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House of Commons Hansard #152 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

Certificates of NominationRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table two certificates of nomination, one with respect to the Farm Credit Corporation, which stands referred to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, and the other with respect to the nomination of the parliamentary librarian, which stands referred to the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament.

Citizenship ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (adoption).

Mr. Speaker, far be it for me to say that I had missed the opportunity to extol the virtues of this bill and the next bill that I will be introducing.

Everyone has been waiting for these two bills for a long time.

I think members of the House will receive both bills warmly and with open arms. One of the bills is on international adoptions and the next bill is on foreign prohibitions for criminality committed abroad. I think we will find unanimous consent on both of the bills.

The two bills reflect the input of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. They also reflect the interests of Canadians everywhere and the input of all parties who welcomed these two amendments, I dare say, with baited breath.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Citizenship ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-77, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (prohibitions).

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Emergency Management ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Liberalfor the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-78, An Act to provide for emergency management and to amend and repeal certain Acts.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on supplementary estimates A for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006.

Excise Tax ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-448, An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act (motor vehicle fuel).

Mr. Speaker, I am proud today to introduce a bill that would correct the injustice of charging consumers too much for fuel by removing the GST being charged on the federal excise tax and provincial excise taxes across the country and to put that money back in the pockets of hard-working Canadians.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Immigration and Refugee Protection ActRoutine Proceedings

November 17th, 2005 / 10:05 a.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-449, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (sponsorship of relative).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table another private member's bill this morning which will amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to allow a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor one relative from outside the current definition of family in the act once in their lifetime.

This bill, which we in this corner of the House call the once in a lifetime bill, is intended to recognize that family membership is understood very broadly by many Canadians and that many immediate and close family relationships are not currently recognized in our immigration law.

This change represents a longstanding commitment of the New Democratic Party. As New Democrats, we believe family reunification must be a reality in Canadian immigration law, not merely something to which we give lip service.

Families are crucial to Canada and I believe this bill would help ensure that Canadian families can be together here in Canada doing what they do best: caring for, supporting, encouraging and loving each other.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have two sets of petitions to present to the House where the constituents call upon Parliament to amend section 83 of the Criminal Code of Canada to provide an exemption for all martial arts and all martial arts contests and competitions. They reeled off the names of the competitions and they ask that Parliament recognize that exemption.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table the first part of a petition concerning the World Summit on the Information Society and the right to freedom of expression in Tunisia.

This petition was started by a large coalition consisting of three Quebec labour unions—the FTQ, the CSN and the CSQ—Rights and Democracy, the French section of Amnesty International Canada and the Quebec Human Rights League.

The petitioners urge the Prime Minister of Canada to demand that all independent Tunisian NGOs and human rights defenders in Tunisia have access to WSIS activities in Tunis, and that they be able to speak freely. They are also requesting that the Tunisian government release the young Zarzis and Ariana Web users from prison, as well as all other prisoners of conscience.

I want to congratulate the 20 Amnesty International school groups from across Quebec on this great campaign.

There are 10,000 signatories to the first part of this petition.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition from the constituents of Langley, British Columbia, one of the most beautiful communities in all of Canada.

They are saying that the GST on the federal excise tax is actually double taxation. They are tired of double taxation and they are asking the House of Commons to enact legislation to eliminate the goods and services tax charged on federal excise tax and other provincial and federal taxes. They want double taxation to end, and actually the private member's bill that was just introduced would be very appropriate.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition from my riding dealing with children suffering from autism spectrum disorder. This is a disease that affects 1 child in 195.

The petitioners call upon the government to amend the Canada Health Act and corresponding regulations to include IBI-ABA therapy for children with autism as a medically necessary treatment.

They also call upon the government to contribute to the creation of academic chairs at universities in each province and that we provide training at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels so that Canadian professionals can practise and children can receive treatment in this country.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition on behalf of my constituents in Langbank, Saskatchewan, with respect to the closure of rural post offices. The petitioners indicate that there is a significant increase in the number of rural post offices that have been closed and that Canada Post does not consider a community with nearly 700 points of call to be a viable location for supporting a federally operated post office. The petitioners ask Parliament to keep the Langbank post office open and to retain the moratorium on rural post office closures.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson Conservative St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Once again, Mr. Speaker, I am presenting another petition from citizens from all across the country objecting to the passage of LNG tankers through Head Harbour Passage. The House has heard many of these petitions. Head Harbour is the most dangerous passage in all of Canada. The citizens of Canada are asking the government to address this issue as it would any sovereignty issue. These are internal Canadian waters. The petitioners want Parliament to say no to the transport of those ships that could endanger our citizens, our economy and certainly our environment.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Russ Powers Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to present a petition on behalf of the residents of the Hamilton area who are asking for the inclusion of autism in the therapy treatment program under the Canada Health Act and the establishment of a chair in the appropriate universities in the provinces and the territories.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to table a petition started by an Amnesty International group representing high schools in my riding. They have single-handedly collected over 2,500 signatures.

Congratulations to Chêne-Bleu and Cité-des-Jeunes high schools on this great campaign.

This petition calls upon the Government of Canada to urge the Tunisian government to comply with the commitments it made in 2003 in Geneva with regard to the World Summit on the Information Society.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest on a point of order.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson Conservative St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again let me note that questions on the order paper have to be answered in a timely fashion. The government is dragging its feet. I am not sure what it is trying to hide, but we went through this yesterday. Wednesday is the only day on which the Speaker will actually call Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers. We went through this issue yesterday. Why is the government dragging its feet on some of the most important issues facing the nation when it could answer these questions in one afternoon?

Mr. Speaker, I know what you will say. You are bound by the Standing Orders. We all are. I know that the government has up to 45 days, but some of these questions are routine. We need this information to do our jobs. What is the government trying to hide in relation to some of the questions on the order paper?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

The Speaker

I note that the hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest is really making submissions. He has not really raised a point of order because there is nothing in the rules that prevents the government from waiting until the 45th day if it wishes to answer a question.

If the parliamentary secretary wishes to respond to the representations of the hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest, I will hear him briefly. Otherwise we will consider the matter closed.

I stress that it is not a point of order at this point because there is nothing for the Chair to rule on. The Chair does not rule on whether or not the government is dragging its feet or whether or not any hon. member is dragging his feet. I would not think of such a thing.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, during the week of January 2, 2006, the Prime Minister should ask her Excellency the Governor General of Canada to dissolve the 38th Parliament and to set the date for the 39th general election for Monday, February 13, 2006; and

That the Speaker transmit this resolution to Her Excellency the Governor General.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Liberal Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order concerning the motion before us which you have just read, and I wish to submit to you that it is out of order in that it would ask you as Speaker to do that which is an impossibility. It is a constitutional impossibility because it offends the practice and the constitutional form and design of how the House must properly communicate with Her Excellency the Governor General, because it asks you to transmit a resolution, if passed, of the House to Her Excellency.

I point to Beauchesne's fifth edition at page 37, which outlines the role of Speaker as the representative of members of the House. It lays out the House's relationship to Her Excellency the Governor General. It is enunciated there that there are three times or methods when this occurs: first, upon your election as Speaker, you petition the Governor General for the continuance of the Commons' privileges; second, you personally deliver an engrossed Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne to the Governor General; and third, and the most common example, you lead us when summoned by the Governor General to the other place.

If the House wishes to collectively communicate with Her Excellency, it can only be by address to Her Excellency. That is our constitutional design. That is the form of communication which the House might only engage in with Her Excellency.

I point out to you, Mr. Speaker, that in the same fifth edition of Beauchesne's at page 123, it lays out a form of address for when the House wishes to communicate with Her Excellency. It is a very rare occasion other than the reply in the address to the Speech from the Throne that the House wishes to address or communicate with Her Excellency the Governor General. History will show us that it is a very rare event indeed.

If we go back to the time of William IV in Great Britain just prior to Queen Victoria, there were events when the House of Commons wished to communicate with the king and it was done so by an address. It is a very particular form of communication. To my knowledge, it has never been carried out in this place in a form like that laid out in this motion.

Mr. Speaker, knowing that there is a particular constitutional demand upon how we speak to the Governor General, and knowing that this, if passed, would ask that you transmit this resolution to Her Excellency the Governor General, what is the transmission? Is it an email? Is it a phone call? Is it a courier delivering a resolution of the House? It is a rather peculiar way of doing business knowing that the Crown is the head and the font of power in this place.

Therefore, knowing that this transmission is not defined and knowing that this is an unknown way of communicating with the Crown as represented by Her Excellency the Governor General, I would submit that this is a resolution which is an impossibility from a constitutional point of view. It is also an impossibility from a plain language point of view because we do not know what a transmission is. Therefore, I would ask that you rule it out of order.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order I would like to make a few comments. First of all, it is quite outrageous and flabbergasting to hear this member rise and make this point of order. Clearly what is going on here is a political ploy that is being put forward by this member and presumably other members of his caucus who want to try to ensure that this motion will not be debated today.

I point out to you, Mr. Speaker, that this motion is entirely in order. It is wording that is characterized in a way that an opposition day motion would be characterized: “That, in the opinion of this House...”. It is giving advice to the Prime Minister based on the opinion of this House that would then be transmitted to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the Governor General.

I would point out that for the wording of this motion there were discussions held with the Table to ensure that the wording was appropriate, including the word “transmit”. These discussions have been held.

I think we should make it clear here today that this intervention by the Liberal member is simply political posturing. It is mischievous to try to prevent this getting to the floor. It is a very anti-democratic intervention that has been made. We simply want to have this motion debated by the House, to have the House vote on this motion and to provide this advice.

It would be no different from the procedure used when there is the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne and it is transmitted to the Governor General. It would be no different from that case.

I would urge the Chair not to concede to the point that is being made here. This motion is in order. We hope that this debate on this very important motion will now begin.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I must say that the argument raised by the government is absolutely pointless at this time. The resolution introduced by the NDP is absolutely in order under our standing orders.

I will therefore merely make two points in support of my position. It will not take long but should be conclusive.

First, to quote Marleau and Montpetit, page 724:

Members in opposition to the government may propose motions for debate on any matter falling within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada, as well as on committee reports concerning estimates. The standing orders give members a very wide scope in proposing opposition motions on supply days and, unless the motion is clearly and undoubtedly irregular (e.g., where the procedural aspect is not open to reasonable argument), the Chair does not intervene

That strikes me as very clear.

Second, they cannot claim that this motion is unconstitutional. It says that “during the week of January 2, 2006, the Prime Minister should ask her Excellency the Governor General of Canada to dissolve the 38th Parliament .” There have been many similar motions in this House. In fact, according to the Canadian Constitution, it is up to the Prime Minister to designate his cabinet and there is nothing to stop any member of this Parliament from introducing a motion calling on the Prime Minister to require a minister to resign. So, it is not unconstitutional.

Everyone knows that Canada's foreign policy depends on the government and the Prime Minister. Yet there is absolutely nothing unconstitutional about introducing a motion in this House calling upon the Government of Canada to change its position on international policy. That is absolutely not unconstitutional.

All of the powers of the government set out in the Canadian Constitution can be challenged by a resolution of this Parliament. Parliament is free—and this is the very purpose of opposition days—to speak out and suggest actions to the Prime Minister and the government, even within areas that are essentially their responsibility under the Constitution.

The NDP motion fully meets these criteria. It absolutely cannot be judged procedurally out of order. As for its content, it is similar to any proposal that might be made, for instance calling upon the Prime MInister to dismiss members of his Cabinet. That is his responsibility, but it could be done and the government should accept the motion, whether in good faith or not.

I therefore feel we should put an end to this discussion, accept the NDP motion and proceed with the debate.