Mr. Speaker, I will listen with rapt attention when private members' bills are introduced, as today's subject is truly worthwhile. This period will surely be of interest to a lot of people, as there are sometimes excellent proposals in these bills.
This is not the first time that I have had the opportunity to speak to Bill C-74. I have had the opportunity to do so on several occasions. As the member for Mégantic—L'Érable, I have spoken of the effects of the bill in my riding. As shadow minister for agriculture and agri-food, I have risen to say how few measures there were for agriculture and agri-food in the last budget.
When Bill C-74 was introduced, I did not expect the government to once again exercise its prerogative to prevent members from speaking, as they are entitled to do in the House, on the budget and its consequences in their ridings and their various portfolios.
I greatly enjoyed the speech by one of my colleagues today. Several times, he referred to the government’s adoption of a process for tracking mandate letters in order to deliver results to Canadians. In the way that the Liberals have of congratulating themselves for deciding whether they are keeping their promises, he said something that made quite the impression on me. Indeed, under the heading of a fair and open government, there is mention of ending “the improper use of omnibus bills and prorogation”. On that front, the Liberals gave themselves a mark of “completed - fully met”. Can we request a recount? Can we change the mark that the Liberals give themselves for the use of omnibus bills?
Bill C-74 is definitely in the line of an omnibus bill. That is why the government is again using a time allocation motion. They want to limit debate. When an omnibus bill is introduced that impacts so many areas, it is normal for members of all political stripes to have things to say and for them to want to use the time available to them. Unfortunately, the government is in panic mode as the session ends. We saw it last week: in three days, they used motions five times to silence members, to end debate or to say that only five hours remained to debate a certain bill. Since the start of the parliamentary session, the government has used that type of motion 38 times.
In this brief summary of very Liberal commitment, I am sure that they mentioned what the parliamentary secretary said in the last Parliament. I did not find the exact quote as there are so many promises that were not kept. The parliamentary secretary told anyone who would listen that these time allocation motions could not be used, that they were undemocratic and that the use of this type of motion was a lack of respect for Canadians.
Each time the Liberals propose a time allocation motion, I will read the words of my colleague across the way. I must say that I am not at a loss for things to say. Certainly, my colleague speaks a lot and leaves a record. When we leave records, they are quoted back to us in the House.
As the parliamentary secretary said at the time, it is not about how you go about it, especially when you promise to no longer do it. That is the difference. We understand that governments must sometimes use these motions to move debate along. However, the Liberals committed to not use this type of method to restrict democracy in the House.
Unfortunately, at their current pace, believe it or not, they will greatly exceed the record of the former Conservative government. They are panicking and they think that they will not have time to pass the limited legislative agenda that they have already tabled.
After consideration of private members’ bills, it will be my pleasure to come back to speak about Bill C-74 and all that it does not contain.