Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Calgary East is somewhat prophetic but I have actually only been here for three terms. The fourth may be coming; we are not sure of those things at this stage.
I would address it this way. When I was House leader, I put forward a complete package of democratic reforms in a document called, “Building Trust”. I was talking about building trust, rebuilding trust between this place and the electorate that sent us here, because there is an awful lot of disillusionment out there. There is an awful lot of concern about the democratic deficit, if we want to call it that, and the fact that it remains unchanged after all this time.
In that package I put forward things such as free votes in the House, a better selection process for officers of Parliament where we would actually have a vote. We are going to have a vote on the ethics commissioner. That was our proposal. The vote on that is fine. The package included how the Clerk is selected, for example, and how estimates are dealt with. There was a whole package, a holistic package. I am sure the House leader would have liked it.
The response from the government House leader of the day was, “This cannot be done because it is just too big, it is too broad, it is too holistic. We have to do it piecemeal”. When that House leader got turfed and others came in, we found that working piecemeal on these things actually worked pretty fairly.
We changed the way the ethics commissioner was chosen, which everyone knew was a joke. We eventually had a motion in the House. We pushed it forward as an idea. We talked about it endlessly. The ethics commissioner eventually, as one part of it, starts to get adopted. It is still not right, but we are on our way.
How the Clerk is approved, the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, we have plans on all that. We have a huge package of ideas.
I find that the House leader of the day over there always says it cannot be done. It is only when the House leader is swept aside and the backbench takes over, when the opposition pressures, when they see an election coming that things happen. Does anybody believe that the ethics commissioner approval on Thursday is anything but a pre-election move?
We should be devising things. A fixed election date is not something we dreamed up last week. It has been the policy of this party for 15 years. We have been pushing it. It was in my report called, “Building Trust”. It was in the party documents. It was in our campaign literature. I campaigned on it in the last election. We have been consistently asking for this. To say that today it is somehow pre-election timing, it deals with an election sure enough, but I do not know how many speeches I have given on this. I get tired of saying the same things. It is not new. It is not revolutionary. I am just convinced that it will take a new government to actually make it happen.
That is why if there is an election coming up, this would be a great election issue. I would love to be on the stump somewhere sitting beside a Liberal, an NDP, or whatever, but certainly sitting beside a Liberal candidate who says that fixed election dates are a bad idea. In my riding I would suggest he sit with his eyes wide open and with his back to an open door because the people in my riding will say, “That is an excellent idea and if you do not agree with it, you will never get my vote”, as it should be, because this is a great idea. It should be endorsed not only by the House but I hope by the Canadian people.