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House of Commons Hansard #79 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cmhc.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I consider that basically a silly question.

AfghanistanOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

AfghanistanOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The Minister of National Defence has the floor.

AfghanistanOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is the equivalent of me asking the NDP if the election of Daniel Ortega will have changed its policies.

AfghanistanOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I can tell him that Donald Rumsfeld does not think it is very silly or funny.

Senior Republicans blamed their resounding defeat yesterday on retribution for the Bush administration's unwillingness to listen to them when it came to Iraq. The mission we have in southern Afghanistan is unbalanced. There are no improvements to electricity, to water. Afghan people are starving in Afghanistan. At the same time the government spends $150,000 on one Excalibur shell, one shell.

I want the minister to commit today, will he stop the--

AfghanistanOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of National Defence.

AfghanistanOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I did not get the question; however, this government is committed in Afghanistan until the end of February 2009. We will carry on with the mission. We are going to work as hard as we can to improve the lives of Afghans and to provide as much security as we can to Kandahar.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

November 8th, 2006 / 3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has admitted that there is a backlog of 800,000 immigrants waiting to come to Canada, but he has no plan to reduce this backlog, to shorten processing times, or to increase sponsorship of families.

Too many families are separated by the current system. Many parents of new Canadians are being refused visitors' visas to attend weddings and funerals.

When will the minister act?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the member has his facts wrong. Actually we inherited a backlog of 800,000 from the Liberal Party, and one of the things we have to do to ensure it does not get worse is to never re-elect the LIberals.

I point out to the member that just the other day we introduced a planning range, which is the highest planning range in 15 years in terms of bringing newcomers to this country.

I would like to ask the hon. member and his caucus why they voted against the $307 million in settlement funding for newcomers that will help them realize the Canadian dream.

JusticeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Conservative Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, the Journal de Québec reports that a victim of sexual assault is urging the government to adopt its bill raising the age of consent from 14 to 16 years old. The Journal de Québec also indicates that a majority of Quebeckers and Canadians are in agreement.

Can the government provide Canadians and Quebeckers with the details of this bill?

JusticeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the bill will protect 14 and 15 year olds from adult sexual predators.

I quote the young victim who said, “There cannot be consent between a 14-year-old girl and a 50- or 60-year-old man. That does not make sense”.

Yet, the Bloc Québécois continues to hide its head in the sand and to oppose the bill. I would like to reassure the victim and others that the Conservative Party and the government will keep their word in order to protect young people.

JusticeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. During question period today, the Prime Minister referred to the absence of certain members during a vote recently. I refer hon. members to page 522 of Marleau and Montpetit where it states:

It is unacceptable to allude to the presence or absence of a Member or Minister in the Chamber. The Speaker has traditionally discouraged Members from signalling the absence of another Member from the House because “there are many places that Members have to be in order to carry out all of the obligations that go with their office.”

I am sure that the Prime Minister is aware of this provision in our practice and that he would not want to repeat the error or set a bad example for other hon. members in referring to the absence of members from the House because it can lead to all kinds of recriminations as members draw attention to the absence of others at various times.

All of us have obligations and I am sure the Prime Minister would not want to repeat that error.

The right hon. Prime Minister.

JusticeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will concede that sometimes in the heat of debate I forget the various paragraphs of Marleau and Montpetit, but I will endeavour to do much better in the future.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I, too, in the heat of question period as the Prime Minister said, made a comment while the Minister of the Environment was speaking, referring to a hair salon.

I wish to withdraw those words. If they were offensive and offended anybody, I wish to apologize as well.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

While we are at it, I wonder if we could also get the member for Nickel Belt to withdraw the comment that he made as well, directed toward the Minister of the Environment.

His comment was overheard by my colleagues again, saying that she should go back to the hair salon. They were similar to the comments made by the hon. member for Scarborough Centre. These are sexist comments and an insult to everyone in the chamber. I wonder if he would withdraw those comments as well.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Bonin Liberal Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member might have heard someone from this area, but I can assure you on my honour that I did not say that.

Criminal CodePoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, during question period, the member for Louis-Hébert asked the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities a question about Bill C-22, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (age of protection) and to make consequential amendments to the Criminal Records Act. The minister misled this House by stating that the Bloc Québécois was opposed to BIll C-22, when the Bloc Québécois has spoken in favour of the bill and will be voting for it.

I demand an apology from the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

Criminal CodePoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am sure that the hon. Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities appreciates the correction by the hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean. It is not really a point of order, but a point of debate. Now it is quite clear to everyone.

The hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence is also rising on a point of order arising from question period.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, during question period in a response to a question, the President of the Treasury Board wanted to take note of an example that he thought we should all follow when he was talking about the accountability act.

He made reference to the member for Eglinton—Lawrence who had received some funds and who actually gave them back notwithstanding the fact that they were all in order.

I am wondering whether, in making such a reference, the President of the Treasury Board is admitting that he and the other 200 people who made contributions subsequent to the April 11 deadline will follow that same example, and whether he and the Prime Minister, who foisted upon the Canadian public a $1.7 million scam in the last Conservative convention, will also give all that money back by following the concept that he has recognized that I followed, or whether he is just going to be a blustering liar.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I think the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence may have a grievance, but I do not think he has raised a point of order. It sounds like another question. Perhaps he would like to pose that in question period on another occasion.

Bill C-279--DNA Identification Act--Speaker's RulingPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am ready now to rule on the point of order raised by the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the government House Leader and Minister for Democratic Reform concerning the requirement for a royal recommendation on Bill C-279, An Act to amend the DNA Identification Act (establishment of indexes) standing in the name of the member for Burlington.

I would like to thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for having raised this issue.

In his intervention, the hon. parliamentary secretary pointed out that clause 2 amends the purpose clause of the DNA Identification Act to include the identifying of missing persons as one of the purposes for maintaining the data bank. He noted that in fulfilment of this purpose, clause 4 creates two new indexes in the data bank, one related to unidentified human remains and one related to missing persons.

In concluding his remarks, he stated that the addition of this new purpose to the act would require significant new expenditures by the government.

I have reviewed Bill C-279 in light of the parliamentary secretary's point of order and I am in agreement with his analysis of the financial impact of the bill. As I have reminded the House on a number of occasions in the current session, funds may only be appropriated by Parliament for purposes covered by a royal recommendation, as explicitly stated in Standing Order 79(1). Amending legislation that proposes a distinctly new purpose must be accompanied by a further royal recommendation.

I will decline to put the question on third reading of this bill in its present form unless a royal recommendation is received.

The debate is currently on the motion for second reading and this motion shall be put to a vote at the close of the second reading debate.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Act—Speaker's RulingPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised on October 3, 2006, by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform concerning the need for a royal recommendation for Bill C-285, An Act to amend the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Act (profits distributed to provinces), standing in the name of the hon. member for Québec.

I would like to thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for having raised this important matter as well as the hon. member for Québec for her comments.

In his presentation, the hon. parliamentary secretary noted that Bill C-285 seeks to require the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to distribute any surplus from its reserve fund to the provinces.

He pointed out that the bill is similar in this regard to Bill C-363, introduced during the 1st Session of the 38th Parliament and acknowledged that, in a ruling given on October 3, 2005, at pages 8293-4 of the Debates, the Deputy Speaker had ruled that Bill C-363 did not require a royal recommendation.

The Parliamentary Secretary went on to make two points which he felt were relevant to the determination of whether or not Bill C-285 requires a royal recommendation. First, quoting from section 2 of the Financial Administration Act, he asserted that all of the revenues received by CMHC fall within the definition of “public money”.

He then went on to argue that, and I quote from Debates of October 3, 2006, at page 3589:

“—the accounts of CMHC are consolidated with the government’s revenue and available for future appropriations determined by Parliament. By transferring this money to the provinces, Bill C-285 is effectively an appropriation.

I have examined this matter with care because I recognize its importance both to the government and to all hon. members. I would also like to remind the House that my role here is restricted to ensuring that our rules are respected. It is not within the responsibilities of the Chair to deal with matters of legal interpretation.

The Chair continues to have difficulty with the assertion that the proposed amendment constitutes an appropriation. As I noted in my ruling of October 3, 2005, on Bill C-363, at page 8293 of the Debates:

--the reserve fund is an operational account that CMHC uses to conduct its corporate business. Until amounts from the reserve fund are actually transferred to the Consolidated Revenue Fund each year, they are not available to the Crown for general appropriations.

As I stated in my earlier ruling and as it is defined in section 2 of the Financial Administration Act, an appropriation is the approval by Parliament for a withdrawal of funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF). Funds which have not been deposited in the CRF cannot be subject to appropriation.

Until such time as funds are paid over to the Receiver General, pursuant to section 29 (2) of the CMHC Act, they are not in the CRF and they cannot be appropriated. A bill which alters the Act to require that reserve funds not be paid to the Receiver General but be used for another purpose does not touch the CRF and does not require a royal recommendation.

As such, Bill C-285 does not seek to appropriate public funds and would not require a royal recommendation.

I would once again like to thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for having raised this matter. As I said earlier, it is a matter of some interest to all hon. members and one on which it is best to have as clear an understanding as possible.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

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

Canadian International Development AgencyRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) it is my pleasure to table, in both official languages, the 2004 report on Canada's Participation in Regional Development Banks.

Interparliamentary delegationsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Section of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, respecting its parliamentary mission to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, from September 5 to 8, 2006.

Pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Section of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, respecting its participation at the Eleventh Meeting of the Heads of State and Government of Countries using French as a Common Language, held in Bucharest, Romania, on September 28 and 29, 2006.