You are right, Mr. Speaker. The Right Hon. Prime Minister, who of course is now in his eighth year, has put this bill before the Parliament of Canada. Quite frankly this bill is a crafted jewel. I think this bill will go down in history as one of the best things the Prime Minister has ever done.
I say that because I listen to my constituents. Not just in my community in Toronto but right across Canada there is a general feeling that the debate on Quebec's separation has gone on long enough. One of the reasons the debate has gone on so long is that the separatists, the sovereignists, the indépendantistes, whatever we want to call them, have constantly used clouded questions, shall I say every trick in the book, to try to confuse their own communities.
The beautiful thing about this legislation is that for the first time we have the rules that will actually decide Quebec's right to sovereignty. No one will deny that right, but some basic rules will have to be respected: one, a clear question; two, a majority; and three, we have to make sure if those conditions are met that the political actors are put together to make that secession possible.
I have not met anyone yet who is against the notion of a clear question. Why the Bloc Quebecois would argue the point with hundreds and hundreds of amendments on a simple clause is really beyond me.
It was very interesting when we listened to witnesses. Some of the most respected leaders from the province of Quebec came before us and said that this bill is in order. Some members said that maybe they would challenge the process. Maybe they would like us to take a little longer and debate it. That is a fair comment but we are elected to lead. We are elected to govern. The leadership that is in charge right now has said that we have debated this bill long enough. It has three clauses. Let us get on with it and we will be accountable for it.
One of the leaders who appeared before us was the former prime minister of Canada, the Right Hon. Joe Clark. He did not support the legislation. He felt if a situation ever did arise where a group of sovereignists were so effective and so passionate that there should be an environment where ambiguity could buy the Government of Canada some time so as to delay the process of negotiating the secession.
I thought Mr. Clark's point was a good one. However he failed to realize that in this bill, in the third clause, we have actually enshrined a structure whereby lots of time can be taken before a secession would be possible. In other words, we could argue that clause 3 creates an environment of debate and ambiguity. The reality is that it will take us years before we can decide on the ground rules. Maybe in that period of time people in Quebec will have had the opportunity to assess if they really do want to leave this great country.
That is one of the special features of this bill. Even if there was a clear question and even if there was a clear majority, it would literally take years and years. There are people who essentially at the moment are focused on ripping this country apart. It would give us time and it would give the political actors in Canada the time to possibly drag this out until we put the right type of people in place through the electoral process.
That is one of the genius components of the bill. One could argue it actually enshrines ambiguity. That is the irony of it: the clarity bill that enshrines ambiguity.
I want my friends in the Bloc Quebecois to know that I have spent most of my political life working with people not just from my province and other provinces across Canada, but men and women from Quebec. There is a lot more to achieve by their constituents being part of this great Chamber and being part of this great country rather than continuing to knock on the door of separating them from this great nation.