Madam Speaker, with the greatest of respect, I disagree most emphatically with the member for Anjou-Rivière-des-Prairies and the member for Broadview-Greenwood, who both assert that this whole debate today has to do with referenda. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many experts in legal matters who know far better than I do, it has nothing to do with referenda.
The legislative assembly of a province has sought a constitutional change which it is perfectly entitled to do. If for example the assembly in either of the provinces of Quebec or Alberta had a situation on which it was unanimously agreed a constitutional change was wanted, I would expect that the province would take the request for the change to the federal government. That is exactly as it should be.
When that request arises in this House, I would expect as is going to be the case today, the Parliament of Canada would decide on that request in a free vote. When there is a vote in this Chamber on a constitutional issue, as we have in the case with Newfoundland today, or any other province that may bring a constitutional issue before the House, it should be a free vote so the people of Canada shall speak on the issue and decide.