House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-48.

Topics

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

Barry Devolin Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the government House leader answered the question from my colleague from Regina—Qu'Appelle. It is very simple. The government House leader suggested that we all ought to respect the wishes and the votes of this Parliament and yet it has been widely reported this morning that if the government loses this vote today, the government House leader will go back to the Speaker and ask for the same thing, by different means, effectively ignoring what Parliament has asked for today, and ask that we be recalled next week.

I put the question back the same way. If the government House leader is challenging us to live by the results of today's vote, does he have any intention of doing the same thing?

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Tony Valeri Liberal Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would respond by saying that whatever I do, whether in this House or out of this House, I would do in the public interest.

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

Barry Devolin Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

I take that as a no.

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Independent

Pat O'Brien Independent London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the government House leader tell us that there has been a very full and democratic debate on Bill C-38 but clearly the game here is to try to fast-track Bill C-38.

Does my colleague consider giving less than 24 hours' notice to witnesses to appear at a committee to be democratic and fair? I speak as a three time chair of the committee on national defence and veterans affairs. Does he consider having four witnesses at a time, meeting after meeting, to be sitting at a committee, which is unusual, to be a normal, democratic practice in this House?

Does he consider the imposition of an artificial June 14 deadline to report to this House normal and fair? I want him to answer that because if he does the Canadian people do not.

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Tony Valeri Liberal Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was a committee decision when to report and all parties agreed to the decision to report back on that day. The Conservative member who sat on that committee and who spoke very aggressively against this legislation agreed to report back on a certain day. It was the committee that decided when to report back the question.

With respect to the witnesses themselves, 75 witnesses have appeared with respect to Bill C-38, and there was 28 hours and 20 minutes of debate on Bill C-38.

I grant that not all members are happy with the process, and not all members are going to be happy at the end of the day with respect to the outcome. To suggest that there has not been enough debate on this issue is certainly a personal perspective and one that members are perfectly entitled to and should express on their own.

At the end of the day, I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that you have a question here and a vote will be taken on whether we extend the sitting of the House. Parliament will decide that. If Parliament decides to extend the sitting, then we will deal with both Bill C-48 and Bill C-38.

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government has admitted now that Bill C-38 is its single issue. This is a single issue government. It wants to socially engineer Canada to bring it farther left than any other country in the world. We heard that in committee.

I sat on that committee and it was a sham. The committee was structured in a way that Canadians would not have an opportunity to give input. The number of witnesses who could appear was limited. The committee was stacked with only members who supported the government and they brought closure on that by manipulation. We heard from witnesses that religious freedoms in Canada would not be protected. We had amendments from all parties that the government refused. It called them out of order.

Will the government House leader not admit that there were special promises made to special interest groups? The government funded these special interest groups to come and support same sex marriage. What promises were made to these special interest groups?

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Tony Valeri Liberal Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, no promises were made to any special interest groups. That is a direct response to the hon. member.

When he talks about what the government has essentially done, I can point to the early learning initiative, the new deal for cities, the investments in affordable housing and post-secondary education, the reduction in income tax for lower income Canadians and investments in the auto sector. I can point to a number of different areas, all of which the official opposition disagrees with, and it is certainly within its right to do so. It is the opposition's right to disagree with what the government is doing.

I would just go back to the point that when and if the House is able to decide on whether the motion should pass or not, we will then deal with both the budget bill, Bill C-48, and ultimately Bill C-38.

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

In my opinion, the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Extension of Sitting PeriodRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

Private Members' BusinessRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

I have an important statement to make to the House about the result of the vote taken yesterday evening on Motion No. 228, which was moved by the hon. member for Scarborough—Rouge River.

As hon. members know, the announced result was a tie, with 143 members recorded as having voted in favour and 143 members recorded as having voted against.

On hearing that the votes were equally divided on the motion, the Deputy Speaker correctly gave the casting vote in the negative on the procedural grounds that, since no further discussion on the motion was possible and the House could not reach a decision, it was not for the Chair to decide that the proposal would go forward.

Some minutes after the Deputy Speaker had cast the deciding vote, and after the House had moved on to other business, it was brought to the attention of the Table that a member had been erroneously counted as having voted nay. Further verifications were made to confirm that an error had in fact been made and it was discovered that at one point during the vote several members stood out of sequence and then sat down in quick succession when voting on the motion. In amongst that group of members was one member who had remained seated throughout and had not in fact voted, namely the member for Verchères—Les Patriotes. However, in the confusion, his name had been called and his vote counted with the nays.

Shortly afterward I was informed by the table officers that this had occurred. As hon. members will realize, if this nay vote had not been counted in error, events would have unfolded differently. No tie vote would have occurred, no casting vote would have been required and most significantly Motion No. 228 would have been agreed to by a vote of 143 to 142.

As your Speaker, I always strive to observe the highest ethical standards in the exercise of my duties. Thus, in the present circumstances I have concluded that the decision on Motion No. 228 recorded in yesterday's Journals cannot stand, given our knowledge that it rests on a single incorrectly recorded vote.

Accordingly, I am informing the House that Motion No. 228 has been agreed to by a vote of 143 yeas to 142 nays and I have directed the Table to correct the Journals of June 22, 2005 so that the true decision of the House may be properly reflected in our official records.

I thank hon. members for their attention during this rather unusual announcement.

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

Private Members' BusinessRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have considerable respect for the extraordinary manner with which you carry out your weighty responsibilities. It is to your credit that you investigated this. However, you yourself said in your ruling that the vote was taken at a time of disorder so that at least one error occurred, perhaps more, because the members rose in an irregular fashion.

Under the circumstances, I think there is sufficient doubt and question about yesterday's vote to have it retaken in proper form by the House, rather than be changed 24 hours later.

I know that a vote in the House must be beyond all doubt—

Private Members' BusinessRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Private Members' BusinessRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

I wish the Liberal side would settle down. I am making a point of order. I am doing it properly and according to the rules. If some on the other side care to not play by the rules, two can play the game. The tone of things can change right now. I suggest my Liberal friends settle down. It would be much better. They could let me finish my question.

For a vote of the House of Commons to be respected, it must be beyond all doubt. In my opinion, despite my respect for you, we cannot, 24 hours later, reconsider a vote, state that at least one error has been discovered, perhaps more, and say the vote will be changed. I ask you to review your ruling and allow the vote to be taken again.

If this is the intention of the House of Commons, we will respect it. If the intention of the House of Commons is to reject the motion, you will respect it.

Private Members' BusinessRoutine Proceedings

June 23rd, 2005 / 11:40 a.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this is private members' business and I understand the intervention by my hon. colleague. I would leave it strictly to you. The government is not opposed to having the vote again, if another vote is required. Given that it is private members' business, if another vote is required, we will leave it to your judgment to call it.

Private Members' BusinessRoutine Proceedings

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, first, with the utmost respect for the Chair and for your decision, I am not challenging the decision in that light. However, I want to support the comments made by the House leader of the Bloc Québécois insofar as whether members voted in the affirmative or the negative on this private member's legislation.

As the hon. House leader for the Bloc Québécois has suggested, it is important that the House very clearly state its opinion on any piece of legislation. Any vote should be above any debate as to whether it was an accurate reflection of the will of the House or not.

Therefore, I would suggest that we retake the vote at the earliest opportunity, even right now.

Private Members' BusinessRoutine Proceedings

11:40 a.m.

The Speaker

I do not think I need to hear more on the matter. With respect, I know the other House leader is rising on this matter.

The matter was raised by a member. The member indicated that he had not voted. We looked at the tapes and determined this to be the case.

Therefore, there is no question here of there being irregularities alleged throughout the voting process. There was one alleged irregularity. It was drawn to the attention of the table officers, an investigation was made and it was discovered that the member had indeed not voted based on the tapes. It was on that basis that I made the ruling I made a few minutes ago.

However, if the House wishes to have another vote on the matter and there is consent to do so, we can have it immediately. Everyone is here and there is no reason not to proceed with the vote if members wish.

It seems to me that it is not for the Speaker to order this. It is for the members to agree. If there is agreement, we will do it.

Private Members' BusinessRoutine Proceedings

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is private members' business and our caucus was divided on the issue. Obviously the House is divided on the issue. We believe we should just get on with business. A vote was taken. You have made your ruling, Mr. Speaker. Let it stand.