February 24, 1993

SALMON FISHERY

?

Mr. J.W. Bud Bird@Fredericton-York-Sunbury

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Last week in response to a question about gill-netting of salmon, the minister stated that the preference was to negotiate the reduction of gill-netting by agreements as opposed to court action. I agree with that direction providing we can actually conclude such agreements.

February 24, 1993

I would like to ask the minister if he can provide details of the number of agreements reached, for example with the 15 bands in New Brunswick in 1992. How are such agreements proceeding with respect to negotiations for the 1993 season?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SALMON FISHERY
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PC

John Carnell Crosbie (Minister for the purposes of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Act; Minister of Fisheries and Oceans)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. John C. Crosbie (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency):

Mr. Speaker, I do not have all this detailed information available today to give to the hon. member since I just got back from the west coast. I have not yet had the chance to gather information on the east coast.

I do know that we had a number of agreements in New Brunswick this past year on the aboriginal fishery strategy. There were more than 64 person-years of native employment created in New Brunswick as a result of those projects. They all had to do with setting up native fishery guardian programs, fisheries monitoring, stock management, fisheries enhancement and assessment.

I will try to get the number of agreements that had to do with the kind of gear that should be used in fishing and conservation practices and what is planned for this year. I will pass it along to him privately.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SALMON FISHERY
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PRIVILEGE

LIB

Derek Vincent Lee

Liberal

Mr. Derek Lee (Scarborough-Rouge River):

Mr. Speaker, my office earlier today, at about noon, provided notice to the Minister of Finance. I hope he has had notice of my intention to rise on this point. He has not? I know that his office has. In any event, I will proceed.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF
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PC

Gerald R. Ottenheimer (Speaker pro tempore)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Just a moment. I appreciate what the hon. member said about giving notice to the minister. I am in the hands of both the minister and the hon. member. However, if it would make it easier to discuss the matter after the minister has seen the material, then that might be a useful course to follow. I will hear the hon. member on that.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF
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LIB

Derek Vincent Lee

Liberal

Mr. Lee:

Mr. Speaker, my office did make reasonable efforts to ensure that the minister had notice of this today. I think it is in the best interests of the issue that I proceed and dispose of it. The Speaker will then have an opportunity to rule.

I rise on a question of privilege in relation to the failure of the Minister of Finance to lay before Parlia-

Privilege

ment an order made pursuant to subsection 59(2) of the Customs Tariff. It is my submission that this omission constitutes a contempt of Parliament.

You will recall, Mr. Speaker, that on February 3 of last year, I rose on a similar question of privilege in relation to the order respecting the suspension of privileges granted under the free trade agreement, registered then as SOR-8954.

On December 29, 1992, the Governor in Council adopted Order in Council 1992-2715. It so happens that the purpose of this Order in Council is to revoke the order which gave rise to my earlier question of privilege.

Just as the original order was required to be tabled in this House, so is the revoking Order in Council adopted last December and registered as SOR-9314. The revoking order was made pursuant to subsection 59(2) of the Customs Tariff. Subsection 59(5) of the same tariff provides that the Minister of Finance shall cause a copy of any order made pursuant to subsection 59(2) to be laid before Parliament on any of the first 15 days after the making thereof that either House of Parliament is sitting.

The revoking order made on December 29 was legally required to be laid before this House by February 15, 1993, that day being the 15th day after its making that either House sat.

It is not my intention to repeat at length the arguments I made last February. They are applicable here and I would ask you to take them into consideration before you rule on my question of privilege. I do wish to point out, however, that I do not rise today in any capacity other than that of a member of Parliament seeking to uphold the collective right of this House to have a copy of any order made pursuant to subsection 59(2) of the Customs Tariff laid before it.

As on the previous occasion, I have no hesitation in stating my belief that the Minister of Finance has not intentionally disobeyed the statutory tabling requirement here. That being said, I must also reiterate that that intention is not relevant at this stage of the proceeding.

As I indicated last February, I can find no authority for the proposition that an act or omission only constitutes contempt of the House if it was intentional. The correct view seems to be that any act or omission that tends to diminish the authority of this House can be punished as a contempt, although it is likely that in deciding on a punishment, the intent of the party charged with the

Routine Proceedings

contempt would be taken into consideration by the House.

As I understand it, Mr. Speaker, your role at this stage is simply to decide whether the facts before you are sufficient to conclude that the conduct or omission complained of might reasonably be found by the House itself to constitute contempt rather than whether the conduct or omission amounts to contempt.

The substantive question here of whether or not the failure to table this Order in Council was a contempt of the House is a decision for the House to make.

I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that there can be little doubt that the minister's failure to table a document required to be tabled by this House, whether intentional or accidental, tends to diminish the authority of the House of Commons and is something that might reasonably be held to constitute contempt by this House.

In this regard I have referred the House to the remarks made by you, Mr. Speaker, on February 5, 1992 in relation to my earlier question. At that time, Mr. Speaker, you warned those responsible for meeting any deadlines for the tabling of documents to reflect carefully on the possible consequences of ignoring tabling requirements. Mr. Speaker, I regret to say that your advice seems to have fallen on deaf ears at the Department of Finance.

While I mention the minister's officials the fact remains that under our doctrine of ministerial responsibility the minister is accountable to this House for the acts and omissions of his officials. However tempting it may be to lift the veil of ministerial responsibility we cannot do so and the minister must accept, as I am sure he will, his responsibility for the failings of his officials.

Considering what took place in February last year it appears that decisive action by this House will be required if our collective right to be informed of the making of orders pursuant to subsection 59(2) of the Customs Tariff, within the time prescribed by Parliament, in this case 15 sittings days, is to be respected.

In closing, having mentioned that we went through this a year ago and that you, Mr. Speaker, gave a warning that the Department of Finance was put on notice then I want to indicate that in the event you accept my

submission I am prepared to move the appropriate motion.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF
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PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister; Minister of Finance; Vice-President)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Don Mazankowski (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, I did listen with interest and I can only assure the hon. member that I will look into it and report back to the House as soon as I possibly can. I appreciate his raising it at this time, but not having had an opportunity to study it I am not in a position to respond in a definitive way. I certainly will look into it immediately.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF
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PC

Gerald R. Ottenheimer (Speaker pro tempore)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I just want to be sure that both the hon. member and the minister understand the position of the Chair in this.

I have heard the argument. I believe the minister has indicated that he wants to look more carefully at the matter and will come back. I will listen to the minister when that takes place and subsequent to that I will make a ruling.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF
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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PETITIONS

PC

Charles A. Langlois (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charles A. Langlois (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons):

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 264 petitions.

[Editor's Note: See today's Votes and Proceedings.]

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PETITIONS
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INTERPARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION

ASIA PACIFIC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM

PC

Robert Lloyd Wenman

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robert Wenman (Fraser Valley West):

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report on the inaugural meeting of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum held in Tokyo, Japan on January 14 and 15, 1993.

February 24, 1993

This report is more than a report this time. In fact the report embodies several resolutions and structural comments that could be helpful to the House of Commons and the Speaker.

It has been determined that there has been a lack of emphasis on the interparliamentary activity in the Pacific Rim. In fact we have only one bilateral organization, which is between Canada and Japan. That is the only official organization despite the fact that the whole geopolitical shift is toward the Pacific and it is imperative that Canada should participate more strongly in that interparliamentary relationship.

Therefore we have suggested in our report that the new organization, which is an umbrella of Parliaments of the Pacific, should in fact become the umbrella, which along with the Canada-Japan Parliamentary Association will encourage the development of more friendship associations, such as Canada-China, Canada-Taiwan and Canada-Korea.

We suggest that we would spawn many friendship organizations under the one umbrella and that umbrella in turn would then help direct delegations to develop those relationships, which are lagging far behind our traditional European experience.

This report correlates very well with that of the member for Saint-Denis who will make similar suggestions in his bigger report to Parliament through the parliamentary committee structure.

We want to support that and emphasize this. We hope this report will not simply be received but that it will be a matter of study by the Speaker and by committee.

I would like this report referred beyond the House of Commons back through the structure. I would ask that that is done as our recommendations are considered.

Topic:   INTERPARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION
Subtopic:   ASIA PACIFIC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM
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LIB

Marcel Prud'homme

Liberal

Hon. Marcel Prud'homme (Saint-Denis):

Madam Speaker, on a point of order. This is the only way I can add a few comments. I must say that for members who would like to see changes in the Standing Orders that would give them a little more power, this is a prime example where it is not your fault or mine, but the fault of the Standing Orders. I certainly hope we can soon change the Standing Orders so when a document is

Routine Proceedings

tabled with which I am familiar and on which I worked at the request of the Chair-I know exactly what the hon. member wants to tell us-I wish that occasionally, not as notice to parliamentarians but as an indication of what Canada should do, we could take a good look at what these papers say. Unfortunately we cannot under our Standing Orders.

I think members who want more power for parliamentarians should support a request we will be making very shortly. It would make it possible for a number of parliamentarians who are directly involved in drafting such reports to add a few comments and not just sit there listening to what is said by the member tabling the report. In fact, we could say that the media, which are often critical about what we do, should at least read the document. We cannot do this under the Standing Orders but I hope changes will be made to allow that.

Topic:   INTERPARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION
Subtopic:   ASIA PACIFIC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM
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PC

Andrée Champagne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Madam Deputy Speaker:

Nor do the Standing Orders allow the Chair to listen to long speeches after tabling of reports by interparliamentary delegations, important and interesting though they may be. We will now proceed to presenting reports from committees. The hon. member for Edmonton Southwest.

Topic:   INTERPARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION
Subtopic:   ASIA PACIFIC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM
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HOUSE MANAGEMENT


66TH REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE


PC

James (Jim) Stewart Edwards (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jim Edwards (Edmonton Southwest):

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present the 66th Report of the Standing Committee on House Management on certain parliamentary associations.

I would also like to thank the hon. member for Saint-Denis for his excellent work in connection with this report.

Topic:   HOUSE MANAGEMENT
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February 24, 1993