Madam Speaker, what you have just heard and the debate by the member across the way does not deserve any continuation. I will join in the debate and say at the outset that Bill C-20 addresses the concerns of all Canadians.
For years the people in my riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore and, I am sure, all across the country, have wrestled with the fundamental question of keeping our country together. They have wrestled with such questions as how will legislators deal with the possible secession of a Canadian province.
This bill gives answers to Canadians. This bill, rightfully named the clarity act, gives clarity to the question. Bill C-20 is squarely in line with the Supreme Court of Canada's opinion in the Quebec secession reference which states clearly that it is for the political actors to determine what constitutes a clear majority on a clear question.
With Bill C-20, the federal government is delivering on its responsibility to all Canadians, giving Canadians an opportunity to make an informed decision about the breakup of our country. The clarity act is about good governance and democracy, values that we cherish in our political system.
Madam Speaker, I want you to keep in mind those three words, good governance and democracy, as I proceed. What is happening here today in this debate does not speak to good governance and democracy as we hear from the members across the way; those values that we cherish in our political system, those values that are amplified in this clarity act which sets out principles and procedures under which the Government of Canada and the House of Commons must proceed if ever some day we are to decide on the clarity of the will to secede. It is a framework for the Government of Canada and it has the support of my constituents and Canadians across the country.
There was a recent poll done around December 9 to 17. It was a CROP poll conducted for the Centre for Research and Information on Canada. Some 58% of respondents agreed with the government's intention to clarify the conditions under which secession could be negotiated. It is democracy and good governance.
The numerous amendments by the Bloc Quebecois to the bill lack substance and are clearly an obstruction of the process. When we introduce amendments in the House we do so as members of parliament with the intention of improving the legislation and improving the ideas expressed.
Motions Nos. 1, 3, 6, 8, 10 and 12 as put forward by the Bloc do not have that intention. These motions propose removing the title of the bill, deleting the existing clauses in the preamble, gutting the bill and putting us back into a position whereby Canadians would not be able to get resolution to this thorny issue of national unity.
The Bloc motions proposing the deletion of the bill title is aimed solely at stalling the procedures in the House, during the committee hearings, and are not intended to improve the bill.
On February 15, appearing before the committee studying Bill 99 in the national assembly, the Bloc's intergovernmental affairs critic was already saying, and I quote:
The difficulty we have, is that the bill is so blatantly unacceptable that to propose substantive amendments does not seem to us to be in the order of the day. Proposing amendments to stall the passage of the bill...is something that is in the realm of possibility.
Those who say that they want democracy and that the bill is undemocratic would not at the outset let the process take its course.
My constituents want us to get clarity on the issue and to know that we can get over this difficult question that seems to come around almost in circles. They want us, as members of parliament, to do their bidding, to stand for a clear question and decisions so that however we move we will move with clarity.
The title of the bill speaks to that clarity. Any discussion from across the way that would somehow say that this is undemocratic does not really speak to the intent of the bill.
I have joined in the debate because I want to see clarity on the issue. I want my constituents to know that there are members on this side of the House who want to bring this question to a close, who want to see this legislation pass this House and who want to see us go forward into the 21st century with clarity so that whatever happens, all sides know exactly what the terms are.
I call on my colleagues and those of the opposition, the Bloc Quebecois especially who are opposing this, that they allow the democratic process to take place and let the will of Canadians be heard through this clarity act. I call on everyone of us to join in ensuring that the bill is passed.