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House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was food.

Topics

Points of Order

10:40 a.m.

The Speaker

Even if the hon. member did, nobody said no after I declared the motion carried.

Points of Order

10:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will very briefly conclude, with your permission, what I need to say on this thing.

I would simply like to say that this is a very dangerous precedent. Mr. Speaker, you have ruled that members have to make a decision on a motion before they have been given the opportunity to hear it all. I would also like to say that my point of order seeking unanimous consent for the creation of this special committee was one of great urgency and importance. I am disappointed that Liberal members do not want to have a committee struck in this fashion.

Points of Order

10:40 a.m.

The Speaker

I have suggested ways the hon. member can do this by putting his motion on notice. I know the table officers would be more than happy to assist him in that respect. If he did it now or sometime during the rest of the day it could be on notice for Monday and could be the subject of the debate on Monday afternoon.

Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

moved:

That during the first thirty sitting days of the present session of Parliament, whenever a Minister of the Crown, when proposing a motion for first reading of a public bill, states that the said bill is in the same form as a Government bill in the previous session, if the Speaker is satisfied that the said bill is in the same form as the House of Commons had agreed to at prorogation, notwithstanding Standing Order 71, the said bill shall be deemed in the current session to have been considered and approved at all stages completed at the time of prorogation of the previous session.

Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

The Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order with regard to the government motion to reinstate bills from the previous session.

The Prime Minister claims to have formed a new government. Yet with this motion he is claiming the privileges of being the former government of Mr. Chrétien. Procedurally speaking, the Prime Minister wants to be seen, as most Canadians see his government, as the old Chrétien government. While we in opposition would agree with that definition, my argument today will put to the test the Prime Minister's self-proclaimed public definition of being a new government.

I accept that it is a well established practice for a government to reintroduce a reinstatement motion in a new session. However, it is not established that a so-called new government in a new session can reinstate bills from the previous government. I have examined all the precedents and I could not find one example of a new government reinstating bills from a previous session.

From Journals of October 21, 1970, at page 46, it is recorded that the House adopted a reinstatement motion. The Prime Minister was Pierre Trudeau and the motion reinstated bills of Mr. Trudeau's government from the previous session.

For May 9, 1972, at page 281 of Journals we have another motion adopted with, once again, Pierre Trudeau being the Prime Minister in that session and the previous session.

On March 8, 1974, at pages 25 and 26, a reinstatement motion was adopted with the same circumstances as those of May 9, 1972.

On October 3, 1986, at pages 47 to 48, Mr. Mulroney's government introduced a reinstatement motion reinstating bills of the Mulroney government from the previous session.

On March 4, 1996, at pages 34, 35 and 39 to 41 of Journals , Jean Chrétien's government reinstated government bills of the Chrétien government from the previous session.

On November 12, 2003, the government of Jean Chrétien once again successfully reinstated bills from a previous session, although he ran into a bit of a problem with his attempt to reinstate other business, resulting in a Speaker's ruling that divided the motion into three parts.

Mr. Speaker, many arguments have been made against the practice whereby a Prime Minister reinstates his government bills from a previous session. It goes against the practice, consequences and reasons for a government to prorogue. It contradicts the notion of beginning a session with fresh ideas and a new direction.

What we are talking about here today is far worse and, I would argue, procedurally unacceptable. The current Prime Minister is attempting to reinstate bills of another prime minister from a previous session and has the moral effrontery to call his government “new”.

When this Prime Minister promised democratic reform and made a commitment to do things differently we thought he meant to improve how Parliament functions. So far the Prime Minister has behaved less democratically than his predecessor, something most of us thought would be impossible.

Mr. Speaker, I am asking you to examine the precedents and rule the motion to reinstate government bills out of order.

Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Jacques Saada Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on February 4, I gave notice to the House of a government motion to reinstate government bills to the stage they were at in the previous session.

Reinstatement of government bills is a common practice at the beginning of a new session of Parliament after prorogation. The House of Commons has employed this practice for over 30 years.

In 1972 and in 1986 the House gave indeed unanimous consent to such motions to reinstate bills similar to that which we are proposing today. In 1991, 1996, 1999 and as recently as 2002, the House passed a motion similar to that which we are proposing today.

A similar procedure is now included in the Standing Orders for reinstatement of private members' bills.

The U.K. House of Commons uses a similar practice.

Reinstatement of bills expedites House business at the beginning of a new session. Bills that have already been studied can be reinstated to the point they had reached in a previous session. The House, members and committees do not have to waste their time on questions that have already been settled in the best interest of taxpayers. Thus, witnesses are spared from having to repeat their testimony and are spared the costs that involves. We would be able to move ahead on new issues instead of going back to issues from a previous session.

Mr. Speaker, I would very much like to hear your statement on this point of order.

Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have here a substantial dilemma in the sense that the prorogation of a house usually means that the government wants to start over again with a new set of proposed legislation, or it gives them a good way of dropping legislation that apparently, as expressed by members of Parliament, does not have the support of the people of Canada. That way, instead of the embarrassment of a bill carrying on and actually getting passed even though it does not enjoy public consent, it gives the government the opportunity wipe the slate clean.

The government House leader just made a statement which I think is of great significance, and that is that this is based on unanimous consent. If there is unanimous consent given, then of course we can proceed to reinstate a bill or a motion. I would like to see that that procedure should follow. We should be able to state each bill separately and individually and if there is not unanimous consent to carry it forward, then indeed it would have to be reintroduced. That seems to have been the practice, according to the words of the government House leader.

If that were done, then I think probably we would have very little objection, because there are a number of bills that this government is now trying to bring forward from the tired old Chrétien government which we would seriously like to see dropped. If that were done, then probably there could be some agreement reached. Otherwise, I think we are going to be at a serious impasse.

Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I call a point of order. Reintroducing bills is worthwhile insofar as all the bills are reinstated at the same stage they had reached.

My fear is that Bill C-53, to change the name of certain electoral districts, a decision of this Parliament, will not be reinstated at the same stage and not passed before the next federal election. That is the harsh reality.

The government is trying to say that all the bills are to be reinstated at the same stage they had reached in the previous session. The problem is that we well know that this government does not intend to reinstate Bill C-53 at the same stage and that the new names of 38 ridings, changed by Bill C-53, will not be adopted and so will not be in force prior to the next federal election.

I fully agree with the Conservative Party to the effect that we are discussing a substantial dilemma today. On the one hand, the government is saying it is reinstating all the bills, but one of them, Bill C-53, will not have the same purpose it had when the House prorogued in November.

Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would like to underscore what my Bloc colleague has just said: that in order for the government to reinstate bills and motions they have to be in the same stage. They have to be identical.

They are not.

I would like you to examine this, Mr. Speaker, because there is no precedent for this. To have a motion like this passed, it would have to comply with all of the provisions in the Standing Orders, and they do not. That is why I would like the Speaker to rule that this cannot be brought in at this time.

Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

The Speaker

The motion before the House, as I read earlier, and I will read it again, states:

...if the Speaker is satisfied that the said bill is in the same form as the House of Commons had agreed to at prorogation, notwithstanding Standing Order 71, the said bill shall be deemed in the current session to have been considered and approved at all stages completed at the time of prorogation--

So it has to be in the same form that it was in the previous session in order for this order to apply to the bill. Otherwise, all bills are introduced, read the first time and ordered for debate at the next sitting of the House.

Reinstatement of business from one session to the next is not uncommon in our practice, and indeed in our parliamentary experience there have been a number of occasions where bills and other forms of business, including motions, from one session have been brought forward to another session, either by unanimous consent or by way of a government motion moved after notice, such as the one we have moved before us today.

The question before us is not whether business can be reinstated from one session to another but whether this motion under government business No. 2, which provides a mechanism whereby bills from the second session may be reinstated to this session, is procedurally in order.

It seems to me that the ruling rendered on February 19, 1996, is particularly helpful in this instance, so I will borrow freely from that discussion in making the point I want to make.

Mr. Speaker Fraser noted in his ruling of May 29, 1991, that he could find nothing in our rules or practices to preclude the reinstatement of bills by way of motion. He therefore permitted debate to proceed on the government motion that had been moved, and he was concerned that members would be afforded an adequate opportunity to express their assent or dissent on each item to be reinstated. He therefore ruled that separate questions should be put on each bill to be reinstated.

But that motion, I think, was a different one. Hon. members here today have expressed some concern about their inability to vote on each of the bills, particularly the various ones that could be reinstated under this motion.

I must point out something important. First of all, if the bill comes back at the stage it was at before, for example report stage or third reading, it will be voted on at that stage. That is completely normal and that is how it will be done.

If, however, the bill in question was passed during the last session, it will be sent directly to the Senate. There will be no vote on it here in the House.

But hon. members can move amendments to the government motion to exclude specific bills that might go straight to the Senate under this rubric and then have a vote on the amendment, thereby in effect having a vote on that particular bill.

So I do feel that there is significant protection for hon. members in terms of being allowed to vote on various bills. The motion sets up a mechanism for allowing bills to come before the House. In my view, therefore, it is in order and I think the motion should proceed.

Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I do not hear you addressing the issue of when a new government is formed whether it can introduce bills from an old government. We were told that this is a completely new government, and if we look at the front bench, the cabinet, I guess we would have to conclude some are and some are not.

Mr. Speaker, I think you have to do some research as to the point I raised on whether a new government can bring forward all of the legislation of an old government.

Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

The Speaker

It is not a new Parliament; this is the hitch. We are in the third session of the same Parliament, so even if the hon. member were Prime Minister it seems to me this kind of motion would be one he could put to the House and cherry pick, as they say, bills from the previous session and slip them in under this rubric.

It is something that has happened before. I do not know whether it has happened with a change of government, but it certainly is one that has happened in the same Parliament. That is why I did not address the matter.

Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, you and I go way back. We are a little long in the tooth in this place.

You did make a reference to the ruling of Speaker John Fraser in 1991. You and I both served in the 1988 Parliament when Brian Mulroney was the Prime Minister. I can remember sitting in the back lobby here with my Liberal colleagues, and Mr. Speaker, you were one of them. They were thinking up ways that they could cause mischief when the House prorogued.

Dead meant dead, it seemed to me back then. This was a way for the government to get out of it, if it had difficult legislation where its own backbenchers were causing problems. They were able to kill legislation. That is what prorogation did. It killed it dead. That was before 1991 when Speaker Fraser made his ruling. I do find this a little strange. There are a few of those folks left, and when it seems to suit them now, everything is okay. They can just resurrect this stuff.

Mr. Speaker, I know that when you and I started in this place, prorogation meant dead equals dead. That was before 1991. I would like your input on that because I remember listening to you in the back lobby here about prorogation and how legislation could be killed and could not be brought back.

Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

The Speaker

I would love to go on at length with the hon. member for Edmonton North on this subject, but Mr. Speaker Fraser made a ruling then and it became an authority. We do things in the House on the basis of authority.

Even if I were to have argued the other side of the case in those days, the Speaker made a ruling and now we act in compliance with that ruling. It would not be for me to overrule the ruling of someone as distinguished as Mr. Speaker Fraser, who I know the hon. member for Edmonton North remembers with great affection.

It is time now to proceed, however, to statements by members.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne we learned that:

...building on recommendations of the National Roundtable on theEnvironment and the Economy, the Government will start incorporating keyindicators on clean water, clean air, and emissions reduction into its decisionmaking.

It should be noted that going back to the 1997 Liberal campaign red book, we find:

We will ask the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy to expand its work with stakeholdersand provincial governments to develop eco-efficiency indicators.

Subsequently, in the year 2000 Statistics Canada produced excellent indicators in a report entitled “EConnections 2000”.

Consequently, the government should be made aware of the fact that it is already in a position to use the key environmental indicators already developed by Statistics Canada for its policy development and decision making.

AgricultureStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, on January 8, 2004, I hosted an agriculture forum in my riding, where over 200 people attended to listen to speakers discuss a variety of issues. It was televised across Canada.

A major concern expressed several times throughout the day was that if genetically modified wheat were grown anywhere in Canada, farmers would lose important markets around the world. They also felt very strongly that the Liberal government was not doing enough to get the border opened to live cattle.

Farmers are experiencing great difficulty competing in the international marketplace. Policies of the government are negatively impacting on their businesses. They would like to know whether they can fly a flag of convenience, such as the Prime Minister's flag of Barbados, over their farms and avoid taxes they have to pay, taxes that are included in all their input costs.

Will the Prime Minister allow them to fly this flag of convenience over their farms just like he does over his ships?

AgricultureStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, many people might think that the problems the beef and dairy industry are facing with BSE are restricted to the rural areas. Not so. In the riding I am privileged to serve, Halton, which is only 45 minutes from downtown Toronto, farmers are having a tough time of it.

I would like to urge all my colleagues in the House to listen to what my constituent Bert Stewart, an international expert, had to say about the situation in Halton. He said:

Farmers still need to feed the animals, purchase machinery and tools to take care of their farms, and keep their businesses going. But everything is crazy expensive and there's no money coming in.

Let us support our local farmers and get the borders opened up.

Cree of Northern QuebecStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, in the Toronto Star of Sunday, February 1, 2004, reporter Peter Gorrie quoted Jean Gagné, Ottawa's chief negotiator with the Cree of Northern Quebec as saying that Quebec's recognition of the Cree as a nation has no real significance and is a question of terms.

Such a comment by Mr. Gagné is inappropriate at this point, as well as unfair to all the James Bay Cree. SInce he describes the Cree-Canada file as merely a matter of terms, he will not have anything more to say on this file.

The James Bay Cree no longer trust this federal negotiator, and neither do I. I am calling upon the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs to appoint a new federal negotiator for the Quebec Cree-Canada file.

National Teachers WeekStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard Liberal Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw my colleagues' attention to the fact that this is National Teachers Week.

All too often, Canada's teachers work in the shadows.

Yet we entrust them with one of the most fundamental tasks in our society: preparing our young people to take responsibility for their own futures, and consequently for the future of this country.

Theirs is no easy task. As well as imparting the knowledge students require to become fully participating members of society, teachers are there to share the joys and sorrows of each and every one of their charges.

As such, they are invaluable allies for all Canadian parents, and those parents are the first to recognize just what a wonderful contribution they make.

On behalf of us all, I salute and thank all of this country's teachers.

Rail CrossingsStatements By Members

February 6th, 2004 / 11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, on November 14, 2003, the lives of Rick and Susan Bomack were changed forever when they lost their son in a car-train collision on the main CN line just outside MacGregor, Manitoba.

Almost every day in Canada someone is injured in a car-train accident. Every week someone dies.

The sad fact is that many of these accidents could have been prevented. Like too many of them, Derek Bomack's accident occurred at night at an unmarked crossing. Reduced visibility was a probable factor.

The government must immediately require reflectors on all train cars running on Canadian rail lines. It is inexcusable that any train car should go in for servicing and come out without a reflector attached to it. In particular, rural Canadians should not be treated as collateral damage by the rail industry in this country or by the government.

We cannot restore the life of Derek Bomack, but in his memory we can save the lives of other Canadians.

Heart MonthStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, in this first week of the month, I would like to remind the House that February is Heart Month.

Cardiovascular disease claims the lives of far too many Canadians. I invite my colleagues and the general public to participate in activities organized by their local Heart and Stroke Foundation and to support the various campaigns to raise money for research into these diseases.

Our government has made significant efforts in the past to support the work of researchers, who are doing their best to relieve the suffering of Canadians with heart disease.

These past efforts, and our firm commitment to continue working on this, clearly show that the government definitely has its heart in the right place.

Jacques LacombeStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Bloc Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, a young Quebecker from Cap-de-la-Madeleine, in my riding, recently accomplished a rather unique feat. Jacques Lacombe, a young orchestra conductor, who is currently the principal guest conductor of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, conducted, for the very first time, six performances of Massenet's “Werther” at New York's prestigious Metropolitan Opera, the most important opera house in the world.

Many agree that, although he is barely 40 years old, he is one of the world's most promising young conductors of his time and one of the best Quebec has ever seen. Some go so far as to compare him to the famous Karajan, Bernstein, Solti and Kleiber.

My colleagues from the Bloc Quebecois join me in congratulating this unassuming son of a shoe repairman who is now travelling the world and whose achievements showcase, once again, the richness of Quebec's artistic talents. Bravo, Mr. Lacombe.