Hon. Terry M. Mercer (Deputy Leader of the Senate Liberals):
Honourable senators, Senator Harder today said what pre-study will do, the Senate would do if it had the actual bill. Well, this would happen if the House of Commons would actually get off their butts and get the job done and get the bill through the House of Commons.
Senator Harder went on to talk about us having work to do. He is absolutely right. But so does the House of Commons.
Bill C-63 and a pre-study. Those of you who have been here for a while have heard my speeches at every budget time, no matter which government it has been, about the fact that they bring it in here at the last minute and expect us to get it through and they put urgency on it, but even this time they can’t find an urgency to put on it. Senator Day outlined the fact that you could have budgets backing up if they don’t get their work done over there.
This pre-study will continue to allow the House of Commons to treat the Senate with little or no respect. This pre-study will continue to allow the House of Commons to be lazy and too lazy to get their work done in a timely fashion. Canadians expect better than that. Voters expect better than that.
My fundamental question: What if we had time to do the pre-study and in the process, by some miracle, something happened down the hall and they changed something in the budget, they found something wrong and they fixed it while we’re up here wasting our time studying something that’s different? We want to study what’s actually going to be before us.
I have a message for the House of Commons: Stop wasting our time and get off your butts and do your job. Public expectation is that the House of Commons will do its job. We expect the House of Commons to do its job because everyone knows we’re ready to do ours and I will not be supporting a pre-study.