This is page numbers 1945 - 1984 of the Hansard for the 15th Assembly, 3rd Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was program.

Topics

Bill 17: Modernization Of Benefits And Obligations Act
Item 20: Third Reading Of Bills

Page 1980

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, for the record, I do believe that Mr. Menicoche does have a point of privilege. If he feels that his ability to represent the interests of his constituents has been curtailed or infringed on in any way, and I think that time is not of the essence with respect to these changes. I think there is substantive time. I would also like to suggest that in fact the reason why these amendments were not made at the committee level was because they couldn't make it out of committee on a vote. Thank you.

Bill 17: Modernization Of Benefits And Obligations Act
Item 20: Third Reading Of Bills

Page 1980

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. To the point of privilege. The honourable Member for Sahtu, Mr. Yakeleya.

Bill 17: Modernization Of Benefits And Obligations Act
Item 20: Third Reading Of Bills

Page 1980

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am going to support the honourable Mr. Menicoche, Member for Nahendeh, in terms of his point of privilege. Mr. Speaker, when we come into the House, the integrity of this institution is at stake in terms of the process and the respect that we give each other and the jobs that we do. If there are changes made to a bill, we need to be aware of them, as committee members. If there are some changes to a bill without us as committee members not knowing or the House not going through the process, even though it may be consistent with supporting the bill, if there are some new provisions that are brought in at the last minute, then I really question the integrity of the process that we have been engaged in in the last couple of weeks here. So I also await the ruling of your decision, Mr. Speaker, in terms of the point of privilege. Thank you.

Bill 17: Modernization Of Benefits And Obligations Act
Item 20: Third Reading Of Bills

Page 1980

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Yakeleya. The honourable Member for North Slave, Mr. Zoe.

Bill 17: Modernization Of Benefits And Obligations Act
Item 20: Third Reading Of Bills

March 10th, 2005

Page 1980

Henry Zoe North Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I concur with my colleague from Nahendeh and the comments that Mrs. Groenewegen has made also. I believe that the process that's been outlined by Mr. Yakeleya. I just want to make a couple other points. Although Ms. Lee has indicated that they follow the normal routine and follow a process of putting advertisements out so they can have general public input, I don't think they've gone far enough, particularly on such a sensitive issue as this particular bill is. I think they should have gone a little bit more in consultation with aboriginal and municipal governments. Then that way we could have had more serious input into this particular bill. I think my colleague here has a point of privilege.

Bill 17: Modernization Of Benefits And Obligations Act
Item 20: Third Reading Of Bills

Page 1980

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Zoe. To the point of privilege. The honourable Minister of Justice, Mr. Dent.

Bill 17: Modernization Of Benefits And Obligations Act
Item 20: Third Reading Of Bills

Page 1980

Charles Dent Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To the point of privilege, committee advertised this bill and held public hearings and I would have to agree with the committee chair that the process was as is normal with our bills. The committee directed us after the first hearing with me to consider bringing forward some amendments and we did that. Then we were asked to bring them to the floor so that everybody could debate them. Again, that's entirely within the standard process for committees. The amendments, Mr. Speaker, quite clearly are within the scope and principle of the bill, they are not substantive. The purpose of this bill is to amend several acts to ensure that references to spouse appropriately capture persons who live in spousal relationships outside marriage. That is the purpose of this bill and that is what has been accommodated through not only the bill, but the amendments. So I would say that there has been no breach of privilege in this instance. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker's Ruling
Item 20: Third Reading Of Bills

Page 1980

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Dent. To the point of privilege. No further comments. Thank you, Members. When a point of privilege is raised, the duty of the Speaker is to determine whether a prima facie breach of privilege has occurred and whether the matter has been raised at its earliest opportunity. Having heard the arguments of the Members on this point of privilege, it is my ruling that a prima facie breach of privilege has not occurred in this instance.

I will remind Members that a breach of privilege occurs when the ability of the House to execute its functions has been obstructed or where individual Members have been obstructed in the performance of their individual duties. It is my ruling that neither of these conditions have been

met. Many of the Members' arguments relate to the matter of procedure and the rules of this House. While these matters may have been relevant on a point of order raised at the appropriate time, they are not necessarily relevant to a question of privilege.

To the motion. Mrs. Groenewegen.

Speaker's Ruling
Item 20: Third Reading Of Bills

Page 1981

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I request a recorded vote.

Speaker's Ruling
Item 20: Third Reading Of Bills

Page 1981

The Speaker Paul Delorey

The Member is seeking a recorded vote. To the motion. The honourable Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

Motion To Amend Bill 17, Defeated
Item 20: Third Reading Of Bills

Page 1981

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Member for North Slave, that the motion be amended by striking out "that Bill 17 be read for the third time" and substituting "that Bill 17 be not now read a third time, but that it be read a third time this day three months hence."

---Applause

Motion To Amend Bill 17, Defeated
Item 20: Third Reading Of Bills

Page 1981

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Menicoche. The motion is in order. To the motion. Mr. Menicoche.

Motion To Amend Bill 17, Defeated
Item 20: Third Reading Of Bills

Page 1981

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I make this motion today because I do not agree that we are ready to give Bill 17 third reading. This bill has not been through an appropriate public review process. I find it very disturbing that five amendments were made to Bill 17 yesterday during Committee of the Whole debate. To me it is totally inappropriate that these amendments, which change the context of the bill, were made without an opportunity for public input. When do our constituents get to have a say? For example, an amendment was made to the Wildlife Act, Mr. Speaker. That's a very key act for a lot of people and it's unbelievable that we short circuited the democratic process by not having a public hearing on something that important. There is a dangerous precedence that is being set by not even allowing the public an opportunity to be informed about a major change to legislation, let alone the opportunity to speak to it. How can we justify this? If we're going to evade the democratic process this time, what's next, Mr. Speaker? In my opinion, this bill should be reintroduced in the next session so that people can be given an opportunity to appear before the standing committee and speak to it in it's final form, including the amendments that were made yesterday. It's the right thing to do, Mr. Speaker. Reintroduce the bill so our constituents can have a say in the legislation that's being made here. Mahsi cho.

Motion To Amend Bill 17, Defeated
Item 20: Third Reading Of Bills

Page 1981

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Menicoche. To the amendment. The honourable Member for Hay River South, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Motion To Amend Bill 17, Defeated
Item 20: Third Reading Of Bills

Page 1981

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'll be voting in favour of the amendment. I do think that the way these amendments came forward on the floor of the House in Committee of the Whole is an aberration to how we normally deal with amendments to legislation in our committees. It may only be a convention, it may only be a tradition that we don't make those kind of significant amendments in Committee of the Whole, but the fact is normally those are carried out in committee and we have diverged from normal process here. For that reason I do agree with the Member that we do need to give constituents a chance for input and further public consultation. I will support the motion. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.