Scott Reid, MP, speaks to Elizabeth’s proposals for changing the standing rules of the House of Commons

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I had in mind a longer question, but given your injunction, I am wondering if the hon. member for Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston has had any opportunity to look at the proposals I have made for changing our standing rules and if he sees merit in any of them.

Scott Reid – Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I cannot do justice to the hon. member’s quite detailed and lengthy paper on changes to the Standing Orders. She came forward in good faith with a substantial number of proposals.

Rather than dealing with any of the specifics, I will make this observation. What she has done—and this is the best practice for any of us here—is she has looked at best practices of other Westminster jurisdictions, of which there is a treasure trove, a cornucopia, and drawn upon some of those best practices. She has pointed in particular to themes of working consensually together. This is a theme that has animated the hon. member’s work on electoral reform. It defines the kind of system she is working toward with electoral reform. She wants a system that makes us more consensual.

The same general thesis animates her proposals for working in the House. That is not easy in a Westminster system. We all know the famous story of our being two swords’ lengths apart. I assume the purpose was to prevent us from actually stabbing each other, but that is not to say that we have to keep on doing that into the future. We can work more consensually, and the theme that she is proposing is a profound one that I hope will be picked up by members in all parties in the remainder of this Parliament.