Thank you, Chair.
I'm going to take a moment to again be absolutely as crystal clear as I can possibly be on my behalf and on behalf of my caucus and party. The process left a bit to be desired. I have held the government to account as best I can—repeatedly, forcefully and legitimately, I believe. As concurred by Mr. Bittle, it's at least a point of legitimate debate.
We are where we are. The commissioner is acceptable to us and the rules of engagement are acceptable to us. We had no more input as the NDP than the Conservatives did, but we believe this is an important element of our democracy. We were not, as a country, well-served by the processes and antics, and I'm not suggesting that my party is without blame, either.
It behooves all of us to do everything we can to respect and support the debates commission, because it's an important part of our democracy. We've got the example from the U.S. where for the longest time now, it has had an independent commission that conducts its debates. The Americans fight about everything, but I haven't heard anybody suggest that there's unfairness or partisan advantage in their system and process.
My hope is that the commission be successful, that all the party leaders turn out, that Canadians get what they need from the process. I have every confidence that the next Parliament will do its due diligence in terms of holding the government and the commissioner to account for the money they spend, the decisions they make and the procedures they follow.
It would be very disheartening for me—and I'll end on this statement while watching the election unfold that I won't be involved in, at least as a candidate—as one of the debates is whether there's legitimacy around the commission as it provides an exit strategy for one of the party leaders or any of them who don't want to be held to account and be held to the kind of scrutiny that those debates will offer.
We wish the commission well. We look forward to its success. Notwithstanding and subject to some details that could arise, we have every intention of being supportive and participating. This committee's done a good job.
I have one last point. I hope there's a good analysis between what this committee proposed.... We spent a lot of time, we worked hard on our report, and it was disappointing to see the way a lot of that work was set aside by the government after it promised to do things differently.
Being where we are now, it behooves all of us to see this be successful, in my view, and I say that as a small “d” democrat, not just a large “D” democrat. There's nothing more precious than our democracy, and this is an important part of strengthening that democracy.