Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to resume debate on the question of privilege raised by my colleagues, in whose favour you ruled, concerning the privileges that the House gives to MPs and that are sometimes put to the test. When we raise a breach of privilege, that gives us a chance to review the facts.
Raising this question of privilege put an end to an extremely important debate on the fundamental changes that the government wants to make. It sneakily proposed the changes at a Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs meeting by tabling a paper about reforms to the way Parliament and the House of Commons work.
Although some of the changes are objectionable, I believe that we would be receptive to some of the other proposed changes. The reason we are getting in the way of the government's plans a bit is that we want to protect our privileges in the House.
It is important to recognize that society is changing. We are not against the notion of possibly changing the rules of the House of Commons. The problem has nothing to do with the points we might study or how the House might evolve, but rather how this was presented to us.
The vast majority, if not all, of the changes that the House has undergone since its creation, that is, over the past 150 years of the Constitution, have been adopted unanimously by all parliamentarians. This time, the Liberal government wants to unilaterally impose new procedures, supposedly in order to move things forward and make the House more efficient.
These lofty theories play well in the media, but the reality is that all parliamentarians deserve to be treated with a minimum of respect. It is completely unacceptable for a majority government to want to impose on all parliamentarians a new way of doing things in the House, without giving them the opportunity to vote for or against those changes. It is crucial that parliamentarians be unanimous regarding the discussion that the Liberals want to have, and Canadians need to understand that.
The reason is quite simple. There is one party in the House that has just one representative and another party, the Bloc Québécois, that has 10 members and is not a recognized party. However, every one of us was elected by Canadians and we should all be able to represent Canadians in a system where every parliamentarian has a say. We are our constituents' representatives and, as such, should have a say in these changes.
When we look at the paper as a whole we see some very interesting things. I repeat that we are not against potential changes. What we want is to have the discussion that the Liberals claim to be offering us. The problem is that they are not offering a discussion.
As I mentioned on Tuesday, I am an entrepreneur. If I had the type of discussion that the Liberals want to have with parliamentarians with my clients, my partners, my associates, or my suppliers I would have gone out of business a long time ago. That would be inevitable.
To earn respect, you must show respect. As they say, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. This is not happening at present. It seems that we are going to fight to the end. We cannot accept that. The beauty of it is that all opposition MPs feel the same way. We unanimously agree that we cannot accept the current arrogant and undisciplined way of doing things. In the past, the House of Commons has always been disciplined and, above all, respectful of all these elements.
I am going to end on that note even though my time has not elapsed. I will give my peers the opportunity to speak. I believe that we are extremely lucky to be who we are. There are 338 people in the House and we represent 35 million Canadians. We are very fortunate. We certainly have privileges, but we also have responsibilities, and one of them is to ensure that we properly represent our constituents. To that end, we must have the respect of all parliamentarians in the House, and especially the government's respect.