Mr. Speaker, I would like to note that I will be sharing my time with the honourable member for Sherbrooke.
I am really very happy to be able to express my views on this motion. It is funny because the government is trying to tell Canadians that the reason we are here this evening is because the opposition wants to debate its motion. I would like to remind the parliamentary secretary for the Prime Minister that this is not an opposition motion by the NDP, but rather a government motion. What we want is simply to vote against the votes in the main estimates.
As they say, “That's it, that's all.”
We are here because of the government. That is fine because it gives me an opportunity to say just how outraged I am that the Liberals and the Conservatives are accusing us today of debating a subject that is not important to Canadians and are saying that Canadians have other things to worry about. There is nothing more fundamental than respect for the Canadian values of integrity, transparency and ethics. People vote for us and send us here, to Parliament, to make policies and pass bills that will help the most vulnerable, for example, and families.
Let us talk about the Conservative Party. The RCMP has told us that the Prime Minister's Office was directly involved in altering reports on senators' expenses. We know, thanks to plain facts, that Conservative members used the services of Conservative senators to raise funds in their constituencies at taxpayers' expense. We have a Conservative government that tells us that it tried to reform the Senate and that it wants an elected Senate with term limits. However, the Supreme Court ruled that the Conservatives' plan was unconstitutional. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister rose to talk about this plan and added that, unfortunately, because the plan is unconstitutional, the government will leave things alone and allow senators to continue to travel at the expense of taxpayers and the people of La Pointe-de-l'Île, who pay for Conservative senators to fundraise in Conservative ridings. That is unacceptable. The Conservative Party wants to continue sending $57 million to the Senate, but it does not know how to reform it.
Then there are the Liberals. I can hear them laughing behind me. The Liberals think this is awfully funny. They are saying that they are going to create a committee made up of unelected people. They do not know who will sit on that committee. Will the committee members be appointed by the Prime Minister or by the government? We do not know. They are going to create a committee to appoint senators. The Liberals' plan involves saying that the Prime Minister will have to appoint senators and take responsibility for them. However, the Liberals are now rising in the House to say that the Liberal senators are no longer members of the Liberal Party and that they are no longer responsible for them. They are trying to tell us that they are going to take responsibility for their future appointments, but they are not responsible for any appointments they made in the past 30 years. Honestly, that is ridiculous. It is just ridiculous.
The Liberal Party wants the status quo. It is going to create a committee to appoint people to appoint people. It is ridiculous to think that a new layer of bureaucracy is going to solve the problems with the Senate. Whether senators are elected or not, they are not accountable to Canadians. That is the first problem. None of the parties here has been able to come up with a solution that will ensure that senators who pass bills will be accountable to Canadians.
Not only do they have the nerve to point fingers at the opposition and say that we have no solution or that our solution is ridiculous, but the Conservatives also have the nerve to come here and say that they have solutions, but they cannot implement those solutions because they would not work. That is ridiculous.
We have bills on the environment and LGBT rights that have been held up by the Senate. There are even bills that were passed by Conservative members. For example, there is the party reform bill. Remember that one? It is in the Senate. Even some Conservative bills have not been passed by senators. Never has a senator voted against his or her party and truly represented the people in his or her district. The Senate's constitutional role is to represent the regions because it was created to counterbalance regions with less representation in the House of Commons.
No senator has ever come to my riding to meet the people of La Pointe-de-l'Île, to say hello and tell them that he represents them in the Senate, to find out what matters to them, to talk about their rights. No senator has ever done that. For someone to tell me that the Senate is a democratic institution is ridiculous.
On top of that, we have senators who do not show up for work in the Senate, but who go to the ridings of government MPs to help get them re-elected. Senators who represent Canadians do not even bother to meet with them, and yet those senators go and meet people in other ridings who have the fortune or misfortune to be represented by a Conservative member.
The reform proposed by the Conservatives is impossible, because it is unconstitutional. The reform proposed by the Liberals is the status quo. They are proposing adding a small selection committee, but they have no idea what will come of that. Basically, it is the status quo. They have no plan.
The only concrete plan to reform our democratic institutions is our plan to abolish the Senate. That is precisely why we are here in the House this evening—to vote against funding the Senate. Right now, we are about to allocate millions of dollars to an institution that is extremely corrupt and, unfortunately, no longer works. Bills passed by Parliament, even those that pass unanimously, are sent to the Senate and are blocked by unelected senators who travel at Canadians' and Quebeckers' expense.
We cannot allow this to continue. We need to take action and do something about it. If we listen to the Conservatives or the Liberals, the Senate will stay the same, and that is unacceptable. We are here today to try to put an end to this undemocratic system that is stealing money directly from Canadians to fund the parties in power.