Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Waterloo for his remarks. I particularly enjoyed his comments about the former candidate for the Reform Party. It will be nice after the next election when we will get to enjoy reading his comments in Hansard. I am sure those comments will be far more to the point and much easier to digest.
It is a pleasure to speak to this bill tonight. In a sense the bill encapsulates part of the problem with the democratic process, or the choosing in this case of electoral boundaries. It deals with the neutrality of that, the idea that we as politicians should not be messing around in choosing the riding boundaries. We should be leaving that to a neutral body which will ensure that fairness is the key word in all boundary decisions.
It also gives me an opportunity to talk about the whole legislative process by which we bring laws into being in the House. On a late night sitting like this, it gives me cause for a few moments to talk about the whole idea of debate, which again is part of that democratic process. The flaws that I see in the House and in this current parliamentary system.
I am often asked after being here for a year and a half what I think of it now, if it is everything I thought it would be. Is it everything I thought it would be? Is it everything I thought it would be when I first got here? I have to say sadly with considerable disappointment that no, it is not. This evening I will give a 20-minute speech to a largely empty House. This is my second speech of the day. I gave another 20-minute speech on Bill C-86 earlier today. It was germane to my riding. It was about the dairy commission.
A lot of work goes into the preparation of a speech. There is the research, the time my staff and I commit, my resources, the communication with my constituents and earlier today with my dairy farming constituency, and so on. There is all that effort to prepare a decent and hopefully cogent argument and then I deliver it into an empty House. There has to be something wrong when people back home are wondering what I think of it. I am pleased to be here. I am proud to represent them, but they should know that there is a systemic problem here.
When I see debate after debate and speaker after speaker presenting arguments to themselves and not having someone to debate with, it is rather discouraging. The very process of debate presupposes that there is someone to debate with. We have to suppose that we are going to talk to someone and try to understand their point of view, debate them on the merits of that point and then listen to their points. It goes back and forth until we come to a resolution that maybe was wiser than either one of us started out with.
Again, when I give another speech to a largely empty House, I wonder sometimes about the value of it. Is it just killing time or is it really debate where I hope to speak to someone's intellect and challenge them in some ways?
Yesterday there was a vote on a private members' Bill C-295 that I initiated. It was defeated. I was not upset about the defeat of the bill. What does annoy me is that early in the debate I had misplaced a word in the text of the peacekeeping bill I brought forward. I asked for and received unanimous consent of the House to change the word command to operational control.
The word was changed and for the next three debates I listened to the prepared speeches from the other side. Members just went through their prepared speeches time and time again saying that the word command should be changed to operational control. It had been done at the outset but they did not listen. They are not not listening and they do not care to enter logical debate.
Instead, the government wants to come in with a legislative agenda, crack the whip and tell people how to vote. The concern for actually coming to a consensus is somewhere down there. I referred to it earlier in my dairy speech as the spreadings of the honey wagon.