Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
We have seen election practices systematically evolve towards this greater transparency over the last 50 years, first through the elimination of contributions to slush funds. Quebec did that 30 years or so ago. Indeed, since the 1970s, under Mr. Lévesque, only individuals, not entities, can make contributions to a political party. It took some time for the Parliament of Canada to pass similar legislation. We have it today but it still needs some polishing because, human nature being what it is, we have to ensure that the legislation does not open the door to improper practices.
As regards the right to speak, any citizen who wants to run in a federal election can do so, either as an independent member, or as a party member, with the pros and the cons related to each option. However, we must see that this can be done while ensuring that each party is given equal opportunities. This is what the whole legislation seeks to achieve. This is why I felt that this bill was missing a part that was necessary, namely to see that, when a candidate is authorized to run for a party, we must ensure, before that candidate spends money, that the party will not be responsible for his expenditures, and that there will not be any unintended commitment for that party.
Unfortunately, that could be part of an election strategy by a party, whereby that party would allow candidates from another party to run in regions where it has few candidates of its own and little chances of winning, and spend a lot of money, thus adversely affecting that party's finances.
All the bills that have been introduced over the past several years seek to improve transparency. We have now discovered a major problem, namely leadership campaigns. After reviewing the Canada Elections Act, we discovered that some strange things had taken place during leadership campaigns, both on the Liberal and the Conservative sides. We want to correct this situation, because we found out that the selection of a political party leader by party members also has an impact on democracy. I believe that making corrections in that regard would, as the hon. member said, improve the chances of voters making a choice that would be as transparent as possible and that would best reflect the democratic will.