Mr. Speaker, I rise on the same point of order. If I may, I will briefly address the two points that my colleague, the parliamentary secretary, raised in regard to the amendment, but I would like to do so in reverse order.
First of all, on the matter of the royal recommendation or whether this in fact constitutes a money matter, I think my colleague almost made the argument for us in pointing out in his early remarks that this motion is not a bill. In fact, if it is passed it has no statutory effect. It actually causes no money to be spent and it does not infringe, therefore, on the spending authority of the Crown.
The House has passed motions from a private member which call for spending on a regular basis. One of the most notable was put forward by my colleague from Ottawa Centre, who moved an amendment in 1989 when the House unanimously voted in favour of a very costly measure, by a motion, in fact, which was to eradicate child poverty by the year 2000. That motion, by its tone and content, clearly called for spending to eradicate child poverty.
In this case, again some of the references my colleague made are useful to our argument at the same time, because we should point out that Marleau and Montpetit, on page 900, when read in view of the light that we are viewing it in, states:
Motions attempting to make a declaration of opinion or purpose, without ordering or requiring a particular course of action, are considered resolutions. Hence, such motions which simply suggest that the government initiate a certain measure are generally phrased as follows: “That, in the opinion of this House, the government should...”.
This motion in fact reads: “That, in the opinion of this House, the government should: (a) recognize all firefighters...”, et cetera. So in actual fact the reference that my colleague made to page 900 is useful to the arguments that we are making as well.
Also, the reference in Marleau and Montpetit goes on to state:
No motion sponsored by a Member who is not a Minister can contain provisions for either raising revenue or spending funds, unless it is worded in terms which only suggest that course of action to the government.
We would point out as well that our motion only suggests a certain course of action.
On the second point my colleague made, in the argument that this amendment is outside the purview of the original motion, I would like to point out, Mr. Speaker, for your consideration, that the proposed amendments are only minor modifications to the principles of the main motion. The principle of the main motion is to recognize all firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty. Ultimately, that is what the main point is, of course.
If I may, Mr. Speaker, I ask you to consider page 453 of Marleau and Montpetit on the main principles of an amendment to a privileged motion. I should point out that this is a privileged motion, not a subsidiary motion.
The main principles of an amendment to a privileged motion are listed on page 453. It is stated, “An amendment must be relevant to the main motion”. I do not think anyone is arguing that it is not relative to the main motion. “It must not stray from the main motion but aim to further refine its meaning...”. That is exactly what my colleague from Ottawa Centre was hoping to do by his amendment. “An amendment should take the form of a motion to: leave out certain words in order to add other words...”. That is one possibility. Or it can “leave out certain words; or insert or add other words to the main motion”.
Marleau and Montpetit then goes on to state, “An amendment should be framed so that, if agreed to, it will leave the main motion...consistent with itself”.
If we could look at what the main motion says and how the amendment changes the motion, I would ask you to consider that the main component of the motion is that the motion is a reflection of the opinion of the House of Commons, and second, that the government is not directed to but requested to recognize all firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty, support the firefighters' foundation to construct a monument, that the monument should be in the Parliamentary precinct, and that we then inform the Senate of what we chose to do.
The amendment modifies the form of the recognition which the House is requesting from the government for fallen firefighters by including a benefit for the families of the firefighters. Therefore, it is modifying a key provision already in the motion. It is not introducing a new component. I submit that the recognition is what is being changed in the amendment and that a benefit is relevant to that recognition.
A second part of the amendment modifies the location of the monument to include the national capital, not simply the precinct of Parliament. This change allows for more flexibility in what the main motion already asks for, which is a monument. There is no new idea. It is simply a modification of where the monument should be.
The final part of the amendment simply clarifies the placement of the monument—that it be prominent—and is therefore just another relevant clarification of the motion.
I therefore submit that the amendment is relevant. It does not stray from the purpose of the motion and therefore it is in proper form.
If you check with the Table, Mr. Speaker, you will also find that there is no similar subject before the House, which is one of the necessary prerequisites. You will also find that the amendment does not anticipate a notice of motion; therefore, it is not in any conflict. Also, you will find that it is internally coherent, with all parts in order, therefore meeting the requirements set out under the amendment section of the privileged motions reference in chapter 12 of the
House of Commons Procedure and Practice.
I submit that if my hon. friend does not like the amendment, he should have the opportunity to stand and debate it, but I hope that no one hides under procedural cover on this important matter.