Mr. Speaker, I want to deal with a couple of arguments that have been made.
My colleague from Winnipeg Centre just made a comment about the importance of using banks rather than individuals to make loans. I have no particular problem with that amendment to the act. It does not affect things one way or the other.
However, the one comment he made, which he needs to think about, is when he said that it would take big money out of politics, which means that anybody could gain access to the same amount of money. The hon. member needs to think realistically about what security banks will be asking for with respect to getting a loan and what that really means.
If the member is saying that this would take big money out, I would say that it does not. However, if the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre wants to take the money factor out of a leadership race entirely, the one way in which it can be done is to apply the philosophy in the Elections Act to leadership races, which is to say that there should be, as there is in the United States, public contributions for leadership races just as there are public contributions for our own campaigns at the national level.
Speaking, I hope, in a less partisan fashion at this moment, if I were to make a practical suggestion to the House, having gone through this race, and I do not say this with any sense of pride, having managed to get through a very extensive process of begging and pleading with friends and people who used to be friends and getting them to make contributions, there is one flaw in the legislation. When my friends in the Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party or the Bloc Québécois have a leadership race they will all have the same experience we did.
They will have to deal with the same circumstances and challenges as us. They will see that if a party wants to conduct a nation-wide campaign, if that party wants its campaign to reach every riding in this great land, that costs money. If the funds do not come from our families, from personal sources, and from contributors, and if they want a democratic campaign, then I believe there has to be more public funding for leadership races, just like there is for political parties.
With all due respect, I wanted to focus on two points about this change. The first is that it is not fair to change the rules in the middle of the game. That is not fair. They can do it, and they have even done it twice now, but it is not fair, and I have to say that. This is an example of injustice toward a political party. If they want to punish a political party, they can. But if they start playing that kind of game, it could have some negative consequences.
The second point I really want to make is about an important reform that has not been proposed in this bill: public funding. I am not talking about full funding, but a contribution from the public for leadership campaigns. I hope that will be in place before the next Bloc Québécois, NDP or Conservative Party leadership race because I think it is important for the Canadian democratic process.
That is all I have to say, and I appreciate the opportunity to take part in this debate.