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House of Commons Hansard #109 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fishery.

Topics

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

In accordance with its order of reference of Monday, October 18, 2004, your committee considered Bill C-2, an act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children and other vulnerable persons) and the Canada Evidence Act, and agreed on Thursday, June 2, 2005 to report it with amendments.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 14th report of the Standing Committee on Health.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) and a motion adopted by the committee on Thursday, June 2, your committee recommends that the government immediately ban bulk exports of prescription drugs, with the exception of those produced in Canada for export.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities on the provisions of Bill C-280, an act to amend the Employment Insurance Act, employment insurance account and premium rate setting, and another act in consequence.

A majority of the committee supported the need to refer the bill to the Speaker for another ruling with respect to the need for a royal recommendation.

We know the Speaker has ruled on one aspect of the bill which is designed to set up an independent EI commission. We believe that a massive transfer, $45 billion of public funds of this type, inevitably involves a royal recommendation.

Even changing the nature of the commission has important implications. Moving the commission outside of government, changing the roles of commissioners involves expense. We are concerned about the staffing of the independent commission. Will the independent commission draw on the tens of thousands of employees at HRSD and what are the financial implications of that? We urge, Mr. Speaker, that you look at the transcripts, as I know you will, and look again at the need for a royal recommendation for this piece of legislation.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I have some very incisive comments with respect to the need for a royal recommendation. I would be happy to make them now or perhaps you would prefer to let routine proceedings finish and then I could briefly get up on a point of order at the end of routine proceedings.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Maybe we had better go ahead with routine proceedings because the incisive remarks might take a few minutes, I sense.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Dale Johnston Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of constituents in Wetaskiwin, Ma-Me-O Beach, Millet and Westerose, I am pleased under Standing Order 36 to present a petition on their behalf.

The petitioners say that marriage is the best foundation for raising children. They note that the institution is under many challenges in Canada. They also note that the institution of marriage and its definition is the exclusive jurisdiction of Canada's Parliament. The petitioners therefore pray that Parliament pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being a lifelong union of one man and one woman.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by a number of Canadians, including from my own riding of Mississauga South.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that the majority of Canadians believe that fundamental matters of social policy should be decided by elected members of Parliament and not by the unelected judiciary. They remind Parliament that it is its duty to ensure that marriage is defined as Canadians wish it to be defined.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to use all possible legislative and administrative measures, including the invocation of section 33 of the charter, commonly known as the notwithstanding clause, to preserve and protect the current definition of marriage as being the legal union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Carol Skelton Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present two petitions from my riding. The first one is from the community of Asquith.

The petitioners ask that the government immediately stop closing rural post offices as it had promised citizens years ago.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Carol Skelton Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, my second petition is also from my constituents.

The petitioners call on Parliament to withdraw Bill C-17 and any legislation designed to decriminalize the possession and use of marijuana, that the government provide increased funding to the RCMP and Canadian police forces to ensure the elimination of marijuana grow operations, and that the government impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in a federal penitentiary without parole eligibility for conviction of grow operation owners, and finance this initiative by redirecting the funding of the ineffective $2 billion long gun registry into a program to eliminate grow ops in Canada.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to rise in the House today and present a petition on behalf of my constituents from Hanna, Rumsey, Coronation, Gregg Mount, Delia. The petitioners call upon Parliament to refrain from ending the community access program, commonly know as CAP.

The petitioners believe that the absence of CAP would result in a step backward in the ongoing goal to improve the quality of life for Canadians. In my rural constituency this program is one that does help develop and improve the quality of life for rural Albertans.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have with me six petitions, not just from my riding of Cambridge North Dumfries but also from the surrounding ridings of Guelph and Kitchener—Waterloo. These petitioners call upon Parliament to respect and uphold the current definition of marriage which is the union of one man and one woman.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition on behalf of the members of 17 churches, primarily the Netherlands Reformed Church. They are from across Canada including a number of churches in my riding. The petitioners call upon Parliament to restore capital punishment.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

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

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

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. parliamentary secretary I think has some incisive comments he wants to make on a point of order.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, you will see as I briefly go through these comments exactly how incisive they are.

I would like to draw to your attention the two reasons why the government believes that Bill C-280 requires a royal recommendation.

My committee colleagues are currently engaged in discussing the advantages of the bill. My objective is simply to clarify the procedural and constitutional issues relating to royal recommendation.

First of all, this bill would create a new employment insurance fund and set out the amounts to be paid into it. Section 71 and subsection 72(a) of the Employment Insurance Act stipulate that the moneys paid into the EI account are part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

All of the money currently allocated to EI is virtual. When contributions are made, they become part of general revenue, and the same amount is credited to the EI account.

No amount is actually transferred to an EI account, however, which is why this is a “virtual fund”. When there is an EI expenditure, particularly for a pilot project, it is covered by general revenue and debited from the EI fund.

There is no transfer from the EI account, because there is no money in it. The actual funds are integrated with general revenue. Over time, the EI fund eventually reports some figure which represents the current balance of transactions—annual surplus or, as used to be the case, annual deficit—but this is also a virtual amount.

Section 72 would make it possible for moneys allocated to the Consolidated Revenue Fund under EI to be paid to legal entities other than Her Majesty. I would invite you, Mr. Speaker, to consult section 23 of the Human Resources Development Act.

This represents a potentially significant change in how these amounts are managed and disbursed. Subsection 72(2) requires the amounts in the account to be deposited with a financial institution. Subsection 72(3) provides that the commission is to manage the amounts paid into this account “in the best interests of contributors and beneficiaries” as opposed to the more general public interest. Subsection 72(3) would also require the commission to deposit the amounts with private financial institutions. Section 73 would allow these amounts to be used by Her Majesty subject to a decision of the commission to extend a loan and would be subject to the payment of interest as rates established by the commission. Currently, the commission has no role in such use and the Minister of Finance decides what, if any, interest is to be paid per section 76 of the Employment Insurance Act.

Section 54 of the Constitution Act, 1867, provides:

It shall not be lawful for the House of Commons to adopt or pass any Vote, Resolution, Address, or Bill for the Appropriation of any Part of the Public Revenue, or of any Tax or Impost, to any Purpose that has not been first recommended to that House by Message of the Governor General in the Session in which such Vote, Resolution, Address, or Bill is proposed.

Section 2 of the Financial Administration Act defines the word “appropriation” as meaning “any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund”.

Erskine May, at page 765 in the 22nd edition, specifies that “the following are categories of expenditure provision...which require authorization by Money resolution...” It then provides a list of items which includes at number five: “The authorization of a single payment out of the Consolidated Fund”.

The objective of Bill C-280 is clearly to ensure that the EI account is kept separate from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. The payment to the new account represents “a new and distinct charge” on the public revenue that is not currently provided for under existing legislation. Clearly, the appropriation of a sum of this magnitude, which some members have estimated to be as high as $46 billion, must require a royal recommendation.

The second reason the government believes this bill should be accompanied by a royal recommendation is that the purpose of the original appropriations would be changed by this bill. The Acting Speaker indicated on May 9, 2005, that changing the purposes for which moneys are appropriated requires a royal recommendation:

In this particular case, Bill C-312 contains some provisions which caused the Chair to pause and consider its impact on the financial initiative of the Crown. As most members know, bills which involve new or additional spending for a distinct purpose must be recommended by the Crown. The royal recommendation is also required where a bill alters the appropriation of public revenue “under the circumstances, in the manner and for the purposes set out” in the bill. What this means is that a royal recommendation is required not only in the case where more money is being appropriated, but also in the case where the authorization to spend for a specific purpose is being significantly altered.

Amendments concerning the Canada Employment Insurance Commission's structure and responsibilities would change the purpose for which money allocated to run the commission would be used. The commission would be assigned new responsibilities for independently managing and investing as much as potentially $46 billion in funds but at least $15 billion, as well as providing independent recommendations for policy and legislative changes to the employment insurance program.

In addition, the purpose of the funds collected and granted under the existing Employment Insurance Act would be altered, since that act clearly did not provide for the investment of these assets as required by subsection 72(3)(b). These are clearly new purposes both for the money granted for the administration and operation of the commission and for the treatment of premiums currently collected under the employment insurance system.

For these reasons, Mr. Speaker, I conclude that this bill requires a royal recommendation and I hope that you will consider these most incisive points very carefully.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of things to say on this issue. This is a fairly comprehensive statement that the member has just made dealing with a very important and, I suggest, contentious topic. I question why such an item as this would be raised as a point of order.

It is not just a matter of moving one thing from here to somewhere else. We are talking about huge sums of money. We are talking in excess of $40 billion. We know how much bureaucracy it takes for the government to move that kind of money. This is an extremely comprehensive piece of work and I am concerned about the mechanism of dealing with such a topic on a point of order.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I do not pretend to understand all the ramifications of the point of order. I do understand that the hon. parliamentary secretary is suggesting that a royal recommendation is required before the bill can proceed. That, it seems to me, is a point of order. Whether there is another way of doing this without requiring a royal recommendation is another argument I suppose that could be advanced, or whether this does require it.

If there are no other submissions on the question of whether a royal recommendation is in fact required, I will be glad to take the hon. parliamentary secretary's comments under advisement and return to the House in due course with a ruling on this important matter.

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

June 6th, 2005 / 3:50 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

moved that Bill C-52, an act to amend the Fisheries Act (terms and conditions of permissions, leases and licences), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Scarborough--Rouge River.

I appreciate the opportunity to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-52, a bill to amend the Fisheries Act. The amendment that the bill contains clarifies that it is a requirement of the act to comply with fishing licence terms and conditions. In particular, the amendment is designed to address a very specific issue which has been raised by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.

I wish to thank the committee for its diligence. I really value its work, and I appreciate its continued interest in the Fisheries Act.

On March 15--

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I hesitate to interrupt the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, but I was asleep at the switch, as they say. The hon. minister indicated that he wished to split his time. Since this is the first speech and several of these speeches require this, is there unanimous consent of the House for the hon. minister to split his time in this debate at this point?

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry to have interrupted the minister, but if he was going to do that we had to get consent. I forgot it myself and I was reminded.

The hon. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has the floor.

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I must admit to having forgotten that provision as well.

On March 15 of this year I received from the standing joint committee a notice of disallowance for a subsection of the Ontario fishery regulations under the Fisheries Act. The report on its concerns has now been tabled.

The committee feels that greater clarity and certainty are needed on matters of legislative authority with respect to a subsection in these regulations that requires compliance with commercial fishing licence terms and conditions.

The Government of Canada has continuously maintained that this provision of the regulations is legally sound and within the authority of the Fisheries Act. It provides an effective means to conserve and manage Ontario's fisheries.

However we do agree that greater certainty and clarity will be provided with the amendment I am proposing today. This amendment would add a new section to the Fisheries Act, a section dealing with compliance with terms and conditions of fishing licences.

We believe the amendment provides the measure of certainty and clarity needed while addressing the committees legal concerns.

I should also point out that passage of the amendment into law will not change the existing practices on the ground. It basically moves a provision currently in regulation into the act itself.

Clearly, this issue has a number of implications for Ontario's fisheries. The success of Canada's fisheries, including those in Ontario, depends on conservation. Revoking the subsection of the Ontario fishery regulations requiring compliance with licence terms and conditions would create a legal gap in the enforcement regime that is key to the province's ability to conserve the fishery and manage it in a sustainable way.

The Province of Ontario depends on these regulations. Conservation and the orderly management of fisheries are vital components of maintaining a strong, viable fishing industry, an industry that contributes anywhere from $250 million to $500 million to the economies of both Ontario and Canada.

This is why Bill C-52 is so important. This bill provides the particulars and the certainty that the committee is asking for. Moreover, it will allow the province of Ontario to keep the tools that it needs to maintain orderly commercial fisheries in a sustainable way.

I should point out that this is an interim measure while we work toward broader Fisheries Act reform. I have indicated on many occasions that I am serious about updating the act. This 137 year old piece of legislation needs to be modernized.

Canada's fisheries have changed and evolved over the years, in some cases far beyond the current tools and practices we have in place to manage them. Our legislation should change accordingly.

On May 17, I met with the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans and outlined our approach. I told its members that my department was developing a comprehensive legislative renewal package for the Fisheries Act to bring it into line with the realities of this industry in the 21st century.

As the government prepares to bring forward broad reform to the act, I have asked the standing committee to provide me with its advice. In particular, I have indicated that input in the following four areas would be very helpful: allocation, co-management, compliance and sanctions. Sanctions, of course, are points of great interest to the standing joint committee as well.

I look forward to working with Parliament, with men and women who are involved in the fishing industry across the country and with other levels of government to give Canadians the modern effective Fisheries Act they need.

In the meantime, the amendment I am tabling today will address the standing joint committee's legal concerns and ensure that the Province of Ontario has the certainty it needs as it manages and conserves its fisheries on behalf of its citizens.

That is why I am asking all members of the House to join me in supporting this important bill addressing the concerns of the Standing Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations.

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

John Cummins Conservative Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the premise of the minister's remarks is simply incorrect. The minister suggests that the fishery would be impossible to manage if Bill C-52 were not passed.

That is simply incorrect. If the minister would look at the last couple of pages of the report of the scrutiny of regulations committee, he would find that the committee makes it quite clear that in fact it is possible to manage the fishery without the benefit Bill C-52.

In fact, until the government, the ministry and the department started using this notion of attaching conditions to a licence about 10 years ago, the fishery was quite well managed. Let me rephrase that somewhat. The ability to manage the fishery was certainly there. Whether it was well managed or not is another question when one considers the problem with the North Atlantic cod, not to mention the problems on the Fraser River over the last year.

Why would the minister suggest that it is impossible to manage the fishery when the scrutiny of regulations committee, which is the expert on regulations that are proposed by this House, makes it quite clear that it is possible to manage the fishery?

Second, why does the minister think it is appropriate that fisheries managers, the same bureaucrats who brought us the disaster on the Fraser River this past summer, be given unfettered licence to put in place conditions of licence to manage the fishery without the scrutiny of Parliament? If the minister does think that is appropriate, then he is the only person I know who would support that notion.