Safe Streets and Communities Act (B)

Elizabeth May: Madam Speaker, I want to ask a question about the hon. member for St. John’s East’s very last point.

It is very telling and important that we examine the problem of having rushed this bill through committee, but now we have the government amendments ruled out of order. These amendments, which opposition members would have supported, would have cleared the committee had they been presented then.

What are the member’s thoughts as to why those efforts to fix the bill now have come too late?

Mr. Jack Harris: Madam Speaker, it is pretty clear that after the first day, when we had two hours of debate, the member for Mount Royal moved a substantial number of amendments. As he said, we were trying to fix and improve the bill. That is what clause-by-clause is for. However, it is clear the government did not really have enough time to consider the reasonable amendments. Some of the amendments the government put forward mirrored, or were slightly different, but properly considered ways of changing and improving the bill.

I am extremely disappointed, as I think Canadians are, that parliamentarians from both sides did not get an opportunity to do their job. We went into the second meeting with a motion that this would be done between 8:45 a.m. and midnight tonight or not at all. We ended up in a filibuster, but it was an attempt to focus attention on the problem and to try to solve it. Obviously this job was rushed.