Mr. Speaker, then I will be twice as eloquent. If we multiply that by the longer length of time, we may well find four times the benefit that we would have had if I had had only 10 minutes to speak.
Let me start by welcoming the minister to the House. I see her here today. If I am right, this is the first time she has been back since her pregnancy. It is a delight to see her here. If I may say, she is looking radiant. It is that new mother glow. I have some knowledge about this because our daughter gave birth eight weeks ago. My wife and I spent the break week in Creston, B.C., visiting Daphney and little Eowyn, who at this point is eight weeks old. It does indeed impart new life to grandparents, but especially to the mom.
The minister is juggling something no minister has done before, being a new mom and running a portfolio, and if that were not enough, introducing a doorstopper of a bill. Therefore, we are glad she is here to take personal charge of it again. This is the kind of thing that warrants having the minister's personal attention, so I am very glad to see that she will be here to take personal charge of the bill during the course of our debate in the House, and that which will follow subsequently in committee.
Let me start by drawing attention to the large physical size of the bill. A number of commentators have asked whether this is an omnibus bill, as it is so large. We know there has been endless discussion about omnibus bills and whether or not they have their place. I thought Kady O'Malley had good insight in her column on the subject, where she said that it really is all on one general area of subject matter. Therefore, it is not an omnibus bill in the sense that budget implementation acts tend to be omnibus bills. It does not deal with a whole range of unrelated subjects, as they are all related to the electoral system.
However, it does deal with many detailed aspects of that legislation. I want to take a moment to explain why we can have in this portfolio, in a way that we cannot really in any other portfolio, a bill of this enormous size. I do not have my reading glasses with me, but I see 245 pages plus almost 100 pages of assorted notes.
The reason we have such a large bill, which is not an omnibus bill as it deals with one subject area, is that in electoral law, unlike every other area of law, there is no regulatory power. What would normally happen in any other area of government activity is that the minister would be empowered to pass regulations to deal with various aspects of the implementation of the law, the highly technical aspects. This is not done with electoral law for the simple reason that the minister is an interested party. No matter how hard an individual minister may try to be objective, he or she is elected as the partisan candidate of a party and has the partisan interests of his or her party in mind, as do I, and as does every single member of the House of Commons, except I suppose someone elected as an independent, and even that person has an interest in how the electoral law is written.
This means that there is enormous detail in the law, which means that it is critical to have adequate time to study, look at, and implement the legislation, and go through it with a fine-tooth comb, to some degree in the House but particularly in our committee work, in order to make sure that all of the technicalities work. Being involved in the procedure and House affairs committee, which deals with our electoral law, I can say from long experience, as the longest-serving member of that committee, that we must have intimate knowledge of the regulatory aspects of our legislation, in a way others do not, to understand in detail how it works.
I will give one example, among many: understanding the details of handicapped or disabled people's access to polling stations. This is a highly technical matter, which would normally be dealt with at a purely administrative level. It has to be dealt with by our committee. We have to interview and bring back the Chief Elector Officer and his subordinates to work with them on this. That is the kind of thing we need to deal with in detail. That is the kind of thing that is in the bill, and for that reason, a great deal of detailed attention is needed.
I will stop at this point and allow others to speak.