The Chair would like to take a moment to provide some information to the House regarding the management of private members' business.
As members know, after the order of precedence is replenished, the Chair reviews the new items so as to alert the House to bills which at first glance appear to infringe on the financial prerogative of the crown. This allows members the opportunity to intervene in a timely fashion to present their views about the need for those bills to be accompanied by a royal recommendation.
Accordingly, following the April 10, 2017 replenishment of the order of precedence with 15 new items, I wish to inform the House that there are two bills that give the Chair some concern as to the spending provisions they contemplate. They are Bill C-315, an act to amend the Parks Canada Agency Act (Conservation of National Historic Sites Account), standing in the name of the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, and Bill C-343, an act to establish the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts and to amend certain acts, standing in the name of the member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix.
Additionally, on an exceptional basis, I would like to raise concerns regarding Bill S-205, an act to amend the Canada Border Services Agency Act (Inspector General of the Canada Border Services Agency) and to make consequential amendments to other acts, and Bill S-229, an act respecting underground infrastructure safety. Both bills have been sent to the House of Commons for consideration. The Chair expects that in due course they will be given first reading in the House, as is usually the case with bills sent to the House by the other place.
As members know, certain constitutional and procedural principles inform the Chair with respect to bills containing spending provisions that would require a royal recommendation, which are also known as “money bills”.
A fundamental requirement for bills of this nature is that they must originate in the House of Commons. Standing Order 80(1) embodies this important principle, stating:
All aids and supplies granted to the Sovereign by the Parliament of Canada are the sole gift of the House of Commons, and all bills for granting such aids and supplies ought to begin with the House, as it is the undoubted right of the House to direct, limit, and appoint in all such bills, the ends, purposes, considerations, conditions, limitations and qualifications of such grants, which are not alterable by the Senate.
This stipulation explicitly prohibits “money bills” from originating in the Senate. In the past, if a bill requiring a royal recommendation was passed by the Senate and sent to the House, the Chair has seen fit to interrupt all further consideration of the bill.
The Chair has specific concerns about the unusual manner in which Bill S-205 and Bill S-229 are structured. Essentially, they appear to contain spending provisions that would require a royal recommendation, but they both conclude with coming into force provisions that suggest otherwise.
Receiving such bills from the Senate is exceptional and rare. Indeed it may well be the first time the House is seized with such legislative measures. Parenthetically, Bill C-343, which I referenced earlier, contains a similar provision.
If, following an anticipated first reading of Bill S-205 and Bill S-229, the Chair determines that the bills are contrary to our usual rules and practices regarding money bills, I would be obligated to disallow them to be further considered in the House. Specifically, it would be incumbent on me to order them removed from the Order Paper and any consideration of them ended. This is distinct from the process for bills first introduced in the House that require a royal recommendation, which are allowed to continue to the end of third reading before the Chair interrupts their consideration. Such would be the case for Bill C-315 and Bill C-343, should the Chair conclude that they do indeed require a royal recommendation.
In view of these considerations, I would encourage hon. members who would like to make arguments regarding the concerns about these bills that I have raised today, or any of the other bills now on the order of precedence, to do so at the earliest opportunity.
I thank hon. members for their attention.