House of Commons Hansard #111 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was point.

Topics

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mona Fortier LiberalMinister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance

moved:

That, in relation to Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration of the committee stage of the bill; and that, at the expiry of the time provided in this order, any proceedings before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on the said bill shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

I understand we are now applying the will of the full House to the operations of the work of a committee. This is unusual, and I understand we have the powers to do it, if it is placed before us as a motion of instruction.

What I just heard the hon. minister say does not appear to me to be a motion of instruction. I would like a ruling from the Chair to assist us to be sure the motion put before us is actually in a proper form—

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Yes, I have just confirmed it is a motion of time allocation that is perfectly legitimate.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10 a.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Madam Speaker, I am rising on a point of order in order to challenge this ruling, the admissibility of the time allocation that has been moved by the government, because it does—

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

The hon. member cannot challenge a ruling.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Point of order.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

One at a time, please.

I was just told we cannot challenge a ruling that has been made already. The instruction for committee is perfectly legitimate.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10 a.m.

An hon. member

Point of order.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Since I have not read the motion yet and it has not been brought forth to the chamber, I am going to read the motion first and then we will listen to the points of order.

[Chair read text of the motion to the House]

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10 a.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

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.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, I would concur with my colleague from Lethbridge that the practice and the tradition of the use of Standing Order 78(3) is no more than one further sitting day. It does not appear to us, with the five hours that is proposed in the motion, that it meets the test of what has been clear parliamentary practice.

It also raises another question and given that this is such a rare tool to be used, which has not been used in over two decades and was not used under the former Harper government, it does raise further questions such as what the allocation of amendments would be during the report stage of the bill.

With those considerations in mind, we certainly raise broad concerns about the form and the proposal that has been brought forward with this motion this morning.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I have listened to the interjections from the Conservatives and the member for New Westminster—Burnaby. I would submit that, despite the fact that previous usage of this particular procedure may have allocated a certain amount of time, the procedure does not indicate how much time needs to be used specifically.

Furthermore, since the members are referencing that this is something that has not been used many times, if they do not feel as though this should be one of our standing orders, then they should bring forward suggestions on how to amend the standing orders. In the interim, it is one of our standing orders. It is a rule that we have. The fact that it has not been used often certainly is not an excuse to suggest that it cannot be used.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

We do not want to turn this into a debate. I have the standing order in front of me and it makes this motion perfectly legitimate. I will read it.

It states:

...a motion during proceedings under Government Orders, for the purpose of allotting a specified number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at that stage;

It does not say the number of hours specifically, so the motion is in order.

The hon. member for Carleton.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, the member across the way concedes that the practice the government is undertaking right now is not the way it has been done in the past. I thank him for making that concession at the outset of his remarks. However, he made a mistake moments later when he said that the rules do not specify the amount of time typically allotted for this practice.

I will quote Standing Order 78(3), which contemplates a minister proposing a motion.

It states:

...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...less than one sitting day....

The member is quite wrong to say that there is not an allotted period. I see he is getting very agitated with me quoting the facts—

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

The interpretation so far has been that five hours is the equivalent of a sitting day and there are other examples, as I have been told by the table officers, of five hours of debate on motions.

I think I have ruled on this and we should move along.

The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I just want to ensure the record reflects that in my point of order when I said an amount of time I was indeed referring to hours. I am aware that it references days.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

The hon. member for Carleton.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, you said the table officers have given all of these examples. You have not shared any of the examples; you just stated a ruling without providing any evidence. You are asking us just to assume that what you are saying is in the—

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

I absolutely have a problem with the doubting of my word and the word of the table officers. There are examples. We have business—

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Share them.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

I am not directed by the member to share or not. If you are interested, the table officers will provide the examples.

The hon. member for Carleton.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, if the Chair in fact has evidence, then the Chair would share the evidence, but so far the Chair has shared no evidence. The Chair is not meant to simply help the government ram through legislation by breaking the Standing Orders. That is not the role of the Chair.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Is the hon. member for Carleton challenging the Chair?

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Yes.

Bill C-10—Time Allocation MotionBroadcasting ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

We will come back to the House with a statement on the precedence. After the 30 minutes of debate, we will have something to share.

The hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.