Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to debate this motion. I have sent a letter to the Prime Minister, I have sent a copy to the government whip and I have talked to the nominee for the position of Acting Speaker.
I made the Reform Party's position very clear on this. We are looking for an opportunity for the government to live up to its promises. I have nothing against the hon. member whose name has been put forward. We all know he knows the rules of the House as good as anyone. We all know in committee his reputation is to be fair and even-handed. We appreciate that.
During the election campaign the Liberal Party campaigned on a red book promise. The nominee for the position of deputy speaker co-authored a paper that was quoted in the red book as the way things should be run here in the House of Commons. In that red book it says that two deputy speakers should be appointed from the opposition parties.
The hon. member will remember that report because it came on the heels of the 81st report of the Standing Committee on House Management, which was presented in the 34th Parliament in 1993. That report dealt with presiding officers. It also recommended that two deputy speakers be appointed from the opposition benches.
During the last couple of days we have been subjected to the Prime Minister's tally of how many promises he actually kept. He says that he has kept 78 per cent of the promises. That is the same number which described the scratchy old records that the House leader may at one time have listened to.
In the 1993 election 198 specific promises were made by the government. Government members say 197. Maybe this is the one they want to forget. They promised to reform the institution of Parliament. One of the reforms was that two of the deputy speakers would be appointed from the opposition benches.
I do not have the years of experience which the hon. House leader has. He has been here for more than 30 years. The Prime Minister has been here for more than 30 years. The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands, who has been nominated, has been here forever. He thinks he has been here forever, but he has been here for a good long time. The former whip of the party, now a minister of the crown, has been here for a long time. They all signed their names to the document which said that two of the deputy speakers should be appointed from the opposition side of the House.
We had the 81st report of the Standing Committee on House Management which was presented in the 34th Parliament. They were a part of that report. They took part in that debate. The suggestions were theirs. In that report they suggested that this is the way it should be done.
During the weekend the Prime Minister said there were several promises which he has not yet been able to keep, but they are promises in progress. They will be completed at the earliest possible date.