Madam Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member and I always have. I liked him then and I like him still. He has undergone an interesting metamorphosis in the sense that I asked him a direct question and he almost acted as if he was a Liberal cabinet minister. He totally danced around it without answering it.
Someday I will have a private conversation with him and ask him whether he believes that the Senate should be elected. I firmly do. About 98% of what the member said in response to my question was good. Yes, there are hard working senators; it is our system and our constitution provides for it; the Senate has the ability to originate bills, as it did with Bill S-40, the bill we are debating today; and yes, unless we are able to work with them no legislation would be passed.
I must point out the fact that the Senate, being billed as a chamber of sober second thought, hopefully would give assent to bills which make sense and would refuse assent or amend bills which are not right and not as good as they could be. That should be the function of the Senate. Indeed, that should be the function of this place. That should be the function of our committees. That should be the function of this House when we are debating a bill at report stage or even at third reading. There should be room for amending a bad bill and thereby making it a better bill. It does not happen under our present system. I really think it should.
I would hope that when we form the government after the next election that the Senate, being made up of a number of Liberal and Conservative senators and one Canadian Alliance senator, would at that stage for the good of the country provide the same service that it does now. I find it very offensive to even contemplate the fact that the tentacles of the Prime Minister's control reach all around here with these members on the government side voting on command on bills and motions that go over to the Senate or in this case they have derived from the Senate. The Prime Minister controls the outcome of the vote in the Senate. The Senate should be independent of this place.
The Senate should be able to look at a bill such as Bill S-40 and provide a good bill. We happen to think that it could. I resent the member for Dauphin--Swan River even implying that there is something dishonourable on my part by supporting a bill because it originated from the Senate.
If I were to say that I would not vote for a bill because it came from the Senate then I would be in the same trap. That is, I would be voting either for or against a motion or a bill based on where it originated, rather than whether or not it was a good idea. That happens all too often in this House. Our amendments are routinely rejected by the Liberals because they come from the Alliance.
Canadians honestly truly suffer because of a result of that. They miss out on the collective wisdom of this place, as of the other place that the hon. member spoke of.
The other thing is, and we will have to talk about this privately, sure, we must work with people from other parties. We must, from time to time, co-operate with members of other opposition parties. I have no problem supporting a bill or a motion that comes from the Liberal side if it is a good bill or motion.
In fact, the record will show that the Canadian Alliance and before that the previous official opposition party, the Reform Party, was probably highest in the number of bills and motions that it supported from the government side. I have voted in favour of a number of bills from the Liberal side. This is because I study them. Our researchers study them and when it is all finished if it is a good bill and deserves my support, I am not so small as to say that it came from the wrong side, so I will not support it. That is beneath a serious legislator and parliamentarian.
Today we are talking about Bill S-40. It is a bill that has to do with bankruptcies. It is one of the larger bills that we have debated. It has a few paragraphs in two pages. Of course I speak facetiously since Hansard does not show sarcasm. I would have to say the member was dripping with sarcasm when he said it was a large bill because otherwise how would Hansard record that?
Bill S-40 amends the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act to clarify the application of it with respect to bankruptcies. I support the bill because it is a good one. It would help to improve Canada's productivity I hope. It would improve the ability of Canadians to raise capital and members of our investment population to trade and work in Canada.
One of the most glaring failures of the Liberal government has been the way it has driven people and money out of this country. It is a huge failure on the part of the government. Finally we have a bill which would have a force in the opposite direction. It would help to keep some of the business activity in Canada rather than sending it to the United States.
We have a great number of people who have left in the last nine years while the Liberals have been in government. I regret that. This weekend I was back home visiting my aged father who was not feeling well. I made an emergency trip to see him and spent some time in the hospital this week. Frankly, I think it is atrocious that the policies of the Liberal government have forced our medical personnel to go to the United states, literally thousands of doctors and nurses. They are practising medicine in the United States while our system suffers from lack of personnel.
I must admire the people who are still here. Some of them say they have families here so it is not that easy to move, otherwise they would. Others say they are Canadian and they are loyal to this country, and some of them add come hell or high water because they like to quote the finance minister. They are staying here but it is certainly not because it is an advantage for them to do so in terms of providing for their families, looking after their income and having a reduced tax load.
This is further reflected in the value of our dollar. We have a dollar which is incredibly low. Under the government it has sunk from around 75¢ down to around 65¢ U.S. That is outrageous. That dollar is not only a cause of our economic problems but it is also a reflection of them. The lower the dollar goes, the lower our productivity. On the other hand, when the dollar goes down it is also an indicator that we are not doing well economically in our competition with the United States and with other countries. We measure our dollar against the U.S. dollar.
I would be pleased to see many bills, such as Bill S-40, come from the government that would start taking some positive steps in making our economy stronger and healthier, so that as a result Canadians can stay here and work here.
I wish to mention investment. It is atrocious that people who are looking for an economical way of conducting their investment business must go to American brokerage places to get the best deal.
It is imperative that we be competitive in this country. We cannot help it. We must compete with the United States because money goes where it is most efficiently handled. The only time investors ask what the worst deal in town is is when they are forced to, like with the Canada pension plan which returns probably the lowest rate on investment income that there can possibly be. Yet everybody is forced into it so they have to participate in it.
There are many people who would love to invest outside of Canada, and I have to ask why? Why not invest in Canada? It is nice to talk about it, but we must provide the economic and business climate so that our own businesses, investment firms and banks can thrive. There is nothing preventing Canadians from taking their business outside the country. I for one believe that we can do much better than we have done so far. Hopefully Bill S-40 is one small step.
I would like to speak about the bankruptcy situation. There are thousands of people who have gone into bankruptcy. It is due to the policies of the Liberal government that thousands of businesses and farmers have gone bankrupt. Bill S-40 addresses the bankruptcy question and would help protect the financial institutions mentioned in it. It is important that we have a bill which would improve our economy and reduce bankruptcies. We must support the bill because it is a small step in improving the economy and the business climate of Canada and it is a bill for Canadians.