An Act to change the name of the electoral district of Châteauguay—Lacolle

Sponsor

Brenda Shanahan  Liberal

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

In committee (House), as of Feb. 8, 2018

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-377.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment changes the name of the electoral district of Châteauguay—Lacolle to “Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville”.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

An Act to Change the Name of the Electoral District of Châteauguay-LacollePrivate Members' Business

February 8th, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
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Halifax Nova Scotia

Liberal

Andy Fillmore LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-377, introduced by my colleague, the member for Châteauguay—Lacolle. The bill proposes to change the name of her riding to “Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville”.

As members of the House know, the municipality of Lacolle, which is currently included in the name of my colleague's electorate district, is actually located in the neighbouring riding of Saint-Jean. This is confusing for residents in both ridings, and this legislation has received support from the hon. member for Saint-Jean in the neighbouring riding.

Our government in turn supports this bill, because it just makes sense. In fact, at first reading of Bill C-377 on December 6, 2017, we heard from hon. members on both sides of the House who support the objectives that this legislation sets out to accomplish.

In addressing his support for the legislation, the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent stated that:

I appreciated the speech by my colleague from Châteauguay—Lacolle, a riding whose name will change in due time. I want to reassure her straight off that the official opposition fully agrees with the substance of the bill and that we will be supporting the measure.

As my hon. colleague has shown, there is indeed a major anomaly in the name of the riding, which refers to Lacolle, a place that is not even located in the riding of Châteauguay—Lacolle, but rather in that of Saint-Jean.

During the same debate on Bill C-377, the hon. member for Salaberry—Suroît stated:

I fully understand my colleague's need to change the name of the riding to Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville. As my other Conservative and NDP colleagues said, we understand and commend the initiative shown by the member in consulting her constituents, doing historical research, and keeping an election promise. That is why we are going to vote in favour of her bill.

Like members of Parliament themselves, constituency offices must be accessible to their constituents, and all members of Parliament are here to represent and voice the concerns of their constituents.

In listening to her constituents, the member for Châteauguay—Lacolle introduced Bill C-377 and told the House that the riding name causes “confusion” for the constituents of both her riding and the neighbouring riding of Saint-Jean. Her proposed new riding name would result in a more exact description by incorporating the important regional county municipality of Les Jardins-de-Napierville.

Once this legislation is passed, my colleague for Châteauguay—Lacolle will be able to return to her riding, knowing she has listened to the concerns of her constituents, and as a result, acted and made change on their behalf. For that reason, she should be very proud of her work.

I would like to share a personal anecdote that demonstrates the importance of riding names.

I am very fortunate to be the member of Parliament for Halifax. It is a short, simple name. It fits really well on any communication product. It is not a mouthful, making it easy for me to introduce myself to constituents without confusing them. It also has the very fun and distinguished history of being one of only four riding names that date all the way back to the beginning of the Canadian Confederation in 1867. I would never want to have it changed, but it does come with some challenges.

The boundaries for the federal riding of Halifax are smaller than the municipal boundaries for Halifax. In fact, the municipality of Halifax includes four federal ridings, mine and three others: Halifax West, Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, and Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook. However, because residents of all these federal ridings are also residents of the municipality of Halifax, many people in these adjacent federal ridings often believe I am their member of Parliament because I am the MP for Halifax.

This means that people often contact my office for help when they are in fact not my constituents. We would, of course, love to help them, and in most cases do get them what they need to know, but as every MP here knows, we already have a substantial number of constituents who we must represent and care for, and in Nova Scotia that number is between 70,000 to 90,000 constituents each. That is to say, we already have our work cut out for us in order to serve our constituents well.

This is an example of how my riding name impacts the day-to-day operations of my office, and I am sure there are stories similar to mine and to that of the member for Châteauguay—Lacolle, which demonstrate the importance of accurate riding names.

Our government believes Canadians deserve access to their member of Parliament, and by extension, our government is also committed to helping and encouraging more Canadians to vote. The Minister of Democratic Institutions has spoken passionately about the need for us to do everything we can to encourage, and not discourage, democratic participation. In fact, we are expanding the voting franchise to more Canadians by reversing elements of the previous government's Fair Elections Act, which actually made voting more difficult and unnecessarily complicated for Canadians.

If passed by Parliament, this act will let more Canadians vote and make it easier for them to do so. It will help enhance the integrity of our electoral system as well as people's confidence in it.

Another issue the Minister of Democratic Institutions is examining is cybersecurity. In accordance with her mandate letter from the Prime Minister, the minister presented a threat assessment from the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, to analyze the risks to Canada's political and electoral activities from hackers. The fact is political parties have been the victims of cyber-attacks in other countries, and those attacks are attempts to destabilize and undermine—

An Act to Change the Name of the Electoral District of Châteauguay-LacollePrivate Members' Business

February 8th, 2018 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Andy Fillmore Liberal Halifax, NS

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I commend the member for passing the test of paying attention this evening.

Of course, where I was going with all that is that in the same way that technology evolves, we have to adapt to it, so too we have to evolve and adapt to the names of our ridings, and make sure they continue to reflect the accurate geography of the areas we represent.

I told a story about my riding and how, although the correct name and only name for the riding, it created some confusion. However, the member for Châteauguay—Lacolle is not quite as fortunate as I am. She has a much more complicated, inaccurate riding name.

We would love to help her out in any way we can, and to be very specific about that, to have the name change she has put forth that we are discussing tonight. We can imagine there are a great number of riding names in the House of Commons that are represented that do not actually reflect the accurate geographical boundaries, so we very likely could expect to hear more PMBs arising to make sure we are giving Canadians the most clear and direct understanding of which riding they actually live in and which member of Parliament to contact.

In conclusion, Bill C-377 would ensure that my colleague and her neighbouring colleagues could clearly identify their riding names, resulting in less confusion when citizens go to the polls, and when accessing their member of Parliament as they do on a very regular basis with my colleague and all colleagues on a day-to-day basis.

That is why our government is proud to support this private member's bill.

An Act to Change the Name of the Electoral District of Châteauguay-LacollePrivate Members' Business

February 8th, 2018 / 5:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, the name of my riding should be the one that changes, for it is too long and hard to pronounce.

All joking aside, I would never introduce a bill in the House to change the name of my riding. I would go through the usual parliamentary channels. We were all consulted. All parties were consulted to see whether any members wanted to change the name of their riding. It was easy.

Today we are looking at a bill to change the name of a riding. Although we support it, and although my hon. colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent spoke in favour of it, personally I see this as a huge waste of time.

It is a waste of time because the member decided to introduce a bill to change the name of her riding, to have some sound bites to put on Facebook, when we could be debating any number of other topics that really matter to Canadians.

My constituents know that I represent them very well. Whether my riding is called Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix or Félix-Leclerc or Saint-Laurent, they know that I represent them well as their member of Parliament. I do not need to draft a bill to change the name of my riding when there are other avenues for doing so in the House.

I think it is appalling that the party across the aisle has used this precious time to introduce such a bill. I am not saying it is not important for the member in question, but I think it is a waste of our time.

We have some very important matters to be addressed, such as our Prime Minister's illegal trip. We have been asking him for almost two weeks to pay back the money, and we have seen neither hide nor hair of the money to cover the cost of this illegal trip.

The Liberal Party tells us that it was because the Prime Minister travels. Everyone knows that the Prime Minister travels. Everyone knows that in Canada, when a Prime Minister travels, he needs security. However, security is required on official trips and not for trips with friends, family, nannies, grandpa, grandma, caviar, and wine. It is a non-issue. He was found guilty not once, but four times of ethical lapses. It would have been important to legislate about that. However, yesterday, the Liberal Party voted against our motion, which was well drafted and applied to all members of the House.

That said, I will come back to Bill C-377. It is unfortunate that 10 minutes of our time this evening is being spent on a bill to deal with a matter that could have easily been handled in another way. Personally, that bothers me. Personally, I will support it because anyone may want to change the name of their riding. However, I hope that no one introduces a bill just to have something to post on Facebook. I can post on Facebook more worthwhile things that are done for the people in my riding.

Of all the people in this place, there are some sitting behind me whose ridings have impossible names, but who actually work diligently on behalf of their riding without blowing their own horn, even though at times they would like to do so.

The price is right.

I am joking around a lot this evening because I find this bill hilarious, and yet, I also find it troubling. I hope that I will not talk about it for 10 minutes.

I think that the name of my riding should have been changed, but I never would have thought to introduce a bill to change the name. I would have gone about it through the proper channels, and that would have been entirely appropriate.

I will support Bill C-377, not because I think it is worthwhile, but because I hope that members of the House will never again dare to introduce this type of bill and that, instead, they will go through the legal channels available to them here in the House.

An Act to Change the Name of the Electoral District of Châteauguay-LacollePrivate Members' Business

February 8th, 2018 / 5:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Brenda Shanahan Liberal Châteauguay—Lacolle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise again in the House to debate my bill, which seeks to change the name of my riding from Châteauguay—Lacolle to Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville. Is that not a beautiful name?

As I mentioned during the first hour of debate in December, the name Châteauguay—Lacolle is inaccurate because the municipality of Lacolle is actually in the riding of my hon. colleague from Saint-Jean. The municipality in my riding is Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle. Many people have told me that they do not like the name of the riding because it causes confusion and is damaging to the pride that the people of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle take in their municipality and to their feeling of belonging

Over the past few months, I have consulted with municipal officials and many people throughout the region, and the new name that was first suggested by the former mayor of Napierville, Jacques Délisle, achieved the greatest consensus.

A petition calling on the House of Commons to change the name of our riding has already garnered several hundred signatures and is still circulating in the region. I would like to remind members why the proposed name, Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville, is a logical and meaningful choice.

First, Les Jardins-de-Napierville is the name of a regional county municipality that includes nine of our 15 municipalities. Second, all of the citizens can identify with the full name. The main city, Châteauguay, is located at the northwest end of the riding. The residents of the five surrounding municipalities can identify with the expression greater Châteauguay, while the RCM of Jardins-de-Napierville includes the nine other municipalities located in the southern and eastern parts of the riding. Third, the Jardins-de-Napierville RCM, whose beauty is represented by the word “Jardins”, or gardens, is well known and highly regarded for being the top market gardening region in Quebec. Lastly, the new name is a good representation of the semi-urban, semi-rural nature of our riding.

I am so pleased that my hon. colleagues from Louis-Saint-Laurent, Newmarket—Aurora, Edmonton Riverbend, and the neighbouring riding, Salaberry—Suroît, all expressed their support for Bill C-377 during the first hour of debate.

I dare say that they and other members of the House will remember how I clearly and carefully demonstrated that the name I am proposing meets all guidelines and technical requirements as outlined by Elections Canada, for example, the requirement that the name not exceed 50 characters, and that, for a combination-style name, there be proper usage of dashes, hyphens, and spaces.

In conclusion, I want to note some of the reasons my constituents and I are so proud of our home and why we are so intent on changing our riding name to a name that reflects us.

The rural part of the riding, known as “Les Jardins-de-Napierville”, is located on a part of the region called the “terres noires” because the soil there is among the most fertile in the country. This is why the area is known by many as the pantry of Quebec.

I also want to highlight some of our amazing tourist attractions, which combine history, culture, the outdoors, and environmental conservation. For example, you can travel the Circuit du Paysan by car or by bike to visit wineries and cider mills. At the Île Saint-Bernard wildlife refuge in Châteauguay, you can participate in all kinds of activities, like its famous Écomarché and its bird-watching sites. Lastly, I cannot forget about the Fiesta des cultures de Saint-Rémi cultural festival, the Saint-Cyprien-de-Napierville dragway, and the Parc Régional in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle.

I am pleased to sponsor this bill, as it gives me an opportunity to celebrate the treasures you can find in our beautiful part of the country. It also gives me an opportunity to celebrate the pride these residents have in their homeland by giving our riding a name that suits us perfectly: Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville.

An Act to change the name of the electoral district of Châteauguay—LacolleGovernment Orders

December 6th, 2017 / 5:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Brenda Shanahan Liberal Châteauguay—Lacolle, QC

moved that Bill C-377, An Act to change the name of the electoral district of Châteauguay—Lacolle, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Madam Speaker, today is a big day for my constituents. It is an important milestone in my first move as member of Parliament, which I undertook on behalf of my constituents, to change the name of our riding, Châteauguay—Lacolle, to “Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville”.

The reason behind this bill is that the name Châteauguay—Lacolle is inaccurate. If we look at a map of my riding, we see that the municipality of Lacolle is actually in the neighbouring riding of my hon. colleague from Saint-Jean. The municipality in my riding is Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, a municipality with its own history, its own institutions, and its own raison d'être.

Even before I took office, the residents of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle talked to me about this issue, and I pledged to do whatever I had to do to remedy the situation. It is with that in mind that I have the honour to rise today in the House. As if it were not enough that the name Lacolle is erroneously used to designate Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, which is not at all the same thing, we have also noted several times in the past two years that the name Châteauguay—Lacolle is confusing for the constituents of both ridings and has created misunderstandings for some stakeholders.

The names Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle and Lacolle are often used interchangeably by different stakeholders, such as representatives of national media, mainly because what is referred to as the Lacolle border crossing, which is located on Highway 15, the main road between Montreal and New York, and is the busiest border crossing into the United States, is located in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, not in Lacolle.

I am sure my colleagues are aware that the situation at the Lacolle border crossing these past few months, the influx of asylum seekers from the United States, has helped sustain the incorrect name. However, there is good news. For the most part, those involved have managed to set the record straight in recent months.

Many citizens have told me they do not like the name Châteauguay—Lacolle, not only for the reasons I have just explained, but also because it is damaging to the pride that the people of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle take in their municipality and to their feeling of belonging. Following many discussions and conversations with the people and organizations of this region, the name Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville emerged as a logical and meaningful choice for a number of reasons.

First, Les Jardins-de-Napierville is the name of a regional county municipality that includes nine of our 15 municipalities. Second, the main city, Châteauguay, is located at the northwest end of the riding, whereas the RCM of Jardins-de-Napierville includes the nine municipalities located in the southern and eastern parts of the riding. Most of the residents of the other six municipalities self-identify as being from Grand Châteauguay, a name we hear a lot. All of the citizens, those from the Châteauguay region and those from the RCM of Jardins-de-Napierville, could identify with the name Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville.

The Jardins-de-Napierville RCM, whose beauty is represented by the word “Jardins” or gardens, is known for being the top market gardening region in Quebec. Lastly, the name Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville is a good representation of the semi-urban, semi-rural nature of our riding.

I would also like to talk about a very special person who contributed greatly to choosing the name Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville. I am talking about the late mayor of Napierville, Jacques Délisle.

If memory serves, he was the first to propose this name. This dedicated man, who left a remarkable legacy to his municipality, may also end up leaving his mark on the entire riding.

I would point out that I am sponsoring this bill for my constituents. A petition calling on the House of Commons to change the name of our riding to Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville has been circulating in the region for weeks. The response has been excellent. The petition has already been signed by people from all around our riding, including, of course, the mayors of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle and neighbouring towns. As elected officials, they are pleased to support my initiative on behalf of their constituents, as are my hon. colleagues from Saint-Jean, La Prairie, and, I believe, Salaberry—Suroît.

Since I still have a bit of time, I now have the pleasure of giving a brief history lesson to all those listening and watching. As indicated in my bill, the riding of Châteauguay—Lacolle was created in 2013, following a redistribution that came into effect with the dissolution of the 41st Parliament in 2015.

The current riding was formed from the former ridings of Châteauguay—Saint-Constant and Beauharnois—Salaberry. It seems the Quebec electoral boundaries commission erred when it named the new riding. The fact that Lacolle became part of the Saint-Jean riding during a previous redistribution process probably went unnoticed. We do not know what happened, but one can imagine.

After doing some research and discussing the matter with the mayor of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, I think there may have been some confusion between Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle and Lacolle.

Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle is a parish municipality that was established in 1855 in honour of Bernard-Claude Panet, Quebec's 12th archbishop.

The Lacolle part of the name comes from the name of the seigneury to which the land once belonged. Today, Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle has a population of about 1,500. Lacolle is a village municipality that was established in 1920 and officially constituted in 2001, and now has a population of about 2,800.

Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle was established long before Lacolle, but it has developed more slowly in recent decades and its population has not grown as much as that of its neighbour. That is why the municipality of Lacolle is better known.

Now that we have a better understanding of the history of our region, please allow me to outline how name changes come about and the criteria any proposed name change, including that proposed by my bill, Bill C-377, must meet.

First, given the practice of reviewing electoral district boundaries every 10 years following a new national census, Elections Canada provides the 10 provincial electoral boundaries commissions with guidelines on riding name conventions and best practices. While Elections Canada will enact any name changes legislated by Parliament, there are practical and technical issues that must be considered, such as the limited capacity of databases. Thus, riding names are limited to 50 characters or less in order to enable the easy display of the riding names on websites, maps and paper reports, as well as easily readable geographic products.

I note for the record that the name proposed by the bill before us, Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville, has 38 characters, including hyphens, dashes, and spaces.

My understanding is that any changes to federal electoral district names would require royal assent no later than January 2019 to be effected prior to the next federal election. According to the legislative timelines of our Parliament, I am hopeful that Bill C-377 will come into force in a timely manner.

The name selected for ridings should reflect the character of Canada and be clear and unambiguous. I believe this criterion is met by my bill, as the names refer to a major municipality in our area and a regional municipal county region.

Third, a distinction is also to be made in the spelling of names between hyphens and dashes. I would ask members to listen carefully. Hyphens are used to link parts of geographical names, whereas dashes are used to unite two or more distinct geographical names. This convention is respected, as a dash is used to separate Châteauguay and Les Jardins-de-Napierville and the hyphens are kept in Les Jardins-de-Napierville.

Elections Canada's guidelines also have positive characteristics that are all met in the proposed new name, for example, the sense of the location and the logical order of multiple elements. On the electoral map, we see that Châteauguay and Les Jardins-de-Napierville are two geographical names that correspond almost entirely to the territory of the riding and conform to a reading of the map from west to east, in other words, from left to right.

The name of an electoral district must be unique, meaning the components of each federal electoral district name should be used only once, which is indeed the case for the elements Châteauguay and Les Jardins-de-Napierville.

Finally, I should note the preservation of tradition is important and that it is quite acceptable to have same or similar names for both federal and provincial constituencies when their core areas embrace the same population centres. This is the case for the name of Châteauguay, which is the name of a provincial riding that includes Greater Châteauguay, consisting of Léry, Mercier, and St. Isidore, as well as the City of Châteauguay representing more than half of the population in our federal riding.

The guidelines also contain negative characteristics that are all avoided in the name Châteauguay-Les-Jardins-de-Napierville. However, I will name only those that do not correspond to the inverse expression of the positive characteristics already enumerated, and that are therefore already understood implicitly.

I can repeat that point if necessary, but I will give the House some examples.

The name of a federal electoral district should be clear in both English and French, and as much as possible be acceptable without translation into the other official language, thus avoiding multiple forms, possible inconsistencies, and confusion. Another characteristic to be avoided is the use of cardinal points such as east or west. This would only encourage clumsy translation between official languages.

The incorrect use of hyphens and dashes is to be avoided at all cost. Bill C-377 correctly uses a dash to designate the City of Châteauguay within the name, while the individual words of the region of Jardine are correctly separated by hyphens.

For the record, the use of actual names of provinces, personal names, and names that are imprecise or contrived from non-geographical sources are also to be avoided.

I believe that I have raised all of the arguments that should satisfy my hon. colleagues here in the House that the name proposed by Bill C-377, Châteauguay-Les Jardins-de-Napierville, respects all of the pertinent guidelines of Elections Canada.

I would like to use the remainder of my time to paint a picture of my wonderful riding, which is blessed with splendid natural beauty, lands full of riches, a vibrant economy, and really wonderful people.

My riding is located in the province of Quebec, on Montreal's south shore, in western Montérégie. It is made up of 15 municipalities, including Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle.

I am also very grateful to represent a riding that is semi-urban and semi-rural. The city of Châteaugay, with its 48,000 residents, including over 15,000 anglophones and allophones, boasts a major industrial area that is home to many innovative businesses.

In contrast, most of the surface area of the riding is rural, and we are also very proud of our agriculture and agrifood industry.

I look forward to my colleagues' questions. I could go on for hours about my riding, Châteauguay—Lacolle, and provide much more detailed information.

An Act to change the name of the electoral district of Châteauguay—LacolleGovernment Orders

December 6th, 2017 / 6:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I appreciated the speech by my colleague from Châteauguay—Lacolle, a riding whose name will change in due time. I want to reassure her straight off that the official opposition fully agrees with the substance of the bill and that we will be supporting the measure.

As my hon. colleague has shown, there is indeed a major anomaly in the name of the riding, which refers to Lacolle, a place that is not even located in the riding of Châteauguay—Lacolle, but rather in that of Saint-Jean.

On a related note, the crossing at the American border is still known as Lacolle, even though that refers to the municipality of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle. I thank my collague for that important clarification. In my own riding, in Quebec City, the Jean Lesage international airport is often referred to as L'Ancienne-Lorette airport, and yet, it is not located in L'Ancienne-Lorette, but rather in Quebec, but it still goes by its old name, even though L'Ancienne-Lorette is across the street. Much to my disappointment, I do not represent the Quebec City airport. It is a shame because aviation is a passion of mine, as I have often mentioned to the Minister of Transport. The airport and surrounding area are represented by the hon. member for Louis-Hébert, whom I value and respect.

We therefore agree with the change and appreciate the member's clarifications. She did a great job giving us the history of her riding and its parishes and towns and explaining the importance that should rightly be placed on having accurate names. I have two simple questions for my colleague regarding minor concerns.

First of all, I have always found it a little strange, to put it politely, that the names of federal ridings are so long. As I learned from the member, they cannot be more than 50 characters, but that seems very long to me. I always have a hard time remembering the name of the riding of my colleague from Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix, which is not too far from my riding. Federal riding names can go on forever. Look at my colleague from Foothills. It is one word. It is simple, impossible to mess up. Louis-Saint-Laurent is the name of a former prime minister, so people do not mess that up either. However, when ridings have four or five names stuck together, even if it is under 50 characters, I still think that is too long.

I mention this because the member is proposing that her riding be renamed Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville. If this is what the people want, I have no problem with it, and I support the member, since she took the time to listen to the people. However, I was quite surprised to see that they wanted to change a relatively short name to a rather longer name. I recognize that this is perfectly legitimate, historically speaking.

Furthermore, I am just as surprised as my colleague from Lethbridge and the NDP member that this member chose to raise this important issue, which we do support, in a private member's bill, when if she had just waited a bit, she could have included it in the omnibus bill that the minister will be introducing soon.

For the information of those watching and listening, every 10 years, the electoral map and the riding names are reviewed. In a so-called omnibus bill, which we have no problem with, the government includes amendments proposed by members. Members can be for or against them. It is a legitimate debate.

It is unfortunate that my colleague instead chose to go out on her own by introducing a private member's bill, instead of joining the 337 other members of Parliament who are going to participate in good faith in the government's process, which has the support of parliamentarians.

We all recognize and will fight for the right of the member to table that kind of bill. However, I will express my surprise, because she should have used another way to achieve exactly the same goals. We do support the goals, and we recognize that the population will too. That is fantastic and we do support it 100%. However, we are a bit surprised that she tabled a a private member's bill.

For us, a private member's bill is an important bill. A private member's bill is a front door bill. Why do I say that? It is because less than two years ago in the House, which my colleague from Foothills will remember, there was a strong debate about Bill C-4, introduced by the government, which was to kill two private members' bills tabled in the previous Parliament. They were Bill C-525 about democracy and unions, and Bill C-377 about transparency and unions. Those bills were tabled by Conservative members, but not the government.

For us, those private members' bills were front door bills. Unfortunately, the parliamentary secretary for the prime minister said many times in the House that the Conservative government used back door bills to table those pieces of legislation. What an insult. All members in this House are front door members. All bills tabled in this House are front door bills. No one here is a back door member, and no one here tables back door bills, contrary to what the member for Winnipeg North said so many times less than two years ago.

I am going to repeat what I just said. I want to make it clear that for us, all bills are front-door bills, regardless of whether they are private members' bills or government bills, legislative bills or money bills.

Less than two years ago, the member for Winnipeg North, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, no less, made a huge deal out of things and told the House that the Conservative government had used backdoor bills. These were private members' bills. These bills were about union democracy and union transparency. Sadly, they were killed off by Bill C-4, a bill tabled, debated, and passed by the Liberal government.

To be clear for the hon. member for Châteauguay—Lacolle, and I am sorry to refer to her with that title, but I know it will be over in less than two years, Conservatives support the will of the people 100%. We appreciate the hard work that has been done by the member, the fact that she listened to her constituents, and did her homework. That is fantastic. We are just a little surprised by how many members will have new titles, but if that is the will of the people, we will recognize and respect it. We are also a little surprised that instead of getting on the train, and I do not know if that is the right expression in English.

Instead of jumping on the omnibus bill bandwagon, the member decided to go a different route.

Instead of going with an omnibus bill, which we recognize she has the right to do, she decided to go with a private member's bill, while so many other issues could have been addressed as opposed to changing the name of a riding. This could have been achieved with an omnibus bill.

I want to reiterate that we agree with Bill C-377.

An Act to change the name of the electoral district of Châteauguay—LacolleGovernment Orders

December 6th, 2017 / 6:25 p.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Madam Speaker, as has been said, we are beginning our study of Bill C-377, which was introduced by my colleague from Châteauguay—Lacolle.

I am very familiar with the western part of her riding, which used to be part of Beauharnois—Salaberry, the riding I represented before the boundary changes of 2015.

Like the current riding of Salaberry—Suroît, Châteauguay—Lacolle includes a city that contains half the constituency's population, as well as several rural areas. Montérégie-Ouest is a fantastic agricultural region that is also facing some challenges.

I fully understand my colleague's need to change the name of the riding to Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville. As my other Conservative and NDP colleagues said, we understand and commend the initiative shown by the member in consulting her constituents, doing historical research, and keeping an election promise. That is why we are going to vote in favour of her bill.

However, I am wondering, and everyone else is too, why my colleague chose to go with this process and this tool, namely, a private member's bill, given the economic, social, and environmental issues affecting our region and the fact that the government has a process in place to handle riding name changes. Members mentioned an omnibus bill where all members had the opportunity to participate and propose new riding names. We are still able to do that.

The party leaders have already agreed on the process to allow all members of the House to propose new riding names and change the names of their ridings before the 2019 election.

We must first tell our House leader about the name change. Then, the staff of the House leaders will compile a list of the members whose ridings names need to be changed. A member is chosen to draft the omnibus bill that will encompass all of the riding name changes of all the MPs who submitted proposals.

Elections Canada will then be consulted to make sure that everything is in order with regard to the riding names and the time allocated to make the necessary changes. The member will then amend the bill as required, introduce it in the House of Commons, and seek the unanimous consent of the House to change the names of all of the ridings in question at the same time.

That process was used in 2014 with Bill C-37, which enabled all those name changes.

Why did my colleague from Châteauguay—Lacolle use a member's privilege, the privilege to introduce a private member's bill? We know that just over half the MPs will have the privilege of debating their bill in this Parliament. Our names are drawn out of a hat, and chance alone determines where our bill ends up on the list and whether we get to debate it right away.

For example, I am 194th on the list, and I may have the opportunity to debate my private member's bill. That means I have to choose my bill carefully. The bill my colleague chose to debate has to do with changing her riding's name. She could have done that and also chosen another issue altogether. She could have done both to have a positive impact and make life better for the people of her riding and all ridings in Canada, but that is not what she did.

I am quite surprised that she chose to use this tool to promote a name change that we all agree on and will vote in favour of.

I consider introducing a private member's bill on this topic a lost opportunity because a private member's bill can be life-changing for thousands or even millions of Canadians. For example, in Montérégie-Ouest, there are a lot of issues that would benefit from a private member's bill to bring about economic, social, or environmental change.

Les Jardins-de-Napierville is part of what is known as the “Jardin du Québec”. Many agricultural producers are located in this region and they need the support of their local MP.

First, we might consider the challenge of seasonal workers. We know that the vegetable farms need hundreds of foreign workers in their fields between March and October or November. There should be protections for these workers when the government negotiates free trade agreements.

If we look at NAFTA, there are no guarantees that supply management will still be there tomorrow. We have talked about this and raised the issue many times. Why not create a bill on one of these agricultural issues in order to help the agri-food sector, especially since it employs one in eight Canadians?

Our region needs to be more attractive to small and medium-sized businesses. Our rural regions have a dire need for things like high-speed Internet, 4G service, and infrastructure to help young entrepreneurs and to secure businesses that are already established in the region. Back home, a common joke is that when it rains, there is no Internet. When it is windy, there is no Internet. Could the hon. member have worked on a bill to improve that situation for our schools, hospitals, workers, and students?

An economic bill would also have been useful, especially from a government member, who may have the inside track on getting her bill passed.

The environment is another critically important issue. Protecting our waterways is as important for my colleague's riding as it is for mine and for every riding in Canada. In fact, my colleague was invited to the announcement on dismantling the Kathyrn Spirit, which is a threat to a drinking water supply in Beauharnois, on Lake Saint-Louis. That shipwreck has been rusting away for six years. I would have liked to get more support from my colleague from Châteauguay—Lacolle on this subject and to see her work with the hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith.

It is rather ironic that both bills were debated today. Bill C-352, introduced by my colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith has been muzzled. We cannot vote on her bill because the government decided to declare it non-votable in order to make room for the Minister of Transport's bill, which would actually have complemented C-352. The 50 coastal communities that helped develop this bill for the past 15 years will not get to see members of the House vote on it.

An Act to change the name of the electoral district of Châteauguay—LacolleGovernment Orders

December 6th, 2017 / 6:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Kyle Peterson Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-377.

This is a private member's bill put forward by my colleague, the hon. member for Châteauguay—Lacolle. As we know, it proposes to change the name of her electoral district to Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville.

The municipality of Lacolle, which is currently included in the name of my colleague's electoral district, is actually located in the neighbouring riding of Saint-Jean. This is confusing as we have heard, for residents in both ridings and for this reason, the hon. member for Saint-Jean supports the legislation as well. Our government in turn supports the bill because it makes good sense.

Typically, as all members know, riding names are selected during a process every decade under the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act. In the latest process, census commissions were created in all provinces after the 2011 census. Each three-person commission, in accordance with the legislation, was chaired by a judge appointed by the provincial chief justice.

In the spring and summer of 2012, the commissions crafted and made public proposals for each of their respective provinces. They then held hearings to get public feedback and to consider possible alterations. Final reports were submitted by the Chief Electoral Officer to the Speaker of the House of Commons. They were then referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

This process is as exciting as it sounds. I think we can all agree with that. That referral gave MPs an opportunity to file objections, which the committee considered before producing its final report. That report was put forward to the commissions with the recommended changes.

In the case of Quebec, the committee sent 11 objections to riding names and suggested alternatives. All were adopted and the 2013 Representation Order was proclaimed that autumn, resulting in our new electoral map.

However, Parliament has the option of adopting name changes after this process finishes. Normally this goes smoothly, though in 2003-04 there were objections from the Chief Electoral Officer at the time, Jean-Pierre Kingsley. Mr. Kingsley pointed out that there was an excessive administrative burden imposed because it took place so close to the 2004 election. He also voiced concern that the change could lead to public confusion and additional costs because electoral materials would have to be reprinted and software reconfigured. However, there have not been any significant issues identified when name changes are proposed well in advance of elections.

In the case of the bill we are considering now, there is no indication that the name change will cause any technical problems. Elections Canada has asked that no name exceed 50 characters, including hyphens and dashes. This proposed new name is well below that threshold. I am sure the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent would agree with that.

Elections Canada has also asked that name change bills receive royal assent no later than January 2019. There is plenty of time.

In addition to this kind of legislation, our government and indeed all members of this chamber must do everything in our power to encourage Canadians to participate in our democracy. Confusing Canadians, confusing voters does not foster participation in our democracy. In fact, the Minister of Democratic Institutions has spoken passionately about the need for us to do everything we can to encourage and not discourage democratic participation.

As a result, we are committed to restoring integrity to our democratic process by reversing some of the previous government's Fair Elections Act, which made voting difficult for so many. We are accomplishing this with Bill C-33, which was introduced last year, as all members of the House know. This legislation, if passed, would make it easier for Canadians to vote, get more Canadians involved in voting, and build confidence and integrity in our voting system.

In essence, this private member's bill is about empowering Canadians. It is about empowering constituents to feel they are part of the process.

I do find it a little surprising that some members opposite are quarrelling about the process, although are supportive of the substance. However, there are many ways to get to the same objective. For instance, some people wear belts. Some wear suspenders. Neither is right and neither is wrong. They both get to the goal that is established at the outset, and in this case, it is holding up one's pants. Does it really matter what process is used if it supports the goal? It is a fair and open process. Surely we can all agree on that in this place.

My colleague for Châteauguay—Lacolle knows her constituents' concerns better than any of us. She has heard from them. We heard her say there is a petition in the riding asking to change the name of the riding. The member for Châteauguay—Lacolle would ignore that at her peril. How could she go back home and say she got the petition with the thousand names, but decided to ignore it because the opposition wanted her to do something else for them instead? Would they not ask if she were not here to work for them? Of course she is, as we all are throughout this country, working very hard for our constituents. To the suggestion there is some flaw in her conclusion that it is important to her constituents, I would say, no, there is not.

I honestly believe, as I think we all do, that this private member's bill—

An Act to change the name of the electoral district of Châteauguay—LacolleRoutine Proceedings

October 20th, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Brenda Shanahan Liberal Châteauguay—Lacolle, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-377, An Act to change the name of the electoral district of Châteauguay—Lacolle.

Mr. Speaker, it has been said that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but this is not always the case for the name of a riding.

I am proud to rise on behalf of my constituents to introduce a private member's bill to change my riding's name from “Châteauguay—Lacolle” to “Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville”.

The reasons why are clear. The municipality of Lacolle is in the neighbouring riding of Saint-Jean. Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle is in my riding. This causes confusion for consituents on both sides, and I thank my colleague and riding neighbour, the hon. member for Saint-Jean, for being here to support my bill today.

We are very proud that the name would include Les Jardins-de-Naperville, which is known for being the leading region in Quebec for vegetable growers and for key players in the agrifood industry.

I call on all members of the House to support my bill, because with the urban aspect of our riding well represented by the name “Châteauguay” and the rural aspect represented by the name “Les Jardins-de-Napierville”, the name “Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville” sounds very sweet indeed.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)