This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #96 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. member for his apology, but it seems to me that this is a matter for the procedure and House affairs committee to consider.

If the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst wishes to raise this point in committee, the latter can prepare a report on the situation and present it to the House for consideration. Normally, committee members raise this point of privilege. This may have been the purpose of the point of privilege raised by the hon. member.

In my opinion, the committee should consider this matter before the House does. It is not the responsibility of the Chair to compare what happened in committee with what the hon. member has just said. I did not see the committee transcripts. I cannot proceed until the report has been presented.

The hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean on a point of order.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of the House to a motion. I believe you would find consent for the following order:

That the proceedings on the motion for second reading and referral to the Standing Committee on Finance of Bill C-43 conclude at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon;

That all questions necessary to dispose of second reading of this bill be deemed put;

That a recorded division be deemed requested and deferred until 5:30 p.m. today;

That the proceedings on the motion for second reading and referral to the Standing Committee on Finance of Bill C-48 conclude at 5:29 p.m. this afternoon;

That all the questions necessary to dispose of second reading of this bill be deemed put;

That a recorded division be deemed requested and deferred until 5:30 p.m. today.

I therefore seek the consent—

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean have the unanimous consent of the House?

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

National SecurityRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table in the House of Commons a copy of “Securing an Open Society: One Year Later—A Progress Report on the Implementation of Canada's National Security Policy”.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

May 11th, 2005 / 3:20 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to nine petitions.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 37th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the provisional Standing Orders governing private members' business.

If the House consents, I intend to move concurrence in the 37th report later today.

Mr. Speaker, while I am on my feet, I have the honour to present the 38th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the question of privilege relating to mailings sent to the riding of Windsor West that was the subject of discussions a few days ago.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present in, both official languages, the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Health. Your committee has studied Bill C-28, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act and has agreed to report it to the House without amendment.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Finance. In accordance with its order of reference of Friday, February 25, 2005, your committee has considered the Votes of Nos. 1 and 5 under Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and Vote No. 25 under Finance in the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, and reports the same.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Chatters Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. Given the uncertainty of this Parliament and the extraordinary need for the stability with all parliamentary officers and agents, the committee recommends that the appointment of John Reid, the Information Commissioner of Canada, be extended by an additional term of one year.

Agricultural Pest Control Products Replacement ActRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-381, an act respecting the replacement of agricultural pest control products.

Mr. Speaker, to deal with important issues of restoring access to farmers of products needed to control pests such as gophers, the bill would ensure that a product is not removed from the market until there is an effective and accessible alternative that will do the job just as well.

I certainly believe, and many farmers in my constituency believe, that as long as a product is not determined clearly to be unsafe, that they should have a replacement before a product is removed from them. The bill would ensure that is the case. This is needed to protect farmers and I will continue to pursue this issue.

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

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-382, an act to amend the Criminal Code (search and seizure).

Mr. Speaker, about 10 years ago the government passed Bill C-68, the much hated bill which put the gun registry in place. It also put in place extremely unusual search and seizure provisions which would allow police officers, without a warrant, even in cases where no offence had been committed or suspected of having been committed, to enter a home and seize the weapons and remove them.

This legislation would prevent that from happening and put in place the normal process. Unless police officers have evidence that a crime has been committed, they would first have to obtain a search warrant. My bill is proposing a much needed change to the legislation regarding firearms.

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

Members of the House of Commons Recall ActRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-383, an act to allow the recall of members of the House of Commons.

Mr. Speaker, my private member's bill would restore the very principle of democratic accountability to our system of parliamentary democracy.

It would permit constituents who are unhappy with the representation in their given riding to form a petition requiring 50% of them to terminate the employment of that member of Parliament from his or her elected office. In other words, it would give the electorate the same rights of accountability that most employers have over their employees. It therefore would restore the basic democratic principle that we as members of Parliament are servants and not masters.

I urge all members of Parliament who believe in accountability and are willing to put their records on the line to strongly and overwhelmingly endorse this measure.

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

ALS Month ActRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-384, an act to designate the month of June as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) Month.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a private member's bill that would designate the month of June as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis month, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

This bill would ensure that throughout Canada in each and every year, the month of June shall be known as ALS month.

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

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-385, an act to amend the Criminal Code (hate propaganda).

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to table my first private member's bill, an act to amend the Criminal Code regarding hate propaganda.

The purpose of the bill is to expand the definition of an identifiable group under the hate propaganda provisions of the Criminal Code to include any section of the public distinguished by its gender.

The way our current law is written, it is prohibited to propagate hate against an individual because of colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. However, it is not against the law to propagate hate against an individual because of their gender. By enacting this change to the Criminal Code, Parliament can begin to address the serious issue of promoting hatred and violence against women.

This is an amendment that should have been made long ago. I hope my colleagues on all sides of the House will support this worthy and overdue initiative.

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

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have more than one motion. The first one is pursuant to the report I tabled earlier today of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

If the House gives its consent, I move that the 37th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented to the House earlier this day be concurred in. That is the report on private members' business adopted unanimously at committee.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move that the 35th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented on Friday, April 22 be concurred in.

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to split my time today with the hon. member for Beauséjour.

We have before us the 35th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, concerning the Standing Orders. I am sure that most members will recall that what we were discussing in committee that day was whether or not the Standing Orders had provision for allotted days, which are commonly called opposition days or supply days.

As hon. members are well aware, government orders fall under the jurisdiction of the Government House Leader and not the other members. The government leader—at the moment the Deputy House Leader—determines the agenda for government orders.

As for the period allotted for private members' business, for example, for the backbenchers, the government will never interfere with that by trying unilaterally to change the order of the day or the time allocated to this type of debate.

For the same reason, and based on the same principle, I do not believe anyone has the right to try to change the hours for government orders, because that is the agenda of the government in the House of Commons.

The House will recognize that the government House leader designates under the Standing Orders a certain number of days to be allotted for supply. These days have to be allotted prior to the supply bill being debated.

Contrary to other legislation in the House, I am sure all hon. members will know that there is no debate on the supply bill per se. The debate is held ahead of time and then the supply bill is adopted without debate because we have already had that debate.

How does that debate take place? It takes place in the form of opposition days. We all recognize that it is the structure under which we operate.

When I was government House leader, and the House might remember this from some time ago, when we arrived at the 1997 Parliament with the five party system, the number of days allotted to the opposition did not function too well in terms of allotting them in a proportional way between parties. The government at that time offered unilaterally to increase the number of opposition days by adding one, which the House accepted unanimously. That was done in order to give more days for the opposition to reflect the proportionality.

I do not recall, when the party system descended to four after the last election, the government seeking to remove that additional day given to the opposition. In fact, we have more opposition days in this Parliament than the number would actually dictate should be the case pursuant to the conventions that we had for a number of years.

The government therefore decided to add, as I was saying, these opposition days.

I must also add that before 1997, the number of allotted days absolutely were not published in advance. Nothing was in writing. Historically, the leader of the government in the House of Commons indicated every Thursday in the House the projected order of business for the next five sitting days. Of course there have been variations in this practice. I too have sat on the opposition side. I recall very clearly a certain parliamentary leader at the time who would change the orders of the day at 9:55 a.m. just to provoke the opposition. I do not think such a thing ever happened when I or my two successors held this pleasant position in the House.

The fact remains that in 1997, a request on allotted days was submitted by the hon. member for Winnipeg—Birds Hill at the time, I believe. He had asked the leaders of the other parties if we could, out of courtesy and in a confidential manner, publish a type of schedule for a few weeks at a time. It was strictly agreed that it would be an approximation of what was to come, in order to indicate to the members of Parliament which days would be supply days and which days certain bills would be debated. This was done in the spirit of cooperation.

When I was the minister, I remember on many occasions colleagues on the other side of the House would ask not to put certain bills on a Friday because their critics would not be in the House, or to switch them to a Thursday. They would say that if I called it on Friday, they would talked it out. They wanted to wait until the critic returned because he or she had something important to say about the bill. That was fair game. We used that calendar for a long time in a practical way, such as the one I have described, to make the business of the House advance in a better way.

I think overall it has worked quite well in terms of modernizing the procedures around here. It was an innovation that I put in place in 1997, but was not my recommendation. It was a recommendation of my critic at the time from the New Democratic Party, but all other parties supported it.

The situation we have before us is the following one. The opposition has stated that their opposition day was taken away from them. An opposition day is not an opposition day until it is called that day. The Thursday before the government designates the day. I both designated and undesignated opposition days on a number of occasions when I was House leader.

The important thing is the principle, long established in parliamentary democracy, that the sovereign is not granted supply until the grievances of the people have been heard. Grievances of the people is the method by which members of Parliament can raise issues and with some of the modern day innovations vote on those grievances. That has been used, particularly in modern times, as a way of expressing confidence or the opposite in the government of the day.

If the Standing Orders provide that there is going to be seven opposition days before the granting of supply, I do not think the government has attempted to reduce that number. It is fixed. However, in exchange for the number being fixed, because it is an order of the day under government orders, the government designates which of the days it will be.

In the end, after the days have been exhausted, and only then, can the government bring in the supply bill, the one that I talked about at the beginning of my speech. The government is entitled to bring it in once the opposition days have been exhausted or from time to time, particularly when there is a shorter session of Parliament, when the parties have generally agreed among each, because that has been the general way, to reduce those number of days if deemed to be appropriate. That has not happened in any case over the last many years.

Following a decision by the government House leader to change a particular opposition day, the opposition, which outnumbers the government right now, has used the numbers in the committee I chair in order to change a Standing Order. It changes a Standing Order for only one day, but it still changes the Standing Orders of the House of Commons. That is essentially the report that we have with us.

I will not be here in the next Parliament, and I intend to give a speech in that regard tomorrow. Meanwhile, for my colleagues on all sides of the House, the government seldom changes Standing Orders without the consent of the opposition. The last time that happened was when the Conservatives were in power.

What I believe has never happened is for the opposition to change the Standing Orders without the consent of the government. The government has been recognized to be the party in power. That is a dangerous precedent. I alert the House to it. As I said, I will not be in the next Parliament, but I do not think that is a very worthwhile precedent.

I offer those words of caution to my colleagues. I know that the hon. member for Beauséjour, with whom I have split my time, will be speaking to this further.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, who has served this House with honour for many years, has made a number of important suggestions that I hope we can all keep in mind, those of us who hope to serve in the next Parliament and subsequent Parliaments.

I was looking forward to making an important intervention on this important committee report. I know the deputy government House leader, for example, was looking forward to my remarks. However I have decided that it perhaps is more appropriate that we continue the important work of debating the budget legislation that the government is anxious to pass in this House.

Therefore, I move:

That the debate be now adjourned.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.