Mr. Speaker, I was quite surprised to hear the comments made by the hon. member for Mercier.
In his speech earlier tonight, the government whip suggested that Bloc members disagreed on this bill. This is quite obvious tonight as the hon. member for Bellechasse, who sits on the committee, proposed in committee an amendment to the bill that would have given Quebec at least 25 per cent of the seats in this House.
The suggestion to amend the bill actually came from a senator who testified as a witness before the committee. The committee nonetheless decided that amendments to the Constitution of Canada were not needed at this time and that, as everyone agreed, the amendment suggested by the hon. member for Bellechasse would involve amending the constitution. Consequently, the committee rejected this amendment and decided to preserve the constitutional relations now in effect among all Canadian provinces, and especially the constitutional provisions concerning representation in this House. We then heard the hon. member for Berthier-Montcalm deliver a long speech in this House at second or third reading of this bill.
The hon. member for Bellechasse did not have anything to say at that time, while his colleague from Berthier-Montcalm called for major changes to this bill and proposed an amendment. This amendment was rejected by the House. We now hear all kinds of speeches dealing with the amendments proposed by the Senate, which have nothing to do with the constitution, nothing to do with the representation of any province in this House, although all speeches by Bloc members deal with this. This has nothing to do with the motion before the House tonight. Perhaps they would like this to be the case, but it is not.
The motion before the House and the amendment concern only the amendments proposed by the Senate. It is noteworthy that the Senate did not propose the amendments requested by the hon. members for Mercier and Bellechasse. Why? Because such amendments would have also been rejected by the Senate.
I am surprised. During her speech, the hon. member for Mercier rewrote the history of Canada. It is very obvious that our country was built by two partners, English Canadians and French Canadians. That much is obvious to everybody. Canada will continue to prosper because of these two partners. If we are together, if we work together to continue to build this country, there will always be enough wealth for everyone in Canada and no one will be denied their rights. That is what created this great country, Canada, and what will sustain it in the future.
I am certain that when the Bloc Quebecois will have the courage to hold a referendum in the Province of Quebec, Quebecers will tell all of the world that they want to remain in Canada, that they want to remain part of this great country, because they have always worked with all other Canadians to create this country, not without difficulty, but ever hopeful for the future of this great country, one of the world's greatest.
I want to leave that subject and speak instead tonight about the Reform amendment, which is, after all, what we are supposed to be discussing.
I am very surprised to see the Reform Party carrying on the way it has been tonight. Again I have the little green book handy. I was just browsing through it. I know we have heard hon. members of the Reform Party almost speak disrespectfully of the other place. I am shocked, to say the least. I am shocked because here we have a spectacle of the Reform Party on the one hand speaking disrespectfully of the other place and on the other hand supporting the amendments it has made to this bill. I do not think it is any accident that many of the amendments proposed by the Reform Party members in the committee and rejected by the House and the committee are now being supported by their friends in the other place.
The other place has a constitutional right to suggest amendments to this House and send bills back, as it has done in this case, but I am surprised that a party that speaks so disrespectfully of the other place would now support by its amendment the amendments that have been proposed there.
I want to quote from their leader, the hon. member for Calgary Southwest, in the little green book. The book is called "The Gospel According to Preston Manning and the Reform Party". He said the following, although I want to say at the outset that I do not agree with the statement: "The three priorities of the present Senate are, in order, protocol, alcohol and Geritol".