This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #64 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was women.

Topics

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Madam Speaker, we have an opportunity to put this bill into the closet and come up with a new one. The government should work with the opposition parties and with everybody else in the country and truly develop a House that is reflective of Canadian society. If the government were prepared to do that, I think it would find willing participants in the Liberal Party, the Bloc, the NDP, the Green Party, whomever. Members will find Canadians very receptive to the fact that they will have a true opportunity to discuss this. Right now, all we are getting is 30 more seats, regardless of what the government of the day is.

As long as we have an undemocratic institution in the other place, it will not have been dealt with. Senate reform or Senate abolishment would be nice. If they want true democracy, they have to be accountable and representative of the people they represent. The bill does not do that. It is just a stop-gap measure. I can assure members that if it passes, and with their majority it probably will, in five, six or seven years we will be back at it again and we will have more seats added, according to the logic of the Conservatives.

Why do we not do it right? Why do we not get rid of the first past the post system, bring in proportional representation, abolish the Senate. If we cannot abolish it, because the provinces want to keep it, then make it truly independent of government so it is not beholding to the powers of the Prime Minister and his cabinet. That would be true democratic reform.

Then we will see more young people voting. Then we will see more women wanting to get involved in politics. Then we will see more visible minorities, people with disabilities and more aboriginal people. If we are able to do that, then we would leave a legacy for the next generation of people and maybe our pictures would be in the Hall of Honour for building a new country.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Madam Speaker, as a fellow British Columbian you know very well that what the hon. member opposite said is entirely out of line, out of step and completely deaf to the fact of what you and I face in British Columbia, which is systemic under-representation in the House of the Commons and in the Senate, which this bill would absolutely address.

He said that all the bill would do is add seats to the House of Commons. That is not true. If he would read the bill, he would realize what the legislation would do. It would set in stage a formula over time that would bring this House of Commons absolutely into proper proportionate representation per citizen of the number of representatives in the House of Commons. That is what this bill would do. It would set in place a formula.

He also said that he does not have people beating down his door demanding that we add more members of Parliament to the House. That is not just what this bill would do.

I can tell members what he is also not hearing is demands from Canadians to have proportional representation. I have not heard citizens saying, “Gee, we really wish Canada had the political stability that Italy has”. That is not what Canadians want Canada to have. We have a responsible, effective system of governance that works, but it needs to be fixed for better balance. If the NDP really believes in proportional representation, why are the NDP governments of Manitoba and Nova Scotia and British Columbia not--

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. I would like to give the hon. member time to respond because we will be ending this debate at 1:50 p.m.

The hon. member for Sackville—Eastern Shore.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Madam Speaker, as someone who was raised in British Columbia, I know the politics of B.C. and the population of British Columbia very well. I do know that all my relatives and friends in B.C. are not clamouring for more politicians to come knocking on their doors.

However, if the minister wants true proportional representation, not just by the numbers of people in a particular area, he should openly admit that the first past the post system is fundamentally wrong. If he truly wants to represent the people of British Columbia, and in fairness to my friend the minister, he does not a bad job for the Port Moody area, the fact is having more of us here would not solve the problem. It does not address the fact that 40% of Canadians have turned away from voting--

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order, please. It being 1:15 p.m., pursuant to order made Wednesday, December 7, 2011, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question to dispose of the report stage of the bill now before the House.

The question is on Motion No. 1.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

All those opposed will please say nay.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on the motion stands deferred.

The question is on Motion No. 2. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

All those opposed will please say nay.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

In my opinion, the nays have it. I declare the motion lost.

(Motion No. 2 negatived)

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The question is on Motion No. 7. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

All those opposed will please say nay.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

In my opinion the nays have it. I declare the motion lost.

(Motion No. 7 negatived)

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The question is on Motion No. 8. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?