Madam Speaker, I would like to touch on a number of areas.
The first thing I will do is pick up on the last question and answer and on some of the comments made by the members, particularly the Conservatives, about prorogation. It is interesting that the last questioner said that we shut down the House for six weeks. On the surface, one might think that is a terrible thing to do. However, when we understand what really took place, most Canadians would support what the government has done.
When we talk about the prorogation, it meant that instead of coming back on the Monday, we came back on the Wednesday, so we lost those two days. We also lost one day in August. However, keep in mind that this is the first government in the last 30-plus years to have the House sit in July and August. We sat more days in July and August than we lost in the prorogation.
A member across the way has said that this is not true, but it is true.
Members have to stop listening to the Conservative spin and see the reality of what we face today. Instead of listening to their constituents, they are listening to the Conservative spin and that is a serious problem. It is one of the reasons we are doing what we are today.
I give credit to the NDP and the Green Party members, who can be pretty brutal with some of their comments on the floor of the House. They are not necessarily friendly in all matters toward the government of the day, but they recognize that this is important. They recognize what the motion is trying to accomplish. They understand it and they appreciate it. They might have some issues with it, but they are supporting it. Unlike the Conservatives and the Bloc, they believe it is in the best interest of all Canadians that we remain focused on their needs and ultimately see legislation pass. We should not look at it as a possible option; it is absolutely critical that it pass.
I take exception to many of the comments from members who are saying it is undemocratic. I was in opposition in the far corner for a number of years when Stephen Harper was the prime minister. If members want to talk about assaults on democracy, they just need to go back to the Harper era.
Let us look at what has taken place with the pandemic. Virtually from day one, the Prime Minister has been very clear. He wants the House to focus on the pandemic and do what we can to protect the interests, health and well-being of Canadians. From day one, that has been the issue with this government. In the last number of weeks, we have talked a great deal about the economy and restarting it.
When we talk about accountability, I challenge any one of the members of the Bloc or the Conservatives to stand in his or her place when it comes time to ask a question. I would like those members to tell me when was the last time they met on the floor of the chamber and were afforded the opportunity to ask not just hundreds, but probably thousands of questions of the government of the day.
Opposition members had a wonderful opportunity to convey their thoughts and ideas with respect to the pandemic, share their concerns with the government and press the government on those issues in the months of July and August, which, at least in my 30 years as a parliamentarian, I do not ever recall being provided to opposition members.
Going back to my days in opposition, we would get a question and might get a supplementary one. What was provided here for opposition members was they could go five minutes steady, have three quick questions, a long question, a preamble and then go back-and-forth and the minister was obligated to respond in that same time frame.
At the end of the day, opposition members were afforded the opportunity to hold the government accountable. I did not try to tell them that they should not ask questions about this or about that. We all know where they focused a lot of their attention. I do not think it was with respect to, at least not for the most part, the health and well-being of Canadians even though we were into a pandemic.
Now those members are upset, saying that they want more time to debate Bill C-4, which is why they oppose this. However, they had no reservations at all this morning to bring in a motion for concurrence on a report, which literally killed two hours of potential debate.
They have a great deal of experience and have no reservations at all in using what parliamentarians often refer to as a “filibuster”, and they are good at it. I give them full credit for that. In the last five years, I do not know how many times I have seen two members of the Conservative Party stand. After one speaks, the other one moves that another Conservative be heard to precipitate the bells to ring in order to waste more time. Another example is that they argue for debate and then move a motion to adjourn for the day.
It is not that they want to see more debate, the focus of the Conservatives is more on wanting to show Canadians that the House of Commons is dysfunctional and cannot work. It does not matter who sits in the prime minister's chair, unless it is a Conservative. The House of Commons cannot do its work. I have seen that time and time again over the last five years, with Conservatives as the official opposition.
There was a budget where one member consumed virtually 98% of the whole debate time allocated. I remember that well, and it was not me. It is not that I was jealous or anything of that nature, but having said that, again, those members have no reservations. When they stand now and say that they want more time to debate, based on what I have witnessed, that is just not true.
If the members had 10 hours, they would want 15 hours. If they had 15 hours, they would want 20 hours. They want to frustrate the government. The Conservatives consistently try to prevent the government from passing legislation or any other measures. I believe that is the reason, at least in part, why the NDP and the Green Party are having to support the type of motion we have before us. They realize that if we do not bring in motions of this nature, they would never pass. We cannot please the Conservatives.
It is not because Conservatives want more debate. I do not believe that for a moment. It seems that this is their sole purpose for existing, at least the Conservative leadership's. It is not meant as a reflection on any individual member of Parliament, but the Conservative driving force, the leadership team, if I can put it that way, its focus is not what is happening in terms of the pandemic. When I say “Conservatives”, I mean the Conservatives here in Ottawa. I believe their focus is to be as critical as they can about the Prime Minister and other ministers. They will zero in on any Liberal and point out every blemish they believe is there.