Through you, Mr. Chair, I want to congratulate Mr. Thériault for being elected to the House. As my colleagues know, Mr. Thériault is an experienced parliamentarian who sat on Quebec National Assembly for a number of years. His presence in Parliament as an experienced parliamentarian will be even more valuable.
Mr. Thériault raised questions about the participation of the members of a party that has not reached 12 elected members. According to a number of Standing Orders of the House, those members are technically independent and cannot participate in committee meetings.
We are open to discussing the best way to enable them to participate in those meetings. I have had positive discussions with Mr. Thériault and his colleagues, as well as with the parliamentary leaders for NDP and the Conservative Party. I am very happy Anita gave Mr. Thériault an opportunity to speak. I hope this will be a tradition we could continue in committee meetings.
During speaking rotations in the House of Commons, I believe we offered our colleagues from Bloc québécois an opportunity to take the floor on a few occasions. That time could have been allocated to the Liberal Party. Through whips, we offered members of Bloc québécois to take the floor. I hope we could continue in that tradition.
To my knowledge, the Board of Internal Economy has not yet made a decision when it comes to resources. I have participated in all the meetings. Since the election, we have had only one one-hour meeting, when we had to approve the budget.
I think the problem will arise in the procedure of committee meetings. I was honest about that with Mr. Thériault when I explained the situation. Permanent committee members have very little time to ask questions and speak out. If, at some point, independent members who are non-voting members but participants were to take the floor, that would reduce the speaking time of the members of other parties that managed to have more members elected. The NDP had four times as many members elected as the Bloc, and the Conservative Party had ten times as many.
It is not easy to make a decision on this. We will continue the discussion, including with other House leaders, while respecting all members.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, colleagues. This brings to a conclusion something I know you've been looking forward to for many weeks, my appearance here.
I thank you, Mr. Chair.
I thank you, colleagues, for your suggestions.
I do hope, teasing aside, Larry, that you'll invite me back.
Colleagues, I hope that even informally we can work on things. It doesn't always have to be in such a formal setting. My office is just off the foyer, and I would obviously be happy to chat informally or in small groups or whatever you think is appropriate.
Thank you, Kevin, for joining me at the table. It's part of the evolution of Kevin's movement around the table.
You'd better watch out, Larry. He could end up in your seat at some point.
Thank you very much.