situation through a full debate before we pour millions more into this $1 billion cesspool. Canadians need to know why Parliament was kept in the dark and where the money is going. The Chair obviously knows the criteria for this type of debate. To do anything less, I would suggest, is to ratify the grossly improper actions of the Department of Justice.

Speaker's RulingRoutine Proceedings

4:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough for his comments. I know he would like to have made them longer and I appreciate the fact that he showed judicious restraint.

In the circumstances, I fail to see how this particular request for an emergency debate meets the exigencies of the standing order. Accordingly I am not disposed to grant it at this time.

The Chair has notice of a point of order from the very patient and hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I almost rose on a point of order as to why points of order could not have been heard earlier, but we will leave that for another day.

My point of order has to do with the fate of a particular piece of legislation in the other place that was passed by the House. I am referring to Bill C-15B which in this session became Bill C-10 and was passed by order of the House on October 9, 2002 and received by the other place subsequent to that.

Ironically Bill C-15B which became Bill C-10 has now been broken up into two bills in the Senate. Bill C-15B itself was the product of fragmenting of an earlier piece of omnibus legislation. We might want to have a debate sometime in the House about the advisability of omnibus legislation given the fact that the House itself, and now the other place although illegitimately in my view, have chosen to fragment further omnibus legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I know that you may want to argue that we should not be having a point of order on this until we receive word from the other place with respect to the bill. It seems to me that if that is the case, then we could have another point of order about whether or not we should take preventive action and whether the House should send a message to the other place before the other place sends a message to us, suggesting that the other place should not behave in the way that it has.

I would want to argue, Mr. Speaker, that the House should be very concerned about what has happened in the other place with respect to Bill C-10.

Bill C-10 was accompanied by a royal recommendation which stated:

Her Excellency the Governor General recommends to the House of Commons the appropriation of public revenue under the circumstances in the manner and for the purposes set out in a measure entitled “An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals and firearms) and the Firearms Act.

On November 20, 2002 the Senate passed, on division, the following motion:

That it be an instruction to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs that it divide Bill C-10, an act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals and firearms) and the Firearms Act into two bills in order that it may deal separately with the provisions relating to firearms and provisions relating to cruelty to animals.

The effect of this motion, Mr. Speaker, has seen the creation of two new bills in the Senate, Bill C-10A and Bill C-10B.

Last night the hon. Speaker of the Senate upheld the reporting back of the so-called Bill C-10A, which I realize we have not received, and the continued examination of Bill C-10B, which now risks being lost in some procedural maze in the Senate.

It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that it is this House that should decide what pieces of legislation are divided up and in what way they are dealt with. I say this without prejudice to the fact that I can quite understand the desire of the Senate to deal with these matters separately. I share, as I have already indicated, a concern that a lot of members of Parliament have and obviously a lot of senators have with respect to the nature of omnibus legislation.

Nevertheless, it should be up to the House of Commons to do this because the way in which the Senate has dealt with Bill C-10 has infringed on the financial initiative of the Crown and on the privileges of the House of Commons.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

4:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I have now heard from the hon. member the point that he wants to make. We have got to the meat and potatoes of the issue.

The difficulty we face in the House is that there has not been a message received from the Senate that has indicated that the bill has in fact been split. It is entirely possible that the Senate could plaster the bill back together again before it sends it back to this House. That is why I am concerned that the argument advanced by the hon. member at this point in time is purely academic. Interesting, yes, and delightful for the Chair to hear an argument on this sort of thing, but academic. I would not want to take up the time of the House arguing about something that might or might not happen. Until we have received a message, it seems to me it is inappropriate.

I know the hon. member said that we could send a message back, but there is no motion on notice to send any message to the Senate regarding this matter. It would have to be introduced on notice or with the unanimous consent of the House. In the absence of such consent, and in the absence of any proposal for a message, the Chair is unable to deal with the point of order that the hon. member is raising because it would be pointless for the Chair to make any ruling on this matter when no message has in fact been received, and where the House, itself, might choose to accept what the Senate does.

That is a matter for the House to decide. The Chair may have some input on the decision in saying how it will be decided, but it is a matter ultimately for the House to decide.

In the circumstances, I would suggest to the hon. member that we leave this matter for the time being until such time as we receive a message from the Senate. Having received notice from the hon. member that he intended to raise this matter, I have kept a close eye on the usual channels through which messages come to ensure that no message had in fact been received before the hon. member got to his feet. I am assured that one has not yet arrived.

I will also undertake to indicate to the hon. member at the earliest opportunity the arrival of such a message and, if necessary, come back to hear his arguments on this important issue. I do not discount the importance, but I think we need to wait until we have concrete evidence of the final result of the Senate's deliberations on this matter. I understand that the discussion is continuing in the other place, the last I heard, as we speak.

I invite the hon. member to refrain from further comment at this time until we have an actual message that indicates that something has happened about which he might want to raise an objection and which, of course, I would be happy to hear. I trust that will be satisfactory.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to argue an earlier point of order on a second point of order, but if I did I would say that the matter is hardly academic. There has been an event in the Senate.

However, given that the event in the Senate, an empirical procedural event I might add, has happened, and given your suggestion, Mr. Speaker, just minutes ago, I would seek the unanimous consent of the House to send a message to the Senate asking it to reverse the decision taken yesterday to split Bill C-10 into two different bills.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona have the unanimous consent of the House to propose a motion as outlined?

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to inform the House that because of the ministerial statement, Government Orders will be extended by 15 minutes.

The House resumed from December 3 consideration of the motion that Bill C-4, An Act to Amend the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, be read the third time and passed.

Nuclear Safety and Control ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

The Speaker

At the last sitting day, the hon. member for Matapédia—Matane had 19 minutes remaining to complete his remarks.