Mr. Speaker, I have been sitting here listening to this debate for some time. I was interested in the comments offered up by the
hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell and by the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands. Back in British Columbia we call some of the comments which were made symptoms of the Ottawa disease: no substance but a lot of cheap political gamesmanship, and this from veterans in the House who could pursue much more productive avenues.
The bill we are discussing tonight was not produced by all parties, as those members well know. We co-operated, which is our norm and we filed a dissenting report. We heard in typical style that this bill will be adopted. One of the problems with this House is that the results are a foregone conclusion when we see the stubbornness with which these bills are approached.
This is the fourth time I have spoken in public on Bill C-18, the forerunner to this bill, on Bill C-69 today and indeed on another occasion to the electoral boundaries commission in British Columbia. This dates back to February 9, 1994, March 21, 1994, May 26, 1994 and again today.
I must say that when members of the public ask me what is transpiring in terms of the whole electoral boundaries situation, there is a natural tendency to try to not talk about it because everything has become so complex, unravelled and intertwined. There is a great deal of uncertainty among everyone as to where we are going on these boundaries and when the changes, if there are going to be changes, will actually take place.
It is important to dredge up the history behind all of this and why we stand here tonight in this circumstance. We have to explain a little bit of that history to understand what is going on here.
One thing was of concern to me last year and is still very much at the forefront of my thoughts. The whole initiative to kill the electoral boundary redistribution process started in Ontario. It had got up a head of steam so that Bill C-18 was being drafted before British Columbians had even received their original electoral boundaries report to know where their proposed boundaries were.
This is typical of how many regions of the country feel left out and manipulated by what goes on in Ontario or in central Canada. It is worth repeating that there is no necessity in this issue. It was not an issue in the campaign. It was not an issue after the campaign. It is not in the Liberal red book, the dead book.
This bill continues to do one thing and one thing only. It responds to the desires of politicians to draw lines on a map. The Ontario MPs are trying to kill the boundary redistribution process. As I said before, they were trying to do that before the B.C. report was even out. This process has been in effect every decade since 1867 during the time of Confederation. It has been tied to the census. There was no public outcry. The outcry does not exist.