I rise, not to reply to those hon. members who have spoken on the substance of the first clause so far but to deal with the question which was raised some time ago by the hon. member for Maisonneuve-Rose-mont, suggesting that discussion of the bill in committee might be deferred. I must say that when I first heard his request it seemed to me that, after all, the bill had been before the house for nine days since it was read the first time and distributed, and that all hon. members had probably made up their minds not only on the principle of the bill but also with regard to the details. I thought, therefore, it would be appropriate to continue at once to consider the bill in committee.
I must say that I was also a little conscious of the fact that there had been some criticism-though I wish to say we do not consider that criticism to be justified-that the government was at fault for not having legislation on the order paper for the house to deal with. Well, this bill has been on the order paper for nine days, and if it were the fact that there is not a great deal of other legislation presently before the house and I considered that members would have had an opportunity to consider this subject carefully and make up their minds.
These arguments could all be advanced; nevertheless, I am sure the hon. member put forward his views with sincerity and for a good purpose. For that reason I have had a discussion with my colleague the leader of the house and I may tell the committee that, having today opened up the discussion of clause 1, if it meets the wishes of hon. members opposite we should be prepared to defer further consideration of the bill in committee until next Monday.