Thank you very much.
It's my first time at this committee. I always wondered what PROC gets up to. I have to say, I'm shaking my head at this one. I'm wondering if we can have some of the members of Samara actually follow a member of Parliament one day, and see that we don't have a second in the day to do something additional. A parallel chamber, I'm like....
I have lots of questions about this. You make a good point with omnibus bills, but time after time, the opposition asks for those to be separated, to go to the appropriate places, which are the relevant standing committees, and we don't get that. That would be my preference, rather than going to some nefarious room that isn't taken as seriously.
I think there are many things that could be done to make this place more democratic, and to not only give more opportunities to the elected members, but to the public, scientists and experts to come in and testify, so that we can hear their opinions.
The big question I would raise is that I think a lot of people would think this sounds exciting, because we're actually finally going to have debates. We don't really have debates in this place. One person speaks, and then another person speaks and another person may get to speak. I think that if there were a mechanism, not necessarily another House, but if there were time set aside each year, where we were generally going to have debates, then there could be agreement on the topics of the day.
Say, for example, we have a genuine debate about how we're going to resolve pharmacare. It's not just people giving speeches; you actually have an interesting debate, and maybe panels of experts.
I looked at these other two parallel chambers and in some cases, it seems like those are exactly the things we do in the House. I'm wondering why we need a parallel chamber. My biggest bone of contention is with majority governments. What guarantee is there in this second chamber that it's not all going to be taken up by majority government members? Who's going to decide who gets more time to debate? Big issues like that need to be discussed.
What's the intent of this? Is it to give opportunity for those who aren't getting a fair chance to speak the chance to speak? We have the frustration right now where many can't even table their private member's bill because of procedural actions by the government of the day.
I'm wondering if you've discussed those kinds of issues with these other two jurisdictions about whether they have dealt with some of these issues, and where they think this second chamber helps any of those issues.