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House of Commons Hansard #145 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pornography.

Topics

Bankruptcy LegislationPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I want to call to your attention and perhaps to the attention of some members of the House the rules for voting, as I understand them.

The rules for voting, as they were when I came to this place and as they were for many years--and I do not remember them ever having been changed--are that once the vote begins members are to stay in their seats. They are not to move around and talk to each other. They are not to leave before they vote or after the vote has taken place. They are not to leave after they vote.

I observed 12 Liberals leave and God knows how many opposition members because I cannot see all of them. Members are not behaving properly.

The idea is that members are supposed to sit in their place until the vote has taken place and then they can leave. I wish you would enforce that, Mr. Speaker.

I can understand why some members may want to leave. The Minister of Labour left because she did not want to vote against workers because that is what her cabinet instructed her to do. I do not understand why other members felt they had to leave, particularly after they had voted. They could at least wait around to see the turnout.

Bankruptcy LegislationPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think this is more significant than simply a breach of normal comportment. If the rules have been breached, then the members of Parliament who cast a vote and left improperly should not have their votes count.

I would ask the Chair to consider whether the vote that has just been recorded is in fact a valid vote taking account the appropriate comments made by the House leader of the New Democratic Party.

Bankruptcy LegislationPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona and the right hon. member for Calgary Centre have raised points that are perfectly valid.

I quite agree with the hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona that it is a requirement that members remain in the chamber during the taking of a vote until the vote is completed.

Then, there is a moment to leave before the next vote begins, but members are required to stay once they have voted or once a vote has begun. Some may be slower getting out perhaps than others and if they have not voted, their departure makes no difference.

However, members who depart, after they have voted and before the vote is completed, are liable to have their votes disallowed, as we found in the case of the Minister of Canadian Heritage earlier who came in after the question had been put and before the vote was completed.

Once the vote begins, and that is why we have the whips come into the chamber to indicate that all is in readiness, members cannot come in and find themselves counted. Similarly, they cannot leave without, in my view, losing their vote.

Having said that, I will issue it as a warning to all hon. members. Tonight, we have no way of tracking who came and went. As the hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona pointed out, a number of members left, maybe some before they voted and maybe some after, and maybe there were yeas and nays. We will let the vote stand tonight. I will not disturb that.

However, I would urge hon. members that if they want to have their vote count, they must remain in their seats from the time the vote begins until the result of the vote is announced. They are then free to move around and go out of the chamber or come back in if they wish.

The fact is that they must be here during the time of voting. That has been the practice of the House, although I must say there have been times recently when it has not been observed as carefully as it might.

The hon. member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot.

Bankruptcy LegislationPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, ON

Mr. Speaker, I respect the position you have taken on this, but because this is private members' business I would seek the unanimous consent of the House to declare the vote on this motion invalid and to defer it to a vote on another occasion to be determined by the whips.

Bankruptcy LegislationPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent?

Bankruptcy LegislationPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Bankruptcy LegislationPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Bankruptcy LegislationPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Since the House did not give its consent, I am certain that you can make this decision because this is an important vote.

You said it yourself; members who leave the House are transgressing the rules. You are well aware that many members left the House this evening, which is against the rules.

I am certain that you have the authority to call for the vote to be held again tomorrow evening in order to do justice to Motion M-400.

Bankruptcy LegislationPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to think I had that power.

Had this rule been one that was rigorously enforced over the last number of years in terms of members raising objections to the fact that members were leaving, I would have more sympathy with the point that the hon. member is making today, but it has certainly, in my view, been more observed in the breach than in the observance. I am concerned that it has not been well observed in the last while. I am delighted frankly that the hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona has raised the matter and the right hon. member for Calgary--Centre has raised the matter, because it is, in my view, part of the practice of the House. The fact that attention has been drawn to the breach of it is important.

I hope that hon. members will take notice if we have a problem of members getting up and moving during votes. I had an opportunity to chastise a member who came to consult me during the taking of the vote and suggested he get back to his seat pronto or his vote would be disallowed.

This kind of thing, in my view, ought not to be going on. The hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona has done his best to make it clear to all that that is the case. I agree with him. In future votes we will be watching, I am sure, for members, miscreants, who choose to ignore the rules and practices of the House, and the votes might get disallowed. However I think that that is a matter that I am not going to adjudicate on tonight because there happened to be an exceptionally large number of people that left. People have been leaving during votes now for some time. I am concerned about it and I am glad the hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona has raised the matter.

Bankruptcy LegislationPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, you have ruled on the question of the vote tonight and the House of course will accept your ruling, but I think that if you are trying to establish a sense of certainty, we cannot deal in warnings and we cannot deal in mights.

I would think that the House has a right to know whether, on the next vote and in votes after that, if a member leaves before the count is completed, that member's vote will count or not. I think we cannot leave it, with respect sir, in the uncertainty that was reflected in your last intervention.

Bankruptcy LegislationPrivate Members' Business

7:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I appreciate the right hon. member's assistance at all times, but I am sure he realizes the uncertainty is that the Chair might not see somebody leaving. If it happens that somebody slipped out and I or one of my colleagues sitting in the chair did not see it, I would not think that we would be disallowing that member's vote even though the member was disobeying the practice of the House.

Naturally we would be looking for assistance from all hon. members. I am sure that the fact that the point of order is recorded in Hansard , members will be reading it like crazy tomorrow. I have no doubt that the whips will take this matter up in caucus meetings that I understand are usually held on Wednesday mornings. All hon. members will therefore be fully informed and I thank the right hon. member for raising it with that in view.

It being 7:15 p.m., the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:18 p.m.)