Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Calgary Nose Hill not just for splitting her time with me tonight and giving me an opportunity to speak to this bill, but also for her passion, her empathy, the respect that she has for this institution and the respect that she has for this country. She affected me and I think she affected a lot of Canadians tonight.
Now, I am an emotional guy by nature. Those who know me know that it does not take much for me to get emotional. I cry when I watch Uncle Buck. That is just the way it is. That scene at the end gets me every time.
I get emotional about this place as well. I have said many times in this House, and now even more so as the shadow minister for veterans affairs, that I think of the lives that have been lost. I think of the blood that has been spilled. I think of the families that have been decimated by war to allow all of us the privilege to sit in this place, to sit in our symbol of democracy, because of the fights that have gone on over the course of not just Canadian history but the history of war and other things. It is something I respect, and it is something, quite frankly, that I treat with the reverence that it deserves.
It is a place where Canadians can come together through their elected officials to have discussions, to have debates, to talk about how we can make the lives of Canadians better than what they are now. Canadians have been suffering greatly over the course of the last six months. We can all acknowledge that. Any of us who have been on the front lines, and we all have, know the types of calls we have had to our offices, with the level of despair, the level of anxiety and the level of anguish, and we have been there trying to help them.
We have taken that team Canada approach over the course of the last six months. To me, this was never a partisan thing. It was all about helping my constituents who were dealing with issues like the CERB and the Canada emergency wage subsidy. When the Canada emergency business account came out at 10%, I was getting phone calls from business people. They were crying on the phone with me. Many of them were crying because it was not enough, not just for them to keep their businesses but to keep the people employed.
We all went to work, all of us, not just Conservatives, not just NDP or Bloc or Greens. All of us worked together to recognize the issues that existed with the legislation that was being proposed, whether it was the emergency business account, the wage subsidy, the CERB, rent relief program, or repatriation. I worked directly with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, because there were lots of people from my riding in Costa Rica. Again, there was anxiety and anguish for the families who were in Barrie—Innisfil but also the families that were stuck there. We worked together on this stuff to try to help Canadians who were stranded abroad.
I gave credit publicly to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as he deserved, because he worked very well with us to repatriate those Canadians who were stuck. Many of them were from opposition ridings.
On the long-term care centres, I was getting phone calls. My family was directly affected. My mother-in-law was stuck in a long-term care facility. We have seen the decline in her mental capacity over the course of the last six months. Talk about anguish, my wife is dealing with that every single day.
When we come to this place, because of the sanctity of it, because of the respect and reverence that we have for it, the least that we can expect is the ability to deal with legislation and not have it rammed through like the Liberals are doing. There are things within this legislation that all of us can improve on. I said it yesterday. There are stakeholders. There are people who are going to be directly affected by this, just as business owners were affected when the Canadian business account was announced, when the wage subsidy was announced and other programs. They were calling us telling us that it was woefully inadequate. The rent relief program was another example.
There are things that we can improve on with this piece of legislation, but we cannot do it in four and a half hours. We cannot do it unless and until we get the input from not just parliamentarians but also those people who are going to be impacted by what this legislation calls for.
It is a $57-billion bill and we are being given four and a half hours to deal with it. I can be bombastic and say that the government and the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament to save their political skin. They had every opportunity over the course of the last month to deal with this piece of legislation so that we would not be in the situation where we are trying to ram it through. There is no question that Canadians need it, because many Canadians are still feeling that anxiety. They are still feeling that anguish and they are wondering what the future holds for them.
It is easy for people to become cynical of government. When I look back at the 2015 plan of the government, the real plan, the Liberals talked against the very things that they are now doing. Maybe it was the newness of a government; maybe it was the naivete of a government that they thought that they could do all these things. That is what got them elected. That is why people voted for them.
They said that the government “will not interfere with the work of parliamentary officers; and it will not resort to devices like prorogation and omnibus bills to avoid scrutiny.” They also said, “And to give Canadians a stronger voice in the House of Commons, the Government will promote more open debate and free votes, and reform and strengthen committees.”
The Liberals are not doing that. They are not doing that at all. The very thing that got them elected in 2015 is the very thing they are moving away from now, and this is not the first time. I can go through the history of Motion No. 6. I can go through the history of earlier this year with the piece of legislation where the Liberals were trying to effectively seize control and power of Parliament for spending purposes for a period of a year and a half. That is not an indication of a government that respects this place, that reveres this place for those who have given so much to allow us to be in it. It is not an indication of that at all.
The thing that disturbs me most is, how can we not support this? How can we not support giving help to Canadians when they need it the most? However, this could have been done earlier than today. It could have been done with a lot more scrutiny and a lot more input, not just from parliamentarians but also stakeholders and individuals across this country who are going to be impacted by this.
The last thing I would say about this is that earlier tonight, John Ivison wrote an article in which he said:
The Liberals have signed a Faustian pact with the NDP that they seem intent on honouring until they have a large enough lead in the polls, at which point the New Democrats will be cut loose and patronized as being erratic and unreliable.
I will say this for my colleagues in the NDP. The Liberals are going to wrap the New Democrats around their finger. They are going to chew them up and then they will eventually spit them out. They know right now that they need them because they cannot win a majority government, but when they get to that point, unfortunately, the New Democrats will be irrelevant to them.
This is what the Liberals do. This is all about power for them, and it shows very little respect. In fact, it shows a lack of respect for this place that it so richly deserves.