Opposition Motion – Changes to Standing Orders

That Standing Order 11(2) be replaced with the following: The Speaker or the Chair of Committees of the Whole, after having called the attention of the House, or of the Committee, to the conduct of a Member who persists in irrelevance, or repetition, including during responses to oral questions, may direct the Member to discontinue his or her intervention, and if then the Member still continues to speak, the Speaker shall name the Member or, if in Committee of the Whole, the Chair shall report the Member to the House.

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I was not a member of the committee, but in reading the report, the evidence, and the dissenting reports, this is not the normal process of a committee working together. I have never seen such strong dissent.

In reading this, I see that most of the recommendations seem to have been put forward without having had any witnesses making the recommendations. The advice of the Canadian Bar Association, Democracy Watch, even the Conservative platform from 2006, were ignored in favour of some quite bizarre recommendations. I am at a loss to know how recommendation number one is possibly workable, that the definition of public office holder would be so extraordinarily expanded. I do not know how the Office of Conflict of Interest and Ethics could possibly keep up with it, nor why public office holders should suddenly include so many federal employees.

Could the hon. member possibly explain what seems to be a hijacking of the committee process?

Patricia Davidson: Mr. Speaker, we heard over and over again that the Conflict of Interest Act is working well overall. Therefore, the committee’s recommendations in the report generally propose targeted improvements to the act rather than wholesale restructuring. We did take into account very significantly the fact that it is working well now.