I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised on September 30, 2010, by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader concerning the disposition of the order for resuming debate on the motion to concur in the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
I would like to thank the parliamentary secretary for bringing the matter to the attention of the House and the member for Windsor—Tecumseh for his contribution to the discussion.
The parliamentary secretary, in raising this matter, pointed out that the motion to concur in the seventh report is essentially the same as the supply motion moved by the hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie on September 28, 2010 and adopted by the House on September 29, 2010.
Quoting House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, at page 560 on the rule of anticipation, the parliamentary secretary argued that to allow the debate to resume on the concurrence motion would violate the principle which forbids the same question from being decided twice within the same session.
Noting that it would be redundant to resume the debate on the concurrence motion at a later date, as required by Standing Order 66(2), he requested that the Chair strike the motion to concur from the order paper to prevent an unnecessary debate and vote.
The Chair has examined the motions in question and agrees with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons that they are substantially the same. In his arguments, the hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh pointed out that, in his view, this does not mean that the rule of anticipation would necessarily apply and outlined reasons for why he believes that in this case it does not.
I listened to the intervention of the hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh with great interest. As he noted, the debate on the motion for concurrence in the committee report had already begun when the opposition motion was moved.
In deciding that the opposition motion could proceed, the Chair was guided by the long-standing approach of my predecessors who, as described on page 560 of O’Brien-Bosc, have consistently
“...ruled that the opposition prerogative in the use of an allotted day is very broad and ought to be interfered with only on the clearest and most certain of procedural grounds.”
As I see it, at this stage, the Chair is now left to decide how best to proceed so as to respect the principle behind the rule of anticipation which forbids the same question from being decided twice within the same session.
In the present circumstances the House has actually adopted one of the two motions, namely the supply motion of the official opposition. As such, to allow the proceedings on the concurrence motion to continue would violate the fundamental principle by which we are guided. The Chair cannot overlook the critical importance of unwritten practices and conventions in the conduct of business in this chamber.
Accordingly, I have directed the Clerk to remove the order for resuming consideration of the motion to concur in the seventh report from the order paper.
I thank hon. members for their attention.