| British Columbia
| New Brunswick
| Northwest Territories
| House of Commons
When Members gathered in
Yellowknife on February 9 to reconvene the Fifth Session, Government Leader, Nellie
Cournoyea provided them with an overview of her government's
accomplishments in the first two years of its mandate and outlined many of the
initiatives to be introduced in the remaining 20 months of the 12th Assembly.
A week into the Session, MLAs
adopted a motion to change the term, "Government Leader" to
"Premier." Members felt there was no reason for a distinction in
title from other provincial leaders and the title of "Premier"
recognizes the provincial-like powers and responsibilities now carried out by
the Northwest Territories government.
The focus of the Session was the
review of the 1994-95 Operations and Maintenance budget, but it also included
the adoption of several significant motions and the passage of 17 pieces of
In his address to the Assembly
introducing his $1.2 billion budget, the Minister of Finance, John Pollard,
conveyed the message that governments can no longer finance new spending
initiatives out of revenue growth. The balanced budget was achieved through the
restructuring of spending and without any increase in personal income taxes.
Nearly 35% of the total budget will be spent in the areas of Education and
Health. Mr. Pollard set the stage for future collective bargaining negotiations
with public servants with a strong message that they are not immune to
In an extensive report on the
spending estimates, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Finance, Jim
Antoine, said the government has not developed an overall strategy to deal
with major fiscal issues. Mr. Antoine criticized the budget for a lack of
creativity and leadership. His committee was concerned that the government may
not be able to accomplish all that it has set out in its ambitious schedule of
initiatives and remain within the limits of available resources.
Eighteen bills were passed during
the 7-week session. Among them:
An Act to Amend the Worker's
Compensation Act which
extends Worker's Compensation coverage for more hunters and trappers;
An Act to Amend the Legislative
Assembly and Executive Council Act so that indemnities paid to Members for the fiscal year 1994-95 will
not be adjusted to accord with the changes to the Consumer Price Index;
An Act to Amend the Safety Act significantly increases the maximum fines
for employers and employees found guilty of an offence;
An Act to Amend the Income Tax
Act increases the corporate
income tax from 12 per cent to 14 per cent of taxable income;
An Act to Amend the Tobacco Tax
Act increases the rate of
tax on tobacco to offset revenue losses from a decrease in federal tobacco
taxes and strengthens the Act's enforcement and penalty provisions.
On March 2, Speaker Jeannie
Marie-Jewell, took the unusual action of suspending a Member from the
House. Sam Gargan (Deh Cho) circulated a letter to all Members after he
wanted the Speaker to recognize the presence in the Gallery of officials from
Revenue Canada. The Speaker indicated that it has been a long-standing practice
of the Chair to recognize only elected officials and former Members. She said
it is a Member's prerogative to recognize any individual through the use of a
Member's Statement. Speaker Marie-Jewell felt the letter circulated by Mr.
Gargan was offensive towards the Chair and she asked that he apologize. When he
refused, the Speaker ordered that Mr. Gargan be suspended for the remainder of
The Speaker also ruled against a
point of privilege raised by the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment,
Richard Nerysoo (Mackenzie Delta). Charles Dent (Yellowknife
Frame Lake) had risen in the House to outline concerns about Mr. Nerysoo's
absence while his department's budget was being reviewed. Mr. Dent reflected a
concern that Members had not been given sufficient notice of the Minister's
absence and felt this reflected a "cavalier attitude" on the part of
the Minister. The basis of Mr. Nerysoo's point of privilege was that statements
made by Mr. Dent and subsequently reported in the media were a challenge to his
personal honour, his character and his integrity. Speaker Marie-Jewell said the
statements made by Mr. Dent were not serious or offensive so as to attract the
broad protection of parliamentary privilege. She also pointed out that,
contrary to the rules of the Assembly, Mr. Nerysoo did not raise his point of
privilege at the first available opportunity.
With division of the Territories
pending in 1999 and the creation of Nunavut, the Legislative Assembly has
created a Special Joint Committee on Division co-chaired by John Todd
(Keewatin Central) and Jim Antoine (Nahendeh) with an equal
representation of MLAs from the east and the west and from Cabinet. A primary
function of the Special Committee will be to ensure a regular flow of
information on division issues between and among the Legislative Assembly and
Executive Council. It will also assume an important role in recommending how
the Legislature and Executive Council should address division issues. The
Special Committee will work in conjunction with other participants in the
division process, namely the Nunavut Implementation Commission and the
Constitutional Development Steering Committee.
Commissioner Daniel Norris
prorogued the Fifth Session on April 5 and opened the Sixth Session the next
day. The government introduced a flurry of new bills and discussion papers
during the two-day sitting.
Premier Cournoyea tabled a document
designed to stimulate public discussion and debate about the privatization of
the NWT Power Corporation. A Legislative Action Paper proposing to establish an
Office of the Ombudsman and a Legislative Action Paper proposing new heritage
legislation in the NWT were introduced and referred to the Standing Committee
on Legislation for its review over the summer. That Committee will also be
studying nearly a dozen new pieces of legislation that were introduced
including Access to Information and Privacy Act which would establish an Access
and Privacy Commissioner and provides the public with the right to access
information held by government subject to specific and limited exceptions. The
Sixth Session will reconvene on October 5, 1994.
Paul Jones, Co-ordinator, Public Information
The Second Session of the
Twenty-Third legislature opened on February 10, 1994, five days earlier than
the required opening date for the Spring Session.
During the election campaign both
the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives pledged to introduce freedom of
information legislation. After an extensive consultation process the all-party
panel unanimously endorsed the report on public consultation. Subsequently, the
Government introduced Bill 18, The Freedom of Information and Protection of
Privacy Act on March 31, 1994.
While the First Session of this
Legislature provided several entries in the record books, the Second Session
thus far has not been without its own share of surprises.
Before the required 25 sitting days
for the consideration of estimates had expired, Liberal opposition member for
Lac La Biche-St. Paul, Paul Langevin, declared his intention to sit as
an independent member in the Assembly.
The move came as a surprise to both
sides of the House but when Mr. Langevin rose to ask his first question as an
Independent member on April 13, the Assembly erupted in spontaneous desk
Mr. Langevin calmly replied,
"I didn't realize I had such a large caucus."
Since 1905, there have been eight
members who have sat as Independents and a total of twenty-two members who have
switched their political designation.
Moses K. Jung, Executive Assistant to the Speaker
After an eight month recess, the
Legislative Assembly began a new session, the Fifth Session of the Thirty-Fifth
Legislature on April 7, 1994. With the Conservative Government in the fourth
year of its mandate and with the numbers in the Legislature very close (PCs-29,
NDP-21 and Liberals-7), there has been considerable interest in how each of the
parties would manage their House strategy and on how many occasions the Speaker
would be required to cast a deciding vote.
The Speech from the Throne, the
first delivered by Lieutenant-Governor Yvon Dumont, outlined the Filmon
Government's seventh legislative plan. The Government's agenda for the Fifth
Session included a freeze on all major taxes, planned initiatives for small
business expansions, new initiatives to deal with young offenders, welfare-to
work pilot projects, elementary and secondary education reform, continued
health care reform towards more community-based services and a new Sustainable
Development Act. The Official Opposition (NDP) and the Second Opposition
(Liberals) introduced an amendment and sub-amendment, respectively, to the
motion for an Address-in-Reply; the amendment stating non-confidence in the
Government and the sub-amendment stating its criticism of the Government's
performance on particular initiatives.
The votes on the sub-amendment (on
the fifth day of debate) and the amendment (on the seventh day of debate) were
both tied and required Speaker Rocan to cast his vote. With no precise
precedents in either Manitoba or Canada, the Speaker cast his vote against each
amendment, citing an 1859 precedent of Speaker Denison of the United Kingdom.
On the main motion itself, the vote was again tied and the Speaker cast his
vote in favour of the motion, citing an 1897 ruling of Speaker Juta of South
With the Throne Speech debate
concluded, the Government moved immediately to the next matter of business and
on April 20, 1994 brought down its budget. Possibly the Government's last
budget before the next provincial general election, the budget included cuts to
most government departments with the exception of some areas such as community
colleges which received an increase in their operating grants; no major tax
increases; initiatives to help the construction industry and small businesses
and contributions to the federal infrastructure program.
Manitoba's rules provide for eight
days of debate on the motion to approve the budgetary policy of the government.
An amendment and sub-amendment were each moved to the main motion by the
Official Opposition and the Second Opposition, respectively; again, the
amendment stating non-confidence in the Government and the sub-amendment
stating its criticism of the Government's performance. On the eighth day of
debate, each of the motions were put resulting in three recorded votes with each
requiring Speaker Rocan's casting vote. The result was the defeat of the
sub-amendment and amendment and the passing of the main motion.
On April 20, the Minister of
Finance also tabled the main estimates. The detailed examination of the estimates
in Committee of Supply will begin in the first week of May. Manitoba's rules
allow for up to 240 hours for the estimates review process.
The final report of the Indemnities
and Allowances Commission, established by legislation in July 1993, was presented
to Speaker Rocan on March 15, 1994 and was tabled by him in the House on April
11, 1994. The five person Commission had been established to review all aspects
of compensation for Manitoba MLAs, including salary, allowances and pension
benefits. The conclusions of the report are binding and will come into effect
after the next general provincial election.
Among the several conclusions of
the Report, the Commission set the basic salary for an MLA at $56,500 (3rd
lowest among other provincial jurisdictions); abolished the tax-free allowance;
abolished the car allowance; set a deduction of $200 per day from an MLA's
salary for each sitting day absent without reasonable cause; set the total
annual salary for the premier at $96,500 (second lowest in the country); set
the total annual salary for a minister with portfolio and salary of the leader
of the official opposition at $81,500 and the leader of a recognized opposition
party at $76,500; and required all Members to prepare an annual report of
expenditures claimed under the Temporary Residence Allowance, Commuting
Allowance, Travel Allowance, and Constituency Allowance.
Patricia Chaychuk-Fitzpatrick was on attachment to the Table Research
Branch of the House of Commons for one year and has returned to her position as
Clerk of Committees in Manitoba. Judy White, who was on a one year term
appointment during Patricia's absence, has been appointed Clerk of Committees
to replace Bonnie Greschuk who resigned. JoAnn McKerlie-Korol,
the former Journals Assistant has been appointed Journals Clerk to replace Patti
Irving who resigned.
Judy White, Clerk of Committees
The action in the Senate has been
concentrated in Committees in the first months of the 35th Parliament as
legislation starts to flow from the Commons. While there have been 23 sittings
in the Chamber, there have been over 80 committee meetings in the past three
months, most of the these in the month of April. All signs are that the Senate,
committees in particular, will continue to pick up speed in the months of May
As of late April, the Senate has
given Royal Assent to six Government bills, including the Acts to amend the
Post-Secondary Education and Health Contributions Act, the Customs Tariff
Act, back-to-work legislation for west coast ports, and two appropriation
acts. Other Government bills that have now reached the Senate include: C-8, an
Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act,
which will provide for the use of force to prevent suspects from fleeing to
avoiding arrest or escaping inmates, as well as the use of force to disable
foreign fishing vessels fleeing arrest; and C-18, the Electoral Boundaries
Readjustment Suspension Act.
The Electoral Boundaries
Suspension Act proposes to dissolve provincial and territorial commissions
studying electoral boundaries and suspend readjustments for two years. While
the Government considers that the criteria used to set boundaries may have to
be rethought, Opposition Senators contend that it is the result of discontent
among MPs who do not want to see their ridings impartially changed.
Conservative Senators said they may propose amendments to shorten the
suspension period so that some boundaries are in place for the next federal
election. The bill was sent to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee,
chaired by Senator Gérald Beaudoin.
The Senate has also initiated four
bills since the start of the session: two private bills, one private Senator's
public bill to amend the War-related Benefits Act, and a Government bill
for the avoidance of double taxation and fiscal evasion between Canada and
several other nations.
As Senate committees generally
reflect membership in the Chamber and the Conservatives hold a thirteen seat
majority, seven of the Senate's twelve standing committees are now chaired by
Conservatives, who also have a majority on each committee. The Liberals,
however, are chairing more of what are commonly considered the prominent and
powerful committees. Committees are busy with several orders of reference this
In March, Gordon Thiessen
made his first parliamentary appearance in his new role as Governor of the Bank
of Canada before the Senate's Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee, chaired by
Senator Michael Kirby. Mr. Thiessen addressed the general state of the
economy and its impact on the financial services industry. The meetings were
aired nationally on the Parliamentary Channel, marking the first gavel-to-gavel
coverage of a Senate committee's proceedings ever to be televised from Ottawa.
The Committee on Aboriginal
Peoples, chaired by Senator Raynell Andreychuk, has begun its study on
the treatment of aboriginal veterans and has a report deadline of September 15,
1994. The Special Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, chaired by
Senator Joan Neiman, began its hearings in mid-April and has a reporting
date of December 15, 1994. Senator Neiman states there is an enormous amount of
information on euthanasia and assisted suicide "which could justify, if so
warranted, recommendations to the government for changes in existing
Two special joint committees have
also been appointed on Canada's Defence Policy and to review Canada's Foreign
Policy, and are co-chaired on the Senate side by Senators Pierre De Bané
and Allan MacEachen respectively.
Another development of interest in
the First Session of the 35th Parliament was the appointment of a new Clerk of
the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments. Upon the resignation of Gordon L.
Barnhart, whose dedicated service over five years was recognized with his
being designated an Honourary Officer of the Senate, Paul C. Bélisle was
appointed as the Senate's eleventh Clerk since Confederation on March 15, 1994.
Jill Anne Pickard, Executive Assistant to the Clerk, Senate of
The British Columbia Legislative
Assembly began the Third Session of its 35th Parliament on March 14 with the
Speech from the Throne, read by Lieutenant Governor David Lam. The
Speech stressed the government's four priorities of long-term job creation and
economic growth, skills training for the next century, revitalizing the forest
sector, and sound fiscal management. Major legislative initiatives expected
during the session include a Forest Practices Code, which is intended to
be a comprehensive system of legislation and standards that will regulate the
use of the province's forest, range and recreation lands.
The government is also expected to
introduce legislation that will enable voters to recall elected politicians and
to launch legislative initiatives through a referendum. Prior to the start of
the legislative session, the Select Standing Committee on Parliamentary Reform
released its report on the two issues, making forty-two recommendations to the
Legislative Assembly. Regarding recall, the Committee recommended that Members
be subject to recall on any grounds at any time after eighteen months following
the Member's election; that the sponsors of the recall campaign be required to
declare publicly their interests in the recall; that for a recall petition to
succeed (ie. trigger a by-election) a majority of eligible voters sign valid
petitions; and that a Member face no more than one by-election per term.
Regarding initiative, the Committee recommended that a successful initiative
trigger the introduction in the legislature of an accompanying bill; that the
Chief Electoral Officer be required by statute to verify that the subject
matter of the initiative falls within provincial power and does not contravene
the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; that there be no restrictions on the
subject matter of initiatives; and that for a referendum question to succeed,
it be approved by a double majority: 50% plus 1 of all eligible voters in the
province, as well as approval by a majority of voters in two-thirds of the
Finance Minister Elizabeth Cull
presented her first budget to the legislature. It projected a deficit for
1994/95 of $898 million, down from $1.28 billion, and projected elimination of
the deficit in fiscal 1996/97. Government expenditures are expected to rise to
$19.6 billion, a 3.5% increase. The budget also featured a freeze on personal,
corporate and sales taxes, part of the Premier Mike Harcourt's pledge of
a three-year tax freeze in the province. Opposition critics, in response,
pointed to increases in fees and licenses as undermining this goal. Other
budget highlights include an increase in eligibility for the home owner's
grant; no change in tobacco taxes; the elimination of the $600 million BC
Endowment Fund, to be applied to pay down the debt; and continued emphasis on
BC 21, a public investment and job creation plan.
In addition to the usual process of
legislation and debate, this session of the BC legislature has seen more than
its share of political changes. Before the session began, former Liberals Gordon
Wilson and Judi Tyabji announced the founding of a new party, the
Progressive Democratic Alliance. On Opening Day, British Columbia's two newest
MLAs were introduced to the House: Opposition Leader Gordon Campbell,
representing Vancouver-Quilchena, and fellow Liberal Mike de Jong,
representing Matsqui. Both won by-elections in February of this year, Mr. de
Jong defeating Social Credit leader Grace McCarthy.
Soon after the session began, the
Social Credit caucus was reduced from six members to three, as former interim
leader Jack Weisgerber and fellow MLAs Len Fox and Richard
Neufeld left the party to become the first Members representing the British
Columbia Reform Party. This leaves party standings in the House at NDP 51,
Liberal 15, Social Credit 3, Reform 3, Progressive Democratic Alliance 2,
Independent 1. Only the NDP and Liberals possess the minimum of four seats
necessary for official party status, the other Members being classified as
independents. Agreements were reached with the government and opposition
regarding representation of the independents on committees and in question
A prolonged debate was held in the
chamber regarding a motion, standing in the name of the Premier, that would
amend the Standing Orders to provide for the election of the Speaker by secret
ballot. The motion and related political events were interpreted by many as an
effort to remove the current Speaker, Joan Sawicki. After a week's
debate, the motion passed without the support of the Official Opposition, and
was immediately followed by the resignation of the incumbent. The following day
saw the election of Deputy Speaker and long-time NDP Member Emery Barnes,
who defeated the only other candidate, Social Credit MLA Cliff Serwa.
The Official Opposition Liberals boycotted the elected in protest. Following
the election, New Democrat Dale Lovick was appointed Deputy Speaker.
Reform MLA Jack Weisgerber
raised the treatment of the former Speaker in a motion of privilege, in which
he alleged that the Government had interfered with the Chair, breaching the
collective privileges of all Members. Speaker Emery Barnes, in ruling
that the allegations did not constitute a prima facie case of breach of
privilege, noted that the complaint was based on media reports; that "lack
of denial of alleged facts [by the former Speaker and Government Members] does
not constitute admission" of their veracity; and that a dispute as to
facts cannot form the basis for a motion of privilege.
In addition to amending the
Standing Orders regarding election of the Speaker, a sessional order was passed
for the third consecutive year authorizing the Committee of Supply to debate
the government's estimates in both the chamber and a committee room. Though
technically a Committee of the Whole, Section A (as it is commonly called)
provides for 15 government Members, 6 Liberals, and 3 other Members to debate
those Ministries' estimates referred to it, with ample provision for
substitution of Members. This year, for the first time, Section A is also
authorized to examine bills referred to it during the course of the legislative
This change brought a motion of
privilege from Gordon Wilson, who argued that the restricted membership
of Committee A denies Members "the right to enter into debate and to
vote". Speaker Barnes, in dismissing the motion, ruled that acceptance of
the principle of a parliamentary committee system, in which membership is
allocated in approximate proportion to party standings in the House, "is
to accept and recognize that inevitably, only a fraction of all the Members of
the House will become members of any particular committee." He further
noted the flexible provisions of the Section A sessional order relating to
substitution of Members, as well as the requirement that bill referrals to
Section A require unanimous consent of the House. He concluded that the Member
was "anticipating an inequity that has not occurred". The Speaker
went on to note the interesting differences between jurisdictions in Canada
relating to the debate of government estimates: in some, strict time limits
exist, after which those votes yet pending are deemed to have passed, while in
some provinces only certain ministries are selected by the opposition for
detailed scrutiny. In British Columbia, however, there is neither a time
restriction nor an exclusion of any ministry in the debate on estimates.
Aside from the release of the
Parliamentary Reform committee's report, the Special Committee to Select an
Auditor General concluded its interviews and released its report on February 9,
1994. The Committee unanimously recommended the reappointment of incumbent
Auditor George Morfitt for another six-year term. The Committee reached
its decision on the basis of fifty-four applications received from individual
across Canada, followed by two rounds of interviews of short-listed candidates.
Mr. Morfitt, 57, becomes the second Auditor in British Columbia to be
reappointed to a second term.
On March 21, in what some describe
as the largest single demonstration ever in the capital, a group of approximately
20,000 forest workers staged a rally on the lawns of the legislature. They were
protesting recommendations contained in a report on Vancouver Island land use
by the Commission on Resources and the Environment. The report called for an
increase in protected wilderness from 12% to 13.5% of the Island's land base,
with an additional 8% to be designated "regionally significant
lands", on which a strictly regulated mix of activity could take place.
Industry and workers have claimed that significant job losses will occur, and
do not want the government to enact the report's recommendations.
A Local Area Network (LAN) has been
installed in the offices of the legislative assembly. Anchored by a single
computer server, the LAN allows users in disparate offices to access
information in the other offices, for example the index compiled by Hansard. It
will speed the processing of legislative accounts, connects users throughout
the buildings to library circulation files, and allows users to communicate through
electronic mail. The LAN serves the offices of the Speaker, clerks, Hansard,
the library, Sergeant-at-Arms, Legislative Comptroller and party caucuses.
Neil Reimer, Assistant Committee Clerk, British Columbia
The Third Session of the 52nd
Legislative Assembly adjourned April 20. It took the House 29 days, [one-third
spent in evening sittings], to approve a $3.38 billion budget, pass 66 of 68
Bills introduced, and debate 19 motions. New Brunswick's House welcomed a new member,
observed a change in the composition of the opposition, and received two
lengthy select committee reports.
Speech from the Throne
The February 15th Throne Speech
predicted a balanced budget, no additional taxes, and the enhancement of social
programs. It dealt with job creation and the economy, social policy and the
quality of life, and fiscal environment and government institutions. The
government promised to enforce family support orders aggressively, to
accelerate the Family Support Order Program through identification of all
situations where parental support is lacking, to initiate an integrated justice
information system, and to implement recommendations of the Select Committee on
Land Use and the Rural Environment.
Official Opposition Leader Danny
Cameron criticized the Throne Speech and referred to the government's
previous implication that it would bring in a balanced budget this year while
the Throne Speech referred to a three-year plan to balance the budget on the
Ordinary Account by 1995-96, which Mr. Cameron called "doublespeak."
Continuing, he called the speech
"nothing more than continued rhetoric on the entire subject of job
creation," and suggested "If this government took corrective action
to downscale bureaucracy and truly exercise restraint, there would be millions
and millions of dollars available for job creation." He suggested
downscaling MLAs' perks, government mandarins' unlimited expense accounts,
promotion of official bilingualism and the funding of cultural programs for one
faction of New Brunswick society, which he maintained "continues to drive
us further apart."
On the subject of culture:
"Our party and many New Brunswick citizens believe that unilingual
English-speaking residents are being treated as second-class citizens by this
government. Civil service promotions within this province are frequently based
on bilingual policy and bilingual capacity rather than merit. Millions are
being spent, far exceeding the original intent of equal opportunity and the
implementation of official languages legislation. Huge sums continue to be
directed to promoting one culture. Activists are promoting separate community
considerations which have, like culture, no justification under the guise of
He noted the omission of specific
information relating to layoffs and separation packages, mothballing of plants,
the TransCanada Highway, avoidance of further rail abandonments, scrapping
outright grants, loan guarantees and subsidies, better disclosure in public
utilities, no change in the delivery of health care, no direct assistance to
the tourist industry and called on the Minister of Education Paul Duffie
to deal with student behavioural problems in a manner that will protect
educators. Reacting favourably to the Department of Income Assistance's study
on welfare initiatives, he called on both federal and provincial governments to
protect those who are unable to help themselves.
Change in Standings
On February 16, Progressive
Conservative Leader Dennis Cochrane introduced new member Percy
Mockler (Madawaska South) elected in a November 29, 1993 by-election to the
seat held by Liberal Pierrette Ringuette Maltais who ran successfully in
the federal election. Mr. Mockler represented Madawaska South from 1982 to
During a two week adjournment in
March, the Standing Committee on Crown Corporations met. In addition, during
the adjournment, two members of the official opposition declared their
intention to sit as independent members: Brent Taylor, (Southwest
Miramichi) and Beverly Brine (Albert). This brings to four the number of
opposition groups in the House.
Reports of Committees
On April 7, Chairman Eric Allaby
tabled the Final Report of the Select Committee on Land Use and the Rural
Environment, the result of extensive public consultation and an examination
of the Government Response to the Final Report of the Commission on Land Use
and the Rural Environment.
On April 8, Chairman and Minister
of State responsible for the Electronic Information Highway Georges
Corriveau tabled the Final Report of the Select Committee on New
Brunswick's Highway Policy, the result of deliberations on the White
Paper Highways for the Next Century, which sets out the objectives of a new
highway system and describes the policies to achieve them, including highway
financing, standards, location, truck weights, signage and rest areas.
Committee on Procedure
On March 1, Government House Leader
Raymond Frenette presented the First Report of the Standing Committee
on Procedure, outlining a wide range of procedural issues of concern:
legislative process, budget process, sitting hours, recorded divisions, and the
disposition of private legislation. The Committee will review and evaluate
these areas and report to the House.
On April 15, Mr. Frenette who is also
Chairman of the NB Power Corporation, announced his intention to resign from
Cabinet but to remain as Corporation Chairman. He tabled the New Brunswick
Power Corporation Business Plan 1994 - 1999 for referral to the Crown
Corporations Committee. The plan will be updated annually and its purpose is to
ensure that an open accountability process continues to exist with the public,
through the provincial government and the Legislative Assembly. The document
The government has recently
announced a number of changes intended to reflect a more private style of
operation, including the announcement that the next Chairperson will be
non-elected, the first non-elected Chairperson in NB Power's history. Changes
to the regulatory process have also been announced, including a requirement for
the PUB to review any direct capital expenditures related to additional
generating capacity, and a move to a "price-cap" regulation model.
Future annual average rate changes amounting to less than 3% of the rate of
inflation, whichever is higher, will not be subject to regulatory approval.
On February 25, Finance Minister Allan
Maher delivered his seventh budget in as many years. Highlights include no
new taxation, preservation of key services, reduction in the cost of operating
government, prosecution of tax evaders, and modest tax cuts proposed to
stimulate job creation. In addition, the government intends to:
continue to look at privatization opportunities
eliminate unproductive work practices through negotiation with
make service delivery more efficient by making better use of technology
freeze salaries of ministers, MLAs, management and nonbargaining
employees in 1994
no wage increase budgeted for unionized employees in 1994
beginning in 1995, pay increases for management and nonbargaining
employees will be linked to job performance
close government offices between Christmas and New Year's in 1994
(essential services excepted)
employees can use vacation credits during the Christmas closure or take
a leave-without-pay option
reduce the cost of sick leave
size of the public service will continue to shrink primarily through
Official Opposition Critic Gordon
Willden announced as he opened the debate that his Confederation of Regions
Party endorsed the budget's general thrust but he warned that the Official
Opposition would watch the government's performance carefully for any deviation
from the stated plans.
He was critical of the fact that
this government had played games with trust funds. He took issue with the
Finance Minister's claim that there would be no new or increased taxes, saying
"he neglects to mention the increase put in place by a previous budget and
scheduled for the period to which this budget applies. This is good old
government legerdemain, sleight of hand." He criticized the fact that NB
Power allows major paper companies the benefit of extended terms on electric
energy accounts, asking the Minister to tell the House if the same
consideration would be offered to other and/or smaller industries, retail or
service businesses, residential customers, or single parents on welfare.
Mr. Willden commended the
government's consideration of privatization "wherever it makes good financial
sense," performance as justification for wage increases, proper reporting
of unfunded pension liabilities, a plan to remedy the shortfall, the reduction
in Political Process Financing Act funding, and the government's
intention to prevent tax losses from recurring when directors of failed
businesses reappear in new companies.
Amendments proposed in Bills 4, 5
and 7 eliminate the Health Services Advisory Council, Ambulance Services Act
Review Board and the Family Services Act Review Board. Bill 6 amends the
Family Services Act and introduces the concept of a reasonable man
perspective, i.e., that a professional be required to report child abuse to the
Minister of Health and Community Services where he or she reasonably ought to
have suspected it, but to give the minister the authority to require any
professional body authorized under the laws of the province to regulate the
professional activities of the person, no matter what action or nonaction has
been initiated by the Department.
Bill 44, An Act Respecting the
Establishment of New Electoral Districts, introduced by Municipalities,
Culture and Housing Minister Marcelle Mersereau, fulfills the
recommendations of the December 1993 Select Committee on Representation and
Electoral Boundaries Report. The Bill will establish 55 new electoral
districts (reducing the number of members by 3) and is the result of extensive
public consultation which took into consideration linguistic composition,
geography, community history, community interests, population and growth
Advanced Education and Labour
Minister Vaughn Blaney introduced Bill 59, Labour and Employment
Board Act, stating that the Bill creates an integrated Labour Board which
will assume the functions of at least four existing Boards, the Industrial
Relations Board, the Public Service Labour Relations Board, and Employment
Standards Tribunal and the Pensions Tribunal and provides for future expansion
to additional employment-related areas. The objective of the legislation is to
increase efficiency, resulting in savings to the user in time and costs.
Mr. Blaney introduced amendments to
the Public Service Labour Relations Act (Bill 41) and the Industrial
Relations Act (Bill 47), explaining that the bills amend the collective
bargaining process — one applying to the private sector and the other to the
public sector. The legislation will enable an employer in certain circumstances
to have an offer made to a bargaining agent accepted or rejected by a secret
ballot vote of the employees in the bargaining unit. The employer may request
such a vote only once in each round of collective bargaining and only after all
conciliation processes are exhausted and the parties are in a strike position.
The vote must be on the employer's most recent offer and must include all
matters in dispute between the two parties. The proposed legislation is a
departure from the existing process in which a decision as to whether a
particular offer should be voted on and how the vote should be taken lies with
the bargaining agent. Legislation providing for a mandatory secret ballot vote
in similar circumstances is in place in other parts of Canada: British
Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and in the federal jurisdiction.
Following lengthy debate in
Committee of the Whole, Bill 47 was passed while Bill 41, An Act to Amend
the Public Service Labour Relations Act remains on the Order and Notice
Paper before Committee of the Whole.
Other significant government
legislation, Bill 61, amends the Political Process Financing Act to
reduce the annual allowance paid to registered political parties. The annual
allowance for each registered political party for 1994 is 11.6% less than the
annual allowance for 1993. For 1995, the annual allowance will be 10% less than
the 1994 allowance as published under the provisions of the Act.
The House adjourned April 20 to a
date and time to be set by the Speaker upon the request of the government. On
April 25, 1994 Premier Frank McKenna announced he would ask the
Legislative Assembly to consider Gérald Clavette to preside over its
deliberations as Speaker. He replaces New Brunswick's first woman Speaker, Shirley
Loredana Catalli Sonier, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly
The second session resumed on March
8 and concluded three days later. Two new Parti Québécois Members, Serge
Ménard for Laval-des-Rapides and Marcel Landry for Bonaventure took
their seats, as did a new Liberal Member for Shefford, Bernard Brodeur.
The Assembly approved a motion
appointing Michel Tremblay, the Liberal Member for Rimouski, as Deputy
Speaker, replacing the Member for Frontenac, Roger Lefebvre, who had
been appointed Minister of Justice in Premier Daniel Johnson's cabinet.
The second session ended with the
announcement by the Liberal Member for Iberville, Yvon Lafrance, that he
would from then on be sitting as an independent, and with the resignation of
the Member for Mille-Iles and Deputy House Leader, Jean-Pierre Bélisle.
On March 17 the third session of
the 34th legislature opened with the inaugural speech by Premier Johnson, in
which he listed his government's priorities and the means it intended to use to
achieve the objectives it had set. Job creation and support for the family were
among the government's major concerns. Its strategy is five-fold: acceleration
of the engines that drive the economy, restructuring of the public service,
support for emerging sectors, regional development, and more government action
directed toward the work force. The Premier also proposed a number of
On March 24 the Minister of
Finance, André Bourbeau, tabled the government estimates for the 1994-95
fiscal year. The total projected expenditure is $42,054,000.00, an increase of
2.9% over last year. Spending in the income security, health and education
sectors is going up by about 1% and debt servicing by 3.6%. However, most
ministries will be seeing their funding decline for a second consecutive year.
The number of civil service positions authorized in the coming fiscal year will
be 61,552 as against 63,949 for 1993-94, a net reduction of 3.7%.
The Speaker, Jean-Pierre
Saintonge, has had a number of important procedural rulings to hand down
since the resumption of sittings. The first was a case of alleged contempt of
the Assembly: the Member for Lévis, Jean Garon, had accused his
colleagues for Bellechasse and Montmagny-L'Islet of having told their
respective constituents how much money the government was allocating to
Ministry of Transport programming in 1994-95, at a time when these expenditures
had not yet been announced and supply had not yet been voted.
The allegation against the Member
for Bellechasse was rejected by the Speaker, since a newspaper story that did not
reproduce a Member's exact words could not be considered evidence for such a
serious accusation. In the case of the Member for Montmagny-L'Islet, the
Speaker ruled that the action had not been such as to obstruct the Assembly's
deliberations. Although the press release issued by the Member's office might
have created some confusion by its vagueness, that was not enough for the
Speaker to find that it constituted a prima facie case of contempt of
A breach of parliamentary privilege
was alleged by the Member for Arthabaska with regard to the study of financial
commitments in committee. The Member claimed that five financial commitments of
over $25,000 to Quebec's Commission des courses [race track commission] had
been concealed from the committee members.
The Speaker ruled that the notice
given by the Member for Arthabaska did not contain adequate evidence to find
that there was a prima facie case of breach of privilege. The Member had
not proved that the President of the Commission des courses had presented a
document that was forged, falsified or altered in an attempt to deceive the
Assembly. In addition, the Quebec Treasury Board's administrative procedure for
drawing up and transmitting lists of financial commitments does not come under
the Assembly's authority.
Active, as always, in the area of
interparliamentary relations, the Speaker made an official visit to Rumania in
April. The initial invitation came from the Rumanian National Assembly and was
addressed to Mr Saintonge in his capacity as President of the Assemblée
internationale des parlementaires de langue française [international assembly
of French-speaking parliamentarians]. The Speaker then took part in the annual
meeting of the Joint Quebec-Belgium Committee, which this year, exceptionally,
was held in Bulgaria. The unusual venue was chosen to mark the official
inauguration of the Bulgarian National Assembly's French-Language Documents
Centre, an initiative of the Joint Quebec-Belgium Committee. During the annual
meeting the members of the Joint Committee held working sessions at which they
chiefly discussed the teaching of French to immigrants and the conditions in
which parliamentarians carry out their mandate.
Nancy Ford and Jean Bédard, National Assembly Secretariat
Between February 1 and April 30,
1994, the committees of the National Assembly held 191 sittings on various
matters referred to them. The main mandate was consideration of the estimates
for the province's ministries and agencies, which occupied most of the
committees' time between April 12 and April 26. As it is every year, this
period is set aside for consideration of the figures tabled by the Minister of
Finance. The committees devoted 49 sittings to this.
Although the Assembly did not sit
from December 21, 1993, to March 10, 1994, the committees were busy, sitting 24
times over that period. Among other matters considered then were seven of the
ten private bills that went to committee. There were also sittings devoted to
consideration of the government's financial commitments.
As part of their general mandate to
monitor government activities, three committees held hearings into the
orientation, activities and management of public bodies. The Economy and Labour
Committee held two days of hearings on the Occupational Health and Safety
Board, the Budget and Administration Committee examined the Human Resources
Office for three days, and the Institutions Committee held one sitting to hear
from the Youth Rights Protection Board. The committees heard not only from
these organizations' senior management but also from groups affected by their
activities and services.
The Economy and Labour Committee
also summoned Hydro-Québec to talk about follow-up on the 1993-1995 development
plan, tabled by the provincial power corporation last year.
The Act respecting personnel
reductions in government agencies and the accountability of Deputy Ministers
and managers of public agencies, tabled by a private Member and passed in
June 1993, makes certain public bodies accountable to legislative committees
and requires the latter to monitor the public service systematically.
Pursuant to this Act the Education
Committee held two sittings at which it heard from most Quebec universities
about the impact of the new budget rules on their staffing levels. One
provision of the Act enabled the Budget and Administration Commission to
summon the Deputy Revenue Minister before it to report on his management.
The Cabinet shuffle in January
affected the committees. Four of them had to elect new Vice Chairs, the
incumbents having either resigned or been appointed Parliamentary Secretaries
by the Prime Minister.
Five sittings were held to examine
financial commitments. The Social Affairs Committee held two hearings, one on
manpower training and one on income security, and the Budget and Administration
Committee examined the government's budgetary policy.Only five bills were
referred to committee for detailed consideration. However, over the next two
months (May and June) the committees will be concentrating almost exclusively
on the consideration of bills.
Doris Arsenault, Co-ordinator, Committees Secretariat
The Third Session of the
Thirty-fifth Parliament of Ontario resumed sitting on Monday, March 21, 1994.
One of the early items of business was to introduce new Progressive
Conservative member, Chris Hodgson to the House. In a by-election held
on March 17, 1994, Mr. Hodgson was elected as the member for
Victoria-Haliburton, which had been vacated by the Rev. Dennis Drainville,
in September 1993. With regard to other personnel changes, Zanana Akande,
NDP member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick, since 1990 and long-standing member Don
Cousens, PC member for Markham since 1981, have indicated their intention
In light of recent concern about the
availability of guns and public safety, private member's bills to restrict the
control of the sale of ammunition were presented to the House. The sale of
ammunition would be restricted to persons holding a valid Ontario Outdoors card
with the appropriate hunting licence or valid firearms acquisition certificate.
Bill 149 was presented by Liberal member Tim Murphy, but it was
supplanted by Bill 151, introduced by Bob Chiarelli, which amended the
financial penalty incurred upon contravention of the act. Bill 151 was referred
to the Standing Committee of the Administration of Justice for further
consideration on April 21.
On March 22, 1994, Ed Philip,
Minister of Municipal Affairs, introduced Bill 143 An Act to Amend Certain
Acts related to The Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton and to amend the
Education Act in respect of French-Language School Boards to the House. The
Act would reform local government in the region by proposing that regional
council be directly elected and that mayors of local municipalities not be on
regional council. In addition, a regional police planning committee and a
regional police services board be established and the operation of
Ottawa-Carleton's French-language school board would be addressed.
The Standing Committee on Resources
Development, chaired by Bob Huget, held two days of hearings in Ottawa
on the bill on April 15th and 16th, 1994. An exception to the rule that
committees do not travel when the House is sitting had to be made because the
bill dealt exclusively with the Ottawa region. The bill, was reported back to
the House and was given Royal Assent on May 2, 1994.
The establishment of an avian
emblem is now a step closer. Sharon Murdock, introduced a private
member's bill, Bill 147, An Act to designate an Avian Emblem for Ontario,
on April 6, 1994 and it is now before Committee of the Whole House. The avian
emblem proposed for Ontario is the common loon.
The Minister of Finance, Floyd
Laughren, tabled the Provincial Budget on May 5, 1994, which promised to
hold this year's deficit to $8.5 billion.
A number of procedural matters and
concerns were raised during the early weeks of the session. The referral of
questions during question period from one minister to another had caused some
consternation amongst opposition members. The Speaker reminded the members of
Standing Order 33(f) which specifies that ministers can direct questions to
other ministers who are responsible for the subject matter to which the
question relates. The Speaker added that this had been accepted practice in the
House for many years and was further affirmed by reiterating Speaker
Edighoffer's 1987 ruling which stated that "the right to redirect belongs
to the minister and not to the questioner".
Clarification of the procedures to
follow with regard to a deferral of a vote in the House had been requested. It
was generally felt that racing to the Chair to get precedence for such a
request undermined the dignity of the House. Practice had dictated that the
Speaker would accept the first letter requesting the deferral to be received as
the prevailing one. The first point raised was that the Speaker should not
adopt the first letter received, but should adopt some other method of
determining acceptability, thereby avoiding the race to the Speaker's Chair.
The Speaker determined that clarification of the procedure be undertaken
through consultation with all parties, and therefore, pursuant to Standing
Order 106(i), the question was referred to the Standing Committee on the
Legislative Assembly. The Speaker did rule that the only deferral letter
acceptable for consideration would be one signed by the Chief Whip of a
recognized party. The deferral letter submitted on the previous day signed by
the Acting Government Whip during the previous day's sitting was ruled out of
A further related point was raised
with respect to the meaning of the term "specified time". Standing
Order 28(g) states that "the Speaker shall then defer the taking of the
vote to a specified time...". The Speaker ruled that "specified time"
may refer to either a time prescribed by the clock or a time in the proceedings
of the House such as "immediately following routine proceedings.
During the winter recess, the
Standing Committee on the Administration of Justice, chaired by Rosario Marchese,
considered two private member's bills. The first, Bill 62, An Act to amend
the Environment Protection Act in respect of the Niagara Escarpment,
introduced by Noel Duignan, sought to amend the Environment
Protection Act to prohibit establishment of any further waste management
systems and waste disposal sites in the Niagara Escarpment Plan Area. The
Committee held three days of public hearings receiving evidence from
environmental groups, municipalities and waste management companies. The bill
was reported to the House with amendments and now awaits consideration by
Committee of the Whole.
The Committee then considered
Progressive Conservative Bob Runciman's private member's bill, Bill 20, An
Act to protect the Persons, Property and Rights of Tenants and Landlords.
Bill 20 sought to provide a mechanism for the speedy eviction of tenants who
have been convicted of certain narcotics offenses committed in connection with
the rented premises. Public hearings were held for two days and during clause
by clause review, the bill was defeated. The Committee reported to the House
that the bill be not reported. After debate, the Committee report was adopted.
The Standing Committee on Finance
and Economic Affairs, chaired by Paul Johnson, concluded its hearings on
the Underground Economy in Ontario and its pre-budget consultations and
preliminary responses to the "Fair Tax Commission" report. The
Committee has tabled its reports on these issues.
The Standing Committee on General
Government, chaired by Mike Brown, had a full agenda over the winter
recess. Bill 120, An Act to amend certain statutes concerning residential
property, introduced by Evelyn Gigantes, Minister of Housing, in
November 1993, legalizes basement apartments in the province. The bill was of
particular interest to groups concerned with housing and to owners of homes
with illegal basement apartments. The Committee held three weeks of public
hearings and travelled to Windsor and Ottawa for input. Clause-by-clause
consideration of the bill began in early March and continued after the
Legislature reconvened. Pursuant to an Order of the House of April 19, 1994,
the bill was reported to Legislature as amended and was subsequently referred
to the Committee of the Whole House.
The Standing Committee on the Legislative
Assembly, chaired by Ron Hansen, considered a private member's bill,
Bill 57, An Act to amend the Election Act and the Legislative Assembly Act,
introduced by Liberal member Gregory Sorbara. This bill would fix the
day for by-elections to the first Thursday seventy days after the date on which
a vacancy occurred unless another day falling no later than 100 days after the
occurrence of the vacancy is set by Order-in-Council within 14 days of that date.
The bill would also allow the Speaker to take the appropriate steps to permit
the constituency office to remain open to serve the public until the seat is
filled. The bill, reported with amendments by the Committee, now awaits third
In January 1994, the Committee
began its comprehensive review of the Municipal Freedom of Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, 1989. The Committee is reviewing its draft
In March and April 1994 the
Committee conducted interviews with respect to the hiring of a new Officer of
the Assembly, to be known as the Environmental Commissioner. This position will
provide the Legislative Assembly of Ontario with objective oversight and
measurement of the implementation of the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993.
This position will report to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. Eva
Ligeti was unanimously selected to fulfil this role by the Committee and
following this selection, a Special report was tabled in the House.
The Standing Committee on Public
Accounts, chaired by Joseph Cordiano, completed its reviews of the
issues of the Ontario Health Registration System (health cards) and Non-Profit
Housing, and tabled reports in the Legislature on these subjects.
The referral of the Provincial
Auditor's 1993 Annual Report to the Committee, provided opportunities for
further examination of some Government programs. Initial hearings into special
education programs, curriculum development, youth offender services and
institutional services were undertaken. A site tour of the Toronto Jail was
conducted by the Committee as part of its review of the latter. The Committee's
reports are forthcoming.
The Auditor's Report had urged
significant changes in the manner in which the provinces reports its budgets,
spending plans and accounts. The Committee, therefore, met with an official
from the Ministry of Finance and produced a commitment to work toward revisions
and refinements to the province's accounting methods to comply with the
principles recommended by the Provincial Auditor.
Access to tobacco products was
considered by the Standing Committee on Social Development. Bill 119, An Act
to prevent the Provision of Tobacco to Young Persons and to Regulate its Sale
and Use by Others, is aimed at restricting the availability of tobacco
products to persons over the age of 19, and preventing the sale of tobacco
products in pharmacies. The Committee, chaired by Charles Beer, held
hearings across the province during the month of February. The bill is
currently before Committee of the Whole House. Under Standing Order 125, the
Committee began an examination of dialysis treatment services in Ontario.
Hearings were held in April and the Committee is currently preparing its
Viktor Kaczkowski, Administrative Assistant, Committees Branch
House of Commons
Members of Parliament had a number
of different tasks confronting them during the period from February to early
May 1994. First there were bills to be debated. Second, the House had to pass
the budget brought down by the Minister of Finance on February 23. And third,
the government introduced a strategy for putting a stop to tobacco smuggling.
These were the items that drew intense media scrutiny, but there were other
significant events as well.
The winds of institutional change
continued to blow through the House of Commons. By adopting the Sixth Report of
the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs the Members made a major
change in the text of the prayer said before the opening of each day's sitting.
The prayer dates back to 1877, and it has been studied and reported on many
times since without any notable changes being made. By revising the text and
providing for a moment of silence during which all Members may think and
meditate privately, the prayer is now supposed to be more representative of the
Canadian reality. Although the prayer is always said in camera, the
Speaker read the new version publicly at the start of the sitting of February
21, the day it was used for the first time.
The desire for institutional change
also took the form of amendments in three areas to the Standing Orders.
Two new options have been added to
the legislative process. First, it is now possible for a bill to be considered
in committee before second reading, i.e. before adoption of the principle of
the bill. In practical terms this change could broaden the range of amendments
that can be moved in committee or at report stage, since presumably they will
no longer have to fit within the limits defined by the principle of the bill. Time
will tell how this new option works in practice.
Second, the House now has the
possibility of authorizing a committee to draft and table a bill. This
procedure is designed to add a new facet to the work done by backbenchers, who
will be able to contribute to the formulation of legislative measures from the
The House used this procedure for
the first time on April 19, when the Standing Committee on Procedure and
House Affairs was made responsible for drafting and tabling a bill on the way
in which electoral boundaries are to be readjusted. This was in response to the
passage of Bill C-18, An Act to suspend the operation of the Electoral
Boundaries Readjustment Act, which suspends the Act in question for two
years. The Committee must table its report no later than December 16, 1994.
Third, changes were made in the
procedures relating to financial matters. The Standing Committee on Finance
will be able to hold consultations and make recommendations on the policies to
be included in the federal budget. Also, to the consideration of departmental
expenditures that the committees do every year has been added the opportunity
for the committees to make recommendations to the government about spending
priorities for upcoming fiscal years.
The House referred a number of
complex subjects to committees for consideration. The Standing Committee on
Human Resources Development was ordered to carry out wide-ranging
consultations, prepare analyses and formulate recommendations on the modernizing
and restructuring of Canada's social security system. One special joint
committee was set up to review Canada's defence policy and another its foreign
policy. The first and second of these three committees are to table their final
reports in September while the third has until October 31.
Question of Privilege
Having been the subject of
anonymous telephone threats, and feeling that the newspapers had made
accusations against him and cast doubt on his qualifications, MP Jag Baduria
rose on a question of privilege to claim that the calls and accusations had
breached his privileges as a parliamentarian. In handing down a ruling on March
24, the Speaker said he could not find that there was a prima facie
question of privilege since the Member had not demonstrated that intimidation
had occurred or that his ability to function as an MP had been impeded. The
Speaker did however say,
Threats of blackmail or
intimidation of a Member of Parliament should never be taken lightly. When they
occur, the very essence of free speech is undermined. Without the guarantee of
freedom of speech, no Member of Parliament can do his duty as is expected.
Presentation of Petitions
Since the start of this session, a
number of Members have been making comments when they present petitions. After
a point of order was raised in this regard, the Chair reminded Members of the
rules governing presentation of petitions. Here is an excerpt from his ruling:
The right of the public to petition
Parliament is very important, because it constitutes the only means by which
individual Canadians can directly place grievances before this body and make
their concerns known ... [M]embers are not bound to present petitions and
cannot be compelled to do so ... [C]ommenting in any way on the merits of a petition
could be considered a form of debate on the petition ... If the rules permitted
debate on petitions, or if the subject of the petition were to come before the
House for debate in some other manner, the Member's views on the subject matter
would be relevant and essential. As things stand, however, the role of the
Member, while essential, is limited. Therefore the Chair would ask Members to
refrain from commenting on petitions they present, other than to simply note
the prayer of petition, the number of signatories and their place of residence.
Chairman, Chairperson, Chair?
Historically women have been
under-represented in our parliamentary institutions, and the use of a certain
vocabulary reflects this fact. The word "chairman", for example, is
hardly appropriate when a woman is presiding. In an attempt to find a way of
removing sexual stereotypes from all forms of communication at the House, and
in response to a question of privilege raised by Marlene Catterall, the
Speaker made the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs responsible
for looking into the problem and making recommendations.
Private Members' Business
One private Member's motion and one
bill have been passed. The motion, made by Jean Payne, proposed the
creation of a distinctive decoration for Canadian veterans who had participated
in the Dieppe Raid during the Second World War. The bill, introduced by Nelson
Riis, made hockey and lacrosse Canada's national sports.
On February 15, 1994, the House passed
the last of a series of legislative measures required for construction of a
bridge between Prince Edward Island and the mainland. One of the conditions
that PEI set for joining Confederation was that the central government would
ensure a permanent ferry link between the Island and the mainland. Once the
bridge is constructed, the ferry service will be abandoned. A resolution was
made amending the Constitution to make it reflect the coming changes.
More than 20 government bills and
41 private Members' bills received first reading. The following bills have
received royal assent:
C-3, An Act to amend the
Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements and Federal Post-Secondary Education and
Health Contributions Act
C-5, An Act to amend the Customs
C-10, An Act to provide for the
maintenance of west coast ports operations
C-14, An Act to provide
borrowing authority for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 1994
C-19, An Act for granting to Her
Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada during the
fiscal year ending March 31, 1994
C-20, An Act for granting to Her
Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada during the
fiscal year ending March 31, 1995
André Gagnon, Procedural Clerk Table Research Branch