Mr. Speaker, I realize there is very little time before we vote. However I think it will be quite sufficient for what I have to say today.
I listened to my colleague who just spoke. I am not in disagreement with the basic concepts he has raised. I look forward to the matter going to committee so that we can study it in depth.
I find it very interesting that major rail bills like the privatization of CN Rail, a very big and very controversial bill, was not debated in the House at second reading. Instead it was forced by the Liberal government into committee before the debate took place.
I objected to that at the time. I objected to it after the fact. All the rationales used by the government regarding why it should be rushed into committee fell by the wayside.
Today we have something that does not have the impact of something like the privatization of half of Canada's national rail system. We find ourselves debating it in the House of Commons in the last week of Parliament, in the dying hours. We are even using extended hours to debate the bill.
Why is the government trying to tie up the House of Commons and members of Parliament? House employees and staff are working overtime, costing something in the range of $50,000 an hour. That amount is charged to the taxpayers so that we can debate sending legislation to a committee before Parliament rises for the summer, and the committee the bill will go to is not meeting until next fall.
It is a horrendous waste of the taxpayers' money. Why is the government wasting the time of the House debating bills like this one instead of getting on with important bills, if it has any to bring forward? Is the government simply stalling until its absolutely
unconstitutional Bill C-28 comes once again back from the Senate? Is it just trying to find excuses to hang on until then?
There are problems with the bill that we can deal with in committee. I will recommend to our party that we give tentative support to the bill going to committee, at which time we will see what concerns are brought forward by the public, the users, the rail companies and those involved with them; what amendments are offered both by the government and by opposition; and what is done with them. Then we will make our final decision to support or not support the bill when it comes back to the House and will have a purpose for being before the House.
I hope the government will move on if it has something substantial. If it is worth paying $50,000 an hour in taxpayers' money to keep the House running in overtime, the government should bring it forward. If it does not have anything it should have the decency to say so and to adjourn the House.