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View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
Welcome to this meeting number 37 of the Standing Committee on International Trade. I'm thrilled to be able to call the meeting to order.
This meeting is being held pursuant to the order of reference of January 25, and the order of reference sent to the committee on March 10.
The committee is resuming its study of Bill C-216, an act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act (supply management).
With us today we again have the officials from the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Global Affairs Canada, and, of course, our House of Commons legislative clerk to assist us during clause-by-clause consideration of the bill.
We will start to deal with Bill C-216 now.
Therefore, I will call clause 1.
Shall clause 1 carry? Is there any debate on this clause?
Mr. Savard-Tremblay, did you want to speak to this or were you raising your hand to vote?
View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
All right. Thank you very much.
Madam Clerk, would you please take a recorded vote on clause 1?
(Clause 1 agreed to: yeas 9; nays 2)
The Chair: Shall the title carry?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: On division.
The Chair: Shall the bill carry?
(Bill C-216 agreed to: yeas 9; nays 2)
The Chair: Shall the chair report the bill to the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: On division.
The Chair: Shall the committee order a reprint of the bill for the use of the House at report stage?
Émilie Thivierge
View Émilie Thivierge Profile
Émilie Thivierge
2021-06-14 11:11
Madam Chair, I'm sorry to interrupt.
Since there were no amendments adopted, the committee doesn't need to order a reprint of the bill.
View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Émilie. I really appreciate that.
That completes the required votes on Bill C-216.
Madam Clerk, is there anything else on Bill C-216 that we need to do?
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
I call this meeting to order.
Before we pick up where we left off, I just have a couple of very quick items to deal with.
At the last meeting, Ms. May raised a point about whether the motion that allows independent members to present amendments would allow her to speak to a motion of an independent member that is deemed inadmissible, and I said I would get that to her and members of the committee. I read the motion closely and discussed it with the legislative clerk. I don't have that interpretation and I'll mention why.
If you look at the motion, in part (b) about amendments from independent members, it says they “shall be deemed to be proposed during the said consideration”, so I take that to mean during the process and following the process that every member is part of.
I don't see it as being that the minute that the amendment is sent into the clerk, the independent member can speak to it even if it's inadmissible. Also, it doesn't make sense to me because that would mean that all members would be able to speak to their inadmissible motions.
View Elizabeth May Profile
I am a Green Party member of Parliament.
I had thought, Mr. Chair, that the third part of the motion is quite affirmative that each member is allowed to speak.
I understand your ruling. I'm not challenging you, and I know we are rather pressed for time, but in previous committees at which I have been appearing since this motion was first brought forward under the fiction that each committee chose to draft a motion that was identical to everyone else's motion, I've been allowed to speak to each of my amendments deemed to have been put forward.
I don't mean to trespass on your time any further if you want to finish what you were going to say, Mr. Chair.
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
It says here that, during clause-by-clause, “the Chair shall allow a member who filed suggested opportunity to make brief representations” as well. There's been no time limit really imposed on anyone, including the member from the Green Party, and the member from the Green Party makes substantive comments and is not filibustering the committee, so there's no need for enforcing the idea of brevity.
I guess, Ms. May, that means that when you do get the floor on an amendment that's admissible, there's nothing stopping you from referring back to an amendment that was inadmissible.
Anyway, I just wanted to get back to you on this. I did take it seriously and discussed it with the legislative clerk.
View Dan Albas Profile
Mr. Chair, I just wanted to briefly comment on this.
I've already raised many of the points specific to the amendments that Ms. May placed earlier, which you ruled inadmissible, so I won't go to that. I will talk about the future process.
As MP May referenced, she has gone to other committees and had different experiences. I don't want to undermine anyone's credibility, whether it be yourself or the law clerk, because I do believe that we're all trying to work together in good faith. One thing I would consider, Mr. Chair, is that I know there is a committee of all the chairs of committees, and this is something that perhaps you might want to bring three, because to have inconsistent rulings where you're making a judgment call and someone else is making a judgment call....
Perhaps the different House leaders who make these motions, compelling independent or non-recognized party members such as MP May to come to this process only to find out that she's not even able to speak in favour of it or to challenge a position.... To me, it's a principle of natural justice that if a ruling is given against your amendment, you would be able to speak to it.
Just for the sake of consistency, I would encourage you, Mr. Chair, to perhaps discuss this with other chairs and perhaps discuss it with the different House leaders, so that if a motion does come forward again perhaps there can be some clarity as to the admissibility or the ability of an independent or a non-recognized party member to be able to speak to it.
I believe that fundamentally we should be able to make reference to it, and it shouldn't be up to a member to make arguments on behalf of another member's rights. Those rights and privileges are something that we all should be looking out for in these kinds of cases.
I would ask you, Mr. Chair, just in the spirit of trying to make for a better process next time, to take this to your fellow chairs and discuss it perhaps with your—
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
I'll take it under advisement.
The other item is regarding an error in the French version of amendment G-8. The Senate picked this up in the prestudy.
The phrase is, in French, pris en compte, with no “e” on pris. We adopted prises, which is grammatically incorrect. I assume there is unanimous consent to revert to pris, instead of prises. As I say, it's a technicality.
Mr. Albas.
View Dan Albas Profile
Mr. Chair, before you seek unanimous consent, although I imagine you can ask for someone to do that, one of the things that I and other Conservative members have been arguing, and quite frankly, that I've also heard from MP May, is that this process has been rather—what's the word I'm looking for?—compressed. There has not been sufficient time to review and have proper discussion about these things.
Rather than have someone ask for unanimous consent and for us to deny it, right now, I'm a person who believes in good governance, but I also think there is a principle here. The Liberal members have been jamming and basically opposing any other amendments. The process, in this case, hasn't been clean. This is just another example of having to bend over backwards and to ask things that are outside the usual process because things were not followed.
Rather than asking for unanimous consent and us just saying no, I ask you to maybe leave it with us for a bit. My understanding is that we have a very long session today. Perhaps we can deal with it after we have a break, so that I can speak with my other members to see if they want to allow that.
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
That is fine with me, after we have our break. I would find it very unusual if the Conservative Party opposed taking “es” from the French version and making it grammatically correct, but....
View Chris Bittle Profile
Lib. (ON)
I want to respond to that very quickly.
It's ironic that Mr. Albas is saying that this matter has been compressed. This is a very short bill, yet we are many hours into this process and the Conservatives are slow-walking this bill. Having originally supported it, now they're against it. Maybe they'll support it yet again. We don't know. They're going to consult.
They're even dragging on an issue of whether to correct the French language in this bill on a minor point. To say that this is compressed is interesting, given the amount of time, including the amount of time that Mr. Albas has spent already in this meeting on a couple of very minor points.
It's interesting. It's ironic. I will stop.
In the past, I know that the members of this party have asked for unanimous consent to change a vote because they perhaps weren't paying attention. That's acceptable from the rest of the House, but it's denied in these particular cases for Mr. Albas if it will delay this process even more. It's rather unfortunate. I want to point that out. Thank you.
View Dan Albas Profile
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Look, when we have a vote in the House of Commons and someone incorrectly hits yea or nay when they were supposed to vote for the opposite and then begs for the House to allow them to change it—because that's the process that's been laid out—that cuts both ways. That's applicable to all parties. That's to make sure that those members of Parliament can actually represent their constituents properly and have their vote accounted for. In a minority Parliament, I would hope that all members would realize that this is a fair process.
When it comes to raising concerns around the process, we had 72 briefs—plus—that came in afterwards. Through no fault of the legislative clerk, these things had to be translated so that all members, regardless of their language, would be able to read them in their preferred official language.
That was compromised because, Mr. Chair, we ended up having to submit amendments. Like all parties, we submitted our work, and the fact—
View Dan Albas Profile
I have one final point I'd like to make, Mr. Chair, because Mr. Bittle did throw these barbs at Conservative members.
I would just say that if the government cannot write proper English and French in its amendments to its own bill, they have larger problems than people like me.
(On clause 14)
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