Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
2021-04-14 15:49 [p.5570]
Mr. Speaker, as I indicated to you informally earlier today, I want to return to a point of order that we were discussing on February 23. It was on the question of not my original point around the right for independent members and members of non-recognized parties to pose questions on Wednesdays, but the more general problem of the distribution among many MPs and that the number has grown.
At the time, you said that you would take that matter under advisement, as the number of hon. members in the category of either independent or non-recognized members has, in fact, doubled within this Parliament. I certainly will not repeat the points I made earlier. I had citations going back to Speaker Macnaughton, Speaker Jerome, Speaker Gilbert Parent, Speaker John Fraser and so on, to the fact that we do have rights to ask questions in question period. It is a matter of the distribution. I been compiling some statistics, and I will be as brief as I can possibly be.
In the 41st Parliament, when Green MPs got their first seat in this place, it was one question a week at the beginning of the Parliament. We have gone from five members of Parliament in the category of independents or non-recognized parties. We had grown to 14 members. We went from one question a week to seven slots per week and we ended up with 0.86 questions per week as opposed to one.
In the 42nd Parliament, we started with 11 members in the category of independent or non-recognized parties. That number grew to 17 members over the lifetime of that Parliament. Again, the effect of that was to go for one question a week to each one of us having 0.82 questions per week. That happened because the Speaker and other parties added three questions to the slots available for members in our category.
In this 43rd Parliament, we started with four members and we had one question per week for each one of us. The number of members in the independent and non-recognized party category has doubled. It is now eight. No questions have been added to the available slots. The result is that rather than where we started after the last election, with one question per week for each one of us, the three Green MPs and the hon. member for Vancouver Granville each of us at the beginning of this Parliament having one question per week, with the addition of four more independents, we now have 0.50 questions, in other words roughly half of what we ever had since the 41st Parliament.
I put it to you, Mr. Speaker, we had near agreement yesterday on unanimous consent. We have a lot of support in the House. There should be more questions available for the category of independent and non-recognized parties. I would be very grateful if you could look at these numbers and these statistics and see if it is not time to add more slots to the available times in question period for members who fall into our category.