Madam Speaker, I guess I get to continue my previous speech, because this adjournment proceeding is on the debate with the Parliamentary Secretary for the Status of Women.
This debate arose when the Minister of Democratic Institutions and the parliamentary secretary supposedly had some kind of legal judgment that said that my private member's bill was unconstitutional. I have here in my hand a memorandum from the House of Commons law clerk and parliamentary counsel that says that not only is my private member's bill, Bill C-237, the candidate gender equity act, constitutional, it actually would enhance the charter and help move us toward the goal of supporting gender equality.
Bill C-237 is an important move forward in the fight to bring gender parity to the House of Commons. With a mere 26% of MPs sitting in the House being women, we are far away from having gender parity. In fact, we are ranked 64th in the world when it comes to this certain characteristic of our House.
It is extremely disappointing. I asked the Parliamentary Secretary for the Status of Women the question in the House of Commons to get clarification on why they are opposing my bill. They do not have any ideas as to how we can increase the number of women in the House. They have just been trying to put up a smokescreen to stop my private member's bill. That is extremely disappointing.
We are in desperate need of some kind of legislative change here in the House. The bill I put forward is an incentive. It is not a quota. It uses existing funding that is provided to parties by Elections Canada. It uses that money as an incentive for parties to run more women candidates.
We know from the research that we need more women candidates to have more women MPs. That is just a simple conclusion.
The reason we do not have more women candidates is that parties simply block women from becoming candidates for political parties. I have been studying this for 20 years. I did my Ph.D. at the London School of Economics on this. We found in one study of Canadian legislators that when women are in head-to-head competitions in nomination contests, women are six times less likely than men to win, simply because of bias within the parties.
I just wanted to rise to say that the bill I put forward is constitutional. I have documentation, which I would be happy to table or to show to anyone who is interested in seeing it.
I would also like to hear, from the parliamentary secretary, why they said they had legal advice, when they actually did not have it.