December 16, 2010

?

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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NDP

David Christopherson

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Christopherson

You guys applaud easily. Do you do that for B.C. and Alberta, too? I will mention them. There we go. And one for Alberta. Okay. Now, we have got through that. One would think it would be motherhood, given all that applause, that we would not be stuck in this position where we are.

Mr. Speaker, let me also say that we believe, as we approach this, that we need to be recognizing the constitutional structure of Canada, our history, as well as community of interest, as defined by the Supreme Court. Those are fundamental principles that we hold out as we move forward in reviewing this bill.

Before I leave that, let me also say, and this is important, that this is like fixing one-third of the democratic deficit we have in Canada. The other two-thirds are comprised of, ultimately, getting rid of that other place down the hall that we do not need and, second, getting proportional representation, which would truly give us a House representative of population.

We need to go to a PR House, get rid of the other place, increase the seats that the provinces need to reflect their population, and then all we have done is a major repair work. Then there is the actual onward building of the country. That is the kind of work we need to do. However, this is an important piece of it. That is why we are holding the government to account on not having brought this bill forward for eight months. This argument, because there have been some kerfuffles around other bills, that somehow the opposition denied the minister and the government the opportunity to bring in this bill is just nonsense.

First, most of the time that we took up in this place in the last year was to make up for the ground we lost because the government prorogued. So a lot of the time that was here was time that the government wasted, and those bills have been in here three and four times. The government also could have extended the hours in the last days of the sitting. It did not do that.

I hear the minister over there laughing. I do not know what he is laughing about. It is important work. The hours were there. The time was there to do it. Given that I heard the Minister of Democratic Reform say the reason the bill did not come in was because the government did not have House time, I am pointing out that is not accurate. There was a lot of House time. What was missing was the political will to bring it forward, which brings me to the article that triggered all of this.

I have made the comments here that we had a fulsome debate on April 20, for anybody who is following these things, about the Bloc position and an amendment that we put. I think it very clearly states where we are on this issue. It expands on the principles that I have already mentioned this morning. We support not the 25%, and there is a reason for that, but indeed the 24.35%, which represents the relative strength of Quebec now when this bill is introduced. But more important, that represents the relative weight of the seats for Quebec in the House of Commons as it was at the time that this House unanimously said we recognize the Québécois as a nation within a united Canada.

The reason we are even debating this today, in the last dying moments of the House, is an article in the December 2 Globe and Mail, by John Ibbitson. I realize the reporters do not write the headlines, but the headline is “Federal parties agree to scrap bill to correct voting inequalities”.

I was interviewed for that, and I have to tell members it was one of those moments. We get going through an interview and the reporter throws a piece of information at us that we did not know or that is new or maybe it is something that is thrown out there to throw us off. It is a whole art unto itself, interviewing us types.

I am going to be straight upfront about where we are here, how we got here and the confusion around this article. That is my fashion, as people who know me know.

The reporter was going along sort of normal, so to speak. I do not have a tape but I suspect the reporter does. In the midst of the interview, the reporter said, “I want you to know that I've talked to one your party strategists, who I can't name but who tells me that there's an unofficial, a wink-and-a-nod deal to make sure that C-12 doesn't become law, doesn't carry, doesn't move”.

That caught me flat-footed because I had heard no such thing from anyone. However, I have been around long enough in government and in opposition to know that sometimes decisions are taken at higher levels up the food chain than me and we are not always notified in a quite timely way.

I was sort of dancing a little, thinking maybe there was something going on and I did not know about it. I said as much to the reporter. I said, “To the best of my knowledge all I can do is reflect where the elected caucus is. Unnamed, unknown, confidential party strategists I do not know about. The position of the NDP on Bill C-12 is that, as an elected member, as the elected chair of the Ontario caucus within our federal caucus and as a member from Ontario, I can tell you that we are supportive of Bill C-12 getting to committee so that we can do the work that needs to be done. Nothing has changed”.

I said that. I did not know how the article would turn out. When I looked at it, the whole article was what these strategists in the background said. I know I am wading into waters that I am going to regret.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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?

Hon. Vic Toews

Go ahead.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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NDP

David Christopherson

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Christopherson

Thanks a lot. “Go ahead”, good friends from across the way holler.

One does not mess with someone else's profession. We interact with reporters but it is not our world, not our profession.

I have to say that the comments from the elected people, while in some cases may not have been as clear as one might hope, certainly did not reflect that headline and it certainly did not reflect what the so-called party strategists were talking about. That is what disturbs me.

I want to make sure that I get this in. I am actually glad in the long run that it happened because it did bring about debate. However I would feel a lot better about it if we had actually got to a vote and sent it to committee so that when we returned in the new year we were landing ready to go, ready to start working at committee. As it is, I do not know where we are going to go.

What I do know is, if there are NDP strategists who are saying differently than I am right now, then they should come out of the shadows, come into public and put their comments forward, because those are not true.

What happened was, given the importance of this issue in our country, that there was an avalanche of articles in which people took that starting point as the gospel, then moved from there, and we all got dumped on from all the four parties because the message was out there that there was this secret deal by backroom folk to make sure that the bill died.

I am putting on the record right now for the NDP that there is no such position, no such wink and a nod, no nudge-nudge. The fact is that we desperately need to get the bill to committee. Ultimately we have to get it enacted.

There are 30 members of Parliament who are not here who should be representing Canadians and speaking for them, just as we are. The reason they are not is that collectively, and it is the government's fault because it is the lead, collectively we have not found a way to change the law to allow that to happen.

Here we are in the last few minutes of the last day. Normally the government puts sort of unimportant things here. It shoehorns them in. My sense is the government brought this in today so that it could put forward words about how it wants to make this move forward. Again, in the absence of a vote it really does not mean much other than it is now on the political agenda of Canadians, especially those Canadians in Ontario, Alberta and B.C. who are waiting for their right to democracy and fairness and representation in this place to be delivered to them.

We are the only ones who can do that. That is why I ask the question of the Bloc. I believe if we could get this bill to committee, given the importance, we would be forced to find a way to have common ground to get this through so we can get those MPs into the House doing their job on behalf of the Canadians who have yet to elect them.

We in the NDP believe that the issue around Quebec ought not to be such a huge matter. It is sort of the second part of what we already did with the declaration.

We fervently believe that one of the medium- and long-term goals of all of us from outside of Quebec is to continue to try to create the conditions, with limitations, I am not suggesting we write a cheque and let everything go, but at the end of the day if we truly want a united Canada, all the provinces have to be signed on to the Constitution. In this country, that is not going to happen at the end of a gun and it is not going to happen through any kind of coercion. It would only happen if the people of Quebec decide in their hearts that their future is with Canada as federalists as opposed to sovereignists and an independent Quebec. That is the battle. It seems to us in the NDP that it is only fair that if we are going to go as far as we did on the motion earlier, we at least lock in that relative weight. This is a culture that is trying to survive surrounded by umpteen hundred other cultures and beyond our borders too, and we are proud of what that means for Canada.

That to us ought not to be such a big deal. It looks as though it is going to turn into that. It is a shame. I want to emphasize that I did appreciate the positive remarks of the House leader for the Bloc. He offered, I think, some constructive tone and opportunity as well as his other concerns. My words, not theirs, but I got the sense, and when I did use the word I was not corrected by the member, that they are not looking to be obstructionist about this, that they recognize the need for Ontario, Alberta and B.C. to get these extra seats so they are properly weighted and represented in the House, but Bloc members want to do it in a way that makes sure that it is not the slippery slope so that 50, 75 or 100 years from now they are down to a fraction, percentage-wise, if theirs is not one of the provinces that grows in population. We do not know what those numbers are going to be.

We are in a bit of a spot here. I am glad we are debating it. We will not know until we get back, assuming we do come back, how serious the government is about this. We in the NDP will be looking for the government to put Bill C-12 front and centre when we come back, rather than tagging it into the last day in the final dying hours of the House before we rise for the Christmas break. When we get back, I really hope that some of the positiveness here can be focused and that we can get a quick vote to get the bill to committee, because that is where the real work is. We all know that. Then we can bring in the provinces and all the experts. We can do all that we need to do but try to do it in a timely fashion so that we are not just stuck here, because that is where we are.

We look to the government. It has all the levers of power. We look to it to correct its mistake of letting this languish for so long and give action to its words that this is a priority, that it cares about the people of Ontario, Alberta and B.C. If so, then we would like to see that reflected in government business when we return, that this is up there for debate and we spend as much time as it takes to get to a second reading vote so that hopefully we can get this to committee, and as quickly as possible, get our work done there and then get it back.

Remember, democracy is not perfect. One of its negatives is that it is slow. So we need to recognize that, as quickly as we move in each of the pieces, there are a lot of pieces that need to be dealt with. If anybody is causing us to drag our heels at any of these stages, this is just not going to get fixed, and then, quite frankly, those headlines out there will be probably well deserved.

This is a minority House, a minority government, but everybody is talking about wanting to ensure that Ontario, Alberta and B.C. get the seats they could. Everyone is pretty much treating that as motherhood, so let us find out, what are the rubs; where are the problems? Let us try to get a little bit of grease, a little bit of oil, on that problem and get it dealt with. If the Bloc members are not going to vote for this on second reading no matter what, fair enough, that is their right, but that is not the majority of the House. We can still get it to committee where we can deal with their issues and all the other issues, but that is only going to happen if the government puts the bill on government business in a timely enough fashion such that we can actually do the work.

I will leave it there and I look forward to any comments and questions from colleagues.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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CPC

Steven Fletcher

Conservative

Hon. Steven Fletcher (Minister of State (Democratic Reform), CPC)

Madam Speaker, what we see here are the federalist parties wishing this bill could get to committee as soon as possible.

The member talked about some sort of secret deal. There certainly was no secret deal with the Conservatives, and the Liberals, the NDP and Bloc members have said there was no secret deal with them. Obviously there have been no secret deals, otherwise it would be a super-duper secret, because nobody knows about it and it would still be secret. So I think we can move on from that.

The NDP member said he wants to deal with this bill as soon as possible in committee. Then would the member vote in favour of time allocation, which would reduce the amount of time spent debating the Bloc amendment? Would the NDP support time allocation, yes or no? If the answer is yes, great; if the answer is no, that would demonstrate that the NDP is disingenuous in bringing this bill to committee.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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NDP

David Christopherson

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Christopherson

Madam Speaker, I am awfully disappointed. The minister is starting to play games here and that is the last thing we need right now. I am not going to give him a definitive answer and he knows that. I do not know exactly what the minister is doing.

If the minister is asking whether we are ready to move as quickly as possible at second reading to get this bill to committee, then as I have said over and over on behalf of the caucus, yes, we are prepared. We are not going to drag anything out. We will participate in whatever debates are necessary. We will give respect to any caucus that introduces motions. But at the end of the day, the government should try to do something other than either ignore Quebec or come in here with a great big bat and force everybody to do what it wants.

Why will the minister not take an approach of co-operation and collegiality and try to find out where we can work together?

We cannot afford a win-lose situation with respect to this bill. This is about building Canada. We need a win-win situation and that is only going to happen when there is an attitude of respect for each other and each other's positions and thinking, rather than coming in here and ordering that it will be either a yes or a no, cut off debate and ram this legislation through. That is the kind of stuff that drives Canadians nuts.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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NDP

Bill Siksay

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Siksay (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP)

Madam Speaker, as the chair of the NDP's British Columbia caucus I want to say how important this legislation is to people in British Columbia. We want to make sure that the folks in British Columbia have the appropriate representation in this place so that their views can be appropriately represented to the rest of Canada, to all the parties here in the House of Commons.

The member mentioned that changing the electoral map, adding these seats in British Columbia, is only one piece of the electoral reform puzzle. He has talked about the other things that New Democrats have strongly argued for, such as abolishing the Senate, as well as the importance of proportional representation.

I wonder if he could say a few words about the importance of proportional representation. Is that something that should also be on the agenda of this Parliament to ensure that we have real democratic reform here in Canada?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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NDP

David Christopherson

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Christopherson

Madam Speaker, Ontario, B.C. and Alberta members are going to speak about the importance of this issue to them. Whether a member is from those provinces or not, it behooves all of us to find a way to get this resolved. That is our major message here today.

With regard to my colleague's direct question about proportional representation, if we had proportional representation in the House we would have a much fairer House, a House that better reflects the political will of the Canadian people. I will give some examples.

Given the amount of votes that the Liberals received west of Ontario, they ought to have more seats, because enough people voted for the Liberal candidates that the numbers dictate they should have that representation here. We could say the same thing about the Conservatives. There are parts of the country where they get a meaningful, significant share of the votes but not enough to win the seat, because of first past the post. Of course, the same applies to the NDP and the Green Party. Enough Canadians have voted for the Green Party that there ought to be at least a couple of MPs here to reflect its point of view.

So this is not just about the NDP worrying about the NDP; it is about the NDP looking at Canada and our electoral system and saying we could do better. Proportional representation would be better.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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NDP

Jack Harris

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jack Harris (St. John's East, NDP)

Madam Speaker, I want to ask my colleague question. I know this effort has been around for some time and I understand there were three separate versions of this bill. We have been experiencing this delay since the bill was first introduced in April and there have been three different versions of it. Can he comment on why that is, and how serious is the government about it if it cannot seem to get it right?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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NDP

David Christopherson

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Christopherson

Madam Speaker, that is a really critical question in terms of the process and why we are here. This is the third version of the bill. It speaks to the lack of consultation on the part of the government. If the government had done its job and talked properly to the provinces and talked to the other parties in the House, we would have a lot clearer idea of where everybody is from the get-go. However, the government did not do that. The government once again followed its usual heavy-handed, our-way-or-the-door way and that is why we are at this point.

Now we are here debating the third version and we are sort of stuck. We are ending the year having a debate, which is good because we get to put our positions forward and it gets us a little closer to second reading, but without a vote at second reading to get this to committee where the real work will happen, it is all but meaningless.

So a lot of the problem we have is not just the complexity of the issue, which is part of it, but the government's heavy-handed approach to everything it does, the lack of respect and lack of recognition that other people have points of view and that the provinces need an opportunity to express what they want to have expressed here. If the government had done that ahead of time, it would have been a lot easier for the House of Commons to deal with this in a more expedited fashion.

That brings us all the way around to the question of whether the government is really serious about doing this or just trying to find ways to justify not making it the law of the land.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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CPC

Steven Fletcher

Conservative

Hon. Steven Fletcher

Madam Speaker, obviously the rhetoric from the gentleman is off, but we expect that from the NDP.

The bottom line is that we would like the bill to move forward. Will the NDP help the government deal with the issue of time allocation, which will be necessary to deal with the obstructionist Bloc amendment?

By the way, a lot of consultation has gone on in regard to this bill. Let us get it to committee and continue the process. However, we need the help of the other federalist parties to move it forward. Are they going to help?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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NDP

David Christopherson

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Christopherson

Madam Speaker, the position of the NDP is to help Canada have the kind of governance structure that reflects what people are entitled to and need in order to have a proper, modern, functioning democracy. That is what the NDP is interested in. I am not going to engage in any kind of gamesmanship with the minister about shutting down debate and who is going to gang up on whom. Let us just focus on the fact that this is about Canada.

It is not about any of our caucuses. It is about the importance of having a democracy that works and is strong and up to date. Right now, it is not, and in a minority government it is going to take all of us working together to correct this and move it along. The attitude and approach that the minister is taking is exactly opposite to the kind of leadership needed on Bill C-12.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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CPC

Michael Chong

Conservative

Hon. Michael Chong (Wellington—Halton Hills, CPC)

Madam Speaker, there is an amendment before us from the Bloc Québécois to defeat this bill at second reading, so it my honour to speak to that amendment and to the broader bill behind the amendment, Bill C-12, the Democratic Representation Act.

My party is supporting the bill and the Bloc clearly is not. Therefore, my comments today are directed toward the Liberals and the New Democrats.

Before I begin, I am splitting my time with the member for Edmonton—St. Albert.

For my colleagues across the aisle, this is one of the most important pieces of legislation introduced into the House of Commons in the last 10 years. It is so important because it ensures compliance with a fundamental constitutional principle, and that is representation by population in this chamber.

The idea in the Constitution is that this is the people's chamber and this principle is fundamental to democracy and an essential element of the Canadian Constitution. Representation by population is the notion that all Canadian citizens are equal and they all should have an equal say in who governs our country.

It is fundamental to our system of government. It is a founding principle of Confederation. In fact, it was the war cry of George Brown, who was the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 1857, and post-Confederation, to 1873. He fought for that principle in the United Province of Canada and subsequently in Confederation. It was on that agreement, in part, that Confederation was forged.

Today, however, we have gone a long way from that founding constitutional principle. The gap between how many voters an MP represents in a fast-growing province, such as Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, has never been bigger. The gap today is bigger than at any other point in our country's history since 1867.

Under the current formula by which the seats have been distributed in this very chamber, we have reached a point where the difference between the fast-growing populations in provinces such as Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario and the slower-growing regions has undermined the very principle of representation by population. For example, an MP in the House from Ontario, B.C. or Alberta represents, on average, 26,000 more Canadians than an MP from any of the other 7 provinces.

I acknowledge two other constitutional conditions on representation by population: the senatorial floor and the grandfather clause. The senatorial floor ensures that there must be at least as many members in this chamber from a particular provincial division as there are senators represented in the next chamber. The grandfather clause in section 51 ensures that in no circumstance can the number of MPs in any provincial division fall below the number of MPs that the provincial division had in place in 1986.

While the Constitution contains these two conditions on representation by population, the essential element is there and the essential element is clear and overwhelming that this chamber should be representative of the population of each provincial division.

The current situation may very well be unconstitutional. In 1991 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on proposed changes to the electoral boundaries in the provincial division of Saskatchewan. The court stated:

A system which dilutes one citizen's vote unduly as compared with another citizen's vote runs the risk of providing inadequate representation to the citizen whose vote is diluted....The result will be uneven and unfair representation.

When MPs from faster and larger-growing provinces represent tens of thousands more constituents than their colleagues from smaller provinces, it is a violation of the fundamental constitutional principle of representation by population. It is also a denial of a voice for new Canadians and for visible minorities. That fact is when we look at the 30 most populous ridings in the country, more than half of them have greater than 25% visible minority populations. The fact is these 30 largest ridings are disproportionately from Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Those ridings are disproportionately made up of new Canadians and visible minorities.

Denying these rapidly-growing regions new seats is to deny new Canadians, and visible minorities in particular, a voice in this chamber. The new Canada is growing, the new Canada needs a voice and the new Canada wants in. This is where the democratic representation act comes in.

By bringing faster-growing regions closer to representation by population in the House, Bill C-12 would restore the balance in this chamber. By adding seats to faster-growing regions, the gap in average riding populations in the country will be reduced.

For my New Democrat and Liberal colleagues, the longer we wait to make these changes, the more difficult, the more politically tenuous, they will become. The longer we wait to address this inequity, the more difficult it will be to achieve politically, because the gap will only continue to grow.

Population projections confirm this. The GTA, the region which I represent, has eight million people. It is going to grow by 50% in the next 20 years. The greater Toronto area will go from 8 million Canadians to 12 million Canadians by 2031. The same story can be told of Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

The number of visible minorities in the country will also continue to grow. In fact, Statistics Canada recently released a report that said by 2031, one in three Canadians would be a visible minority, up to 14.4 million citizens.

The effects of this imbalance are very real. They are real for Canadians in faster-growing provinces whose voices are not in this chamber, whose voices are not represented here and whose voices are not heard as strongly as they should be. By allowing under-representation to continue, we are sending a signal to these Canadians that their interests are not as important as those from other regions of the country and that they somehow count for less.

This act would strike a good balance between providing fair representation for those slower-growing provinces and recognizing the galloping heterogeneity of the new Canada. It would recognize the demographic realities in faster growing regions of the country.

I encourage my Liberal and New Democratic colleagues to support the bill, to defeat the amendment in front of us and to restore the fundamental constitutional principle, representation by population.

Provinces like Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario have experienced significant population growth and that trend needs to be reflected in the makeup of the House. Under this bill, all other provinces and territories would have their seat counts protected and would continue to enjoy better representation than the three faster-growing provinces. They would continue to be better represented in the House than the three faster-growing provinces.

This act strikes a good balance between the different interests across the country and restores a fundamental constitutional principle.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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LIB

John McKay

Liberal

Hon. John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, there is very little in the member's speech with which I would disagree. In fact, I thought he was supremely articulate about the necessity to redress the balance among the provinces.

I have listened to the representative of the Liberal Party, my hon. friend from St. Paul's. I have listened to the hon. member from the New Democratic Party. In all three federalist parties, there does not seem to be much daylight among the various positions. There is a recognition that some inequities will inevitably occur, particularly with P.E.I., the territories and things of that nature, and some niggling around Quebec. However, by and large, there does not seem to be that much disagreement.

The member said that this was one of the most important, if not the most important, bills that had been introduced in the House.

This comment is for the former minister. There would have been a lot less heat about the bill and possibly a lot more light had there been some preliminary discussions with the various parties so the differences could have been narrowed and dealt with in a bill.

I would be interested to hear the member's comments on that.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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CPC

Michael Chong

Conservative

Hon. Michael Chong

Madam Speaker, the government has consulted outside of the chamber on the bill. In fact, I commend the government for listening and taking into account various views outside the chamber.

I note the government, in a former Parliament, introduce Bill C-22. At the time there was much criticism that while it brought Alberta and British Columbia's numbers up, it did not do the same for Ontario. The government listened and, as a result, Bill C-12 has been introduced. It takes into account that criticism. All three provinces will be lifted to the same extent in their proportionate representation.

With respect to consultations with other parties in the chamber, the whole process is for that. We are debating this today. We are consulting today. There is a chance for parties to move amendments. The Bloc has moved an amendment in the chamber, with which I do not agree. However, there is an opportunity for members to be consulted at committee and to propose amendments to further improve the bill.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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BQ

Thierry St-Cyr

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Thierry St-Cyr (Jeanne-Le Ber, BQ)

Madam Speaker, I was listening to the hon. member's speech. At least we can say he is consistent. He was one of the few MPs who voted against recognizing the Quebec nation, and his speech was quite consistent with that. According to him, the Quebec nation does not exist and there is no reason to give it any special protection. Nevertheless, does he agree that his colleagues who recognized the Quebec nation are being inconsistent when they say that the nation exists, but there will be no provision in this bill to protect that nation?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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CPC

Michael Chong

Conservative

Hon. Michael Chong

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Bloc Québécois member for his question. This is a constitutional issue. The idea is that all the regions of the country have the same representation in the House of Commons.

Regardless of what the views are on that issue, the recognition of nationhood is not in the Constitution. However, the principle of representation by population is a key constitutional provision, as the Supreme Court of Canada indicated in its 1991 ruling. It spoke about the need to ensure that there were no large gaps between the different regions of the country in terms of their representation in this chamber.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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CPC

Mike Wallace

Conservative

Mr. Mike Wallace (Burlington, CPC)

Madam Speaker, I appreciated the comments from my colleague who is very learned on this topic.

I know the member does his research. The amendment from the Bloc is to end this discussion completely. Does the member have an understanding of rep by pop by province? Do Quebeckers expect rep by pop in their province for provincial legislation? Is the member able to comment on—

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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NDP

Denise Savoie

New Democratic Party

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie)

Order, please. I will have to allow the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills to respond very briefly.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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CPC

Michael Chong

Conservative

Hon. Michael Chong

Madam Speaker, I think all Canadians, including Canadians living in Quebec, understand the principle that this chamber should be representative of the population across the country. Canadians in Quebec understand that. They are fair-minded. They believe in equality and they believe this chamber should be the people's chamber.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Democratic Representation Act
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December 16, 2010