March 31, 2004

LIB

Roger Gallaway

Liberal

Hon. Roger Gallaway (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions on the Order Paper
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The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Is that agreed?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions on the Order Paper
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions on the Order Paper
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CA

John M. Cummins

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Time may be running out. I asked Question No. 11 on February 2 of this year. It was a question that I first asked on October 28, 2003.

I asked Question No. 13 on February 2 of this year, a question that I first asked on September 24, 2003.

Since that time I have gone through access to information, which tells me that the question has already been answered. The government has had the answer to question but has refused to supply it.

On February 3 of this year I asked Question No. 17 and again there has been no answer.

Two of the questions that are outstanding were asked over six months ago. I think it is time that those questions were answered, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions on the Order Paper
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PC

Loyola Hearn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, when members put questions on the order paper there is a rule that they have to answered within a timeframe. I would like the parliamentary secretary or the deputy House leader to tell us how many questions have been answered, because I do not believe any have been answered in this session.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions on the Order Paper
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LIB

Roger Gallaway

Liberal

Hon. Roger Gallaway

Mr. Speaker, the hon. members opposite ought to know or could possibly know or probably should know that the Standing Orders control this and that, first, any question on the order paper that has not been answered at the time of prorogation dies on the order paper. That is number one.

Number two--

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions on the Order Paper
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An hon. member

We want our second answer, thank you.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions on the Order Paper
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LIB

Roger Gallaway

Liberal

Hon. Roger Gallaway

It would save time if they would read the Standing Orders, but secondly, there are 45 days and if it is not answered within 45 days they know that it is referred to a committee.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions on the Order Paper
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An hon. member

Oh, oh.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions on the Order Paper
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The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Order, please. We will be tracking the orders and we will report back to the members concerned.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions on the Order Paper
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LIB

Roger Gallaway

Liberal

Hon. Roger Gallaway (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers be allowed to stand.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Motions for Papers
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The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Is it agreed?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Motions for Papers
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Motions for Papers
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The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

I wish to inform the House that because of the ministerial statement and the recorded divisions, government orders will be extended by one hour and a half.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Motions for Papers
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LIB

Mauril Bélanger

Liberal

Hon. Mauril Bélanger

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Discussions have taken place among the parties concerning the extension of the time for government orders. If you were to seek it, I think you would find consent to proceed to private members' business at 5:30 p.m. today.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Motions for Papers
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The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Is it agreed?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Motions for Papers
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Motions for Papers
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The House resumed from March 26 consideration of the motion that Bill C-3, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act, be read the third time and passed.


CA

Val Meredith

Canadian Alliance

Ms. Val Meredith (South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak this one last time in the House of Commons. This will probably be my last attempt at effecting change from the government.

It is appropriate that the bill that I should be speaking to is one of democratic principles. I ran in 1988 based on the need to bring democratic principles back to the Canadian electoral system. This bill is a result of the Supreme Court of Canada acknowledging that the legislation that the government had put into place was not democratic.

This bill is addressing the decision of the Supreme Court that it was undemocratic to require a party to run 50 candidates in an election. If two people wanted to represent a party to represent a cause, an idea or an issue, that should be allowed as long as there were some other things they managed to do, and that is to show that they had some following and some people agreed with their position.

The bill that has been introduced to address the Supreme Court's decision allows one individual, if that is what it is, with 250 signatures in support and with at least 4 officers representing that party, to run in an election in order to raise the issues.

This is important because in 1987 the Reform Party talked about the need to form a party in order to raise some of the issues on democratic reform, electoral reform, economic reform and judicial reform, and to be held to a certain standard. Putting those ideas out to the population would have been very restrictive. Under the new legislative guidelines that the Liberal government tried to bring in, it is questionable whether the Reform Party of Canada would ever have gotten off the ground.

As I have said, it is very apropos that in my last speech in the House of Commons I should be defending the principles of democratic reform, in that any Canadian who seeks to put ideas before the electorate of change and moving our country forward should not be stopped by legislation in the House.

If anything, we should be opening up the process and that is what Bill C-3 does. It opens up the process so that Canadians have the freedom to express their concerns through the electoral system.

I would like to take this opportunity, as it is my last time in the House, to thank the constituents of South Surrey—White Rock—Langley for their support over the last 10 and a half years. I have been honoured to represent them. I feel I have done a good job on their behalf in the House and on behalf of the Conservative Party, the Canadian Alliance, and the Reform Party before that, in moving forward legislative changes that would give Canadians a greater voice and that would give my constituents a better life in this country.

I want to take the opportunity to thank them and to acknowledge that I could not have done it without their support. I look forward to the days ahead of me where I will continue to live and work in the community.

Perhaps I will be on the other side of the fence putting pressure on the new representative to ensure that change moves forward and that we always strive for what is best for all Canadians and for our country. We should have the courage to look ahead and take the bold steps that are required if we are ever going to deal with some of the most serious problems we have in our country, whether it is on the security issues that we spoke of earlier today or on health care.

I, and a lot of Canadians, have a great fear that 20 years from now we will not have any health care system to speak of. It is essential for the people who sit in the House to have the courage to look at how we can do things differently and in a way that will secure our health care for future generations.

We must also ensure that our country is competitive and that we raise our stature in the international community. We must think big and we must be bold in the steps that we take.

I only hope and wish that the people who replace me here and who move on in the years to come have the courage to do the right thing for all Canadians.

Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to thank my constituents and to speak to this bill. I believe it is a good move by the government to recognize the democratic principles that are so important to having a free and democratic country.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Elections Act
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The Deputy Speaker

The Chair is interpreting the mood of the House and taking into account what has been said by either side in terms of an agreement to see the clock as 5:30 p.m. Is that correct?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Elections Act
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March 31, 2004