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House of Commons Hansard #73 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was transportation.

Topics

Government ContractsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I seem to be able to gather the information quite quickly. I just wonder, with the thousands of employees in the Department of Health, why they cannot look at the old ministerial budget of the former health minister.

I ask the question again. Since this individual had a contract under JM Enterprises, why did she not get the contract directly there rather than through an auto restoration company? It is a simple question. We need a simple answer.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, let me give a simple answer, and an answer that I have given before in the House, which is very simply that my officials are gathering the necessary facts around the administration of the contract in question. I look forward to receiving those details.

St. Lawrence RiverOral Question Period

March 19th, 2003 / 3 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Coast Guard has decided to stop paying to have the St. Lawrence dredged, although it continues to pay to dredge the Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg and the Fraser River in the Canadian north.

How can the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans justify such a decision that treats Quebec differently and is extremely detrimental to Quebec's ports?

St. Lawrence RiverOral Question Period

3 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada decided some time ago that the Coast Guard would no longer be responsible for dredging, except where an international treaty exists, as in the two cases referred to by the hon. member.

With regard to the St. Lawrence, under an agreement with the shipping industry we are the main contractor, but the costs were being borne by the industry. A new agreement is currently being negotiated.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs just said that a correction was issued to the very clear accusation that Canada was leading an effort to overthrow President Aristide. What did the correction say and will he table the minutes of the meeting that was held?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, since that matter was a matter that was presided over by the Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa, I think it would be more proper for the member to address his question to him as to what took place at the meeting, but I would be quite happy to table in the House the statement issued by our embassy in Haiti.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I wish to inform the House of the presence in the gallery of four Canadians who were awarded the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal today.

They represent 75 Canada Customs and Revenue employees from across Canada who volunteered to serve in a United Nations peacekeeping mission based in Macedonia in the early 1990s. They are: Mr. Michael Bosson, Ms. Linda Chemish, Mr. Ed Hart and Monsieur Robert Laquerre.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Ways and MeansOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Vaughan—King—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1) I wish to table a notice of a ways and means motion respecting an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 18, 2003. I am also tabling explanatory notes. I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 81(14) to inform the House that the motion to be considered tomorrow during consideration of the business of supply is as follows:

That this House call upon the government not to participate in the military intervention initiated by the United States in Iraq.

The motion standing in the name of the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie will be votable.

Copies of the motion are available at the Table.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my point of order has to do with something which you may or may not find to be within your jurisdiction to comment on, but I claim that wherever parliamentary traditions and the legitimacy of Parliament are threatened this House of Commons should be concerned, and you, Mr. Speaker, as our servant and representative in many ways, should also be concerned.

I am speaking of a situation that has developed in Canada recently where parliamentary institutions are being called into question. A concern has been expressed by none other than the former clerk of the House of Commons, Monsieur Marleau, and it has to do with the fact that the Ontario government is proposing to release its budget not in the Ontario legislature but in a TV studio.

The former clerk of the House of Commons who, as we all know, co-authored the book Marleau and Montpetit, is quoted in the paper as saying that what is being done in Ontario is “an act of colonial arrogance, of a kind without precedent and not seen in the history of Canada, since the 1838-39 rebellion”. Our former clerk then went on to say that this TV budget “would be illegitimate in the parliamentary sense” and that the government there “does not understand the gravity of the course they've chosen”.

Mr. Speaker, I would call on you in the course of this point of order, and I would be interested to hear what members of other parties have to say on this, to speak on our behalf, to send a message on behalf of all members of Parliament here who value parliamentary tradition and the role of Parliament. What would we think, and I say this to all members of Parliament here, if any federal government chose to deliver the budget in a TV studio to a hand-picked audience instead of the House of Commons where it should properly deliver the budget?

I ask you, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all of us, to send a message to the Ontario legislature and to send a message of support to the Ontario Speaker, who is speaking up against this outrage. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to do this on behalf of all of us.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am sure I speak on behalf of everyone here when I say that I too agree that this is an outrage, which it is, but it is not a point of order.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to what my colleague in the NDP had to say and to the remarks of our former clerk.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask you, in considering the point that he makes, to look at the sitting record for the last 10 or 12 years of the legislature of Ontario. I think you will find that this is only the latest sign of disrespect of the authority of a parliament in Canada.

For example, Mr. Speaker, you will discover that last year that legislature, which represents the largest province in Canada, sat for only 67 days, I believe. The previous year, I believe it sat for 61 days. There was a time not long ago when that legislature sat for as many days as we do, but gradually the premier of that province has been taking away the powers of that legislature, and he now feels that he does not need to consult the legislature on the budget.

I urge you, Mr. Speaker, to look at the sitting statistics of the Ontario legislature.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I think the Chair has heard enough on this point at the moment to render a decision on the point of order raised by the hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona.

He is a very experienced member and I think he must recognize that however grave the situation may be in the province of Ontario, it is not a point of order in terms of the procedures of the House as to what might go on there in terms of procedural matters. That is a matter for the Speaker of the Ontario legislature to decide.

Mr. Speaker Carr of course is someone well known to many of us in the House. I must say that your Speaker here is a member of the group of Canadian Speakers that meet on an annual basis and is well known to Mr. Carr. In fact, our latest meeting in January was in Toronto at Queen's Park. I had the pleasure of visiting with him and other colleagues from across the country on that occasion. Naturally, we discussed matters relating to procedure.

But, at the same time, it is difficult to present an argument to suggest that the procedures of the Ontario legislature constitute a Point of Order here in this House. It is not your Speaker's responsibility to make decisions about procedure in the Ontario legislature.

The hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona however indicated he wanted to send a message and he wanted your Speaker to send a message. The Speaker will be glad to convey a message that has been adopted by the House.

The hon. member of course can arrange for a motion to be adopted by the House sending a message to the legislature of Ontario which your Speaker would be more than happy to convey. The matter will have to be either agreed to unanimously and adopted or voted through after debate.

The hon. member knows all these options. He knows the various means better than many members as to how he could get such a motion through the House. I invite him to pursue that remedy if he wishes to send a motion to the province of Ontario. I can assure him that your Speaker, as the humble servant of this House, will convey the message with all due diligence.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to what you had to say. On that basis, I wonder if I might seek the unanimous consent of the House to propose a motion to the House having to do with what is going on in the Ontario legislature, or for that matter what is not going on in the Ontario legislature.

Do I have the unanimous consent of the House? Of course that is a question you have to ask, Mr. Speaker. I ask you to seek that unanimous consent.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I understand the games that are being played here. I applaud the ingenuity of both the member for Winnipeg—Transcona and, if I may say so, the loquacity of the Chair on this matter.

However, I would regard this as an intrusion in the affairs of another legislature which we would profoundly resent were it to occur from a provincial House.

Consequently, if a motion of that kind were put, I would deny unanimous consent.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Where does the member stand on it?

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The Chair was trying to be loquacious in order to set out the terms on which we could move, if there was any movement on the part of the House in that direction. Clearly, the right hon. member for Calgary Centre has indicated there will not be.

The hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona is an experienced member. He knows he cannot stand up and just say he is asking for unanimous consent to propose something. He has to have something concrete.

I know he can draft something and go through the usual channels. He is, after all, a person who has considerable authority in his party and knows all the House leaders. He can make the necessary arrangements if there is to be agreement.

Of course, he will want to discuss the matter with the right hon. member for Calgary Centre.

We are losing out on this one. I think the subject is pretty much exhausted, but the member for Winnipeg—Transcona can try once more.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, let the record show that the Tories and the Alliance refused to take the opportunity to condemn what is going on in Ontario.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member I thought was going to try to be helpful.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, during question period I referred to a letter of which I have a copy. I now seek the agreement of the House of Commons to table this document in the House.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent for the tabling of this document?

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

There is no consent.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.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 12 petitions.