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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-28 16:54 [p.28159]
Mr. Speaker, before I get under way with my comments, I want to reflect on the previous speaker's comments and address many aspects of them during my speech.
If we look at what has transpired over the last number of years, we have seen a great deal of change in committees. I sat in opposition when Stephen Harper was the prime minister, and I understand very clearly that when he was the prime minister, opposition members' amendments were never passed at committee. It just did not happen, unless one were a government member. Opposition members did not have their amendments passed during the time I was here under a majority Stephen Harper government.
However, to try to give the impression that this government has behaved in the same fashion is just wrong, because it is just not true. This government, on multiple pieces of legislation, has not only approached standing committees in a different fashion from the previous Stephen Harper government, but also, members will find that the current government has accepted numerous amendments to our legislation, whether they be from New Democrats, Conservatives or even the Green Party. That is something we did not witness under Stephen Harper, but something that we have seen here.
Also, in response to the opposition's effort to claim there has been no change, we can just look at the parliamentary secretaries. When I had sat on the procedure and House affairs committee, the Conservative parliamentary secretary was there and led the committee. As the parliamentary secretary related in regard to that particular committee today, I do not even attend that committee.
There is a substantial difference between this Prime Minister and Stephen Harper. There is a lot more transparency and accountability with this Prime Minister than the former prime minister on a number of different fronts.
However, for those who might be following, we are having this debate because the government has decided, as previous governments have done in the past, including Stephen Harper's, that as we get into June, there will at times be a need to have extended sitting hours. There is nothing new in that. As I said, Stephen Harper did so, and prime ministers before him have also done so. We have extended hours because, like Canadians, we believe that we should continue to work every day that we sit, and if we have to put in extra hours to pass more legislation, why not?
It is interesting listening to the Conservatives talk about last-minute legislation. What do they expect? We are now at the end of May. Do they just want the government to shut the doors and stop debate on all legislation? Maybe the NDP and Conservatives would like to operate that way, but we as a government are committed to working hard for Canadians every day, and members will see that with the different types of initiatives we have taken, whether it be legislative action, budget actions or just trying to build consensus.
Today is an excellent example, because we saw a lot of games being played by the opposition parties. They ask why we bring in time allocation or closure, and they challenge us, especially me when I stand to talk about the benefits of using time allocation. However, so that those listening can understand what is actually taking place, they need to recognize that there is legislation the government has introduced that the NDP will never, ever support, unless we delete the entire bill by way of an amendment. That is an absolute guarantee: there is legislation the NDP will never, ever support.
The trade agreement is a good example. We have had a number of trade agreements from this government, and every time, the NDP members vote against them. If it were up to them, agreements would never be allowed to go to a vote. Equally, there is legislation here that we have introduced that the Conservatives would never, ever support and have voted against. They will go out of their way to prevent the legislation from passing.
We could have the Conservatives saying no to legislation, with the NDP, the Greens and the government saying yes, but if the Conservatives wanted to, they could prevent the legislation from passing. All they have to do is to speak to the legislation, propose an amendment and speak endlessly. We had a good example of that today.
We are talking about disabilities and Bill C-81. What are the principles of the bill? The main principles are inherent dignity, equality, opportunity, barrier-free government, autonomy, inclusive design and meaningful involvement. This is legislation that every member in the chamber, I believe, will vote in favour of. No one is going to dispute it.
Then we had the first Conservative speaking to the legislation, the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, who spoke for 95 minutes—
An hon. member: Hear, hear!
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: And the Conservatives say hear, hear, Mr. Speaker.
I am not new to a political chamber. I have been doing this for close to 30 years. I know what a filibuster is. The Conservative Party of Canada did not want to pass that legislation this morning, and that is really what the debate was about. The member stood because his party did not want to see that legislation pass this morning.
We know that the House has the potential to pass things through—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
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