Frederick James (Jim) Hawkes (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council)
Mr. Jim Hawkes (Parliamentary Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Privy Council):
Mr. Speaker, this is a subject dear to my heart. I served on the committee that dealt with the Private Members' Bill and I have great confidence that the committee worked well in a non-partisan fashion and came up with a piece of legislation that has a lot to commend itself to this House and to the nation.
I think the Government has made its position quite clear historically and perhaps I could repeat it. The Government is reluctant to intrude on the privileges of the House and of Members. There have been some very substantial advances in the handling of Private Members' Business which came about as a consequence of parliamentary reform in 1984-85. The Government would not want to be seen as dictating to the House in any fashion what the House should do about an initiative from a Member through Private Members' Hour. I think that has been explained before and the best I can do with respect to this particular intervention is to repeat it.
If the Hon. Member wants me to seek further clarification from the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Mazankowski), I would be glad to do that. However, the House must remain master of its own destiny and procedures, in particular when it comes to Private Members' Hour.
Subtopic: BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE