Madam Speaker, I have no intention of apologizing because I did not say anything unparliamentary. All I did was speak the truth.
Further to what I had to say, the government is revealing an attitude toward this place that should concern the government backbenchers. They themselves should be as concerned as I am. They should be concerned about the way their own government is acting.
The government is bringing into disrepute the parliamentary process. It is bringing into disrepute a piece of legislation that those members say is very important and which we agree is very important. We said from the beginning we would try to take this process seriously, even though it was introduced surreptitiously on a Friday when the government said it would not come in until Monday, then closure was moved on second reading, then closure was moved in committee and we could not hear witnesses we wanted to hear. Now we have this process. All the way along there has been nothing but stonewalling, nothing but a totally closed door and not just to us.
In the end it does not matter what happens to the NDP or our amendments but it matters what happens to the ideas that our amendments embody. That is that there should not be a retreat from Charlottetown. There should not be a retreat from section 35. There should not be a retreat from all the things we have accomplished in the last 15 years to establish aboriginal people as constitutional and political actors in this country. That is what this bill does. That is what makes it so fundamentally unacceptable and regrettable.
I am here not just in sorrow but also in anger. I feel we could have done much better as a parliament. We could have done much better as a committee in spite of the fact that we had the kind of obstacles that were put in our way by the Bloc Quebecois. The government could have taken St. Paul's advice and tried to overcome evil with good instead of wrong for wrong, arrogance for arrogance, mistake for mistake, contempt for contempt. That is all we got. It is regrettable, truly regrettable.