I just began speaking, if you don't mind.
The point of order the New Democrats are raising today is necessitated by the actions of the government, and it is incumbent upon us to raise it at this time. We are under a prescription right now in which time has been allocated to a bill before the government. The government has presented a time allocation motion. There is a duty to consult that exists within our Standing Orders whenever the government seeks to invoke such a clause.
The reason this Standing Order rule and practice in the House exists is that time allocation is a serious measure. It is the most serious measure a government can take on any piece of legislation, because it limits all members from all parties in their ability to debate and discuss any legislation before the House. That is what this is presenting.
The point of order we seek to raise is that from time to time objections have been raised, by Conservatives when they were in opposition and by New Democrats as well, as to the circumstances in which agreement was reached or the nature of the consultations undertaken by the government. As with closure, the Speaker has ruled that the Chair possesses no discretionary power or authority to refuse a motion of time allocation if all the procedural exigencies have been observed.
The Speaker has stated that the wording of the rule does not define the nature of the consultations that are to be held by the minister and representatives of the other parties. The Speaker has further ruled that the Chair has no authority to determine whether consultations took place nor what constitutes consultation among the representatives of the parties. All of that is correct, because it is not the Speaker's purview to witness, as the Speaker has observed, the consultations that go on among the parties in advance of a decision to be taken by the government, in this case, to limit the democratic rights of members, their own members included, to debate a piece of legislation.
This is based upon a Standing Order in the House, and I will cite the Standing Order for reference for all members to understand what we are talking about. Standing Order 78(3)(a) states:
A Minister of the Crown who from his or her place in the House, at a previous sitting, has stated that an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of sections (1) or (2) of this Standing Order in respect of proceedings at the stage at which a public bill was then under consideration either in the House or in any committee, and has given notice of his or her intention so to do, may propose a motion during proceedings under Government Orders, for the purpose of allotting a specified number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at that stage; provided that the time allotted for any stage is not to be less than one sitting day and provided that for the purposes of this paragraph an allocation may be proposed in one motion to cover the proceedings at both the report and the third reading stages on a bill if that motion is consistent with the provisions of Standing Order 76.1(10). The motion shall not be subject to debate or amendment, and the Speaker shall put the question on the said motion forthwith. Any proceedings interrupted pursuant to this section of this Standing Order shall be deemed adjourned.
This is exactly what has just happened. The government brought in a time allocation motion under this Standing Order, which is its power to do. It is an extreme power, and it is meant to be used in rare cases. The government has used it more than 50 times, a record in Canadian history. However, also in the Standing Order is a duty and an obligation on the part of the government to consult with other parties in the House as to the—