Citizen’s Arrest and Self-defence Act (Bill C-26)

Elizabeth May: Madam Speaker, my question is also a commentary on our procedure in Parliament and how we handle legislation. I raised this issue earlier with the member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek and was slightly misunderstand.

As a member in this place for the Green Party, I am not a member of committee, but I have the right to put forward amendments at report stage, which I think provides the House with an ideal opportunity to further improve legislation. That is indeed why there is the opportunity for amendments at report stage.

What increasingly happens is that when political parties as entities decide that they are satisfied with deals struck at committee, they are no longer willing to consider improvements that are even advocated by such a group as the Canadian Bar Association. That is why not a single member of this Parliament was willing to second an amendment that would have improved the legislation.

I would like my hon. friend’s thoughts on this problem that we face, the problem of groupthink within parties.

Alex Atamanenko: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands for her question and once again welcome her here. I always enjoy hearing her her comments and her take on matters in the House.

All of us in political parties, when the political party gets bigger—and one day, hopefully, her party will also grow—have a tendency to not allow discussion from outside the party. I think we have to be very vigilant with that. Even though we may have a majority and another party may have only two or three members, it is part of the democratic process in the House, and we owe it to the Canadian public to allow this democratic process to function.

I look at the debate on proportional representation. We talk about that, and I am glad my party supports this concept. I know that other parties have supported it in the past, but once they got into power, they forgot about it because they did not need it.

We have to be constantly vigilant about democratic debate and allowing all members to express their views and to have input into any legislation.