Mr. Speaker, I am surprised at the hon. member. I have been here since 2000 and I know that he has been here for several years and that he very much enjoys following the debates in the House. I am surprised that he has not read the bill.
Under this bill, it is still up to the Prime Minister to appoint a senator even if this senator is elected. Why is it so? Because, anything else would require an amendment to Constitution.
It is quite simple. The Quebec National Assembly has responded very well. Let me again, for the benefit of the member, the reference to the Supreme Court of Canada entitled, “Re: Authority of Parliament in relation to the Upper House”, which states in part:
Decisions that affect a "fundamental feature or essential characteristic" of the Senate cannot be made unilaterally.
It is clear, for instance, that the appointment of senators, the process of appointing them, is an “essential characteristic”. Making the Senate a truly elected Senate would therefore require an amendment to the Canadian Constitution.
Like every government before it, the Conservative government did not dare to reopen the Constitution. Changes to the Senate have been proposed since 1894, but nothing ever came of it. Why? Because it would require reopening the Constitution.
Now, the Conservative government is again trying to avoid reopening the Constitution and transgressing the law. It should heed the warning from the unanimous vote taken by all parties represented at the Quebec National Assembly: do not do it, it is not legal.
I cannot understand how my hon. colleague, who is following the issue closely and trying to get interested, can support this bill. Why does he support it? It is unconstitutional. That is the reality.
The only way this can be done is through an election. The Prime Minister may select the candidate or not. That is what the bill his party introduced says. If he disagrees with that, he should have a word with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons who introduced the bill.