Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order with regard to private member's bill, Bill C-243. I submit to you that the bill does not require a royal recommendation. I want to congratulate my colleague from Kingston and the Islands for his comprehensive speech in the House last week. His arguments were persuasive and correct, in that the question before you is whether or not Bill C-243 would change the purpose or create a new function of EI maternity benefits, more specifically show that protection of the mother and her unborn child is an existing function of the current program. As it stands, outside of the province of Quebec, maternity benefits can be and are frequently used for the purpose of protecting the mother and unborn child when her work environment is hazardous. In fact, this is precisely why benefits can be taken eight weeks before the birth. This is a long-established practice.
The member for Kingston and the Islands also addressed the issue of the terms and conditions of EI maternity benefits, and showed that these terms and conditions are not relaxed by Bill C-243. There is no doubt that you have a difficult task in front of you. It is a complex topic, and parts of the bill are clearly in a grey area when it comes to royal recommendation. I urge you to carefully consider all the arguments put forward on this matter, in addition to the will of the House, which was expressed so forcefully by 231 members who supported Bill C-243.