Mr. Speaker, dealing with Bill C-1 in the proceedings at the opening of a Parliament is largely a symbolic gesture, as described in Marleau and Montpetit, to assert Parliament's right to act as it sees fit quite apart from what may or may not be in any Speech from the Throne.
Unfortunately, with the gesture the Prime Minister is making, there was no preliminary consultation with the opposition parties about what the government had in mind. We spent a good portion of the day yesterday talking about the importance of consultation, inclusion and reaching out to all members of the House to involve them in the proper procedures of this place to try to establish a better atmosphere and a more conducive feeling among members to work together on important topics of the day.
While the process that the Prime Minister is now proposing may not change anything in substance, I would on this occasion like to ask for two things. First, the assurance of the Prime Minister and, indeed, from the Chair, that this gesture does not change anything in substance since we have not had any opportunity to be consulted in advance or to examine the precedents that might exist in the provinces. I would like that assurance.
Second, I ask for the general assurance of the House, in the spirit of goodwill trying to make this place work better for all of us, that there is a sincere effort made at advance notice and consultation so this kind of awkward point does not need to arise again.