One of the things that struck me in reviewing Sir David Natzler's remarks to committee was his suggestion that something like eight of the 10 most-watched debates in recent years had been debates in Westminster Hall provoked by petitions. It's really kind of astonishing. That's not government business.
I found that actually really encouraging. It's a little bit emboldening as well, because it suggests to me in strong terms that it would still matter to Canadians, in this context, to see their issues debated at Parliament and how that holds value. As the Clerk and others have described, there are a number of different ways to design the parallel chamber, and we do need clarity on what problem we're trying to solve and about—I think reasonable people can disagree—where the balance should be struck.
Ms. Duncan raised in the last session this question of where ordinary citizens come in. We do see something like a petitions mechanism, as well as the opportunity for an ordinary member to approach either the Speaker's office or a backbench business committee to advocate on an issue that they see as holding importance for their constituents. Either a petition or a backbench member, it's either a direct or an indirect mechanism through which citizens can fuel through greater agency what's debated in Parliament. That, to us, strikes us as a particular value proposition for the parallel chamber.