Mr. Speaker, here we are again in a question period allocated once the government has invoked shutting down debate, closure. This is, I believe, the 50th time. The government likes these round numbers.
Here is the interesting moment when it is using the guillotine on debate on this particular bill. The government does not seem to comprehend the idea of what yes means.
The government comes to the opposition and asks how many days we would like to debate this bill. We say about this, and it says okay, and the very next thing it does is shut down debate. It is absolutely confusing and confounding to anybody who studies parliaments and how they are meant to work. There are some terms of negotiation and going back and forth on how many speakers are needed.
This is a 300-page bill with many hundreds of amendments. However, we agreed with the government. We said that about this many days would be fine, but it cannot take yes for an answer. It says that it is going to shut down debate anyway, and here it is, and this is when it is going to be.
Never mind when we get into the details of the bill, as my colleague from Gatineau attempted to do previously, to take out a section. This is supposed to be a bill on the budget. What is in there? It includes how we nominate Supreme Court justices. That makes perfect sense to the economy. That is a crucial economic factor, how a judge gets nominated from one bench or another to the Supreme Court.
This morning we suggested taking out that entirely separate question so that MPs from all sides could ask questions about it and then have a free and fair vote on it. “No, no, no”, says the government. “It has to be an omnibus motion”.
The confusion for the opposition and for Canadians is the intransigence of the government, their taking what was the exception, which is to shut down debate in an undemocratic way, which Conservatives used to hate, by the way, when they were in opposition, and making it the norm for everything.
It does not matter the topic. It does not matter the willingness of the opposition to try to work with the government to get something done for Canadians. That does not matter. The complexity of the bill does not matter. The intention of the bill does not matter.
All the government has in its toolbox is a hammer, and then everything starts to look like a nail. Again and again, it shuts down the House of Commons. Again and again, it prorogues Parliament. Again and again, it has stuffed the Senate with its friends and buddies. All of these shortcuts are a pattern language, and the pattern language is a government that finds democracy inconvenient and that finds debate quarrelsome and a hassle for their agenda.
The fact of the matter is that we live in a free and fair democratic society, and that means that we have conversations. We have debate. Canadians want this place opened up, not shut down. Time and again, the Conservative government has not spoken to those values. It has spoken completely counter to those values for the convenience of this Prime Minister. Well, it is all catching up to him.
Specifically to the government, why the need to simply say no, when we said yes? Why the need to shut down debate we had already agreed to? Why the need to continue to invoke these closure motions, these guillotines on debate, when there simply is not a call for it? That is a simple question I am sure the government is able to understand and answer this morning.