Mr. Speaker, the rules reign supreme.
The government has sought again today to shut down debate on an incredibly important budget bill. It seems the number of times government members have to come face to face with democratic principles of the House is fatiguing to them. It is tiresome to them that democracy is such a cumbersome weight to drag around, particularly when the Conservatives have a majority government, of which they like to abuse their power so frequently and with such fervour. The government members need to rationalize and justify, each and every time, why they shut down our ability to hold them to account.
The principal role of any Parliament, and this one in particular, is to hold government to account. Conservative members might be interested in this as well. The last time they did this charade of democracy and parliamentary function was Bill C-38, which stripped away pension rights for seniors, employment insurance, environmental protection. They got a bunch of it wrong. How did that happen? They rammed the legislation through. What are they doing now? Correcting their mistakes from the first time.
The problem with this is not just the Conservative Party's inability to write good legislation, but this impacts the lives of Canadians each and every day. We began to talk about the number of lakes and rivers, tens of thousands of them in our country, that would no longer be protected by the laws of Canada. The Conservatives who claim to have such a love for the great outdoors, the hunters and fishermen they seem to represent, do not seem to mind this idea. It does not really matter when put up against the interests of oil companies and large outfits that do not want to go through the hassle of an environmental assessment, or public meetings and those annoyances.
Again, why does the government seem to be so upset with the idea of democratic process and principle? Why does it seem to have such an allergy toward the idea of debate and of holding government to account and of improving legislation, which this time is meant to afford us, that it has to bring in these measures to shut down debate again?
This is so reminiscent of the government members' absolute blunt denial and refusal to admit there was a recession in 2008. We all remember that. If they just stuck their heads in the sand long enough, the recession would simply go away. They introduced an austerity budget in the middle of a global recession and called themselves economic geniuses.
Here we are again with a fragile global economy, all sorts of indications within the Canadian economy that there is serious trouble at home. This is not some European, Greek, American problem. This is a Canadian situation. The government has introduced another bill, another austerity measure in the face of the growing concerns of Canadians. It has cut to the bone on the services Canadians rely upon.
Rather than face the music and hold a democratic debate, the government members do this. They shut down Parliament again. They like prorogation, closures and shutting down debate, but Canadians do not. It may serve the Conservatives in the short term, but we know for a fact that Canadians are watching. Canadians care and want parliamentarians to do their jobs. Why will the government not let MPs do their work?