Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague, the member for Prince George-Peace River, for the question. The answer to his question is that this is not a waste of time. This is very important. It is an issue that tackles the very essence of government and of politicians.
We are talking about integrity. We are talking about trust. We are talking about believability. When you knock on doors and ask people to vote for you, you stand for something. You have pride, you have principles, you have goals and you have objectives. You tell people that you stand for these things. You tell them that you
would do these things if you were government. What frustrates me is that once they get elected, once they get here, they do not deliver on what they promised. They will not do what they said they are going to do.
This is what frustrates the Canadian voter. This is what frustrated me when I just voted and did not participate in the system. Government is really controlled by a very few people. Very few people participate in our political system, therefore there is a lot of opportunity and chances for people to get here without much effort. When they do get here, the system lends itself toward a democratic dictatorship. We freely elect a dictator every four to five years.
We need some protection and control against that. This House is the place where that is done. This House is where the government is held accountable and responsible. Members are questioned on their competence and integrity. Therefore, accountability, integrity and competence are things for which we look and make sure they are adhering to them.
The Prime Minister makes all these patronage appointments. We call it patronage because there are 3,000-plus positions to which the Prime Minister can appoint people without review. Yes, we can object to them when the names are put forward. It appears that every leader who is the head of a government appoints those people who either have made the biggest contributions or who have worked the hardest on somebody's campaign or who have had long term, outstanding commitments to that party or who was a candidate and did not get elected.
What is hypocritical about the current Prime Minister is this. If that is the system and that is the way the game is played, fine. Incompetence will surface and that person will eventually be fired.
When you are in opposition and you are the leader of the opposition like he was for so many years, when he says on this side of the House that Prime Minister Brian Mulroney is making patronage appointments, that he is only appointing his hacks, his supporters, his contributors. Stop. When you get to that side, you should not be doing the same thing. He did not change it. This is part of politics as well. It is an opportunity for the member for Kingston and the Islands and this government to have one member from the opposition side as a deputy chair. We could have another election on it. This shows that Reform is committed to systemic change.
The member for Waterloo brought up the question of intellectual honesty. The standing orders say that we are supposed to be given 48 hours' notice for a motion to be presented. We were not. They say that we are wasting taxpayers' dollars. They are dictating to us who goes where, what happens and when. Therefore the who, what, why, where and when should not just be at the whim of the government. It should be subjected to opposition commentary.
That is why there are rules in the standing orders that we should get notice of what is going on. This government has invoked closure more times than the previous government that it criticized for doing it five times. This government has done it 19 times already. We still have a year to go. According to the member for Fundy-Royal, there are two more years to go before we have another election. They have all that time to keep all these promises. I am practising the finance minister's style. I need that pen.
He goes: "Another thing, Madam Chair, I want to tell you about this government. I want to tell you about the policies I made. I didn't raise taxes. I know the tax base has gone up. I know I have reduced exemptions. I know I raised excise taxes. They are up. I have not raised taxes. We have done this through sound government. We have done this through good government. The members on that side don't know what they are talking about". Then they all clap and cheer.
The issue is about patronage. The issue is about partisan politics. This is an opportunity to take partisan politics outside of it. We have to be partisan. We have to fight for those goals and ideas that we each believe in, even if we disagree.
That chair, the position that you are sitting in, Madam Speaker, is a very important one. We have not questioned anybody who has been in that chair so far. They have applied the standing rules to the best of their ability. What we are saying is that here is a chance to improve the system a little more.
I know the member for Kingston and the Islands would make a good chairperson. I saw him work in the committee on procedure and House affairs. That is not the issue. The issue is this. He said that he believes that the junior chair should be held by a member from the opposition. Therefore, here is his opportunity to help us implement his plan and guarantee the independence of the Chair, not only talk the talk but walk the walk or do the thing that they should do which is right for Canadians.