Maybe that is what they would like, tent meetings in order to handle more members of Parliament that are inevitably going to come because of the way this bill has been set up.
The Liberals refused to listen to the Reform Party. The Reform Party said there should not be more than 265 members of Parliament. They should not be looking to expand the numbers of members of Parliament. They should be looking to restrict them, to cut back on the size of government, not to continually think of ways to expand it.
If the Liberals would listen to the constituents in my riding and I would think in Waterloo as well, they would not be adding more seats and pushing the translators out into the boonies. They would be saying: "We have more than enough people here. We have too many members of Parliament. Let us cut back the size of the House of Commons to 265 members". It would be a manageable thing and would save money. If we are going to go to the trouble of a boundary redistribution let us at least save the taxpayers some bucks. Instead, that gets tossed out. It gets shoved aside and the Liberals decide instead to keep expanding it.
Also there have been comments from many members of the Bloc on their supposed concern about the 25 per cent representation. The firm figure they want is a 25 per cent representation of all the seats in the House of Commons must be from Quebec. I do not know where they are coming from. They want out of Canada but they demand at least 25 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons. They want to make sure they have a referendum this year so they can leave Canada, but they demand that they get their MP pensions. They sound confused. A little bit like the Liberals, although granted in a different way. Still I do not understand what they want.
In the bill we talked about earlier today Bloc members wanted continued access to the Canadian dairy market, except that they want to be a separate country. Quebec has 50 per cent of the industrial milk in Canada already. What do they want? I do not know and I do not think they know themselves. With the three leaders getting together I suppose they just want everything. That way they cover it with the three leaders. I am not sure what else it could be.
It is in the best interests of the Liberal Party to let the bill die. If the they would just let the bill die at least Liberal members going into the next election would have some idea as to where they are going to fight their next losing battle. It is in their own best interests to at least set up their own Waterloo in such a way that they could at least plan for their own demise.
There is no sense in being surprised by this. Why ask for a new arbitrary boundary so that we can try to make political contacts, media contacts in a riding where we do not know the boundaries. It is far wiser to go ahead and make whatever changes are necessary, and members opposite, if there were members opposite, should listen to this. There will be and must be changes. The boundaries cannot stay the same. There is no sense in saying: "I wish this town or this little area were included". It is not possible to stay the same. It has to change. It must change.
If it changes, and it will, let us change it now. We can all get on with life and represent the ridings we have and we will go into the next election knowing the boundaries of the ridings we are going to represent. If some ridings need to be eliminated, perhaps we can eliminate the riding of the hon. member who is leaving the House now. If we have to eliminate some, let us eliminate them now and get it over with so we can get on with making our plans for the next election.
Based on the 1991 census the Reform plan originally tabled with the committee would have created a House with a total of 273 members, 265 seats plus some constitutional requirements to include some extras from certain provinces. There would have been only slight future growth. That is the kind of thing our constituents want. They do not want more government.
I will speak for a moment about the way the amendments came back from the Senate. What an improvement it would be if we let the House of Commons operate with representation by population as close as we can work it. Then we move on to an upper House that is as close as we can make it in representational by region. What an improvement it would be if we said we all have 100,000, or whatever the figure, constituents to represent. Sometimes it is difficult because it is spread out; sometimes it is concentrated in cities. Be that as it may, this is rep by pop in the House of Commons.
When we wanted advice or a sober second thought we could go to the Senate elected by the people, that had regional representation so that for instance the farming community in Saskatchewan would have people it could go to and say: "This is the region you represent; this is the job you have. Get with it and represent my interests as a regional centre". We could go to a senator from Toronto and he could do his best to represent that city and so on.
What a better system it would be if we had true rep by pop in a smaller House of Commons and a triple E Senate. We could all look forward to an election for that and the job it would do.
As I talk about this democratic process, the process of who should choose our electoral boundaries, obviously it should not be the members of Parliament but a neutral body. When we set up cost saving measures we should be willing as members of Parliament to pull in our vision of more seats and instead restrict it to a more cost effective way of doing business in the House.
Think of the way we run things in the House where we should be elected to represent our constituents, not just our parties. Think of the changes required to make sure the House of Commons allows freer votes without party discipline. Think of the changes required in committees when a bill is referred to a committee on first reading in the hope of obtaining ample input from members of Parliament only to find out that in some committees when it comes to a clause by clause debate debate will be restricted to five minutes per clause; amendments will be refused if they are in one official language only; clauses of a bill
will be passed without having a vote; decisions will be reversed on votes; witnesses will be refused.
In the case of the MP pension plan members of the committee refused to hear from members of Parliament to be affected by it or from ordinary citizens. They restrict the input into those committees to maybe a single day. They did not allow enough time on Bill C-68, one of the most controversial bills of the year, to have legislative counsel draft the amendments properly.
We saw our Prime Minister saying do as you are told by the party, not as you are told by your constituents or else. We see motions to extend hours and voting until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. in order to shove through legislation. We see what we are facing here tonight, another example of closure where the government will force the bill through without allowing all the debate members want on it.
We see all of this compiled in only 20 months of the Liberals in government. We wonder where their vaunted red book promises are. Where is the promise of freer votes, more open government, a chance to represent our constituents? It is gone. In only 20 months of arrogant government that is being wrapped up, shipped out in the fish wrappers of old. It is not a reality. The time has come and gone when we could look to the Liberal Party for reforming the House of Commons.
It is becoming obvious that reform of the House of Commons will take the Reform Party. That is why it is a pleasure to stand here with many members of the Reform Party sitting in their seats listening to the debate, entering into the debate with government members who are willing to. We offer constructive criticism, beg the members opposite to debate us in public on issues such as closure, MP pensions and so on and we get no response.
Still it is a pleasure to make known the concerns of my constituents and the concerns of the Reform Party as we want to make this place work better, more democratically. We want an electoral boundaries system free from political interference. That is why I will be voting against this bill and I am proud to do it.