Third Report of Special Committee—Motion in AmendmentPublished on 7 February 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Art Eggleton
Hon. Art Eggleton:
Colleagues, I rise to speak to the amendment to propose a subamendment, which will put a time frame on this, and finally to ask that after I’m finished speaking or anybody else who wishes to speak today has spoken, that it continue to be held in the name of Senator Fraser.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is it agreed?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Eggleton: I appreciate the clear message that we got from Senator Tannas with respect to his motion, which as it is actually written is a good motion.
Some of the recommendations in the report do say that the “Rules Committee be instructed,” which is unusual to specifically instructions to a committee. I think what he is saying is we should instruct Senate staff to prepare the recommendations for the consideration of the Rules Committee based on what the Modernization Committee has proposed. I think that’s a good, orderly and polite way of doing it, so I support that.
Motion in Subamendment
Hon. Art Eggleton: Therefore, honourable senators, I move in subamendment:
That the motion in amendment be not now adopted, but that it be amended by replacing the words “report to the Senate” by the words “report to the Senate by May 1, 2017,”.
I have spoken with Senator Tannas, who agrees with that as well.
I do that because I think time is of the essence in dealing with this particular recommendation. This is the one that deals with the committee structure. This is recommendation 21 in the main report. It outlines in some detail what the procedures should be in setting up the Selection Committee and the different standing committees and how they should be populated.
I don’t think it will take an awful lot of time for staff to be able to get it into the legalese of a proper rule and for the Rules Committee to be able to consider what is being requested by the Senate through the report of the Modernization Committee.
I think it’s important, though, to put that date on there because, as has been mentioned, there could be a prorogation. We could face that coming, let’s say, sometime in the summer. If it does come, then we would be caught without having a permanent rule in place, as permanent as any rule can be in this evolutionary state of our being, but certainly the rule for the next session should be in place before we go to the point of prorogation. The longer we leave this, the more risky that we could end up there. I don’t know that there’s going to be a prorogation; there’s no indication of that, but it does happen frequently as you near the halfway mark, so it’s quite possible.
What I’m concerned about is that if we don’t put a date on this, it could end up sitting around over the summertime and we could find ourselves in that situation. So it would be best to get this back to the chamber by May 1. That gives us enough time before the summer recess to be able to debate it further, if we wish to do so, and to be able to put it in place so that when there is a prorogation, we’ll be in a position to have the proper set of rules in place to be able to populate the committee structure.
With that subamendment, I would certainly support the amendment put forward by Senator Tannas, and I would be delighted to see this move on. I think we’re starting to see some progress on some of these Modernization Committee reports. Let’s keep it up. Let’s keep getting these things completed and finished. I hope this one will be completed in a very short period of time.
I am pleased to move my subamendment, putting in “report to the Senate by May 1, 2017.”