The Chair is now prepared to rule on the point of order raised by the hon. government House leader on June 16, 2006 in relation to the procedural issues relating to Bill C-288, the Kyoto protocol implementation act, standing in the name of the hon. member for Honoré-Mercier.
I want to begin by thanking the hon. government House leader for having raised this matter and by thanking the hon. members for Mississauga South, Honoré-Mercier and Winnipeg Centre for having made contributions on this matter.
In his submission, the government House leader argued that this bill commits the government to significant expenditures and therefore requires a royal recommendation. In support of this fact, he referred to the spending which was included in the supplementary estimates for the 2005-06 fiscal year by the previous government. Parliament was dissolved in November 2005 before the appropriation act emanating from those estimates could be voted on, and subsequently the moneys were authorized through Governor General special warrants. The House leader therefore concludes that it is evident that this bill entails considerable spending and so requires a royal recommendation.
In a ruling earlier this week on a similar matter, namely, C-292, An Act to implement the Kelowna Accord, the Chair made a distinction between a bill asking the House to approve certain objectives and a bill asking the House to approve the measures to achieve certain objectives. So too in the case before us, the adoption of a bill calling on the government to implement the Kyoto protocol might place an obligation on the government to take measures necessary to meet the goals set out in the protocol but the Chair cannot speculate on what those measures may be. If spending is required, as the government House leader contends, then a specific request for public monies would need to be brought forward by means of an appropriation bill, as was the case in 2005, or through another legislative initiative containing an authorization for the spending of public money for a specific purpose.
As it stands, Bill C-288 does not contain provisions which specifically authorize any spending for a distinct purpose relating to the Kyoto protocol. Rather, the bill seeks the approval of Parliament for the government to implement the protocol. If such approval is given, then the government would decide on the measures it wished to take. This might involve an appropriation bill or another bill proposing specific spending, either of which would require a royal recommendation.
As Bill C-288 stands, however, the Chair must conclude that the bill does not require a royal recommendation and may proceed.