Mr. Speaker, I mentioned this briefly, but for the benefit of my hon. colleague and everyone else, I will add the following. The parliamentarians in this House and the government could do a better job of preparing; they could draw up their schedule better and would have a better idea of how much parliamentary time they have to critique a bill and consult Canadians. If necessary, they could consult a little longer and do further research.
When we know the election date and how long we have for our work, the quality improves. We know where we are at.
I am the House leader. I have been in the House of Commons for 13 years and have been House leader for 12.
For all 12 years, at the end of every session ministers in the various governments come to see me, because I am the House leader, and beg me to allow their bill or legislation to pass. They tell me that a certain bill is absolutely essential and ask if I would be willing to consent to this legislation being speeded up so that it can pass.
I am saying this for the people listening to us and for the hon. members who have not yet had a chance to experience a few ends of session. I find this game at the end of parliamentary sessions unseemly and unfortunate. However, I can understand it.
A minister who has an important piece of legislation— on the environment or industry or in any given area—is very eager to see it pass. He has worked on it for seven, eight or ten months and sometimes more than a whole year, and there have been consultations and much effort. When the minister sees the end of the session looming, he definitely does not want to all this work to go down the drain. He does not want to have to start all over again a few months later, or even after an election, because there is nothing left that matters any more.
Fixed election dates would eliminate surprises. How many prime ministers have thrown their own ministers for a loop by calling early elections? It is amazing. I think that Canadians—whom we are supposed to be serving here by introducing and passing legislation—would be happy to know that the hon. members work in a planned, orderly fashion and that the results will arrive as expected.
This would therefore be a great improvement for everyone: for both the people and ministers. They voted for legislation and did well. It will be easier for them and easier as well for opposition members to work on legislation that they want to help along. That is another good reason to support this bill.