Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Winnipeg-Fort Garry) moved:
That this House condemns the Government not only for its failure to protect Canada from potential problems of foreign direct investment as demonstrated by the Government's failure to take effective action in dealing with foreign takeovers in the cases of Mitel and of the book publishing industry, but also for its contempt for the parliamentary process by cutting off free debate on its iniquitous investment legislation without providing adequate time for consideration of dozens of important and constructive amendments.
He said: Mr. Speaker, we are now in our sixth straight day of Opposition motions and resolutions. This has to be one of the most incredible and unorthodox situations with which Parliament has been faced in decades. What it basically adds up to is that the Government has gone on strike, or perhaps on lock-out. The Government doesn't want to govern, Mr. Speaker. I think the real reason is that the Government has realized that once all the fun and games of making appointments and having public relations meetings and television interviews, is over, it really has to get down to the hard, difficult and serious business of governing this country and it doesn't want to do it.
Conservatives have never liked to govern. Their long history has shown that. Now that that Party finally has a chance to govern, what happens? We have six straight days in Parliament with no government business on the Order Paper. Can you imagine, Mr. Speaker, any Government in a western democracy so totally abdicating its responsibility that it has to rely upon the Opposition to maintain the entire parliamentary business for almost a whole week?
I have to say that this really is one of the most curious commentaries on this Government. It is perhaps not only that the Government doesn't like to govern any more, but, probably more importantly, it is embarrassed by what it has on the Order Paper and doesn't want Parliament to bring it out for public examination or review. All I can conclude from this strange and unusual period we are going through is that the Government is somehow hoping that if it keeps the Opposition presenting the business of the day in Parliament it will then be able to squeeze all its Bills and estimates into the very last weeks of Parliament, and rush them through in order to make
sure Parliament does not get the opportunity to exercise its proper function, which is clearly to examine these issues and exchange different points of view. That is what we basically see in the attitude of the Government in this parliamentary procedure of having nothing but Opposition Days for a full week, and in its attempt to bring in closure on the only major piece of economic legislation that has been introduced. It is clear that they are afraid, and not prepared to defend their case in an honest, forthright, and effective way. Instead they rely upon all of the dodges; they hide behind procedure, and look for ways of avoiding and evading those responsibilities.
The fact is they cannot evade them. Holiday time is over. Canadians who are going to the polls are giving a very clear message.
Subtopic: BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic: ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION