Mr. Speaker, I support the hon. member and his party in this initiative that they have undertaken to draw attention to what he described as an archaic system. It is well known across the land. I also support his initiative that would result in a referendum where the people would decide upon what system they want to see.
However, I do have a concern when he talks about fairness. He talked about the fairness of the proposal or the model that he is putting forward that would see some MPs selected as representatives of ridings and others selected from a list. He said, if I heard him correctly, that there could be a convention to actually have the parties put forward a slate of names and then have them elect people at a convention that would ultimately be on the list.
I wonder, given the present party discipline of the various parties and their leaders, what would lead him to believe that the leaders would give up that type of power?
My concern is that we would see a system whereby the parties' proportional lists, that some MPs would be selected from, would be controlled by the parties themselves and by the leaders. I only need to draw attention to the need for free votes in this House of Commons.
Supposedly we just had a free vote. His party was the only party where the leader brought down the heavy hand and said that none of his members were going to be allowed to vote freely to represent their constituents or to represent their own conscience on the issue of redefining traditional marriage. Instead, they would have to vote the party line.
What would lead him to believe that his party and his leader would give up the power to ensure that the people on the proportional list were people that his leader wanted?