Extension of Sitting Hours

On Monday, June 11th, 2012 in Debate

That, pursuant to Standing Order 27, the ordinary hour of daily adjournment shall be 12 midnight, commencing on Monday, June 11, 2012, and concluding on Friday, June 22, 2012, but not including Friday, June 15, 2012.

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, when the government House leader claims that the government is suddenly providing additional hours for debate and proper study of the bill, at least in the case of Bill C-38, his mouth should feel as though it is full of ashes to say something like that. We have seen the torching of environmental legislation by it being rammed through at second reading and the committee process that followed.

I heard the hon. member on the Conservative benches say that this bill has received more study than ever. I worked on the passage of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act that, by Bill C-38, would be repealed. It was taken through the Privy Council Office in 1987 for permission to draft. It was finally tabled before the House and passed but did not get royal assent until 1994. In my experience, it takes years to bring forward good environmental legislation and it takes weeks to bring out a wrecking ball.

I do not see how, at this point, being told that sitting until midnight for the two days left at report stage provides any real content to the debate.

Does my hon. friend from Vancouver East get any sense that the Conservatives are willing to negotiate to bring Bill C-38 to a conclusion that includes taking on amendments?

Libby Davies: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her comments and for giving us some idea of how long it took to deal with the original Canadian Environmental Assessment Act in 1987 and what a substantive process that was.

The member is entirely correct that what are seeing here, basically with the stroke of a pen or a majority vote, is that these things are just gone. They are just cut out. I think that is what makes us so concerned and why we challenge so much of what is going on.

I would say that I am not privy to all of the discussions, but nothing that I have seen or that any of us has seen has given us any indication that the Conservative government has been willing to step back a little, reflect on what the bill will do or hear what Canadians have been saying.

In fact, it is really disturbing that the government has not consulted anybody, whether on EI changes or environmental changes. It has not consulted the people who are going to be impacted. It is just ramming it through, and that is completely wrong.

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