Madam Speaker, I do not know whether I can do it in three minutes, but I wanted to comment that the member for Peterborough was often at the high noon in his reform proposals. However, this time I have to say it is more like at the dawn. The member for Peterborough and the member for Elk Island in my view have failed in their proposals to allow for the fact that we are in the computer age.
Space on a computer screen is money. Space on a computer screen is jealously guarded. I note in this particular piece of legislation that the devil is in the details. We see in clause 5 that what is specifically proposed is that the year be represented, going from left to right, by four digits, followed by a space or hyphen, followed by two digits for the month, followed by a space or hyphen, followed by two characters for the day.
The problem there is that it is a total of ten characters. I would suggest that if the member had considered using Roman numerals for the month, he only would have had a selection of 12 characters or letters to choose from. He would have been able to reduce the space for January 1, 2001 to 01I2001, which is seven characters, or he could reduce it to I101 which is four characters. Indeed it does not matter which order he uses the letter. He could mix it. He could put the letter at the beginning or the end and have 1I01 or if he forgoes the 01 to represent the year he could have 1I1.
In medieval days they recognized that there could be confusion between the letter I and the number one and they substituted the letter J . So we could have, for January 1, 2001, 1J1. I cannot stress enough the potential elegance that is available if we were to use Roman numerals.
For example, August 18, 2001 would be 18VIII01. Not only does that evoke the Romans and the coliseum and encourage children to understand the history of numbers, but I point out that my suggestion is entirely in keeping with the intention of this legislation, which is a representation of dates in an all numeric form. Sometimes we forget that Roman numerals are not letters at all, they are numbers.
I would urge the member to reconsider this legislation. Certainly if it goes forward and is debated in the industry committee, I would think that the industry committee should consider my proposal because, if we use Roman numerals, we can do without the hyphens and we can have a maximum of eight characters rather than ten on our computer screens to represent unambiguous dates.