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CC2 Committee Meeting

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Meeting No. 17
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Legislative Committee on Bill C-2 met in a televised session at 6:05 p.m. this day, in Room 237-C, Centre Block, the Chair, David Tilson, presiding.


Members of the Committee present: Monique Guay, Hon. Marlene Jennings, Tom Lukiwski, Pat Martin, James Moore, Rob Moore, Brian Murphy, Hon. Stephen Owen, Daniel Petit, Pierre Poilievre, Benoît Sauvageau, David Tilson, Alan Tonks and Mike Wallace.


Other Members present: Paul Dewar.


In attendance: Library of Parliament: Katherine Kirkwood, Director; Sebastian Spano, Analyst.


Witnesses: As an individual: Jenefer Curtis, Independent Journalist. Institut québécois d'éthique appliqueé: René Villemure, President; Michel Quintal, Project Manager. As an individual: Pierre F. Côté, Former Chief Electoral Officer of Québec. Public Sector Pension Investment Board: Paul Cantor, Chairperson; Gordon J. Fyfe, President and Chief Executive Officer; Assunta Di Lorenzo, First Vice-President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary.

Pursuant to the Order of Reference of Thursday, April 27, 2006, the Committee resumed consideration of Bill C-2, An Act providing for conflict of interest rules, restrictions on election financing and measures respecting administrative transparency, oversight and accountability.

Pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), consideration of Clause 1 is postponed.

The Chair calls Clause 2.


Jenefer Curtis made a statement and answered questions.


At 6:36 p.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 6:43 p.m., the sitting resumed.


René Villemure and Pierre Côté made statements and answered questions.


At 7:27 p.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 7:31 p.m., the sitting resumed.


Paul Cantor made a statement and, with Gordon Fyfe and Assunta Di Lorenzo, answered questions.


At 8:03 p.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 8:09 p.m., the sitting resumed.

The Committee proceeded to the consideration of matters related to Committee business.


Before we proceed to take up this bill at clause-by-clause, I would like to share some information with members of the committee.

As you know, there have been several situations in recent meetings where divisions on motions have resulted in tied votes and I have delivered a casting vote.

House of Commons Procedure and Practice explains the casting vote on pages 268 to 269 in this manner:

“The Speaker does not participate in debate and votes only in cases of an equality of voices; in such an eventuality, the Speaker is responsible for breaking the tie by casting a vote.

In theory, the Speaker has the same freedom as any other Member to vote in accordance with his or her conscience; however, the exercise of this responsibility could involve the Speaker in partisan debate, which would adversely affect the confidence of the House in the Speaker’s impartiality.

Therefore, certain conventions have developed as a guide to Speakers … in the infrequent exercise of the casting vote. Concisely put, the Speaker would normally vote to maintain the status quo.

This entails voting in the following fashion:

  • whenever possible, leaving the matter open for future consideration and allowing for further discussion by the House;
  • whenever no further discussion is possible, taking into account that the matter could somehow be brought back in the future and be decided by a majority of the House;
  • leaving a bill in its existing form rather than having it amended. ”

Therefore, without anticipating any results in clause-by-clause, I want to inform members that if there are tied votes on clauses of the bill, I will vote in the affirmative to leave the bill in its existing form.

If there are tied votes on amendments or subamendments, the Chair will vote in the negative in order to maintain the status quo and to keep the question open to further amendment either here in committee or in the House at report stage.

Finally, I intend to notify the Speaker of any casting votes delivered on amendments.

Normally, the Speaker will not select at report stage any motions which were defeated in committee.

However, the Speaker does exercise a discretionary power of selection and I intend to provide him with as much information as possible so that he may base his selection decisions for report stage in the House.

I trust that this information will assist the committee in its decision-making process on this bill.


Pierre Poilievre moved, — That the committee begin its clause by clause study of Bill C-2 on Tuesday June 6, 2006.


Pat Martin moved, — That the motion of Pierre Polievre be amended by replacing the words “on Tuesday, June 6, 2006.” with the following:

“on Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at 3:30 p.m.;

That Committee members shall submit their proposed amendments to the legislative drafting counsel by noon, Friday, June 2nd;

That Committee members shall submit their amendments in final form to the Clerk by Monday June 5th at 5:00 p.m.;

That the hours of the Committee during the clause by clause analysis of Bill C-2 shall be the same schedule as that of the week of May 29th;

That the Committee members may introduce additional amendments provided they are submitted to the Clerk 24 hours before the clause in question comes before the Committee“.


After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Pat Martin and it was agreed to, by a show of hands: YEAS: 10; NAYS: 2.


The question was put on the motion, as amended, and it was agreed to, by a show of hands: YEAS: 11; NAYS: 1.


By unanimous consent, on motion of Pierre Poilievre, it was agreed, — That the Committee invite Rob Walsh and Richard Denis and others whom they deem necessary on Monday evening, June 5th or on Tuesday June 6, 2006 if they are unavailable on June 5 and that the time limit for testimony be no longer than 3 hours total.


Marlene Jennings moved, — That this Committee mandates its Chair to invite a panel of former Chairs of the Public Service Labour Relations Board to appear so as to answer those questions regarding Bill C-2 that Mrs. Sylvie Matteau was unable to answer given her position of Acting Chairperson of said Board.


The question was put on the motion and the result of the vote was announced: YEAS: 6; NAYS: 6.

Whereupon, the Chair voted in the negative.

Accordingly, the motion was negatived.


At 9:01 p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.


Miriam Burke
Clerk of the Committee

2006/06/05 5:15 p.m.