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House of Commons Hansard #69 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was consultants.

Topics

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, it is clear; we have always wanted to abolish the long gun registry, which makes criminals out of honest hunters and farmers who do not register their firearms. By decriminalizing it, it is clear that the Canadian Parliament no longer has jurisdiction. That said, if the provinces want to have a long gun registry, they have that option. The registration of goods and property is a provincial jurisdiction.

One thing is certain: there are members on the other side of the House who voted against the wishes of their constituents to toe the party line here in Ottawa. That is shameful.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. We will have little order.

Order, please. There is too much noise in the House, and it is difficult to hear the member who is speaking.

The hon. member for Wascana. Order, please.

Potash IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the recent experience with foreign takeovers has been troubling and now there is a transaction looming over the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan.

Will the government make public any analysis it does of the terms of any proposed potash deal, including specifically the conditions it applies? Will it provide practical, enforceable remedies if any of those conditions are breached? Will it ensure that any new potash marketing strategy provides a measurable net benefit to Saskatchewan at least as good as what exists today?

Potash IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as the member is well aware, there is a legal process that has to be adhered to. He knows full well having been in government before.

Certainly, part of that process is an examination to ensure that whatever investment is being suggested is of net benefit to Canada.

There is a rigorous process. There are consultations with affected parties. We are consulting with the Government of Saskatchewan, I can assure the hon. member, and we will certainly make decisions in due course.

Mont Tremblant International AirportOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, on June 18, 2010, the House of Commons unanimously adopted a Bloc Québécois motion recognizing the Mont Tremblant International Airport as an airport of entry into the country without customs charges, as is the case with the airports in Montreal and Quebec City. This recognition is vital to the expansion of the airport and the region.

So why does the Minister of Public Safety insist on maintaining customs charges on international flights during the summer?

Mont Tremblant International AirportOral Questions

3 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the CBSA, in fact, believes that Canadians deserve value for their money and programs that produce results.

That is why we ensure that all government programs are reviewed on a regular cycle to ensure that they are effective and efficient, and that they respond to the priorities of Canadians.

Through this strategic review process the CBSA identified better ways to meet its mandate and align its priorities with the priorities of Canadians.

CensusOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, we finally see the government's poverty plan to help low income Canadians: kill the mandatory census and count fewer and fewer of the 3.4 million poor. No poor, therefore no poverty and no plan.

There are many rural Canadians at this number as well. The Evangelical Fellowship said, “God understood a census. You do it to count all people and build a nation”.

Will the government stick with its stiff necked response or join the chorus of Canadians who know we build good public policy by counting everyone?

CensusOral Questions

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we are counting everyone. There is still a mandatory census just as there has been since the beginning of this country.

That mandatory census is still going on. It will be going on in May 2011 just as planned. We have a 40-page voluntary long form which will provide useful and usable data as defined by the Chief Statistician of Statistics Canada. Therefore, we are doing our job.

Will the hon. member please explain why he wishes to coerce Canadians to fill out a 40-page form full of private and intrusive questions?

International TradeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada is and has always been a trading nation. Two-thirds of Canadian jobs are trade dependent. Canadians businesses and Canadian workers can compete on the world stage, but they rely on their government to open markets and expand free trade.

As our country begins to emerge from the global recession, it is crucial that the government continue to open markets and expand opportunities for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses.

Would the Minister of International Trade update the House on the work the government is doing to open markets for Canadians?

International TradeOral Questions

3 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, our government knows that the path to prosperity is through free trade.

That is why I was proud today to introduce the Canada-Panama free trade agreement. This is just in addition to free trade agreements we have already signed with Colombia, Peru, Jordan and the four countries of the European Free Trade Association.

What is more, we are deeply engaged and well advanced right now on free trade talks with the European Union that will put in place a broad and deep agreement that will deliver a $12 billion annual boost to the Canadian economy.

It will make us the only developed economy in the world with free trade agreements with both the United States and the European Union, the two biggest economies in the world, which is a great platform for Canadian success.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I hope you will indulge me just for a moment, so I can acknowledge the member for Wascana for his four years of exceptional service as opposition House leader and of course congratulate him on his promotion to deputy leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

It is a great honour and a privilege to take on these responsibilities, all the while aware that I follow in a long line of dedicated opposition House leaders, including Jean-Robert Gauthier, Ray Hnatyshyn, Herb Gray, Walter Baker, Allan J. MacEachen and so many others.

I would like to congratulate the government House leader on his appointment, and I look forward to working co-operatively with all of the House leaders to help make this House work effectively in the best interests of Canadians.

In that spirit, for the very first time, I would like to ask the government House leader to share with us his plans for the business of the House for the remainder of this week and next week coming.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to officially congratulate the House leader of the official opposition on his first Thursday question and of course on his appointment as House leader. As I have already said, we want to make this Parliament work for Canadians and co-operate with all the opposition parties.

Let me also tell him, and particularly his leader, how very disappointed I am that I will not have the chance to work shoulder to shoulder with the great, wise helmsman from Wascana.

Let me take this opportunity to once again, in English, officially congratulate the House leader of the official opposition on his first Thursday question. As I have said in the past, we all want to work hard, we all want to work collaboratively to make this House work, and not just with him.

We also want to do so with our friends in the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party.

As government House leader, one of my very first acts on the day of the cabinet shuffle was to reach out to my opposition counterparts. Since then, I have had the opportunity to sit down with each of them and to hear their views about making Parliament work. I look forward to working with them over the coming days, weeks, months and years to do just that.

As for the House schedule, we will continue debate today on Bill C-5 (International Transfer of Offenders), followed by Bill C-31, Eliminating Entitlements for Prisoners, and Bill C-22, Protecting Children from Online Sexual Exploitation.

On Monday, we will call Bill C-8, Canada-Jordan Free Trade Act, and Bill C-28, Fighting Spam, an important piece of legislation presented by the Minister of Industry.

Tuesday, September 28, will be an allotted day, and on Wednesday and Thursday, the order of business will be Bill C-8, if not already disposed of on Monday, Bill C-46, Canada-Panama Free Trade Act, and Bill C-28, Fighting Spam.

Board of Internal EconomyOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I have the honour to inform the House that Mr. McGuinty, member for the electoral district of Ottawa South, has been appointed a member of the Board of Internal Economy, in place of Mr. Cuzner, member for the electoral district of Cape Breton—Canso, for the purposes and under the provisions of Article 50 of the Parliament of Canada Act.

Bill C-300--Royal RecommendationPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Kootenay—Columbia B.C.

Conservative

Jim Abbott ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order regarding Bill C-300, An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries, introduced by the member for Scarborough—Guildwood.

I recognize that my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government House Leader, rose on another point of order on this bill earlier this week. This also prompted submissions by members for Scarborough—Guildwood and Mississauga South.

I would like to submit my arguments as to why this bill would require a royal recommendation in order to proceed to third reading.

The member for Scarborough—Guildwood submitted that we have been at this bill now for some 13 or 14 months and here we are at the last minute raising the issue of royal recommendation. I would like to point out that it was not until the last possible opportunity that the member put forward amendments to his bill. None of these amendments address the need for royal recommendation so now we are faced with a bill that should not proceed.

Standing Order 79(1) reads as follows:

This House shall not adopt or pass any vote, resolution, address or bill for the appropriation of any part of the public revenue, or of any tax or impost, to any purpose that has not been first recommended to the House by a message from the Governor General in the session in which such vote, resolution, address or bill is proposed.

Mr. Speaker, as you are no doubt aware, as we see in the Journals from November 9, 1978, the imposition of new duties on an existing department or authority requires a royal recommendation. Bill C-300 clearly assigns new duties to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

On September 27, 2006, you ruled a particular bill acceptable because you could not speculate on the functions that the legislation would force the government to disburse. Fortunately, in this instance, you need not speculate. Section 4 starts by saying:

In carrying out their responsibilities and powers under this Act, the Ministers shall--

It is obvious and does not require speculation that this bill attempts to ascribe new responsibilities and powers to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

On November 9, 2006, Mr. Speaker, you ruled another bill needed a royal recommendation because it extended a program that would require funding. Bill C-300 required disbursement of funding in order for the ministers to carry out their duties ascribed to them.

I point out that I have information in hand that says that the World Bank's parallel investigations, for example, which is exactly what this bill is calling for, cost $3.3 million in 2009 to investigate 11 new complaints. Mr. Speaker, I submit that fact for your consideration as well.

We had the opportunity to hear expert testimony from our bureaucrats at DFAIT. Allow me to read into the record the testimony from the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meeting of December 1, 2009:

[The member for Kootenay—Columbia]: I want to be careful that I'm not putting words in your mouth. I believe, in answer to a question of Mr. Patry, your response was that in your judgment it would require a new section or arm or department, which would require additional human resources or financial resources. Is that correct?

Mr. Grant Manuge: Yes, that is correct.

Further I asked:

Presuming that there is a finite amount of money in DFAIT's budget, which there is, where would you take those dollars from? What department or current function that DFAIT is doing would have to suffer? Or in fact would it be possible to do it without having to come to the Treasury Board for additional funds?

Mr. Grant Manuge representing DFAIT said:

Thank you for your question. In this case, at this stage in our analysis, we are indeed aware that additional resources would be required, not only human resources, financial resources, but also significant investment in training or in recruiting highly qualified individuals who provide the competencies that would be required to carry out that function.

At this point in our analysis, we would not be in a position to indicate whether that could be addressed through reallocations within our department, but our departmental resources are completely allocated, so this would be a decision that would have to be reviewed very carefully. As you say, there could potentially be impacts on the ability to carry out our mandate in other areas of the department.

Mr. Speaker, I recognize that you face a rather challenging situation in taking a look at the provisions relative to a royal recommendation, and that is it is not crystal clear that additional funds will be required. I am fully aware of that. If we take a look at the fact that we know from the World Bank that it cost $3.3 million last year to investigate 11 complaints, in the name of logic it is very obvious that additional funds will be required.

It is clear that this bill would directly affect the disbursement of public funds. It would assign new duties to an existing department where funds have already been allocated and functions have already been described for that department.

I realize there is often a good deal of discussion regarding royal recommendations. However, it is the Speaker who is duty-bound to protect the Constitution through the Standing Orders of the House and to assure that bills that should require royal recommendation do not proceed.

I would also like to quote from Hansard, June 1, 2006:

I am also aware that a bill may be repaired at committee or during report stage and also that a minister at any point in the legislative process can come forward. That is not a problem and I believe the member for Scarborough--Guildwood has a bill on international development which I think can be repaired in that fashion.

Clearly, the bill has not been repaired. Bill C-300 is the current version of the legislation to which I reference. The bill was recognized by the member for Mississauga South as needing a royal recommendation at that time.

The clauses in Bill C-300 still stand. The need for a royal recommendation still stands, even though the member for Mississauga South has apparently changed his mind. Fortunately, he is not the Speaker of the House.

It is clear that even at a time the Liberals realized this bill needed a royal recommendation or amendments to address the problem. That was a matter of a year ago.

The precedents are clear. The member for Mississauga South was clear in 2006. Without amendments addressing this issue, Bill C-300 does require a royal recommendation.

Bill C-300--Royal RecommendationPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I thank the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia for his comments on this matter. I know he always tries to support the Chair and make sure that the Chair does not fall into error in any decision that is made. I will certainly bear his comments in mind in reviewing the matter further as I am committed to do as of this moment.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I refer to questions that were raised by the member for Brant and the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, both of whom referred to the 20 members in the House who voted for Bill C-391 on second reading and then referred to the fact that they voted against that bill on third reading.

Sometimes members opposite do not read the missives that come from the PMO before they stand in front of the House, but quite clearly this is not a point of debate. The record is your record, Mr. Speaker, of the House, of the voting record of every one of those 20 people.

I would ask the members withdraw their statements.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have great respect for that member. We worked together on a number of issues when I was minister of transport, infrastructure and communities.

I would suggest for the hon. member and five of his colleagues that the public saw what happened with respect to the vote yesterday. Six members changed their mind. The other six had a degree of comfort that they could cast their vote knowing what the outcome would be, and it was the desired outcome of his leader.

I know the member to be fair. I know him to be honest and honourable. However, I would suggest, too, that it was far from clear.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I will examine the questions that were asked and the responses given to see if there was any breach of the rules. It did not occur to me that there was at the time, but I will examine the matter in light of the member for Western Arctic's comments and the government House leader's response thereto and get back to the House if necessary.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, as reported on page 4252 of Hansard, the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour raised a point of order having to do with language used previously on page 4247 by the hon. Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. The minister, to her credit, took responsibility and apologized.

Unfortunately, there appears to be some sort of double standard. The hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, if he objected to language used by the hon. Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, should also have objected to the language used by the hon. member for Ahuntsic and, lo and behold, the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard, a member of his own caucus. She used exactly the same language that he objected to, and that is reported on page 4249.

I have a thirst for decorum and that thirst can only be quenched when there is not a double standard. An hon. member who rises to object to a lack of decorum across the way should know that and apply it to his colleagues in his own party.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister did apologize for her statement and the matter was closed.

The member raises an interesting question of whether or not a member has a duty to make a point of order on all other members. I only suggest that the hon. member rising today also had the opportunity to rise. It is not a matter of a double standard; it is a matter of whether or not there is an aggrieved member of Parliament.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I think the matter is quite clear. Yesterday in question period the word “hypocrisy” was used. I do not regard the use of that word as unparliamentary. Calling another member a hypocrite may be, but the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development apologized on her own initiative. I did not make any ruling that suggested that anything she had said was unparliamentary.

The member got up and made an objection, and she got up and responded. She did not say “The heck with you, we will wait for the Speaker to rule”. She apologized and that was the end of the matter.

No one got up on the others. I did not make a ruling. I did not jump in during question period because in my view the use of language was not unparliamentary because the members were not calling one another a hypocrite, which would be unparliamentary. They did not do that. They avoided it like the plague.

We left the matter there. It happened several times, as members have pointed, in question period. We do have freedom of speech in the House. Members can use words that if applied to one another might be unparliamentary, but in this case they avoided using names.

Accordingly, sometimes members' speeches sound hypocritical. It has happened before in the House and members have made that kind of comment, shocking as it may seem. It does not mean they are calling the other member a hypocrite, they just said something was hypocritical.

In those circumstances, the Chair has stayed out of this. The Chair did not intervene yesterday, and I do not propose to intervene today.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pascal-Pierre Paillé Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, during question period in the House, in my question on the great amphitheatre project in Quebec City, I mentioned a press release issued on March 5, 2001 and the fact that the current Minister of Finance was involved in an announcement that had to do with Toronto's bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Given that we have handed out the press release to all the parties, I would ask again for the unanimous consent of the House to officially table this document, which would be greatly appreciated by the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member for Louis-Hébert have the unanimous consent of the House to table this document?

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.