Canada, House of Commons Debates, “Motion to Extend Sitting During Debate on Constitution”, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess (24 March 1981)
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, House of Commons Debates, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, 1981 at 8566-8568.
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COMMONS DEBATES — March 24, 1981
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
MOTION TO EXTEND SITTINGS DURING DEBATE ON CONSTITUTION
On the order: Government Notices of Motions:
March 19, 1981—The President of the Privy Council:
THAT WHEREAS the Prime Minister tabled in the House of Commons on October 6, 1980 a document entitled “Proposed Resolution for a Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen Respecting the Constitution of Canada”;
AND WHEREAS the motion to refer the said document to a Special Joint Committee of the House and Senate was debated in the House on 11 days between October 6 and October 23, 1980, allowing some 78 members to speak;
AND WHEREAS the Joint Committee, on which some 132 members of this House served, held 106 meetings, sat for 267 hours, received over 1,000 written submissions and heard testimony from 95 groups and 5 individuals;
AND WHEREAS the Joint Committee, having had its reporting date extended twice, reported on February 13, 1981 with the recommendation that the government introduce a motion for the presentation of the Address as modified by the committee;
AND WHEREAS the motion of the Minister of Justice implementing the Joint Committee’s recommendation was moved on February 17, 1981;
AND WHEREAS the honourable member for Provencher moved an amendment to that motion on February 17, 1981;
AND WHEREAS the said amendment has been debated by this House for some five weeks, with the result that as of March 18, 1981 there have been 52 speakers on behalf of the official opposition, 15 speakers on behalf of the New Democratic Party, and 31 speakers on behalf of the government;
THEREFORE until the motion of the Minister of Justice for an Address to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the Constitution of Canada and any amendments thereto have been finally disposed of, Standing Order 6(1) and Standing Order 40 shall be suspended and, notwithstanding any other Standing Order, Private Members’ Business shall be suspended, and the House shall sit from 10.00 o’clock a.m. to 1.00 o’c1ock p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays for the consideration of government business; and Standing Order 6(3) shall be read as if it said “At 11.59 o’clock p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 10.00 o’clock p.m. on Wednesday and at 7.00 o’clock p.m. on Fridays, Mr. Speaker shall adjourn the House until the next sitting day.”
AND during debate on the said motion of the Minister of Justice and any amendments and sub-amendments proposed thereto,
(a) notwithstanding Standing Order 31(1) no member shall speak for more than 20 minutes;
(b) when no member rises in his place to participate in the debate, or at 15 minutes before the time of adjournment provided for by this order on the second day during which the motion of the Minister of Justice or any amendments and subamendments proposed thereto have been under consideration following the adoption of this motion—whichever occurs first-the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of any amendments and subamendments then under consideration;
(c) if, at the time provided for in paragraph (b) there is no amendment or subamendment under consideration, the Speaker shall put every question
necessary to dispose of the main motion; otherwise, after the amendment and any subamendment have been disposed of, the debate on the main motion may be resumed;
(d) at 15 minutes before the time of adjournment on the second sitting day following the resumption of the debate on the motion of the Minister of Justice pursuant to paragraph (c), the Speaker shall put every question necessary to dispose of the motion, including any amendments and sub-amendments proposed thereto; and
(e) any member who, not having spoken in the debate either on the main motion or on an amendment or subamendment may at any time before the fulfilment of the conditions set out in paragraph (b) deliver to the Clerk a written speech relevant to the debate of not more than about 3,000 words, which will be printed as an appendix to the House of Commons Debates on the day following the conclusion of the debate.
Madam Speaker: I recognize the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) on a point of order.
Mr. Baker (Nepean-Carleton): Madam Speaker, I have a point of order.
Madam Speaker: I recognized the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.
Mr. Nielsen: Madam Speaker, it is customary to recognize first the official opposition. What is happening today?
Madam Speaker: I am terribly sorry. The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre gave me notice yesterday that he would rise on a point of order at this time. I know it is customary that I recognize a member from the opposition first, and I usually do. However, when I do get notice I try to put things in the order in which I receive them. In this particular case, I received notice yesterday from the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre. He told me precisely what his point of order would be. Subsequently, the hon. member for Nepean~Carleton (Mr. Baker) gave me oral notice of a point of order, but his was of a general nature. Therefore, I think it is fair at this point today to recognize the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre. .
Mr. Baker (Nepean-Carleton): Madam Speaker, I would appreciate the point normally. The normal courtesies and traditions have it that members of the official opposition are usually recognized first.
I am aware that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) gave you notice, Madam Speaker. If the matter were a question of privilege, then I think that notice would have had some validity; but it is not a question of privilege and the notice is not critical in terms of giving recognition first to any member on a point of order. I know of no practice which exists in this regard. As the House leader for the opposition, I claim the right, if I may do so, in the normal traditions and passage of events, to be recognized first. That is the position I take.
I do not think we should depart from the normal practices of the House. I am aware of the notice that was filed. I indicated to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre—and I am not catching him by surprise—that I intended to exercise the right that I feel, by tradition in this House, falls upon Her Majesty’s loyal opposition and upon the official opposition. I happen to occupy the position of opposition House leader. It is a position, for better or for worse, which is recognized in the House of Commons Act.
I could go on for some time because, with respect, Madam Speaker, I think I do have the right to advance an argument. It may well be the argument I would advance would encompass part of the argument that will be made by my friend, the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, because he was quite precise about the argument he will be dealing with and he will have his opportunity in the normal course. Therefore, I claim the normal courtesy in this matter.
Mr. Knowles: Madam Speaker, I simply want to say it is true that the hon. member for Nepean-Carleton (Mr. Baker) told me he would try to get ahead of me on this matter. I told him that I could not stop him from trying to do so, but that I would claim my right, having given notice yesterday.
Mr. Nielsen: Notice is not necessary.
Mr. Knowles: I think perhaps I shall leave that determination to the Chair. Of course, if hon. members are not satisfied with the person on whom the Speaker has called, they can move a motion under Standing Order 29.
Madam Speaker: I recognize the arguments which the hon. member for Nepean-Carleton has just put forward. It is true that members of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition have certain privileges in this House, but I am not sure they apply in this circumstance.
It is true that, as a matter of courtesy, members of the opposition are usually recognized first on points of order which deal with government business. However, in this particular circumstance it seems to me that I owe the courtesy to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre because he gave me notice of it yesterday.
I am just trying to be as courteous and as fair as it is possible to be. Thesame situation occurs when members rise during question period. Sometimes five members rise at the same time and they have to be put in a certain order. But if one rises before the other, the first one to rise is usually recognized. The hon. member has said, quite rightly, that it is a matter of courtesy. I accept that as being a matter of courtesy, but this time I think I owe the courtesy to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, and I will recognize him.
I see the hon. member for Yukon (Mr. Nielsen) is rising.
Mr. Nielsen: Madam Speaker, withrespect, it is not a matter of courtesy; it is a matter of long-standing usage, custom and practice in this House to recognize the opposition House leader. I, for one, resent that kind of departure from our customary practices. Therefore, I move, seconded by the hon. member for Burlington (Mr. Kempling):
That the hon. member for Nepean-Carleton be now heard.
Madam Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. Members: No.
Madam Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
Some hon. Members: Yea.
Madam Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
Some hon. Members: Nay.
Madam Speaker: In my opinion, the nays have it.
And more than five members having risen:
Madam Speaker: Call in the members.
The House divided on the motion (Mr. Nielsen), which was negatived on the following division:
(Division No. 49)
Clarke (Vancouver Quadra)
Crosbie (St. John’s West)
Crosby (Halifax West)
Hamilton . (Qu’Appelle-Moose Mountain)
Reid (St. Catharines)
Campbell (Miss) (South West Nova)
Reid (Kenora-Rainy River)
Madam Speaker: I declare the motion lost.
Motion (Mr. Nielsen) negatived.
Madam Speaker: Therefore, the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles)has the floor.
It being six o’clock, I do now leave the chair until 8 p.m. this evening.
At 6.11 p.m. the House took recess.