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House of Commons Hansard #80 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was banks.

Topics

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Madam Speaker, on the point of the government praising the banking system, the reality is that before the 2008 great recession started, it was about to undertake some major deregulation processes and was stopped only because of what happened at that time.

I want to go back to the point that the government House leader is raising. He is beginning to breach the confidentiality that we are supposed to be abiding by with regard to House leaders' meetings. His characterization of those meetings is not at all accurate. I want to say that and will not say anything further because I do not want to breach confidentiality.

I want to go back to the point about the regular process. This is the 16th time the government has put closure and time allocation on bills. This is an all-time record. No other government in the entire history of this country has used it that often in such a short period of time. Is he saying the NDP is the only official opposition party that has ever demanded its right to speak in the House?

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Madam Speaker, my focus today is on this bill. This bill is very important for the protection of consumers. It ensures that they have a banking system that treats them fairly. It is important for our economy, for jobs and growth, so we can continue to have the soundest financial system in the world. Thus, it is important that this bill pass, as everybody knows, by April 20, 2012. Failing that, the existing law will sunset. Some may not like the fact that there is a review built into the legislation that compels a requirement to come back to the House every five years. Some think that is a good thing. However, there is an obligation on us to review it.

There are some important changes happening. We are increasing the threshold for schedule I banks to reflect the fact that times have changed, and to ensure that the system is modern and responsive. It is an important change, one that is supported broadly and will continue to keep our financial sector strong and competitive.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, this is a bill about banking and banking is obviously extremely important. I suspect the Conservatives want to avoid prolonged debate on this matter because, should we have that debate, it would make clear that the Conservatives were part of the problem in terms of having a solid banking system rather than a part of the solution. Back in the 1990s, they were in favour of bank mergers and deregulation.

My question to the government House leader is this: He knew for many months and weeks that this was a time-sensitive bill—

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Years, years. Five years.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Years. Is he putting it forward at the last minute in order to avoid debate on banking, which would put the Conservative Party in a very bad light? Is that his motivation?

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Madam Speaker, on the contrary. The bill was introduced in Parliament on November 23, 2011. The Liberal and Conservative senators were able to deal with the bill at all stages, three readings in 23 days. It was introduced in Parliament the second day after our return. We dealt with it since. There is ample time for review in committee. In fact, our objective is to have as much time as possible at committee so that those who are deeply interested in it can actually ask questions about the bill.

I note that, once again, we are more than halfway into this question period and I have yet to receive any questions on the actual substance of the bill or concerns about it. The bill contains important points, for example, that would protect consumers, consumer interest and their ability to cash government cheques of up to $1,500 at any bank. That is important particularly for those who are facing poverty and not traditional users of banks, who do not have bank accounts or large portfolios. For them, that is an important right. Many of them depend on government cheques in order to live. They need the ability to cash them. This would preserve and protect that right in statute. Let us get it into law.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, we know that this bill has been put forward to help improve the security of our financial systems and to strengthen consumer protection. We also know that any government that has had to govern recognizes that this is more of a housekeeping bill. It is a bill that is needed. It is a bill that talks about modernization and keeps consumer confidence there.

However, it seems to me, if I am not mistaken, that the New Democratic Party, more specifically the official opposition, as the government House leader has already mentioned, comes forward with many different topics. I do not think it is that it wants to stall this bill but maybe it is every other bill that could be worked on in this House that it wants to see stalled.

The official opposition may not want to stall this bill but am I correct in asking the government House leader if it is all our other bills, our bills on justice, agriculture, the environment, all the bills that it would like to see stalled?

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Madam Speaker, my conclusion is that the official opposition's motive is simply to run up the score. It is a statistical exercise, compelling the government to use time allocation at every turn.

We need to look at what would happen if we did not resort to this. We would face the difficulties that we have seen in places like Europe where they are unable to come to decisions, and the political gridlock we have seen in the United States. We would see a kind of financial crisis because, if the bill does not pass, there will be no law to govern our financial sector. If we wish s an invitation to chaos, that is it right there.

If the NDP had its way, it would create political paralysis. It would love to see an economic crisis in this country because it thinks that is its key to electoral success.

We happen to think jobs and economic growth are the keys and that part of a strong economy is a strong banking sector. That is why it is important that we continue to have a stable, successful banking sector with certainty of rules that are there to protect the interests of consumers.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, the Conservative House leader would have us believe that should democracy break out in this place the country will descend into chaos and it will collapse around our ears like some failed state.

I do not want anybody here to think, in the little time that I have, that this past practice of the government is in any way normal, nor should it be encouraged nor should it be tolerated by the Canadian people. It is pulling at the very fragile thread of our entire democratic parliamentary system by continuously undermining and sabotaging the most integral aspect of our system, which is the right to free and fulsome debate on the issues of the day so their merits can be tested, the strength of debate and the official opposition. That is what we are debating here today.

We are not talking about the merits of some innocuous bill that originated in the unelected Senate, although that warrants debate in this House. We are talking about the undemocratic practices of the government of sabotaging democracy. It may never get the toothpaste back in the tube if it continues—

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. The hon. government House leader.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his stirring words about the need for debate on a bill that he and his party say they support and his desire to prevent them having an opportunity to vote and express that support. We would like them to be able to vote and express that support. We would like to be able to study the bill at committee.

Canadians are very fortunate that they have had the soundest banking system in the world. We have not had a single bank failure or a single bank bailout during what was the most dramatic global economic downturn of my lifetime.

When we look at the world, at the countries throughout Europe and in the United States, there are bank failures everywhere. Who lost? It was not the rich. Ordinary citizens lost their savings in banks that they were counting on. They were affected by housing crises that saw the value of their homes plummet and the value of their savings evaporate.

We do not want to see that happen in Canada. We do not want to allow that kind of chaos to happen here. That is why this banking bill is such a good metaphor for the difference in perspective between our government and the opposition.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons should be ashamed of himself for saying such things in the House. He says that economic chaos will ensue because opposition members want to talk about bills. Honestly.

Time allocation motions are not a new thing. I did some research and found an essay written by Yves Yvon J. Pelletier of the Institute on Governance in 2000 entitled “Time Allocation in the House of Commons: Silencing Parliamentary Democracy or Effective Time Management?” Of course this is the subject of some debate. Nowhere in the essay did the author talk about any other government using time allocation nearly as frequently as the current Conservative government is using it, which is virtually weekly.

I have an interesting quotation from 1956. A Conservative member said: “The...House of Commons has been gagged and fettered in this debate by a despotic government.” That was a Conservative member talking about the Liberal government in 1956. Those dark days have come again. It is a disgrace.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Madam Speaker, I beg to differ. Our effort is to ensure that Parliament is run in an orderly, productive and hard-working fashion with ample debate. However, on the bill in front of us, I did not hear any comment from the hon. member. I know members of that party have a different view of the use of taxpayer money. I know they have a different view of the role of Parliament and they have different objectives than us. They do not have the objective of a strong, sound Canadian economy because they are committed to the break-up of the country, and an economic crisis would aid them in that objective.

We are looking to ensure the strength and soundness of the Canadian economy, which is exactly what this bill would do. The banking system is the cornerstone of our economy. Canada has been fortunate to have, under our government, the world's soundest banking system as expressed and identified by the World Economic Forum for four years running. That is something we must strengthen and ensure that it continues to be in place because that will benefit every Canadian who participates in our economy, who has savings in banks and who is depending on us to do our work here.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Madam Speaker, this bill was introduced in the Senate, where the millions of Canadians who voted for the NDP have absolutely no representation. That is the first problem. We are being presented with a solution about which the NDP and everyone who voted for us have had absolutely no say.

Second, this bill is very important not only because of what it contains, but also because of what is missing. It does not have any regulations concerning the whole new financial sector and all the new speculative products. There is no mention of all the new commercial paper. There is nothing on any of that.

Can we not talk about a bill before voting on it?

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Madam Speaker, the member has ideas for things that should be in the bill. We would like him to have the opportunity to present those amendments at committee. We look forward to getting the bill to committee so he can do that.

We hope that in the debate that follows today people will actually talk about the substance of the bill, not about the great speeches of French socialist leaders, not about the old age security or the Canada pension plan or other issues that have nothing to do with it, but actually about the bill. It is a routine and simple bill and one that has gone to the House—

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings at this time and put forthwith the question on the motion now before the House.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

All those opposed will please say nay.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Bill S-5—Time Allocation MotionFinancial System Review ActGovernment Orders

February 14th, 2012 / 10:40 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

In my opinion nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the Motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #127

Financial System Review ActGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

I wish to inform the House that because of the proceedings on the time allocation motion, government orders will be extended by 30 minutes.

The House resumed from February 3 consideration of the motion that Bill S-5, An Act to amend the law governing financial institutions and to provide for related and consequential matters, be read the second time and referred to a committee.