Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I think, again, what we're dealing with here is a certain intolerance for debate on the part of the government on topics like this, so we see the use of time allocation which is more pleasantly described as scheduling when we have debate, and it says that we should have a full debate here.
The government has decided in its subamendment how many are adequate, and we are saying that given the nature of what we're dealing with here, the very fundamental nature.... This is the most important bill, I would submit, that's been before this Parliament—the only Parliament of which, of course, I have been a member. But it deals with the most fundamental threats to our society, and at the same time, in doing so, I believe the government has endangered some of our most fundamental rights.
The question of the number of witnesses and the number per session is quite important. It's not just a trivial matter. It's quite important to have a full study of this. We have to get this right. We can't end up with a bill that's tied up in endless litigation in the courts. As I said yesterday in the House of Commons, this government does have a record of passing bills that have ended up in wrangling in court, and several of which have been declared unconstitutional.
If we limit the number of witnesses and are unable as a result of that to have the constitutional scholars before us who could prevent us from passing a law that would eventually be counterproductive because of the amount of time we'd have to spend before the courts, and which actually might—and I say this with all seriousness—allow some of those who might be involved in very dangerous activities to go free because of the flaws in the law, that's a problem.
We have heard several commentators saying that, in fact, expansion of the powers of CSIS has a hidden problem in it. That problem is that because of the previous bill we passed, Bill C-44, and the confidentiality of both CSIS informants and operatives, if we expand the activities of CSIS, we may in fact make it more difficult to actually prosecute those who are guilty of terrorism offences.
I would like to have the opportunity also to have those witnesses before this committee who could give us testimony on why that's a real threat that's contained within this bill. Again, I think that's something all members of this committee would wish to avoid. No one here wants to pass a law that would inadvertently make it more difficult to prosecute those who are actually involved in violent threats to the security of this country.
So once again, we have a list of more than 60 people who h ave approached us and the committee who would like to give testimony on this bill. In the debate on the subamendment, or the debate before she introduced the subamendment, the parliamentary secretary implied that this could not be done.
I want to submit once again that members on this side are prepared to sit in this committee in the evenings. We're prepared to sit during the break weeks. We're prepared to sit however many times a day it takes to hear the important witnesses we need to hear on this.
For that reason, I remain opposed to the subamendment. I still believe it's of questionable procedural validity, but I respect the chair, and so of course we will be voting against this subamendment.