Madam Speaker, I am rising on a point of order in order to challenge the admissibility of that time allocation motion because it does not satisfy the requirements of Standing Order 78(3) and the usual practices of this House. Please allow me to explain further.
Standing Order 78(3) contemplates a minister proposing a motion “for the purpose of allotting a specified number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings...provided that the time allotted...is not to be less than one sitting day”. Of course, it goes without saying that the House has sitting days with predictable schedules and whatnot, but not at our committees. How should this rule apply to committees then? I would respectfully submit that it is through the allocation of hours and past practices back me up.
A canvassing of records of the House show that in the 50 plus years Standing Order 78(3) has been in our rule book, it has only been invoked three times before when a bill was referred to a committee, other than a committee of the whole. Ironically, all three times were when the Chrétien Liberals were trying to shut down Bloc Québécois resistance. The shoe seems to be on the other foot this morning.
Firstly, on April 25, 1996, the House passed a time allocation motion concerning the human resources committee's study of Bill C-12, the Employment Insurance Act. Referring to page 260 of the Journals shows that “not more than 10 further hours shall be allotted”.
Secondly, on February 24, 2000, the House passed a time allocation motion concerning a legislative committee's study of Bill C-20, known as “the clarity act”. Looking at page 1018 of the Journals shows that “not more than ten further hours shall be allotted”.
Most recently, on September 19, 2000, the House passed a time allocation motion concerning the justice committee's study of Bill C-3, the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Page 1928 of the Journals reveals that “not more than ten further hours shall be allotted”.
In all three cases, the House, when invoking Standing Order 78(3), allocated 10 hours for committee study. Now because this motion has allocated fewer than 10 hours, I would respectfully submit that it is not consistent with the usual practice of the House and must therefore be ruled out of order.