Madam Speaker, instead of saying coward, perhaps I should say “lack of fortitude” or “lack of leadership”? A man who has been waiting for 10 years to become prime minister and is unable to face his responsibilities is a man who lacks fortitude, lacks leadership, shirks his responsibilities and uses the Liberal majority to change, through Bill C-49, a process provided for by an act that normally should be a most objective and non-partisan act.
By moving up to April 1, 2004, an order that was supposed to come into force on August 26, 2004, the future prime minister is obviously showing that he has trouble facing his responsibilities.
Earlier, my colleague from Champlain said that the way the democratic deficit has been increasing in this House, we might sit for only 3 out of the next 12 months. In the meantime, there are problems in our society and people are counting on the future prime minister.
As I said before, it is a real competition among advertising agencies. They show him from every angle, but when the time comes for him to say something, he seems to be at a loss for words. We are facing a real democratic deficit.
You will understand why I said at the beginning of my speech that I was deeply disappointed to see my riding disappear. When I learned the news, I was confident, because under the Canada Elections Act that governs the approval of new electoral boundaries, I would have a year to meet with the new people and to get them to know me. These 12 months seemed to me like a reasonable time frame for those members who were greatly affected by the changes to the electoral boundaries.
But no, Bill C-49 brings us back to a five to six month time frame. I do not want to engage in a direct attack against the future leader of the Liberal Party, but I doubt that there will be a democratic process for the nomination of the 308 Liberal candidates in Canada.
The way things are shaping up, once the order comes into effect, there will be a partisan nomination process like we have never seen before in Canada. That shows that there is a democratic deficit and that Parliament is currently paralyzed. Nothing is getting done.
We have one king who is on his way out, and another who is anxious to take his place on the throne but who looks for opportunities to greet his loyal subjects without saying anything to convince them that he deserves to accede to the throne.
I would have liked Bill C-49 to be a little more democratic, with an appeal process for the people of Quebec and for all the ridings that were greatly affected by the new electoral boundaries.
What happened is that bounderies were imposed and a committee process was put in place, and then the commission decided that there was no recourse available any more.
How can we go visit our constituents to tell them that we live in a democratic country, that we are sensitive to the needs of the people and that we live in a country where consultation is allowed, when the government shows no respect for such a fundamental issue and for the sense of belonging that exist in a riding?
All this is part of a plan developed by the member for LaSalle—Émard in June 2002, when he was fired by the Prime Minister. This is a plan to ease him into power. Not only will it take him there, but it will also allow him to stay quiet, letting this series of images convince the general public.
It is too late, but I would have liked Mr. Kingsley at Elections Canada to put off the decision, and I wrote him about that. We all know how it went with the report; we waited and waited, not knowing when it would be presented and, finally, it was released on August 26. I wanted those of our colleagues hard hit by the readjustment to be able to run in the election using the current boundaries.
There could have been eight more seats. Of course, none were assigned to Quebec. Western Canada and Ontario got some, and the four in Prince Edward Island were maintained. The population of Quebec is larger, but the number of ridings remains the same, at 75. Once again, there is a political will not to treat Quebec right.
Why should we keep quiet when there is a democratic deficit in this place? Why should we not condemn this approach in this House? Why should we not worry about an adjournment, perhaps as early as November 7, to allow the future king to be crowned in Toronto in November? There will be a pre-election, but most members affected by the readjustment will be torn between the services they must provide to the public and the efforts they will have to make to get re-elected.
In making my decision, naturally my priority will be those who put their trust in me on November 27, 2000, but at the same time, understandably, I ought to intensify my efforts to try and convince the 50% or 60% of new voters I will have in my riding. Is it right that we should have another election now? Normally, we should be asking the public to assess and justify our work, which will not happen in my riding. Wherever I go, I will end up with about 30% or 35% of my riding. That makes no sense, and it is undemocratic.
In closing, I want to say that Bill C-49 des not solve anything. It is only the result of the future leader of the Liberal Party working with the House leader in order to be able to call an early election and especially to avoid his responsibilities as prime minister in this House.