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House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was change.

Topics

The EnvironmentOral Questions

Noon

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I have not had the opportunity to read the report from the Department of Natural Resources. It was scheduled to go out today. I understand someone got enthusiastic and put it out the night before. We welcome a discussion on the report in the future.

The member wants to bring down the government for our policies on the environment. That is wrong and it is misguided.

At times in my life, I have suffered from self-confidence issues, and it means so much to me to have the support of members of Liberal Party of Canada. They like me. They really like me.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

Noon

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of International Trade.

Considering the Conservative government yesterday would not allow a take note debate on fisheries issues at the WTO, a very important fisheries issue, would the minister now ensure that the government changes its tack and starts supporting the fishermen at the WTO? If not, the fishermen could lose their employment insurance and their capital gains tax exemption. Even the port repair and the gas tax card are on the table.

Will the government change its tack and start to support the inshore fishermen?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

Noon

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, in the last two years the hon. member has seen us clean up overfishing on the east and west coasts, ensure that we have a solid owner-operator policy, put millions of extra dollars into infrastructure and open up the north. Does he think, for one minute, that we would stand by and let anything like that happen to our inshore fishermen? Not a chance.

Response to Oral Question by Committee Vice-ChairPoints of OrderOral Questions

Noon

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, today during question period, a question was asked by the member for Churchill of the chair or the vice-chair of the procedure and House affairs committee of the House of Commons. The answer from the vice-chair, who is the member for Hull—Aylmer, was an entirely inappropriate answer.

I direct you, Mr. Speaker, to pages 827 to 828 of Marleau and Montpetit where it says:

During the Oral Question Period...a committee Chair may respond to questions, provided they deal with the proceedings or schedule of the committee and not the substance of its work.

The nature of the response was one that was very substantive and partisan in nature, very much betraying the legitimate role of a chair or vice-chair of the committee in responding to these questions.

The reason for that rule is they are in a role similar to yours, Mr. Speaker, of being neutral and even-handed. On the issue in question, what we are seeking is even-handedness so the issues they study are issues that deal with both sides and all parties equally. However, setting aside that debate on substance and the need for fairness, what we have had here is a serious breach. What makes it worse is it was clearly a pre-calculated breach.

The opposition House leader and I have canvassed this issue before the Speaker after previous question periods. He is fully aware of the rules. Yet the question was prepared, the answer was prepared, it was done so knowingly and it was knowingly a breach of the rules of the House of Commons, and this is a matter that requires your attention, Mr. Speaker.

Response to Oral Question by Committee Vice-ChairPoints of OrderOral Questions

Noon

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, this issue was, indeed, raised a few days ago by me, in a point of order with the Speaker. The Speaker at that time indicated that he had allowed the government House leader to answer on behalf of a committee chair because no one else on the committee, like the vice-chair, rose to address the question that had been put before the House.

Today, a question was asked of a committee chair. The committee chair was unable to answer, so the vice-chair rose to provide the answer. The question was about the agenda of the committee. The questioner referred explicitly to the agenda for the next meetings of the committee and the vice-chair spoke of asking for a new spirit of cooperation among committee members and the timeliness of dealing with the committee's agenda.

The question and the entire answer were entirely within the rules of the House.

Response to Oral Question by Committee Vice-ChairPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I invite you to review the Hansard because you will find that is not at all the case. The response that came from the vice-chair of the committee, the member for Hull—Aylmer, was one that was quite substantive, quite partisan and expressed comments and opinions on the issue, which is entirely inappropriate for the chair to do while playing the role of chair.

The situation in which I rose to respond to a question when no one else in the House did, including the vice-chair who was here, is entirely different. I, as a minister, am not limited by the restrictions that are clearly set out in the rules that apply to a chair when asked in that role and to answer in that role.

Therefore, there is obviously a nice diversion there by the member, but the material fact remains that the vice-chair has clearly overstepped his bounds. I know the people on that committee feel strongly about the appropriate role of a chair, and we have had the unfortunate situation of a recent removal of a chair. I will leave it to members of that committee on how they wish to deal with this very serious matter.

However, in terms of a spirit of cooperation, it is not a good start. I would ask, Mr. Speaker, that you seek a form of an apology and a retraction from the vice-chair of the committee.

Response to Oral Question by Committee Vice-ChairPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, we were just treated to hearing the government House leader say that if no one else rises in the House to address a question put to a committee chair, that the government House leader is entitled to respond to that question, and he can be as partisan as he wants, but that there are tougher strictures that apply to everybody else in the House. This is a matter of the government wanting one set of rules for it and another set of rules for everyone else.

The fact is the question was in order and the answer dealt with the agenda of the committee. It called for a spirit of cooperation and it asked for timeliness in moving the agenda forward. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that answer.

Response to Oral Question by Committee Vice-ChairPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Order, please. The government House leader has suggested that the Chair take this matter under advisement, review the blues and the answer that was given by the vice-chair of the committee. That is good advice. It will be taken and at some point the Chair will get back to the House with respect to the point of order raised by the government House leader.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:05 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 one petition.

Railway Safety Act Review Advisory PanelRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Railway Safety Act Review Advisory Panel, entitled “Stronger Ties: A Shared Commitment to Railway Safety”.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

moved that Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (investigative hearing and recognizance with conditions), be read a first time.

(Motion agreed to and bill read the first time)

JusticePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Carol Skelton Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great honour today to present two petitions on behalf of the constituents of Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar.

The first petition deals with the youth justice system. The petitioners say that it is ineffective and a meaningless act at present. They ask that Parliament enact new legislation that would provide stiffer penalties to young offenders.

National Historic SitesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Carol Skelton Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, my second petition is from the citizens of the Biggar area.

The petitioners ask that the historically unique locomotive roundhouse in Biggar, Saskatchewan be deemed a national heritage site.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

March 7th, 2008 / 12:10 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, if Questions Nos. 169 and 173 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker Mr. Royal Galipeau

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 169Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Liberal Egmont, PE

With regard to contracts and investments under the Industrial Regional Benefits (IRB) Policy: (a) which contracts have been awarded by the government since January 1, 2006 that require the prime contractor to make sub-contracts and investments; (b) what were the names of the prime contractor and the clients; (c) what was the description of the contract; (d) what was the contract period; and (e) what were the details of any and all sub-contracts and investments agreed to under the IRB policy, including (i) the name and location of the companies receiving the sub-contracts or investments, (ii) the description, (iii) the value, (iv) the time period, (v) the Canadian content value for each?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 173Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

With regard to Bill C-26, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, and the government's anti-drug strategy: (a) what stakeholders were consulted in forming this strategy and what documents or studies relating to drug trends were analyzed; (b) what were the departmental recommendations regarding harm reduction; and (c) what documents were commissioned externally by government that contributed to the strategy?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker Mr. Royal Galipeau

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion--Climate ChangeBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

When we were last discussing this matter there were five minutes left for the hon. member for Northumberland--Quinte West and he now has the floor.