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House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

7:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the recorded division stands deferred until Wednesday, November 8, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wonder by what authority do you go back on a decision already made by the house?

In accordance with the Standing Orders, the House made a decision. Now you have cast doubt on this decision.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

Is the hon. member for Pickering—Scarborough East rising on the same point of order?

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Yes, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the need to, as it were, return to the issue at hand and to recall the position that you had taken. I say so respectfully, but you clearly enunciated that the bill would in fact proceed on division. Whether or not people said yes or no, it remains that the Speaker did not hear the nos. In fact, the Speaker ruled that he had heard only yes and accepted this on division.

To have then had another vote on this, Mr. Speaker, to reverse your position, is in my view, I humbly submit, an error as far as the regulations and the longstanding procedures of this House. I would therefore recommend, Mr. Speaker, that the original decision stand and that we proceed to your original decision without it being reversed. I understand that members of Parliament may have decided afterward that they wanted to speak a little louder or whatever the case may be, but this is why members of Parliament should be in the House at the time, to make those declarations.

Clearly, this went on division and should be now referred, in accordance with your initial decision, to the Standing Committee on Finance.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

I can only recognize members who are sitting at their seats. I have already recognized the hon. member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park Park. I will now recognize the hon. member for Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am not an expert in procedure but I clearly said no. The member, whose riding I am not sure about, was clearly heckling me for saying no, so he definitely heard me say no. I am sorry if you did not hear it, but I clearly said no loud enough for people to hear me on both sides of the House.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

I have heard the representations of all members. I want to apologize to the House for not hearing properly. This chair occupant has worked in good faith. And in good faith, I called the question in a manner so as to make very sure of the intentions of the House. I was not sure the first time.

I seek the forgiveness of the House if some members believe that I should have heard properly the first time. I will be more attentive on another occasion. I would like now to move to the next item and leave this chair to proceed into committee of the whole.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

7:30 p.m.

An hon. member

Oh, oh!

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

Is this about the same point of order or another?

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

7:30 p.m.

An hon. member

The same point of order.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

Unfortunately, I have already rendered my decision. I did not see you at the time.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

7:30 p.m.

An hon. member

I am here, Mr. Chair.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

I know you are there, but I have already rendered my decision. I ask for your indulgence. Thank you.

Pursuant to Standing Order 81(4), the House will now resolve itself into committee of the whole to study all votes under Human Resources and Skills Development in the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007.

I do now leave the chair for the House to go into committee of the whole.

(House in committee of the whole for consideration of all Votes under Human Resources and Skills Development in the Main Estimates, Mr. Royal Galipeau in the chair)

Human Resources and Skills Development—Main Estimates 2006-07Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Chair Conservative Royal Galipeau

I would like to open this committee of the whole session by making a short statement on this evening's proceedings. Tonight's debate is being held under Standing Order 81(4)(a) which provides for each of two sets of estimates selected by the Leader of the Opposition to be considered in committee of the whole for up to four hours. The debate is also held under the motion adopted by unanimous consent earlier today.

Tonight's debate is a general one on all of the votes under Human Resources and Skills Development. Each member will be allocated 15 minutes. The first round will begin with the official opposition, followed by the government, the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party. After that, we will follow the usual proportional rotation.

As provided in the motion adopted earlier today, parties may use each 15 minute slot for speeches or for questions and answers by one or more of their members. In the case of speeches, members of the party to which the period is allotted may speak one after the other. The Chair would appreciate it if the first member speaking in each slot would indicate how the time will be used, particularly if it is to be shared.

When the time is to be used for questions and answers, the Chair will expect that the minister's response will reflect approximately the time taken by the question, since this time will be counted in the time originally allotted to the party.

Though members may speak more than once, the Chair will generally try to ensure that all members wishing to speak are heard before inviting members to speak again, while respecting the proportional party rotations for speakers.

Members need not be in their own seats to be recognized. I would remind hon. members that, according to today's motion, during this evening's debate, no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be entertained.

As your Chair, I will be guided by the rules of the committee of the whole and by the motion adopted earlier today. However, in the interests of a full exchange, I am prepared to exercise discretion and flexibility in the application of these rules.

It is very important that the traditions of the House in relation to decorum be respected and that members make their remarks and pose their questions in a judicious fashion. The Chair will expect all hon. members to focus on the subject matter of the debate, the main estimates of the Department of Human Resources and Social Development.

I also wish to indicate that in the committee of the whole ministers and members should be referred to by their title or riding name, and of course all remarks should be addressed through the Chair.

I ask for everyone's cooperation in upholding all established standards of decorum, parliamentary language and behaviour.

At the conclusion of tonight's debate, the committee will rise, the estimates under Human Resources and Skills Development will be deemed reported and the House will adjourn immediately until tomorrow.

We may now begin tonight's session. The House in committee of the whole, pursuant to Standing Order 81(4)(a), the first appointed day, consideration in committee of the whole of all votes under Human Resources and Skills Development in the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007.

The hon. member for Halifax West.

Human Resources and Skills Development—Main Estimates 2006-07Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

7:35 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Chair, I thank everyone, including the ministers, for gathering here this evening.

All the cuts the government has announced reflect choice, not necessity. The government inherited a remarkably strong financial situation.

Mr. Chair, I will be splitting my time with my hon. colleague from Oakville, and until further notice, unless we advise otherwise, the members will all be asking questions this evening, thus using their time to ask questions.

The government chose to cut literacy programs, child care, student employment, seniors, volunteers and homeless people, among others. Does the size of the cuts reflect the weakness of the minister or does she simply put no value on protecting the vulnerable in society?

Human Resources and Skills Development—Main Estimates 2006-07Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

7:35 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Chair, I should correct the record. Our new government is trying to effect responsible spending for Canadians. That is what they asked us to do. The hon. member across has made some inaccurate statements already this evening, which I would like to set straight for the record. We have continued with our investment in the homeless. In fact, we have increased it by $37 million because we recognize the importance of this program.

As well, we have maintained our programs for seniors such as new horizons for seniors. My colleagues, particularly the Minister of Finance, have enhanced benefits for the financial security of seniors. Just yesterday he announced two new programs for seniors that will significantly help them. One is the option for pension splitting going forward, and also an increase in the age credit of $1,000. That is a significant step forward in helping the financial security of some of the most vulnerable in our society.

Human Resources and Skills Development—Main Estimates 2006-07Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

7:35 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Chair, first, the hon. minister should know that she said yesterday in committee that she was unable to tell us where the cuts were. Also, we had the point in relation to homeless people yesterday in committee. She would not tell us if one of the most important programs for the homeless, which is the SCPI program, the strategic communities partnership initiative, would continue beyond March 31, 2007.

I will give her the opportunity again. Will that program go on beyond March 31, 2007?

Human Resources and Skills Development—Main Estimates 2006-07Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

7:35 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Chair, we have continued with the SCPI program, which is part of the national homeless initiative, because we believe it is important that we try to help the homeless.

That program has been in existence for almost ten years. We think it is only fair to Canadians and to the homeless that we examine it to ensure that it is providing the best value possible. While we are providing the service, we are examining how effective it is.

We are also taking the opportunity to look for alternatives. We will be continuing with the program for the homeless. It may be SCPI. It may be something even better, and I do not understand why the hon. members opposite would not want us to try to find even better ways.

Human Resources and Skills Development—Main Estimates 2006-07Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

7:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Chair, yesterday in the House the minister claimed the cuts were $100 million. They are actually $152.8 million. Does the minister even know how much was cut from her department?

Human Resources and Skills Development—Main Estimates 2006-07Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

7:40 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Chair, the grand total, I believe, was $152 million. That includes approximately $45 million from Canada Mortgage and Housing. Those were not cuts to Canada Mortgage and Housing programs, however, but savings that we will be realizing through lower than anticipated interest rates and inflation.

Human Resources and Skills Development—Main Estimates 2006-07Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

7:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Chair, have any of her Conservative colleagues complained to her about these cuts, and can she name them?

Human Resources and Skills Development—Main Estimates 2006-07Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

7:40 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Chair, I rise on a point of order. My understanding of the procedures tonight is the hon. members opposite would be able to ask questions about the spending estimates of the minister's budget, not whether individual members of the government are questioning about particular cuts. I do not see the relevance that question has to the estimates of the department, and I would ask for a ruling in that regard.

Human Resources and Skills Development—Main Estimates 2006-07Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

7:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Chair Conservative Royal Galipeau

The hon. the Parliamentary Secretary to the government House leader is raising really a point of debate rather than a point of order. I would like us to continue with the debate.

The hon. member for Halifax West.