moved for leave to introduce Bill C-422, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (by-election).
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my friend and colleague, the member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, for his support for the bill. Just getting through his riding name sometimes is enough to celebrate.
It is a very simple yet important piece of legislation that I am introducing this afternoon. It would simply require that in the event a member of Parliament, for whatever reason, is no longer able to occupy their seat and continue their work on behalf of Canadians, the Prime Minister would no longer have open-ended discretion as to when he or she might call a by-election. This would ensure that voters in that riding would be assured, if the bill were to become law, that they would have a representative in a reasonable amount of time. We are suggesting that within 45 days after the vacancy of a seat, the Prime Minister would be required to call a by-election.
We did not think this was really much of a concern, because in years past members of Parliament have vacated their seats and by-elections have been called. Unfortunately, however, with this Prime Minister, over the last number of months he has been playing politics with the calling of by-elections. If you will recall, Mr. Speaker, this helped unify all of opposition parties to call on the Prime Minister to simply get on with it, to allow the people in various ridings to have the representation they are entitled to under our Constitution, and not to play games with the calling of by-elections. The bill would make those games no longer possible.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)