Mr. Speaker, I assume that I will have about three minutes to speak at this point and that I will be able to continue after question period.
I rise in the House to speak one last time about Bill C-38, the budget implementation bill, or, as the Conservative government likes to call it, the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act. However, this title implies the complete opposite of the kind of impact and consequences this bill will have. I would like to use my time to explain why.
Before I address the impact this will have on jobs and growth, I would like to take the time I have before members' statements and question period to talk about something the government keeps mentioning, which is the number of hours spent discussing the bill. The member for Prince Albert and some other members mentioned that we have had more time than ever before to study this budget implementation bill, in comparison to previous years.
They are absolutely right when they say that we discussed the bill for about 50 hours in committee and about 20 hours in subcommittee. But what they need to realize is that the budget implementation bill amends approximately 70 acts. It modifies, amends, adds or eliminates about 70 acts. If we average out what we do in Parliament, specifically in committee, when we study a bill, we spend four or five hours discussing it, studying it in depth and looking at the scope and consequences of it.
It is important to realize that, if we are talking about 70 different acts, that means that about 350 hours of study should have been required for a bill of this magnitude. However, we barely had 70. In addition, we could not focus on any specific elements. In part 4 alone there were about 56 divisions, 56 different acts that were affected. So it was impossible for the members, as parliamentarians, to study this bill properly. I find it appalling that the government is boasting that we spent 70 hours discussing this bill when, given its size, we should have spent over 350 hours and even longer to fully understand its scope.
I want to raise another issue that the government has, yet again, refused to comment on: the fact that there is not merely consensus, but unanimity among political commentators and analysts in Canada and Quebec, not necessarily on the content of Bill C-38, but on the way the government chose to introduce that content. The problem is that, at the end of the week, we will vote one single time to pass or reject, in its entirety, a mammoth 430-page bill.
I will talk more about this after question period because it deserves to be talked about. The government's approach is threatening the very foundation of our parliamentary system, our parliamentary democracy.
I will stop here so that we can move on to members' statements.