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House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was public.

Topics

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government has done more than any other to help people with disabilities and ensure that we have an environment that is fully inclusive across the country. That includes my new office in Simcoe, Ontario. I am pleased to say that we were finally able to secure that.

I would also point out that the Office for Disability Issues that is part of the government for the first time is now accessible, because it was not under the Liberals, and is a full model of accessibility not just for the mobility impaired but for the visually--

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for New Westminster--Coquitlam.

Shark FinsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, Toronto is the latest city to join others in Canada and across North America in banning the sale and use of shark fins. Up to 75 million sharks are finned and thrown away at sea every year, often while still alive.

Will the government work with us to end this practice and ban the import of shark fins to Canada?

Shark FinsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, shark finning is an offensive practice. It has been banned in Canada since the early 1990s.

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, today Allen Oberg confirmed that he will be launching a reckless and baseless legal challenge against the federal government for bringing marketing freedom to western Canadian farmers.

In September of this year he stated:

There’s no doubt you wouldn’t want a board that’s of the belief that this whole thing won’t work and that it’s a recipe for failure.

Mr. Oberg is actively working to prevent marketing freedom for grain farmers by using any means possible.

As Mr. Oberg launches this reckless legal challenge, will the Minister of Agriculture remind the House of its ability and duty to pass this important legislation?

Canadian Wheat BoardOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, as a government we not only have a right to change legislation, we have a responsibility to deliver on our promises.

Farmers have earned the right to market their own grain, whether on an open market or through a voluntary Canadian wheat board.

The director of the Wheat Board said today as he resigned:

The CWB’s decision this week to launch a legal challenge against the Federal Government over the proposed changes to the CWB ACT...is simply wrong.

That says it all.

Affordable HousingOral Questions

October 26th, 2011 / 3:05 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, homelessness and the lack of affordable housing are not just big city problems. In my riding of Trois-Rivières, the Le Havre shelter does not have enough beds to meet the demand. I would like to congratulate all the community organizations that have become involved and offered their assistance, but it is only a short-term solution.

When will this government take care of families in need and adopt a long-term strategy to provide Canadians with affordable housing?

Affordable HousingOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, two years ago we extended the five-year program for housing and homelessness. Through our economic action plan we have 14,000 projects under way to build, or renovate existing, affordable housing operations.

Unfortunately, we did that in spite of the NDP, because that party voted against every one of these initiatives to help people get the housing they deserve.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-François Fortin Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are true believers in the abolition of the firearms registry.

In addition to abolishing the registry, now they want to destroy all its records. This would prevent Quebec, which has asked for the data, from salvaging a tool that saves lives, a tool that has cost nearly $2 billion in public money—part of that from Quebec, a tool the Conservatives now want to trash. What a waste.

Does the Conservative government, which brags about its openness toward Quebec, intend to reply to the request by Quebec's public safety minister to have the data returned, or will it again thumb its nose at the unanimous will of the National Assembly of Quebec?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of State (Small Business and Tourism)

Mr. Speaker, our position has not changed. We made an election promise to abolish this expensive and ineffective long gun registry. We have a bill before Parliament, and I hope that the opposition members will support us, because we feel that there is a consensus among Canadians to have effective measures to fight crime. This registry has not prevented criminals from obtaining firearms.

The House resumed from October 25 consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion—Canadian Wheat BoardBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being 3:11 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #45

Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion defeated.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

During question period today, the member for Winnipeg Centre quoted this member as saying something that I categorically did not say. I would like him to table the document that he is referring to where that quote was made, as well as the source and the time that he is referring to for the quote he put forward.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to. I appreciate the opportunity to table the time, the location, and the date; in fact, the member can go onto YouTube right now and watch the entire movie. It was the April 14 all candidates' debate for the federal election campaign.

I could read the quote again if he likes, if he wants to double-check: “The Canadian Wheat Board should be dis--”

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. member for Wascana is rising on a point of order.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to seek clarification from the Chair with respect to an incident that occurred in question period today. A very specific question was addressed by a Liberal member to the chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs.

The chair was pre-empted from answering the question by the intervention of the Minister of Veterans Affairs. I would point out that the question did not pertain to the responsibility of the government or the minister. The question related to the work of the committee, which would be under the purview of the chair and the members of the committee.

I am seeking clarity from you, Mr. Speaker, about the proper procedure in this sort of matter. Is it now permissible in the House for ministers to effectively muzzle the chairs of committees and impose on committees the views of the government? We always take the position in the House that committees are masters of their own affairs, that they determine the time of meetings, the witness lists and the order of business. The work before the committee is under the control of the committee.

If it becomes permissible for ministers simply to pre-empt all that--to take that responsibility away from the chair and to place it under the minister--then I think we have undergone a rather profound change in our long-held traditions with respect to the proper functioning of our committees.

Mr. Speaker, I seek your clarification on that matter, because it is very important to the integrity of how our committees function.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if I may be of assistance, your predecessor, Speaker Milliken, set out quite clearly what the practice is in circumstances like this. On February 7, 2008, there was a question addressed to a chair of a standing committee. I think that happened twice, and the government House leader at the time responded. The Speaker, Mr. Milliken, advised clearly that the role of the Speaker is to “...take a look at those who are standing to answer and choose who is going to answer”.

When that question came, I looked very carefully and saw that only one individual was rising to answer, so I believe you responded appropriately and in accordance with the practice that had been established and articulated clearly by Speaker Milliken.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think we need to be clear. When the chair of a committee is asked a question, it is none of the government's business; it concerns the committee. If ministers can now muzzle committee chairs, what is the point of having parliamentary committees? We need to be careful. We do not want to set a dangerous precedent.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise simply for the sake of completeness. I omitted to advise the House of the dates in question: February 7, 2008, in Debates, page 2743, and February 8, 2008, pages 2835-2837. This is all referenced in O'Brien and Bosc at page 506 in footnote 90, if people wish to see the definitive ruling.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, there is one further point on this matter to draw to your attention because of the importance of the independent integrity of the committees of the House.

It would seem to me that if the chair of a committee chooses not to rise in his or her place, as the government House leader has suggested a committee chair might choose to do--that is, not answer the question--it would then be appropriate, Mr. Speaker, for you to turn not to a minister of the government, who is not in charge of the order of business before a committee, but to a vice-chair of that committee, and to invite the vice-chair to respond on behalf of the committee, because it is the committee, not the government, that is in charge of the agenda of committee business.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the important work done by parliamentary committees, their chairs and all committee members. I myself have had many opportunities to be a member of a committee. As we all know, committees have their own rules and procedures.

But we are in the House of Commons now, and the question the member asked was clearly addressed to me, since it was my department officials who answered the question. Unfortunately, the member was not paying attention, which is why I thought it a good idea to remind him that we are maintaining all programs for veterans and we will continue to do so.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wanted to intervene because I am a bit concerned about the comments from the government House leader.

We do have committee chairs who are not on the government side of the House and who act under the responsibility and right of the official opposition.

I would not want the interpretation or ruling of Mr. Milliken, the Speaker at that time, to be read as meaning that a minister can stand up when a question is directed in particular to a chair whose responsibility is that of the official opposition and not of the government.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

On the same point, Mr. Speaker, the committee will meet again tomorrow. Then, presumably, I will get my answer, live and in colour.

If the same question is posed tomorrow, will it be the chair of the committee or the minister who will answer that question?