Madam Speaker, it is interesting how this debate has evolved today. It is kind of like ever expanding circles. We start on one subject and pretty soon away we go. It is kind of fun here today to see the Liberals squirm as we talk a bit about western alienation and not just western alienation but about changes that are necessary to the democratic process, the electoral system and the parliamentary system in order to make this place accountable to the Canadian voters, the people who actually sent us here, and to make the parties more responsible to the people whose vote they are trying to woo.
What it comes down to of course is the basic supposition when it comes to elections in Parliament of whose chair is this anyway. I am not going to hold up the chair and use it as a prop but that is the basic question. Does this chair belong to a political party or does it belong to the people in the riding?
The basic question the Liberals should be asking is how can we ensure that this chair represents the views of the people, in my case those of Fraser Valley East. I would put forward the proposition that what has brought this House into such a low level of self-esteem and such a low level of public opinion is the fact that people who get elected to this place think they own this chair and if they do not own it then the political party that they are apart of owns it. Until they get that straight they are not going to be able to put to rest the fears of the Canadian people that this place is not representative of the Canadian people.
Why when we talk about western alienation and when I try to convince and talk to the minister in charge of our national unity portfolio that distinct society is driving the country apart instead of bringing the country together, he stands there and says he will go on a tour of this country again and convince western Canadians that they have to take this distinct society? He said in B.C. that they should just give a bit more and accept it.
It is no wonder they cannot get it straight over there about what the purpose of this place is and the purpose of representative government.
The purpose is to find those things that we have in common which draw us together, not to emphasize the differences of Canadians. I hear them say that we need to recognize the distinct society clause because it will put to rest the national unity crisis. This is the government that came within 50,000 votes of losing the country, the government that had no game plan, no plan (a) or (b), no plan at all to address the Quebec issue. Instead, it rolled along saying "we think it is okay and if we just push this distinct society thing down somebody's throat, somehow that will bring the country together".
The Liberals are not listening and they are not learning. They have yet to understand the principle at stake here. The principle is that the chair I sit in does not belong to the Reform Party; it belongs to the people of Fraser Valley East. And when I stand and speak on their behalf, I expect the government to listen and I expect the people to listen. If I am not doing my job, then I have not done it as I understand democratic representation.
There will be more about this after question period because I am not finished with these guys yet.