The Chair wishes to make a brief statement on the manner in which the secret ballot vote will be conducted on the designation of Bill C-352, an act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and to provide for the development of a national strategy (abandonment of vessels). In so doing, I also wish to address the point of order raised yesterday by the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
With regard to the voting process, members may obtain their ballot from the table officer seated on their side of the chamber. They will then be able to mark their ballots in secret at one of the two voting stations situated in the corridor behind the Speaker’s chair. Completed ballots are to be deposited in the ballot box which will be placed at the foot of the table.
During statements by members and oral questions, ballots will be distributed from the corridor behind the Speaker's chair and the ballot box will also be placed there so as to not disrupt the proceedings.
With regard to the manner in which the results will be revealed, I am afraid that I cannot accept the argument made by the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby that this process should be treated differently from the only other analogous practice that exists in our Standing Orders, that for the election of the Speaker.
In that case, Standing Order 4(12) provides that all ballots and records of the number of preferences marked for any candidate are to be destroyed by the Clerk of the House. It also instructs the Clerk to in no way reveal the number of preferences marked for any candidate.
Standing Order 92 does not provide any direction to the Chair which would cause it to depart from that now established practice. Accordingly, when the two days of voting have been completed, the table officers will count the ballots and provide me with the final result, not the number of members voting for or against the motion.
I will then provide that result to the House at the opening of the sitting on Thursday, November 30.
The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs may wish to consider this matter and if it deems necessary, provide further direction to the Chair with regard to the manner in which the result of the secret ballot is revealed.
Pursuant to Standing Order 92(4), I now direct that the vote on the designation of Bill C-352commence.
I thank hon. members for their attention.