Mr. Speaker, regardless of what has happened and what may happen, one thing appears to be certain. Either as a result of being shamed into making the right decision or as a result of certain provincial governments recognizing that they were wrong at the outset, I believe we are on the path to a right and just decision with respect to this matter.
A number of other concerns have been raised as a result of this issue. In the 14 years I have been in parliament no other issue has torn members apart as this issue.
It ought not to have been a confidence vote. That is quite clear. It was not a vote of confidence. No one ever believed it to be a vote of confidence. It was deemed to be a vote of confidence, only as a mechanism to coerce Liberal backbenchers into supporting the motion. Could we imagine for a moment that, had the Reform motion carried, the Prime Minister would have walked down to visit the governor general to dissolve parliament? They would have gone into an election campaign and the theme would have been “We have abandoned the sick and the dying. The country is strong. Vote for us”.
That is pure nonsense and everyone in the House knows it. I hope that one of the other results of this debate is an accelerated push for parliamentary reform and more free votes in the House so that all members of parliament, especially when it comes to matters of conscience, are free to vote their conscience and not forced into toeing the party line.