Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform you that I will share my time with the hon. member for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor.
I find it a little sad that, with this government, we always start with the end instead of the beginning. Regardless of what we may think, this government does what it wants and cares little about parliamentary procedures and tradition.
Since the last election, we are seeing too much abuse. This government is abusing its majority, thinking that with the support of 39% of Canadians it can do anything. And this is an inflated number because it does not include the 40% of Canadians who did not vote. So, it is not even 30% of Canadians who supported the government. Therefore, it should at least respect the opinion of all Canadians. It is not the first time that we raise this issue.
Today, we are talking about the government cutting debate short after introducing a bill, and not even after several hours of debate. This government has shown repeatedly its contempt for our institutions. In the case of Senate appointments, it has also shown that it does not respect its own promises. Indeed, the government had committed to appointing only elected senators. However, two weeks after the election, the Prime Minister not only appointed to the Senate individuals who had lost their election, but he did so without consulting the provinces, as he had promised to do.
Recently, we saw that this government had even set criteria to appoint an officer of Parliament. I am not going to get into details, but there were two basic and very simple criteria to select the Auditor General. First, the individual had to be an accountant and, second, he or she had to be bilingual. This government ignored the fact that the appointee had to be bilingual and it hired an accountant who had some experience in a small province. We can already see the abuse of power.
As we have seen so far, there is always a double standard with this government. We believe the government is abusing its power by constantly resorting to closure to avoid debate. That is the only motive we can find today. It has already done it close to ten times over a period of a few weeks, when none of the bills involved were urgent.
We have seen time allocation invoked on six out of 10 bills. That does not mean time allocation has been invoked 6 times. It means time allocation has been invoked on 6 bills at different stages. Just so that listeners are aware of how many stages a bill would go through, normally a bill would go through second reading, report stage and third reading. If we multiply six bills times three, that would be 18 times that the government could potentially invoke time allocation. To date, we have a calculation of about 10, so we can look forward to seeing more of these bills undergoing time allocation for the next few steps.
The government House leader has stated that the issues on the government's legislative agenda so far this session have been discussed in detail since the government took office. I do not understand it.
The point is that during the elections the Conservative government made promises. However, if we look at the makeup of the House, at least 40% of the members are new parliamentarians, so this debate never took place. Also, what was said during the election campaign was not necessarily in a legislative format. Our job as parliamentarians is to debate these pieces of legislation.
That brings me to another subject, one that is not necessarily tied into the debate today. I am a member of the scrutiny of regulations committee, and we see that if legislation is not properly worded, then a lot of this legislation and, in turn, a lot of its regulations get bogged down. We then have things that are not necessarily clear, Canadians are not happy with how the legislation is worded, and the courts have to get involved. It is all just a churning of bureaucracy and a waste of money.
The claim that the government has already consulted Canadians is far from what the government has actually done. It has not consulted Canadians.
It is saying that three or four hours of debate it is sufficient for a bill. However, let us look at some of the bills that have been tabled. As an exaple, the budget is made up of 600 pages of legislation. It is a government omnibus bill. As a lawyer, I sat in on some of the committee hearings and I can tell members that it was not the easiest thing to follow. I just cannot imagine how a couple of hours of debate would suffice for a proposed bill that is going to affect all Canadians, not just the criminals. It will affect all Canadians, because one day they will have to deal with these issues, and if they do not have to go before a court of law, they will have to at least pay taxes to pay for all the costs that are going to be incurred in trying to monitor these pieces of legislation and put them into force.
We are trying to avoid just passing these pieces of legislation blindly. We are trying to ensure proper vigilance before these pieces of legislation are passed; however, that does not seem to be a valid argument for the government.
We in the Liberal Party are trying to do our job, but the government is making allegations that we are obstructing and we are using unreasonable amendments. I can understand the government's point of view, because sometimes the NDP acts irrationally and tries to filibuster and makes ridiculous amendments. However, I think the Liberal Party has made pretty reasonable amendments up to now. We have been first up to bat on making amendments on proposed bills. I think that we have done our job, but the government refuses to allow us to continue to do our jobs. We want the public, whether it be experts or third parties who are affected by these bills, to come forward to testify and make suggestions so that we can actually make these bills work properly.
Let us look at some of the bills for which time allocation has been introduced. The budget implementation bill was introduced and read for the first time on June 14; there was time allocation at all stages, and it was voted on June 15.
This is nothing new. Budget implementation bills are introduced twice every year, plus the budget. The budget implementation bill is not a partisan issue. It is normally the bill that introduces the legislation to put the budget into application.
Usually it is technical. It requires people affected by the budget to provide us with their input and tell us what changes they would like to see; if there are no changes, they at least come forward to give us their interpretation of that particular bill.
In the past, whether it was a majority government or a minority government, we have always been able to get consensus on how many hours of debate we needed in the House and in committee. However, the government seems to be using its majority at will and is just punching the legislation through. It has done that for the two budget bills, Bill C-9 and Bill C-13.
On Bill C-10, the omnibus crime bill, the Conservatives invoked time allocation not only in the House but in committee as well. I was there. They suddenly said that they did not want to hear what we had to say. They had made up their minds. It was impossible that they would need opinions from experts. They did not even have to hear from the bar association. They did not even have to hear from the provinces.
Even though members from the province of Quebec had numerous valid amendments to introduce into the bill, the government had already decided it was not going to listen to anyone. I understand that the NDP had numerous amendments that were not relevant to the case and had to be rejected, but my colleague, the member for Mount Royal, introduced some pretty important amendments that were backed up by Minister Fournier from the Quebec government. We are going to have report stage next week, and I am hoping that the government can change its mind and adopt some of the amendments.
With regard to the Canadian Wheat Board, it was not a matter of procedure. Again, that was just rammed through. These farmers are working, and they do not have the time to come here and be notified because everything has to be rammed through.
I see my time is up. I am hoping that I will have some good questions and that I can continue.