Calling for cooperation on using MPs’ time in the House of Commons more productively and effectively

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I recently had the great privilege to work with members on all sides of the House on a book called Turning Parliament Inside Out, about how we could improve decorum in this place. One of the problems that we now see ourselves facing, it is very much in front of us, is the prospect of sitting until midnight through every day of June. It is one thing to work hard, but I have been through this before, every June of the 41st Parliament we sat until midnight every night, and unlike other members who had parties where they could trade on and off, I sat until midnight every night. I can swear to members it was not all that productive. I am not allowed to speak of the absence of members, but let us say there was lots of room in here.

The difficulty we face is that it is absolutely right, as the member for Miramichi—Grand Lake says, that the House leaders on the opposition side decided to run a campaign of dilatory motions, that this House now adjourn, that this member now be heard, that we lost lots of time, and it is as if the punishment for that is sitting until midnight until we get through an agenda.

I do not know the solution, but I can say that I can identify the problem. The problem is allowing backroom political strategists to decide what we do in this place for the benefit of the next election instead of, as members of Parliament, standing in our places on our own two feet and deciding what we should do for our constituents to make them proud.

It is a sad moment when one side of the House decides to monkeywrench and the other side of the House decides to punish. It is not what our constituents want to see. It is not productive. It is not the best solution, but I do understand how the government House leader feels forced into this by the loss of time through the tactics of the last few weeks. I do not support any side in this. I just think it is a bloody shame that we cannot work together more effectively and more collaboratively.