Madam Speaker, I simply want to respond to some of the speeches that were made in the House. They were very good speeches and very positive.
As I said in my opening remarks, I believe the oath must be changed to put an emphasis on Canada. I want to assure my colleagues from British Columbia and from Thunder Bay that I am not wed to the exact formula that is in my bill.
Unfortunately this is not a votable bill, but I believe the debate was important to give the minister, who is thinking about these things, a chance to hear the views of the different parties.
It seems there is strong support for changing the oath to put an emphasis on Canada. I have proposed that we pledge allegiance to Canada and to the Constitution of Canada.
I realize that the Constitution of Canada is not always an easy concept to grasp. In constitutional law we talk about the Constitution of Canada as including all constitutional documents. As my hon. friend from British Columbia pointed out, there are 30, 40 or 50 statutes which make up the Constitution, although the two principal documents are the Constitution Act, 1867, formerly known as the British North American Act of 1867, and the Constitution Act, 1981, the act that repatriated the Constitution.
This is not a votable item. However, it appears that there is consensus among the various parties of the House that a change is needed. Even my friend from the Bloc Quebecois admits that. He was on the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He reported to the House that in the hearings before that committee there was a consensus for changing the oath, although he does not like the present formulation. He and I have different views on this.
He would not want to pledge allegiance to Canada as a member of the Bloc Quebecois.
That is one of the reasons I am putting forward an oath of allegiance. I do not want any ambiguity for our new citizens to be in the oath. I do not want them to be unclear about what they are doing. I want them to be absolutely clear on what they are doing. I want people who come here and become citizens to know what they are pledging allegiance to. I do not want them to think on the one hand they are pledging allegiance to a Queen who is principally British and represents the United Kingdom, although as I said there is a legal fiction that she is the Queen of Canada, and then on the other hand to be pledging allegiance to Canada.
I think the time has come when we can clarify the oath, make it absolutely clear that when you pledge allegiance to Canada as a new citizen you are pledging allegiance to this country and to nothing else.
I understand the views of the Bloc Quebecois members. They have been elected to support a movement to separate Quebec from Canada and to break up the country and they do not want to pledge allegiance to Canada. As a matter of fact, when we sing "O Canada" in the House once a week they are significantly absent because they do not want to sing that anthem and they do not want to give allegiance to our flag either.
It is for those very reasons that I want people to pledge allegiance to Canada. I think our unity is under attack. Our unity is being threatened. I want to make clear to new citizens that when they come here and become citizens of Canada and pledge allegiance I want that pledge to be meaningful. I want it to be significant. I want to make sure that their loyalty is with Canada and not with any other country, that their loyalty is to the traditions, to the way of doing things in this country.
I thought the approach of the member for Thunder Bay was emotional. Mine was rather legalistic I thought he made a very good speech supporting the bill.
In closing the debate, I hope the minister and the government take notice of this debate and bring in soon a government bill which will give us a new oath of allegiance which will emphasize allegiance and loyalty to Canada.