Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the sentiment for what many Conservatives and many others have called for, around the referendum. I think at its core it is a question about validity. Is what is produced valid and is it seen by Canadians as valid? A referendum is one instrument that can be used to validate or reject a proposal that is put forward by Parliament.
The challenge is that there is a notion of mandate. When governments get elected, as the previous Conservatives were elected, whenever they moved forward on a promise that was made in the election, they would say they had a mandate to do this and did not take it back to a referendum. Nor did the Conservatives go to a referendum when they moved their changes to the Electoral Act, so it is a little strange now that they are asking for a referendum.
I think if the process is sound, if Canadians see it and feel it is valid, then the energy around a referendum may shift. I have mused about this at various times because a referendum often faces the challenge of the fear of the unknown. People will reject an idea when they do not understand fully or are worried about what its consequences might be.
However, there could be a notion, as New Zealand did, for example, of running a new electoral system for a couple of elections and then giving people the option at that point to say they do not like what this has done for our Parliament, for the way we work, and they would like to return to what they had before. I think it is a valid option that other countries—