Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend my hon. colleague for what are characteristically thoughtful remarks on this subject.
I would like to ask the member a question. First, I share his frustration with the strange allocation of time and debates in this place. I have never quite understood why it is that for some bills on which I have wanted to enter into debate I have been unable to do so because of time allocation and closure, yet we find ourselves now, and very frequently, with no legislation before the House. Why is it that some members are prohibited from speaking on critically important pieces of legislation but then time is burned in this place?
It is funny that whenever there is time allocation to which the opposition objects, the government House leader gets into a frenzy about the costs of operating the House and says we cannot permit the House to debate extensively because of the cost. That does not seem to be a factor on days like this.
My question for the member is in regard to his observations regarding take note debates and their increasing frequency. Is the member aware that in the Westminster parliament there is a convention whereby the senior member of the executive responsible for a particular issue will actually sit in the chamber as a matter of strict convention and monitor a take note debate, so that somebody literally is taking notes, somebody with executive authority and responsibility? Would the member care to reflect on whether that is the practice in this place and whether he sees, now or at other times, senior members of the executive responsible for the matters of concern taking note of what the legislature has to say?