Mr. Speaker, I certainly also want to join in on the debate on Bill C-13 at third reading, even though basically there is now a move to invoke closure on the bill.
I think we have to take some time because the bill actually does represent life itself, and the information on this technology is certainly evolving. As time goes on, there is more and more in the technology coming forward that causes us to stop and to be concerned. The intent of the bill two years ago was certainly not the technology that is available today to support it.
I think the legislation could be passed very quickly if the bill were split and the controversial items in it taken out; they are very few and I do not understand the minister's reluctance to do this.
It bothers me that a committee of the House of Commons would make recommendations that would be completely ignored by the minister.
As we looked at changing the structure of the House of Commons, something in which I have been involved in the last few years, I was looking forward to the fact that committees would actually have some relevance, that they would not be partisan and that they would not be just carrying out the wishes of the government. I thought that committees would actually follow the recommendations that come from all parties during the debate and upon listening to the various witnesses who came forward.
In looking at this particular legislation, I notice that pretty nearly all the recommendations of the committee have been ignored, not necessarily on the things we all agree with, but on the things we disagree with.
The committee conducted very extensive hearings on the draft bill. It presented 34 recommendations, some of which the member for Mississauga South recommended and brought forward and which I seconded. I thought the recommendations had some basis for and merited discussion. I am sorry to see that the minister chose not to appear before the committee or not to listen to the committee. The minister chose instead to blindly go forward without any basis in fact on the actual bill itself.
As the committee went through clause by clause at report stage, the minister basically proposed three motions that reversed all three of the committee recommendations. I think that maybe the committees of the House of Commons in the next Parliament should be re-examined, reformed and looked at in the light of their relevance. Because if the government is just going to blindly pass legislation without input from the committees, if it is not going to refer the bills to committees and then take the recommendations of expert witnesses, I find I am in a quandary about how I can support such legislation going ahead.
Mr. Speaker, you will know that it was a legislative committee which did some of the work on the anti-terrorist legislation. Many of the recommendations came forward from witnesses, some of which were questionable witnesses, the ethics counsellor and some others, but the fact is that those recommendations were taken into consideration. Changes were then made to some of the 22 pieces of legislation before that committee.
We now have a bill with 28 areas in which regulations have to be developed, and the bill itself is flawed in many instances, to say the least.
I find that this is a bill dealing entirely with what I would consider the life of a baby. Even the Minister of Health, in recommendations on when life begins, has now come out with labelling on cigarette packages which states, “Smoking during pregnancy can harm the life of a baby”. That does not say a fetus. That does not say something which does not exist. It says a baby. So on one side of its recommendations the department admits that life begins at conception, and on the other side it is saying it does not.
I find a contradiction here. I am at odds with the minister on this, because as a pro-lifer, which puts me in the “God squad” as I am told, whatever that means, it means to me that I stand up for what I believe. I do not intend to change my mind. I do not have any science to indicate that I should change my mind. Nothing has been brought forward to indicate that I am wrong, in my mind of course, as in some people's minds I am dead wrong on almost everything. That is what happens when one is in an adversarial situation with the Government of Canada and representing a large rural riding.
On Bill C-13 and the actual closure legislation that has been brought forth, it allows us an hour to debate a bill that should be debated at far greater length. Speakers should have been allowed to come forward, as the member for Mississauga South has indicated, like many groups appearing before the committee that have not been heard in Parliament and have not had their views brought forward.
Members of Parliament are uninformed about the bill. They have made up their minds based on what the minister has told them to say. I find that reprehensible in regard to the way I operate. I believe we should look at every bill, examine bills as members of Parliament, listen to all the evidence or at least have the courtesy to read the evidence, come to our own conclusions and then be judged based on our conscience as to how we in fact vote on a bill.
I was not prepared to speak on the bill this morning. I felt that it would follow its normal course. It would have a lot of debate on both sides, there would be input at third reading and I would be able to represent the views of my riding, which are, by the way, mixed. I think the views are mixed because the evidence brought forward is not evidence that in fact has reached a conclusion and it is not a basis for fact.
The difference between a disease and a syndrome is an inconclusive body of evidence. I believe that what we are dealing with here is indeed an inconclusive body of evidence. Technology changes almost hourly as laboratories do more work on reproductive technology and as people delve into the problems that come with this type of legislation, in which, as I said earlier, we deal with life itself.
We are facing a moral dilemma as to how we should deal with reproductive technologies, particularly the related research that goes with it. I believe there are medical doctors on all sides of this legislation that would allow for a difference of opinion and allow more technology to be considered. Also, not splitting the bill and not listening to the committee troubles me. I think that committees should have more input and more relevance and should be able to function separately from the House, bring back their reports and have those reports considered.
I am disappointed that the minister has chosen, first, not to appear before the committee, which I think is a travesty of justice. I think all ministers owe it to committees to appear, to put their voices forward and to explain to the committees why in fact they support a piece of legislation or why in fact they brought it forward. That bothers me.
I will conclude by saying that there are certain parts of the bill I support wholeheartedly, but there are areas that need further study and need to be looked at in their entirety, and the technology that is coming forward needs to be studied.
Therefore, I want to express my disappointment that this process has in fact been instituted by the minister.