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Results: 1 - 15 of 13735
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised yesterday by the member for Calgary Centre.
The member contended that the decision taken by unanimous consent to adjourn the sitting of June 21, 2022, constitutes a breach of his privileges. He noted that due to the technical difficulties with our video conferencing system, he was unable to participate in the proceedings of the House when this decision was made. He equated this matter with previous situations where members were prevented from physically accessing the chamber and asked that the Chair find a prima facie question of privilege.
I thank the member for raising this matter. As I indicated in my statement yesterday, the sitting of June 21, 2022, was suspended due to a connectivity problem external to the House of Commons
It is clear to the Chair that there was no deliberate attempt to interfere with the member's ability to participate in the proceedings. When it was brought to the Chair's attention that there was a widespread outage preventing members from participating, the sitting was suspended. Once it became apparent that it would not be possible to resolve the matter quickly, following discussions with representatives of all parties, the sitting was resumed to allow a motion to adjourn to be presented. The motion was adopted with the unanimous agreement of all members present.
The Chair recognizes that the member was not able to provide his consent for that decision. It was specifically because some members could not participate that the House agreed to adjourn early. The decision was made with the express intent of protecting the rights of those members participating by videoconference. Continuing to sit in those circumstances would have been more problematic for the privileges of members than making a decision to adjourn,
Therefore, the Chair cannot find that this matter constitutes a question of privilege.
I thank all members for their attention.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2022-06-23 10:03 [p.7213]
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to five petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.
While I am on my feet, I move:
That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
The question is on the motion.
If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
The hon. opposition House leader.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Call in the members.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 10:49 [p.7215]
Madam Speaker, in relation to the consideration of Government Business No. 19, I move:
That the debate be not further adjourned.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 10:53 [p.7215]
Madam Speaker, the angrier somebody gets, the more it reflects on their position as opposed to the circumstance we are debating.
Let us take a step back for a second regarding the measures the member is talking about. If he is opposed to them, he and his colleagues do not have to use them. If they want to not use the hybrid provisions, then they can do so.
I am sure that when the vote happens later today, we will see all Conservative members here in the seats. I am sure all members will be voting in person. After that impassioned speech about how terrible these measures are, I am sure that in question period today we will see every single member of the Conservative Party here. We are going to see every vote taken in person, because of course this is a terrible affront to democracy, right? The anger is real, and because the anger is real, we are going to see them all here.
Here is what happened. At the beginning of the pandemic, of course we had no idea what was going to happen. We developed provisions that would give us the flexibility—
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 10:54 [p.7215]
Madam Speaker, I am sure there will be many more questions, so I can come back to this.
I will say that, instead of debating this again and again, what we would give Parliament is stability for the next year, and we would give PROC, the procedure and House affairs committee, the opportunity to look at what may or may not be used beyond that. That would provide stability and clarity, and give us an opportunity to look at what worked, and that is the right way to go.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 10:56 [p.7216]
Madam Speaker, this week, with the situation as it is now, many members have come down with COVID-19. The only way they can participate in the parliamentary debates and vote is through the hybrid system. The pandemic is ongoing. People are dying every day, unfortunately. This is a very serious situation.
This flexibility would give members the option to use the hybrid system. If things improve over time and members no longer want to use the hybrid system, then that will be up to them. They are not in any way obligated to use it.
However, if something changes, like with what happened with the omicron variant, we will need to be flexible and adapt. That is exactly what the motion would allow us to do.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 10:58 [p.7216]
Madam Speaker, I think we all need to take a step back here. What is being talked about is continuing something we have had for the last two years, which has given us incredible flexibility to represent our constituents, as people have been ill. Just last week, we had five members who had COVID, and we have many members this week, and they are continuing to be able to represent their constituents.
This would be for a year. If people are really against it, and I am hearing some people who really do not like it and that is fair, the procedure and House affairs committee is going to look at whether we would use these provisions outside of the pandemic or inside it, but it would be for a year. We have a committee that is going to be looking at all of the concerns. People are very passionate about this, saying that it should be used outside of a pandemic or that it should not be used outside of a pandemic. We need a parliamentary process to adjudicate that and to look at its relative merits, but how upset folks are getting is just not in line with what is here in front of us today.
View Kody Blois Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Kody Blois Profile
2022-06-23 10:59 [p.7216]
Madam Speaker, as I have listened to this debate, the Conservatives have obviously expressed their concern that this is somehow a deficit for democracy. However, as I watched the vote, there were a number of Conservatives who were using the tools that have been made available to us.
What I have not heard, and I would be interested to hear from the House leader on this, is any constructive proposals about how we can balance using virtual tools and also making sure that opposition members feel there is a legitimate ability to hold the government to account, which arguably is already there. They have some concern, but there has been no constructive debate. I presume this is something that can go on at PROC. We have been able to use these tools, but at the same time, if there are ways we can continue to make sure that the government is accountable to all parliamentarians in this place, then that is the place to do it.
Can the member elaborate a little on how he sees that process playing out?
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:00 [p.7216]
Madam Speaker, my hon. friend and colleague is absolutely right.
The first point I would make is that, in talking with all opposition parties, I have been clear from the outset that I am open to any ideas on how to improve on any concerns they have. Unfortunately, what came back was nothing, just that there was opposition to it. We are going to continue to ask for ways for this to be improved in the near term as we continue to try to have flexibility in a pandemic.
We are an enormously large country, and we do not want members who are sick to be in a position where they have to make the choice of whether they represent their constituents or whether—
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:02 [p.7217]
Madam Speaker, when I am talking about feedback, let me be very clear. When members just tell me they are opposed, I get that. They are opposed to it. There is going to be an opportunity at PROC to talk about the reasons they are opposed to it, on an ongoing basis, and we will have a vigorous debate. However, I am interested in specific, concrete examples of what could be done to improve. I have heard nothing on that front, but of course I would welcome that.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:02 [p.7217]
Madam Speaker, there are a couple of reasons. The first is that we have to make a determination on this so that we can move forward with stability for Parliament. The motion asks for a year, and it would also give the opportunity for PROC to take a look at it and examine the relative merits of it.
Also, we have debated this ad nauseam. I see the hon. former House leader across from me for the Conservative Party and think of how many conversations we had leading into sessions, and how many conversations I had with the current House leader on this. Every time we try to open this place, we spend weeks talking about this, and what gets reported to the media is the discussion of “Will Parliament have hybrid or will it not?” Instead of talking about the critical issues of the day, we have this protracted debate on whether or not hybrid is something we should use in the middle of a pandemic.
All I am saying is to give it a year. Let us make sure that, while we have this uncertainty, we have a stable system in place, and then let us use the parliamentary committee to evaluate its utility, or lack of utility, outside of a pandemic circumstance.
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:04 [p.7217]
Madam Speaker, we hold the institutions of Parliament incredibly dear. I know that every single person here has a profound regard for our democratic processes and systems and wants them to be successful. I can go back to the beginning of the pandemic, to how constructive the conversations were with all parties on the need for Parliament to adapt and provide additional provisions. Now, as we continue to be in a pandemic, and as we do not know where that pandemic will go, none of us being clairvoyant, this provides us stability.
If the member opposite thinks that some element is not as accountable as some other element, then there is going to be an opportunity to debate that. That is not an opinion that is shared universally. How a question is answered, I understand, is a concern for the member opposite, but so is members not being able to participate in debate because they are sick, and so is members not having the opportunity not to have to make a choice between representing their constituents and coming in sick, potentially getting others sick and then having that sent all around the country, or working virtually and—
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2022-06-23 11:07 [p.7218]
Madam Speaker, clearly, everyone wants the pandemic to be over. However, that is not the case. The pandemic is ongoing. That is our reality today.
We must therefore remain flexible, because it is really important that all members be able to represent their constituents. That is why we need a system as flexible as the hybrid system.
According to the hon. member opposite, the House would normally have finished its work yesterday. Today is therefore an extraordinary day. It is a wise thing that we are using a day that does not normally exist to finish this debate so that we can continue our work in the fall without any distractions.
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