Madam Speaker, today the House has been asked to debate Bill C-34, a bill regarding self-government for aboriginal peoples in Yukon. The bill apparently affects serious issues such as land, moneys, language, rights and freedoms, perhaps even constitutional matters.
Reform members have been most co-operative in dealing with government legislation proposed in the House. We have had regular consultations with the government and a great rapport has been built up between our caucus and the government with regard to the handling of legislation. We often disagree on the content of the legislation but we are very happy to debate the issues in this House. However, we would like to debate them from a position of knowledge.
We have some real concerns about Bill C-34. The bill was placed on the Order Paper for one week before the government finally introduced it yesterday. Members of the Reform Party, knowing the complexity of this issue as I mentioned earlier, contacted the minister's office last week to see if they could be briefed on the intent of the legislation in order to adequately prepare for the debate. I suggest that this was a fair request but it was a request that was denied.
Finally my colleagues received the departmental briefing only this morning, the very day of the debate. Also, we had less than 24 hours to review this legislation. As my hon. colleague from the Bloc mentioned, he was up until three or four o'clock in the morning trying to wade through all of the material.
Probably one of the reasons it has become so complicated is that Bill C-34 is directly connected to Bill C-33. While I have not yet been able to see it, my colleagues tell me that Bill C-33 is nine or ten inches thick. It requires some time to review and to understand the complications and the factors involved with its relationship to Bill C-34, the bill we are debating today.
The Reform Party refuses to take part in this type of debate when it is not properly prepared, through no fault of its own. The government has not been able to properly manage its legislative agenda. It is in the position where all of the bills are in committee, on notice, or have not yet been introduced. Furthermore, it was indicated to our caucus that we would be debating Bill C-18 today, a bill which we have studied at great length and are prepared to discuss.
It is with much regret after having stated these facts that we feel we cannot contribute in the most meaningful way at this time on this bill. We do not want to be a part of the government's ineptitude. With much respect for the House and wanting to maintain quality debate, I move:
That this House do now adjourn.