Canadian Wheat Board

Ms. Elizabeth May: Madam Speaker, with all due respect to the hon. minister, the motion before us is not a question period for the minister on the substance of the bill. It is a motion to limit debate. My comments, like those of other hon. members, are to that subject.

When I first started to come to this place, it was a great privilege to see sitting at that table an honorary table officer, Stanley Knowles, who served in the House and was a great parliamentarian. He said in 1965:

The whole study of parliamentary procedure over the years, indeed over the decades, has been an endeavour to find a balance between the right to speak at as much length as seems desirable, and the right of parliament to make decisions.

I suggest that hon. members on the government benches have not struck the right balance, that when you invoke closure and time on debate over and over again, you lose legitimacy not only in the eyes of the opposition parties, but in the eyes of those people who elected them as members of Parliament.

I ask them to please allow proper debate on the bill.

Hon. Gerry Ritz: Madam Speaker, we have done just that. I have not heard anything different in the last 10 minutes, the last 10 days, the last 10 weeks, the last 10 months, the last 10 years on the debate around the Canadian Wheat Board.

We are following the mandate that we were given on May 2 to come here and use whatever parliamentary means, which we are doing, to ensure this would get through the House and move on in a timely way to give clarity and certainty to the complete industry in western Canada.

That is exactly what we were sent here to do and that is exactly what we will do.