The Chair has heard enough. I must point out that there is virtually nothing in the rules about the content of question period. For example, there is nothing requiring each question and each answer to take only 35 seconds. It merely states that 45 minutes are allocated for the entire question period, nothing more.
The order of questions is not set out in the rules. That is something that is worked out by the House leaders. The list is submitted to the Chair after an agreement among the parties in this House.
The order of this list was changed at the beginning of this Parliament to reflect the makeup of the House, the size of the parties in the House and so on. I was not party to those discussions. Those were settled by the parties themselves. It has been that way since before I was elected Speaker for the first time, in 2001.
This is not a new procedure as far as I am concerned. When I was a student there was no order prescribed. The Speaker chose who got to ask the questions from whichever party and he enforced whatever time limit he felt was reasonable. That was taken away by agreement among the parties in the House. It was not by changes in the rules, but by agreement. We have that agreement today.
If the hon. Bloc Québécois whip does not like the order that has been agreed to, he needs to negotiate it with his colleagues. It is not up to me to set the order.
The rules have been set by the House leaders themselves. They agreed on this list, and I am only following the list that is there. I agree that if time gets taken up we can lose questions at the end, but sometimes we get extra and I am not told to cut it off when we get to a certain point. I am told to continue until the 45 minutes are gone.
Yesterday, we lost four questions on what I would call the normal list. Today, we lost four questions on what I would call the normal list. There was one from each of the four parties in those four questions.
I am not here to decide who has lost questions and who has not. I have the list here before me. I followed the list given to me by the parties in the House. It is not my choice. I did not decide who would ask questions and who would not.
I know that time gets wasted with applause. I would be all in favour of eliminating applause, whether it is standing or not. However, it is not my choice. Members do it, unfortunately. I usually use the time to announce the name of the next person who is going to speak, but sometimes it takes longer than that.
I encourage hon. members to maintain order in the House during question period. We would get through more questions, if that is what members want. We would get through more questions if the questions were shorter and the answers were shorter. However, it seems that most members prefer to use most of the 35 seconds that are allotted for the purpose.
I am not being critical of this. I am simply stating what I think is obvious. I would suggest that if hon. members feel that some change is needed in this list, they have a chat at the House leaders' or whips' meeting, which I am sure will happen again next Tuesday. If they make a change to the list, as your humble servant I will of course follow the changes dictated to me by the House leaders in that respect.