Mr. Speaker, I thank the chief opposition whip for her comments today. The comments might leave the incorrect impression in the minds of some members, or perhaps in the minds of the public, that these provisional Standing Orders, which were proposed by the Conservative Party when we were in opposition, are now opposed by the Conservative Party now that we find ourselves in government. It might leave the false impression that we favoured rules that led to openness and free debate when we were in opposition, but now that we are in government, we seek to shut these things down.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, that is the opposite of the truth. We favoured these things when we were in opposition. We favour such amendments right now. We favour working consensually to achieve a means of moving forward on improving the quality of debate in this House
It was for this reason that we opposed the manner in which these particular Standing Orders were brought in, through a motion with no notice, to the procedure and House affairs committee, thereby violating the collegial spirit that had led to the prior process adopted by unanimous consent in a meeting of the House leaders and the whips of all parties only a few days before this motion was brought to the procedure and House affairs committee.
That had led to the choosing of a date, slightly delayed, so that there would be time for the provisional Standing Orders to be reviewed consensually. It would allow us to look for improvements to them, on the theory that the first draft designed a while ago ought to be improved where possible in order to ensure that it could function better. That was superceded by this decision to push forward unilaterally and without notice, in violation of a resolution that had been achieved unanimously and adopted unanimously by this House.
I have a question for the member. Why did the opposition whip introduce a motion that superceded a unanimous decision of the House following a consensual agreement that took place in private, behind closed doors, that allowed for the smooth operation of the House and the improvement of these procedural rules? What was the reason for unilaterally violating that?