|These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard
Transfer of Duties
Mr. Geoff Regan
(Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of
Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, yesterday there was a question of
privilege from the hon. member for Yorkton--Melville. I responded at the
time indicating that I would like to have the opportunity to respond
further after doing some more research, which I have now done.
The member asked how it was possible to transfer ministerial
responsibility for the firearms centre from the Minister of Justice to the
Solicitor General when the firearms legislation passed by Parliament
specified that the Minister of Justice was the responsible minister.
The member quoted from research prepared by the Library of Parliament that
the authority to make this transfer was provided under the Public Service
Rearrangement and Transfer of Duties Act. The government had the authority
to make this transfer because Parliament, as I said yesterday, has
provided the authority in that act.
The act provides a mechanism for the efficient reorganization of
government and it has been used in the following recent cases. It has been
used in the creation of new departments and related changes in ministerial
responsibility in 1993, which included the Departments of Human Resources
Development, Canadian Heritage, Industry, and Public Works and Government
Services. All those departments were included. Another example is the
transfer of responsibility for the Pest Control Products Act from the
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food to the Minister of Health in 2000.
Transfer of responsibilities to the Minister of Transport from the
Minister of Public Works for the Royal Canadian Mint in 2002 is the third
In each of these cases, the minister actually responsible for the
organization is not the same minister found in the statutes. As the
Library of parliament's research indicates, and as a reading of statutes
confirms, this is not a matter of privilege. It is a request for a legal
opinion by the Speaker, which of course is quite another issue.
The Deputy Speaker: I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for
his intervention. Of course, the matter of the question is already under
advisement and the Speaker will be ruling on the matter very shortly.