I apologize, Mr. Speaker. I am going to have the problem of not knowing which riding he is in: Delta—Richmond East.
In the last Parliament that member put forward two questions at the same time and they were Question Nos. 5 and 7. Those questions, and I am looking at copies of them right now, run on to a length that is longer, or at least as long as Question No. 90 which is the subject of the objection from this government and the parliamentary secretary at this time.
Those questions were in fact subsequently answered. They were on fishery items, I believe. The member was then and is still now quite interested in that topic. He was asking as I believe proper, specific questions, wanting specific answers to specific facts, wanting that detail, all of which seems to be well within the spirit and the wording of Standing Order 39 as is Question No. 90.
The position that is being put forward by the government, and the parliamentary secretary on its behalf, is one that is inconsistent with its own practice in the last Parliament when Conservatives were in opposition. Even the parliamentary secretary could go back and look at some of his questions in the last Parliament. They were fairly lengthy as well. It is inconsistent with the practice that has grown up since Standing Order 39 was changed.
I would argue strongly that the motivation behind this is really about the issue itself and the government being unhappy at having to provide this information from the Departments of National Defence and of International Cooperation.
Just to give an example, this morning in some of the national newspapers in this country in response to information that this same member gathered from the same government in the spring response to written questions, very interesting, factual and needed information came out.
The hon. member was doing her job in asking those questions and that information was necessary for the debate that is going on around that issue in the country. It is just a glaring example of why we need to be able to ask these types of detailed questions. She was very successful in the information she received.
Similarly, to the question she is asking now in Question No. 90, there is information there that the country needs to have as this debate goes on with regard to our deployment of troops and resources in Afghanistan at the current time.
My argument in summation refers to the fact that Standing Order 39 was changed. It limited these questions. She stayed within those boundaries. The questions have to be of reasonable length. If we look at the practice that has grown since the reincarnation of Standing Order 39, she has stayed within the practice that has grown up in that period of time, a practice that the political party now in government followed when they were in opposition.