Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise to speak this morning. I have but a few moments left to discuss Bill C-9 before the House.
Mr. Speaker, allow me to congratulate you for the deportment which you brought to this Chamber yesterday while you were presiding over the official visit of the British Prime Minister. I must say that you brought great humility, humour and your usual candour to the Chamber. You certainly carried yourself well in that role.
With respect to the bill, this is a piece of legislation that will go from this Chamber to the committee where there will be an opportunity to review some of the prevalent sections of the legislation itself.
We have been led to believe that the changes brought about by the bill, which, as I mentioned yesterday, resulted from a decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal, will in fact set this matter right.
The past election demonstrated the need to examine in greater detail this issue of a permanent voters list. There were numerous occasions where many members of parliament encountered constituents who arrived at the polling booth and were sadly not able to vote. This of course comes at a time when there is declining participation in elections. Perhaps one of the most important exercises in the examination of the legislation is to ensure that this situation does not continue. We must ensure that we are encouraging not discouraging people from taking part in this important democratic process of voting.
Although this is a bill that is quite procedural in nature, there is a fundamental principle behind it that goes to the very heart of parliamentary democracy, that is, encouraging voters to participate in the electoral processes.
The definition with respect to the number of candidates that must run in an election to allow a party to have the official designation on the ballot is addressed. The situation surrounding donations and the blackouts that occur during elections is also addressed, so that information as to results in some regions is not brought into play as a factor in another region because of the width and breadth of this country and the attached time zones.
The Progressive Conservative Party, at this point, is certainly supportive of the legislation. We look forward to full participation at the committee level to bring forward possible amendments that would improve and enhance the bill which is our role as members of parliament.