Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is Friday morning and everyone wants to speak on this important piece of nation building, which is what it is.
We have rural ridings that are large geographic areas that currently are struggling to gain access to their member of Parliament. We have large northern ridings that span the size of the United Kingdom. We have, of course, fast growing suburban ridings and more and more densely populated urban ridings.
In other words, we cannot accurately and fairly redistribute the seats just by looking at lines on a ledger. That is not what nation building is about. Nation building is about listening to the different voices in our country, listening to and responding to the different needs, realities, struggles, and hopes of the various regions in our country.
Oftentimes we say there are several different regions, but within those regions there are other regions. I would argue that the rural-urban dichotomy is one which we really need to think about and research, and thoughtfully proceed with more fair and balanced representation in this place on the basis of not just population numbers.
On our side of the House, we agree that these fast growing provinces need better representation. However, we on this side of the House also acknowledge and believe that the weight that Quebec currently holds in this place should be maintained. We believe those things. This bill does not achieve any of that. It does not go far enough for Ontario, Alberta or British Columbia, and it certainly does not go far enough for Quebec.
The government likes to bring in the bean-counters and we cannot build a nation with bean-counters. That is not how we have ever done that in this country. This is a living, breathing thing, and we need to respond to the realities of this country in a similar fashion.
In this current Parliament, we have seen the government run roughshod, essentially, over democracy in this place. We have seen it invoke time allocation nine times. Now we hear the Conservatives talk about how it is important for Canadians to have their voices heard in the House of Commons when at every opportunity they try to curtail that voice from actually being expressed here.
The Conservative members often talk about having discussed these bills ad nauseam and it being time to pass them. Meanwhile, we have 50-60-65-70 new members in the House of Commons. I think that the communities that these new members represent would like to have their voices heard in this place. We need to set this bill in the context of the government's propensity, whenever it feels it is in its favour, to run roughshod over parliamentary democracy.
We have several different, sometimes competing, interests. It is incumbent upon us as parliamentarians and it is incumbent upon the government, if it chooses to take that responsibility, to actually try to balance all of these concerns and to move forward in a way that builds this nation. The Conservative government likes to pit groups against each other. We saw that very early on when it tried to pit young workers against older workers in the lockout of CUPW workers.
We have seen time and time again that the reflex of the government is to divide. The reflex of the government is to play. As my hon. colleague over here said in his question/speech, it likes to come up with winners and losers. That is not what we are here to do.
We are here to bring people together, so that we create winners in this country, not some winners and some losers. That is what we on this side of the House believe in. That is why this bill does not go nearly far enough. It does not go far enough at all.
One of my colleagues opposite has said that Canadians deserve to have representation that is fair and balanced. We agree that Canadians do deserve that.
However, we have a system of first past the post, which has created a scenario where, on the government side, 39% of Canadians voted for the government and, on this side, 61% of Canadians voted for other parties.
When we are talking about how we are going to fix the democratic deficit in this country, certainly the conversations that Canadians are having, and I think the hon. member opposite would agree, are more about the issues and distortions that first past the post create in our country than they are about the redistribution of seats.
We have several questions before us. The Senate is another example. I do not see many people in this country storming my office, pleading with me to advocate on behalf of Senate reform. They are wondering why we are spending $100 million on a non-elected Senate that actually shuts down bills that this democratically elected House passes. That is shameful. That is why more and more Canadians question the validity of the Senate; that is not to question the validity of those good senators who do some good work. We are talking about the institution here.
We have significant issues before us. The reason that we are here is to advocate for fair representation. We have no disagreement that there are some issues that need to be solved here. There is no question about it.
Fast growing provinces are not accurately represented here. There is no question about it. However, at the same time, we as a country have passed a unanimous motion that the Québécois form a nation in a united Canada. It is incumbent upon us to maintain the weight that Quebec has in this House.
We need to move beyond the divide and conquest approaches of the government to actually truly fix the democratic deficit in this country, which certainly includes seat redistribution, but it also includes a real examination of our electoral system and first past the post.