The National Assembly resumed its proceedings on September 17, 2013, as provided for in the Standing Orders. During the very first week of work, Bill 57, An Act in response to the railway disaster in Ville de Lac-Megantic, was introduced and all the stages of the bill were considered with the unanimous consent of the Assembly. This bill contains measures intended to enable Ville de Lac-Megantic to meet certain needs, ensure safety and reorganize its territory in order to facilitate a return to normal life and the resumption of normal activities following the railway disaster of July 6 and postpones until 2015 the general election scheduled for 2013 for the town council and the office of warden of Municipalite regionale de corote du Granit.
Rulings and directives from the Chair
On September 18 the Chair gave a directive regarding modifications to the distribution of certain measures and speaking times. These modifications were necessary owing to changes in the composition of the Assembly. Oral Questions and Answers, Statements by Members as well as speaking times for two-hour limited debates were modified to take into account the presence of a third independent Member.
On September 26 the Chair gave a ruling on the point of privilege or contempt raised by the Second Opposition Group House Leader on June 14, 2013, in which he invoked that the chief executive officer of the Fondation du Centre hospitalier de l'Universite de Montreal (CHUM) had been in contempt of Parliament. The latter allegedly infringed the rights of the Assembly by providing false or incomplete testimony to the Committee on Health and Social Services, on June 11, thereby failing to comply with section 55(2) of the Act respecting the National Assembly.
During his testimony before the Committee on Health and Social Services, the chief executive officer of the Fondation du CHUM categorically stated that he was unaware of certain facts, while the day after this testimony, the Committee received documents indicating that he indeed had knowledge of them. As the facts submitted in support of the point of law or privilege could raise doubts as to the veracity of his testimony, the Chair ruled that the point of privilege was, at first glance, in order.
The Chair stated that regardless of the manner in which persons are called upon to give testimony before a committee, by simple invitation or subpoena, the fact remains that when they take part in parliamentary proceedings, persons...