Madam Speaker, I have a couple of questions for the government House leader who appears to be running for a position in the Senate with the speech he made today.
He says that there is no consensus on the Senate issue. I want to say that he is right in one way but I think he is wrong in the other way. I want him to concede that tonight.
There is a division in the country as to whether the Senate should be reformed or abolished. According to the polling it is roughly 50:50. According to the polling, only about 5% of the people support the existing Senate. About 95% think the existing Senate is not the proper institution for a democracy. I want to know whether or not the minister recognizes the reality that about 5% of the people support the existing Senate.
The minister also talked about giving the Senate supply. The Senate got an extra 10% last year. This year it wants another 6.1%. That is 16.1% over two years.
I look across at the minister in charge of homelessness and ask her whether or not her budget was raised 16.1% over two years for the homeless in the country. I know it has not. I know she is struggling in cabinet for money for the homeless.
Let us look at the health budget, the education budget, the agricultural budget or any other budget. None of them have been raised by 16.1% over two years. My friend from Sarnia tells me that the budget of the House of Commons is going up by around 2% this year. The Senate wants three times as much as what is going to the House of Commons.
Since the minister is responding tonight on behalf of the government on the very important issue of the other place, how can he possibly justify an increase of 16.1% over two years?
I want him to answer that question and to admit today that there is a consensus in the country that the other place is not working and is a blight on democracy. It is not elected. It is not accountable. It is not democratic. Over 90% of the Canadian people do not support the existing Senate. The debate is what to do with it. However they do not support the existing Senate. There is a consensus on that.