It's up to the committee to decide how it wants to proceed. The criticism we received prior to this, without any solution being proposed, was that it was too expansive or there were problems with the wording. I did research and found the human rights code adjusted in the.... There's more than just this. I'm okay with that. I think part of the debate about that is through.... If you want to have specifics related to national identity, some of that even takes in some of our aboriginal considerations there as nations.
There are several aspects of it that could also be amended in the regulations later on, too, but this makes it consistent with what has been recently passed. Again, at the end of the day, I think regulations will do that. The question is that they'll do it to some degree, but it's more enforceable if it's a law of Parliament. It's as simple as that: this is the law, this is a statement, and this is an act, a will. It's about whether taking a pass on race, on gender, and on all those things is good enough for you. I think that's what it really comes down to.
I looked for something that would be more consistent with what has been passed in the House of Commons. That's why I stuck with that formula, especially with it being the human rights code. I'm open to amendments, but again, that's where it comes from. I don't think it's a bad amendment. It's just that I was trying to come to committee here today to present a viable solution to the problem that seems to be here. Obviously, it was raised by the Green Party, by the NDP and by the Conservative Party. I think there are members here from the Liberal Party who actually questioned witnesses and spoke during witness testimony about this issue. The quotes are there. The testimony is there for people to review. They were active at that time in this debate.
I think there may be some way to go forward on this. I thought, too, that probably it was a bad way of approaching things to be inconsistent with the human rights code changes that we've had passed and voted on by members in this House. At any rate, that's where I'm at with it.
While I have the floor, Mr. Chair, I want to talk a bit about some of the testimony we received. One example is the testimony on the Canadian business corporations and co-operatives. At committee here, the witnesses talked specifically about the definition of diversity in their submission to us. I won't go through all of it, but I think it's important to note that these are organizations that made a significant attempt to make sure to caution us on leaving the definition of diversity, other than gender, open to interpretation by “distributing corporations”. They said, “At a minimum, the definition of diversity should recognize the intersectional nature of identity, and encompass gender, disability, race, ethnicity”. They mentioned as well that identity in terms of aboriginal status was one of the things.
There was a great discussion about this, but it was quite clear that they didn't want it be left to the regulations alone. There's more on this, but I'm hoping to hear from some Liberals on this. I don't know, Mr. Chair, if there are any members on the list, but I'm surprised by the lack of a contribution at the moment. I think it's pretty hard to come here and see this, but I'll speak before the bill.... I think that if you want to come to this committee and you want to make a difference, these are the words that we're talking about here. It's the issue of race. We've seen what's happened in this House of Commons and in the Canadian public with regard to discussion about this. Religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, and all those things are very important in Canadian society right now. Gender, of course, is really important. It's interesting to note that this is not just in our country. There are other countries that have done this.
I think the gender issue is particularly interesting. We had the events on the Hill yesterday, which I know have been noted, with the “Daughters of the Vote”. I think almost every member of the Parliament had their seat taken by someone. I think maybe one person passed on the seat for their own decision.... At any rate, look at where Canada sits in the world, and then at the best examples of quotas and penalties. That shows that there are vast improvements versus “comply or explain”.
We've decided to go to comply or explain with regard to gender, and also reporting. What we've done is that we've disengaged, for better or worse—I'm not here to argue either-or—from the one that really makes the big difference. For example, Norway, where they have legislation with quotas and penalties, is at 35.5%. France has 29.7%. Then you drop down to comply or explain, and it goes to 22%, and that's United Kingdom and Denmark. Canada is at 20%, and there was evidence presented to us that we were taking a step back.
We have an opportunity at this particular time to include.... This motion has gender and identification. When we go to comply or explain versus quotas, we've given up one of the most important legislative aspects for the minister to be able to act on this. Now with comply or explain, the better the information and the more thorough, and the more comment from Parliament, being this motion...it's to specifically target those elements. This way, we don't leave it to somebody else who's unelected and unaccounted for to decide what would be put in the regulations.
I know Mr. Schaan has talked about the regulations a bit and so has Mr. Lametti, but the reality is that the regulations are not controlled by Parliament. That's something that is not done. The minister has passed on this responsibility. He has a wonderful statement today about women and their rights and how things are better, but when it comes to having an oversight for him or anybody in the future, he's disengaged from that.
In fact, later we'll probably hear that we're going to have a five-year review of the bill, if we're lucky, because the minister chose not to put a review into the bill. That was a decision made by the government, clearly, or it was a colossal mistake. I think it was a decision.
At any rate, we have very few opportunities to actually have a say and to give direction. I don't want it to be some faceless, nameless person behind the curtain who helps to decide what regulations are going to be reporting. When they don't report those things—they have less to report in—that means we have less information for the minister to make a decision. If they come forward with regulations that it's just going to be gender, it's not going to be diversity, it's not going to be aboriginal, or it's not going to be anything else identification-wise, then how do you know if real change has taken place? You don't know, because they don't have to do it. They are voluntary decisions.