Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Cariboo—Prince George, a former seatmate of mine. We used to have more occasions to discuss the issues of the day, so I am glad to take up that habit once again and say that he is quite right.
It is not believable that in a country as large as Canada, we are going to have one minister on top of all the details and important things there are to know about the various regions, whose economies are quite different. They are based on different sectors, in some cases. They are based on different kinds of resources. They have different labour-market challenges. I would like to be able to go to a minister who knows my region.
It is the same reason we talk about electoral reform, for instance. There are two points. One is that it is important to Canadians to have someone represent their geographical area because it is important to have a connection to an area to represent that area well.
If a minister is going to be in charge of a regional economic development agency, then it stands to reason that for the same reason, Canadians would want a minister who comes from that region and represents that region to feel that sense of connection and have confidence that they do not have to tell them everything about the region. We need to know that when ministers are in a room and decisions have to be made, they already know this stuff so that they do not make a decision and then have to go back and reverse it because there was something they did not know. That is important.
It may be odd for the member, but I am thinking about this in terms of the feedback we got on electoral reform. One of the important arguments for proportional representation is getting regional voices in national caucuses. That is because we know that a national caucus, whether a government caucus or an opposition caucus, benefits from that kind of regional representation. Members from those areas can bring a voice to that caucus that helps it make better decisions that are more sensitive when rolling out government-wide decisions in particular regions. Opposition parties that understand better the needs of particular regions are able to hold the government to account for policies that do not necessarily make sense in a cookie-cutter way across all regions.
That is another area where we talk about the importance of regional representation. The arguments apply equally there.