Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to address the House today on a very important motion. I wish to advise the House that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Nanaimo—Cowichan.
This is one of the more important things that we will debate during the time and life of this minority government, for the simple reason that we are trying to find an agreement on when we can hold the election. Nothing can be more important to the life of a Parliament than its ending, because at that point, of course, all stops.
That is the whole issue. We are trying to prevent the grinding down of the House to the point where nothing happens. We will quickly get to that point if we do not find an agreement. We are almost there. We now have the Conservatives, the Bloc and the NDP in agreement through a process of compromise. It has been stated by MPs from each of those other two caucuses and our caucus that everybody indeed gave a little. It is the nature of compromise. For the most part, it is what makes Canada tick.
Here we are, in the most Canadian tradition, three-quarters of the way to a compromise that would meet all the requirements that everyone has, at least to the point that they could live with it. Everybody gets their main points and gives a little on a few other things.
The Gomery report was mentioned by the previous speaker. Our compromise today allows that to come out. People will have the Gomery report, part two, even though I would say with all due respect that I could not imagine members of a caucus in the House saying that they are going to disagree with any recommendation that Justice Gomery makes in part two. Notwithstanding that, it will still come out prior to election day. The Prime Minister said that was important. We disagreed with him on his point, but the compromise provides that part two of Gomery will be in the hands of voters before they go into the balloting booth. That meets one of the government's requirements.
More important, this compromise allows us to get through a number of bills that we have all agreed need to get through the House. As an example, I will mention Bill C-55. Again, it is not a perfect piece of legislation, but thanks to the work of my colleague from Winnipeg Centre, there are things in there that are definitely going to benefit working people. We are prepared to see that it gets through.
Now, with the amendment to it, I would hope that we are not going to get bogged down in voting procedures, but I hear that is possible. That would be a shame. It is an important bill. With the minor amendment, to which the government has agreed, we definitely will have moved the yardsticks forward, at least notionally.
It does not, however, address the issues that are contained in Bill C-281, the workers first bill. Again, it was introduced by my colleague from Winnipeg Centre. This is the bill that in the case of a bankruptcy takes pensions and puts them to the top of the list so that workers and the decades of work that they have done are not lost and they are the first ones to receive whatever money might be available afterward. The banks, the suppliers and the government right now stand in line ahead of the workers. Bill C-55 does not do what Bill C-281 would, but it will make some improvements if the common sense compromise that the opposition is putting forward today passes that bill.
Another example is Bill C-66, the energy rebates. I do not imagine there is anybody in the House who is opposed to the notion that we would try get some relief to those individuals and families who are in most need given what is happening to fuel prices and the fact that we are heading into a Canadian winter. That bill can pass under this compromise. There are two other bills that are equally important to other Canadians. I will not get into the details. They will pass the House under this compromise.
We might ask ourselves why it is not happening. I would have to say it goes to the same reason why there was a Gomery report in the first place and why there is a rage across the land. It is the arrogance of the current governing Liberal Party. It is pure arrogance.
The Prime Minister of the day does not have the support of almost two-thirds of Canadians and almost two-thirds of the House, yet the Prime Minister and the Liberal Party believe that under their culture of entitlement they are entitled to govern as if they were almost imperial. They are there and there they shall stay, they believe.
All we are asking is for a little humility and a little compromise and for them to recognize the fact that even though they have been driving around in the limos for a dozen years without a break, in the last election the party that is currently in power was not returned with a majority. The people of Canada sent that party a message. The problem is that the Prime Minister will not listen to that message. He will not listen to Canadians. He will not listen to other parliamentarians. He will not listen to anyone except other Liberals and their strategists, who, by the way, are still doing quite well in Canada, thanks very much.
Notwithstanding Gomery, and I am not suggesting there is anything wrong, but boy it did raise the eyebrows when we saw another article today about another contract to Mr. David Herle, who is with Decima Research, to do work for the recent mini-budget.
I will just say parenthetically that what is interesting is the fact that the limit for having to go to tender is $25,000. Under that, contracts do not have to go to tender. Is that not interesting? It is pure coincidence, I am sure.
I am absolutely certain it is a mere coincidence that even though $25,000 is the limit, Mr. Herle managed to just tuck underneath at $23,112. Therefore, there was no need to bother going out to ask anyone else if they might want some of that work. The government can continue to give it to whom? To the key strategist for the Liberal Party of Canada. It does not stop.
The Prime Minister and the Liberal Party ask what the difference is. Eight weeks, they say, and they ask why the opposition is getting all cranked up about this. We are very concerned about continuing to give the keys to the Challenger jets and the limos and all the other perks and tools of office to a party that clearly is prepared to use Canadians' money for their own partisan purposes. We want to bring it to a halt. We think that Canadians want to bring all of this to a halt, but we will let the election decide that part of it.
It has been mentioned that this is somehow unconstitutional, that we are doing this horrible thing to the traditions of Parliament, that it is terrible what we are doing in breaking with tradition and almost being illegal in what we are doing.
First of all, let us make the record very clear. It has already been mentioned that a challenge to this motion was placed this morning. By whom? Let us ask ourselves who would challenge it. Oh, right, the Liberals. They challenged it and tried to deny this motion even coming to the floor. The Speaker ruled that it was entirely in order. Nothing that we are talking about right now vis-à-vis this motion is out of order.
As for the issue of the constitutionality of what we are attempting to do, I am not a parliamentary expert, but I was the Deputy Speaker in the Ontario legislature and I have some notion of how the rules of Parliament run. I have to say that when the Prime Minister stands up and makes a public commitment to a particular date or time period for an election, that is all it is. He does not have to follow that. The Prime Minister can change his mind any time he wants. There is nothing to hold him to that. There is no constitutional trigger, no legal lock-in, to this position. It is just that the Prime Minister has said that he is going to have this election sometime in the early spring.
All we are asking is that it be recalibrated. All we are asking is that the Prime Minister stand up and say that in the interests of Parliament, out of respect for the minority Parliament Canadians sent here, out of respect for the need to get these bills through, out of respect for the first ministers conference with the aboriginal leaders, out of respect for all those things, he is prepared to revise the date on which he said he would call the election, at which point he will trigger his constitutional authority and ask the Governor General to dissolve Parliament and issue the writs for an election. That is all.
It is not a big parliamentary deal, but it does seem to be a big personal deal for the Prime Minister. We are asking, we are imploring, we are pleading, and we are demanding that the Prime Minister of the day respect the majority of the House and the majority of the country. We are demanding that the Prime Minister give us an election timeframe that we can all live with, that is fair to everyone, and gets the important business of this House done. That is a good common sense compromise.