It was very interesting that we had a lot of Liberal members in this House talking about the Ontario election about a month ago, but they got fewer and fewer as the weeks passed and it was obvious that the Conservatives were going to win in Ontario.
Of course, to Mike Harris's credit, he did borrow some of our ideas and policies. We applaud him for that.
Another Reform policy in this area is that government should give careful consideration to filling vacancies as they occur in the Senate with province-wide elections. These elections should be conducted in the same manner as the one in which the late Senator Stan Waters was elected, thereby having some popular support in the province. In Quebec, where the senators actually represent defined constituencies, the election would only have to take place in that constituency.
The official Liberal position is that they support an elected Senate. In our caucus we go even further. We believe in what we call a triple-E Senate, one that is equal, effective, and elected. A Senate where there is true representation by region would provide the people of the less populous provinces with an effective voice in the second chamber of Canada's Parliament. A triple-E Senate would give an equal voice to the smaller, less populous provinces and give them the clout in Parliament they have sought for so long.
It is not as if Canada would be breaking any new ground here. Other countries have two democratically elected chambers: the United States, Germany, and Australia. I realize that creating the kind of Senate of which I speak would require constitutional reform, but in the interim this government could hold senatorial
elections in the same way it did when it appointed Stan Waters as a result of that election.
To date, the Prime Minister has ignored his own official Liberal policy and has chosen to fill Senate vacancies with the usual assortment of party hacks and cronies. This is in direct conflict with the stated Liberal policy.
Since Bill C-69 does not bring about substantial change to the redrawing of the boundaries and to the whole democratic process of true representation, I say let us revert back to the old process. Why would I say that? It is because we have already spent $6 million on that process. Hearings have been held in a lot of those ridings. They understood what was going to happen in terms of what their new boundaries would be. It was well along before it was interrupted a year and a half ago.
I say let us change the whole kit and caboodle. Let us bring in true representation by population and bring in true representation by region or else leave the process alone and revert to what it was before. We had quite a good process in place, one that recognized that there are people who move in the country from time to time, one that recognized growth in regions and therefore recognized that the boundaries have to be redrawn from time to time. That process is one we should revert to. The Senate recognized it, with some minor changes. I believe we would be wise to drop Bill C-69 and the mismanagement that has followed it and revert to a process that has worked well for us in the past.