Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will certainly do my best to rise to that challenge because it is, in effect, a larger challenge. It has to do with the capacity of the House to ensure that the legislation that is passed here reflects the concerns of members of Parliament and deals directly with the issues that come before us.
I am not challenging the ruling of the Speaker. I understand that. I am making a point because frankly we have tried to make this point before in committee and in the House of Commons. There have been rulings of precedent against us on every point. There is a problem that is undeniable to the naked eye and to reasonable person who are looking at these matters regarding the conduct of debate on this particular issue. There is no other opportunity for the House of Commons to raise that concern than to do it here in the context of a motion which does not challenge the Speaker.
You make the point, sir, that the motion is very carefully written to express the disagreement of members on this side of the House and I must add, members from other parties as well. This is a disagreement that has been expressed before, with frustration, and is finding its way to our attention. That indicates a serious problem with proceedings in the House.
A constant challenge of the Speaker is to interpret the rules and the precedents in the context of what is actually happening in the House in the interests of Parliament and the people affected by the legislation. We have had instances of this before and you will know, Mr. Speaker, that with respect to your ruling the other day, in effect, the precedents established before the passage of the Official Languages Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms mean that the Official Languages Act does not apply to Parliament. You noted that there has been no contrary instruction to that point. I acted immediately to introduce a motion that would allow the House of Commons to decide to make itself subject to the rules that other Canadian institutions are subject to with respect to the Official Languages Act.
In this case, the capacity of members of Parliament to make their case in committee, and now in the House, has been seriously limited. The reason the motion is before the House is because we are appealing to you to ensure that the rights of members of Parliament to make amendments and to carry out our elected responsibilities are respected. It is particularly important with our fiduciary responsibility to aboriginal people.
Mr. Speaker, in your ruling a few days ago, you said:
--if it is impossible to move the amendment in committee it can be moved at the report stage. If the committee by a motion made it impossible for the right hon. member [myself] to move some amendments in the committee, he will want to make that argument on an individual basis with respect to each of his amendments when he presents them at the report stage. He will have a sympathetic ear with the Speaker and with the clerks who advise the Speaker in respect of these matters.
Mr. Speaker, I submitted three amendments on Monday. They were on the Order Paper on Monday. There was no opportunity for me to, in your words, make my arguments on an individual basis with respect to each of my amendments when I presented them at report stage. They were taken off the list without any consultation with me at all. So the express instruction of yourself, Mr. Speaker, that I would have the opportunity to make those arguments on an individual basis was not honoured in the practice.
I am sure that while that was the case with myself, there were other members of the House who had amendments that were also deemed unacceptable by the Chair, who did not have the opportunity to present their amendments themselves.
What makes this even more curious is that among the amendments that were accepted two highly significant changes to the legislation were introduced by the government that would create entirely new agencies that had not been part of the original bill. One with--