Order, please. I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised on Tuesday, September 27 by the hon. member for Mississauga South concerning the admissibility of an amendment to Motion No. 135.
I would like to thank the hon. member for raising this matter, as well as the mover of the amendment, the hon. member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, for his comments.
Motion No. 135 currently reads as follows:
That, in the opinion of this House, the government should consider transferring the land currently leased by the Queensway-Carleton Hospital from the National Capital Commission to the Hospital at a cost of one dollar.
The proposed amendment is:
That Motion No.135 be amended by:
(a) deleting the word “transferring” and replacing it with the words “continuing to lease”; and
(b) by adding after the word “dollar”, the following: “per annum, starting at the end of the current lease in the year 2013”.
The hon. member for Mississauga South argued that the proposed amendment is inadmissible as it would represent a substantial change to the original intent of the motion. In particular, he said that there was a substantial difference between permanently transferring land to the hospital at a cost of $1.00 and leasing the land to the hospital at a cost of $1.00 per year.
In response, the hon. member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington claimed that the original intent of the motion was to allow the hospital to continue functioning and that his amendment was consistent with that objective.
On September 29, following a ruling on an amendment to another private member's motion, the hon. member for Mississauga South added further arguments as to why he felt the amendment to Motion No.135 was inadmissible. He asked the Chair to consider whether the amendment went beyond the scope of the main motion or of it introduced new concepts which would more properly be the subject of a separate debate. The hon. member also alluded to possible legal difficulties with the amendment due to the laws governing the custodianship of National Capital Commission properties.
On this last point, let me say quite clearly that the Chair does not rule on questions of law. My only concern is the procedural acceptability of the amendment, and with respect to this, the House of Commons Procedure and Practice , at page 452, states that:
A motion in amendment arises out of debate and is proposed either to modify the original motion in order to make it more acceptable to the House or to present a different proposition as an alternative to the original.
At page 453 of the same work, it also states:
An amendment must be relevant to the main motion. It must not stray from the main motion but aim to further refine its meaning and intent.
I have had time to review the amendment carefully. While acknowledging that there is a difference between selling a property and continuing to lease it, I am satisfied that the amendment is relevant, that it is in keeping with the intent of the main motion and that it does not exceed the scope of the main motion. I therefore rule that the amendment is in order and can be put to the House.