Hon. Harvie Andre (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons) moved:
That, when the House adjourns on the day of adoption of this Order, it shall stand adjourned until Monday, September 20,1993 at 11 a.m.; and
That, at any time during such adjournment of the House, the Speaker may, after consultation with the government, cause the House to sit for the sole purpose of giving Royal Assent to a bill or bills, and following each Royal Assent, the Speaker shall, each time, further adjourn the House forthwith until Monday, September 20, 1993 at 11 a.m.
He said: Mr. Speaker, undoubtedly this will be the last time I speak in this Chamber. After 21 years in Parliament sitting on both sides of the House, in various capacities for many hours, one approaches a time like this with mixed feelings.
I remember in the early days we sat till 10 o'clock at night. I sometimes wonder if I have not spent more time in this Chamber than I have spent in any other room anywhere in the country, including my bedroom at home. So it has veiy much become a part of my existence and I am going to miss it. But all good things come to an end.
This is near the end of a parliamentary career for me and it is near the end of this session of Parliament, and indeed near the end of this Parliament.
I thought I would talk briefly about what we have accomplished in this session of this Parliament, which has run from May 1991 to June 1993. It has been quite momentous. We have had the constitutional initiative, the referendum, things that dominated the agenda in 1992. I thought the House would be interested to know that during that time there were 138 government bills introduced, 124 were passed at third reading in the
House of Commons, 107 received royal assent, and I am sure the rest will receive royal assent soon.
A total of 265 committee reports were tabled in the House. Sixty of them asked for a government response, 41 of those were responded to and the remainder are not overdue as the reports are later. One hundred and forty six private members' bills and motions were debated; 36 were votable, four were passed and assented to.
Until recent years that figure would have been zero because in my entire time in opposition I think there might have been two private members' motions that actually got adopted. So changes are occurring. There were five motions carried so we had a total of nine so that a quarter of the votable bills and motions in fact were passed by this House.
Questions on the Order Paper: 537 of which 511 were answered.
Petitions, not counting the ones today: 5,100 of which 4,722 were answered. It has been by any measure productive.
My staff did a little assessment of the number of bills passed each year since 1984 and the days spent on each bill. It was kind of interesting that the average seems to be around 3.5 days spent on each bill in the House if we look at House time.
Recently there have been some accusations that I have been prone to stifle debate but since January to June of this year there were 3.6 days spent on each bill. Compare that for example with 1992 when it was 2.5 days. In fact we have spent a little more than a day longer on each bill this year compared with last year. The data do not support any suggestion of cutting off debate.
I wonder if the House might be interested in knowing how our time is spent each day in the House. I wonder if people are aware that of the time spent in the House 60 per cent is on Government Orders and the remainder is not. Of the total time, 42 per cent is actually spent on government bills. Supply days which are opposition days take 12 per cent and 6.4 per cent is on budgets. Oral Questions take up 10.3 per cent of our time. Private Members' Business takes 8.6 per cent. Routine Proceedings, petitions, et cetera take 5 per cent. Members' statements take 3.5 per cent. Adjournment proceedings
June 16, 1993
take 2.1 per cent. Other things like throne speeches, points of order, points of privilege, Speaker's rulings and so on take 10 per cent.
The accusation that the government dominates is not borne out by the facts. The facts show that the time spent on government bills represents only 42 per cent of the time this House is in session.
If we look at supply days, oral questions, Private Members' Business-admittedly those are split-members' statements, adjournment proceedings and so on I think we find that indeed the amount of total time taken by the government side of the House which has the majority of members is in the order of 55 per cent to 60 per cent. The remaining 40 per cent to 45 per cent is taken up by the opposition.
The agenda is set by the opposition. In fact any suggestions that are sometimes made that government and government only runs this institution or controls all the time is not borne out by the evidence.
One of the interesting concerns that this House has dealt with over the last couple of years has been restraint bills because the deficit has been and is a problem. We have had successive budgets bringing forward cuts to various government programs. In this session alone, from May 1991 to the session we are now just ending, there were 11 restraint bills and every single one of them was voted against by the opposition. For five of them time allocation was required because there was no willingness to end the discussion or the debate.
I thought it was instructive for the House to know this when it comes to concern about the deficit. There is a general suggestion on the opposition side: "Yes, we think the deficit is too high". Each and every measure without exception has been vigorously opposed by opposition members. If they have been making other suggestions for cuts they must be making them in a closet somewhere with the doors closed because I have not heard about that. Have they-
Topic: NATIONAL NEIGHBOURHOOD ACT