May 16, 2003

LIB

Stephen Owen

Liberal

Hon. Stephen Owen (Secretary of State (Western Economic Diversification) (Indian Affairs and Northern Development), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, native people across the country have had opportunities to express their concerns, their support and protests against Bill C-7.

This is a normal legislative process. Hundreds of witnesses have been heard by the aboriginal affairs committee of the House. I think all of our congratulations and sympathies should go out to the members of that committee who have spent long hours night after night considering this extremely important legislation.

It will be passed in due course with amendments as suggested, as this House decides. Regulations will also be--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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The Deputy Speaker

Order. This concludes question period for this day.

I have notice of a question of privilege from the hon. Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

Hon. Don Boudria (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, further to my May 12 question of privilege, I wish to draw to the attention of the Chair an Ontario Superior Court ruling of May 14 regarding the matter of court decisions that affect parliamentary privilege.

The court, in its May 14 ruling, while confirming the parliamentary privilege of members from being compelled to participate in legal proceedings when Parliament is in session, asserted that this privilege should be limited to the period that Parliament is actually sitting and for 14 days after it adjourns. This was in reference to the Telezone case versus the MP for Ottawa South.

This again is an attack on the privileges of hon. members in the House.

I know the Speaker is already seized with another matter in this regard that I brought to the attention of the Chair only a few days ago. Of course, the decision in the Telezone case is even more serious, in terms of the intrusion by the courts in improperly attempting to define what is parliamentary privilege.

If members of the House were to decide at any point that the definition of privilege needed to be altered, if they were to lengthen what is today the 40-day period, shorten it, remove it or otherwise, that would be a decision which the House would make in relation to its own privileges. However, I do not believe that it is appropriate for a court to define what is parliamentary privilege in our country.

I suggest that the Chair would want to take this case into consideration in ruling on the question of privilege that I raised on May 12 and possibly rule at that point that there is a bona fide case of privilege and then both matters could be referred to the parliamentary committee on procedure and house affairs.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Privilege
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The Deputy Speaker

I thank the hon. Minister of State for his intervention, adding to an already earlier intervention on a very important matter for Parliament. I would feel secure in saying to the House that I would think we could all expect that our Speaker will rule on this matter at the earliest possible time upon our return from the upcoming recess period.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Privilege
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CA

Gerry Ritz

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Gerry Ritz (Battlefords—Lloydminster, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to provide some clarification on a response the Solicitor General made while answering a question from my colleague from Edmonton North. He seemed to say that single-handedly I had short-circuited Bill C-23, the sex offender registry.

In fact, it was an amendment to the motion. The reason that we were seeking to have the bill set aside was that the bill failed to provide retroactive registration of sex offenders.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points of Order
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The Deputy Speaker

I think the hon. member for Battlefords—Lloydminster anticipated the Chair's ruling, that in fact it would be a matter of clarification and not a point of order. That having been said, the matter is now on the public docket.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points of Order
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LIB

Rodger Cuzner

Liberal

Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to table, in both official languages, a number of order in council appointments made recently by the government.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Order in Council Appointments
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LIB

Rodger Cuzner

Liberal

Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 10 petitions.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Government Response to Petitions
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CA

Paul Forseth

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Paul Forseth (New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, Canadian Alliance)

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.

I am the vice-chair of that committee from the opposition side. I am standing today to demonstrate that the official opposition is constructive and does not oppose for opposing's sake and that our party will never play politics with the lives of public employees.

Pursuant to its order of reference on Thursday, February 20, the committee has considered Bill C-25, an act to modernize employment and labour relations in the public service and to amend the Financial Administration Act and the Canadian Centre for Management Development Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts, and as agreed on Thursday, May 15, reports the bill with amendment.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
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NDP

Lorne Nystrom

New Democratic Party

Hon. Lorne Nystrom (Regina—Qu'Appelle, NDP)

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-438, an act to initiate cooperation among the provinces in order to achieve affordable and timely access to civil justice across Canada.

Madam Speaker, this is a justice bill that considers a number of things in terms of greater coordination between the federal government and the provinces, and providing more assistance to people who need legal aid, particularly on the civil side.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Civil Justice Access Act
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CA

Cheryl Gallant

Canadian Alliance

Mrs. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, Canadian Alliance)

Madam Speaker, I have two petitions.

My first petition states that thousands of Canadians, through no fault of their own, now possess unregistered firearms and that any individual who now tries to register a firearm will be exposed to federal prosecution. There are conflicting statements from the Minister of Justice and the Canadian firearms centre regarding the threat of prosecution, and that is only adding to the confusion.

The petitioners recognize that 9 out of 10 provinces, as well as MPs, senators and the Auditor General of Canada all agree that the firearms registry is out of control.

They therefore call upon Parliament, the Department of Justice and the Government of Canada to call an immediate amnesty for all unregistered firearms or, in the absence of an amnesty, scrap the firearms registry completely.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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CA

Cheryl Gallant

Canadian Alliance

Mrs. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, Canadian Alliance)

Madam Speaker, the second petition states that: marriage is the best foundation for families in the raising of children; the definition of marriage between a man and a woman is being challenged; and this hon. House passed a motion in June 1999 that called for marriage to continue to be defined as the union of one man and woman to the exclusion of all others.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being a lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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LIB

Charles Hubbard

Liberal

Mr. Charles Hubbard (Miramichi, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, this petition is from many citizens living near the Kouchibouguac national park.

Most of them sold their property when the park was created. This year, due to a shortage, Parks Canada has prohibited clam digging in the park.

The petitioners point out that they regard clam digging for personal use as a historic right and they ask that the restriction be lifted.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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LIB

Charles Hubbard

Liberal

Mr. Charles Hubbard (Miramichi, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, the second petition is from a group that is very much opposed to Bill C-250. They petition the House that the bill not be passed.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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NDP

Svend Robinson

New Democratic Party

Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP)

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present two petitions.

The first petition is signed by constituents from Burnaby and elsewhere in British Columbia, and in particular Ms. Michelle Zhang, a UBC student, whose family has been suffering tremendously from the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. The petitioners raise concern about the systematic escalation of attacks in China against Falun Gong practitioners. It has caused many deaths and severe hardship to innocent people. They point out that the crackdown violates China's own constitution as well as international human rights conventions.

The petitioners therefore call for an immediate end to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, the unconditional release of all Falun Gong practitioners who have gone to prison and in some cases to brainwashing classes, and for the unrestricted access into China of the United Nations rapporteur on torture to carry out independent, third party investigations of this persecution.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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NDP

Svend Robinson

New Democratic Party

Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP)

Madam Speaker, I have the honour of presenting one other petition this morning, which again was signed by residents of British Columbia, and in particular through the work of End the Arms Race, as well as residents in Ontario.

The petitioners are very concerned about the importance of signing a space preservation treaty. They point to the impact of the termination of the ABM treaty in 2002 that may lead to the United States moving toward the weaponization of space. They raise grave concerns about the proposed use of nuclear tip missiles for the star wars system that currently is being debated both in Canada and elsewhere.

They call upon Parliament to lead the world community by enacting legislation to immediately ratify the space preservation treaty, to deposit this treaty with the secretary-general of the United Nations, and immediately convene a treaty signing conference for the space preservation treaty to encourage the necessary 20 signatories to make the treaty go into full force and effect.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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LIB

Tony Tirabassi

Liberal

Mr. Tony Tirabassi (Niagara Centre, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of some residents of the Niagara Peninsula. The petitioners wish to draw to the attention of the House that marriage is the best foundation for families and the raising of children, and that the definition of marriage is between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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PC

Rex Barnes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rex Barnes (Gander—Grand Falls, PC)

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today which calls upon Parliament to focus its legislative support on adult stem cell research to find cures and therapies necessary to treat the illnesses and diseases of suffering Canadians.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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CA

Gerry Ritz

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Gerry Ritz (Battlefords—Lloydminster, Canadian Alliance)

Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to present a petition on behalf of my constituents. This particular petition comes from individuals in the Kindersley area of my riding. The petitioners call upon Parliament to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that all materials which promote or glorify pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving children are outlawed. They would like that done yesterday.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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NDP

Lorne Nystrom

New Democratic Party

Hon. Lorne Nystrom (Regina—Qu'Appelle, NDP)

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by a number of people in my riding of Regina--Qu'Appelle, many in the City of Regina. The petitioners call upon Parliament to protect our children by taking all the necessary steps to ensure that all materials which promote or glorify pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving children are outlawed.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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May 16, 2003