Mr. Speaker, my colleague’s question is an interesting one. Actually it is a fundamental one. The major issue throughout the entire election campaign was government transparency and past cases of corruption. If there is one thing the citizens of Quebec and Canada expect, it is that we do something about this quickly and that we examine the file in depth.
There first has to be a vote on the actual principle of the bill. All the parties and members in this House must vote on the merits of the legislation and decide whether or not they are in favour of the principle of the bill. Then we can take an in-depth look at each of its components.
This bill is really very significant. It touches on many elements, including the method of appointing returning officers that has long been recommended by the Bloc Québécois. As for prohibiting corporate donations, this goes right to the source of problems that arose in the past. We saw businesses and banks that acquired, as if by chance, the attentive ear of the government after having made very large donations. We hope that this measure will be corrected. We can cite the model of Quebec as an example. It is not perfect, but it has been around for 30 years. It succeeded in preventing the sort of situations we have gone through here and that greatly undermined the people’s trust in their elected representatives.
To regain this trust, we must first vote on the actual principle of this bill, then refer it to committee for study, rather than proceeding the other way around.
In this regard, I do not share the opinion of my colleague. I find it important to show the public that one of the first parliamentary actions taken by the newly elected government, which saw the need to act on this matter, was in fact to have done so and let every member in the House vote.
On the other hand, this bill should not get steamrollered in committee. As many witnesses as possible must be heard so that in the end we adopt amendments that are going to have far-reaching effects. They will no doubt be put forward in large numbers. Perhaps the testimonies will continue until the fall. However that may be, when the time comes to pass this bill, a solid foundation will be necessary to ensure that, at least for a few years, the act will function as it should.
We will not stop some individuals from behaving in ways not entirely correct, but the role of Parliament and the opposition is to act as watchdogs. At least this bill will make it possible to clarify a certain number of situations, especially if we make the amendments to it that we and the other members of this House put forward. We must make this a solid bill whose effective duration will correspond to the importance of this issue in the last election.