Mr. Speaker, I will truncate my comments, but the message is fairly clear. We have a democracy that has been around since 1867. It predates access to electricity. We on this side think it is about time to look at reforming a system that allows the Conservative Party and the previous Liberal government to have all the power with only 38% of voters, out of which half of the population voted.
I have travelled as the foreign affairs spokesperson for my party, and the Government of Canada advises other governments about democratic reform. If we were to ask people if it is an acceptable system for a minority of citizens to decide where the power goes and to say that the status quo is fine, they would look at us and ask what was wrong with us. That is what New Democrats are talking about. We are talking about the fact that it is time for us to actually deal with democratic reform.
I have to say that this comes just after the government and the Prime Minister wrote about the importance of democratic reform. Mr. Speaker, you know this as I am sure you have read all of the Prime Minister's writings, particularly those before he became Prime Minister. He co-authored a paper on proportional representation. It was our Prime Minister who advocated this system. New Democrats are simply saying that we agree with him, and let us get on with it.
The old prime minister understood our system. He lived through it. He saw the phony majority governments of Jean Chrétien and prior to that, when a party that received less than 40% of the vote got all of the power. It goes deeper than that. It is something we are seeing in the United States, which is very troubling. It is when people see there is no opportunity for their votes to count. We have to change that, because people are becoming cynical.
A discussion I often have is about young people not voting. People say they do not know what is wrong with young people. It is not what is wrong with young people; it is what is wrong with our democratic system. Young people are smart, and they are saying that until the system is fixed, they are not going to participate. They are looking at the choices and saying that if they vote, their votes will be wasted.
There are a couple of ridings that always vote Conservative. If there are Green Party or NDP supporters, they know their votes are wasted and they do not vote. They simply decide not to use their franchise. Similarly, in a riding that is typically NDP, Conservatives' votes are wasted, and that is wrong. It is fundamental to our democracy.
I remember a quote from Governor Smith of New York, who famously said that the solution for all that ails democracy is more democracy. That is exactly what we need in our system. That is what our proposal is about. We have seen it work very well. This is what we are proposing to take to Canadians, unlike our Liberal friend, who made some weird statement about New Democrats not consulting and who also thinks we have a $400 billion infrastructure deficit. He made that up. For some reason, Liberals think that talking about it in the House of Commons, bringing forward a motion, running on it in an election, and then actually consulting people is somehow not consulting. It is the Liberal way, I guess.
We are serious about reforming our system so that every vote will count. If every vote counts, then we will have what New Zealand has. New Zealand has a history similar to ours, a Westminster tradition. What did New Zealanders do? They took what New Democrats are proposing here and put it into action. Not only that, they then had a referendum after a couple of years. It took place just a couple of years ago, and it asked the people of New Zealand if they thought it was working and if they liked it. Everyone said yes. That is what we are talking about.
The way it would work is people would vote for the people they want to represent them in their ridings and the party of their choice. It gives people more choice. It is very simple. It would allow Canadians to see their votes count and for the votes to be recognized in Parliament.
At the end of the day, what is happening in New Zealand, which I know might sadden some Conservatives, is that toxic politics are gone. People actually work together to make sure that the business of the people comes first, rather than having all these toxic talking points and wedge politics, which might be a reason for the party not to support the previous position of their Prime Minister.
I would ask members to look to Canadians, particularly young Canadians, and say, “Let us reform our system. Let us make every vote count. Let us make sure that we take a system conceived in 1867, before we had electricity, and modernize it so that we can have a Parliament that functions for everyone.”
This is why I want all members, in good conscience, to ask themselves if they want to improve things in their country. If they do, then let us change the system. Let us have democratic reform in our electoral system and vote yes to this motion.