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Results: 1 - 15 of 98
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-06-17 14:43 [p.2488]
Mr. Speaker, there have also been discussions among the parties and, if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
That, during the debate today on the Business of Supply pursuant to the order adopted on May 26, 2020:
a) within each 15-minute period, each party may allocate time to one or more of its members for speeches or for questions and answers, provided that, in the case of questions and answers, the minister's answer approximately reflect the time taken by the question, and provided that, in the case of speeches, members of the party to which the period is allocated may speak one after the other; and
b) the Speaker may preside in committee of the whole.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-05-25 11:05 [p.2319]
moved:
That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House:
(a) following the adoption of this order, the House shall adjourn until Wednesday, June 17, 2020, provided that, for the purposes of any standing order, it shall be deemed adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28;
(b) during the period the House stands adjourned pursuant to this order, a minister of the Crown may transmit to the Speaker a message from Her Excellency the Governor General recommending Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, provided that
(i) the said message may be transmitted electronically,
(ii) the Speaker shall inform the House of the receipt of such message and the tabling of the estimates based thereon by causing them to be published in the Journals, and the said estimates shall be for all purposes deemed tabled before the House,
(iii) the votes therein shall be referred to a committee of the whole;
(c) on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, the House shall meet at the conclusion of the proceedings of the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic for the sole purpose of considering the business of supply, provided that
(i) notices may be filed with the clerk no later than 6:00 p.m. on Monday, June 15, 2020, and shall be printed in the Order Paper and Notice Paper to be published for that sitting,
(ii) the application of Standing Orders 15, 17, 36(8)(b), 39(5)(b) and 56.1 be suspended for the sitting,
(iii) the sitting shall not be considered as a sitting day for the purposes of Standing Orders 34(1), 37(3), 51(1) and 110 and subsection 28(12) of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons,
(iv) consideration of all votes in the Supplementary Estimates (A) shall be taken up by a committee of the whole at the opening of the sitting for a period not exceeding four hours, during which time no quorum calls or dilatory motions shall be received by the Chair, no member shall be recognized for more than 15 minutes at a time and the member shall not speak in debate for more than 10 minutes during that period, the 15 minutes may be used both for debate and for posing questions to a minister of the Crown or a parliamentary secretary acting on behalf of a minister, when the member is recognized, he or she shall indicate how the 15 minutes is to be apportioned and, at the conclusion of the time provided for the consideration of the business pursuant to this subparagraph, the committee shall rise and report the votes in the estimates to the House,
(v) when the committee of the whole rises, all questions necessary to dispose of the business of supply shall be put forthwith and successively, without debate or amendment, and, if a recorded division is requested, it shall not be deferred;
(d) at the conclusion of the consideration of the business of supply on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, the House shall adjourn until Wednesday, July 8, 2020, provided that
(i) on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, the House shall meet at noon and the House shall resolve itself into a committee of the whole to allow members to question ministers for a period not exceeding 95 minutes on matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other matters provided that the rotation used for questions pursuant to this subparagraph be the one used by the Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesdays and Thursdays prior to the adoption of this order and, during the proceedings of the committee,
(A) the Speaker may preside,
(B) the Chair may preside from the Speaker’s chair,
(C) the Chair shall call members from all recognized parties and one member who does not belong to a recognized party in a fashion consistent with the proportions observed during Oral Questions,
(D) no member shall be recognized for more than five minutes at a time which may be used for posing questions to a minister of the Crown,
(E) members may be permitted to split their time with one or more members by so indicating to the Chair,
(F) members may participate in the proceedings either in person or by videoconference,
(ii) following the questioning of ministers, the committee shall consider a motion “That the House take note of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and measures taken by the government to respond to it” which shall be conducted pursuant to the terms of Standing Order 53.1 except that proceedings pursuant to this subparagraph shall last not longer than 2 hours and 20 minutes and members may participate in the proceedings either in person or by videoconference, when the committee rises, the motion shall be deemed withdrawn and the House shall adjourn until the next sitting day provided for in subparagraph (iii),
(iii) on Wednesday, July 22, August 12 and August 26, 2020, the House shall meet in the manner described in subparagraphs (i) and (ii), provided that, when the House adjourns on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, it shall stand adjourned until Monday, September 21, 2020,
(iv) notices may be filed with the clerk no later than 6:00 p.m. on the Monday preceding the sittings provided for in subparagraphs (i) and (iii), and shall be printed in the Order Paper and Notice Paper to be published for that sitting,
(v) the application of Standing Orders 15, 17, 36(8)(b), 39(5)(b) and 56.1 be suspended for the sittings provided for in subparagraphs (i) and (iii)
(vi) the days on which the House sits pursuant to this paragraph shall not be counted as sittings for the purposes of Standing Orders 34(1), 37(3), 51(1) and 110 and subsection 28(12) of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons,
(vii) during any period the House stands adjourned between Wednesday, June 17, 2020, and Monday, September 21, 2020, if the Speaker receives a notice from the House leaders of all four recognized parties indicating that it is in the public interest that the House remain adjourned until a future date or until future notice is given to the Speaker, the House will remain adjourned accordingly,
(viii) during any period the House stands adjourned between Wednesday, June 17, 2020, and Monday, September 21, 2020, for the purposes of any standing order, it shall be deemed adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28;
(e) until Monday, September 21, 2020, the Standing Committee on Health, the Standing Committee on Finance, the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, and the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans may hold meetings related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other matters, provided that,
(i) committee members shall attend and witnesses shall participate in meetings via either videoconference or teleconference,
(ii) committee members attending by videoconference or teleconference shall be counted for the purposes of quorum,
(iii) all motions shall be decided by a recorded vote,
(iv) notwithstanding any deadlines established by a committee, any request or any order for the production of documents be responded to when possible, given the constraints that exist as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,
(v) public proceedings shall be made available to the public via the House of Commons website,
(vi) in camera proceedings may be conducted, for the purpose of considering draft reports or the selection of witnesses, in a manner that takes into account the potential risks to confidentiality inherent in meetings with remote participants,
(vii) notices of membership substitutions pursuant to Standing Order 114(2) may be filed with the clerk of each committee by email,
(viii) in relation to their study of matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic, these committees may each receive evidence which may otherwise exceed the committee’s mandate under Standing Order 108,
(ix) these committees shall meet within 48 hours of the receipt by email, by the clerk of the committee, of a request signed by any four members of the committee;
(f) the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be instructed to review and make recommendations on how to modify the Standing Orders for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic as part of an incremental approach beginning with hybrid sittings of the House as outlined by the report provided to the committee by the Speaker on Monday, May 11, 2020, including how to enact remote voting, provided that (i) the provisions applying to committees enumerated in paragraph (e) shall also apply to the committee, (ii) the committee be instructed to present a report no later than Tuesday, June 23, 2020, (iii) any report which is adopted pursuant to this paragraph may be submitted electronically at any time with the Clerk of the House, and shall be deemed to have been duly presented to the House on that date, (iv) following the presentation of any report pursuant to this paragraph, the House leaders of all four recognized parties may indicate to the Speaker that there is an agreement among the parties to implement one or several of the recommendations of the committee and the Speaker shall give effect to that agreement;
(g) the following provisions remain in effect until Friday, June 19, 2020:
(i) paragraphs (m) to (o) of the order adopted on Friday, March 13, 2020,
(ii) paragraphs (i), (j) and (m) of the order adopted on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, provided that in paragraph (i), the words “until April 20, 2020, or any date to which the adjournment period is extended pursuant to paragraph (f)” shall be deemed to refer to June 19, 2020,
(iii) paragraph (k) of the order adopted on Saturday, April 11, 2020,
(iv) paragraphs (g), (i) and (j) of the order adopted on Monday, April 20, 2020, provided that, in paragraph (j), the reference to paragraph (l) of the order adopted on Saturday, April 11, 2020 be deemed to refer to paragraph (e) of this order,
(h) the Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic, composed of all members of the House, be continued provided that the committee meet for the purposes of
(i) considering ministerial announcements,
(ii) allowing members to present petitions,
(iii) allowing members to make statements,
(iv) questioning ministers of the Crown, including the Prime Minister, in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic and other matters, and provided that
(v) during the period the House stands adjourned pursuant to this order at noon every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, provided that the committee shall not meet on a day referred to in Standing Order 28(1),
(vi) the committee shall meet in the chamber and members may participate either in person or by videoconference,
(vii) the Speaker shall continue to be the chair of the committee,
(viii) seven members shall constitute a quorum,
(ix) ministerial announcements shall be considered at the opening of the meeting and the proceedings shall be conducted in the same manner as Statements by Ministers under Standing Order 33(1), provided that a member of the Green Party also be permitted to reply to the statement,
(x) after any ministerial announcements, any member desiring to present a petition may do so during a period not exceeding 15 minutes, provided that the provisions of Standing Order 36 shall apply, except for Standing Order 36(5), and any petition presented shall be deemed for all purposes to have been presented to the House,
(xi) after the presentation of petitions, members may make statements in a manner similar to those made pursuant to Standing Order 31 for a period not exceeding 15 minutes,
(xii) after members’ statements, proceedings on questioning ministers shall be conducted, for not more than 95 minutes, in the same manner as provided for in paragraph (d) of the order adopted on Monday, April 20, 2020, provided that the rotation used for questions pursuant to this subparagraph be the one used by the committee on Tuesdays and Thursdays prior to the adoption of this order and that questions shall be answered by ministers,
(xiii) upon the conclusion of proceedings on questioning ministers the committee shall adjourn to the next day provided for in subparagraph (v),
(xiv) if the Speaker receives a notice from the House leaders of all four recognized parties indicating that it is in the public interest that the committee remain adjourned until a future date or until future notice is given to the Speaker, the committee will remain adjourned accordingly,
(xv) meetings of the committee shall continue to be televised, following the usual practices observed for sittings of the House,
(xvi) any document may be presented by a minister of the Crown, or a parliamentary secretary acting on behalf of a minister, at any time during a meeting of the committee and shall be deemed for all purposes to have been presented to or laid before the House,
(xvii) the committee shall have the power to sit while the House stands adjourned and to print, from day to day, such papers and evidence as may be ordered by them,
(xviii) the committee shall cease to exist upon its adjournment on Thursday, June 18, 2020;
(i) until Monday, September 21, 2020, documents deposited pursuant to Standing Order 32(1) shall be deposited with the Clerk of the House electronically.
He said: Mr. Speaker, we are gathered here today at a time of great uncertainty and anxiety. We live in a world that is gripped by the greatest public health care crisis of our lifetime. Canadians are worried about their own health and the health of the people they love. They are anxious about the economic fallout from this crisis, whether they will keep their jobs and what will happen to them if they should lose their jobs. Quite simply, Canadians are worried about how they will pay the bills and feed their families in the months ahead.
It is a spring that we will never forget, a season in which COVID-19 completely changed our lives. Canadians acted responsibly. They listened to the advice of our public health experts. They stayed home as much as possible. They learned the importance of physical distancing to protect themselves, as well as their families, relatives, friends and community. In other words, Canadians did what they needed to do and continue to do so. As they grapple with the unknown aspects of this pandemic and all of its effects, they are asking us, as parliamentarians, to also do what we need to do.
As parliamentarians, this spring, we had to adapt our practices. Both the government and the opposition parties had to adapt to everything that is happening. We have a role to play, and I think that we played that role together. Despite all of the challenges associated with these unprecedented times, I believe that we proved to our voters that we can find ways to adapt, to give voice to their concerns, worries, questions and needs and to take action.
Our government has been transparent about everything we have done. We have taken responsibility for our decisions. It might not have been perfect, but the government and the opposition parties have done some good work together. As a member of the House of Commons, I can say that we have done and are continuing to do our job. We can and we must keep doing our job on behalf of all Canadians.
Our government firmly believes in this institution's central and fundamental role and in the fundamental role of democracy in our society. That is why the motion we are moving today is reasonable, ensures accountability and transparency, and follows public health guidelines. This motion strikes a good balance. Finding that balance is essential, especially at a time when Canadians are turning toward us with the expectation that their government and their elected representatives provide non-partisan, constructive, accountable leadership. That is exactly what our government is committed to doing.
For many weeks, we have been working day and night to respond to the concerns of Canadians who have been impacted by this pandemic. We have worked closely with our public health officials to develop and put into action the many responses needed to limit the spread of COVID-19.
We have worked hand in hand with provinces, territories and municipalities as they battle the virus on the front lines of their communities. We have worked with the opposition parties and our colleagues from everywhere in this country, and we have come forward with economic and financial assistance measures that are unprecedented in this country's history. Simply put, we recognized that Canadian employees and businesses were in jeopardy. They needed the government to provide help quickly, and that is exactly what we have done. That is exactly what we have delivered.
We chose to stand by Canadians in their time of need. That meant support for Canadians who are not working because of COVID-19, for students who cannot find jobs and for seniors who are concerned about the impact of the crisis on their fixed incomes. It also meant support for employers who want to retain their employees, as the economic shutdown has created great uncertainty. It meant support for businesses to help them through the unsteady waters of this storm so they can emerge into a brighter economy.
These are the actions of a government that cares deeply about its citizens. The Prime Minister has shown strong leadership throughout this crisis. He has never forgotten our top priority, which is to look after the people of this country, in every region and every province.
It was crucial, and it remains crucial, that we be there for every Canadian. My government colleagues and I have been working very hard to come up with the answers Canadians need as this pandemic changes their lives. We have often reached out to the opposition parties and have been working closely with them. Often, they have even improved upon the solutions proposed by the government, and I thank them for that.
In hundreds of ridings across the country, members from all parties and political stripes continue to do their jobs, despite the limitations of physical distancing. One only has to look at all the questions members have to answer regarding the various programs. There are many programs, because our main priority was to help Canadians and businesses and not leave anyone behind. It has presented a challenge for all members, but they have risen to it brilliantly. Fundamentally, regardless of their political stripes, members from across the country work here, but they also work in their constituencies.
I want to take a second to express my sincere gratitude to the public servants who have done amazing work day and night, seven days a week, so the government can provide these programs and services to the people. I thank them for their dedication and their hard work. None of this would have been possible without them.
Ever since March 13, the House of Commons has, for the most part, not held the normal sittings we were used to pre-crisis. We were not here for the usual five days a week. The 338 men and women from across the country who are usually here were not. Unfortunately, because of that, some people said Parliament was shut down. That is completely false. It could not be further from the truth. The truth is that parliamentarians have been doing their work this whole time. Members on both sides of the House have been doing their work, and they are doing it well.
In these extraordinary times of physical distancing, the House has now met six days since the middle of March to discuss the priorities of the country, and that has included time to debate and pass important legislation to quickly provide financial assistance to Canadians who need it. Also during this period, dozens of members on eight standing committees have been holding public hearings virtually. They have called cabinet ministers to testify at their hearings to explain and justify their decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The numbers tell the story. Since mid-March, those committees have held 74 meetings and heard from 580 witnesses. There have been 23 appearances by ministers to answer questions. Clearly our committees are working hard, and I thank them. I thank all MPs on those committees for the work they are doing for Parliament and all Canadians.
Of course, we have seen the unprecedented work of the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic, which has met 11 times. All MPs are members of this committee, whatever region they come from. It has been a success. It is not perfect, but it has been a success.
The committee has made history by holding virtual meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays that have seen participation by hundreds of members through video conferences. In seven of those meetings, ministers had to answer many questions. There have also been four in-person meetings of the committee on the floor of this chamber, on Wednesdays, and many questions were asked and answered.
Again, the numbers tell the story. In a typical week, when the House sits five days, members ask 190 questions in 45 minutes. Recently, when the special committee met Tuesday through Thursday, there were, on average, more than 300 questions asked over three days. We can see that the committee has been a very good place for accountability, with hundreds of questions. The motion we have put forward proposes to continue the work of this committee and strengthen the work of the House.
I will go over a few elements of this motion.
The Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic would meet more often. We would be here four days a week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in a hybrid format. It is a genius solution that would allow several MPs who are unable to be here to participate in the democratic process and be a part of it. They could participate via video conference and ask the government all questions they want.
This guarantees that all MPs can participate regardless of where they live and without the restrictions associated with travelling and having to quarantine. During these meetings, MPs will have a host of opportunities to ask their questions. In fact, out of the four days that we are proposing, there will be the equivalent of eight question periods. I do not know why anyone would be against that.
We are talking about eight question periods instead of five, which means more time to ask questions. This motion would provide more hours for that than if the House were having normal sittings, to allow MPs to ask all the questions they want. It adds up to more than six hours of questions, when in a regular week we would have just about 3.75 hours of questions.
This hybrid model, therefore, allows much more time for question period, for those who want to participate here in the House and also for our Conservative colleagues from the west and our Bloc and NDP colleagues from across Canada. This is a tremendous expression of democracy that will enable parliamentarians from all corners of the country to ask questions because they were elected, not just because they live near Ottawa. That is fundamental.
Furthermore, this motion would have the House hold summer sittings so that members could question ministers about all issues, as well as the possibility of debating the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Again, when we come back here this summer, we will obviously be open to answering any and all questions about the pandemic, but we will also debate other issues and answer other questions that are important to the opposition parties.
We are going to continue the virtual committee meetings with committees that will be free to study any topic in accordance with their normal powers. The committees will get to conduct their business as they see fit, to do their job of examining important policy matters and any other matters that the committee members consider to be important and necessary to debate. The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs would study potential changes that could be made to the rules of the House to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as hybrid House sittings and electronic voting. This study would build on the critical work that the committee accomplished this spring on the subject of a virtual Parliament.
We believe that this motion strikes the right balance between ensuring that MPs can hold the government to account and protecting the health and safety of everyone during this pandemic. I would ask my colleagues, all members, to consider the many merits of this motion and support it.
Canadians are watching us and want us to work for them. I pledge to work in collaboration with all my colleagues in the House. Once again, I am reaching out to them.
We will all face this challenge together, and we will all get through this together.
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View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-04-20 11:11 [p.2160]
Mr. Speaker, I move:
That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House, during today’s sitting, a minister of the Crown be authorized to move, without notice, a motion concerning the proceedings of the House and its committees.
That, notwithstanding any standing order, special order or usual practice of the House:
(a) today shall not be considered as a sitting day for the purposes of Standing Orders 34(1), 37(3), 51(1) and 110 and subsection 28(12) of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons;
(b) the government response to petition 431-00125, 431-00129, 431-00134, 431-00136 and 431-00139 be tabled immediately and that the responses to questions on the Order Paper numbered Q-369 to Q-379 and a supplemental response to Q-330 be made into orders for return and that the said returns be tabled immediately;
(c) Statements by Ministers be taken up immediately following the adoption of this order, that a member of the Green Party also be permitted to reply to the statement and that the time allocated for replies be not less than 10 minutes per party;
(d) following the responses to the ministerial statement, the House shall resolve itself into a committee of the whole to consider matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic provided that, during the proceedings of the committee,
(i) the Speaker may preside,
(ii) the Chair may preside from the Speaker’s chair,
(iii) the Chair shall call members from all recognized parties and one member who does not belong to a recognized party in a fashion consistent with the proportions observed during Oral Questions,
(iv) no member shall be recognized for more than five minutes at a time which may be used for posing questions to a minister of the Crown or a parliamentary secretary acting on behalf of the minister, and
(v) members may be permitted to split their time with one or more members by so indicating to the Chair; and
at the conclusion of 27 five-minute interventions, or when no member rises to speak, whichever is earlier, the committee shall rise;
(e) when the committee of the whole rises, a motion “That the House take note of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic” shall be deemed proposed and a member of each recognized party and a member of the Green Party may speak to the said motion for not more than 10 minutes, followed by 5 minutes for questions and comments, provided that members may be permitted to split their time with another member; and, at the conclusion of the time provided for the debate or when no member rises to speak, whichever is earlier, the House shall adjourn until Monday, May 25, 2020, provided that, for the purposes of any Standing Order, it shall be deemed adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28, and, if the Speaker receives a notice from the House leaders of all four recognized parties indicating that it is in the public interest that the House remain adjourned until a future date or until future notice is given to the Speaker, the House will remain adjourned accordingly;
(f) for greater certainty, the following provisions remain in effect:
(i) paragraphs (m) to (p) of the order adopted on Friday, March 13, 2020,
(ii) paragraphs (i) to (m) of the order adopted on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, provided that
(A) in paragraph (i), the words “paragraph (f)” shall be deemed to refer to paragraph (e) of this order, and
(B) in paragraph (l), the words “paragraphs (e) or (f) of this order” shall be deemed to refer to paragraph (e) of this order, and
(iii) paragraphs (k) to (n) and (p) to (t) of the order adopted on Saturday, April 11, 2020, provided that the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs be added to the list of committees in paragraph (l) of that order;
(g) during the period the House stands adjourned pursuant to this order, any petition certified by the Clerk of Petitions may be filed electronically with the Clerk of the House on any Wednesday and shall be deemed for all purposes to have been presented to the House on that date;
(h) a Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic shall be established, composed of all members of the House, and which shall meet for the purposes of
(i) considering ministerial announcements,
(ii) allowing members to present petitions, and
(iii) questioning ministers of the Crown, including the Prime Minister, in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic, provided that
(iv) during the period the House stands adjourned pursuant to this order and commencing on Tuesday, April 28, 2020, the committee shall meet at noon every Tuesday and Wednesday and, commencing on Thursday, May 7, 2020, the committee shall also meet at noon every Thursday, provided that the committee shall not meet on a day referred to in Standing Order 28(1),
(v) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the committee shall meet by videoconference and members shall participate by videoconference and on Wednesdays, the committee shall meet in the chamber and members shall participate in person, provided that meetings by videoconference shall be subject by such limits as the House administration may indicate are necessary,
(vi) the Speaker shall be the chair of the committee,
(vii) seven members shall constitute a quorum,
(viii) ministerial announcements, if any, shall be considered at the opening of the meeting and the proceedings shall be conducted in the same manner as Statements by Ministers under Standing Order 33(1), provided that a member of the Green Party also be permitted to reply to the statement,
(ix) after any ministerial announcements, any member desiring to present a petition may do so during a period not exceeding 15 minutes, provided that the provisions of Standing Order 36 shall apply, except for Standing Order 36(5), and any petition presented shall be deemed for all purposes to have been presented to the House,
(x) after any ministerial announcements and the presentation of petitions, proceedings on questioning ministers shall be conducted, for not more than 90 minutes on a Tuesday or a Thursday and for not more than two hours and 15 minutes on a Wednesday, in the same manner as provided for in paragraph (d), provided that questions shall be answered by ministers,
(xi) upon the conclusion of proceedings on questioning ministers on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the committee shall adjourn to the next day provided for in subparagraph (iv),
(xii) upon the conclusion of proceedings on questioning ministers on Wednesdays, the committee shall consider a motion “That the committee take note of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic” for not more than two hours and 10 minutes, provided that each recognized party shall be allotted 30 minutes for debate which may be shared among members of that party and a total of 10 minutes shall be allotted for debate by members who do not belong to a recognized party and at the conclusion of the time provided or when no member wishes to speak, whichever is earlier, the committee shall adjourn to the next day provided for in subparagraph (iv), provided that, if the House sits on a Wednesday pursuant to paragraph (i) of this order, the committee shall adjourn upon the conclusion of proceedings on questioning ministers,
(xiii) if the Speaker receives a notice from the House leaders of all four recognized parties indicating that it is in the public interest that the committee remain adjourned until a future date or until future notice is given to the Speaker, the committee will remain adjourned accordingly,
(xiv) meetings of the committee shall be televised, following the usual practices observed for sittings of the House,
(xv) any document may be presented by a minister of the Crown, or a parliamentary secretary acting on behalf of a minister, at any time during a meeting of the committee and shall be deemed for all purposes to have been presented to or laid before the House,
(xvi) the committee shall have the power to sit while the House stands adjourned and to print, from day to day, such papers and evidence as may be ordered by them,
(xvii) upon the resumption of regular sittings of the House, the committee shall cease to exist, and
(xviii) following the report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs pursuant to its order of reference of Saturday, April 11, 2020, the House leaders of all four recognized parties may indicate to the Speaker that there is an agreement among the parties to implement one or several of the recommendations of the committee and the Speaker shall give effect to that agreement;
(i) during the period the House stands adjourned pursuant to this order, and without limiting the application of Standing Order 28(3), if the Speaker is satisfied, after consultation with the government, that the public interest requires that the House should meet in order to consider measures to address the impacts of COVID-19 on the lives of Canadians, the Speaker may give notice that being so satisfied the House shall meet, and thereupon the House shall meet to transact its business as if it had been duly adjourned to that time, provided that, in respect of a sitting convened under this paragraph,
(i) the House shall meet on a Wednesday, at the later of 2:30 p.m. and the conclusion of the proceedings of the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic,
(ii) notice of the sitting shall be given no later than 6:00 p.m. on the preceding Monday,
(iii) notices may be filed with the clerk no later than 6:00 p.m. on the preceding Monday and shall be printed in the Notice Paper to be published for that sitting,
(iv) the application of Standing Orders 15, 17, 36(8)(b) and 39(5)(b) shall be suspended,
(v) the order of business shall be Introduction of Government Bills, followed by Government Orders,
(vi) the only Orders of the Day which may be considered under Government Orders shall relate to the COVID-19 pandemic and measures necessary to respond to it,
(vii) an embargoed copy of any measure to be considered shall be provided to the House leaders of the recognized parties no later than 6:00 pm on the preceding Saturday,
(viii) before any measure is considered, a minister of the Crown must state that there is agreement among the representatives of all recognized parties to govern the proceedings in relation to the said measure and, the minister may propose a motion, without notice, setting forth the terms of such agreement and every such motion shall be decided forthwith,
(ix) no motions may be received or considered under Standing Orders 26, 38, 52, 53, 56.1, 57, 78(2) or (3), 81 or 84,
(x) any day the House sits pursuant to this paragraph shall not be considered as a sitting day for the purposes of Standing Orders 34(1), 37(3), 51(1) and 110 and subsection 28(12) of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, and
(xi) when the proceedings governed by the motion described in subparagraph (vii) have been completed, or if that motion is negatived or a minister does not state that there is an agreement, the Speaker shall adjourn the House to the date fixed under paragraph (e), and the House shall be deemed, for the purposes of any order, to stand adjourned pursuant to this order;
(j) for the purposes of committee meetings convened under paragraph (h) of this order and paragraphs (l) and (m) of the order adopted on Saturday, April 11, 2020, priority for the use of House resources shall be given, in the following order, to
(i) meetings of the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic,
(ii) meetings of the Standing Committee on Health,
(iii) meetings of the Standing Committee on Finance,
(iv) meetings which are specified by the agreement of the whips of all recognized parties,
(v) all other meetings, in the order in which the meetings were convened;
(k) the House, recalling the untimely death of Michael Ferguson on February 2, 2019, call upon the government to propose the nomination of a permanent Auditor General of Canada, pursuant to subsection 3(1) of the Auditor General Act and Standing Order 111.1, provided that
(i) the government consult with opposition parties within 30 days of the adoption of this order;
(ii) the certificate of nomination may be tabled pursuant to paragraph (k) of the order adopted on Saturday, April 11, 2020, as renewed by subparagraph (f)(iii) of this order,
(iii) the Standing Committee on Public Accounts shall meet within seven days of the tabling of the certificate of nomination and, if the House stands adjourned pursuant to this order, the provisions applying to committees enumerated in paragraphs (l) and (n) of the order adopted on Saturday, April 11, 2020, as renewed by subparagraph (f)(iii) of this order, shall apply to the committee for the purposes of this study; however, the committee may consider motions related to the adoption of a draft report in relation to this study,
(iv) the committee be instructed to present a report within seven days of first meeting on this order of reference,
(v) the question on a motion to ratify the appointment shall be put, without debate or amendment, after a report has been presented under subparagraph (iv), at the earlier of the next following regular sitting of the House, during Routine Proceedings, or the next following sitting of the House convened under paragraph (i), at the opening of the sitting;
(l) Standing Order 81 shall, for the calendar year 2020, be amended as follows:
(i) in section (4), by replacing
(A) “May 31”, wherever it appears, with “November 27”, and
(B) “May 1” with “October 30”,
(ii) in section (8), by replacing “June” with “December”,
(iii) in paragraph (10)(a), by replacing all the words before the word “provided” with the following: “In the calendar year 2020, eight sitting days shall be allotted to the business of supply for the period ending not later than March 13; five additional days shall be allotted to the business of supply in the period ending not later than June 23; and nine additional days shall be allotted to the business of supply in the period ending not later than December 10;”, and
(iv) in paragraph (10)(b), by adding the following: “and that, in making this determination, the Speaker shall include in the period ending not later than December 10 the two allotted days which had not yet been designated pursuant to the order adopted on Monday, March 9, 2020.”,
(v) in section (12), by replacing “June 23” with “December 10”,
(vi) in paragraph (14)(a), by replacing “June 23” with “December 10”,
(vii) in section (17), by replacing
(A) “periods ending December 10 and March 26” with “period ending June 23”, and
(B) “each of the said periods” with “the said period”, and
(viii) in section (18), by replacing “June 23” with “December 10”,
provided that, for greater certainty, a motion to concur in additional interim supply for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, may be considered on the last allotted day in the supply period ending June 23, 2020; and
m) in the event of the Speaker being unable to act for any purpose required by this order, owing to illness or other cause, the Deputy Speaker or either of the Assistant Deputy Speakers shall act in the Speaker’s stead for any such purpose.
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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I declare the motion carried. Therefore the study of the motion to concur in the supplementary estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020, and interim supply for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2021, scheduled for later this day is postponed to a later date.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-02-28 10:03 [p.1727]
moved:
That, notwithstanding Standing Order 81, for the supply period ending March 26, 2020, three additional allotted days shall be added for a total of 10, provided that one of the additional days is allotted to the Conservative Party, one of the additional day is allotted to the Bloc Québécois, and one of the additional days is allotted to the New Democratic Party, and, if necessary to accommodate these additional days, the supply period may be extended to April 2, 2020, and no allotted days shall fall on a Wednesday or a Friday.
She said: I am very happy to rise today in my capacity as the House leader for the official opposition to speak to the motion that we have put forward today.
I will be honest. I wish we were not talking about the Standing Orders today. I think there are a lot of issues gripping this country, including illegal blockades. We have seen individuals set fires and put up barricades on railroads, causing our economy to come to a halt. We have seen absolute weak leadership and no leadership from the government. Today would be a good day to talk about things like that.
We also have seen issues around investment leaving this country. As we have just seen this week, Teck has taken out its application for a very important project that we wish had been built in Alberta. It would have helped jobs right across the country. The Liberals and their policy are driving investment away. That is something we could be talking about today.
We also have the coronavirus, which is gripping world. We do not know if it is contained. Could it be a pandemic? That is an issue Canadians are thinking about.
However, today we are talking about changes to the Standing Orders. I will get to the fact that we only have four speakers today, but for now I will say that I am sharing my time with one of the next three speakers, the member for Perth—Wellington.
I will start by giving a little background and then will quickly let my colleagues know, as some may not be aware, how a minority Parliament operates. I want to give some context about opposition days and why they matter.
Throughout the run of a full year, the government must devote 22 days for the opposition parties to raise topics of their choosing. The rules spread those out over winter, spring and fall, and from there the opposition parties agree on how to carve them up. It is up to the government to decide which days are used for opposition motions, but on those days, the opposition gets to bring forward any topic it chooses as long as it falls within Parliament's jurisdiction. Today, the Liberals decided to give Conservatives a Friday as their opposition day.
On Fridays, as we all know, the House has a much shorter sitting period, because we all want to get back to our ridings for the important things going on in our constituencies. To be blunt and very clear, for all of us who have been here for a while and know this and for the newer MPs, giving an opposition party, any one of us, a Friday as an opposition day is a full-out slap. It is a full-out insult. It is a full-out, 100% punishment.
That is what the Prime Minister is doing right now. He is punishing Conservatives. Why? It is because we have been standing up to him, because we have been pointing out his weakness and calling out some of the ways the government has not recognized that it is in a minority, not a majority, Parliament.
We have seen a number of things that we are very concerned about. We have raised them with you, Madam Speaker. They include things like the government's leaking bills to the press before they have been brought to the House. We had to rise on a point of privilege. As we saw, the Minister of Natural Resources had to stand and apologize. We accept that apology, but it was pretty disrespectful to all of us in this place for the government to leak contents of a bill to the press before we saw it.
We have also seen the government give incomplete and inaccurate responses to Order Paper questions. Actually, this is what the Minister of Natural Resources had to apologize for. No one has apologized yet for the leaking of the bill.
In responses to the Order Paper questions, misleading answers have been given, and then even in defence of those misleading answers, we have seen misleading answers given again. It is totally unacceptable, and as Conservatives, we are going to call that out.
There are the two issues on which I have seen such a high level of disrespect. First is the new NAFTA agreement and how the Liberals have worked with us on that. As Conservatives, we are the party of free trade. We believe that many Canadians and many Canadian sectors need an agreement. It is not a great agreement, but we have been supporting it, while asking tough questions.
One of those questions has been about the economic impact to Canadians, and the Liberals have refused to give us that. Instead, they are getting up, as we saw when the Deputy Prime Minister stood in this place, to completely mislead and try to poke a stick in our eye, saying that we were somehow blocking the new NAFTA deal, which is completely misleading, completely disingenuous and insulting.
To add insult to injury, yesterday when I tried to expedite Bill C-4, to get it through in a much faster way, the Liberals opposed it. In fact, it was the member for Winnipeg North, a Manitoban, who said no.
The Liberals are sucking and blowing at the same time, and in doing that they are insulting us. They are not recognizing that we are in a minority Parliament.
The really insulting thing they did occurred last week, when the Prime Minister excluded our leader from a meeting of all opposition and government leaders on the topic of the rail blockades simply because our leader spoke the truth as to how to approach the illegal blockades. He was called names and excluded by the Prime Minister. Then three days later, the Prime Minister basically repeated verbatim what our leader had said. That was disrespectful and disingenuous, and not at all the way a minority Parliament should work.
Last Parliament, we said this often: The Prime Minister wanted an audience in this place; he did not want an opposition. I am afraid that has not changed. He did not get the voters' message in the election. He did not get the memo that his majority has been taken away. He needs to recognize quickly that Conservatives are going to stand up for the interests of the millions of Canadians who voted for us, who did not vote for the Liberals, and the growing number of Canadians who see a country and an economy paralyzed by the weak Liberal government.
Conservatives are not afraid to give voice to Canadians who disagree with the Liberals and the Prime Minister. Conservatives will demand that Liberals be open and transparent. They will be honest in this Parliament. Conservatives will hold the Liberal government to account.
In 1979, Joe Clark and his government fell after just 49 sitting days. It is often said it was because they could not count, but really it was because they had miscalculated badly. Today is just the 26th sitting day of this Parliament, and sadly the Liberals and their growing pattern of disrespect are hurtling us toward one unnecessary political disaster after another.
We are going to give the Liberals a chance to work collaboratively with opposition parties and work with Parliament by dedicating three additional days for each of the opposition parties. Members will notice that we are working collaboratively. Members will notice that we put the opposition parties in our motion. We are not looking just for our gain. We want to see all of us work together.
The motion would give three additional days for each of the parties to put forward an idea for debate and propose solutions for the many difficulties that Canadians face. We are giving the Liberals a chance to right their wrongs toward the opposition parties. We will give the Prime Minister a chance to correct his course. Today is a chance to press reset.
Recently I read an article in which the Liberal House leader, talking to a member of the press in the context of a minority Parliament, said, “Never take one day for granted. Anything can happen.” This may be a lesson for the Liberals and the Prime Minister: The things he does affect all of Parliament. This is also, with respect, a lesson for the Liberal House leader that he should never take one day for granted, because anything can happen.
Today, with the amount of time that we have, we will talk about giving additional days to the opposition. We are hoping this will result in a reset and that the Liberals will respect that we are in a minority Parliament, will tell us the truth, will not exclude people who disagree with them, will not mislead this Parliament and will be open, transparent and respectful. Then we can continue to work, as we should, as the official opposition and as opposition parties to hold the government to account and do the very best we can for this great country that we serve.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2020-02-28 10:13 [p.1728]
Madam Speaker, as we have seen with the past government, and indeed with the current government, the Prime Minister feels this is his House. We know differently. This is the House of the electors who elected the 338 members of Parliament. We are here to be their voices.
I want to ask our hon. colleague to once again share with those who are tuning in today the importance of opposition days. I honestly think our colleagues across the way do not get it. Perhaps Canadians need to fully understand what the opposition days mean.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-02-28 10:14 [p.1728]
Madam Speaker, it obvious, in the last 20-some days that we literally have been in Parliament, by the number of opposition days we have been able to bring forward solutions to problems facing the country that the government has seemed unable to do themselves.
I will give the House one example. On our very first opposition day, we were able to pass a motion and establish the committee that is working right now to address the crisis with our relationship with the Government of China and the Beijing regime.
The role of the official opposition is to hold the government to account. However, our role is also to offer substantial solutions and fixes.
Another issue we brought forward was the illegal blockades. Again, we would like to be talking about that. We think there are some important things the government could do.
The role of our opposition is to present a government in waiting, which is a party that offers solutions to the current government, and to hold it to account. That it is what we are doing.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, it is vitally important that other voices are heard in the House of Commons. With majority governments, generally those voices are marginalized, except on an opposition days.
In the NDP's case, we brought forward issues that had not been discussed in the House, issues such as a declaration of a climate emergency, housing as a human right, the thalidomide compensation, the environmental impacts of microbeads and banning that practice. I could go on and on. The government often refuses to consider these important issues.
Could the official opposition House leader tell us how important it is for opposition voices to be raised more frequently and to bring issues to the forefront that the government denies? How important is that to right and privilege?
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-02-28 10:16 [p.1729]
Madam Speaker, I believe the NDP supports the spirit of this idea as well.
The role is so important. All of us come with our experiences and perspectives. We all want to see Canada be the very best it can be. We want Canadians to have the best life and we have different ways of addressing the challenges Canadians face.
The opposition can bring these ideas as well. It is not just the Liberals who have solutions to problems. The NDP have some solutions. The Bloc will possibly have some solutions. We will see. The Conservatives certainly have been providing those. Therefore, it is vitally important.
However, what is just as important is that the government not disrespect Parliament, this institution, and the important role all of us play in this place.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Madam Speaker, by giving the opposition more government time to debate their motions, this will negatively affect the government's legislative agenda.
Let me remind the House that this motion will delay several important bills, such as Bill C-4, the bill to implement the historic trade agreement between our great country, the United States and Mexico. Let us remember that the United States, Mexico and all premiers want this bill to be passed, and passed quickly.
Will the member comment on how this will delay very important legislation before the House at this time?
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
View Candice Bergen Profile
2020-02-28 10:18 [p.1729]
Madam Speaker, that question in and of itself shows how disingenuous and disrespectful these Liberals are. Yesterday, I stood in this place and I asked that we pass a motion that would mean Bill C-4 could be before this place today. Who said no to that? The member for Winnipeg North, a Liberal.
The Liberals shut down the opportunity to bring Bill C-4, the new NAFTA agreement, to the House today. Why? They would rather politicize it and punish all of us because we dare stand up to the Prime Minister.
We will take no lessons from the Liberals. They are delaying NAFTA and they are being disingenuous and politicizing this important agreement. We are the ones who tried to get it through, and get it through today.
View John Nater Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Nater Profile
2020-02-28 10:19 [p.1729]
Madam Speaker, “Parliament is more than procedure – it is the custodian of the nation’s freedom.” Those words were spoken by the great defender of parliamentary democracy, the Right Hon. John George Diefenbaker.
Today, we find ourselves called upon to once again stand in support of this great institution, to once again stand for the right of opposition parliamentarians to hold the government to account.
Many Canadians may not be closely following the business of supply. They may not closely follow the allotted days, or the opposition days, that are often called in Parliament. However, these days, in which the agenda of the House falls to the opposition parties, are absolutely essential to our great parliamentary democracy. We as the opposition, both the official opposition and the other opposition parties, have the right to bring forward matters that we feel are important to our constituents and to all Canadians.
Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, sixth edition, states “The Opposition prerogative is very broad in the use of the allotted day and ought not to be interfered with except on the clearest and most certain procedural grounds.”
We have brought forward this opposition day motion on this day for very important reasons. The Liberal government decided to punish the official opposition by giving us a short parliamentary day, a short day when only two full speaking slots would be allocated to the opposition parties.
The Liberal government seems to have forgotten that it is among the weakest governing mandate in Canadian history. The Liberals forget that they actually lost the popular vote in the last election and Canadians saw fit to return them with a minority of seats in this place.
Bosc and Gagnon states the following, on page 855:
The setting aside of a specified number of sitting days on which the opposition chooses the subject of debate derives from the tradition which holds that Parliament does not grant supply until the opposition has had an opportunity to demonstrate why it should be refused.
In other words, before we as the opposition can consent to the continued funding of the government, we must, and we will, have the opportunity to raise our concerns in this place. We will not be silenced. We will not accept that the government, and only the government, has a legitimate voice in this place.
I would remind members of the Liberal party that they are first and foremost members of the legislative branch of government. Those who do not sit in cabinet are not members of the executive branch. They are parliamentarians and parliamentarians first and foremost. They too should be concerned that the members of the executive branch of government are the ones who are trying to control the debate of this very place.
I ought not to need to remind the government of its legislative record and its mismanagement of House time in the previous Parliament. At the time of dissolution, it had left at least 17 government bills lying on the Order Paper. This is in spite of the fact that it used time allocation on dozens of occasions. On top of that, there were 13 motions for closure and 40 motions to proceed to orders of the day, thereby bypassing the opportunity for opposition MPs to move concurrence motions or to table petitions on behalf of the constituents in each of our 338 ridings across the country.
Today's debate is about returning the House to the people, to give the official opposition, the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party each one additional opposition day during the supply period, to give each of these parties the opportunity to raise the issues before granting supply to the Liberal government.
I do not need to remind the House either about the disregard we have seen in the past by the Liberal Party to this institution.
In the previous Parliament, on one of its very first bills, Bill C-14, the medical assistance in dying act, the Liberal government was found to have contravened the rights and privileges of the House by leaking the contents to the media before it was tabled for all parliamentarians to see. Old habits die hard, because it appears it did that once again this time with Bill C-7, the amendments to medical assistance in dying.
The Conservatives do not need to remind the Liberals either about the impacts they bring upon themselves when they attempt to use draconian measures to shut down debate in the House. We all remember Motion No. 6, when they tried to unilaterally take control of every mechanism for debate in the House. We do not need to remind the Liberals of the standing order standoff, when they tried to diminish the opportunity for the opposition to hold the government to account by unilaterally changing the rules of the House. It fell to the Conservatives, as the official opposition, and the third party, the New Democrats, to ensure we were that line of defence, that we were that thin line of the wedge to prevent the Liberal government from doing that.
In fact, in the previous Parliament, during a debate in this very House on a question of privilege, one of the most significant matters with which the House can be seized, a Liberal member of Parliament, the member for Brossard—Saint-Lambert, stood in the House, used a procedural measure to move to orders of the day and killed that debate. However, our Parliament is stronger than any one Liberal member of Parliament. At that time, the Speaker saw fit to return that question of privilege to the House so members of Parliament could have their voices heard.
We see this time and again with the Liberal government. At every opportunity it has to do the right thing, it goes the opposite direction.
That brings me to the events we have seen just in the last couple of weeks on the new NAFTA. It is not a great deal and it is not the worst deal; it is somewhere in between. We are the party of free trade and we support the implementation of the new NAFTA despite its imperfections. However, to hear the Deputy Prime Minister state publicly and in this place that the Conservative Party was somehow trying to delay the new NAFTA is an insult to the opposition and to the House of Commons.
Just yesterday, my colleague, the opposition House leader, gave the Liberals the opportunity to right their wrong by bringing forward NAFTA today. We could be debating NAFTA today and I could be raising the concerns of the people of Perth—Wellington, the farmers, the manufacturers, individuals who have concerns with the bill, However, the Liberals did not budge. In fact, speaking for the government, the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader said no, that the government would not be willing to bring NAFTA forward. That is unacceptable.
We stand here today debating this opposition motion, a motion that gives the rights and responsibilities of the House back to all its members. I encourage all members to stand for their parliamentary privilege, to stand for democracy and vote in favour of this motion.
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-02-28 10:29 [p.1730]
Madam Speaker, in the last Parliament, the opposition opposed our main estimates reform initiative. That is no secret.
Not only will this motion today delay government bills, but it seeks to change a fundamental balance that was struck way back in 1968 to give the opposition party time to debate motions of its choosing in exchange for an agreement to pass supply in one day. This balance and framework has remained intact for over half a century, until today.
Opposition days are very important when they bring to light an issue that is of material concern to the country, a province, a region or a group of Canadians. These are important debates that need to be had in this House. This is not that kind of debate. This is a blatant attempt to change the rules of the House of Commons in less than four hours.
In the last Parliament, the government brought forward what I viewed to be a sensible proposal to study certain rule changes. Instead of agreeing to the study, the opposition tried to shut down the House and disrupt the budget presentation, and all opposition parties cried foul. How things have changed. This is remarkable.
I thought the long-standing principle was to have this done by consensus. The procedure and House affairs committee is a proper place. I am curious if the hon. member of the opposition would like to describe why the opposition members are bucking this trend of building consensus. Why did they not do this in PROC, where it should have been done?
View John Nater Profile
CPC (ON)
View John Nater Profile
2020-02-28 10:30 [p.1731]
Madam Speaker, the rights and privileges of this House are not a gift given to the opposition by the Liberal government; the rights and privileges of this House are enshrined in the Constitution. They are enshrined in the authorities of this House. They are enshrined as a right and privilege of all parliamentarians to raise the issues that matter to them.
I do not need to remind the member for Central Nova that it was his House leader at the time who tried to unilaterally change the Standing Orders through a blatant attempt to reduce accountability through the discussion document she tried to table. It was unacceptable.
I would remind the Liberal government, which will soon be the opposition again, that this is not a change to the Standing Orders; this is an order of this House, an order of this Parliament, for the supply period ending March 31.
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