Thank you. It would be a pleasure.
This my fundamental message: whatever recommendations your deliberations take you to, rest them on our entire governance ecosystem. People want some change. People want evolution. Our system has to evolve in order to maintain that primordial connection directly with citizens, which I think is fundamental to our democratic system of governance, but understand the whole system.
In Ontario, when the work of the constituent assembly was done, the government essentially took a pass. That may have had an impact on the results of that reform. That's why I'm saying to look at the entire ecosystem and understand the role of all these folks, because you were challenging the status quo at all levels. You're not simply challenging your relationship or whose perception it is, citizen perception or parliamentary perception—quite frankly, those should overlap as often as possible—but look at the entire system in which you're going to nest your recommendations.
There is no magic bullet. The answer is not first past the post or proportional representation or some combination, because fundamental to all of this is reforming and evolving your roles as well. Whatever system we have, you're getting elected by some mechanism to help govern Canada.
In today's day and age, the more connection you have, whether it's through constituent assemblies, whether it's through other mechanisms.... The value of a constituent assembly is highly deliberative. The problem with the constituent assembly is that it is deliberative for the people who are in the room; the rest of us think they've drunk the Kool-Aid. They didn't go through the same process and they don't understand it.
I put much more value on your deliberative discussions—because that's what you're here to do every day—than I put on the value of others externally to it, especially when I'm a public administration expert myself, a governance expert myself.
The answer is to connect as much as possible, but connect on the questions that are going to matter, and nest the questions you're going to be asking Canadians in the aspects of the system, of which voting is only one dimension.
As I said earlier, the reason there's a malaise in the country is that there is a strong view that there was a big disconnection between those who governed us and the way we're governed and what we tried to say to those who are governing us, and that is Parliament. It's the government, and Parliament definitely is not composed of some amorphous...it's all of you individually and the roles you play.
What is the importance of the not-for-profit sector? Where does it find its voice? Does it find its voice through...? Those are fundamental questions that the way we exercise the vote are supposed to address. Therefore, nest your recommendations, your deliberations, within that broader governance ecosystem. If you change one, you'll change another.
I was a public administrator for 30 years. If we change minority government models—which I'm not arguing we shouldn't—and if the cabinet is composed of multiple types of parties, it changes the role of public service. Good. Good on us. Let's explore what that means. Let's not get into unintended consequences that are bigger than what we're trying to correct by not understanding the implications of this aspect of your questions and the implications they have on the broader democratic governance system.