Madam Speaker, given that it was I, representing the Liberal Party, who raised the issue in terms of the government appearing not to be following the Standing Orders, it is important that I respond to what the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons has now put on the record.
I admit I am not a lawyer, but I have a fairly good understanding of House procedures and what a day is and is not. I can read the Standing Orders just as well as I suspect many others inside the House of Commons can. I believe that the Standing Orders are fairly clear and that is why, earlier, I raised the point of order on behalf of the Liberal Party that the government would appear to be breaking the Standing Orders. It is an important rule that needs to be respected, so by raising it in that fashion, I was hopeful that the government members would respond by recognizing that they had made a mistake and that the mistake can be easily fixed by allotting a few extra hours to debate this very important bill.
In his response, the government House leader tried to confuse the matter. He said that there is this situation here or this situation there, giving the impression that it has happened before. Well, it has not happened before where it has been brought to the Speaker's attention that a rule has been violated.
It is much like if someone stands up and says something that might be determined as being unparliamentary but no one brings it to the attention of the Speaker, so the Speaker does not make a ruling on it. However, if someone stands up and points out that someone said something that is unparliamentary, there is an obligation on the Speaker to enforce the rule. I believe that the Standing Order is fairly clear on this point. There is nothing wrong in admitting he made a mistake, and the government House leader should just acknowledge that they made a mistake, that they did not read or interpret the rule properly and that they are going to have to extend the amount of debate on the bill in order to comply with the Standing Order.
I suggest the government House leader may take some time. Maybe we could recess for a few minutes so the government House leader can get his motion in proper order, so we can have a continuation of the half-hour question and answer on the time allocation. The government House leader would recognize that Canadians as a whole would love to see the government follow the rules and procedures of the House of Commons and that it is not appropriate for the government House leader and the Conservative Party to be abusing this rule.
Madam Speaker, I look to you and suggest we need to have a ruling on this. It is a very simple, straightforward issue. Regarding the examples the government House leader brought forward, there was no extended sitting that was being suggested. The bottom line is that we are sitting until midnight, which far exceeds the number of hours that this time allocation motion is stating, and that puts it in contradiction to the Standing Order. I suggest we have a recess so the government House leader can bring forward a motion that would be in keeping with the Standing Order. I leave it at that and I hope the government will do the right thing on this matter.