Madam Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the hon. member to two points. The second point he raised was about the issue of supply, the amount that we are voting tonight. The hon. member talked about the increases this year and last year. He forgot about the decrease the year prior because it is not convenient for his argument.
When the hon. member talks about increases perhaps he should remember that there were decreases in the past. He made a comparison between the two houses of parliament. If he goes back over the last number of years he will find that his argument is inaccurate.
He raised a question on another facet of supply with respect to what this money will be used for. I remind the hon. member across the way that a portion of it is the increase that we voted on in the House regarding the compensation for parliamentarians in both houses. I will not reflect upon that vote. We voted and that is done. Once we vote for something we have to furnish the funds to accommodate that on which we voted. It sounds like a rather elementary proposition.
The next part of that component is the one involving the collective agreements of the employees. I know that the NDP is not always together with the unions. Sometimes they have differences. In this case there is one.
Perhaps the hon. member thinks that the employees of the Senate, having duly signed a collective agreement, should not get their paycheques. He can take it up with the union people. That is his privilege. Meanwhile he will know that those two expenditures, one that we voted on in the House and the other being the collective agreement of the employees, form the majority of the increase. He knows that. I have told him that in answers in the House on several occasions.
His first proposition was about reforming the Senate. He said that many Canadians would prefer if senators were chosen differently than the way they are now. Me too. What is the point? The point is not whether the hon. member and I want to choose senators differently. The point is that he wants to abolish the Senate and I would like to see it elected.
Some provinces want the Senate abolished. Some want it elected. Some want to change the number of senators a jurisdiction has and so on. Some members across the way say they want a triple E Senate. They want the same number of senators for P.E.I. as for British Columbia. They have a right to think that way. I do not happen to think that is proper and equitable.
There has to be some other mechanism of arriving at that. Every province in Canada has a different definition of what that should be. The provincial premiers cannot agree among themselves on a proposition, and the hon. member knows it.
Yes, I agree with him. I would prefer to see senators chosen by another system when the constitution is amended. That is not the point. The point is until it is amended there is only one way of naming senators, and that is by the Prime Minister choosing them and choosing high calibre people, which he does all the time.