April 29, 1988 (33rd Parliament, 2nd Session)


Vincent Della Noce (Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Vincent Della Noce (Parliamentary Secretary to Secretary of State and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism):

Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to rise in the House, because yesterday, my colleague from Thunder Bay- Nipigon (Mr. Epp) raised a question of privilege. I would like to put the record straight, since I am directly involved in this Committee, the Legislative Committee on Bill C-93. My colleague said that:
... I had occasion just over a month ago, on March 22, to raise a question of privilege relating to a denial of the Government, through the House leadership refusing to present a motion authorizing the Standing Committee on Multiculturalism to visit the regions of Canada to hear from persons in the ethnocultural groups and multicultural organizations in response to the report of the committee.
Thursday morning, that is yesterday, Mr. Speaker, a very similar matter arose in the Legislative Committee which is dealing with the Multiculturalism Bill. I will not read Citation 16 of Beauchesne's again, but only emphasize that Members of Parliament who have responsibilities to deal with matters of public policy need to be aware of what the Canadian people think about these matters. Mr. Speaker, that is exactly why I personally suggested inviting five groups to appear before the Committee.
Naturally, since it did not come from him, my colleague was startled, he even left the meeting. Perhaps that is why he did not hear all the facts, those recorded on page 14937 of the House of Commons Debates for April 28, 1988, Mr. Speaker. It is totally false. What he says is not true!
He says, "Submissions from five of these six organizations will be denied." Mr. Speaker, I say that is totally false. I said that five of the six would be heard. That is not quite the same thing. I do not know why the NDP Members feel so persecuted now, but five of the six will be heard, because the sixth told us that they probably could not attend since they are from Vancouver. I had even suggested that the committee pay the expenses for these organizations coming from Toronto, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Regina and even Fredericton and Vancouver. 1 believe that this properly represents Canada's duality, but these groups wanted to be heard and I have no problem with doing so.
My colleague who left the meeting before the end ... I even amended my motion, Mr. Speaker, because five groups in two hours is really a bit rushed. But my amendment was very clear. In my amendment, I agreed that each group be given an hour, which is much more than the committees give, that is an hour for someone to read a brief and there is no more time for questions.

April 29, 1988
Property Rights
I say that the Speaker was still very fair and I agree with him when he says that it is a decision for the Committee, and not the Elouse, to make. But the Committee was clear and it is too bad that I have to restate the facts because we will not hear five group in two hours, but five groups in five hours.

Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
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