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View Martin Shields Profile
CPC (AB)
View Martin Shields Profile
2021-05-03 12:12
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Firstly, I must apologize for last Friday. Normally we had been, for many years, sitting in committees, and all sorts of MPs sitting around tables might not have been the official ones. Mr. Chair, I apologize for my mistake and not remembering that under this video world that we're in of Zoom, we are in a different practice.
Moving on, I appreciate a lot of the information that has been shared, and the debate and the emotion. We have a lot of smart people sitting around the table, and usually I like to listen to a lot of the smart people we have on this committee. I would agree that there's been a lot of conciliatory work done, and lots of votes that may not agree, but it's been done professionally. I always appreciate working with people who want to do it in that way.
I'm a little concerned about the delays that supposedly this is creating. It's been mentioned that it's taken six years to write a piece of legislation. That's a long time, so there's been lots of time. I'm not sure there's a reason that we won't be here next week, next month, this fall, next spring. I don't see anything about an election being proposed, so I don't think we're going anywhere, so we have some time. Ten days, maximum, is not a lot of time in that framework.
What is astounding to me and a lot of other people is that there were so many amendments. Sure, I've been in situations in which people have written policy without thinking of all the consequences, and that's why you share it, work it through and find the consequences of the policies. It's so you can make those corrections. However, in my history in the House, I've never seen a piece of legislation come from the government with the number of amendments that they've brought here. These are huge numbers. Who was drafting this thing?
We were conciliatory to a point, but the reaction that I have seen since Friday in the media.... This is not me, but all the various media out there reporting it. This precipitated, then, my inbox just filling up with things that people had read in the media. I wasn't causing it; the media were reporting on this, and the experts were then quoted. A lot of people who have responded to this particular amendment didn't feel it was right, and a lot of media have been reporting. There's been a lot of attention.
I haven't had this much attention in a committee over an amendment in the number of years that I've been here. This is huge in the sense of responses that I've received, but it was because of the media that they were seeing this. It's just a real challenge. When you talk about stakeholders pushing it, I have 115,000 stakeholders, and trust me, I heard from a lot of them. I think a 10-day maximum that MP McPherson has put forward gives us an opportunity to deal a little more with this, because the public isn't seeing it as something that makes sense.
We've had goodwill, and I think this is a motion that continues to give us goodwill in proceeding in a very volatile situation. There are lots of opinions. I have nine to 10 weekly newspapers in my riding, and those letters to the editor are pretty volatile on both sides of many issues. Somebody asked if those newspapers that have digital formats are going to be at risk of being taken off because of letters they produce in a digital format? I have no answer for that. We have people who are expressing their opinions in the weekly newspapers in my riding who are the owners of those papers. They are independent, many of them. They are a little concerned that when they put that on social media platforms—that's where they're putting their digital papers—they're at risk. I don't have an answer for that.
These are some more of the questions that we haven't had a chance to discuss and to get a legal opinion on.
We have a motion here. I know Ms. Dabrusin, whom I've known for some time, has a further motion that she's going to make, but I think the one that we have on the table now is a positive one, and I hope that we pass it. I'm not sure that the one that Ms. Dabrusin is considering putting on next does what needs to be done now. We need to take a break and take some time to get an expert opinion. We need to have some time to get things clarified. If we don't, we are not going to get good, rational thoughts and questions answered. It's time we do exactly what this motion says.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
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