Point of Order

Speaker’s Ruling Reserved

June 28, 2021


Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition)
[23:12]

Your Honour, a point of order, please.

The Hon. the Speaker
[23:12]

Yes, Senator Plett.

Senator Plett
[23:12]

Your Honour, it’s not that I disagree with Senator Woo, but we had the same type of disagreement — chalk it up to whatever you want — before we had the one-hour bell on an adjournment motion.

I don’t think the fact that senators didn’t understand something is reason enough for you to change what you just ruled. I clearly understood you to ask whether there were people opposed to the motion. Nobody said they were not.

I’m sorry, Your Honour. You will again, in your infinite wisdom, make a decision and I will accept that, but this is the exact same situation that we had just over an hour ago, and the Speaker pro tempore refused to even listen to us when we raised points of order. She would not even give us time to explain our point of order because she said she had ruled. I think this is the exact same situation, Your Honour.

The Hon. the Speaker
[23:13]

Does any other senator wish to speak to Senator Plett’s point of order?

Hon. Pat Duncan
[23:13]

Yes, Your Honour.

Your Honour, with all due respect to Senator Plett, it is not the same situation. In the instance of the adjournment motion, I had raised my hand immediately to ask for an adjournment and the Speaker pro tempore had recognized me. This is a different situation that you just ruled on this evening. It has happened before — I agree with Senator Plett on that — and there was some confusion and some misunderstanding because those of us online were not allowed to exercise our vote in the previous situation.

In all fairness, with the hybrid situation, I believe that Senator Woo is correct in requesting that we have a vote on this. It is not the same situation as the adjournment motion just discussed upon which the point of order was raised.

The Hon. the Speaker
[23:14]

Thank you, Senator Duncan. Honourable senators, I will ask for other senators who wish to enter the debate, but I thought I was very clear in saying that we were voting on the main motion. I waited to hear if anybody was opposed before I said carried. If anybody wants to speak to that, please enter debate on it now.

Hon. Lucie Moncion
[23:15]

Your Honour, the problem we have with the online situation is that we hear information that comes from senators who are sitting in hybrid motion. I was trying to understand if people were saying no to reading the full motion. That’s where the confusion came from. That’s why, when you asked to dispense — and I would like to go back to the transcript — I think that’s where the confusion came in. That’s why we did not pick up on the fact that we were voting on the main motion. So there’s a confusion that has been caused by you asking to dispense and hearing people say yes and no. Then you asked the question again to dispense, and the second time it was yes. I’m just saying there’s a confusion here that I think is important to acknowledge.

I don’t think some of us are comfortable with voting in favour of this motion, and you did not even hear “on division” coming either from the floor or from the hybrid sitting. I’m saying there is a confusion here, and I think it’s important that it be on the record. Thank you.

The Hon. the Speaker
[23:16]

Thank you, Senator Moncion.

Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond
[23:16]

Quite frankly, I find it — reluctantly I will ask, Your Honour, do you consider you’ve made a ruling? If you have done so, I will then call on section 2-5 (3) of our Rules, which means that I will appeal the Speaker’s ruling. But I’m not sure you’ve made a ruling, Your Honour.

[23:17]

Your Honour, I voted in favour of the motion, so I lost the motion. I wanted to put that in the context of what I’m about to say.

I accept your ruling, Your Honour. I think that you were clear and I respectfully disagree with Senator Plett on this issue. I accept your ruling.

Hon. Dennis Dawson
[23:17]

Excuse me, Your Honour, but I believe that in the confusion, there is obviously an interpretation. With all due respect for my colleague, Senator Mercer, I believe, as Senator Moncion stated, that senators thought that they were voting on whether to dispense with reading the motion rather than voting on the motion itself.

The Hon. the Speaker
[23:18]

I’m sorry, Senator Dawson, I’m hearing French and English at the same time. I don’t know what’s going on with the translation. Could you please start from the beginning of your intervention?

Senator Dawson
[23:18]

Excuse me, Your Honour. I agree with Senator Moncion.

The Hon. the Speaker
[23:18]

I am sorry, Senator Dawson. I’m still having the same problem. I don’t know what is going on with the translation, but I’m hearing English and French at the exact same time. Just give me a chance to change a few buttons.

Senator Dawson
[23:18]

I’ve learned after a year that there can be some confusion. I’ll speak English.

The Hon. the Speaker
[23:18]

No, please, Senator Dawson.

Senator Dawson
[23:18]

Senator Moncion said it’s been a big sacrifice for francophones over the last year. Senator Moncion was right, there was a confusion. There was a reasonable confusion about the question of whether we were voting to dispense or on the motion. I’m not going to contest your ruling. I have a lot of respect for my friend Senator Dalphond, but if you decide to rule, I will accept your ruling.

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition)
[23:19]

First of all, I want to just express my thanks to you, Your Honour, that you have taken time to hear our point of order. We weren’t even able to appeal on our point of order in the previous situation, and all of it was confusing, but today, on this particular item, we did dispense and then you posed the question. I trust that you will rule accordingly. Thank you for ensuring that we’re all being heard, because that’s the key. If there is debate before an adjournment motion, we all need to speak, and then once people have spoken we have the adjournment.

The last situation was quite confusing. I guess it’s very late, so I will pause here just to say that whatever your ruling is, I will accept.

Senator Plett
[23:20]

And I will not appeal it either.

Hon. David Richards
[23:20]

Thank you, Your Honour. I just want to say I understood it was on the main motion. There might have been some confusion with others, but it seemed to be clear to me. Whatever your ruling is, I’ll go along with it, of course.

Hon. Frances Lankin
[23:20]

I was waiting to see if this issue had been raised. In a sense, Senator Richards just raised it from the flip side.

What I wanted to say to you, and it may be the peculiar situation and the rural area that I’m in, but there is a time delay. I can see people’s lips move before I can hear their voices. In terms of seeing you ask a question, that’s one thing. Actually hearing it — and by the time I could have reacted to say “no” online, the moment had passed in the chamber.

I just want to tell you that for my part, there was actual confusion. I’m not one who normally misses a vote, and I apparently did due to the time delay. Thank you very much.

The Hon. the Speaker
[23:21]

Thank you, Senator Lankin. I want to thank all senators who participated in the point of order raised by Senator Plett. I will take the matter under advisement and I will rule on this matter tomorrow before Motion No. 79 is called again. Thank you all very much for your input.

Senator Boehm, you are standing.

Hon. Peter M. Boehm
[23:21]

I am, Your Honour. Thank you very much. I, like others, of course, will respect your ruling. It’s obvious there were some technical glitches or perhaps misunderstandings. This is a very important motion, and I would humbly suggest that if we can get to a vote, we should get to it however you decide. Thank you.