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House of Commons Hansard #102 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was spam.

Topics

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to three petitions.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

November 23rd, 2010 / 10:05 a.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Finance entitled ”Question of Privilege“.

The committee has reason to believe that a potential breach of privilege has occurred and has asked the House to investigate this matter.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 104 and 114, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 22nd report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of committees of the House and I should like to move concurrence at this time.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

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

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Take Note DebateRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, during the debate pursuant to Standing Order 53.1 later today, no quorum call, request for unanimous consent or dilatory motion be received by the Chair.

Take Note DebateRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the House give consent to the hon. member for Crowfoot to move this motion?

Take Note DebateRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Take Note DebateRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

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

Take Note DebateRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Take Note DebateRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

AfghanistanPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by dozens of Canadians to end Canada's involvement in Afghanistan.

In May 2008, Parliament passed a resolution to withdraw Canadian Forces from Afghanistan by July 2011. The Prime Minister, with agreement from the Liberal Party, broke his often repeated promise to honour the parliamentary motion.

Committing 1,000 soldiers to a training mission still presents a danger to our troops and is an unnecessary expense when our country is faced with a $56 billion deficit. The military mission has cost Canadians more than $18 billion so far, money that could have been used to improve health care and seniors' pensions right here in Canada.

Polls show that a clear majority of people in Canada do not want Canada's military presence continued after the scheduled removal date of July 2011.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon the Prime Minister to honour the will of Parliament and bring the troops home now.

Lucky Moose BillPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present to Parliament a petition signed by many hard-working store owners, their employees, shoppers and ordinary Canadians in support of my private member's bill called the “Lucky Moose bill” to ensure that hard-working store owners are not punished as they try to protect their property.

The petitioners are asking for action either from the Prime Minister or the Minister of Justice to ensure the Criminal Code is amended. The petition includes 10,000 names that were signed online in support of taking action so hard-working store owners will not be punished when they try to protect their property.

G20 SummitPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, my second petition is from many downtown residents, restaurant owners and business owners who want to ensure there is compensation to downtown Toronto businesses for the damages caused by the G20 summit.

They note that there was significant property damage, that 93% of the businesses lost profit and that some workers lost a week of wages because the business had to close or, of those that were open, hardly anyone showed up to shop or eat.

The petitioners are asking the Government of Canada to make allowance for the compensation of local residents and businesses for any loss of profit or property damage caused due to the G20 summit.

Student LoansPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer NDP Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to present a petition to the House of Commons on student loan fairness.

Residents of Canada have a number of problems with the student loan program and there is chronic federal underfunding. They ask that Canada's student loan system be made fairer, clearer and certainly more representative and responsive.

This petition calls upon a federal needs based grant system for all Canadian student loans. It asks for a lowering of the federal student loan interest rate, that a student loan ombudsperson be created and that there be a lifetime limit on loans so that there is a delayed period of at least six months after the completion of full-time studies, including doctoral programs and medical residency.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

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

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Royal Recommendation--Bill C-574Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a point of order regarding Bill C-574, An Act to promote and strengthen the Canadian retirement income system.

Bill C-574 proposes to create a new bill of rights for a retirement income system that would promote the goals of adequacy, transparency, affordability, equity, flexibility, security and accessibility for all Canadians.

Clause 13 of the bill would require the Minister of Justice to examine every bill and regulation to ascertain whether any of the provisions violate, among other things, an individual's right to accumulate sufficient pension income to provide for a lifestyle in retirement that the individual considers adequate, an individual's right to determine how and when to accumulate pension income, and an individual's entitlement to receive investment advice from an advisor free of conflict of interest.

Section 4.1 of the Department of Justice Act provides that the Minister of Justice must examine every bill and regulation in light of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Section 3 of the Canadian Bill of Rights states that the Minister of Justice shall examine every bill and regulation to ascertain whether any provisions thereof are inconsistent with this act.

Bill C-574 would impose an additional obligation on the Minister of Justice that is not currently authorized by statute. In particular, the new functions envisioned in clause 13 of the bill would require actuarial, financial and economic expertise well beyond the current mandate and activities of the Minister of Justice and the Department of Justice.

Precedents indicate that imposing new obligations not provided for in statute requires a new royal recommendation. On page 834 of the second edition of the House of Commons Procedure and Practice states:

A royal recommendation not only fixes the allowable charge, but also its objects, purposes, conditions and qualifications. For this reason, a royal recommendation is required not only in the case where money is being appropriated, but also in the case where the authorization to spend for a specific purpose is significantly altered.

On October 20, 2006, the Speaker ruled, in the case of Bill C-286, An Act to amend the Witness Protection Program Act, that Bill C-286:

...extends the application of the program...that does not currently exist under the witness protection program. In doing so, the bill proposes to carry out an entirely new function. .... New functions or activities must be accompanied by a new royal recommendation.

On June 13, 2005, the Speaker ruled on Bill C-280, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act, that:

...clause 2 significantly alters the duties of the EI Commission to enable new or different spending of public funds by the commission for a new purpose....

On September 20, 2006, the Speaker ruled in the case of Bill C-257, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code, that:

...the provisions in Bill C-257 which relate to the designation of investigators by the minister do not constitute an authorization for new spending for a distinct purpose. The functions which are already being performed by inspectors would appear to be reasonably similar to the functions envisaged by Bill C-257.

I submit that this last precedent does not apply to Bill C-574 as the functions set out in clause 13 of the bill would significantly alter the functions of the Minister of Justice and the Department of Justice. That is because the new functions in Bill C-574 would require actuarial, financial and economic expertise well beyond the mandate and current activities of the Minister of Justice and the Department of Justice.

In conclusion, the additional functions for the Minister of Justice and the Department of Justice proposed in clause 13 of Bill C-574 are not currently authorized in statute. The bill, therefore, should be accompanied by a royal recommendation.

Royal Recommendation--Bill C-574Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, first of all the presumption here and the references to Bills C-286, C-250 and C-257 all are with respect to the same statement about a new function and beyond the mandate.

However, I would like to submit that the Minister of Justice already has responsibilities in the area that C-574 deals with. To discharge that responsibility, it is clear that the minister would have to get information from resources such as actuaries and other experts in the area.

It is not incumbent on the Minister of Justice himself to have all of those particular levels of expertise within his own department to fully discharge his responsibilities. There is a reliance obviously on the resources of the Government of Canada, available to all ministers.

In this regard, before any minister of justice would opine on any matter related to the retirement income system, it is clear that the retirement income itself is not within the jurisdiction of the Minister of Justice.

However, there is a due diligence and a due care requirement on behalf of the Minister of Justice to ensure that in giving legal opinions that he or she also has the important information with regard to the fundamentals and the dimensions.

This argument about “significantly alters” is a qualitative assessment by the hon. parliamentary secretary, but the argument does not, in my view, sustain the suggestion that a royal recommendation is required, most simply because in this particular case the Minister of Justice, in fact, has a responsibility with regard to opining on Bill C-574 on the Canadian retirement income system and must engage these kinds of resources in the normal course of his work to do his job in a proper fashion with due diligence.

Therefore, I submit that, since the Clerk of the House normally advises a member about the likelihood of a royal recommendation being required on a bill, and the House has extensive resources to make such an assessment, it is clear that the question about extending the mandate beyond what the minister may have has already been considered. It is one of the fundamental positions.

I would submit that the expertise within the Clerk of the House's office has taken that decision and not made that recommendation, and indeed the Chair has not given that notice of a likelihood of a royal recommendation.

Royal Recommendation--Bill C-574Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the same point, I want to thank the hon. member for his comments on these issues, but Bill C-574 is very much a statement of principle.

As the mover of the motion, I was very careful to ensure that it did not require a royal recommendation. I understand the interpretation of clause 13, but I can say that I reviewed that because I did not want it to be ruled out of order and require a royal recommendation.

It is very much a statement of principle. It does not require actuaries to come forth with an extended report. It is an issue of setting down principles. It is a motherhood issue that establishes the principles of a bill that would protect pensioners, protect Canadians and ensure that all Canadians have the right to have a pension system.

Royal Recommendation--Bill C-574Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I thank hon. members for their submissions on this point, and I will take the matter under advisement and review the issue before I come back to the House.