February 18, 2004

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An hon. member

Mr. Speaker, you must have read the rule book.

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

I get an earful regularly from the Clerk.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points of Order
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PC

Peter MacKay

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, perhaps as a point of clarification, the issue here is one of the veracity of the document itself.

My colleague from St. John's is referring to the fact that the minister was quoting directly from a document which he then gave his undertaking he would table with the House. If he is permitted to leave the chamber and make copies, there is no telling what the copy that will be tabled with the House will then contain.

It is very much an issue of the veracity of the originality of the document.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points of Order
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LIB

Mauril Bélanger

Liberal

Hon. Mauril Bélanger (Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I think that there is a rule in this House by which MPs are to be trusted, considered to be telling the truth and behaving decently. The member who just spoke is insinuating the contrary.

Mr. Speaker, I invite you to resolve this issue of excessive questioning of individual behaviour.

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

I draw the attention of hon. members to Standing Order 32(4):

Any document distributed in the House or laid before the House pursuant to sections (1) or (2) of this Standing Order shall be in both official languages.

Subsection (2), which is the relevant one, states:

A Minister of the Crown, or a Parliamentary Secretary acting on behalf of a Minister, may, in his or her place in the House, state that he or she proposes to lay upon the Table of the House, any report or other paper dealing with a matter coming within the administrative responsibilities of the government, and, thereupon, the same shall be deemed for all purposes to have been laid before the House.

To comply with subsection (2), the document must be in both official languages.

The hon. member, I am sure, will be able to ask the minister questions when the document is tabled as to whether it is the same one he was quoting from or whether he quoted from the English only version or possibly the French only version. I have no idea.

In order to comply with the Standing Orders the minister must table both. I do not know why the minister did not table it on the spot. My guess was he did not because it was not in both official languages and he could not comply with the Standing Order.

As I have said, the hon. member will have ample opportunity to question him on the matter if he has any doubt that the document that was tabled was in fact different from the one that he was quoting from. I am certain the minister will be prepared to answer questions in that regard to the satisfaction of the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, the hon. member for St. John's West, and all other hon. members.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points of Order
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CA

John M. Cummins

Canadian Alliance

Mr. John Cummins (Delta—South Richmond, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, a point of clarification on that matter that you read from. It states “a paper dealing with a matter coming from within the administrative responsibilities of the government”. It would seem to me that may have to do with a bill or a ministerial report. The matter referred to here is a matter which was raised in question period. It does not necessarily deal with an administrative matter before the government.

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

My recollection was that the quote had something to do with a grant from a government program. I think it fell within the administrative responsibility of the government, with all due respect to the hon. member.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points of Order
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PC

Loyola Hearn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Loyola Hearn

Mr. Speaker, first, the document concerned was a list of funding provided through the sponsorship program. It would be that any documents that are distributed such as that are already in two languages.

Second, because of the sensitivity of the programs that were sponsored that would be on that list, we have major concerns that the original document would be allowed to be taken out of this place to be perhaps tampered with before we see the other version. This is a very dangerous precedent.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points of Order
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LIB

Mauril Bélanger

Liberal

Hon. Mauril Bélanger

Mr. Speaker, this is the second time in the space of a few minutes that a member of the opposition is casting aspersions as to the honesty of members in terms of the tabling of documents.

It is with impunity that we are treating the reputation of hon. members. An hon. member who will table a document will table the document that he was quoting from. Unless those people will say on a regular basis that no member in the House is to be trusted any more, we had better get on with this. This is a rather unacceptable line of points of order.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points of Order
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CA
LIB

Mauril Bélanger

Liberal

Hon. Mauril Bélanger

I have the right to speak here as much as those members do.

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

I think we will wait and see what document comes from the minister. In my view it is not uncommon for this kind of thing to happen, that the minister leaves and tables a document later. I have certainly witnessed it many times in my experience in the House. I do not see anything improper in what has transpired at this point.

The hon. member for Halifax.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points of Order
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NDP

Alexa McDonough

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order arising out of the debate last evening and a commitment by the member for Okanagan—Coquihalla, after having been asked to do so last evening, to table in the House today the specific poll that he claimed made it clear that seven out of ten Canadians support Canadian participation in some type of missile defence.

He cited a specific poll. When asked about the poll he indicated that it was in fact a Michael Marzolini Pollara survey in which a question was put to Canadians about whether they supported the notion of Canada being involved and participating in missile defence. He indicated that it was available and that he would be tabling it today. I think it is very important that he do so, and I do not believe he followed through on that commitment today.

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

I am sure the hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla will be very pleased to hear from the hon. member for Halifax in this regard and will want to take note of the concerns she has expressed and deal with the matter at an early time. I am sure the hon. member for Halifax will convey to the hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla by another means her point of order that was raised in the House today and her anxiety that the commitment made last evening be fulfilled at the earliest possible time.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points of Order
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BQ

Michel Gauthier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, having consulted the other parties, I would like to ask for unanimous consent.

Given that the Bloc Quebecois opposition day is on the Monday after the break, and that it cannot be rescheduled because of an official visit in this House and a number of other factors under the Standing Orders, I would have to table the subject of the day 10 days in advance, which is somewhat excessive.

I received consent from all the parties to table the subject of our motion at the end of the day Thursday of the break week. Although the House is not sitting that week, the other parties will nonetheless be aware of the subject we will be discussing on the Monday. I believe we have unanimous consent for that.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Business of the House
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The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent of the House to grant the request of the hon. member for Roberval?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Business of the House
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 81(14), to inform the House that the motion to be considered tomorrow during the consideration of the business of supply is as follows:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should oppose the proposed American antimissile defence shield and, therefore, cease all discussions with the Bush administration on possible Canadian participation.

The motion standing in the name of the hon. member for Saint-Jean, will be votable.

Copies of the motion are available at the table.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Business of the House
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BQ

Bernard Bigras

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to present a petition with 6,665 names, asking Parliament to immediately ban the dissemination of genetically engineered wheat into the environment, the trade in such wheat, and the use of genetically engineered wheat in field tests.

It is already known that Monsanto has submitted a request for approval of its Roundup Ready wheat. This submission is now being reviewed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Here are 6,665 individuals who want to let Parliament know that they are opposed to the approval of genetically modified wheat.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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NDP

Dick Proctor

New Democratic Party

Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, on the same subject, I too have the pleasure of introducing petitions signed by 7,097 people from across the country who are concerned about the Monsanto Corporation of St. Louis having filed application with the Canadian government on genetically engineered wheat.

The petitioners note that a majority of Canada's wheat exports would be affected if such a dramatic change were made and call upon Parliament to immediately institute a ban on the environmental or commercial release of genetically engineered wheat and the use of genetically engineered wheat in open field trials.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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NDP

Lorne Nystrom

New Democratic Party

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

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to table in the House today, both on the issue of same sex marriage and that it is now being considered by the court and by Parliament.

The first one has been signed by approximately 100 people. They refer to the fact that in 1999 the House passed a resolution that defined marriage as a union between one woman and one man to the exclusion of all others. They ask Parliament to pass legislation to make sure that it stays that way.

The second petition, which has been signed by approximately 200 people, is a petition on same sex marriage. It talks about the necessity of having same sex marriage in order to protect the quality, the dignity and the respect of all Canadians in terms of the fundamental equality.

The petitioners are calling upon Parliament to pass a bill that would provide legality for same sex couples to marry equal to those of heterosexual couples.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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February 18, 2004