House of Commons Hansard #198 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was statistics.


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

Vote #340

Amendments to Standing OrdersGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the amendment lost.

Pursuant to order made earlier today, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on Government Business No. 18.

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

Amendments to Standing OrdersGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Some hon. members



Amendments to Standing OrdersGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

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

Amendments to Standing OrdersGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Some hon. members


Amendments to Standing OrdersGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

All those opposed will please say nay.

Amendments to Standing OrdersGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Some hon. members


Amendments to Standing OrdersGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

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

Vote #341

Amendments to Standing OrdersGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion carried.

Resignation of MemberRoutine Proceedings

June 20th, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.


Denis Lebel Conservative Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have always respected both official languages of our country, but I will give my speech in French as it will be easier for translation. However, I want to tell everybody in English that I was proud to speak both official languages in the House.

Life is always good when you give yourself time and time can do its work. Given the schedule that was originally planned, according to which we were to adjourn a few days ago, I never thought I would have the opportunity to speak to the House as I am doing today. I want to thank everyone and all parliamentarians for what has happened in the last few hours. I also want them to have as many great moments as I have had here in the wonderful House of Commons.

I came here in 2007, after having been mayor. My first political life began in 2000. I have now been in politics full time for 17 years. I arrived here in September 2007 after winning the first by-election for the Stephen Harper government. At the time, I had an office on the sixth floor of the Confederation Building. I had just arrived here when my neighbour to the left knocked on my door. I did not have staff, I did not have a team and I was alone. The House had been prorogued, and nobody was in Ottawa. This person invited me to knock on his door if I needed anything, and he would be there. That person is you, Mr. Speaker. I thank you again.

Of course, I am sure everyone has heard by now that I am leaving politics in the next few weeks. I will use the coming weeks to honourably finish the work that remains, as I hope I have done for the past 17 years. I need to close my four offices, transfer files to the proponents that submitted them to me, do the summer festival circuit in my riding, meet with people, thank them, and help prepare the next by-election to make sure the Conservatives win, of course. That is how I will be spending the next few weeks. Today is simply an opportunity for me to say thank you.

I want to thank everyone in this beautiful place, the House of Commons, and the rest of Parliament Hill. We all need to make a point of thanking the people who help us do our jobs without too many headaches, from the person who washes the floor to the one who serves us our meals, from our security officers to the person who cuts the grass. The pages are there for us for every little thing we need, as we saw earlier. We can all be satisfied and proud of those individuals.

I first came here in 2007, and one year later, I became a minister because someone put his trust in me. A great man, a great prime minister, Stephen Harper, someone I will never forget as long as I live, did me the honour of entrusting me with considerable responsibilities.

Recently, the Minister of Transport was talking about how much work he had, and I joked that when I was the transport minister, I was also the minister of infrastructure, communities, and intergovernmental affairs, as well as the minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for Quebec Regions, so he had no business telling me he had lots of work because he was practically on vacation.

I owe all that to Stephen Harper, a great prime minister, who had faith in me and led us to a balanced budget. He gave me mandates. When I got to Transport Canada, the new Champlain Bridge was not even on the radar. There was nothing going on with it. Just 140 days later, thanks to former finance minister Jim Flaherty and Prime Minister Harper, we made an announcement about that major project for the Montreal area. We also announced the Windsor bridge project. In fact, it was my honour to announce the Windsor bridge. Given what I am seeing now, maybe I should have appointed the board of directors too. I would have made different appointments, but that is another story.

I had the honour of developing this country's biggest infrastructure plan ever with a balanced budget. That is an important distinction. I could go on and on, but I will stop here. Mr. Harper put his trust in me, and I will be forever grateful.

After the election, another great woman gave me the opportunity to become deputy leader of the official opposition. The member for Sturgeon River—Parkland asked me to be her right-hand man, and I am still grateful for that honour.

I have a lot of confidence in the young member for Regina—Qu'Appelle.

One of the reasons why I can leave today with peace of mind is all of the people behind me. We have a new leader, who will demonstrate how empathetic he is and how in touch he is with people's feelings, while having a great economic vision and a lot of respect for Canadians.

Of course, I want to thank all the members of the Quebec caucus, past and present, who have always supported me. Today, they allowed me to leave. There were five of us, then 12. Now there are 11, but I am sure there will be more.

Canada's public servants are among the best in the world. When I was a minister, I had the opportunity to work with many great public servants from all departments. I have a soft spot for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for Quebec Regions. A Quebecker who comes from one of the regions loves being in the regions of Quebec. Every public servant I had the opportunity to work with showed me how qualified they are. I thank them from the very bottom of my heart.

I have had different families. There was the Conservative political family, made up of all the Conservative members that I had the opportunity to work with here in the House, caring and committed men and women. There was also the House of Commons family, made up of all members of the House. All members, regardless of their party, are here to work for the good of Canadians, and we need to continue to be accessible to them and to be respectful and open-minded. Behind all the political posturing are men and women with families and children. When someone attacks the person they love the most in this world, often their father or mother, it affects the whole family. Let us think about that when we engage in parliamentary sparring. Let us show respect for all members of the House.

I also found family in the various departments I have headed, with up to 42 employees. A few of them are here today. They became my second family. Some of them became my sons and daughters, and I thank them for that. Those were often very turbulent years, when we had to handle several files at once. There is never anyone more important than the team. In life, when we realize how lucky we are to be at the top of a pyramid or a group of individuals while respecting those below, that always makes things much easier. I have long and often said that I would be Denis much longer than a minister. It was just a job. Later, people will remember Denis, not my job.

I have often said that it was very nice to be important, but it was much more important to be nice. When someone is not nice, people remember. I will continue living my life that way and working to make things happen.

I thank everyone who has worked for me. I want to pay special tribute to my former chief of staff, Mr. Yan Plante. He has done an exceptional job, and he provides me with valued advice even today.

I also thank all of the constituents in my riding, where I was the mayor. I thank them for putting their trust in me.

Obviously, I would like to close by thanking my family. When public life is forced on our spouses, children, and grandchildren for 17 years, it is not always easy.

I would like to share a story. My granddaughter was in grade 4 at the time. She was told by her teacher, a political opponent, that her granddad was going to lose the election. It is hard to imagine a child of nine or ten being told that by someone, but these things happen. When we decide to get into politics, our families get dragged into it as well. We must remember to always protect our families and to help them protect themselves.

My life philosophy has always been the same. I have always said that we are all human, and no matter the colour of our skin or our political, religious, or sexual orientation, we should work together to build a better future and a better world for those around us. I am proud to call the Lac-Saint-Jean region my home, and I always will be.

I hope that I will be remembered as someone who gave of himself, as does everyone else here.

Resignation of MemberRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Resignation of MemberRoutine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. The hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle.

Hon. Member for Lac-Saint-JeanRoutine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan


Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise today to pay tribute to our deputy leader and good friend, the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean.

For over a decade, the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean, a proud native son, served his constituents with distinction. He devoted his life to serving the public, specifically his constituents in Roberval.

At a time when our Conservative movement needed energy and reassurance, the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean was there to lead the way.

Through him, voters knew that our Conservative caucus was fighting every single day to help their businesses succeed, help their families stay prosperous, and help their communities grow.

As a result of his hard work and leadership, our Conservative family in Quebec grew from five to 12 members in the last election. The Conservative caucus is always stronger when it is represented in la belle province. We have the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean to thank for making us stronger.

He was always a natural choice to lead, not just our efforts in Quebec but within our caucus as well. We have trusted him to be a source of wise counsel and to always bring to the table a strong perspective on what everyday Canadians are thinking.

The fact that he was Minister of Transport and Minister of Infrastructure is a testament to his unique capacity to know what Canadians and their families expect from a responsible government. Under his leadership, the Champlain Bridge in Montreal received considerable support. This is a project that will allow traffic to flow more smoothly. When he was infrastructure minister, he oversaw the construction of highway 85 in Quebec, under the new building Canada fund.

In his riding, his work for the Véloroute des Bleuets, the historic village of Val-Jalbert, and the Zoo sauvage de Saint-Félicien helped his region to flourish even more.

The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean has always been driven to help families and job creators in Quebec to prosper in their province. That was always very important to him. Among all his responsibilities, I know that what he enjoyed most was meeting Quebeckers right across the province in his capacity as minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.

Within our ranks, his warmth and friendship have been critical in helping our party navigate the experience of leading a minority government, then a majority, and then being an effective official opposition, soon to become the government again. When that day comes, it will be in no small part because of the hard work the member for Lac-Saint-Jean put in, day after day. As he has said himself, he is not a man who does things in half measures. We on this side of the House know how true that is.

On behalf of our entire caucus, I hope that he will enjoy his next mission, that of taking time for himself and his family, to the fullest. I thank Danielle and his children, Marie-Ève and Mathieu, for sharing him with us for these many years.

I thank the member for Lac-Saint-Jean for his work, his wisdom, and his friendship. I will always remember our trip to Rome a few years ago. Despite the years he spent as an organizer of the Traversée internationale du lac Saint-Jean, I know that although he is not a great swimmer he will be happy spending more time on the beach, on the shores of his lake.

Hon. Member for Lac-Saint-JeanRoutine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I apologize to the hon. Leader of the Opposition. I should have introduced him as the Leader of the Opposition even though he is the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle.

The hon. Chief Government Whip.

Hon. Member for Lac-Saint-JeanRoutine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.


Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the walls of Parliament shook this week when the member for Roberval announced that he is leaving. It was such a surprise to all of the members that we decided to suspend the House immediately this week.

This is big news. The member for Roberval is a politician, a well-known and highly respected public figure, and he is also greatly liked by Quebecers. In fact, he is such a nice guy that I always suspected that he was a Liberal. We on both sides of the House will miss him very much.

I could easily talk about his career as a businessman, as the mayor of Roberval, as a member of Parliament, as a minister of half of the government, and as president of the Privy Council. I will stop here, because that is not what matters. Everything he has done is great, but what matters is the man behind it all. Behind the politician, the member of Parliament, and the minister, there is the man. Beyond the political adversary there is the man, the human being, a generous, passionate, fair and always smiling individual. He is Mr. Smile, in a way.

He is a father, grandfather, husband, friend, hockey player, golfer, badminton player, and champion cyclist. He is successful at everything he does; he is an accomplished athlete.

In other words, he is not just another pretty face. He is also a helluva good guy, and we will miss him.

He gave me a hard time. When I had the privilege of being the co-chair of the campaign in Quebec, I toured the regions and tried to get candidates. Every time I arrived somewhere, I was told that the hon. member for Roberval had just passed through. He's a damn good guy, and he was ahead of us every time. Whether it was by car or by bicycle, he was absolutely everywhere. He is a machine.

As I said earlier, what he did not do by car, he did by bicycle with the same smile and the same energy. He is a bit like the Energizer bunny; he keeps going and going. I saw him at work on the ground, and he won all my admiration and all my respect. It can be said that he served his constituents and his country with honour, dignity, and humility.

Today, he is heading home, to his region and to his family. He is so attached to that region, to his roots, that it was there that he announced his departure this week. I just hope he will not change his mind.

In preparing these notes, I reread an interview that I really liked and that touched me. The reporter asked him, “What have fatherhood and family changed in your life, your perspective on everyday life?”

He answered, “I have always considered family as being the essence, the reason why we do things, the foundation of everything. When you are in high places professionally, family becomes even more important. My family is my safe haven, where I am told the truth and I am supported as a person.”

The other question that he was asked was: “If you were to go back 30 years, would you have done some things differently with your children?”

He answered, “Although my children never complained about my absence, I would try to be more present.”

Today, he will go back home, he will be with his family and he will be much more present. On behalf of the Liberal members, I would like to thank and congratulate him for all his accomplishments.

On a more personal note, the next time I am in Roberval, if he is not away cycling up Mount Everest, we will sit down and solve the problems of the world over a glass of wine.

I wish him all the best.

Hon. Member for Lac-Saint-JeanRoutine Proceedings

4 p.m.


Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the New Democratic Party Whip, Mr. Speaker, it is my honour, Mr. Speaker, to pay tribute today, Mr. Speaker, to the member for Lac-Saint-Jean, Mr. Speaker, whom I will call by name if you do not mind, Mr. Speaker, the hon. Denis Lebel, Mr. Speaker.

I am sure you noticed how many times I mentioned your title in my introduction, and I hope you realize I was just having a little fun at the member for Lac-Saint-Jean's expense by imitating his speaking style. Please believe me when I say that I kid because I care. Despite our political differences, I am very fond of the member for Lac-Saint-Jean. I thought I knew him, but it turns out I did not know him as well as I thought.

I recently found out that the member for Lac-Saint-Jean is an accomplished cyclist who rides at least 3,000 kilometres every summer. That is really impressive. I also learned that he was a badminton champion at the age of 18. That would explain his aggressive style on behalf of the former Conservative government.

I was less surprised to discover that he was once the director of the Village historique de Val-Jalbert. I can definitely picture him sporting a bowler hat and suspenders at the general store in that company town, busy pulling a fast one on a bunch of his fellow villagers.

Although he is self-taught, he has verve, our Denis. Not only has he been a very eloquent speaker in the House of Commons for 10 years, but he has remained close to the people, despite all the years and the increased importance of his duties.

When I was infrastructure critic for the official opposition and he was the minister of infrastructure, of course, I had to question him regularly. He answered with such assurance and conviction that he almost believed it. No, I am exaggerating. However, his talents as a communicator always impressed me, even when he used them against me.

A few years later, when he returned after dealing with some health problems, I realized just how nice and kind he was when I asked him about his health, and he told me that he appreciated my concern very much.

As everyone knows, the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean was mayor of Roberval before entering federal politics for the Conservative Party. Well-placed sources in Lac-Saint-Jean tell me that he could have run for any party because people voted for the popular man involved in his community rather than for the party he represented.

Now that he is leaving to set sail for other horizons, my colleagues from the New Democratic Party and I would like to thank him for the considerable amount of work he has done over the years.

Two days after Father's Day, I hope that before setting sail on a new adventure, he will take a little time to be a dad and granddad again, because I know he misses it very much.

I would like to conclude this statement with two quotations. The first is from the leader of the NDP, the hon. member for Outremont, who used the words “kind and high road all the way” in speaking to me about Denis Lebel, when I told him that I was the one who would pay tribute to Denis today. He added that Denis made things very difficult for his adversaries because he is such a good guy.

My second quotation comes from the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean himself. In the fall of 2015, when replying to a reporter, after Mr. Lebel moved to the opposition side for the first time in his career in federal politics, he said: “I always treated our political opponents with a lot of respect and dignity when I was a minister. They are certainly repaying me for that today.”

I hope to have done so too. Thank you, Denis.

Hon. Member for Lac-Saint-JeanRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.


Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I too would like to pay tribute to the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean, who has announced that he is leaving political life. Of course, I could say that one fewer Conservative is always good news. However, I feel that we have to give credit where credit is due.

The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean has always had a deep attachment to his hometown of Roberval, where he was a respected mayor, as well as to his region and all of Quebec. Mr. Lebel could be seen travelling all over Quebec. He was always well received and always positive, and people fully reciprocated. It is difficult to answer positivity with negativity; this makes for an opponent who is hard to attack.

Politically, he is blue. It is not the same blue as ours, however, even though his constituency was once the constituency of our founding leader. We know he has blue roots, and he proudly represents the blueberry region. He is therefore a true “blueberry” at heart.

He may come across as a teddy bear, but this does not mean that he is as gentle as one. Mr. Lebel has been a formidable opponent. He may not have often raised his voice in the House, but when he debated with his calm, even voice and his smile, he would still find flaws that really stung his opponents. He used them to throw anything he could find back in our faces, making it difficult for his opponents to answer back. He is a tough and effective politician.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I wish him all the best in his future plans, as well as a wonderful return to his family. I am certain that he will be only too happy to return to his lake and its people. I think that Mr. Lebel has been a worthy representative of Lac-Saint-Jean. He could have been very effective in the Bloc, I am sure of that, but well, nobody is perfect.

All the best, hon. member!

Hon. Member for Lac-Saint-JeanRoutine Proceedings

4:10 p.m.


Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will add a few words in complete agreement with everything else my colleagues have said.

The member for Lac-Saint-Jean has always been friendly and honourable and a man of integrity. I remember when he was the minister of infrastructure. I believe that he did good work in that area because he had already been a mayor. He was the mayor of Roberval, and he always kept this level of government in mind.

I am absolutely certain that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities found in him a friend and a champion of municipalities and local interests.

I live in a town with a population of 10,000, but at the other side of the country, in the town of Sidney, which is really perfect if someone wants to come for a visit this summer.

I would like to say to my friend, the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean, on behalf of the entire Green Party of Canada, that we wish him real happiness for the future with his family and loved ones, because happiness is what he deserves.

Thank you very much.

Hon. Member for Lac-Saint-JeanRoutine Proceedings

4:10 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I would like to add my voice to all the comments and compliments made to my friend, the member for Lac-Saint-Jean.

I remember very clearly when he first set foot in the Confederation Building. I note that he mentioned his efforts to be always pleasant. I can attest that he has done so with flying colours.

During the year when we were both in the Confederation Building, not only before but also after he became a minister, he was always truly pleasant. Everyone in the House knows that he is a dedicated man who went above and beyond to serve his country. It must be said that people here not only dedicate their time, but also a large part of their lives. That is what the member for Lac-Saint-Jean did. I very much appreciated it.

I consider him a friend. I appreciate his service not only as a member of Parliament, but also as a minister in Canada. That is much appreciated, on behalf of the House and on behalf of Canadians.

Denis, I hope that you will contact me if you find yourself in Nova Scotia. I could show you some wonderful trails and we could cycle together.

Long life to you, my friend!

Hon. Member for Lac-Saint-JeanRoutine Proceedings

4:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Private Members' BusinessPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

4:15 p.m.


Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a point of order regarding Bill S-229, an act respecting underground infrastructure safety.

I would like to thank Senator Mitchell for sponsoring this bill from the other place. This bill is a worthwhile act that promotes the safety of Canadians as well as important underground infrastructure. It is my hope that the Chair will seriously consider the merits of the following points of procedure as they pertain to Bill S-229.

Specifically, my point of order is in regard to the Chair's ruling of May 9, 2017, alerting the House to Bill S-229, which at first glance appears to infringe on the financial prerogative of the crown. The Chair stated that if, following an anticipated first reading of Bill S-229, the Chair determined that the bill was contrary to our usual rules and practices regarding money bills, the Chair would be obligated to disallow it being further considered in this House.

The parliamentary secretary to the leader of the government in the House of Commons also made representations and formally raised a point of order on this matter on May 12, 2107.

The rights and privileges of each House of Parliament respecting money bills are provided for in the Constitution. Sections 53 and 54 of the Constitution Act of 1867 state:

53. Bills for appropriating any Part of the Public Revenue, or for imposing any Tax or Impost, shall originate in the House of Commons.

54. It shall not be lawful for the House of Commons to adopt or pass any Vote, Resolution, Address, or Bill for the Appropriation of any Part of the Public Revenue, or of any Tax or Impost, to any Purpose that has not been first recommended to that House by Message of the Governor General in the Session in which such Vote, Resolution, Address, or Bill is proposed.

The Standing Orders of the House of Commons reflect in part those provisions. I refer to Standing Orders 79 and 80. Standing Order 79(1) states:

This House shall not adopt or pass any vote, resolution, address or bill for the appropriation of any part of the public revenue, or of any tax or impost, to any purpose that has not been first recommended to the House by a message from the Governor General in the session in which such vote, resolution, address or bill is proposed.

Standing Order 80(1) states:

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.

Bill S-229 includes a special coming into force provision that states in clause 33:

(1) Subject to subsection (2), the provisions of this Act come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.

(2) No order may be made under subsection (1) unless the appropriation of moneys for the purposes of this Act has been recommended by the Governor General and such moneys have been appropriated by Parliament.

I would like to raise a preliminary point respecting the role and the authority of the Speaker of this House. It is a well-established principle of parliamentary law and procedure that our Speaker does not rule on questions of law but rather rules on questions of procedure.

The Speaker indicated in a statement to the House on May 9, 2017, that should he determine that Bill S-229 was:

....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.

With respect, there is no Standing Order that would allow the Chair to remove Bill S-229 from the Order Paper unless the Chair acted under the sole authority of section 54 of the Constitution Act, 1867, which, in my opinion, would be contrary to the principle stated above that the Chair does not rule on questions of law.

The current situation is different from those you alluded to in your statement. I refer to rulings from your predecessors, Speaker Parent, respecting Bill S-13, on December 2, 1998, and Speaker Milliken, respecting Bill S-15, on June 12, 2001.

In those cases, while the Chair referred to the relevant constitutional provisions, the rulings were based on the requirement for taxation bills to be preceded by a ways and means motion, which is a requirement under our Standing Orders. As no such motion had been adopted, these Senate bills were ruled out of order. However, Bill S-229 is not a taxation bill.

I respectfully submit that should you decide that Bill S-229 is not a money bill, without a procedural rule to that effect, it belongs to this House, and not the Chair, to decide whether it will insist on its rights and privileges as provided for in sections 53 and 54 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

I recognize, however, that Standing Order 79(1) requires that you do not put the question at third reading if you decide that Bill S-229 is a money bill. Letting Bill S-229 go through the legislative process in this House would also allow for the consideration of the provisions of this bill and would provide an opportunity to amend or remove any provisions that may appear contrary to the financial initiative of the House and the crown.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, in his remarks of May 12, referred to page 769 of the second edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, which states:

An amendment intended to alter the coming into force clause of a bill, making it conditional, is out of order

With due respect to my colleague, this is not such a case. Bill S-229 already contains a coming into force clause that is conditional. This House is not seized with an amendment that would render an already existing coming into force clause conditional.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons also referred to a ruling rendered by the Chair on November 9, 1978, to assert that the use of a provision in the bill to elude the requirement for a royal recommendation had been ruled unacceptable. In that case, a bill, Bill C-204, contained a provision that read, “nothing in the present Act shall be interpreted as requiring” an appropriation of any part of the public revenue.

The Chair, however, did not rule this practice to be unacceptable but instead stated that such a clause “will not be given any consideration in determining whether or not there is any infringement of the financial initiative of the Crown.”

I would note that the Chair, in this particular case, allowed the consideration of Bill C-204 to be continued.

Standing Order 79(1) states:

This House shall not adopt or pass any...bill for the appropriation of any part of the public any purpose that has not been first recommended to the House by a message from the Governor General in the session in which such...bill is proposed.

The effect of the coming into force clause included in Bill S-229 would be that this bill would not appropriate any part of the public revenue. Another legislative enactment would be necessary to appropriate the required funds.

There have been two rulings rendered by the Speaker of the Senate respecting the effect of the coming into force clause included in Bill S-229, one respecting Bill S-234, on May 27, 2008, and another respecting Bill S-230, on May 5, 2009. I refer you to page 1087 of the Journals of the Senate of May 27, 2008, where Speaker Kinsella stated:

What Bill S-234 would actually do is set up a legal framework for subsequent action. Nothing can begin to happen to make this framework effective without a subsequent Royal Recommendation and appropriation by Parliament.

The Bill, itself, does not actually authorize the appropriation of any funds. While the passage of the Bill would express a will on the part of Parliament to establish an aboriginal peoples' assembly and an executive council, the Crown would not actually be obliged to give the necessary Recommendation, so its initiative would not be impaired. If the Governor General did recommend the necessary funds, and Parliament appropriated them, that would have the known effect of allowing the Bill to be brought into force, with the resulting consequences.

Bill S-234 thus appears to respect fully the financial initiative of the Crown, since no funds are being or must be appropriated.

Our own procedural authorities are to the same effect and were relied upon by the Speaker of the other place in his ruling.

Citation 611 of Beauchesne's, Sixth Edition states:

A bill from the Senate, certain clauses of which would necessitate some public expenditure, is in order if it is provided by a clause of the said bill that no such expenditure shall be made unless previously sanctioned by Parliament.

Beauchesne also referred to a ruling rendered on April 5, 1870, by Speaker Cockburn, which is highly relevant to the present case. The last clause in the first section of the bill provides:

That nothing in this Act shall give the authority to the Minister to cause expenditure until previously sanctioned by Parliament.

This overrides the eighth section referred to by the hon. member. No contract could therefore be entered into under that section, which could bind government and necessitate an expenditure of public money unless it had previously been sanctioned by Parliament.

With respect to Bill S-229, the proposal is not even a money bill, as it merely contemplates the minister entering into an agreement but does not directly involve any expenditure.

In his remarks, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons stated:

Clause 17 of Bill S-229, an act respecting underground infrastructure safety, authorizes the minister to enter into agreements, including funding agreements, that the minister considers necessary for carrying out the purposes of the act. Subclause 17(2) provides greater detail around the operation of such funding agreements between the federal government and the provincial governments. These specific purposes are not authorized by any statute or appropriation.

Citation 613 of Beauchesne's, Sixth Edition reads:

A bill, which does not involve a direct expenditure but merely confers upon the government a power for the exercise of which public money will have to be voted [on] by Parliament, is not a money bill, and no Royal Recommendation is necessary as a condition precedent to its introduction.

In support of this, I refer to the ruling of Speaker Sproule, rendered on January 16, 1912, respecting the Inquiries Act, authorizing the Governor in Council to establish commissions of inquiries by orders in council. Neither the 1912 Inquiries Act, which was a consolidation of two statutes, nor its 1868 or 1880 predecessors, had received a royal recommendation. I note that the 1868 act had also been introduced in the Senate.

Bill S-229 is no different from those precedents.

In many cases, a separate appropriation bill, based on the main or supplementary estimates, is necessary, otherwise the new organization cannot undertake its activities.

I refer, for example, to the Law Commission of Canada. While the Law Commission of Canada Act was passed by Parliament in 1996, the activities of the commission were always dependent on appropriations voted every year by Parliament. In 2006, when the government did not seek appropriations from Parliament and appropriations were, accordingly, not granted for the operations of the commission, the commission had to cease its activities, and all the while the Law Commission of Canada Act remained, and in fact still remains, in the law books.

For these reasons, I respectfully submit that Bill S-229 is admissible and should not be ruled out of order.

Private Members' BusinessPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I thank the member for Guelph for raising this point of order. I will take the information provided under advisement on Bill S-229. I am sure that it will be of assistance in researching the issue and preparing for a decision.

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith, Aboriginal Affairs; the member for Cumberland—Colchester, Royal Canadian Mounted Police; the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, National Defence.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Indian Act (elimination of sex-based inequities in registration), as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

Speaker's RulingIndian ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Motions Nos. 1 to 4 will be regrouped for debate and voted upon according to the voting pattern available at the table.

The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands has informed the Chair that she does not wish to proceed with Motion No. 1.