Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be rising in the House today to join in the debate on the motion before us.
The Reform Party grew from a desire of a founding group of people who, among other things, wanted to bring real accountability to the government. This government motion is another step toward that goal.
There should be opportunity for input by the people who elected us. I congratulate the government for its new approach of direct consultation. There should be the opportunity for freer votes and I congratulate the government for its promise to move forward on this proposal and introduce freer votes to the House.
There should be more opportunity for individual MPs to have an influence on legislation before the House at the committee stages of a bill. I congratulate the government for taking the initiative in this respect. I give credit to the government for taking these steps and introducing these changes and for talking about other steps and changes.
The Reform Party also deserves credit for the part that it has played in getting to this point. We helped create the political situation conducive to change and along with it, I hope, a willingness to turn the talk about turning change into reality.
It is very important that the parliamentary reforms we introduce be meaningful and sincere. They must be effective and not just window dressing. The voters of Canada want substantial, useful and worthwhile changes and they want to be able to see the proof that these changes are being implemented.
The voters of Canada want actually to see the consultative process turn into a course of action by the government as suggested by the majority. They want to witness free votes in this House and they want to see that individual MPs can have an influence on the new legislation as it is studied in committees.
Our view is that the government must be willing to accept changes to its legislation during the process and that it should not feel threatened by free votes or even the loss of a vote.
Greater flexibility in the process will mean better government for all of us and will help restore respect for Parliament from the people who elected us.
I am especially pleased that this motion includes provision for the procedure on House affairs committee to study and report on political reforms such as the introduction of recall.
Talking about recall usually causes an allergic reaction among politicians. I often see it on the other side of this House. The symptoms include chills of horror down the spine, uncontrollable nervous twitching, squirming in the seat, catcalls and the hurling of insults.
We should recognize this disease and name it recall phobia disease, meaning fear of recall. One cause of this disease is the widely held but totally incorrect belief that if a Liberal MP only got 40 per cent of the vote, the Reform supporters could get together with the NDP supporters and recall the Liberal MP simply because they held 60 per cent of the vote.