Mr. Speaker, seeing the clock I assume I will deliver half of my speech before question period and the balance after.
In the 1985 report to the House with regard to reform there was a quote which I would like to read into the record. It states:
The purpose of reform of the House of Commons in 1985 is to restore to private members an effective legislative function, to give them a meaningful role in the formation of public policy and, in so doing, to restore the House of Commons to its rightful place in the Canadian political process.
I believe that ideal, that objective, still is applicable today.
A number of members have commented on the process that private members' bills go through. I would like to deal with the issue of private members' bills in the time allotted to me.
I have had some success in terms of dealing with private members' bills. If I look back at the record of the 35th Parliament, I submitted eight bills, five of which made it through the lottery. One item was made votable and one in fact passed at second reading.
I also had four private member's motions, all of which were selected in the lottery. Two were made votable and both passed in this House. Based on that, I know that I have had more than my share of opportunity to bring issues before the House.
But there is the other side of the coin. There are many members of parliament who have worked many hours to bring forward issues that are important to themselves, to their constituents and, by and large, to Canadians as a whole. Many of those bills do not see the light of day.
The process that we have, a lottery, is basically a game of chance. I wonder in terms of the importance of issues of the day whether we should leave the fate of those issues simply to chance in a lottery. I am not a fan of the lottery process. In fact, I believe, as I see from the reform that has taken place in the House of Commons over the years, that a call for more efficiency within the House seems to be the order of the day. I for one, as a member of parliament, do not want to be in this place less. I want to be in this place more. I want to hear what members have to say. I want to hear their ideas. I want to hear what rationalization they have.
All of us cannot be up on all issues. All of us cannot be sensitive to the issues, regional issues and local issues. We learn from each other in this place. What has happened is that we have basically restricted the opportunities that members have to bring those issues forward.
All members of the House will know that when we go to committee there are witnesses who appear before us. The presentations of the witnesses are helpful and informative, but by far the most important part of those hearings is the question and answer period. That is where the dynamics take place. That is where we find out what the weaknesses are. That is where we find out where the strengths are. That is where we find out the most important information that we need to know to do our job.
I believe the same kind of principle should apply to private members' business. When I conclude my remarks after question period I am going to make a case as to why we should also have questions and comments on private members' business in the House of Commons.