Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate the comments that are made. I have to say, off the top, that I believe my hon. colleague is an honourable man. I think that is why we refer to each other as honourable members. I believe that all members of this House are honourable members.
I said in earlier comments that we speak on a daily basis about a myriad of things, such as how many speakers we are going to have. This place operates on the fact that whips talk on behalf of their parties to their counterparts. I find it of more than passing interest that when this motion was tabled in the procedure and House affairs committee, there was after that an intervening break week and I actually placed a call to my hon. colleagues suggesting that perhaps we needed to get this dialogue started.
I would like to underscore that we do speak several times on a daily basis and we are all busy people. This topic, in any kind of detail, had not come up. I understand that the third opposition party actually made an overture to the government asking when we were going to talk about these, recognizing that there is a time imperative, that there were two break weeks, and, I would point out, that these provisional Standing Orders expire the Tuesday after the November break week when we are all in our constituencies.
I had no return phone call, which I found a little puzzling. There also was an opportunity at a House leaders' meeting, as my hon. colleague has stated, which happen on a weekly basis. This issue was not raised by the government, so after that our House leader actually raised it with the government House leader, saying that perhaps this was something that we needed to have a conversation about. It actually did not come into effect until some of my staff contacted some of the government staff. They indeed did have a one hour meeting before the Thursday procedure and House affairs meeting.
I find it interesting that the chief government whip has put forward this amendment when we had talked about, in committee, how this may be something we could reach consensus on. There were other opinions. One of them expressed by one of my fellow opposition colleagues was the fact that when the government was then in opposition it used the five day rule quite effectively to bring in committees when we were dealing with things that were of a somewhat controversial nature. The public accounts committee met on very short order, I think, as did the foreign affairs committee. It is a tool that has been of use to the government when it was in opposition, so it needs to have some kind of discussion.
Again, I find it significant that these things all came out after we requested to have a meeting, when clearly this motion was before the procedure and House affairs committee, which we did not force having a discussion on. It was made very clear to us by the government members that they were planning to filibuster this. As a matter of fact, I appreciate the candour of one of my colleagues opposite in letting us know. So they had notice of motion, which is not required for procedure and House affairs, that there was a time imperative and it is interesting that there was no action--