Hon. G. J. Mcllraith (Ottawa Centre) moved
that Bill C-78, respecting the use of the expression "Parliament Hill", be read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections.
He said: Mr. Speaker, perhaps at the outset I should thank hon. members for agreeing to have this bill brought forward for consideration today. I appreciate that courtesy and I want hon. members to know that I do.
The bill itself is quite simple. It is an attempt to prevent the commercial use of the words "Parliament Hill" to designate any property or place, or to identify any articles for sale or to otherwise identify any commercial enterprise for commercial use. It is very simple in its form and I think it is clear from its language.
The reason for the bill is the usage of the term "Parliament Hill" to designate a very fine new hotel in Ottawa. I might add that it is a much needed and very good new hotel. In November of last year the hotel, in a large advertisement in one of the Ottawa newspapers, indicated that the hotel was on Parliament Hill, which it is not, and the intention to use the designation "Parliament Hill" to identify that hotel as one of a number of hotels in a chain. This error was immediately drawn to the attention of the hotel and I thought the matter had then been concluded. In February of this year it became clear, when the hotel was about to open, that the name had not been changed. This matter was again drawn to their attention and notice of this bill was filed at that time. The hotel immediately took steps within its organization to change the designation of that hotel to a more appropriate one. I want to acknowledge and thank the hotel for its courtesy and action, or its maturity, however one wishes to express it. In any event I want to express appreciation for their action when the matter was brought to their attention.
As best I can ascertain, there has been no attempt to use this designation by any other enterprise in the first 102 years of confederation. Last year a farm near Ottawa chose this designation and applied it to certain livestock records in respect of cattle. There is also a small sports clothing or sports goods shop which has started to use the name. These are very recent cases and so far as I know there are no others. It seems to me this is a most inappropriate designation as applied to anything other than this immediate area and grounds on which the Parliament Buildings are situated, and the name should be reserved for that purpose.
I tried to make the bill very simple, providing that the words "Parliament Hill" should not be used for the three purposes set out in Clause 1 (a), (b), (c), that is to designate a property or location, to identify any goods, merchandise, wares or articles for commercial use or sale, or in association with a commercial service rendering establishment.
There is in addition a simple provision that a breach of these provisions is an offence punishable on summary conviction. Then, there is a clause which makes it clear that the bill in no way limits or interferes with the powers, privileges, rights and immunities of both Houses of Parliament and their members. That provision was put in because there had been some academic discussion concerning whether the use of the term would in fact constitute technically a breach of the privileges of parliament. That is not an argument or a reason which I assert for bringing forward this bill. However, that argument has been made and I thought it wise and appropriate to include a provision in the bill making it clear that the bill in no way limits the powers, privileges, rights and immunities of both Houses of Parliament and their members.
There is one other matter I should draw to the attention of hon. gentlemen. If it is agreeable to the House I should like to ask permission to change the wording of the motion so that instead of providing that the bill be read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, it read that the bill be read a second time and referred to the committee of the whole. Then, we could proceed today to the committee of the whole stage and third reading if that is agreeable to hon. members.
Topic: PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic: PARLIAMENT HILL