Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1 (Bill C-60)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, every time there is time allocation on bills, the government breaks all records for that. The time for debate is shortened and that means limited time for members of Parliament, such as myself. I appreciate the hon. President of the Treasury Board said that there were opportunities. I tried to get to all the various committee hearings on Bill C-60, because it is such important legislation. As I am not a member of those committees, I am not allowed to ask questions.

However, the way in which witnesses are being treated in this current administration is an aberration compared to previous parliamentary procedures where in legislative committees witnesses would actually have sufficient time to put forward a 20-minute presentation and take lots of questions. We now have whole panels on many different topics. One panel can cover different topics. It gets five minutes and very little time for actual discussion and certainly no real deliberation, because everything is prescribed by partisan discipline.

In this context, right now on Bill C-60, I will have no opportunity to speak whatsoever. As you know, Mr. Speaker, and I am not protesting this point, none of my amendments or deletions or suggestions for Bill C-60 were chosen. I do not think there will be any speaking opportunity, yet I represent not just my party but my constituents, who have significant concerns.

We heard the member for Nanaimo—Cowichan speak about the changes to crown corporations, the changes to taxation of credit unions and the failure to define national security, one of the few opportunities we have had to put a definition of national security in the Investment Canada Act. None of these points will I be able to give more than the cursory 30 seconds here and there. Because with time allocation, I will have no speaking opportunity.

I would like to ask the hon. President of the Treasury Board if he would speak to his government whip and ask that I be given one of the speaking slots for Conservative members.

Hon. Tony Clement: Mr. Speaker, I will take that under advisement, but some things occurred at committee that were without precedent. It was a positive development that the hon. member was invited to the various committees. She was also invited to table amendments at finance committee and was able to speak at another committee.

As the hon. member knows, her numbers in the House do not technically warrant this. The rules are perhaps archaic, but they are the rules of this place. However, we were able, as a chamber, to come together to give her a greater opportunity.

Sometimes the opposition parties resisted this, I am told. I hope that is not over-reading the case, but it was very positive that the hon. member was given those opportunities. This is a greater opportunity than had been the case in the past.

I think that answers her question from the government side in terms of being fair and reasonable with respect to hearing representation on the bill.