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House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was conservative.

Topics

7:10 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I always find it somewhat strange whenever I hear a member of the Bloc Québécois stand and criticize a parliamentary institution like the Senate because as we know, the Bloc does not believe in the Senate. In fact, the Bloc does not believe in Parliament. In fact, the Bloc does not believe in Canada, at least the Canada as I know it, a Canada that includes Quebec, because the Bloc, as we all know, wants Quebec to separate from Canada.

So, on one hand, to complain about a parliamentary institution while in the same breath arguing against Parliament seems to be, at best, a slight bit hypocritical.

However, I would suggest that if he does truly have a concern about the Senate and perhaps, as he thinks, the Senate's abuse of power, he should join with us and our government in our attempts to reform the Senate.

We believe that the Senate, as we know it now, the status quo, is not an option. We believe there needs to be some democratic reform initiatives brought into the Senate. Specifically, we have a couple of initiatives before us, one emanating out of the Senate, called the senatorial selection act, which is an attempt to allow Canadians to voice their opinion on who they would like to see represent them in the Senate. The second, of course, is Senate term limits, an act that we have here in Parliament which would restrict the length of time that senators could spend in the Senate. Our term limit is suggested as eight years, as opposed to the current 45 year maximum.

Those two reform initiatives alone would go a long way toward ensuring that the Senate of Canada is a better place, a more functioning place, and represents Canadians better.

I encourage the member opposite to join us with those initiatives.

7:15 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary may better understand this point of Bill C-232, which would require Supreme Court justices to be bilingual. Graham Fraser, the Commissioner of Official Languages, had this to say:

Every Canadian's right to use English or French in Canadian courts is one of the basic language rights set out in our constitutional framework.

Perhaps he should re-examine the reality of what he is attacking by not accepting the principle that Supreme Court justices must be bilingual.

Thus, the Reform Conservative government must stop blocking passage of Bill C-232 by the Senate out of concern for democracy.

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, once again, I merely suggest to my hon. colleague across the floor, a member of the Bloc Québécois, if he truly wants to reform the Senate, if he truly wants to see improvements in the Senate, he should join with our government in our efforts to make meaningful reforms.

I know this is not something that the Bloc Québécois usually concerns itself with, but it is something I am suggesting it should be involved with because all members of Parliament, whether they believe in a united Canada or a divided Canada, as the Bloc does, should join with all parliamentarians to try to make this institution better.

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The motion that the House do now adjourn is deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:18 p.m.)