IN THE HOUSE ~ Conservatives shut down debate on C-44

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Bill C-44 An Act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other Acts

Context : Questions and Comments

    M. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NPD): Monsieur le Président, c'est la 85e fois que ce gouvernement invoque une motion d'attribution de temps et de clôture.

    The Speaker: We are now talking about a sad record that we hope will never be repeated in Canadian parliamentary history. The government has now invoked time allocation and closure for the 85th time. It is the only thing that the government seems to have been able to run up.

     We have lost 400,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector. There is a whole range of a lack of respect for this Parliament. We have seen is that the government has managed to outdo the former Liberal government by invoking time allocation and closure 85 times. That shows a lack of respect for Parliament which so many Canadians are seeing.

    When we are talking about this particular bill, Bill C-44, which is very controversial, we are talking about a bill that heard four hours of witness testimony in committee. These were expert witnesses who came forward and identified problems with the bill. Only a handful of members of Parliament have actually been able to speak on this bill and, already, after that handful of speakers, the government wants to ram through the bill.

    As we know, the government also has another record, which is having more product recall, bad pieces of legislation, than any other government in Canadian history. My question to the minister is very simple. Why does the government not get it right?

     Why does it not listen to experts, and actually look at and entertain the kinds of amendments that have been brought forward by members of the opposition? Why is the government always trying to ram through legislation that has controversial aspects and that should be fixed?

Context : Point of Order

    M. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NPD): Monsieur le Président, l'intervention du leader parlementaire du gouvernement à la Chambre vient de renforcer l'argumentaire qui vient d'être fait par le député de St. John's-Est.

    Because it is not the rhetoric that the House leader for the government applied, he seemed to think this was some kind of debate, rather than a very serious consideration of the breaches of the privileges of the House. At no point did he really contradict the essential arguments that were put forward by the member for St. John's East.

     I will just briefly bring back the facts of September 30, which are important ones, where the Prime Minister said in this House that the role of our soldiers will be to advise and to assist. It is not to accompany, meaning in combat zones, and later on, responded again to the leader of the official opposition, leader of the NDP, “I just said that Canadian soldiers are not accompanying the Iraqi forces into combatâ€�.

     It is clear, a clear factual statement that has been made, and we have had equally and completely contradictory factual statements made in the last few days where the Prime Minister has very proudly said that they are engaged in combat, they are engaged in killing.

    It is not an issue of debate around the question itself. There is a very clear breach, as the member for St. John's East has said very, very eloquently. There is a very, very clear contradiction between the facts as laid out by the Prime Minister back on September 30 and the facts that he has been announcing to us. There has never been any explanation of that.

    I will end just by reciting what the member for St. John's East said. It is Erskine May at page 63:

It is of paramount importance that ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.

    There has been no correction. There has been no explanation, and the merits of the argument advanced by the member for St. John's East I think have just been enhanced by the reaction of the leader of the government in the House.

    Mr. Speaker, I certainly hope you will give serious consideration to what is a very well-thought-out argument and the breaches of privileges of this House offered by the member for St. John's East.