Madam Speaker, given the number of amendments to Bill C-55 tabled by the Reform Party I thought it would be useful to highlight their substantive character.
The member who just spoke made an interesting commentary, but I think the most interesting part of his intervention was that in his view and the view of his party more consultation should take place between, as he put it, all the stakeholders.
That statement says to me that there is a number of issues which have to be worked out in the bill and there are some issues to which they take exception. As a result of this need for Canadians to continue to consult with the stakeholders on all sides, obviously there are some issues that are of importance.
What are those issues? The issues of importance which reflect the need for additional consultation are highlighted and exposed for all Canadians to see in the 21 amendments proposed by the Reform Party.
Motion No. 1 would eliminate clause 1. It is a very well crafted, effective motion to delete the first clause of the bill without explanation and without being addressed by the member in his comments, which is the purpose of the debate that is going on right now.
We understand that it is okay for members to sometimes demonstrate a point. I was hopeful and listened to the Speaker read the motions. We came across the Reform Party's important, constructive and insightful Motion No. 2 which would delete clause 2.
It has a lot of parallel to the first important motion that the Reform Party tabled on Bill C-55. It provides important insight into why it wanted additional consultations with all stakeholders, as the the hon. member so eloquently put it, advertisers, publishers, Canadians and so on.
If we go forward with the bill, according to the Reform Party there will be a trade war and we will lose $1 billion a day in trade. Suddenly all ties with the United States will be totally severed and Canada will risk losing $350 billion of estimated trade in a year when the impact of the bill on Canada is about $250 million. With that I think I could understand the concern and the justification for Motion No. 2 in Group No. 1 of this report stage.
I was hopeful we would get a bit more insight as to the specific concerns and why we would have these consultations when we got to Motion No. 3, tabled by the Reform Party for Bill C-55.
Motion No. 3 was somewhat different in that it referred to clause 3 of the bill rather than the previous two clauses and the amendment tabled by the Reform Party to improve this bill was to delete clause 3. A pattern was developing. I had heard the member clearly state on behalf of the Reform Party that more consultations were needed on this bill.
Bill C-55 obtained first reading in the House on October 8 and second reading on November 3, 1998. The committee report was presented to the House on December 2, 1998. There has been quite substantial dialogue and opportunity to deal with Bill C-55 by all hon. members, whether it be at the different stages of this bill or indeed at committee which dealt with it. As a result of all those consultations, as a result of all the discussions with all these so-called stakeholders from all parties, we came up with Motion No. 4, which was delightfully refreshing. It was to delete clause 4.
I was really hoping that as a result of the member's serious concern the trade position with the United States would evaporate in a moment should Bill C-55 proceed because it only involved $250 million and that this was outrageous and a serious risk. It was so important to the member that we not take this terrible risk of moving forward with Bill C-55 that we came up with Motion No. 5, which is the parallel and by now I have caught on totally.
Motion No. 5 said that clause 5 of the bill should be deleted. Even the Speaker at the time was becoming a little concerned that this pattern would extend to a point in which the House's time might be possibly frustrated, perhaps even wasted with frivolous discussions of which amendment was deleting which clause. I suppose we should be thankful that there are at least rules in the House that allow us to deem things to have been done.
If we had proceeded the way the Reform Party wanted on this extremely important bill which was to evaporate all trade, over $350 billion of annual trade with the United States, we would have had to stand in our places and listen to 21 motions, each saying delete a different clause of the bill.
This is the substantive contribution of the Reform Party to a bill it suggests will somehow eliminate all trade with the United States.
I do not want to abuse the opportunity or the privilege to bring these items up but I want as a backbench member of parliament simply to express my disappointment that the time of the House would somehow be taken up by such a frivolous approach to an important bill.
We have important amendments that are going to be considered by this place. They are not going to be considered until we deal with 21 amendments on behalf of the Reform Party which simply say delete a clause without explanation, without members prepared to speak on those motions.
This is contemptuous of the House. It is an insult to members of parliament who are here to deal with the important legislation of the day. This is an important bill. This bill has to do with the cultural sovereignty of Canada. It has to do with important issues within the magazine industry. It affects some groups differently from others and we must understand that. We have to make decisions.
The Reform Party is having a conference very soon. Something it will have to deal with is a report done by one of its own members from Edmonton who basically said the problem with the Reform Party is that this philosophy of populism does not work in Canada. Populism says let the people tell you where you want to go and the Reform Party will lead you there.
I have risen to speak in favour of Bill C-55 at report stage of the first grouping because I support the bill. I am insulted and disappointed that the Reform Party would not give respect to the House by introducing 21 frivolous motions.