Mr. Speaker, I hope it is not misplaced confidence the member has in her colleague. I would like to address this in terms of what some might argue is a bit of a game being played.
It is interesting that, for the first couple of hours, we were debating a very important report. Members across the way who were listening this morning would be aware that we were debating the implementation of gender-based analysis plus in the Government of Canada. It was an interesting debate. I thought members on both sides of the aisle were making strong presentations, albeit sometimes a little misinformed or biased, but we had been debating the issue for about two and a half hours.
The debate was introduced by New Democratic Party members, my friends across the way, and about two and a half hours into it, the Conservatives decided they wanted to adjourn debate on the issue. If the two Conservative members who spoke had wanted to, they could have stood and spoke about the issues they had just finished speaking about. Instead, a Conservative member of Parliament stood in her place, said Conservatives were done debating the issue. They did not care about what other members wanted to do on this issue, there was still more time to debate this issue, but they wanted to adjourn debate, thereby causing the bells to ring.
The bells ringing consumed 30 minutes, plus an additional 10 minutes for the vote. As a direct result of that, we lost 40 minutes that members across the way could have talked about the issues they wanted to talk about. What is really interesting is that it looked as if both the New Democratic Party and the Conservative Party wanted to talk about the importance of the report dealing with gender-based analysis.
I had the opportunity to speak on the issue. I was very proud of many of the actions this government has taken with respect to the report. I was surprised that the New Democrats, to help the Conservatives, voted in favour of the adjournment. One has to question why they would do that. Why would they initiate a debate and, after two and a half hours, call for its adjournment in order to prevent people from talking about very important issues affecting women? That is, in fact, what took place. Now another motion has been brought forward, not by the NDP but by the Conservatives this time. What they are proposing is, once again, yet another important issue, an issue this government takes very seriously.
Before I continue, I want to make it clear that I am splitting my time with my colleague from Spadina—Fort York.
It is interesting that the Conservatives are now trying to change the channel, almost as if they have changed their minds and want to go back, yet we lost a lot of valuable time to debate the issue.
I have some concerns. I posed the question to both Conservative speakers of what degree this has been talked about in the standing committee. In fact, the mover of the motion tried to give a false impression that this government does not support the work of standing committees. How quickly Conservatives forget. I was in opposition for four years and witnessed first-hand the Stephen Harper bubble and how much influence the PMO had on standing committees.
That is one of the reasons why our Prime Minister supports more independence for committees, whether dealing with the participation of parliamentary secretaries at committees, or dealing with the way chairs are elected. Most important, more opposition amendments have likely been supported, or adopted, or taken into consideration in this last 19 months or so than in the previous five years of Stephen Harper.
We have a government today that generally understands. All we need to do is look at what is happening at the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The government House leader has said that we want to modernize Parliament. We have introduced a discussion paper. Thus far all we have heard are individuals providing comment in regard to the process.
Then we can witness what we have seen in the last couple of days. If I were on the outside looking in, I would be saying that we do need to modernize Parliament. There is a real need for us to look at the way this place functions. Maybe opposition parties can explain to me why their tactical manoeuvring makes sense. I am not too sure it does. I was in opposition for 20 years and I do not understand the moves they are making.
There are opportunities to get engaged and the opposition is moving forward blindfolded on the issue. We understand and appreciate how critically important maternity benefits and leave are to Canadians. I believe every Liberal member of Parliament dearly cares about this issue and talks about with their constituents. I can assure everyone that the government of the day is seizing the opportunity to look at ways to enhance and make it easier for Canada's middle class. We believe in the middle class of Canada and those who aspire to be a part of it.
Look at the budget decisions to date. When we talk about gender neutrality, look at what the government has done in less than two years with respect to benefits. These things are very real and tangible.
It would appear that the Conservatives are working with the NDP. I would like New Democrats to explain why they voted in favour of adjourning a debate for which they had argued. From the speeches of the Conservative members, I have to wonder why they would move adjournment on it.
As I indicated, many different issues come to the floor of the House. When I think of the role government has to play, one of those roles is ensuring, as much as possible, that we enable those who want to participate in the workforce the opportunity to do so. When we have issues such as pregnancy within a workforce, there is a responsibility for the government to do what it can. There is a high level of sensitivity to this issue. I applaud the member for Kingston and the Islands for bringing forward the bill that is before the committee today, because it is a part of the discussion. I learned from his presentation, whether it was in caucus or here on the floor of the House.
As the Prime Minister has alluded to before, there are always opportunities for us to improve things, to make things better. That is why I would like to think that the committee studying the issue today is in a great position to continue to advance that discussion. We will have to wait and see what takes place.