Security of Tenure of Military Judges Act

Mr. Speaker, I was not going to touch on this issue, but the hon. member for St. John’s East has raised it. It grieves me enormously to block unanimous consent on this matter. The parliamentary secretary’s presentation on the facts and the value of Bill C-16 is uncontested from the Green Party’s point of view. He presented it admirably.

However, it has been a source of great grief. I have heard from Green Party members across the country. They are stunned that independent members were not allowed to speak. Others have spoken from other parties to reflect on the sacrifices of those in previous wars and those currently in military action.

Patriotism is not something that is the exclusive province of one party on one side of the House. If anyone has politicized any issue inappropriately it was government members who two days in a row have refused the Bloc Québécois members in Parliament and the duly elected Green Party member of Parliament in speaking to Remembrance Day.

I think the matter of unanimous consent is usually negotiated. It is negotiated with goodwill and that goodwill was absent in this case.

Mr. Chris Alexander: Mr. Speaker, I would simply urge our hon. colleagues opposite, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, and those other independent members who made their views known at the start of today’s debate, to find a different way of expressing their displeasure.

The decision rendered on June 2 by the Court Martial Appeal Court was one that declared our current military justice system invalid because of the lack of security of tenure for judges. The provisions of this ruling were suspended until December 2 to allow this House to act, to allow the Parliament to Canada to correct this situation. December 2 is coming quickly.

Those members have a position that they wanted to express. They are entitled to use the rules of this place for whatever ends they choose. However, I would appeal to them to choose a different context, to make a different piece of legislation, a different measure, the object of their disapproval or their disruption in this case. Military justice and the integrity of the justice system serving the Canada armed forces is too important.