Madam Speaker, I think what we are seeing here today is the fruit of three years of sloppiness with respect to this rule. It used to be very hard and fast, even though not a rule but a convention, that people would have to be in the House and would not be able to leave until the results of the vote were read.
I have noticed that in this Parliament, and maybe even toward the end of the last Parliament, this rule became more and more relaxed. People were coming in and going out. We cannot decide, all of a sudden, that today we are going to enforce the convention that, frankly, almost everyone has been ignoring for three years.
If we want to restore that convention, I think it would be a good idea but we need to say collectively that we want to restore and respect that convention.
In the same vein there is another convention, that there is a30 minute bell and the vote is taken after 30 minutes. If we want to start playing around with that convention, as we did today, through the collusion between the government and the official opposition, then we will have a real problem on our hands. I do not sit on committees, but for the sake of people who are on committees, who are hearing witnesses, they may proceed to hear a witness because they know they have 15 minutes, but when they get here they find the vote has already taken place. Do we want to introduce another
dimension of unpredictability into what is already an unpredictable place? I think that would be a serious mistake.
I ask you, Madam Speaker, to reflect on this but I also ask all members of the House to reflect on this. Once we start to play around with a convention it slips away and we have another layer of chaos on top of an already very chaotic place. I see what has happened today as being very regrettable.