Mr. Speaker, a democratically legitimate and therefore more meaningful Senate can fulfill several roles in Canada's Parliament.
First, work sharing takes place at the committee level as well as within the legislature. The Canadian Senate plays that role today to a certain extent. When many pieces of legislation are brought forward, a certain amount of due diligence needs to take place. The volume of work that Canada's Parliament could deal with would be enhanced if there were two different chambers, two different groups of people to deal with that.
Second, we can read some of the justification in the United States. When its house and senate were set up, the senate would run on a different electoral cycle. As we know, some issues rise today to be of great importance and six months from now they are less important. We are all elected at the same time in this place. Having the other place on a different electoral cycle, people would go in at different times from different parts of the country. This would ensure that the issue of the day would have an impact, but it would not be the only issue that would carry forward. Spreading out the times when parliamentarians are accountable to the voters is a good thing.
Third, the upper chamber typically has a role more focused on regional representation. It is a certain irony that a member of the Bloc has asked why we need more regional representation in this place. That is a role for the Senate to play. Years ago we had the proposal for a triple E Senate, which would be equal. Different parts of the country would have a strong voice, even the less populated provinces, in one of the two chambers, and that would ensure their voices were heard.
Those are all legitimate roles that could be played by a democratic Senate. From my point of view, those are all reasons why a reformed Senate is preferable to abolishing the Senate. We need to move in that direction.
If I had been asked five years ago, I would have said my first choice would have been a reformed Senate. My second choice would have been the status quo. My last choice would have been to abolish the Senate. In the past year the first place is still a reformed Senate. However, I have come to the point where I flip two and three in my own mind. Abolishing the Senate is preferable to the status quo, but it is inferior to the option of fixing the place. If this bill and our Senate term limits bill passes, those are two important steps in the right direction to ensure the Senate of Canada plays a meaningful role.
To go back to the notion of people being elected at different times, Ontario just had a provincial election and the dominant issue arose for six weeks and then disappeared. No one has talked about it since, yet we have a government for the next four years based on one odd issue. Having two chambers would help us to avoid in Canada's national Parliament.