I'll touch briefly on this, and you can see it in my written submission after this presentation.
I would think that, yes, citizens make the greatest connection with what all of this means to them in terms of outcomes. What is our parliamentary form of democracy, based on democratic principles that we hold dear in this country, meant to do? That's their litmus test for how this works: How well do we work together? What compromises do we come to? The mechanisms and modalities are important only insofar as they help us to achieve those outcomes. Here, I think, you have to step back a bit from the very particular questions and ask about those outcomes.
If you ask about those outcomes, I would also ask the committee to look at a few other things. If we change the way we elect parliamentarians and therefore the balances you are trying to create within the system, also give some thought to the implication this has, because Parliament in and of itself, without the functioning of government, does not end up in outcomes. Isn't that right? It's the combination of the two.
We have some parliamentary conventions you should look at. What does loss of confidence mean in a house that functions in a very different fashion? Explore that, because that may give you insights in the reverse order into what you're trying to achieve. Explore the issues of what dissolution means in a world in which loss of confidence may be explored in a very different fashion.
What does it mean? We know that historically, in our current system—and this doesn't mean we shouldn't change it—loss of confidence leads to dissolution. Is that what's going to happen in a world in which we may put other mechanisms in place? This is an important part of our governance fabric, which leads or doesn't lead to outcomes being achieved by the way we manage things.
We have a few of those conventions in place that we should be paying some attention to. If we make these changes, then let's not repeat some of our past behaviours. If we vote to make these changes, how do we put these things out, in terms of conventions and how they're to behave, in a most transparent fashion? Does an incumbent prime minister publish for the House and for all Canadians an understanding of what those things mean, so that the Governor General is instructed as to what the presumed wisdom is and so that Parliament knows how to behave, and also the various constituent components of cabinet?
What happens if we propose a system—and I could live with any of these systems, and God bless democracy—in which we have multi-party members of cabinet? The issues of cabinet solidarity have been fundamental to the way we function. How would we explore those? I'm not saying we shouldn't look at them.