Mr. Speaker, going back to this particular example, my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands introduced this legislation in the House in accordance with the precedents set on private members' bills. I believe the bill is coming up for debate shortly.
The bill will be debated here at second reading stage and will go to committee. Many of the stakeholders that my colleague has consulted on the bill will provide their input at committee stage. I hope that we have great debate on this particular bill. Should the bill be supported in the House, where would it go to become law? What is the next step in this process?
If we go back to what I just went through, which is publicly available and part of any civics lesson, the bill will go to the Senate for the next stage of review, and then royal assent. That is how the legislative process in Canada works. In order for Bill C-442 to become law, the Senate needs to be funded in order to pass it.
Not putting this vote forward in the estimates means that the NDP is voting to shut down the legislative process in this country. It is as simple as that.
We can have an extensive debate on Senate reform and how senators should be elected and so on, but that is not the subject of the debate tonight. The NDP has proposed to shut down the legislative process in Canada. For all of the democratic woe is us, for all of the democracy in Canada is this and that and what not, we have before us a suggestion to shut down the legislative process in Canada.
We are late in the session. Many of us want to be in our ridings connecting with our constituents. We should all give pause for thought as to what that means. It means that if legislation from the House cannot be passed, then it cannot be enacted. It means that next year, the routine process of government that goes through the Senate would not happen. Whether one agrees with Senate reform or abolition or however a member thinks we should seek to change it, the reality remains that not voting this particular piece forward means we cannot put government legislation through.
I have been listening to the questions and answers tonight. We have had a lively debate on how we could possibly make the Senate more accountable to Canadians; that is subject matter worthy of debate, but it is not the substance of what is being debated right now. Sometimes we lose sight of that.
I would ask my colleagues across the way just to have a think. The NDP has put forward a few private members' bills over the years, not just in this session, that have achieved consensus in the House. How do they become law? They become law by going through the Senate. This is part of Canada's Constitution.
The vote on the estimates that has been put forward here is for this upcoming fiscal year. Our government asked for a Supreme Court opinion on what we could and could not do in the House in terms of scope for Senate reform. We were obviously quite disappointed with the outcome of that decision. That said, my colleague the Minister of State for Democratic Reform has talked about how we as a government will press forward on this particular issue because it is something of concern to Canadians. We also have to look at this upcoming fiscal year, which is the subject matter of the estimates.
I would like to see government continue to operate because I would like to see legislation continue to go through the House. I hope that my colleagues will give pause for thought on this one and support Vote 1, because the reality is that this is part of Canada's Constitution. We need to separate the debate around how we could reform the Senate, which again is worthy of debate, from the reality of this particular motion.
I could go through numerous bills in terms of how this particular vote would affect them. The Senate right now has a very heavy legislative calendar. Many of the committees are tasked with a review of bills that have come from here.
Certainly my colleagues opposite would say that there is support for some or all components of some of these bills. I would like to see those bills passed. I would like to see that process continue to operate, which is why we support Vote 1 in the estimates. It is because constitutionally we need the Senate to operate in order for legislation to be passed.
It is very short-sighted for us as a House to sit here and say we cannot fund the Senate and that we are going to pull the funding from it. How, constitutionally, would we put legislation through? I just do not understand this. It is actually a little mind-blowing that the substance of this situation has not come up. Constitutionally, the Senate has to operate. Certainly in the next fiscal year, even if we work at lightspeed beyond the speed of government, the Senate has a job to do right now, and certainly we would all say that we should continue to support it.
Because the topic of Senate reform has come up in debate tonight, I would like to take this opportunity, because I have been itching to do so for a few months, to talk about the approach to Senate reform of my colleagues in the Liberal Party. I find it a bit disingenuous for the senators who consider themselves Liberals in their caucus to all of a sudden walk out and say that they are not Liberals anymore.