Madam Speaker, I will not get personal and say whether or not I like this returning officer or that one. We are talking about a system, not one or two individual cases. I was quoting what the chief electoral officer himself wrote in his report, and those are the facts.
It is not in 90% of the cases that there are problems, but in 5% to 10% of the cases. However, 10% means 30 or so cases out of 308. It is an area where perfection is desirable. The chief electoral officer did not talk about widespread incompetence. However, there could be no incompetence at all. When such a problem surfaced, we could deal with it because we need to have a system that is 100% reliable.
The issue has nothing to do with whether or not I think that this person or that person is competent. Under the current system, some returning officers themselves are uncomfortable with these appointments. The system needs to be changed.
I am pleased to see that the Liberals are finally supporting this idea, after having gone through many elections with a system that gave them an unfair advantage. That has to be avoided.
I mentioned some cases. She can refer to Hansard . Mr. Guimond was very specific about aberrations, incompetence and democratic dysfunction in relation to this system.
Is it 100%? No, we did not say that. In my opinion, this system deserves better. The key person in any riding—i.e., the returning officer—must be beyond reproach and able to fulfill his duties competently and with professionalism, and that person should be appointed according to proper process. If that individual makes a mistake and does not do a good job, the Chief Electoral Officer must be able to act, correct, train and take the necessary disciplinary measures. This is basic, in my opinion. It is extremely important.
Young people can debate this all they want. However—and I hope the member for Gatineau will do so—we must distance ourselves from positions—no matter whether they are taken by young people or seniors—that are essentially anti-democratic. This must be condemned.
When a mistake is made, even within our own party, if we have principles and integrity, we speak out against it and we do not do that; we allow room for debate. However, this debate is unfortunately being distorted by what these young people are proposing. Ms. Boivin should distance herself from this if she is as democratic as she claims to be.