Mr. Speaker, if you will indulgence me a little, for more than six months, our committee has been looking at the electoral boundaries from coast to coast. I would like to thank the committee for its hard work and its teamwork on this project.
I would like to thank our clerk, Marie-France. She is the best. Michel and Andre, our analysts, got the report right and in as good a form as we possibly could. I would also like to thank our junior analyst, Charles, who was there for one day. All of the other committee supports and translations have been superb throughout the whole long process.
I would like to thank the more than 100 MPs who presented to our committee, and I would also like to thank the members of the committee, the members for Louis-Saint-Laurent, Hull—Aylmer, Skeena—Bulkley Valley, Toronto—Danforth, Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, Oxford, Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, Brampton—Springdale, Richmond Hill and Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley. They are a heck of a team, and they got it done well.
I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 61st report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs in relation to the report on the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario.
Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question.
First, I would like to explain to the House that my riding is called Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, and after redistribution, it will be Lanark—Frontenac. So, it is impossible to have a riding named Lanark—Lennox—Addington, because Frontenac is in the middle of the other counties.
But the question of the age of senators may be more important. It is true that there is an upper limit on the age of senators as well as a lower limit. In our Constitution, the upper limit is 75 and the lower limit is 30 for the youngest senators. I believe that a more modern, reformed system should eliminate both limits, but it will be up to the voters to decide.
I lived in Australia during the 1990s and, there, some elected senators were under 30. In fact, the party leader of the Australian Democrats was under 30. That shows that the ability to be a senator is not limited to those over 30. If it is possible in Australia, then it is possible in Canada.
When the Chair gave the floor to the hon. member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, it was noted there were 10 minutes before question period; however, the hon. member will have 10 minutes remaining for presentation, to be followed by 10 minutes of questions and comments following question period as well.
Mr. Speaker, it is a great privilege and a delight to speak to Bill C-45, the final implementation of the budget act, the jobs and growth act. It is titled, “jobs, growth and long-term prosperity”. The reason we chose that title is that the focus of this bill is for just that: for long-term prosperity, for jobs and for growth.
We have heard the numbers countless times. On our side of the House, we are reminded that since this government has been in office and since that horrendous crash in 2008-09 when so many jobs were wiped out, not only here in Canada but across the world, there has been an increase of 820,000 net new jobs. That is an outstanding number.
We also hear the statistics that we rank among the highest in the G8 nations, that we are in the best fiscal position and that we are among the highest in growth in G8 nations.
That does not say there is tremendous growth. We know that in the world today there has been an enormous slowdown. Yet repeatedly, for the last number of years, Canada has managed to hold a position and to build some strength in that position, as well.
We also know that when governments get it right, when governments help create healthy climates, jobs are created. That is the main focus of this government and the reason we have focused so much on those areas. We do that by, first, listening.
I have the privilege to serve on the finance committee. We are involved in budget consultations at this point. We meet every night, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We meet from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. We ask people and groups from right across this country to come in to speak to us and to tell us what they feel this government has to do to be successful, to grow those jobs, to get those people back to work, to help young Canadians who are coming out schools, be they high schools, colleges or universities, to get jobs. We listen to these groups and these people.
We listen to industry. Again, I was fortunate, in the first four years I served in this House, to serve on the industry committee. In the industry committee, again, we invite industry; we invite labour; we invite all these groups to tell us just what we can do as a government to make things work.
It is people who create jobs. It is businesses that create jobs. Governments create healthy atmospheres.
We listen to business groups, we listen to labour and we listen to the experts. We learned great lessons from the member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington last Friday. He gave us a little essay in the house on Keynesian policies and how many governments today—most governments in the western world since before World War II—embarked upon that kind of plane where governments were told they need to spend to stimulate the economy. I think most of us would probably agree with that, but we have had a bit of runaway Keynesianism.
There was another school of thought at that time, the Austrian school, the Mises, that taught it is the responsibility of governments to maintain and make sure their books are in order. We did, and we do what the experts suggest we do. The first thing they tell us, repeatedly, is to get government spending under control, eliminate the deficit.
It is a fact that this government is concentrating on lowering government spending. We do not agree on both sides of the House. Often times, we hear it is the role of government to spend more, to spend our way out of a recession or that, rather than cut spending, maybe we ought to raise taxes.
We hear repeatedly, not just from businesses—obviously businesses do not want to be taxed and corporations do not want to be taxed—but we hear from the experts, the economists, that it works in reverse and ultimately when businesses and corporations are taxed, they take that cost and add it to the cost of products. Then we become uncompetitive in the world. Therefore, our goal on this side of the House is to make sure tax level does not become a burden and to make sure we do not impede growth.
One of the other things we heard repeatedly was to reduce red tape. Red tape is something that stagnates growth. It causes frustration in the marketplace. We have to eliminate those things that impede growth. I have spoken about a number of those areas, one of them being red tape. However, there are other things that governments do, oftentimes with the right intention, but we find out down the road that they cause more problems than they solve. Businesses asked that we not overburden them with taxes and regulations and that we open up the marketplace.
Canada is a trading nation. We are a nation that does a pretty good job at producing certain things. We are strong in extraction. We have a very rich resource sector. We are strong in service sectors, telecommunications and banking, and we do a good job in financing. We are able to export those to other countries. However, oftentimes there are trade barriers that pop up and make those things difficult for our companies. Therefore, our Minister of Trade has been extremely busy on a trade mission.
Let me read something he said:
In less than six years, [we have]...concluded trade agreements with nine countries: Colombia, Honduras, Jordan, Panama, Peru, and the European Free Trade Association member states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Canada has also begun deepening trade and investment ties with the largest markets in the world, including the European Union, India and Japan.
The European Union has 500 million people.
Most recently, we announced in October that Canada has formally joined the trans-Pacific partnership, the TPP trade negotiations. This is a trade agreement under negotiation by 11 countries, which now include Canada and Mexico. The other members include Australia, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
Canadians can see that we are opening up these opportunities. This gives our companies, our people, an opportunity.
The Speaker is telling me I am running out of time, so I am going to talk about what is really near and dear to me, and that is the bridge to strengthening trade act. We have inserted a provision in the omnibus bill that allows for a bridge across to the United States in my neck of the woods, Chatham-Kent—Essex. Why this is so important is that we are a trading nation. The town of Leamington, which is part of my riding, has an enormous greenhouse industry. Two hundred trucks leave Leamington greenhouses bound for the U.S. every day. More than 70% of the greenhouse industry goes to the United States. There are 223 greenhouse operations in Ontario, and Leamington is home to the largest concentration of greenhouses. There are over 1,500 acres under cover. They tell me that one acre is equal to ten times the production on normal land. It is imperative that those goods get across to the United States. We need that crossing. Therefore, we have put a provision in the budget that would allow for its speedy construction.
I was also very privileged to be able to announce the gateway, the section of HIghway 401 to the bridge. Last year in August the government announced we would spend $1 billion. A very important part of the budget is the trade issue. It is very important in my riding.
I encourage the opposition to look at those great benefits, not only for the country but for areas like Chatham-Kent—Essex, where it is so important that we continue this trade.
Mr. Speaker, in his questioning earlier of the member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, the member mentioned that the demise of rights and democracy has left us with very little in the way of bringing democracy to the people of that country because we no longer have an independent agency on the ground to do that. One of his responses was that we could undertake Farsi language broadcasts. However, as part of the Conservative budget the broadcasting of Farsi languages or any other language for that matter from CBC, through Radio Canada International, is now gone. It has been cut. We cannot do it anymore. If anybody thinks we will be able to get information via the Internet into an oppressed country like that, they have another think coming.
Would the member like to comment further on that?
I will stop the member there to allow the member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington to respond.
Or a telegraph company.
I understand there has not been a private bill that has originated in the House in a few decades, which is probably why this section of the Standing Orders has not been updated. We have heard today about some other areas we need to update, whether it is the fine for a stranger in the House or whatever else. There is a need to take a look at modernization.
I am really interested in the upcoming review. There will be a lot of work done at committee. We have always worked fairly well in that committee. I would like to say it is because of the chair, but truly it is not. It is because of the work of all members. I want to mention what some of them said here today.
The member for Hamilton Mountain started us off and was very eloquent and passionate. She might even have been critical, but she did it with passion. She said that time is the currency of Parliament proceedings and the Standing Orders regulate how we use that time. It was a very profound thought and I will be sure to share it with her when she goes a little long at committee. She also mentioned that a debate on the Standing Orders is a lot like watching paint dry. I think it is a little more exciting than that, but having listened to the speech by the member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, she may have had it right.
I would like to also thank the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie, who also sits on the committee and is a very active participant. He said we should make sure we look at the complex parts of the questions that are being asked. Sometimes it is more important to ensure that we are not creating unintended consequences by fixing something in the first place. The committee will take great care to do that.
The member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre is always a great speaker in the House. He suggested today that the Standing Orders were like the rule book on how the game is played in the House. I thank him because often he brings us back to the ground in committee by talking in the way that people back home might understand. When we are talking about Standing Orders, it may not be easy.
The member for Kitchener—Conestoga was also very eloquent in his speech today, as he is in committee. I would like to thank some of the other members on the committee, such as the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent who spoke today. We are really happy with her contributions. The member for Windsor—Tecumseh is also a fantastic member on the committee. The member for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine has also been a great addition to how we can work together on a committee.
The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, as was mentioned earlier, works a little differently. Members have fun, work hard and get the job done. I am looking forward to the next number of meetings on the Standing Orders to make this place run just a little better.
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington for having a dialogue. That is something we need.
He said in his proposal that smaller provinces have differences of representation; not more than the government. No province has representation different than our plan of 308. The government has its plan at 338, so the question is, why not 308?
He said that we have large ridings. We have much better communication systems than before. The U.K. is cutting 60 seats. New Brunswick will cut seats. The Prime Minister suggested that we needed to cut these seats in this House in the past.
Ontario, the hon. member's own province, has decreased its seats from 130 to 103. Is there one of these cases where he thinks it has been detrimental to the representation of the public because all the studies I have seen have shown that it is not case. The people are able to reach their elected representatives. They have the same satisfaction with democracy. Adding seats will not improve the representation in this House.
Just to clarify, the hon. member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington had a 20-minute time slot. Did the member mean to split that or not? There was a 20-minute slot and he spoke for about 11 minutes. Subsequently, there is a 10-minute question and answer period. I just wanted to make sure we did not miss the member splitting his time. Is that correct?
Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up where one of my colleagues left off when he said that representation by population was a foundational principle of our Confederation deal. It is, indeed, a foundational principle. The issue of representation was, in many respects, the most divisive issue before the Fathers of Confederation. One of the Fathers of Confederation, George Brown, whose statute stands not 50 yards from where I stand today, insisted upon representation by population, equality of votes, equal weighting for all votes, one vote one value, as a fundamental foundational principle for this House.
The other House was set up to have equality regardless of the population changes between the regions. We have honoured that principle to the letter. I think we ought to honour, as best as we can, the other principle that was made by our ancestors 140 or 150 years ago to respect and ensure that each of us has equal weight as a participant in Canada's democratic process. To do anything else is to betray the foundational arrangements and values of this country. It is un-Canadian.
This is not unique to Canada. Every federation has, as part of its founding and constitutional arrangements, adopted a similar process. When we look at the Americans and the Australians, we see that exactly the same process was gone through. However, those countries have honoured their arrangements that every citizen has an equal vote in a way that Canada has not. We have repeatedly moved away from that principle.
The NDP purports in its motion, and this is absolutely astonishing, that it is divisive to try to move back to representation by population. Lest anyone believe that is actually true or historically founded, I will read what Charles Tupper had to say in 1865 in the debates in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly on the subject of representation by population as opposed to the other formulae that were being tossed out at the time, which would have people in some provinces getting votes worth more than people in other provinces. He said the principle of representation by population:
...was the only true and safe principle on which the legislatures and the governments could be constructed in British America. That [an] eminent statesman predicted, twenty-five years ago--
That was in 1840.
--in reference to Canada--
That is to say, the province of Canada, Ontario and Quebec.
--that, if they undertook to ignore the principle of representation by population, the day would come when the country would be rent in twain.
Who does not know the difficulties that arose from the false principle that was applied at the time of the union of the Canadas, in order to give the ascendancy to Upper Canada—
Upper Canada, Ontario, was going to get more members than it deserved by its weight.
—whose population at the time was lower than that of Lower Canada? Who does not know that the prediction of Earl Durham has been verified? And the time has come when that country [Canada] has been convulsed, in order to rid themselves of a principle so unsound as that a certain number of people in a certain locality shall have an amount representation arranged not according to their numbers, but exhibiting a disparity with some other section?
That principle, which, unfortunately, we have allowed to creep into our Constitution, of abandoning representation by population, is what is truly divisive. We have gone through a long history in this regard. We have moved from the formula that was adopted, thanks to the sage advice of George Brown, Charles Tupper and others. We have moved away from that principle by a series of steps, further away from representation by population and more toward a system of increasing an institutionalized inequality. That is undemocratic, unfair, unreasonable and un-Canadian.
In 1915, we adopted one amendment to change our Constitution to allow for this principle to be deviated from. It seemed innocent enough at the time. No province could have fewer MPs than it had senators. In 1947, we moved to a system based upon a different formula that was designed to ensure that Ontario, my province, would not see its total number of members drop. In 1951, we adopted an amendment to that, and in 1976, a further amendment known as the “amalgam” formula was adopted.
Finally, in 1985, when we realized that the 1975 formula would result in the number of members in the House of Commons growing to an amount that was seen as too large, we moved, very unwisely, to a system that ensured an increasing level of under-representation for people in Ontario, B.C. and Alberta into the future and exacerbated with every census.
That was a mistake. We are trying to correct that mistake. We are doing so by means of adding some members to the House of Commons. How many? Fifteen for Ontario, six each for Alberta and British Columbia, and in order to ensure that Quebec does not suffer from under-representation, three for Quebec.
Members should understand that Quebec would get the percentage of seats in the House of Commons that its population warrants. If there is one thing and only one thing left that is good about our representation system today after the mess we have made of it for so many years, it is that at least Quebec is neither overrepresented nor under-represented. The formula proposed by the government would ensure that Quebec stays neither overrepresented nor under-represented and that it has the percentage of seats in the House that its population deserves.
We are not fully correcting the problem of Ontario, B.C. and Alberta being under-represented, but we are going a considerable distance toward it. It does not go as far as the amalgam formula proposed by Pierre Trudeau in the 1970s would have gone, but it is a great improvement over the status quo. I want the NDP members who have proposed and advocated their motion to reject what we are doing today to stop and think about this.
The people I represent in the riding of Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington are not especially rich or well connected and have no special advantages. I think it is the 74th or 75th wealthiest riding, which is to say it is the 25th or 26th poorest riding in Ontario. There is nothing to cause these people to be in a position where we can say that they deserve to be less represented, that they are already being taken care of. None of that is true. If that is true in my riding, then it is true in every other riding in Ontario, B.C. and Alberta that has no special advantages.
Why are we saying to them that their vote should be a fraction of the vote of another province? Why are we saying to them that their constitutionally guaranteed citizenship right to be able to participate in this system should have a lesser weight? Are they going to get a deduction on how much tax they pay? Would they be less of a participant when the government came along and told them what they must do? Absolutely not. To say that they are worth less, that they are a fraction of a voter, that they are a fraction of a citizen, that they are a fraction of a human being is undemocratic, illegitimate and an injustice that very much needs to be corrected.
This law would go partway toward correcting that. It is a very moderate, reasonable proposal. It is one which ensures that the smaller provinces, which are somewhat overrepresented, do no lose any seats. It is one which ensures that Quebec continues to get representation by population. It is one which ensures that the people whom I represent, and my colleagues from Alberta, B.C. and Ontario represent, get back some of their lost citizenship rights.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to stand in support of the Bill C-306 submitted by my colleague from Pontiac. I was here for some of the time that the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore gave some examples. I always find it interesting to listen to the comments from the member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington. Once again, I do not agree. We usually do not agree, but we do enjoy the give and take. As often as I can, I say I have a great deal of respect for the member, but I disagree with him again.
I will deal with the core piece because I will not have a chance to deal with all of it.
At first blush, one aspect citizens think about when they want to choose their member of Parliament, whether it is in the legislature or in the House of Commons, is the candidate. I thought the point was well-taken that an awful lot of us believe we are the only ones who could get here on our own. We do not need anybody or party because they are a big problem more than they are a help. The reality is that most members do not get elected on their own name, recognition and reputation alone.
A lot of people, especially these days, do not have a particular allegiance to a political party. Rather they take it issue by issue, election by election. They will see what the issues are and the ones that affect them the most, determine how they feel about them and that often drives their decision, recognizing that citizens have the right to base their decision on anything they choose. That is one of the beauties of democracy and freedom.
Certainly a lot of people look at what the parties are offering. They might not even know the candidates or they do not care about the party label. Rather they care about one issue, they find the party that is closest to their heart on that issue and that is where they mark their ballots. That is fair enough.
Some folks have great allegiance to a political party. All members of all parties have active members in their riding associations. These are people who, with some exceptions, will likely vote for the candidate no matter who it is. They will vote for the candidate no matter what the platform is because they support the party.
All of that is entirely legitimate and acceptable.
Those people who vote for the candidates probably do not care much as to whether they are independents, or members of the parties they have run for, or have crossed the floor, or have re-rat, which has been brought back from history as former Prime Minister Churchill had said, and I am glad that is in there, or have re-rat over and over again. They really do not care.
However, those people who vote on platform or party are often devastated when the person they voted for crosses the floor. They told their friends to vote for that candidate. They put signs on the their front lawns in support of the candidate. They took all the heat from others who did not vote for that candidate during the election. They told people that was their candidate because of the platform or the party. Their whole reason for voting for that candidate is negated.
It is not a small matter. When I have stood for election for the four parliaments I have been elected to, I have stood on my own reputation and I am accountable for the decisions and the actions I have taken. However, make no mistake, in my riding a lot of my constituents voted for me because they liked our platform. As long as there was a candidate who would support the platform, they would be with that person. It is likewise for the party.
If we accept that is a legitimate, rationale, understandable and important reason for people to think about voting for a candidate, the platform or the party, if one then bails out, as did Mr. Emerson, which is the richest example, and I do not like to personalize, it takes one's breath away.
I do not think the writs were even returned. The ink was hardly dry on the ballots, and this man was already trotting across the floor to join another party. He believed that was the right thing to do, for him, but what about all those constituents who had a reason to believe that once elected, the member would actually go about enacting the platform and policies of the party that member belonged to?
By crossing the floor, in many cases a member is throwing away what he or she believed in to join a party that is 180 degrees in the other direction. How do we think constituents feel? They would sit there wondering what happened. Constituents went out and voted in good faith, as did all their friends, and they expected that the money they donated to that campaign and the sign that they posted were all to help get enough seats on a particular platform so that the way the constituent would have liked to have seen Canada shaped on a particular issue would have actually happened. Now that would be gone, because the member could just cross the floor in order to remain a cabinet minister. It really is problematic.
I have great respect for the other views. It is never easy to change things around here, and for good reason. We do not want to rush to change, but by the same token, we cannot be afraid of change. This is an evolving place, and the way we do business here does evolve.
It would seem to me that it is an appropriate restriction on members when they get to this place. Just as members cannot break the rules of the code of conduct or break the rules of the House—
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Cariboo—Prince George.
It is with considerable respect for the people of my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke that I rise today to speak in support of this legislation that will finally scrap the long gun registry. Of all of the issues I am called upon to stand up for with regard to the people of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke no issue produces a more emotional reaction from constituents than the Liberal long gun registry. I am pleased to acknowledge the many farmers and hunters who have stood by my side on this issue. We never doubted that one day we would be successful. This legislation is their victory.
The issue has been a long road for me since I sat down for the first time at the Buckhorn restaurant in Calabogie and had all of the faults of Bill C-68, which is now referred to as the Liberal long gun registry, clearly explained to me in detail. For those members who have been on the front lines opposing the long gun registry in Parliament, our leader has always been the member for Yorkton—Melville in Saskatchewan, who is helped by his very capable assistant Dennis Young.
In 2003, the member for Yorkton—Melville shared the stage with me at a meeting held at the Renfrew Armouries where over 900 farmers and hunters came to show their support for our efforts to scrap the long gun registry. Some say that the meeting was so hot that the heat spilled over to the outside when a vehicle spontaneously burst into flames in the parking lot. All Canadians owe him a great debt of gratitude. On our behalf, we thank the member. The end to this odious registry is almost near and in no small part due to his efforts.
In my home riding I have been assisted in the fight for freedom and the right to own private property by people such as Donald Broome of Cobden, who has been one of the most articulate opponents of the Liberal long gun registry in my riding. Mr. Broome early on identified the highly undemocratic deficiencies of Bill C-68 that raised the ire of all reasonable Canadians. His treatise The Nation of Sheeple, listed for publication the 11 violations of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms inherent in Bill C-68, such as the constitutional rights pertaining to unreasonable search and seizure, self-incrimination and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Like Mr. Broome, people in my riding recognized that the opposition to Bill C-68 was about more than just the long gun registry. I sincerely thank Mr. Ron Wilson from Westmeath. Like Donald Broome, Ron Wilson's thoughtful analysis of the faults of the Liberal long gun registry was powerful ammunition to use against our detractors. Ron opposed misinformation from our opponents with facts so he never lost an argument.
I thank all of the members of the Pembroke Outdoor Sportsman's Club as well as all sportsmen in clubs across Renfrew County for their unwaivering support. Their trust was well placed. Over the years many more would enlist in the fight to get rid of the Liberals and their long gun registry.
I also thank international champion marksman Scott Murray from Arnprior; Frank Green from Combermere; Al Groves and the recently deceased Carmen Greer from Beachburg; Larry Gaffney, who has also passed away, from Deep River; Calvin McLaughlin from Haley Station; Ray Brisebois from Chalk River; Ken O'day and our dearly departed Harry Haley from Eganville; Norm Lentz from Palmer Rapids; Ian Fidler from Petawawa; Stan Pecoskie and all of the members of the Renfrew County Private Landowners Association; Graham Faught, who we know as Fuzzy, from Pembroke; Phil Conway from Barry's Bay; the folks who run the Eganville gun show; Kellard Witt from Alice and Fraser; and Garnet Kranz from Killaloe. I hope Garnet does not think his number is going to be deleted from my speed dial because we still have much to do. I could go on and on.
On a very cold winter night, word went out that the Liberal long gun registry minister was making a visit to support a provincial candidate from my riding and from his party. A few phone calls later and in short order a welcoming committee of sportsmen was assembled outside the hall the minister was attending. They intended to make sure he got the message that they wanted the long gun registry scrapped.
For days afterwards I received calls from across eastern Ontario from disappointed hunters who would like to have joined the protest.
Sentiments against the Liberal long gun registry spread across rural Ontario. I can state without a doubt that the crescendo of the first campaign in which I was elected as the MP for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke was that night at an all candidates meeting at the Pembroke Outdoor Sportsman's Club. My opponent, who was the local representative for the Liberal long gun registry, told the packed crowd that had jammed into the meeting that the long gun registry would remain in effect so they had better get a life.
Everyone in the room that night and, as it would turn out, the majority of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke voters resolved to give the Liberal long gun registry and all its supporters a taste of defeat.
In a later election, on that very same stage when one of our country's finest veterans, George Tompkins, asked a question about the gun registry, the Liberal candidate told him he should move to Texas.
In a riding that had not voted Conservative in almost 70 years through the Diefenbaker and Mulroney sweeps, a beachhead of freedom, as it was characterized at the time, was established in Ontario in Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke.
Along with my colleague in the riding of Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, we represented a grassroots movement for private property rights that is now represented across the province and in the legislature of Ontario.
I am proud to confirm that the landowners' movement started in Renfrew county and spread across the province. Who knew of the role that would be played by a group of hunters and farmers, the rural people who built this country, who were fed up with big government telling them what they could and could not do or the pivotal role they would have in restoring the true representative democracy of the people of Canada?
We were told we were wasting our time and that the Liberal long gun registry would never be eliminated. Opposition candidates in the five federal elections in which I contested continually attacked my support for the people of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke who wanted to see the Liberal long gun registry scrapped. They never wavered in their opposition to the registry and I never wavered in my support for them.
That brings us to today. The long gun registry has to go. When it does I will be celebrating with my constituents. The time has come for us to get on with it.
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington for his very thoughtful and personal speech. It is a refreshing change from the kind of canned speeches read for the first time by so many of his colleagues in his party. He came with something personal and I hope it will stay this way. I hope that he will not one day come in repeating slogans as if he were unable to come up with his own personal view.
However, he made some comments that were in contradiction to what the minister and some of his colleagues have said. For example, he said that, yes, the bill would be unfair for some provinces. It is a fact and he does not say that it is not true. However, he thinks that there will have enough goodwill elsewhere in the country to address these issues une fois que le mal sera fait, once the wrong is done, and that this goodwill will come from other provinces.
In to order to justify the bill, the member is saying that we should not to worry, that we will have a constitutional negotiation after writ. Therefore, the constitutional nightmare his colleague spoke of before, he is hoping for it. That is what he said. I think that is a very dangerous contradiction within the Conservative Party and he will need to explain that to Canadians.
Do Canadians want a constitutional fix after the wrong the government would have made for the whole country, especially for British Columbia and Alberta?
The electoral district of Lanark--Frontenac--Lennox and Addington (Ontario) has a population of 117,389 with 88,966 registered voters and 262 polling divisions.
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