For a photo op. I never thought of that one.
We were happily working along in the 35th Parliament. We were happily going about our business trying to make the government be held accountable. We were working along trying to ensure that the bills that were being passed were as good as possible and trying to give our constructive criticisms.
What happened? The Prime Minister said: "Whoa, let's clean the slate. Let's just take three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine weeks", how many weeks did we take off? He said: "Let's just take that time off. We will prorogue and we will come back with a new slate. We will come back here with a new throne speech, a new direction, a new vision and new ideas for Canada". What do we get? Motion M-1: "Let's bring back all the old bills whenever we want. We will not tell the opposition when; we will just sneak them in there when we can and at the same stage".
That is anti-democratic and very autocratic. The use of closure which we just voted on is a violation of the freedom of speech within the House. It is a violation of the freedom to openly express our thoughts and our points of view. By limiting the debate, by limiting the time in which we can debate this, we are forcing members of Parliament to be quiet. We are allowing this freely, democratically elected Prime Minister to be a dictator and he is dictating to us by his very action.
Why is the government acting just like the previous government, but only worse? When the Liberal members were on this side of the House they accused the Tories of using closure and time allocation and the hue and cry went out. I can remember watching them on television saying it was anti-democratic and asking why debate was being limited. All the arguments they were using I am using now, except they are over on the other side and they are laughing. Already the Liberals have used time allocation and closure in the 35th Parliament more times than the Conservative government did during its mandate of four years.
The Prime Minister when he was opposition leader sat here criticizing former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney asking: "Why are you travelling outside the country? Why are you going all over the world when the problems are here in Canada? We have to solve our problems with Quebec; we have to solve our problems with Alberta, B.C., Ontario and the Atlantic provinces? Why are you travelling all over the world?"
Now that he is Prime Minister, the current Prime Minister has already travelled more outside this country. He is very close to being outside this country more, while we have to run this government, than he has been in the country. This Prime Minister has travelled more than the previous Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
Why is he doing this exactly in contradiction? I have already mentioned prorogation. When the Conservatives prorogued the House and they came back in, all they wanted to do was bring back five bills. That is all the Conservatives wanted to do, bring back five bills. When the Liberals were on this side in opposition the hue and cry that went out about those five bills, about how it was anti-democratic, how it was short circuiting the system, how it was changing the parliamentary rules. They said: "We would never do that if we were over there because we are better than you guys. We would be different".
What did they do now that they are over there? Exactly the same thing as the Conservative Party did, only worse. They sat over here
and watched the Tory GST come in. They said: "That is not the way to do it. We should look at tax reform. We should look at other ways of replacing this manufacturers' sales tax. We would get rid of it. We hate it. We would kill it". What have they done in two and a half years? They have not got rid of it. They have not killed it.
On Senate appointments, how they used to sit here in opposition and criticize those Senate appointments and they are doing it the very same way. They are doing it for the very same purposes, the very same reasons as the Conservatives.
What has changed? All that has been done is change the faces of the people in government. The system has not been changed. In fact, it is worse. What about the latest appointment to the Senate? I am sure the gentleman is a fine, outstanding Canadian citizen but he is eight months away from having to retire after he is appointed to the job. Does it not take six to eight months to learn the job of a senator? It takes at least a year to learn the job as a member of Parliament. By the time this gentleman learns the job he is out and is replaced by someone else. Why not put someone in the Senate who has some time to learn and contribute something?