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 #128 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, yesterday that hon. member said on the floor of the House of Commons that in fact the information that was voluntarily provided by Public Works to the RCMP in full cooperation with the ongoing investigations of the RCMP was in fact withheld from the Gomery inquiry.

He was wrong. In fact, that information had been provided to the Gomery inquiry on at least two occasions previously. In fact, over 28 million pages of documents have been provided by the Government of Canada to the Gomery commission.

That hon. member should rise and apologize to the House.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Conservative Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, is that not interesting? The minister will not deny that he claimed yesterday that an invoice was seized when in fact, by all appearances, over 100 boxes of evidence were taken from the offices of his department.

We are not going to accept the transparent diversions of the minister. We would like a straight answer. Were over 100 boxes of information seized by the RCMP from his department and were those boxes of information relevant to the sponsorship inquiry, yes or no?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that there are several ongoing RCMP investigations and Public Works has cooperated fully with the RCMP.

Beyond that—

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Now we have to have pity on the member for Calgary Southeast. He asked this question but how can he possibly hear the answer? I cannot and I am sure he cannot.

The Minister of Public Works and Government Services has the floor and we will have some order so we can hear the answer that the minister is giving to the question.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that Public Works is cooperating fully with any RCMP investigation. That is the right thing to do. Beyond that, Public Works is cooperating fully with the Gomery commission by providing over 28 million pages of documents to the Gomery commission.

We are interested in getting to the truth. We are interested in supporting the work of Justice Gomery and working with the RCMP to do the right thing on behalf of Canadians.

All they are doing over there is in fact bringing disrepute on the work of Justice Gomery and disrepute on the important work of the RCMP.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, today thousands of volunteers from across the country have participated in the CanWest Raise-a-Reader campaign to raise money for literacy. The most recent report from OECD shows that 42% of working age Canadians perform well below the required level of literacy for a knowledge based economy.

Could the Minister of State for Human Resources Development please tell the House what the government is doing on its part to address this very important issue?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Questions

3 p.m.

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Claudette Bradshaw LiberalMinister of State (Human Resources Development)

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to recognize the volunteers, organizations and businesses involved in this important campaign.

The government has committed to developing a comprehensive strategy on contributions. Over the summer, I met with stakeholders across the country to get feedback from communities and know what their priorities are in terms of a comprehensive strategy.

I want to assure the House and Canadians that I will be working very closely with the provinces, territories and communities on this important issue. The provinces and territories have made literacy their priority and so will this government.

Transport CanadaOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday another CN freight train derailed, this on top of four serious derailments in August.

An investigation into a fatal derailment in 2003 states:

Although TC had developed a program...that called for...inspections and audits...the program was not consistently carried out....

The review concluded:

Because there was no Transport Canada...audit of work procedures, there was no opportunity to identify...[problems].

Transport Canada dropped the ball and two people died.

Investigating CN is not enough. When will the minister start doing his job at protecting Canadians?

Transport CanadaOral Questions

3 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

Not only has a full investigation into CN practices been ordered, which was carried out over the past month and the results of which I have received a few days ago, but inspectors in my department have met with CN officials and challenged them to immediately correct any flaws, otherwise they would face much more serious action on our part.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

September 29th, 2005 / 3 p.m.

Independent

Carolyn Parrish Independent Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, immigration to Canada can take up to 60 months. French speaking candidates can and are processed through overseas Quebec offices in five short weeks. Quebec receives $3,785 per immigrant, a formula that does not take secondary migration into consideration. Immigrants land in Montreal and within days, sometimes hours, they move on to Ontario and other provinces with no attached settlement fees. They stay in Quebec.

When will the minister take the necessary steps to ensure every province and every immigrant are treated fairly, particularly before we open the floodgates to 300,000 new Canadians next year?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I take great pleasure in recognizing the member's interest in immigration and its powerful dynamics with respect to the growth of the country. In fact, many people say that immigration is wealth and we should have more of it. The fact that we spend a substantial amount of money on settlement and integration programs speaks to the way that we keep people in the country and make them into solid Canadians who build the country of the future.

I am happy to say that both the Premier of Ontario and the Prime Minister have been engaged in discussions on settlement and integration issues, discussions that will go on with other provinces.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Doug Horner, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development for Alberta.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I believe the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons is rising on a question of privilege.

PrivilegeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

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

With your indulgence, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a few points with respect to the question of privilege that was raised yesterday by the member for Delta—Richmond East respecting Question No. 151. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to put a few points forward prior to your making a decision.

Yesterday the member for Delta—Richmond East suggested that the government had attempted to deny answers to a member of the House of Commons. The member cited a Speaker's ruling on December 16, 1980, which stated that:

While it is correct to say that the government is not required by our rules to answer written or oral questions, it would be bold to suggest that no circumstances could ever exist for a prima facie question of privilege to be made where there was a deliberate attempt to deny answers to an hon. member—

The complete quotation from that Speaker's ruling in 1980 added:

—if it could be shown that such action amounted to improper interference with the hon. member's parliamentary work.

That part of the Speaker's ruling, which the member conveniently left out, is absolutely germane. I can demonstrate that there was in this case no intention whatsoever to interfere with the member's parliamentary work.

The Minister of Labour and Housing wrote to the member for Delta—Richmond East earlier this year and indicated that the material which the member was seeking was part of an action before the British Columbia Supreme Court and, as such, goes to issues before that court. The letter provided background information on the matter of interest to the member. However, given that the matter was at that time before the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the minister explained that it would not be appropriate for him to comment on the particular case.

The government has also declined to provide the material requested by the member because this, itself, would interfere with the court's proceedings.

It is clear that this was not an attempt to interfere with the member's parliamentary work but was done in order to protect the integrity and the work of the B.C. Supreme Court.

The member's suggestion that there is a question of privilege has to be taken in the context of all the circumstances of this case. In fact, if the government had provided the material requested, this would have been an abuse of the obligation of the government and Parliament to protect proceedings before the courts. We in this House have a tradition that Parliament does not assert its privileges at the expense of ongoing judicial proceedings and that is a position which I believe we should continue.

In conclusion, there was no deliberate attempt in this case to interfere with the member's parliamentary work. Rather, the government's approach was guided by the longstanding principle of the respect for the integrity of the courts.

If the House agrees, I would be prepared to table, in both official languages because I think it is important that the House see that, copies of the minister's letter to the hon. member in this case.

PrivilegeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. the parliamentary secretary have the consent of the House to table the letter in question?

PrivilegeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I hesitate to allow that to happen until I have had the opportunity to find out what the net effect of this is on my colleague, who is not in the chamber at this particular time. If the letter indeed was a correspondence between the minister and himself, then the member for Delta—Richmond East should have the opportunity to at least give his approval of that before it is released. I would think that would be the appropriate thing.

PrivilegeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table this document at this time.

PrivilegeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

That settles that.

This being Thursday, I believe the hon. opposition House leader has a question he would like to ask. I apologize for forgetting this at the end of question period.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was waiting patiently for you to get to that and I thank you for belatedly recognizing it.

I see that the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons is here and also waiting patiently to reveal to us what exactly he intends for the business of the House. Specifically, perhaps the government House leader could enlighten us, as he reveals what he intends for the government's legislative agenda over the next week or so, as to whether he ever intends to give the opposition their supply days before November perhaps.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would like to lay out the business for the next week.

We will continue this afternoon with Bill C-55, which is the wage earner protection program. Then we will proceed to the second reading of Bill C-57, the financial institutions bill, followed by second reading of Bill C-54, which is the first nations oil and gas and moneys management act.

Tomorrow we will consider report stage and, if possible, third reading of Bill C-25 respecting Radarsat. I understand as well that there are some ongoing discussions about the disposal of Bill C-63, amending the Canada Elections Act. We would also like to deal with Bill S-38 respecting the spirits trade and Bill S-31 respecting autoroute 30.

On Monday we propose to commence report stage of Bill C-11, which is the whistleblower bill. We would like to give this bill priority all week in the hope of completing all of the remaining stages.

We would then return to any business left over from this week and, if there is time, begin consideration of Bill C-44, the transport bill; Bill C-28, the food and drug legislation; Bill S-37, respecting the Hague convention; Bill S-36, the diamonds bill; and Bill C-52, the fisheries bill.

With respect to the business of supply during the present period, Mr. Speaker, I will reconfirm that you confirmed to the House that there will be seven allotted days during this period. In response directly to the opposition House leader's question, as per our discussion at the House leader's meeting this past Tuesday, we understood we would schedule the supply days after the Thanksgiving break.

In any event, it will be a topic that I look forward to discussing with House leaders at our meeting this coming Tuesday, so that we can in fact schedule all the required opposition days.

Point of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, given the item on today's Order Paper for private members' business, I ask to raise an objection concerning the amendment proposed to this item by the member for Joliette. We believe this amendment is out of order.

Motion No. 164 reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should establish, in compliance with international agreements, a policy of assistance to the textile and clothing industries in order to enable the industries to compete throughout the world, particularly by broadening the TPC program to include these two sectors.

At the conclusion of the first hour of debate, the member for Joliette proposed the following motion, and I quote:

That Motion M-164 be amended by inserting the following after the words “in particular”:

by maintaining the tariffs on imported clothing and the types of textiles produced in Canada;

by establishing, as required, quotas on Chinese imports under the protocol on China's accession to the WTO;

as well as ten other proposed requirements.

This amendment was proposed at the end of the first hour of debate and this is the first opportunity to seek your ruling on whether this amendment is in order.

According to the authorities, it is clearly not acceptable for an amendment to a substantive motion to expand the scope of the motion to deal with a new question or proposition.

Erskine May states at page 343 in the 22nd edition that:

The effect of moving an amendment is to restrict the field of debate which would otherwise be open on a question.

Marleau and Montpetit states at page 453 that:

An amendment is out of order procedurally if:

it is not relevant to the main motion (i.e. it deals with a matter foreign to the main motion or exceeds the scope of the motion, or introduces a new proposition which should properly be the subject of a substantive motion with notice).

Beauchesne's at paragraph 579 states that:

(2) An amendment may not raise a new question which can only be considered as a distinct motion after proper notice. (Journals, October 16, 1970, p. 28).

Private members's motions are “substantive motions” and the precedents on substantive motions are clear.

Speaker Fraser ruled on December 17, 1987 that an amendment to an opposition day motion which puts a new proposition to the House should be put forward as an independent motion on notice.

On January 16, 1991 Speaker Fraser ruled that a subamendment to a government motion on the middle-east conflict was out of order since it went far beyond the terms of the motion by introducing “a variety of entirely new concepts.”

Speaker Fraser noted that while the concepts involved were “perhaps germane” to the issue, they were nonetheless new and therefore not in order.

On March 26, 1992, the Speaker ruled out of order an amendment to an opposition day motion on health care, since the intent of the amendment was to expand the scope of the debate.

That is also the case here. The main motion deals with the issue of assistance to textile and apparel industries.

The amendment lists a whole series of issues which are broader than assistance to the textile and apparel industries, including assistance to elderly workers, the increased transfer of training programs to Quebec, restrictions and quotas on international trade, and foreign policy such as labour standards and environmental policy.

The government has sought to be cooperative with the member on this important issue and is prepared to support the initial motion.

However, it appears that the Bloc now wants to try to widen the scope of the motion to include many new and complex issues which require much more analysis and consultation.

These matters may be considered by the House at another time, but they expand the scope of Motion No. 164, and are not in order.

Point of OrderOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's effort to render unacceptable the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Joliette. Unfortunately I cannot share his point of view. The amendment is exceptionally crystalline in its clarity.

On page 453 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice , we read:

An amendment must be relevant to the main motion.

Are the elements present relevant to the main motion? Absolutely. The main motion speaks of a plan to assist the textile industry. Each part of the amendment is a refinement of the assistance plan. This satisfies the criteria of an amendment on all points, since it is relevant to the main motion.

It must not stray from the main motion—

The proposal states that there will be an assistance plan, and each of the measures is part of that plan. This is consistent with the motion. Not only is the amendment relevant to the main motion, not only does it not stray from it, but it aims to further refine its meaning and intent. Nowhere does the text state that the amendment must further refine the meaning and intent, but in less than 50 or 10 words.

I challenge my honourable colleague to tell me which of the different parts of the amendment does not serve essentially to further refine the meaning and intent of the main motion. We are in fact talking about an assistance plan, and each part of the amendment is a refinement of what the assistance plan must be.

An amendment should take the form of a motion to:

leave out certain words in order to add other words;

insert or add other words to the main motion.

This is what the amendment does. I have trouble accepting what the deputy government House leader is saying. I do not understand his argument. The amendment is in fact relevant to the main motion, does not stray from it, further refines the meaning and intent, and utilizes the process of adding words or explanations to the main motion.

Nowhere in House of Commons Procedure and Practice is it stated that an amendment must not contain more than so many words. The only thing I can see that might be an element of my colleague's argument is the fact that the amendment is substantial. Well, it is substantial, quite simply, because it further refines the assistance plan.

The proposal satisfies on all points the definition of an amendment, however much that may displease my colleague. It is even a model amendment.

Point of OrderOral Questions

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I have listened to the arguments presented by the Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the Bloc Québécois House leader. I greatly appreciate their assistance on this matter. It was a bit tricky but I believe that there is another quote that may be significant on page 453 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice .

An amendment is out of order procedurally, if:

it is not relevant to the main motion—

That is not at issue here.

—(i.e., it deals with a matter foreign to the main motion or exceeds the scope of the motion, or introduces a new proposition which should properly be the subject of a substantive motion with notice).

What is at issue here is that the motion makes the following proposition:

That...the government should establish, in compliance with international agreements, a policy of assistance to the textile and clothing industries in order to enable the industries to compete throughout the world, particularly by—

That was one proposition. Now, we have an amendment that introduces 11 other propositions and eliminates the only proposition contained in the main motion. As a result, I have some reservations, particularly when we consider the propositions that are being made. As I mentioned, there are 11 of them, and they are much broader than and very different from the initial proposition, which was to broaden the Technology Partnerships Canada program to include these two sectors. I am concerned about that aspect.

Consequently, I am inclined to rule in favour of the argument presented by the hon. Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. In my opinion, the amendment is out of order. Perhaps another amendment will be made. However, it is my belief, to quote once again from House of Commons Procedure and Practice , it is because the amendment “introduces a new proposition which should properly be the subject of a substantive motion with notice”.