Mr. Speaker, this debate is particularly timely considering what occurred last night. Many of the Liberals are beginning to wonder if sparrows might not need airports.
Taking the look at the situation we have suddenly discovered the other place does have effect. It is effective. It can do things. In our parliamentary system where we have a government like the current government which attempts to run roughshod all over the opposition parties and the concerns of many Canadians, it is good to have a House of sober second thought that truly is effective. We have seen that the Senate can be effective.
This motion, which calls for the abolition of the Senate, period, end of statement, is unacceptable. That is why the member for Vegreville moved the Reform amendment that after the word Senate, the words "in its present form" be added.
It has been a longstanding position of the Reform Party that we require an effective Senate. We require a Senate that can take a look at bogus bills like Bill C-28.
Bill C-28 was to come back before the House today for the fourth time, after passing through the other place, but even after all this juggling the bill was still flawed. There were a number of amendments to Bill C-28 which were passed by the Liberal majority in the other place in an attempt to water down some of the more odious aspects of the bill, but they still did not get it right, as was shown by virtue of the fact that Liberal Senate Sparrow decided he would do the right thing and join the other people in the other place to vote the bill down.
Bill C-28 attempted to retroactively cancel a contract. It went directly into the teeth of the privileges and the rights we have as Canadians. Whether we are individuals or corporations, it makes no difference, we should have the right to have access to a court of law. What the Liberal government was attempting to do was shut down due process in Canada.
We recognize there was a tremendous amount of money involved in this process. Because of the Prime Minister's promise during the 1993 election, he has placed the people of Canada directly in the way of at least a $600 million loss. This is unconscionable on the part of the Prime Minister. It was only the Liberals in the other place, with the exception of Senator Sparrow, who would put this through. They would not use their conscience. They would follow the direction of the former minister of transport.
There is a process in Canada which we all understand. There is a process within the House of Commons. The legislation from the House of Commons, when passed, goes to the Senate. The Senate should be effective, and it has been shown to be effective. The other place is to be there as a place of sober second thought and also to represent the regions.
We recognize there is some tremendous difficulty within the Senate at this moment. I speak as someone in business. The predecessors to this Liberal government, yet another Liberal government, brought us the great and wonderful national energy plan.
We had in western Canada, based out of Calgary, our very own made in Canada depression. It was made right here in Ottawa with bogus thinking, with centrist thinking that Liberals consistently possess. Sixty-five billion dollars was sucked out of western Canada and brought back to Ontario.
That would never have happened had there been an elected Senate. It is for that reason that we have put forth the amendment that yes, the Senate should be abolished, but in its present form. In other words, there is a place, there is a time, there is a function for the Senate and we must see that it remains. However, the problem is it is not elected and is totally unaccountable.
The Reform Party has been attempting to bring some semblance of order, some accountability to the Senate, in spite of the fact that the Prime Minister has said he will appoint the Senators he wants, who will represent his party and just on and on. He is the past master at manipulating and controlling the parliamentary system.
In addition, the Liberals will not let us make the Senate accountable for dollars and cents. They will not let members of the House of Commons, who are the duly elected representatives of the people of Canada, hold the Senate accountable for the $40 million plus that they are currently spending.
From the executive summary of the auditor general:
We found that the Senate has neither formally nor informally delegated clear responsibility to management, nor has it made clear for what to hold management accountable. We recommend the Senate should more clearly define the mandate of the committee on internal economy and subcommittees, and establish clear accountability relationships with its senior staff.
This is the most important part.
The Senate does not adequately report on its administrative, financial or human resource management performance and does not possess sufficient information to enable it to do so systematically.
It is the Liberal Party of Canada that wants to make sure that the Senators, its friends in the other place, are not going to be accountable to this place. Should we throw out the Senate? No, because as we have seen when there has been an odious bill such as Bill C-28, the other place from time to time will actually get it right.
We saw what the Progressive Conservatives did when they were being thwarted in bringing in the GST, the gouge and screw tax. Former Prime Minister Mulroney ended up padding the Senate so that he could manage to get the GST through the House of Commons. The Senate just broke up into bedlam with kazoos and all sorts of other exciting things.
The way the Senate is currently conducting itself, and occasionally showing itself to be effective, should give the people of Canada at least a glimmer of insight to how the parliamentary system in Canada should work. Why will it not work that way? Because the Prime Minister has made no less than 16 appointments to the Senate, every one of them patronage appointments. In some cases, the people who have been appointed have directly and clearly admitted that they were appointed as a result of patronage.
The second to last person appointed from the province of Alberta clearly stated: "I recognize that I am being appointed to the Senate as a result of the longstanding service that I have done for the Liberal Party". The Prime Minister was very happy to have him there.
The last person who was appointed to the Senate admitted that she should have been elected, to which I say that if she would do the honourable thing she would resign.
The Liberals are noted for half measures. I suggest to them that this might just fit. If Liberal members, in good conscience, were to vote in favour of this motion, as amended by the Reform Party, at least we could start along the process of seeing some changes happen to the other place because truly they must happen. The Reform Party stands for a Triple E Senate, elected, effective and equal.