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Senator Housakos Bemoans Senate Waste. . . by Wasting Senators’ Time

In the middle of a speech bemoaning the poor use of Senate resources, Senator Housakos calls for the adjournment of the Senate – deliberately wasting everyone’s time and depriving members of a much-anticipated chance to question Minister Mark Holland. 

Hon. Leo Housakos: ... So, colleagues, if many of you are wondering why this particular Item 31 and the budget of 2023-24 have not been approved and the official opposition has not spoken before about it, this is because these are some of the concerns we have and we think they need to be addressed.

Excuse my suspicion, but there’s no surprise at the lack of transparency and accountability when we have a government like this current government. In the midst of every and any scandal, they blame anyone but themselves. They never take responsibility. We’ve seen it in the last few days with what has happened over in the other place, which has been a major blemish and an insult to the memory of all Canadians who fought during World War II. What happened was inexcusable and unacceptable, and the Prime Minister throws the Speaker under the bus instead of protocol of the Prime Minister’s Office and the government taking full responsibility. We have a Prime Minister who has been hiding for a couple of days. At least in this chamber, we have a Government Representative who isn’t hiding. He’s here on a regular basis. He takes our questions, but unfortunately, we in the opposition are equally frustrated. We never seem to get answers. We don’t get any more answers from him and the government than we do from Internal Economy on these important issues.

For example, the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, or NSICOP. In the midst of these cyberattacks and in the midst of foreign interference that no one is denying — and we need to take immediate action to address these — we have a government that is missing in action. We have a process with NSICOP —

Point of Order

Hon. Yuen Pau Woo: Honourable senators, I rise on a point of order. I do not see the relevance of these points to the item at hand and would ask that the honourable senator revert to the question at hand and educate us again on the golden period that he so eloquently reflects on.

Hon. Leo Housakos: Thank you, Madam Speaker. It is very important to highlight that there’s a pattern on the part of this government and this Prime Minister of not answering questions transparently and accountably. NSICOP is one of those things when it comes to foreign interference, Senator Woo.

Senator Woo: This is about a budget of the Senate. It is not an issue about the government’s management of the Senate. The government has no role in the management of the Senate Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration or our institution, and the honourable senator is abusing his privilege by speaking on irrelevant matters.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Housakos, I’m listening and this chamber is listening to the point of order from Senator Woo, and then you can rise on the point of order and give your point of view.

Senator Woo: Well, I’ve made my point that Senator Housakos is speaking about matters that are irrelevant to the matter at hand. The government, whom he has a right to criticize, does not play a role in the establishment of our budget. It does not play a role in directing the Internal Economy Committee. These points he has raised are perhaps suitable for a pulpit elsewhere and for the base that he wants to appeal to, but they are not becoming of this chamber and they are not becoming of the sorts of discussion we should be having — that is, legitimate discussion on the matter at hand — which is the budget for this institution.

Senator Housakos: Madam Speaker, as you recognize, at the end of the day, in the middle of a debate, there has to be a legitimate point of order. Now he jumps up in order to curtail debate. There has been nothing in his point of order that calls into question the procedure of someone speaking on the item at hand during a debate. The item at hand concerns the budget and the operating methodology of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, or CIBA.

I’m calling into question the accountability and transparency of the majority side of this chamber and of CIBA itself. I have someone who doesn’t have a procedural issue with this point of order — he has a problem with the content of the debate — so I think I have a legitimate right for Your Honour to recognize that I may continue my debate on this particular item.

Speaker’s Ruling

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Does any other senator wish to add their comments regarding this point of order?

I appreciate the point of order. However, if we have an Order Paper, it is because there is an order of issues that we want to discuss and be efficient in our debates. The current item that we are debating is a motion by Senator Moncion, seconded by Senator Yussuff, for the adoption of the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, entitled The Senate Budget 2020-24, which was presented in the Senate on February 7, 2023.

Senator Housakos, please focus on this particular issue.

Hon. Leo Housakos moved: That the Senate do now adjourn.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, it is moved by the Honourable Senator Housakos, seconded by the Honourable Senator Martin, that the Senate do now adjourn.

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: All those in favour of the motion will please say “yea.”

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: All those opposed to the motion will please say “nay.”

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I believe the “nays” have it.

And two honourable senators having risen:

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Do we have agreement on a bell? The vote will be at 5:52 p.m.

Call in the senators.