Mr. Speaker, in the 41st Parliament, the all-party women's caucus spent a lot of time looking at these issues and canvassed what was done in other parliaments. The problem we have in Canada, which means that the advice from the U.K. parliament, for example, does not really work, is that we are a very large country. The hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia and I are both in that category of MPs who spend a good deal of their lives on airplanes in order to serve their constituents and be in this place.
There is no perfect solution. Sittings ending earlier so that members in the Ottawa area could get home for dinner would be great for families in the Ottawa area but would not help us get through the work in this place so we could have more time in our constituencies.
I think the best solution, knowing that there is nothing perfect, is to have what I call the Fort McMurray work schedule, which would be three weeks in Ottawa and three weeks in our home ridings, with the three weeks in Ottawa being six days a week. There would be normal hours Monday to Friday and a half day on Saturday. This would actually give MPs a day of rest on the Sunday, because it would be physically impossible to fly home. I believe it would save taxpayers millions of dollars in air flights and would reduce greenhouse gases substantially.
For most families, an accommodation could be made. Other families across this country have accommodated that for family members who have to travel to work. A concentrated three-week period in Ottawa and three weeks in the riding I think would work better.
Clearly, nothing is going to be perfect. Many members from British Columbia, for instance, move their families, particularly with small children, to Ottawa so they can spend more time with their kids in the evenings, helping them with their homework. Then, when they are in their ridings, all they do is work full tilt on constituency issues.
It is a very challenging question, when we are looking at a family-friendly Parliament, as we travel across many time zones.