Mr. Speaker, there is an old expression that says, “A lack of planning on your part doesn't make for a crisis on mine”.
The pace of legislation from the government in its first 18 months is about one-third of the average rate for new governments coming into office. The Liberals have passed a little less than 34% of the legislation that a new government typically passes in a year and a half. What do they do when they realize this? They hit the panic button.
With all due to respect to my friend, the Transport Minister, who I respect and admire, to suggest that he does not like the quality of the questions in the first two hours of debate on a bill and, therefore, he is shutting down the debate, reveals a level of intolerance and arrogance that is worrisome to me over such important legislation. If, as he admits, the bill is vital to rail, air, and marine transportation, then give it the respect it deserves, which is the scrutiny of the legislative body. This is our job. It is the job of all members of Parliament.
I am sorry if the minister does not like the quality of certain questions or interventions that MPs have made. If that was the test for debates of various governments, there would be no Parliament because government at any point could say it did not like the quality of a question and it would shut down the conversation.
This is Parliament. By its very definition, it is where we come to speak together as Canadians. The minister is preventing us from doing our job, to make our rail, air, and marine safety as good as possible. If we cannot do our jobs, if we cannot scrutinize things, mistakes get made. We saw that in the last government, when the minister was one of the chief critics of both omnibus bills and time allocation.
However, I think he may have studied the last government too closely. There are 30 time allocations from a government that has a problem moving legislation because it is preoccupied with things that do not actually matter to Canadian safety and the Canadian economy. I think he owes the House an apology for demeaning the level of debate that comes from other members in the House.