Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to join in the debate. Might I begin, first, by commenting on the remarks of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, the member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, whom I work with very closely on PROC. It had a previous review of these actual laws, not a lot of which seems to have found its way into the Conservatives' bill, I might add.
I want to raise the notion of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons saying that the official opposition is being hypocritical. I find it most disturbing that this is an hon. member, in terms of the way he conducts himself at committee, who seems to care about his reputation. He cares about what people think of him, yet he is prepared to stand in the House and actually mislead the House and Canadians when he makes the specious argument that we were trying to cut debate.
It is quite the contrary. My friend from the Liberal caucus was on his feet recently making the same point, and it is true. If we exercise the right, under the rules, to send a bill, on first reading, directly to committee, it is an opportunity for members to work together on the bill at committee before we get to second reading debate and vote. That is for the simple reason that by the time we get to a second reading vote, for the most part the caucuses are determining where they are going on these issues. They have to make a fundamental decision about whether they will vote for or against. It is that stark.
During my time at Queen's Park, we brought in a rule that allowed a reference from first reading for the very reason that it is a good way to go when the whole House wants to work together in a sincere effort to work on a bill. By referring it right after first reading, we send it to the place where we actually sit down, roll up our sleeves, and get some work done.
We were trying to send it with that frame of mind, before we got to where we are now, which is with everybody in their respective corners.
I will comment on that process versus what has happened in the past in this House and in this country. However, I want to be absolutely crystal clear that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons is misleading this House and Canadians when he says that we tried to end debate.