Mr. Chairman, a moment ago, I made two suggestions to the Minister of Justice. My second suggestion was to postpone until another date the study we are now making of the bill. My request was based on reasons which seemed to me very important, since several members have pointed out in the course of their remarks that they had not yet formed their opinion on the merits of the bill.
I cannot see why the government wants to rush this bill through. It is a most important measure, and by implication, touches upon fundamental problems in our society.
I have suggested that its consideration in committee be deferred to another sitting. I think my suggestion at the time was welcomed by the majority of the members of this house.
The house is now in committee of the whole, and is dealing with section 1, which is perhaps the most important. I do not know whether the government thinks this measure cannot be improved. There is no doubt that if a few more days were allowed, several members could consider all the suggestions that have been put forward and could come back and make important recommendations.
This bill is being put forward on the initiative of the government, and no doubt the government accepts responsibility for; but if it is passed, it will become the law of the land. We want to help make it as practical as possible, and it is with that purpose in mind that I have suggested that its consideration in committee be deferred to another day. I renew my plea to the minister.
I cannot see why an attempt is being made to hurry this bill through. There is no urgency involved. Many sentences have been commuted over the past three years, and a few days more could not make that much difference. On the contrary, it would enable us to study the bill and also to consult authorities and go over some of the speeches which have been made.
I must say to the minister that I was quite disappointed and surprised at the astonishing attitude he adopted a moment ago, in refusing to give us one day or a few days before the bill is considered by the committee of the whole.
I hope section 1 will not be passed before six o'clock; I know this would give satisfaction to several members on the other side of the house, who would also like to see some improvements made to various aspects of the bill.
I therefore ask the minister to give serious thought to my request and to allow us a few days more to make a thorough study of such an important bill.
In fact, once the bill is passed by the house, perhaps the matter will not come up again for another generation. In any event, we will not be here to deal with it at that time.
Therefore, I would ask the minister to allow us at least that much more time, which I consider necessary if we want to improve this bill. We need more time to consider this important measure, and I hope the minister will grant my request, which follows the one I submitted a moment ago.