Mr. Speaker, I will begin my speech by thanking my colleagues who worked so hard on this bill.
I would like to start by thanking the member for Windsor West for the work he has done on this bill, not only in this Parliament but in the previous Parliament, and also my colleague from Windsor—Tecumseh, and her predecessor, Joe Comartin, who worked very hard on this bill as well in the previous Parliament.
This bill is very important because it seeks to modernize the situation. Gambling is currently a provincial jurisdiction. We know that and this bill does not take away from that. However, the regulations need to be modernized. I appreciate this bill because it essentially seeks to establish regulations to help reduce, if not eliminate, the influence of organized crime.
This is not necessarily an issue that affects my riding. We do not have a casino. However, I know that my colleagues in Windsor have experienced this situation. Their expertise and that of the stakeholders who support our position illustrate the need to adopt new regulations and update the statutes governing gambling in Canada, in order to eliminate the influence of organized crime. That is the most important thing.
However, I cannot talk about this bill without raising an absurd situation that affects the work of parliamentarians here in Ottawa. I am referring to the fact that the Senate again delayed the study of a bill that then died on the order paper when the election was called. That is what happened to the bill we are debating today.
We believe that the Senate's undemocratic action impacted a private member's bill. The same thing happened to Jack Layton's bill on climate change. The House passed the bill, but the Senate failed to pass it by one vote.
No matter what an MP may think of the bill put forward by my colleague from Windsor West, it is absurd that in the 21st century, in a democracy, some senators can delay the study in committee of a bill passed by the House of Commons to the point where it would die on the order paper. They did not even get around to the vote.
That is why my colleague from Windsor West has to once again introduce the same bill after a federal election. Furthermore, it seems that government members are going to oppose it. The work done by a previous Parliament has unfortunately been undone by an undemocratic institution.
Many stakeholders in the sports community are interested in this issue. When the various sports leagues express their views, we need to understand their interests and their motivations. Of course, they like the existing regulations. However, the regulation proposed by my colleague in this new bill does not seek to make an existing problem worse. This is not a new bill. Once again, it could have been passed before if the Senate had done its job during the 41st Parliament.
Under the existing law, a person can bet only on a single sport event. The bill proposes to increase that number to three, which would reduce the influence of organized crime on gaming in Canada. If this was not the right approach, we would not have stakeholders' support on this.
When we got to the Senate, we encountered a problem. We appeared before the committee and nothing was certain. Senators were asking questions. I will admit that that is understandable and that those questions needed to be asked. Senators had to be given the opportunity to understand where we stood on this issue and what action needed to be taken. They wanted to understand the existing regulations and how the bill would change them.
That is a problem because we had stakeholders who supported the bill. Members passed the bill, and we tried to present an informed position on the subject. I commend my colleague from Windsor for trying again and pushing ahead on this issue, which is supported by the municipality of Windsor. The municipality indicated that it was in favour of the bill, as did the various gaming commissions, and not just in Ontario. Other provinces, such as Saskatchewan, were on board. My colleague just talked about it. It is very important to keep all that in mind when we are considering the situation that is currently before us.
I am really disappointed that the government is now saying it will oppose this bill. Maybe it is just me, but I did not hear a lot of opposition to this from the Liberal Party during the previous Parliament. Now the Liberals seem to have changed their mind, but they cannot really explain why.
Members from a region have put forward a bill that has the support of the municipality they represent and various provincial gaming commissions that regulate gaming. As I said at the outset, this is ultimately a provincial responsibility. When all of these stakeholders have reached a consensus on the bill and understand that we need legislation to make a necessary change, we are entitled to ask some questions.
The Senate took its sweet time, and then the election was called and the bill disappeared from the order paper. The Senate did its job, and now my colleague has to introduce the same bill all over again. During the previous Parliament, the government's party did not have a lot to say. Actually, it said nothing against this bill. Now it says it will oppose the bill. I find that so disappointing.
I must admit, I am getting to know the Windsor area. I do not know as much about it as I would like, but I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my colleague from Windsor West discussing this bill. I really understand the positive impact this bill can have in terms of eliminating the influence of organized crime on gambling in Canada. For that reason alone, the bill deserves our support.
I hope that the government will have the chance to reconsider its position. Finally, I would remind backbenchers that they are free to vote their conscience on private members' bills. I hope that this plea will reassure them, and that when the time comes to vote on this bill, they will not tow the party line but adopt the common sense approach proposed by my colleague from Windsor West.
I see that I am out of time. I will end there.