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House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was language.

Topics

Veterans affairsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, please tell the member to calm down. I am answering the question.

Veterans affairsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, here is another case of neglect toward recently returned soldiers, this one in the riding of Joliette. This soldier was assigned to bodyguard duty in the security division at the Canadian embassy in Kabul and he, along with 33 of his colleagues, is not entitled to the tax treatment that other soldiers receive.

The government has acknowledged its error, but has refused to fix things retroactively. Will the government reverse its decision for these 34 soldiers?

Veterans affairsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, I repeat, we are always interested in helping our soldiers. It is unfortunate that the member chose to raise this issue here in the House of Commons. Could he perhaps adopt the more productive approach of working with the government to find a solution for these soldiers?

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government made a commitment in its first platform to fund an additional 2,500 municipal police officers across the country. It has been two years since that announcement was made but still there is nothing.

Where is the money the Conservatives promised for an additional 2,500 municipal police officers to make our communities a safer place in which to live?

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, a lot has happened.

One of the observations we made upon taking government was that the previous Liberal government had drastically reduced resources, not just to our armed forces but in fact to our security and safety forces and policing agencies right across the country.

We have turned that around with a thousand more RCMP officers and the funding to see those individuals trained, which is well under way and taking place right now. Also, there is a commitment for 2,500 more police officers municipally across the country. That is on a cost shared basis. We have had great discussions with federal and provincial authorities on how that is going to work. The money is in the budget.

Tackling Violent Crime ActOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week the Liberals made it clear that tackling violent crime is not a priority for their party. When it came time for them to stand up and vote on the motion to get the tackling violent crime bill passed by the Senate, they got scared and they fled the House.

Next week that bill will continue to be studied by a Senate committee. Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice tell this House why it is so important for the Senate to expedite this bill?

Tackling Violent Crime ActOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Conservative

Rob Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his steadfast support for laws that would protect Canadian communities.

As my colleague mentioned, the tackling violent crime bill remains in the Senate. Every day that goes by is another day that 14 and 15 year olds remain vulnerable to sexual predators and that the police lack the tools they need to tackle impaired driving. Every day that goes by is one more day that dangerous offenders can roam our neighbourhoods.

I hope, as the hon. member does, that when it comes time to vote in the Senate the senators will not slither out of their chamber, as members did in this House.

Community Development TrustOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to tackling the manufacturing job crisis, the Conservatives cannot be trusted.

Well-paid jobs with decent pensions and benefit packages are disappearing and it is hurting Canada's economy and our communities. In London and southwestern Ontario, working families and our communities have been hit hard. In the last few months, London has lost 5,000 good jobs from places like Siemens, Beta Brands and Vytek and across the auto sector.

The government aid package is clearly not enough and the money is not flowing fast enough.

Will the government speed up the process so that working families can get the help they need immediately?

Community Development TrustOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr.Speaker, I find it quite hypocritical that the NDP member pretends to care about workers every time the government brings something forward. For example, last year the industry report contained 22 recommendations for manufacturers. It was a unanimous report supported by her critic. She and her party voted against it.

They voted against the capital cost allowance writeoff for manufacturers. They voted against $800 million a year for education. They voted against $1.3 billion for research. They voted against $500 million a year for training. They voted against $33 billion for things like the Windsor-Detroit border and infrastructure. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Community Development TrustOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians' confidence in the economy and the Conservative government is heading south.

We on this side helped convince the government to immediately fund the communities that are hurting in the forestry and manufacturing sectors. The government finally agreed. It did not have to wait for the budget.

When will the communities in northern Ontario see this money? They want to know what process to follow. What is the holdup?

Community Development TrustOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, this government took action. We listened to the communities. We listened to the House.

We put $1 billion into the community development trust. It is going to provide job training in sectors where there are labour shortages, and economic development to create new jobs in affected communities. For older workers specifically, we are going to put $72.5 million into the targeted initiative for older workers.

We are listening to the communities. We are getting the job done, but we continue to get no cooperation from that party.

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, the disabled community in Canada is frustrated waiting for the $45 million that was promised to it for the enabling accessibility fund in 2007. The objective of this fund was to help improve accessibility in communities, remove barriers, and improve awareness of disability issues.

Why is the government denying help for those who need it most? Show us the money.

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, this is a serious issue.

This government did announce in budget 2007 the enabling accessibility fund. On top of that, under the leadership of the finance minister, we announced other supports for persons with disabilities. Last spring I was pleased to announce $222 million more in labour market arrangements with the provinces to help persons with disabilities.

The sad thing is it was that member and his party who voted against all of those measures to help persons with disabilities.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

Noon

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government invested $55 million in Toyota's Woodstock plant to create 1,300 new jobs.

In January of this year, the Ontario government committed $30 million to the Ford Essex plant to create hundreds of much needed jobs in Windsor, Ontario. The project is on hold, waiting for matching investment from that Conservative government.

Why has the government gone AWOL while we are losing Canadian auto sector jobs? When will it stand up for and invest in good Canadian jobs?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

Noon

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the truth is the Liberals walked out on the auto industry 13 years ago, just as they walked out of the House this week. It is a shame.

The auto industry had five acts for the Liberal government. What did the Liberals do? They took no action. Our government has moved ahead on those five acts. We have followed ahead on our investments in our infrastructure at the Windsor-Detroit border, on convergence of regulations, on investments in science and research and development, and on human resources. What did the Liberal Party do? That party voted against it when it had the chance to stand up for the auto industry.

What--

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

Noon

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

KosovoOral Questions

Noon

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the province of Kosovo gears up to declare its independence, several European countries and the United States are supportive of this nation's efforts to take charge of its own destiny.

Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell this House what the Canadian government's position will be on recognizing the independence of Kosovo?

KosovoOral Questions

Noon

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

That is a good question, Mr. Speaker.

We are awaiting the outcome of the decisions being made in Kosovo. We have a serious interest in that because Canada has always participated in that process. There were discussions at NATO last week on that topic. Together with the other members of the international community, we are waiting to see what decisions are made in Kosovo.

Government Business No. 4--Speaker's RulingPoints of OrderOral Questions

February 15th, 2008 / noon

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised on Monday, February 11, 2008 by the hon. House leader for the New Democratic Party concerning the admissibility of Government Motion No. 4 standing on the order paper in the name of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform.

I would like to thank the House leader for the New Democratic Party for raising this matter, as well as the hon. member for Mississauga South and the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons for their contributions on the issue.

The House Leader of the New Democratic Party argued that the preamble of Government Motion No. 4 amounted to a series of arguments that are really debating points. This, she said, is contrary to the practices of this House, which do not allow for motions to be in the form of a speech or to include argumentative clauses.

In support of her argument, she quoted Beauchesne, 6th Edition, citation 565, as well as House of Commons Procedure and Practice, p. 449, which states:

A motion should not contain any objectionable or irregular wording. It should not be argumentative or written in the style of a speech.

In addition, she expressed concern about the procedural viability of the motion due to its length and the fact that it includes conditions that are outside the House’s control.

For these reasons, the House leader for the New Democratic Party requested that the government either withdraw Motion No. 4 and replace it with a motion reworded such that the offending parts are removed, or failing any indication on the part of the government that it would do so, that the Chair rule this motion inadmissible and allow the government to present a new one.

The member for Mississauga South agreed that the preamble to the motion was tantamount to argument which, instead, should be raised during the course of debate. He added that in his experience preambles are discouraged and contended that allowing debate to proceed on this motion in its current form would set a precedent that could lead to some degree of confusion with respect to the procedural acceptability of motions placed on notice in future. In his submission, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House pointed out that in fact there have been examples of motions that were very broad in scope and that on that basis, the motion in question is procedurally appropriate.

In some respects, the House is not unfamiliar with the arguments raised in this case as the whole notion of the procedural acceptability of motions which contain preambles has been raised several times in the past. A survey of relevant precedents, as well as of relevant rulings, reveals that the House has debated numerous motions that were accompanied by a preamble.

While the precedents reach far back into our parliamentary history--the parliamentary secretary correctly referred to a fairly recent example regarding distinct society which occurred on December 6, 1995--in the last session alone there were two supply day motions that are especially pertinent to the present discussion. The first, standing in the name of the hon. member for Bourassa, dealt with Canada's involvement in Afghanistan and was debated on April 19, 2007. The second, on the same subject, was, as the hon. parliamentary secretary pointed out on Thursday, February 14, 2008, sponsored by the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth and was debated on April 26, 2007. Both these motions contained a preamble of considerable length made up of several clauses not unlike those contained in Government Motion No. 4. Their procedural acceptability was not contested. This is consistent with the ruling given by Mr. Speaker Michener on January 16, 1961, on page 1074 of Debates where he indicated that “it is amply established that a preamble is in accordance with our practice”.

In that same ruling, Mr. Speaker Michener also dealt conclusively, although with some reluctance, with the issue of length when he went on to say:

The use of the preamble can lead to absurd lengths. By way of example I have only to cite one instance which I found in 1899 of a motion the preamble of which covers 21 pages of the journals. It is, I might say, a procedural monstrosity, but there it is as a precedent.

Clearly, the procedural acceptability of motions is not gauged by their length.

With regard to the inclusion of conditions in motions, it is perhaps useful for the Chair to remind the House that it is not the Speaker's role to judge the effectiveness of proposals brought forward for debate.

As House of Commons Procedure and Practice states at page 448:

A resolution of the House makes a declaration of opinion or purpose; it does not have the effect of requiring that any action be taken--nor is it binding. The House has frequently brought forth resolutions in order to show support for some action.

The Chair is therefore not in a position to conclude that the inclusion of conditions in the motion currently in question renders it inadmissible. Rather, they are simply an additional aspect of the issue contained in the motion that honourable members will need to consider as they debate and, ultimately, decide.

Under the circumstances, I must conclude, therefore, that government motion No. 4 is admissible and may be proposed to the House in its current form.

That being said, the point raised by the hon. member for Mississauga South regarding his experience that preambles in motions are discouraged is one into which I will enquire further. In the meantime, this is certainly an issue the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs may wish to look into with a view, ultimately, to making recommendations.

I thank the House leader of the New Democratic Party for bringing this matter forward and to the attention of the House.

Customs ActRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-43, An Act to amend the Customs Act.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canadian HeritageCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, requesting an extension of 30 sitting days to consider Bill C-327, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act (reduction of violence in television broadcasts).

I am also pleased to present the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage with respect to copyright legislation.

Canadian HeritageCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

With respect to the fourth report of the standing committee, pursuant to Standing Order 97.1(3)(a) a motion to concur in the report is deemed moved, the question deemed put, and a recorded division deemed demanded and deferred until Wednesday, February 27 immediately before the time provided for private member's business.

Justice and Human RightsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

In accordance with the order of reference of Friday, November 30, 2007, the committee has considered Bill S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals). It has agreed on Thursday, February 14 to report it without amendments.

Pay Equity Task Force Recommendations ActRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-507, An Act to implement the recommendations of the Pay Equity Task Force.

Mr. Speaker, the right to pay equity is protected by the Human Rights Act and charter, however, current complaints-based pay equity laws do not work. It takes years for these complaints to be addressed. Canada needs proactive pay equity legislation to ensure that all employees are receiving equal pay for work of equal value.

In 2004 the pay equity task force called current pay equity legislation woefully inadequate, recommended a new law, and provided a detailed guide for proactive pay equity. My bill would use this guide to make proactive pay equity the law.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Nuclear Safety and Control ActRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-508, An Act to amend the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (Minister).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce today a bill to designate the Minister of the Environment as the minister to whom the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission must report.

Currently, the CNSC reports to the Minister of Natural Resources, the same minister to which Atomic Energy of Canada Limited reports.

This is a conflict of interest for the Minister of Natural Resources, whose mandate is to promote nuclear industry.

Canadians need to have confidence that their government is putting the needs of public safety and the environment ahead of the needs of the nuclear industry.

This simple but effective change provides more ministerial oversight to the nuclear industry of Canada and moves CNSC into a ministry with a mandate more in line with its responsibility to protect human health and the environment.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)