Mr. Speaker, on this government motion there are two issues that absolutely must be dealt with and addressed. First is the lack of integrity the government has demonstrated on this issue. My colleagues have said very clearly that when government members were in opposition they made a commitment not to do what they are doing today. That is issue number one, the lack of integrity the government has shown on this issue.
The second point I would like to make is with regard to the appropriateness of this motion relative to private members' business. Can private members' business be tied into this resolution as part of government business? The point I would like to
make is that private members' business is just that; it belongs to the private members.
Everything we do in this House, or in any legislative assembly should be to give the private member the opportunity to express his or her opinion on a special item, or an item relative to constituents, or an item relative to a special interest. In a free way, a private member should be able to express his or her thoughts without government control; without the government saying when something should be done or when it cannot be done; or the government taking away the agenda or giving the agenda to the private member.
That is exactly what is happening. The government has intervened in private members' business. Those are the two topics I will cover in my remarks in the few remaining moments.
First I will deal with the integrity of the government. As some of my colleagues have done, I will quote some of the remarks made by hon. members of the government when they were opposition members in 1991.
I quote the remarks of the current premier of Newfoundland, the former member for Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte, Mr. Brian Tobin, when he stood in this House. He spoke very clearly on a motion quite similar to the one we have here today. He said: "We see the decision by the government today to put this motion before the House as a confirmation of the destruction, and that is what it is, of our parliamentary system". No truer words have been spoken from this side of the House. If they are good on this side, they should be just as good on the other side of the House.
Mr. Tobin went on to say that by such a motion as we are looking at here today, the parliamentary system is being systematically destroyed by government. He went on to say that Canadians watching this debate are wondering what the fuss is all about. It is about destroying the parliamentary system.
We can look at what other participants in that debate had to say about the matter. I refer now to a current minister, Mr. David Dingwall, the member for Cape Breton-East Richmond-