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House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its AbolitionOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its AbolitionOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The House has heard the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its AbolitionOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its AbolitionOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act—Speaker's RulingPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Last night, just before debate on private members’ business began, the hon. government House leader raised a point of order relating to Bill C-288, the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, standing in the name of the hon. member for Honoré-Mercier.

The House will recall that on Friday, February 9, 2007, debate on Bill C-288 was completed and divisions on the report stage of the bill deferred to February 14, 2007. Because of this, I felt obliged to point out to the hon. government House leader that his intervention came very late although I proceeded to listen to his argument in case he had new light to shed on the bill.

After his intervention, the hon. members for Wascana, Scarborough—Rouge River and Honoré-Mercier offered their views.

I have now carefully reviewed the comments made by the hon. government House leader and I confess that I find them somewhat troubling, for the hon. minister presents no new arguments, but instead comes perilously close to an appeal of the Chair's decisions, an appeal specifically prohibited by Standing Order 10.

Despite two rulings from the Chair to the contrary, the crux of the argument presented by the hon. government House leader is that Bill C-288 does require a royal recommendation because the course of action it puts forward would require the expenditure of government funds.

This is substantially the same argument so ably presented by the minister's predecessor on June 16, 2006. It was not persuasive then and is no more persuasive now.

With respect, I would refer the hon. government House leader to Debates for September 27, 2006, at pages 3314 and 3315 where I ruled on the original point of order raised on June 16. Since this latest intervention provided no new insights, let me simply quote from that decision. Referring back to an earlier decision on a similar case, I said:

the Chair--in the case of Bill C-292, an act to implement the Kelowna Accord--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--[Bill C-288]--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 moneys would need to be brought forward by means of an appropriation bill 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.

This first ruling on the bill seems quite clear. The House will also recall that on February 2, 2007, a point of order was raised by the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader to the effect that amendments to this bill reported by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on December 8, 2006 required a royal recommendation and some hon. members commented on his intervention. That exchange is captured at pages 6341 and 6342 of the Debates. It too concludes that the bill does not require a royal recommendation and I would commend it to the attention of all hon. members. In short, the Chair has not been presented with any precedents that would reverse the views it expressed earlier.

I can appreciate that the hon. government House leader is frustrated by the prospect of what he calls a bad law being enacted and by the constitutional difficulties that he foresees, but these are not matters within the Speaker's purview. The Chair's powers are limited to interpreting matters of parliamentary procedure, not matters of law, nor matters of public policy.

Bill C-288 seeks to ensure Canada meets its global climate change obligations under the Kyoto protocol ratified by Canada on December 17, 2002, but the bill contains no provisions authorizing spending to that end. Therefore, there is simply no procedural impediment to the bill proceeding further or to the House pronouncing itself on report stage and third reading.

Let me just say in conclusion that, as your Speaker, I take very seriously indeed the responsibility to interpret the procedures and practices of this House in specific cases, particularly where the prerogatives of the Crown may be at issue and particularly in controversial cases such as this one where parties are deeply divided as to the right course of action.

The House's new rules on private members' business bring out in full relief the Chair's role and responsibility in these matters. I believe that a careful reading of my rulings on such cases, including the two rulings already rendered on Bill C-288, reveals them to lie squarely within the traditions of this place. I thank hon. members for their attention.

Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act—Speaker's RulingPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do recall back in May 2006 when the Speaker outlined the rules with regard to making argument with regard to royal recommendations. I believe the Speaker even referred to situations where, just prior to a vote being taken at third reading, someone may rise and make argument and the final determination would not be made until the end of final debate at third reading.

I believe there could be some difficulty in future cases. As the Speaker knows, when a private member's bill has finished its committee stage, it comes to the House at report stage and third reading, a hybrid two hour period.

Mr. Speaker, you are also aware that members have the right to move a recommittal motion to committee to remedy a problem within the bill, and that can only be made at third reading. However, if we start at report stage and there are report stage motions, we may find that the entire two hour debate period is taken up at report stage. There is no opportunity for a member to remedy the bill by recommitting it to committee should a subsequent decision come that a royal recommendation is required just prior to the end of the second hour.

I raise this, Mr. Speaker, because I think the Table has also recognized that the Standing Orders may not have contemplated committee stage amendments on private member's bills or in fact report stage motions being raised and that this could be problematic down the road. The matter likely should be reviewed again by procedure and House affairs or another designated review by the Chair to ensure that these kinds of things do not get us into a difficulty that ultimately would result in a member's rights being taken away simply by the failure of the Standing Orders to take into account those unusual circumstances.

Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act—Speaker's RulingPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Mississauga South has a point but, as he knows, the Chair does not rule on speculative possibilities. We rule on events that transpire. It is difficult for me to stand here today and say that if the situation he described happened what the Chair would do. It has not happened so I will not make a ruling now. If it does happen, I will make a ruling then.

In the meantime, he is free to raise the matter with the procedure and House affairs committee. If it wishes to recommend to the House some changes to the Standing Orders in respect of the complaints the hon. member has mentioned, it is certainly free to do so. The House can act on the recommendations of the committee should it see fit to do so. The Speaker will be bound by the rules that the House enacts and will happily follow whatever directives come from the House in that respect.

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 Branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, or APF, which participated in the meeting of the Bureau of the APF, held in Châlons-en-Champagne, from January 16 to 19, 2007.

Official LanguagesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages.

Public Safety and National SecurityCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security concerning security certificate detainees and the mandate of the Correctional Investigator, all of which is respectfully submitted. I have two copies of the report.

Social Transfer PaymentsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

February 14th, 2007 / 3:20 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present some petitions today that were gathered as part of my tour to hear about poverty across this country.

As I travelled, I carried a petition to urge the government to do a review of the social transfer in the country, that vehicle used by the federal government to ensure that provinces have the money they need to provide for all kinds of programs, particularly those programs that affect very directly the everyday well-being of some of our most marginalized and at risk citizens.

The petition has been signed by 170 people from Burnaby, Penticton and Castlegar in British Columbia.

TaxationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to present a petition today that was distributed across Canada by Edna Budden and her group of volunteers.

The petition calls upon Parliament to enact legislation to include exercise gym fees as a deductible tax credit under the medical expense tax credit of the Income Tax Act.

I have over 30,000 signatures piled up here, from coast to coast and from every town and major city in Canada. We owe a great debt of gratitude to people like Edna Budden and her volunteers who want to express their opinion to the Government of Canada. It is important for those individuals to know that the government is listening.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions today.

When Canada Post discontinued rural delivery in my constituency, not only did it inconvenience homeowners, but the placement of these boxes raised security problems for both motorists and pedestrians retrieving their mail.

My petition calls upon Canada Post to revisit its decision to stop home delivery.

Age of ConsentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from a group of citizens concerned with the vulnerability of minors, especially involving sex exploitation by and vulnerability to pimps. They are requesting that the government raise the age of consent from 14 to 16.

Canadian Police and Peace Officers MemorialPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the third petition calls upon members of Parliament to revisit the decision that was made to disallow the name of Constable Glen Evely on the Canadian Police and Peace Officers Memorial in Ottawa and requests that the names of future auxiliary police officers, as well as Constable Evely, be placed on the monument.

Coffin AffairPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present another petition concerning the Coffin affair. This petition was signed by approximately 800 people from the Eastern Townships, in Quebec.

The petition shows that the request by people from the Gaspé and the Magdalen Islands for justice to be done in the Coffin affair is supported by people from all over Quebec.

JusticePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to be tabling petitions from not only the community of Whitewood and area but across the province of Saskatchewan and across the country of Canada.

Due to various incidents that took place this summer, it has certainly ignited the community to call upon the government to take certain measures and, in particular, to proceed with changes to the justice system and legislation that would result in harsher penalties for convicted pedophiles; make mandatory, compulsory electronic or other forms of monitoring of pedophiles upon being released from custody; ensure compulsory public notification on movements of convicted pedophiles; and ensure that above noted repeat offenders be designated as dangerous offenders.

It is quite appropriate that today I would be filing these petitions when the bill is coming forward for debate. Today I will be filing 8,250 signatures. To date, we have received between 24,000 and 25,000 signatures from across the country asking the government to take a tough stand on crime, as it is prepared to do, and to pass legislation that would be meaningful to address these particular issues, which we have done.

Age of ConsentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have another petition from the community itself asking the government to assemble in Parliament and take all necessary measures to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16 years of age.

We can address this petition and indicate that this government has taken those steps and has put the legislation forward. It simply needs to go forward and get passed.

MarriagePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to submit five petitions signed by many members of my constituency who are in favour of the traditional definition of marriage.

I am fully aware that Parliament has already and recently dealt with this, but the petitioners call upon Parliament to reopen debate on this issue and wish to have their petitions placed on the record.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 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, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 143, 146, 149, 150, 151, 157, 158 and 162.

Question No. 143Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

What funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees has the government issued in the constituency of Sault Ste. Marie since February 6, 2006, including the 2006-2007 Budget and up to today, and, in each case where applicable: (a) the department or agency responsible; (b) the program under which the payment was made; (c) the names of the recipients, if they were groups or organizations; (d) the monetary value of the payment made; and (e) the percentage of program funding covered by the payment received?

Question No. 143Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 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, the Privy Council Office has contacted all departments and agencies to ascertain whether they have the electronic capacity to search for and sort financial information such as funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees by federal electoral riding. The results of the survey indicate that the majority of departments and agencies do not have this capacity. A manual search would require an inordinate cost and length of time. For this reason, the government is not able to provide a comprehensive answer to this question.

Question No. 146Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

What funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees has the government issued in the constituency of Timmins—James Bay since February 6, 2006, including the 2006-2007 Budget and up to today, and, in each case where applicable: (a) the department or agency responsible; (b) the program under which the payment was made; (c) the names of the recipients, if they were groups or organizations; (d) the monetary value of the payment made; and (e) the percentage of program funding covered by the payment received?

Question No. 146Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 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, the Privy Council Office has contacted all departments and agencies to ascertain whether they have the electronic capacity to search for and sort financial information such as funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees by federal electoral riding. The results of the survey indicate that the majority of departments and agencies do not have this capacity. A manual search would require an inordinate cost and length of time. For this reason, the government is not able to provide a comprehensive answer to this question.

Question No. 149Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

What funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees has the government issued in the constituency of Victoria since January 23, 2006, including the 2006-2007 Budget and up to today, and, in each case where applicable: (a) the department or agency responsible; (b) the program under which the payment was made; (c) the names of the recipients, if they were groups or organizations; (d) the monetary value of the payment made; and (e) the percentage of program funding covered by the payment received?