Opposition Motion—Senate Accountability

That, in the opinion of this House, urgent steps must be taken to improve accountability in the Senate, and, therefore, this House call for the introduction of immediate measures to end Senators’ partisan activities, including participation in Caucus meetings, and to limit Senators’ travel allowances to those activities clearly and directly related to parliamentary business.

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I wish to pursue the point that was just made my hon. colleague.

In fact, what the Conservative majority has offered the provinces is not the opportunity to elect their own senators; rather, they have forced the provinces to hold elections, for which they are not compensated, under a dog’s breakfast of different rules and regulations from one province to another, and under different election campaign financing rules and so on. They will then take on the cost of organizing these elections in order to offer up a list of possible candidates.

However, under Bill C-7 it would still remain the Prime Minister’s prerogative to choose someone to be appointed to the Senate. He would be in no way restricted to the list of possibilities created through this process of forcing the provinces hold elections.

I wonder if the member could be clearer about what is currently before the House, which emanated from the Senate side as, I think, a very inadequate attempt to create real reform in the other place.

Jacques Gourde: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her very interesting question. However, I would remind her that if every province could hold elections to elect senators, Canadians in each province would choose their own senators.

It is ultimately the people who would make that choice. That would be greatly appreciated and it would also be a significant gain for our democracy.

Democracy in Canada has a cost and we are all aware of it. Defying democracy has a much greater cost. I think the best solution is to let Canadians choose their own senators.