The hon. member suggests that I am an exhibit. I do not think that is quite fair.
The hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell is well regarded in his constituency. I know; I have been there. In St. Boniface the hon. member is very well regarded. In Bellechasse I have no doubt the hon. member is well regarded.
For the member for Calgary Southwest to speak this way about the profession that he now claims to profess and to refer to his own colleagues in this way is unfair and unjust. Hon. members opposite deserve a better defence and I am prepared to defend them from the ravages of their own leadership.
Having said that, let us turn back to Bill C-69. The bill, after all, represents an honest attempt by the government and by members of the House. The House is dealing with a bill that has been approved by the membership of the House in a committee. As the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell said in his remarks earlier, this is the first time the House has come up with a bill that has been created or drafted from scratch by a committee of the House. It was agreed to in the committee.
I know the hon. member for Calgary West said in his remarks in the debate on the bill the other day that this was their fourth and fifth choice, that they went along with it only because we rejected choices one to five. All of us had choices we wanted on different things rejected in different ways. We all settled and made compromises. That is the way committees work.
I do not know where the hon. member comes from when he thinks a committee goes the way of only one person. I was only the chair of the committee so I did not even have a vote. I accept the work of the committee as good, solid work. I think it was fair. I think it was reasonable. The hon. member opposite was there. He knows it was reasonable. The hon. member for Bellechasse knows it was reasonable.
When the bill came back to the House, when the government introduced the bill, it had reasonable support. I know hon.
members complained about it. Of course it did not have everything in it that they wanted. They are members of an opposition. They are paid to be here to oppose. So they did what any opposition would do and opposed it. I have been in opposition before. I know how it works.
Let us face the facts. The bill was a reasonable compromise reached by the members of that committee working together. I think we worked extremely well together. We came up with a reasonable proposition.
Now we have this loud criticism going on night and day, especially from the Reform Party, spouting absolute nonsense in respect of the bill. The extraordinary thing is that they have had to do it on the basis of Senate amendments when they know perfectly well the Senate amendments are not ones the committee agreed to. The committee considered almost every one of the Senate amendments in one form or another in the course of its deliberations, rejected those changes in the law, and came up with something different.
The Senate is trying to take us back to the same old law we had before. The Senate amendments proposed in the notice that was sent to the House effectively gut the bill of any significant change over the existing law. Hon. members opposite know that is not what the committee agreed to. They wanted changes in the law. They did not get everything they wanted but they got a good number of changes that were quite reasonable. We all agreed to the changes. For the most part they are good changes and reasonable changes. We should support them and tell the other place that is the case.
Hon. members opposite like to complain about the use of closure in this debate. They have not said a lot about it. Nor should they because we are getting toward the end of a session. An upcoming summer vacation is specified in the rules where members will have a recess from the House and will go to do work in their constituencies. I am looking forward to the opportunity to do some work in my constituency. I am sure hon. members opposite are doing exactly the same.
When we get to the end of the line and are running out of time, the government is trying to get its legislative agenda through and has adopted measures with respect to arranging the time of the House to ensure the legislative agenda is adopted. The government has various tools at its disposal.
Hon. members opposite could get up and quote chapter and verse on the evils of time allocation and probably on the evils of closure. As a member of the opposition I opposed those applications in years past. However I can say to hon. members opposite that they do not know how lucky they are that they have a Liberal government on this side of the House that is so beneficent and so careful in its use of these tools.
I see the hon. member for Beaver River. She was here. None of her colleagues was but she was. She knows that the former government used closure and time allocation right, left and centre with what can only be described as gay abandon. I should also say that it was used by the previous government unilaterally with no co-operation from anybody.
This government used closure today for the first time and with reluctance only because members opposite would not make any arrangement to dispatch this business expeditiously. It is quite reasonable to apply it. Look at the difficulty they are having filling the time with speakers tonight.
With respect to time allocation we have used it in almost every case with full co-operation of the opposition. In other words we have not used it unilaterally. We have done it with co-operation from opposition members. They know organizing the time of the House is important to the orderly conduct of business. They know we have an interest in seeing that bills are passed in a timely way, and that when debate has come to a logical end and it has gone on for too long it is time to bring it to an end and to reach a decision in the House.
I spoke on this issue last week when the time allocation motions were moved and carried in the House with a substantial majority of the members. Only the Reformers and a handful of Independents were voting the time allocation process adopted in the House. The time allocations we allocated on the bills were reasonable. On this one we could not get agreement but closure was a simple, short way to dispatch this item of business.
Hon. members opposite know in their heart of hearts that they want the bill passed. They want the Senate to back off on these amendments and get on with life. They prefer to get the amendments in but they know if we agreed to their amendments tonight they would be standing here screeching at the Senate to pass the bill tomorrow.
The hon. member for Calgary wags his head but he knows perfectly well that is the case. He would not be supporting the amendment otherwise. He wants these amendments if he can get them.
I remind hon. members opposite-and I thank the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell for this point-that we have even had support from members of the Reform Party on time allocation when there were bills they wanted passed.
We have not used time allocation unilaterally very often. In fact it has been extremely rarely. The hon. member for Kindersley-Lloydminster keeps a little list and marks it down every day it is used. It is not a long list but he has it there. I invite him to count how many times it was used unilaterally. In almost
every case it was done with the co-operation of one or the other of the opposition parties.