Mr. Speaker, I want to follow two themes in conclusion. First, I thank the member for Lac-Saint-Louis for his remarks. I had exactly the same motion before the House last fall and it had been deemed votable. We had two hours of debate and were about to have a third hour when the Prime Minister called the election.
Since the election there has been growing popularity in looking at the idea of PR. A court case has been launched by the Green Party and it is now before the courts. However, all of a sudden the private members' committee decided not to make the motion votable even though it is exactly the same motion as the one I introduced last fall. This motion too will die in about four minutes time.
I appeal to the House to look at the idea behind this. All the motion is asking is that we strike an all party committee to look at the various models of proportional representation or various measures that could be mixed into our system. It does not call for a pure system of PR but leaves it very wide open. This all party committee could hold public hearings to look at improving our electoral system.
At the end of the process, if we agree in parliament, we would go to the Canadian people in a referendum with our recommendations and the status quo so that they could choose between the two. The people would be sovereign and would choose want they want to do, as they did in New Zealand a few years ago. That is all the motion calls for.
I hope we could look at new ideas. It is a radical new idea in the country but we as parliamentarians should be looking at new ideas and new ways to do things.
There is a national organization called Fair Vote Canada which is trying to organize across the country a push on voting reform and proportional representation. It is not trying to push a particular model but a principle of having a system where the people's votes are accurately reflected in the House of Commons so that we do not get the great distortions we have had over the years.
The last thing I want to say is that we may have some initiative on the provincial level. I was in Prince Edward Island three weeks ago, as the member for Fredericton said, and I met with Premier Binns. I wish to commend him publicly. They are looking now at bringing in a blend of PR in Prince Edward Island. A legislative committee there recommended some options. The chief electoral officer of Prince Edward Island is saying that he hopes to have some options for proportional representation ready later this year.
The last four election campaigns in Prince Edward Island resulted in very lopsided parliaments. In three of those four elections there were only one or two members of the opposition. Today there is only one member despite the fact that 42% of the people voted for the opposition parties. I was there for their question period. There was one Liberal member in opposition to the leader asking question after question for over half an hour. That kind of system does not function properly.
Premier Binns has made Canadian history by being the first premier in the first province, just like it was a cradle of Confederation, to bring in a blend of PR. My conversation with the premier has led me to believe that he is very sincere about putting the question to the people of Prince Edward Island in a referendum as to whether they want to try a blend of proportional representation.
We have so many distortions. In the last provincial election in Quebec, Jean Charest and the Liberals got more votes than Lucien Bouchard and the Parti Quebecois, yet Bouchard formed a majority government. In my own province of Saskatchewan, Roy Romanow of my party got 38% of the vote and the opposition Saskatchewan Party got 39% of the vote, yet Mr. Romanow formed a majority government. In British Columbia five years ago, to show I am not partisan because it is not a partisan issue, the provincial NDP led by Glen Clark got fewer votes than the opposition Liberals, yet Glen Clark formed a majority government.
I could go on and on about these great distortions but the time has arrived for us to do something about them. I will keep on pursuing this matter. All I am saying is that we should set up an all party committee to look at the various models that might be relevant to our country and to design in the end a unique Canadian model that would be good for Canada, that would be more inclusive, empowering, democratic and accountable. Part of that model, I say to my friend across the way, is a fixed election date. I believe in that and I always have. We need parliamentary reform to make our country more democratic, more inclusive and more accountable.
The debate has now died. I appeal to all members on all sides of the House, because of the alienation people toward the political process, to consider in the future an all party committee to look at the important area of voting reform. I thank members for their participation.