August 11, 1988

PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I know that Hon. Members would want me to thank the Hon. Member from Annapolis Valley-Hants (Mr. Nowlan) for his impetuous and interesting intervention.

Of course, I responded immediately to the communications which the Hon. Member sent to your chairman and left a verbal message. It was an extremely polite message, but it was a direct one. I said, of course, that I would be very pleased to hear the Hon. Member today if he was properly attired according to the customs and traditions of this place.

I must say that the question the Hon. Member raises puts the Speaker in a harrowing position. It is extraordinarily difficult for anyone who is a Member of this place and a colleague of all the others to place greater distinction or prominence on one person's dress as opposed to another. That is why I think perhaps it has always been so easy to ignore dress, whether elegant or something less, provided that there was a tie around the neck.

August 11, 1988

I am not suggesting that this is the only test. If there was only a tie, there might be some other problem. However, I am always in the hands of Hon. Members as I am your very humble servant, and if it should happen that a committee would wish to give some guidance to the Chair, I would be guided by it and accept it most willingly.

I want the Hon. Member for Annapolis Valley-Hants to know that I knew full well that he had a contribution to make to this important matter yesterday and that given its importance the Hon. Member would at least conform with present standards and approaches and make the intervention that he did as I said, in such an impetuous and interesting way today. I have, out of friendship and a long comradeship that I have enjoyed with the Hon. Member from Annapolis Valley- Hants, put aside and ignored perhaps some of his other remarks, recognizing that all Hon. Members use humour and sometimes shock value to bring attention to the burning issues that they bring to us from all across this land.

The Hon. Member for York South-Weston (Mr. Nun-ziata) on a point of order.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR REFERENCE OF DRESS CODE TO STANDING COMMITTEE
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LIB

John V. Nunziata

Liberal

Mr. Nunziata:

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a nonimpetuous submission on the same subject. With the greatest of respect for the Hon. Member for Annapolis Valley-Hants (Mr. Nowlan), the issue is not whether there should be a summer dress code or a winter dress code. I would ask you, Sir, to review the dress code in the House of Commons in view of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Under the Charter one is not permitted to discriminate based on sex. In the House of Commons, our female colleagues are not required to wear ties. Whereas it may be a custom and a tradition here in the House of Commons that men are required to wear ties, I would submit, Sir, that you as the Speaker of the House of Commons and the House of Commons itself should adhere to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and lead by example.

In other words, males should be entitled to the same privileges as female Members in the House. The issue is not whether a male should or would or would not wear a tie. The issue is whether we are required to wear ties. Sir, I would ask you to review your policy and the policy of the House of Commons on that requirement. It is in breach of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to require a male to wear a tie.

Rather than referring the issue to a committee, I would ask, Sir, that you honour the letter and the spirit of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and allow men the same freedom and rights that you allow women in the House of Commons.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR REFERENCE OF DRESS CODE TO STANDING COMMITTEE
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NDP

Margaret Anne Mitchell

New Democratic Party

Ms. Mitchell:

Mr. Speaker, I must say on the same subject that I concur with the statements of the previous Member. I look forward to the day when indeed the Speaker has the

Business of the House

privilege of perhaps wearing the kilt in the House. Perhaps even more important is the dress code for pages and clerks who wear very heavy woollen winter clothing because of tradition. I would ask that they have a summer attire of some description.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR REFERENCE OF DRESS CODE TO STANDING COMMITTEE
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PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Before I recognize the Hon. Member for Windsor West, (Mr. Gray) I should respond to the Hon. Member for York South-Weston (Mr. Nunziata) and the Hon. Member for Vancouver East (Mrs. Mitchell). Your Speaker has listened very carefully to the important intervention that has been made. I am not sure that it is my place to consider the dress code against the Charter of Rights, but perhaps there is another place where that can be done. Both Hon. Members will note that I confined my remarks strictly to the dress of male Hon. Members. Not even the Speaker would have the nerve to get into the question of dress for Hon. Members who are ladies.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR REFERENCE OF DRESS CODE TO STANDING COMMITTEE
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

Herbert Eser (Herb) Gray (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Herb Gray (Windsor West):

Mr. Speaker, this being Thursday, I want to ask the Government House Deader for a statement of business which the Government intends to call over the next several days.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   WEEKLY STATEMENT
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PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister; Minister responsible for Privatization and Regulatory Affairs; Vice-President; President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Don Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Privy Council):

Mr. Speaker, we will be continuing today with Bill C-144 and hopefully we will conclude that by this evening, and it will be followed by Bill C-130.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   WEEKLY STATEMENT
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NDP

Michael Morris Cassidy

New Democratic Party

Mr. Mike Cassidy (Ottawa Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could ask the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Mazankowski) exactly what are the Government's intentions with respect to Bill C-273, the Bill on political rights. Prior to the brief recess that Parliament took, the Government House Leader and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister made very clear that the Government had no intention to interfere in any way with the private Members' procedure. As a consequence they were not prepared to co-operate with Members from all three Parties, including the Hon. Member for Ottawa West (Mr. Daubney) who proposed the Bill, to accelerate the consideration of Bill C-273, the Bill on political rights.

I have before me the letter which the Government House Leader has sent to my Leader today. It requests support for or co-operation with a series of killer amendments which were put forward by government back-benchers, clearly at the behest of the Government. I understand they were prepared by senior officials of the Government, the Privy Council Office, the Treasury Board, and elsewhere.

August 11, 1988

Business of the House

Three weeks ago the Government was saying that it would not interfere with Private Members' Business in any way. Now the Deputy Prime Minister is involving himself in it directly. His officials are involved in it. He has had a couple of backbenchers put forward a series of amendments which he knows very well repudiate the commitment made by the Conservatives in 1984 to grant political rights to the vast bulk of people working for the Government of Canada. This also frustrates the private Members' procedure which had led to the unanimous reporting of the Bill from the legislative committee, with support from Members of all three sides and particularly from Members from areas where the Public Service is represented. These Members felt that we had come up with a good Bill, but the Government has now decided to meddle in it.

What is happening? Could the Deputy Prime Minister explain what the devil is going on? He should know that the amendments he has had proposed on behalf of the Government are completely unacceptable to those of us who have been trying to get a reasonable balance between the need for very senior people in government to be politically neutral and the need to give political rights to the vast bulk of people working for the Government, and that was the promise of the Conservatives before they took power back in 1984.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   WEEKLY STATEMENT
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PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister; Minister responsible for Privatization and Regulatory Affairs; Vice-President; President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mazankowski:

Mr. Speaker, I regret very much that the Hon. Member is taking such a strident attitude and referring to these as killer amendments and interference. The fact is that there is an NDP caucus and there is a government caucus. This issue was debated in our caucus, and some concerns were raised about it. The amendments that are being proposed are being proposed as a caucus initiative by private Members. I do not know why the Hon. Member would want to take offence with that.

The fact is that we are trying to achieve what the Hon. Member suggests he wants to achieve, except he wants to play politics with the issue. All we are trying to do is strike a reasonable balance, a balance that would maintain the impartiality of public servants while at the same time give public servants political rights. There is a gross over-exaggeration in the Hon. Member's interpretation of the amendments, and I regret that very much.

I think we all recognize that we have been served very well by a Public Service that is impartial. There are concerns in all corners of the House and indeed throughout the country about the need to maintain that kind of impartiality. It was in that spirit that members of caucus on this side of the House have debated the matter somewhat thoroughly and-

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   WEEKLY STATEMENT
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NDP

Michael Morris Cassidy

New Democratic Party

Mr. Cassidy:

That's not true.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   WEEKLY STATEMENT
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PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister; Minister responsible for Privatization and Regulatory Affairs; Vice-President; President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mazankowski:

The Hon. Member says that that is not right. I do not normally talk about what goes on in our caucus. I certainly do not hear the NDP Members talk about what goes on in their caucus nor do I care.

This in fact is the case, and if it is the case, I would ask the Hon. Member to withdraw his charge that this is government interference. This is a party matter. Certainly Members on this side of the House have the right and indeed the obligation to put forth their views, especially on a Private Member's Bill. I take exception to the Hon. Member.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   WEEKLY STATEMENT
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LIB

Jean-Robert Gauthier (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. Jean-Robert Gauthier (Ottawa-Vanier):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to-

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   WEEKLY STATEMENT
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NDP

Michael Morris Cassidy

New Democratic Party

Mr. Cassidy:

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Deputy Prime Minister could stay in the House. On a point of order, the Deputy Prime Minister should stay in the House for this matter. He shouldn't fly away on this issue. What a cop-out.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   WEEKLY STATEMENT
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?

Some Hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   WEEKLY STATEMENT
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NDP

Michael Morris Cassidy

New Democratic Party

Mr. Cassidy:

You will not be here next time, Mailly, not after that performance.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   WEEKLY STATEMENT
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PC

Claudy Mailly (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Mailly:

Do not hold your breath.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   WEEKLY STATEMENT
Permalink
NDP

Michael Morris Cassidy

New Democratic Party

Mr. Cassidy:

You will not be here. How are you going to vote on these amendments?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   WEEKLY STATEMENT
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PC

Claudy Mailly (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Mailly:

I won by 9,000, you won by 64.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   WEEKLY STATEMENT
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NDP

Michael Morris Cassidy

New Democratic Party

Mr. Cassidy:

Why are you not getting your Deputy Prime Minister to come back into the House? Why do you not get him here to face the music? Where is he? Go and get him now; show you care about your constituents.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   WEEKLY STATEMENT
Permalink
PC

Claudy Mailly (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Mailly:

Show respect for the Speaker.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   WEEKLY STATEMENT
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August 11, 1988