Madam Speaker, I was on the fence about whether to support this bill, but after that speech, how can we not? I believe the member has convinced all of us on this side that we need to support this legislation, maybe with the exception of a few who might also want to change their riding names, but I will get to that.
Like some of the criticism that has been levelled up to this point, it is curious that this is the process the member has chosen to take with her private member's bill. There are members in the House who have been here 10 years and who have yet to bring forward a private member's bill. Then we have this private member's bill, which I guess is a priority for her constituents.
I am just going to read a little of the background for those following along at home, so they know exactly what we are debating.
This bill would change the name of the electoral district of Châteauguay—Lacolle to “Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville”. The sponsor noted, in introducing the bill, that the name “Lacolle”, a reference to the parish of the Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, with a population of 1,500, is often confused with the adjoining and larger municipality of Lacolle, which is in the adjacent riding of Saint-Jean.
She proposes substituting the name with the original county municipality of Les Jardins-de-Napierville, approximate population of 27,870, an upper-tier municipality, which includes the parish of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle and several other communities, mostly within the constituency.
The member was kind enough to provide a map, which she referenced in her speech. I also have not been to her riding. In looking at the map, it looks like a beautiful part of the country. I will have to get there at some point in time. Hopefully the name is reflective of the area, more so at that time, so I, like the member who spoke previously, will not get lost when I am there. However, I do sympathize with the member to a small degree.
My constituency is called Edmonton Riverbend. We have a river that goes through Edmonton. It divides south Edmonton and southwest Edmonton. A lot of what my constituents refer to as Riverbend is an older part of the community. The constituents who live there have been there for about 30 or 40 years.
On the other side of the river, where the river bends, is the newer part of the community. That community does not necessarily classify itself with the Riverbend part. We have community names like Sweet Grass, Blue Quill, and Twin Brooks. These areas of my constituency do not say they are not part of Riverbend, when we look at a normal map. However, according to Elections Canada, the constituency is classified as Riverbend.
For those reasons, it has crossed my mind to look into perhaps changing my riding name. However, I understand there is a process for that. If I were to go down that process, it is outlined pretty clearly, from what I understand. The process is that normally members are to submit the request for riding name changes to their respective House leaders. Members may justify a change on the basis that the current name does not accurately reflect the makeup or the geography of the region. House leaders then submit these requests to the government House leader, who combines all of them into one omnibus bill, which tends to pass swiftly through all voting stages, often in the same day. As an example, in 2014, 30 riding names were changed at once.
It is for this reason, again, that I find it a little peculiar that the member would use the time for a private member's bill to go after this. However, as my colleague mentioned, it is her right, and we definitely do not dispute her right to do that.
As I listened to the debate, I thought that maybe we could make an amendment to the bill. Maybe we could help change the name of the riding for the member. I thought maybe we could name it “Harper Diefenbaker”. That seems like a responsible name. I wonder what her thoughts would be on that. She does not seem to be too open to that.
We have tried to assist the member in the process. However, it is her right to bring forward a bill like this. She could move to Calgary, I guess. It might be acceptable in Calgary.
At the end of the day, we have ridings, and we try to best reflect what the issues of the day are in our ridings. Right now in my riding, all I am hearing about is a fancy outdoor skating rink. My constituents are very concerned about the fancy skating rink. They are also concerned about what is going on with the finance minister, and the tax changes he has proposed. With respect to those two issues, I would say I am in here advocating for my constituents, because those are the most pressing issues of the day. It is impacting their pocketbooks. It is impacting taxpayers balancing their budgets. Those are the things I would propose in terms of a private member's bill.
Apparently, this is the most pressing issue in Châteauguay—Lacolle, soon to be known as Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville. Therefore, it is within her right to bring this forward. Personally, I tend to support the private member's bill, because she has the right to bring this forward. However, I would think that it is not the best use of a private member's bill.
I served provincially in the Alberta legislature. We had a private member's bill that came forward there with respect to compassionate care leave. A very smart member brought that bill forward. He pitched something he had heard from his constituents, and from stakeholders from across the province. It was something that was not only important to his riding but to the entire province. He pitched this bill, and it was extremely successful. People drove from all around the province to come and meet with him, and talk to him about this bill. It ended up passing, but there was a process to go through. He talked to stakeholders, the opposition, and all the other parties about passing this bill.
He had the compassionate care leave group, the Canadian Cancer Society, and a number of not-for-profit groups on side. Some might say the opposition was on side. Some might say it was the most successful advocacy project in the history of the Alberta legislature. The bill passed, and the pride that was felt among all of the stakeholder groups was unanimous. We were all proud of the member for doing this work. There was a unanimous vote in the House, and it became law in Alberta. That was a successful advocacy for a private member's bill. It changed the province, and the lives of people. It really had an impact on the ground for a number of stakeholder groups.
However, instead of going through a process that has already been outlined, this member has chosen the opportunity to change the name of her riding. It is her prerogative. I tried to make a bit of a friendly amendment here on the floor. However, she did not seem to take to that. Although it is a little odd that she brings this forward, nonetheless I am prepared to support the bill. I look forward to voting on it.