November 22, 1984 (33rd Parliament, 1st Session)


Ian Deans (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Ian Deans (Hamilton Mountain):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I do so somewhat reluctantly. I feel it is important to raise in the House at the earliest possible moment a matter that I believe is of considerable importance. It may in fact constitute a grievance. It may even be a question of privilege at some future date.
As you know, Sir, it has been the practice in the House of Commons to establish the need for the presence of both government and opposition in order to conduct business. I recognize that it may not be absolutely necessary under certain circumstances, but the practice has always been that, for the business of the House to be conducted properly and adequately, there would be representation both from the government and from the opposition at the start of the business of the day. I suggest this practice has been a good practice, one that has resulted in a harmonious relationship in the House of Commons which in turn has resulted in the House being able to deal with questions in a way which brings about their resolution.
At the moment, there appears to be a deviation from that practice, if not in the House itself, in the committees of the House. I would ask Mr. Speaker if he would consider motions that were put in committee-given that the committees have the right to establish their own rules of procedure, they must do so within the generally accepted framework of the rules of procedure of the House of Commons-that have resulted in the establishment of a practice which could disrupt the orderly procedures both in the House and in the committee. In a number of committees, decisions have been made by the Government members that a quorum shall be established based not on the normal practice of representation from both sides, but-

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