This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #142 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was leader.

Topics

Points of OrderGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this is bordering on the ridiculous. Yesterday the Standing Committee on Finance considered, as it was said, the Bank of Canada's monetary policy report and, of course, it had as a witness the Governor of the Bank of Canada.

I understand that the member for Medicine Hat, and perhaps others, asked about the situation of the governor when he was working in a previous position at the Department of Health at the time of the so-called Virginia Fontaine incident. As the record will show, the governor said that, as every member will appreciate, the issue was before the courts and that he would not want to jeopardize it in any way.

Therefore we all know the issue is before the courts. Actually in the House that same rule would apply invoking the sub judice convention.

The chair noted that the committee meeting was to discuss matters relating to monetary policy and ruled that this matter should not be considered at this meeting. The witness properly invoked that this was sub judice and the chair properly said that it was not before the committee anyway. On both sides we had the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, the member for Medicine Hat and others rebuked in a sense.

The chair advised the member for Winnipeg North Centre that she could appeal the ruling if she wanted to. The committee then voted to sustain the ruling of the chair, which a committee is entitled to do.

The member cannot come to the House and say that somehow procedurally something went wrong. She has acknowledged that the procedure was correct.

If the procedure was correct, simply to say that there were more people who disagreed than agreed with her is not grounds for bringing this to the attention of your honour. In my view, this is an inappropriate attempt by the hon. member to interfere, first, in a ruling of the court, and second, to divert the attention of the committee from the consideration of national issues to a partisan point that she was trying to make.

Finally, it is certainly not an issue that is properly before your honour.

Points of OrderGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I think the government House leader has not been properly apprised of the facts as they actually occurred in the committee.

My understanding is that the witness did not invoke the sub judice rule. In fact, the witness appeared as if he were ready to answer the questions because perhaps the witness understood better than the government House leader that the question of confidence, that is to say, the confidence that the people of Canada can have in the Governor of the Bank of Canada, is central to monetary policy and central to the health of our economy.

That is why the questions that the member for Medicine Hat and the member for Winnipeg North Centre wanted to raise were not and should not have been ruled out of order.

How the Governor of the Bank of Canada operated in his previous position, if in fact things have come to the attention of the public and the media, is something that should be the proper realm of questioning for the committee.

I would submit that the government House leader has it wrong because the question of confidence in the Governor of the Bank of Canada is not sub judice. It is a political matter. That is why I raised it in the House yesterday and why the member for Winnipeg North Centre raised it.

It seems to us that what is happening here is that the government does not want the Governor of the Bank of Canada to answer these questions. It is trying to protect the governor. It is trying to keep him from having to answer these questions as to why this kind of misuse of public funds could have happened under his auspices when he was the deputy minister of health.

Points of OrderGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

I am sure we can have motives bandied about in the House for all kinds of goings on but it is not the purview of the Chair to involve himself in these matters. We are really dealing here with a point of order raised by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre concerning proceedings in a committee.

As she herself acknowledged in her point of order, which I admit was very capably argued, and I appreciate all her kind comments about the wonderful authority the Chair supposedly possesses, committees are masters of their own procedure. She obviously knows the rules very well because she did what she could in the committee to appeal to the chair to reconsider the matter. I gather she asked for a vote in the committee on the chair's ruling and so on. The committee made a decision that it would not have questions on the subjects that she was raising in the committee during that proceeding.

For the member to raise the matter here and expect me to overrule a committee chair who made a ruling that was decided in the committee, I think, as she acknowledged in her own argument, is beyond my competence. As greatly as she lauded it and as much as she suggested that I had wonderful powers, I do not believe that it is proper for the Chair of this House to be a sort of court of appeal for committees. I have indicated that in past rulings on this kind of point of order and I am afraid I will have to make that same decision today. I advise her to pursue remedies in other places.

I point out to her that there is more than one committee that might be involved in this matter and that might ask the governor to come and give evidence. She is free to raise the matter in various committees and maybe she will get a different ruling in a different committee. This is one of the great bonanzas of the House of Commons and I know that she will want to take full advantage of that in all her work.

Accordingly, I do not find there is a point of order here.

Points of OrderGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, this morning some of our members, and I also understand other members from other parties who are in the Confederation Building or the Justice Building, almost missed the vote because of the circuitous route of the bus. I know this can be addressed in a different forum but it could and can affect members' performance in the House, certainly if they cannot make it for a vote.

I would ask for your consideration, Mr. Speaker, in the right forum, if this is not the proper one, to make sure the buses take a more direct route when we have votes in the House. It appears the bus drivers may not be aware of when there are votes and it could certainly cause major problems in the performance of our duties here in this great institution.

Points of OrderGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. member for raising the matter. I am sure the point he has taken up will be raised in the appropriate forum and resolved to the hon. member's satisfaction. We would not want members delayed on buses. We will certainly do our best to expedite the transport.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 29 petitions.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements ActRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberalfor the Minister of Finance

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-54, an act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act and the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Regulations, 1999.

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

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Paul MacKlin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Pursuant to its order of reference of Friday, September 19, 2003, your committee has considered Bill C-45, an act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal liability of organizations), and has agreed to report it with amendments.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

October 23rd, 2003 / 10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Joe Comuzzi Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition signed by many residents of northwestern Ontario.

The petitioners state that marriage is the best foundation for families and for raising children; that the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman is being challenged by the courts in this land and by some members in the House; that this hon. House passed a motion in June 1999 that called for marriage to continue as it was defined as the union of one man and one woman.

Therefore the petitioners call upon Parliament to retain this definition irrespective of what three people have decided in the Court of Appeal of Ontario. I support this petition.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have quite a few petitions here today which are grouped into four different categories.

In the first petition, the petitioners call upon Parliament to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that materials promoting or glorifying pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving or concerning children are outlawed. They are passionate about that. I have several petitions on that issue.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, second, I have several petitions on the definition of marriage. The petitioners call upon Parliament to maintain the current definition of marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the third set of petitions have to do with something that will be before the House in the next few days, which is the issue of reproductive technology.

The petitioners are asking Parliament to focus its attention on the benefits of adult stem cell research as opposed to any other type of stem cells that are quite controversial.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the last petition is a lengthy one by folks who have asked the government to reconsider its decision to close down the HRDC office in Chilliwack. This is a local issue but it affects the entire region of Hope, Boston Bar and Chilliwack. This is the last HRDC office open to people for a couple of hundred kilometres around. To close the HRDC office in Chilliwack means that those folks will be denied access to a government service that they feel is necessary.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Canadian Alliance Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition to the House of Commons and Parliament on the right of Parliament to determine and preserve the definition of marriage.

The citizens of Saskatchewan in my constituency state that in 1999 Parliament voted to preserve the traditional definition of marriage but that a recent court decision has redefined marriage, contrary to the wishes of Parliament; that now the government wants Parliament to vote on new legislation but only after it has been approved by the Supreme Court; that this is a dangerous new precedent for democracy in Canada; and that elected members of Parliament should decide the marriage issue, not appointed judges.

Therefore the petitioners call upon Parliament to immediately hold a renewed debate on the definition of marriage and reaffirm, as it did in 1999, its commitment to take all necessary steps to preserve marriage as the union of one woman and one man to the exclusion of all others.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have a number of signatures here, not only from my constituency but from across the province. Many of these people tell me that this is the most important issue facing the country today.

The petitioners call upon the government to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Canadian Alliance Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I, too, have a number of petitions. The first petition calls upon the government to take all necessary steps to preserve the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman, even to the point of invoking section 33, the notwithstanding clause, of the charter.

The second petition, from a number of voters across the country, asks that Parliament actually pass legislation that would recognize and maintain the institution of marriage in federal law as being a lifelong union between one man and one woman.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Canadian Alliance Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have two other petitions that deal with the tragedy of marriages that separate. The petitioners are calling upon the government to design legislation considering the principle of shared parenting and to modify the child support guidelines and the taxation system so the children of divorced parents will actually receive the child support payments in their entirety and that these payments would not be taxed.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Inky Mark Canadian Alliance Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour this morning to table five petitions on behalf of the good people of Dauphin—Swan River.

The first one deals with the current BSE problem. The petitioners call upon Parliament to take immediate action to develop internationally recognized protocols designed to restore confidence in Canadian beef products and to open international beef markets to Canadian producers.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Inky Mark Canadian Alliance Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, the second petition deals with my private member's bill, Bill C-333, which is the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act to recognize injustice done to the Ukrainian community during the first world war.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Inky Mark Canadian Alliance Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, the next petition deals with another issue in my private member's bill, Bill C-333. The petitioners call upon the government to recognize and redress the issues of the Chinese history and promote racial harmony.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Inky Mark Canadian Alliance Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, the next petition deals with Bill C-68, which we have heard about many times. The petitioners call upon Parliament to freeze further spending on implementation or privatization of the firearms registry and to repeal Bill C-68 in its entirety.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Inky Mark Canadian Alliance Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, the last petition deals with the issue of the traditional definition of marriage. The petitioners call upon the government to retain the traditional definition of marriage as the relationship between one man and one woman.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by a number of Canadians, including my own riding of Mississauga South.

I have been a member of Parliament for 10 years and there is no issue that has had more attention from my constituents than the issue of the definition of marriage.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that the invocation of section 33 of the Constitution can override the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal.

The petitioners therefore call upon Parliament to invoke the notwithstanding clause so that the definition of marriage retained in our laws would be the legal union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle Progressive Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from a number of people in St. John's East who make the point that non-embryonic stem cell research has already shown encouraging potential to provide medical cure and therapies and that adult stem cells have shown significant research progress without the immune rejection or ethical problems associated with embryonic stem cell research. The petitioners further state that Bill C-13 continues to permit people to kill human embryos.

They call upon Parliament to ban embryonic stem cell research.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

11 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 147 supplementary, 250 and 252.