Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to say that I do not agree with my colleagues from Waterloo—Wellington and Vancouver Quadra when they say that the members of the Bloc are immobilizing parliament with their amendments. I think that it is very important for the opposition to be able to protest when they do not agree with a bill introduced by the government. If the Bloc members want to see the MP vote like little rabbits, jumping from on amendment to another, that is fine. That is stupid, but that is fine. If that is what they want, I have no problem with that.
I believe most of the amendments moved at this stage of consideration of the bill are futile. I would like to explain why.
Bill C-20 is very simple. There are two fundamental paragraphs that form the basis of this bill. The rest is only cosmetic. The two paragraphs that I consider important are 1(6) and 2(4).
Paragraph 1(6) reads as follows:
(6) The Government of Canada shall not enter into negotiations on the terms on which a province might cease to be part of Canada if the House of Commons determines...that a referendum question is not clear—
The other paragraph says the same thing, and I quote:
(4) The Government of Canada shall not enter into negotiations on the terms on which a province might cease to be part of Canada unless the House of Commons determines...that there has been a clear expression of a will by a clear majority of the population of that province that the province cease to be part of Canada.
This is what is required to start negotiations on the separation or secession of a province.
I am a strong federalist. I think my colleagues from the Bloc defend everything coming from Quebec. I think opposition members believe, as I do, in a civil society.
Consequently, I believe my colleagues opposite are not looking for a situation where Canada would be dismantled by an unclear question. I believe this because I firmly believe in a united Canada. I also believe in the parliamentary process, as other members opposite, Reform and Bloc members. If there were a clear question on the secession of a province, I would have no choice but to accept it.