A bit more radical. I know the hon. member for Calgary West will support this, but I am not sure about the more frugal member for St. Albert.
I believe we should also be looking at incorporating the idea of at least some proportional representation into our electoral system so that we give a voice to all Canadians in the country, regardless of whom they want to vote for and where they come from. I have presented a private member's bill to this effect. This would give some regional representation to the central institution of parliament.
As a matter of fact, when Tony Blair reforms the British parliament the election after next, we will be the only parliamentary system in the world that does not have at least some PR mixed into our system. I am not talking about advocating a totally pure PR system like there is in Israel. I think we should have a mixed number proportional, where we have some members, maybe half or two-thirds, representing constituents. That would be topped up by members elected by PR in a very democratic way, where the party leadership does not choose the people who go on that particular list.
I say that because this House of Commons is supposed to be a reflection of the Canadian people. However, if we look at the composition of the House today, we have a majority government with the constitutional right to govern for five years. What vote did it get last time? It got 38%, with a turnout of about 67%. The turnout has been plummeting in the last 30 years. In 1968, 80% of the people voted. Last time it was 67%, largely because people asked “Why bother? Why waste my vote? Politicians do not listen. How I vote does not seem to make any difference”. In many cases that is absolutely true.
Since 1921 we have only had two elections where a majority of the people voted for the government in power. They were in 1945 with Mackenzie King and in 1958 with John Diefenbaker. Brian Mulroney came close in 1984 with 49.7% or 49.8%. During that time we have had many majority governments and every one of them, except for those two, was elected by a minority. Really what we have is the tyranny of the minority in the House of Commons today.
We have other distortions in the House of Commons. The Reform Party and the Conservative Party got about 19% of the votes each. The Conservative Party got 20 seats and the Reform Party got 60 seats.
There are now 21 NDP members and 44 from the Bloc Quebecois. In the last election, the Bloc Quebecois obtained 11% of the vote and the NDP also obtained 11%.
We had the same vote as the Bloc Quebecois.
The votes are not reflected in the House of Commons in accordance with the way that the people of this country vote. Therefore, most people consider that their vote is wasted. Most Canadians voted for losing candidates. If we had a system of PR incorporated into the House there would not be a single lost vote in the country.
A person could, for example, vote Liberal in parts of the prairies where that party cannot win and that vote would still count. A person could vote NDP in southern Alberta and that vote would count. A person could vote Reform in Newfoundland and that vote would count. A person could even vote Conservative in Saskatchewan and that vote would count. I suppose that a person could vote for the Bloc Quebecois in British Columbia and that vote would still count, if there was a system in this country that had a measure of proportional representation built into it like every other parliamentary system in the world. Every other parliamentary system in the world has it except Canada.
I think these are some of the changes we need, some of the reforms we need. What we need in this country is big democracy. Allow the people in. Let the people's voice be heard. Let the people say what they want in this country. That is the way we should go.
Instead, tonight we are going to see the majority of this House vote another $30 million for the unelected Senate, with no accountability, no election, no democracy. Does anybody agree with that? Why do they vote that way?
I want the member for Brandon—Souris to tell me why members of his party for 132 years have defended the status quo. I know they are Conservatives, but 132 years of the status quo? How in God's name can those members vote that way?
I know the member campaigned on behalf of David Orchard. It seems to me that he would be a bit of a rebel and would not be afraid to speak out and take a line that differs from Senators Balfour, Berntson, Cogger and everybody else in the Senate. I hope the member does that this evening in the House of Commons.
We need serious parliamentary and electoral change. We have to democratize our electoral system and democratize our parliamentary system. I hope that government backbenchers have the courage like the member for Sarnia—Lambton to advocate serious democratic change for the people of this country. If we do that we could make a real contribution to the new millennium and we could have a real democracy for the new millennium.