Mr. Chair, I would like some clarification. The role of this committee with respect to the main estimates is to examine them with the authority to reduce. Nowhere is it written that the examination of the main estimates in committee of the whole precludes the moving of a motion to reduce the estimates.
If you examine the modernization committee report that recommends this new rule, you will not find any reference to such restrictions. In fact, the report confirms that the consideration of the estimates in committee of the whole replaces the consideration of estimates by a standing committee. The report says:
The regular rules regarding Committee of the Whole would apply. Such a procedure would permit a meaningful examination of certain Estimates; it would facilitate the participation of Members who are interested in the department or agency whose Estimate were being considered; and by being conducted in the chamber, and televised, it would confirm the financial oversight role of the House of Commons.
I would like to know how removing a committee's right to vote down or reduce the estimates would be a confirmation of the financial oversight of the House of Commons? If you read the Standing Orders, Mr. Chair, you will discover that nowhere does it say that motions cannot be moved. If you read the report, you will also fail to find any reference to restrictions regarding the movement of motions.
The Standing Orders provide that “when the committee rises the estimates shall be deemed reported”. It does not say “deemed reported without amendment”. If the committee changes the estimates, these changes will be deemed reported.
When a Standing Order intends something to be deemed reported without amendment, it says so. For example, I draw the Chair's attention to Standing Order 97(1) in reference to a private member's bill being reported. It is specifically deemed reported without amendment. Obviously, if the intent were to have something deemed reported without amendment, the Standing Order would say so. Standing Order 81(4)(a) simply says “deemed reported”.
It is clear that the consideration of the estimates by the committee of the whole is a replacement of the standing committee's consideration of the estimates. Paragraph(a) of Standing Order 81(4) states:
...the said estimates shall be deemed withdrawn from the standing committee to which they were referred...consideration of the main estimates of the said department or agency shall be taken up by a Committee of the Whole...