Mr. Speaker, I could get up, speak to the motion of my hon. colleague from the NDP and tell him where I disagree with him. However since it is not votable I do not see the point. I will instead speak about the government's response to his idea.
The hon. member has put forward a private member's motion which is fairly simple. The government across the way tells us it is complex. Why does it say that? It does not want to deal with the issue. The issue is not complex. It is rather simple. It could not be any simpler than the amendment my hon. colleague has talked about today. The government is hiding. It does not want to come out and flagrantly say it is opposed to the idea because it knows my hon. colleague will go to his constituents and constituents in Ontario and say the Liberal government did not want to go for an increase with regard to paid benefits.
Rather than coming out and saying it is opposed to the motion, the Liberal government is trying to hide. It says it is a provincial matter, it is complex and all these things. That is a red herring. I do not think the government believes that at all. It is only opposing the motion because the former finance minister would be worried about the cost. Admittedly, I too have concerns in that regard.
At the end of day the government is worried about looking like the bad guy. It does not want to lose votes to the NDP over the issue. As a result it is taking the stand that the issue is complex and involves provincial jurisdiction. Frankly, the government is hiding. It is running from the issue.
I have legitimate concerns with regard to the motion, but for the government it is purely politics. There is no principled stand behind the government's opposition to the motion. I have my reasons for opposing it which I could go into. However the government is not even allowing the hon. member on this side of the House to have a votable private member's motion. I hope we will see changes in that. The government does not even allow its own backbenchers to have private members' business votable. It is a shame.
I say to citizens sitting in the gallery and watching at home that there are all sorts of great ideas their members of parliament could be proposing in this place. However the government across the way does not want to allow for private members' business. It says Motion No. 23 would make things complex. It says it would make all sorts of piecemeal changes and not allow things to be changed holus bolus. However the government believes in the status quo. It is opposed to change. That is part of the problem. The only way government members want to see changes is if they somehow benefit them electorally. That is the real problem.
As my hon. colleague from the NDP knows, I could come up with all sorts of reasons for disagreeing with his labour polices and put forward some of our own. However I do not wish to because he was not allowed the opportunity to have a vote on the motion.
Once in every parliament every member of this place ought to be able to put forward a bill that is votable by every member of the House. Even small, piecemeal changes to legislation would help build a better mousetrap and improve legislation. Members could make useful amendments with respect to issues the government overlooks or ignores.
Hon. members put time and energy into matters of private members' business. When the government comes into this place and says it will not allow a vote or will kibosh a motion without having any mechanism in place for democratic accountability, it is absolutely unacceptable. It is the reason we need to see a change in this place.