Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his very kind statements at the beginning of his remarks. I do not know, perhaps I have some pathological problem, but I actually do enjoy debates. I always have. One of the greatest regrets I have is that too often in the House we are debating with empty chairs. It is really difficult to change hon. members' minds when we do not even know what their views are in the first place.
I would like to say just a few things about this matter. First, I have had a private member's bill on the list. Of course as the hon. member knows, if one has even just one bill, his or her name is on the list. My name has never been drawn.
I have had two private members' bills. One is urgent and it has never been drawn. It deals with the issue of dates. If we use only numbers for expressing dates, what does 2/3/1 mean? Is it February 3? Is it the 2nd of March? Is it the year 1? Is it the year 2002? Is it the year 2003? My bill is a very important bill and simply provides for removal of the ambiguity if people use numbers only. My second bill is a very important one, and that is the one that states Canadian taxpayers should not have to pay income tax on money they earn for the sole purpose of paying taxes. That has to do with exempting from income money people earn in order to pay their property taxes.
They are two very important bills. I have never had the opportunity to even debate them let alone get them voted on.
I would like to comment on his statement regarding amendments. I have often thought about this, not only on private members' business but also on supply day motions. One thing we started to do was split our time for our first speaker so our second speaker could make an amendment of little consequence to prevent the other side from making one.
I remember in our first term here there was an occasion that just blew my mind. We put a motion and the government made an amendment that stated “all the words after the word “that” be deleted and replaced by”, then it put in its own motion. It was our supply day motion but the government totally gutted it by deleting the whole thing.
Sometimes private members' motions have errors so it is necessary to make technical amendments. I would like to see a change so that the only amendments permitted for private members' business would be those that would be put by permission of the movers. In other words, if the mover can be persuaded that the motion will not pass, unless it is amended, because of a technical problem, then obviously that member would go along with the amendment and it would be in order. However, if the mover did not approve of it, then the amendment would be out of order and the original motion would stand.
I thank the hon. member for giving me the opportunity to speak about those two issues.