Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)
moved that Bill C-2, an act respecting the election of members to the House of Commons, repealing other acts relating to elections and making consequential amendments to other acts, be read the third time and passed.
Mr. Speaker, first of all, I wish to acknowledge the efforts of all those who were involved to varying degrees in the drafting of this bill, and thus in improving the Canada Elections Act.
I particularly wish to thank the committee members—a number of whom are present in this House as I speak—and to offer particular congratulations to the leadership of my parliamentary secretary, the hon. member for Scarborough—Rouge River, and his predecessor, the hon. member for Peterborough.
It had become obvious that our elections act needed reforming. It dates back 30 years, as has been pointed out by numerous members from all parties. It was also important to amend the legislation to reflect a number of court decisions relating to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Action was therefore required, and action there was. Collective action, moreover.
Last fall, my hon. colleague, the hon. member for Charleswood St. James—Assiniboia, pointed out, and rightly so, that this bill is not solely the creation of the government, but is indeed the fruit of a concerted effort by all parties represented in this House, the outcome of which is reflected in the report by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs released in June 1998.
It is also appropriate to point out, I believe, that this reform of our electoral process has its roots in the Lortie commission of 1991. In other words, our future elections act has taken close to nine years in gestation, parliament after parliament, committee after committee, study after study, consultation after consultation. A nine year gestation period.
Subtopic: Canada Elections Act