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House of Commons Hansard #70 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

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 Orders 104 and 114, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of the committees of the House. If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the 13th report later today.

Leif Erikson Day ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-387, An Act to establish Leif Erikson Day.

Mr. Speaker, as is well known, Canada has been greatly enriched by the contributions of Canadians who have come from Scandinavian countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. They have settled across the country and have helped to build the Canada we know today. We celebrate that diversity.

My bill would create a Leif Erikson day on October 9. It would honour the contributions of those hundreds of thousands of Canadians of Scandinavian origin who, from coast to coast to coast, have contributed to the growth and building of this nation.

In other countries of the world, such as the United States, October 9 is already seen as Leif Erikson day, a day to honour the contribution of those of Scandinavian heritage who have settled in those countries. I believe very strongly that the petitions that have been submitted in the House from the thousands of people across the country who support this bill also attest to the importance of that honouring.

I introduce this bill to establish October 9 as Leif Erikson day in Canada. I hope it will receive support from both sides of the House.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Financial System Review ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

moved that Bill S-5, An Act to amend the law governing financial institutions and to provide for related and consequential matters, be read the first time.

(Motion deemed adopted and bill read the first time)

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

January 31st, 2012 / 10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move that the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented to the House earlier today be concurred in.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose 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.

The Speaker

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.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

(Motion agreed to)

Multiple SclerosisPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present this petition regarding CCSVI. International data suggest that one-third of MS patients significantly improve following the procedure, one-third moderately improve and one-third show no to little improvement. Regardless, no drugs have ever reversed the symptoms of devastating MS. We have studies from Argentina, Britain, the United States, et cetera, that show a significant improvement in quality of life. We have peer reviewed literature, presentations from eight international conferences, as well as reports from returning Canadian MS patients treated outside Canada.

The petitioners are calling on the Minister of Health to consult experts actively engaged in diagnosis and treatment of CCSVI to undertake phase III clinical trials on an urgent basis in multiple centres across Canada and to require follow-up care.

Electro-Motive DieselPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from the workers and members of the community of London in regard to the lockout at Electro-Motive Diesel in London, Ontario.

This is the 30th day of the strike and the company, Progress Rail, has demanded a reduction of 50% in terms of wages, benefits and pensions. Despite the fact that it made $1.14 billion in profits, an increase of 60% in just the last quarter, it is demanding that its workers take these crushing reductions.

The workers and their families ask the Parliament of Canada to investigate the conditions of sale of Electro-Motive to Progress Rail, to investigate the bad faith bargaining of Progress Rail in regard to contract negotiations, and to award employment insurance benefits to locked out workers. There is a precedent for this.

I would ask that parliamentarians consider the fate of these workers and the impact it will have on all of the London community.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I present a petition to the House of Commons on the Canadian interfaith call for leadership and action on climate change. It is signed by 150 residents of my riding of Wellington—Halton Hills from communities like Elora, Fergus, Erin, Orton and places like Hillsburgh as well.

The petitioners are calling on the government to do three things: one, to work toward a new international agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol that binds all nations to a new set of carbon reduction targets; two, to establish a national target within Canada that we ourselves can achieve; and three, to play a constructive role internationally to fund climate mitigation efforts around the world.

I note that all three things the petitioners are calling for are consistent with the Government of Canada's goals in this regard.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills for presenting a very important petition relating to the same topic as the petition I am presenting. This petition comes from residents of British Columbia, primarily from Williams Lake, Comox, Victoria, 100 Mile House, Quesnel, and also a number of residents of Red Deer and Medicine Hat, Alberta.

The petition calls on the government to recognize the evidence that has been presented and prepared by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy of the fact that not responding to the climate crisis will result in significant costs to the economy of Canada year on year. According to the national round table, the costs of not responding to the climate crisis will be $5 billion per year by 2020, and between $21 billion and $43 billion by 2050 every year. These are costs to the economy, but there are also costs to communities and the environment.

The petitioners therefore petition the Government of Canada, in the interests of Canada's long-term prosperity, to recognize the important role of a stable climate and to agree to a national climate strategy that will set in a transparent way the targets that are required by science. They are specified in the petition as carbon dioxide reductions of 25% below 1990 levels by 2020, followed by an 80% reduction against 1990 levels by 2050.

Visitor VisasPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of hundreds of residents of British Columbia including throughout the Lower Mainland, and residents of the Edmonton and Calgary areas of Alberta.

The petitioners ask the government to look at waiving visa requirements for Serbian visitors to Canada. The Serbian community is very strong and has been present in Canada since Confederation. Over 100,000 Canadians of Serb origin make an enormous contribution to Canada. Twenty-nine European states have waived visa requirements for Serbia. There is a very clear movement to provide visa-free travel from Serbia. This would certainly help to facilitate exchanges between Serbia and Canada and would greatly help the Serbian Canadian community.

On behalf of those hundreds of Canadian residents, I table this petition.

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.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Legislation to Reorganize the Canadian Wheat Board--Speaker's RulingPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised on December 8, 2011, by the member for Guelph in relation to proceedings on Bill C-18, An Act to reorganize the Canadian Wheat Board and to make consequential and related amendments to certain Acts.

I would like to thank the member for having raised this matter, as well as the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the House Leader of the Official Opposition for their interventions.

In raising his concerns, the member for Guelph argued that the Federal Court finding on the actions of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board in relation to Bill C-18 supported his claim that the manner in which the government managed proceedings on the bill violated his privileges as well as those of other members, and rendered the bill and therefore the House's consideration of it, illegal. Given the court's finding, he asked me as Speaker to reconsider the basis for my previous ruling of October 24, 2011 on this same matter, in which I reminded the House that it is the responsibility of the courts and not the Speaker to rule on legal matters.

The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons stated that the decision of the court on this matter in no way limited Parliament's right and ability to legislate, and reminded the House of the undisputed principle that a previous Parliament cannot fetter a future one. Furthermore, he claimed that the House, having already made a decision on this bill, was no longer seized of this matter and, thus, had no jurisdiction to deal with it.

The member for Guelph argues that the decision rendered by the Federal Court has a bearing on the question of the correctness of our proceedings in relation to Bill C-18. He maintains that, despite the Chair having already answered the question in previous rulings, the court decision somehow creates new circumstances.

It is the view of the Chair that the fundamental issue remains unaltered; namely, that the member for Guelph is essentially still asking the Speaker to rule on a matter of law. This, as I have gone to great lengths to explain previously, is something the Speaker cannot do.

In my ruling of October 24, 2011, on page 2405 of the House of Commons Debates, I commented on a long-standing principle that has guided me and my predecessors on the Chair's role in interpreting constitutional and legal matters. I stated:

...it is important to delineate clearly between interpreting legal provisions of statutes—which is not within the purview of the Chair—and ensuring the soundness of the procedures and practices of the House when considering legislation—which, of course, is the role of the Chair.

At the same time, I reminded the House of Speaker Fraser's ruling of April 9, 1991, at pages 19233 and 19234 of the Debates, in which he declared that the Chair must avoid interpreting, even indirectly, the Constitution or a statute.

On April 12, 2005, at page 4953 of the House of Commons Debates, Speaker Milliken stated much the same thing when asked to rule on the admissibility of a bill that would have required him to interpret the constitutionality of a clause of proposed legislation. He stated at the time:

...the Speaker does not make rulings on matters of law; on parliamentary law perhaps, but not on the law of the Constitution or on other laws that affect us. The question of the interpretation of the section of the bill is one that would be determined by a court if the bill in fact becomes law. At the moment, it is a bill before Parliament and Speakers in the past have not ruled on the constitutionality or otherwise of clauses in a bill....Rulings of courts may chuck out some of the clauses that are adopted by this House in a bill, but that happens after the House has passed it and the Senate has passed it and it has received royal assent, because even the courts have no jurisdiction in the matter before.

In the same ruling, Speaker Milliken spelled out for the House the very limited kinds of legal and constitutional matters that Speakers may rule on when he stated:

What they may decide is whether the terms of a bill are in compliance with a prior resolution of this House, a ways and means motion, for example, or a royal recommendation in respect of a money bill, but beyond that, Speakers do not intervene in respect of the constitutionality or otherwise of provisions in the bills introduced in this House.

That the Federal Court granted a breach declaration regarding the actions of the minister with respect to the bill does not fundamentally change either the nature of the question being raised or the role of the Speaker in answering it. To find that the member was obstructed or interfered with in the performance of his duties because he participated in the legislative proceedings on a bill that was allegedly improperly before the House would require me to rule on the legality of the bill and this is simply outside the bounds of what can be considered by the Speaker.

Instead, just as I did in my ruling of October 24, 2011 on this same matter, I must again confine myself to the procedural aspects of the question. Now, as then, I can find no evidence to substantiate the member's claim that there has been an interference with members' ability to fulfill their parliamentary duties. As such, I cannot find that there is a prima facie question of privilege.

I thank all members for their attention.

Bill C-25--Time Allocation MotionPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

moved:

That, in relation to Bill C-25, An Act relating to pooled registered pension plans and making related amendments to other Acts, not more than two further sitting days shall be allotted to the consideration of the second reading stage of the bill; and

That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government orders on the second day allotted to the consideration of the second reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-25--Time Allocation MotionPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Shame.

Bill C-25--Time Allocation MotionPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1 there will now be a 30 minute question period. If we can keep the questions and the responses close to a minute, we can accommodate many members.

I would like to remind the House that the Chair in the past has treated this period similar to question period, so a preference will be given to opposition members. However, government members will be accommodated a few times in the rotation.

I will open the floor now and I will recognize the hon. member for Hamilton Mountain.

Bill C-25--Time Allocation MotionPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that I am happy to rise in the House on this occasion, but I have to say this is an absolute disgrace. The bill that we only started to deal with in the House yesterday deals with the most fundamental question that is before Canadians today and that is pension reform.

The House will know that when the Prime Minister was in Davos, Switzerland he raised concerns among every single senior in this country who is now concerned about the future of his or her pension.

We have a bill before us in the House that proposes to amend how we deal with retirement income security for Canadian seniors. After only two NDP members spoke to it in the House, the government House leader rose yesterday and said that was enough debate. He said that he was tabling a motion for time allocation because the government had had enough of this and needed to invoke closure.

Nobody has had an opportunity to be consulted. Canadians deserve to be heard on this important bill. The minister should not be shutting down debate. He should be encouraging Canadians to participate. He should be encouraging people to be heard.

The Conservatives have moved time allocation 13 times since the election, 11 times since the House came back in September. There is absolutely no justification to move closure on a bill after only two speakers from the official opposition have had the opportunity to voice the concerns of their constituents.

The minister should not be shutting down the voices of Canadians. We need debate. I would ask him to reconsider this really ill-conceived motion.

Bill C-25--Time Allocation MotionPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Madam Speaker, my friend has said that we need to give an opportunity to consult Canadians on this issue. I do not know where she was during the last election because that is in fact exactly what happened. This was an issue in the last election.

Bill C-25--Time Allocation MotionPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

You did not mention it in the pension platform.

Bill C-25--Time Allocation MotionPooled Registered Pension Plans ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Madam Speaker, I hear the member saying that we did not mention it in the last election. I will correct that. I will actually read from the platform of the Conservative Party in the last election. That platform says that a re-elected Conservative government “will work with our provincial and territorial partners to implement the pooled retirement pension plan as soon as possible in our next term of office.”

So, not only is it something that we put forward to Canadians, not only is it something that Canadians had a chance to debate thoroughly in the last election, not only is it something on which Canadians then gave us a majority mandate to move on, it is something we committed to implement as soon as possible.

The pooled registered pension plan is a vehicle that will create new alternatives for Canadians, new ways of saving for their retirement, especially those who are employed in small businesses or are self-employed, people who do not have the option right now of private pensions that larger employers have often offered in the past. We are creating new opportunities for people to save for their retirement.

Yet the opposition, notwithstanding Canadians having endorsed that in the last election, seems to think that is a bad idea and does not even want to make a decision on it. Those members just want the debate to go on perpetually. The debate took place in the last election. Canadians passed judgment. They elected us and gave us a mandate to implement it as soon as possible. That is what we are doing today.