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House of Commons Hansard #60 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was financial.

Topics

Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Creating Canada's new national museum of immigration act at pier 21 ActOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, my third motion deals with the bill I referred to and that my hon. colleague, the deputy House leader for the official opposition referred to, Bill C-34.

I would seek unanimous consent for the following. I move:

That, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practices of the House, when C-34, An Act to amend the Museums Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts is called for debate, a member from each recognized party may speak for not more than 10 minutes on the second reading motion of C-34, after which C-34 shall be deemed to have been read a second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole, deemed considered in Committee of the Whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at the report stage and deemed read a third time and passed.

Creating Canada's new national museum of immigration act at pier 21 ActOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Creating Canada's new national museum of immigration act at pier 21 ActOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Creating Canada's new national museum of immigration act at pier 21 ActOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Creating Canada's new national museum of immigration act at pier 21 ActOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Creating Canada's new national museum of immigration act at pier 21 ActOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Information CommissionerOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this is my fourth motion. I seek the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion. I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, in accordance with subsection 54(1) of the Access to Information Act, Chapter A-1 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, this House approve the appointment of Suzanne Legault as Information Commissioner.

Information CommissionerOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Information CommissionerOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Information CommissionerOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Information CommissionerOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Information CommissionerOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am feeling bad that I only have one motion left. Perhaps I should keep going with more legislation, but I will save it for next week. I do appreciate the indulgence of all members in this process.

I seek the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion. I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practices of the House, the debate pursuant to Standing Order 66 scheduled for tomorrow be deemed to have taken place and all questions necessary to dispose of the motion to concur in the Third Report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration be deemed put and a recorded division be deemed requested.

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Standing Committee on International Trade—Speaker's RulingPrivilegeOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised on June 3, 2010 by the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster concerning events which took place in the Standing Committee on International Trade on June 1, 2010.

I would like to thank the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster for having raised this matter. I would also like to thank the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the member for Calgary Centre for their comments.

The member for Burnaby—New Westminster argued that the manner in which the Standing Committee on International Trade conducted its clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-2, the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement implementation act, violated his rights and the rights of two other members of the committee.

Specifically, he complained that the chair had not informed the committee that it was reverting to a public meeting from its in camera status and that the chair and the majority of the members on the committee had systematically frustrated his attempts to speak, intervene on points of order, and have access to the procedural resources of the committee.

While recognizing that traditionally the Speaker does not get involved in matters that should be dealt with in committee, the member argued that this clearly constituted an abuse by the majority in the committee of the privileges bestowed on it by the House, and as such was a contempt of the House. For his part, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader contended that a prima facie question of privilege did not exist as there was no report to the House from the committee on this matter. The member for Calgary Centre, the chair of the standing committee, reiterated this and stated that the committee had conducted its meeting fairly and in keeping with the rules of procedure.

All members who have intervened in this matter have acknowledged that the Speaker does not sit as a court of appeal to adjudicate procedural issues that arise in the course of committee proceedings. Indeed, on numerous occasions, Speakers have restated the cardinal rule that committees are masters of their own proceedings and any alleged irregularities occurring in committees can be taken up in the House only following a report from the committee itself. There have been very few exceptions to this rule.

The ruling of Mr. Speaker Fraser on March 26, 1990, to which the member for Burnaby—New Westminster alluded, does state:

—that in very serious and special circumstances the Speaker may have to pronounce on a committee matter without the committee having reported to the House.

However, having reviewed the evidence submitted, there is little to suggest that in the case before us the circumstances warrant the chair breaking with the entrenched practice of allowing committees to settle issues related to their proceedings, particularly since the member himself stated that “the chair had the support of the majority of the members of the committee”.

Thus, as Mr. Speaker Fraser declared in that same ruling, on page 9,758 of the debates:

I have chosen not to substitute my judgment for that expressed by a majority on the Finance Committee, unless that majority decides to report its dilemma to the House.

While it is clear to the chair that the member is unhappy with the decisions taken by the committee, the committee has not reported this matter to the House. It may be of assistance to the member to refer to pages 149 to 152 in the chapter “Privileges and Immunities” in House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, where the procedural steps associated with bringing committee-related privilege issues before the House are fully described.

In the meantime, I regret to inform the member for Burnaby—New Westminster that unless he can persuade the committee to take some of those procedural steps, there is little the chair can do and there is certainly no basis for finding a prima facie question of privilege at this time.

I thank hon. members for their attention.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order coming out of today's question period, when I put two questions to the Prime Minister. These questions had to do with the Prime Minister's refusal to allow his director of communications, Dimitri Soudas, to appear before the ethics committee.

I have a letter dated June 1 and signed by the Prime Minister, who stated:

The purpose of this letter is to inform the Committee of my instruction to Mr. Soudas that he will not appear before the Committee.

He went on to say:

Next week I will be present in Question Period on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Questions about these matters can be directed to me there.

Today is Thursday. I put the questions directly to the Prime Minister, and today he did not respond to those questions directly. I am asking if in fact the Prime Minister misled the House when he wrote this letter and indicated that he would be here today to respond to questions with respect to Mr. Soudas not being allowed to appear before the committee.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

June 10th, 2010 / 3:15 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I will have to check Hansard. Yes, the question was directed to the Prime Minister, but I do not recall in the letter that the hon. member just read out that he said that he would respond personally.

The questions could be directed to him. They were directed at him. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, as I recall, gave an excellent reply to those questions.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, let me just read it again. It says:

Questions about these matters can be directed to me there.

Unless one is to believe that the Prime Minister misled the House, then I would expect that he would have taken those questions as the employer of Mr. Dimitri Soudas.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I will look at the matter, but I do not know that there is a question of privilege here.

It is a long-standing practice in the House that although questions may be directed to certain individuals, others sometimes respond. We see that daily in question period. Sometimes the Prime Minister answers. Sometimes we hear the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities answer. There are even times the government House leader answers questions that are directed to the Prime Minister. It is just a matter of which item someone is ready to answer and that the person is prepared to give answers and has understood the question and so on, which we have happen in the House on a regular basis.

I do not think that it is a matter the Chair can make a decision on, given the long-standing practice in the House