Thank you, Mr. Chair. My understanding is that I have the floor and that I can speak to this point of order. I'm attempting to do that.
Marleau and Montpetit is the bible of this place. It is an extremely lengthy and well-researched document that all members from time to time refer to when disputes arise in the House and in committee. The Speaker of the House and chairs of standing committees refer to Marleau and Montpetit, because it is the principal reference on which dispute resolution is based. I would suggest, Mr. Chair, that if we start ignoring proper procedure and protocol, we put the entire parliamentary system in jeopardy. Therefore, I firmly believe that the ruling made at the conclusion of the last meeting, though apparently made in good faith, was certainly incorrect.
I have attended and have been a member of several standing committees. I'm not as long-standing a member of Parliament as some of the other members of the committee, but in the two-plus years that I have been a member of Parliament I've learned a few things. I've learned to respect the rules of this place and to hold them in high esteem. Yet it appears that in this case the very rules we are bound by, the protocols we follow, have been ignored.
From time to time there will invariably be differences of opinion. That is the nature of politics. It's the very nature of this place. As has been evidenced in both the 39th Parliament and preceding Parliaments, from time to time these differences of opinion can get quite heated. That's why the rules of this place, our procedures and protocols, are so vitally important. They ensure decorum and a proper working environment for all parliamentarians.
I would point out that the procedures, protocols, and practices of this place may from time to time irritate—perhaps even infuriate—some members. But they are available to all members, because they are the rules by which we operate.
I want to give an example or two of what is happening here and now. We have noticed that over the course of the last week or two, certain members of the opposition have resorted to a series of procedures and procedural tactics that are completely within their rights to use—concurrence motions. In my opinion, these members have consistently used concurrence motions to delay the proper functioning of this government.
I found it interesting that just two days ago the chief opposition whip delivered a concurrence motion on a report submitted by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. In her introduction to this motion, the opposition whip stated...and as most members will remember, this was a concurrence motion dealing with a procedure and House affairs report on making the provisional Standing Orders, under which we had been operating, permanent.
In our introduction to this motion, the opposition whip stated that the Standing Orders are there for a very important reason. She illuminated a number of those reasons, but one of them, Mr. Chair, was that Standing Orders are there to allow the government to govern.
Mr. Chair, I would suggest that this is an extremely important provision of the Standing Orders because that's what Canadians do during elections. Whether it be a minority or a majority government, Canadians elect their representatives to this place to fulfill, among many other things, the campaign commitments made during the election process.
I would suggest, Mr. Chair, even though this 39th Parliament is a minority government, that the people of Canada who elected a Conservative minority truly want to see, or at least have the opportunity to debate, many of the legislative initiatives this Conservative government wishes to put forward. One of those initiatives, Mr. Chair, and one of the major initiatives most Canadians are aware of, is the Clean Air Act.
Mr. Chair, by listening to media interviews and panel discussions by members of the opposition, my understanding is that the opposition is not planning to allow the government to even introduce that legislation for debate at committee. I've heard many members, some of whom are sitting in this room, state unequivocally that they plan to kill this bill, not even let it pass second reading, to prevent the Clean Air Act being presented to committee.
Mr. Chair, I assume--and I can only assume--this is the motivation behind the motion in question to which I am speaking, on why the opposition members, particularly from the official opposition, are attempting to introduce Bill C-288, a private member's bill dealing with Kyoto--