No, it was not a huge omnibus bill. That is nonsense.
In any case, as a compromise to get the emergency part of it through the bill was separated in half on December 5, 2001. We then had the commencement of Bill C-15B. The other part was passed on October 18, 2001. Let us remember it is now June 3, 2002.
Mr. Speaker, in case you thought any of the opposition's points about the amount of time used were valid, which is highly unlikely in my opinion, I will remind the House of the bill's history. Not counting second reading debate or the countless hours in committee, report stage alone was debated on December 6, 2001 and on March 20 and April 8 of this year. The bill was finally concurred in at report stage on April 9. Third reading debate started on April 10. On April 11 there were something like 16 speakers. How could one forget the famous speeches made by those wanting to filibuster the bill on April 22 and the debate on April 30, not to mention the gems of wisdom on May 10? Some members say they were fine debates. No doubt they were. They were so fine that the House has heard them all. Having heard them all it is now time to legislate.
Mr. Speaker, before you deem it appropriate for me to move the motion, which in my view you will agree it is, I would point out that the hon. House leader for the official opposition invoked page 369 of Marleau and Montpetit as justification for why he feels the Speaker should allow debate to continue. He prefaced his remarks by referring to the testimony before the parliamentary committee of our former clerk who wrote this excellent procedural manual. The hon. member reminded us that the former clerk had used as an example a minute amount of time to describe his point. Two years cannot be considered a minute amount of time for debate in most reasonable people's minds.
Mr. Speaker, the use of the Speaker's prerogative on April 13, 1987 is no doubt familiar to you. The Speaker refused to dispense with routine proceedings on that day as a way for the opposition to prevent a time allocation motion from being used. Routine proceedings are not before the House at this point. They will be before the House later this day, as Mr. Speaker well knows. Invoking that procedural argument is of no value because it would not do what the hon. member has said.
Mr. Speaker, for all these reasons you will recognize that this is not a question of privilege at all. In the unlikely event someone tries to put a point of order making similar or other arguments I think you will be able to dismiss both the question of privilege and the point of order in a similar way. We can then proceed with the business of Canada: passing this important legislation.
The hon. Minister of Justice is here to give all the arguments and answer the questions of opposition members as to why time allocation is necessary. We will then proceed with third reading debate where we can hear from other hon. members or even the same ones if they have not already spoken at the stage we are in.
I am not making any presumptions. It could well be that the hon. member across the way has an excellent speech to give. We will be more than pleased to listen to it and perhaps even applaud. The point is that there is no question of privilege before the House at all. Perhaps those who invoked the point knew it perfectly well. It is a valiant effort. I would not say they are good points, but perhaps they are efforts of some sort to slow down the legislation. They are not questions of privilege at all.