June 5, 2003

LIB

John Bryden

Liberal

Mr. John Bryden

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member opposite suggested that the House would be agreeable to a three minute brief comment from myself if it were allowable to other members of the House from each party, as I understand it, at the most.

That would only be about 12 minutes at most so I would seek unanimous consent that her suggestion be adopted.

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Subtopic:   Terrorism
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The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

The member is now asking for every party to speak for three minutes. Is there unanimous consent?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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Some hon. members

No.

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Subtopic:   Terrorism
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LIB

Bonnie Brown

Liberal

Ms. Bonnie Brown (Oakville, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Health entitled “Strengthening the Canadian Strategy on HIV/AIDS”.

Having listened carefully to the insightful testimony offered by witnesses, the committee now calls for appropriate long term funding to curtail the progression of this disease in our society.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, your committee requests that the government provide a comprehensive response within 150 days of the tabling of this report in the House of Commons.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
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LIB

Joe Fontana

Liberal

Mr. Joe Fontana (London North Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on settlement and integration programs entitled “Settlement and Integration: A Sense of Belonging 'Feeling at Home'”.

I want to thank the members of the committee for this unanimous report, with an asterisk beside “landing fees” for my friend over there in the NDP. I also want to thank the hundreds of people who made presentations, as well as the frontline workers who help our immigrants who come to this country and who are so valuable to this country. We need to help them integrate into our society. It is good for them and it is good for this country.

We would hope that the minister would, without question, adopt this report, which is far-reaching, creative, innovative and will move this country further and further to better immigration policies.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
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LIB

Charles Caccia

Liberal

Hon. Charles Caccia (Davenport, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development entitled “Sustainable Development and Environmental Assessment: Beyond Bill C-9”.

It might be worthwhile to note that this report is for Parliamentarians, policy-makers, policy advisers and anyone interested in environmental assessment. Its aim is to give a clear sense of direction for environmental assessment through its recommendations.

The report was made possible by the valuable testimony of witnesses on Bill C-9 before the committee, consultations with knowledgeable people in the field of environmental assessment and, in particular, by Stephen Hazell. The technical and practical experience provided by him and numerous witnesses was considerable and provided the substance of the recommendations contained in this document.

This report is triggered by Bill C-9, an act to amend the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Within the rules of procedure, it was possible to make some 76 amendments to Bill C-9 at the committee stage.

In conclusion, something was needed for the next review of the act scheduled to take place around the year 2010. It is our hope that officials in the Privy Council Office, Environment Canada, the Canadian Environmental Agency and interested parliamentarians will examine this report and its recommendations before drafting the next bill.

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Subtopic:   Committees of the House
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LIB

Peter Adams

Liberal

Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 33rd report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission for Alberta. This report and related evidence will be forwarded to the commission for its consideration.

I would like to thank the subcommittee of procedure and House affairs for its work on this matter. I would like to thank all members who made contributions to these hearings.

I also have the honour to present the 34th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership and associate membership of committees of the House.

If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the 34th report later this day. I would explain to colleagues that when I seek concurrence we are dealing with the committee assignments of our new colleague from Perth—Middlesex.

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Subtopic:   Committees of the House
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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, I am told that the report from the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs is not quite ready yet and will take a few minutes more to be tabled. I have consulted House leaders of all political parties in the House and they have given me the consent for the following motion. I move:

That the chair or another member of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be permitted to present a report from the said committee at any time during the present sittings.

In other words, later this day.

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Subtopic:   Committees of the House
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The Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

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LIB

Peter Adams

Liberal

Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move that the 34th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House earlier this day, be concurred in.

I would again explain that we are dealing with the committee assignments of our newly elected colleague.

(Motion agreed to)

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PC

Joe Clark

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC)

moved:

That this House respectfully disagree with the ruling of the Deputy Speaker disallowing amendments at report stage of Bill C-7 on the basis that the proposed amendments could have been moved in the standing committee since the standing committee was conducted as a disorderly proceeding.

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Subtopic:   First Nations Governance Act
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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, I have some difficulty in understanding what is going on here. I read the motion on the Order Paper. I guess it was yesterday that it came to my attention. My interpretation is that it would in fact constitute an appeal of the Speaker's ruling and my reading of--

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Subtopic:   First Nations Governance Act
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PC

Peter MacKay

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Peter MacKay

Just use closure, Don.

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Subtopic:   First Nations Governance Act
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LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

Hon. Don Boudria

Well, the Speaker can rule, but my reading of Standing Order 10 would not permit that kind of appeal to take place. I invite Mr. Speaker to look at it. If this kind of thing is permitted I would say that it is rather precedent setting that we can put these motions to appeal Speaker's rulings when we abolished appeals to Speaker's rulings long before I became a member, and that is a very long time ago.

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Subtopic:   First Nations Governance Act
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PC

Joe Clark

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Joe Clark

Mr. Speaker, I do not know that there is a point of order to pursue. You have ruled. You have called the motion.

I am prepared to debate it. It is clearly our right. I admit that it is a rare procedure and I will allude to that in my remarks. It is a rare procedure because the events leading to it were quite extraordinary.

However, Mr. Speaker, with the greatest respect, and speaking as someone who has been in the House longer than the House leader, I believe this is entirely in order and I note that you have called the motion and I am prepared to proceed.

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The Speaker

The Chair does have considerable reservation about the motion. I called the motion because the hon. member indicated he wanted it called.

The government House leader has pointed out what I think is a certain problem with the motion. The only reason I did not rule it out immediately, and before I even called it, was because of the wording of the motion, which is ambiguous.

However I note that Standing Order 10 of the House of Commons provides:

The Speaker shall preserve order and decorum, and shall decide questions of order. In deciding a point of order or practice, the Speaker shall state the Standing Order or other authority applicable to the case. No debate shall be permitted on any such decision, and no such decision shall be subject to an appeal to the House.

What we have here is a motion that says that the House respectfully disagrees with the ruling of the Deputy Speaker. It does not say that it is seeking to overturn it, which is why I did not throw it out immediately. However it does say that it disagrees with the ruling of the Deputy Speaker and gives some reasons for that. In addition, it does then mean that there will be a debate on the ruling of the Deputy Speaker given on Bill C-7.

Accordingly, it strikes me that this is completely contrary to the specific words in Standing Order 10 and therefore, unless the right hon. member for Calgary Centre can convince me that this is not a debate on the decision, I must rule the motion out of order.

I think he has an uphill battle there but I am prepared to hear him further on the point if he thinks he has something that would allow him to argue that this debate is not a debate on the ruling itself, because the words of the motion suggest that it is.

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Subtopic:   First Nations Governance Act
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PC

Joe Clark

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Joe Clark

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will certainly do my best to rise to that challenge because it is, in effect, a larger challenge. It has to do with the capacity of the House to ensure that the legislation that is passed here reflects the concerns of members of Parliament and deals directly with the issues that come before us.

I am not challenging the ruling of the Speaker. I understand that. I am making a point because frankly we have tried to make this point before in committee and in the House of Commons. There have been rulings of precedent against us on every point. There is a problem that is undeniable to the naked eye and to reasonable person who are looking at these matters regarding the conduct of debate on this particular issue. There is no other opportunity for the House of Commons to raise that concern than to do it here in the context of a motion which does not challenge the Speaker.

You make the point, sir, that the motion is very carefully written to express the disagreement of members on this side of the House and I must add, members from other parties as well. This is a disagreement that has been expressed before, with frustration, and is finding its way to our attention. That indicates a serious problem with proceedings in the House.

A constant challenge of the Speaker is to interpret the rules and the precedents in the context of what is actually happening in the House in the interests of Parliament and the people affected by the legislation. We have had instances of this before and you will know, Mr. Speaker, that with respect to your ruling the other day, in effect, the precedents established before the passage of the Official Languages Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms mean that the Official Languages Act does not apply to Parliament. You noted that there has been no contrary instruction to that point. I acted immediately to introduce a motion that would allow the House of Commons to decide to make itself subject to the rules that other Canadian institutions are subject to with respect to the Official Languages Act.

In this case, the capacity of members of Parliament to make their case in committee, and now in the House, has been seriously limited. The reason the motion is before the House is because we are appealing to you to ensure that the rights of members of Parliament to make amendments and to carry out our elected responsibilities are respected. It is particularly important with our fiduciary responsibility to aboriginal people.

Mr. Speaker, in your ruling a few days ago, you said:

--if it is impossible to move the amendment in committee it can be moved at the report stage. If the committee by a motion made it impossible for the right hon. member [myself] to move some amendments in the committee, he will want to make that argument on an individual basis with respect to each of his amendments when he presents them at the report stage. He will have a sympathetic ear with the Speaker and with the clerks who advise the Speaker in respect of these matters.

Mr. Speaker, I submitted three amendments on Monday. They were on the Order Paper on Monday. There was no opportunity for me to, in your words, make my arguments on an individual basis with respect to each of my amendments when I presented them at report stage. They were taken off the list without any consultation with me at all. So the express instruction of yourself, Mr. Speaker, that I would have the opportunity to make those arguments on an individual basis was not honoured in the practice.

I am sure that while that was the case with myself, there were other members of the House who had amendments that were also deemed unacceptable by the Chair, who did not have the opportunity to present their amendments themselves.

What makes this even more curious is that among the amendments that were accepted two highly significant changes to the legislation were introduced by the government that would create entirely new agencies that had not been part of the original bill. One with--

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The Speaker

Order, please. With great respect, we are getting into debate here far beyond a point of order. I think I have the crux of the right hon. member's point of order. He wants to debate whether or not some other amendments that he had proposed should be included in the ones that are subject to debate at report stage.

He cites with good justification the ruling I made on May 27 in respect of a matter which I believe he raised, if I am not mistaken, on this issue. He did indeed raise it and has quoted me quite correctly in stating that he would have “a sympathetic ear with the Speaker and with the clerks who advise the Speaker in respect of these matters”.

I am advised that on Monday he submitted a letter including his proposed amendments and made no submissions whatsoever to anyone in respect of those amendments. Many other members made submissions. They approached the clerks and spoke to them. They gave reasons why their amendments ought to be acceptable and some of them had some of their amendments agreed to as the ones that were included in the ruling.

However, the right hon. member made no submissions with respect to any of his amendments. A ruling was made and now we have a motion that says the ruling is something the House disagrees with.

In my view this is a debate on the ruling and therefore, I rule the motion out of order

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June 5, 2003