moved that Bill , be read the second time and referred to a committee.
She said: Madam Speaker, today is a big day for my constituents. It is an important milestone in my first move as member of Parliament, which I undertook on behalf of my constituents, to change the name of our riding, Châteauguay—Lacolle, to “Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville”.
The reason behind this bill is that the name Châteauguay—Lacolle is inaccurate. If we look at a map of my riding, we see that the municipality of Lacolle is actually in the neighbouring riding of my hon. colleague from . The municipality in my riding is Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, a municipality with its own history, its own institutions, and its own raison d'être.
Even before I took office, the residents of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle talked to me about this issue, and I pledged to do whatever I had to do to remedy the situation. It is with that in mind that I have the honour to rise today in the House. As if it were not enough that the name Lacolle is erroneously used to designate Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, which is not at all the same thing, we have also noted several times in the past two years that the name Châteauguay—Lacolle is confusing for the constituents of both ridings and has created misunderstandings for some stakeholders.
The names Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle and Lacolle are often used interchangeably by different stakeholders, such as representatives of national media, mainly because what is referred to as the Lacolle border crossing, which is located on Highway 15, the main road between Montreal and New York, and is the busiest border crossing into the United States, is located in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, not in Lacolle.
I am sure my colleagues are aware that the situation at the Lacolle border crossing these past few months, the influx of asylum seekers from the United States, has helped sustain the incorrect name. However, there is good news. For the most part, those involved have managed to set the record straight in recent months.
Many citizens have told me they do not like the name Châteauguay—Lacolle, not only for the reasons I have just explained, but also because it is damaging to the pride that the people of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle take in their municipality and to their feeling of belonging. Following many discussions and conversations with the people and organizations of this region, the name Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville emerged as a logical and meaningful choice for a number of reasons.
First, Les Jardins-de-Napierville is the name of a regional county municipality that includes nine of our 15 municipalities. Second, the main city, Châteauguay, is located at the northwest end of the riding, whereas the RCM of Jardins-de-Napierville includes the nine municipalities located in the southern and eastern parts of the riding. Most of the residents of the other six municipalities self-identify as being from Grand Châteauguay, a name we hear a lot. All of the citizens, those from the Châteauguay region and those from the RCM of Jardins-de-Napierville, could identify with the name Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville.
The Jardins-de-Napierville RCM, whose beauty is represented by the word “Jardins” or gardens, is known for being the top market gardening region in Quebec. Lastly, the name Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville is a good representation of the semi-urban, semi-rural nature of our riding.
I would also like to talk about a very special person who contributed greatly to choosing the name Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville. I am talking about the late mayor of Napierville, Jacques Délisle.
If memory serves, he was the first to propose this name. This dedicated man, who left a remarkable legacy to his municipality, may also end up leaving his mark on the entire riding.
I would point out that I am sponsoring this bill for my constituents. A petition calling on the House of Commons to change the name of our riding to Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville has been circulating in the region for weeks. The response has been excellent. The petition has already been signed by people from all around our riding, including, of course, the mayors of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle and neighbouring towns. As elected officials, they are pleased to support my initiative on behalf of their constituents, as are my hon. colleagues from , , and, I believe, .
Since I still have a bit of time, I now have the pleasure of giving a brief history lesson to all those listening and watching. As indicated in my bill, the riding of Châteauguay—Lacolle was created in 2013, following a redistribution that came into effect with the dissolution of the 41st Parliament in 2015.
The current riding was formed from the former ridings of Châteauguay—Saint-Constant and Beauharnois—Salaberry. It seems the Quebec electoral boundaries commission erred when it named the new riding. The fact that Lacolle became part of the Saint-Jean riding during a previous redistribution process probably went unnoticed. We do not know what happened, but one can imagine.
After doing some research and discussing the matter with the mayor of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, I think there may have been some confusion between Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle and Lacolle.
Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle is a parish municipality that was established in 1855 in honour of Bernard-Claude Panet, Quebec's 12th archbishop.
The Lacolle part of the name comes from the name of the seigneury to which the land once belonged. Today, Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle has a population of about 1,500. Lacolle is a village municipality that was established in 1920 and officially constituted in 2001, and now has a population of about 2,800.
Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle was established long before Lacolle, but it has developed more slowly in recent decades and its population has not grown as much as that of its neighbour. That is why the municipality of Lacolle is better known.
Now that we have a better understanding of the history of our region, please allow me to outline how name changes come about and the criteria any proposed name change, including that proposed by my bill, Bill , must meet.
First, given the practice of reviewing electoral district boundaries every 10 years following a new national census, Elections Canada provides the 10 provincial electoral boundaries commissions with guidelines on riding name conventions and best practices. While Elections Canada will enact any name changes legislated by Parliament, there are practical and technical issues that must be considered, such as the limited capacity of databases. Thus, riding names are limited to 50 characters or less in order to enable the easy display of the riding names on websites, maps and paper reports, as well as easily readable geographic products.
I note for the record that the name proposed by the bill before us, Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville, has 38 characters, including hyphens, dashes, and spaces.
My understanding is that any changes to federal electoral district names would require royal assent no later than January 2019 to be effected prior to the next federal election. According to the legislative timelines of our Parliament, I am hopeful that Bill will come into force in a timely manner.
The name selected for ridings should reflect the character of Canada and be clear and unambiguous. I believe this criterion is met by my bill, as the names refer to a major municipality in our area and a regional municipal county region.
Third, a distinction is also to be made in the spelling of names between hyphens and dashes. I would ask members to listen carefully. Hyphens are used to link parts of geographical names, whereas dashes are used to unite two or more distinct geographical names. This convention is respected, as a dash is used to separate Châteauguay and Les Jardins-de-Napierville and the hyphens are kept in Les Jardins-de-Napierville.
Elections Canada's guidelines also have positive characteristics that are all met in the proposed new name, for example, the sense of the location and the logical order of multiple elements. On the electoral map, we see that Châteauguay and Les Jardins-de-Napierville are two geographical names that correspond almost entirely to the territory of the riding and conform to a reading of the map from west to east, in other words, from left to right.
The name of an electoral district must be unique, meaning the components of each federal electoral district name should be used only once, which is indeed the case for the elements Châteauguay and Les Jardins-de-Napierville.
Finally, I should note the preservation of tradition is important and that it is quite acceptable to have same or similar names for both federal and provincial constituencies when their core areas embrace the same population centres. This is the case for the name of Châteauguay, which is the name of a provincial riding that includes Greater Châteauguay, consisting of Léry, Mercier, and St. Isidore, as well as the City of Châteauguay representing more than half of the population in our federal riding.
The guidelines also contain negative characteristics that are all avoided in the name Châteauguay-Les-Jardins-de-Napierville. However, I will name only those that do not correspond to the inverse expression of the positive characteristics already enumerated, and that are therefore already understood implicitly.
I can repeat that point if necessary, but I will give the House some examples.
The name of a federal electoral district should be clear in both English and French, and as much as possible be acceptable without translation into the other official language, thus avoiding multiple forms, possible inconsistencies, and confusion. Another characteristic to be avoided is the use of cardinal points such as east or west. This would only encourage clumsy translation between official languages.
The incorrect use of hyphens and dashes is to be avoided at all cost. Bill correctly uses a dash to designate the City of Châteauguay within the name, while the individual words of the region of Jardine are correctly separated by hyphens.
For the record, the use of actual names of provinces, personal names, and names that are imprecise or contrived from non-geographical sources are also to be avoided.
I believe that I have raised all of the arguments that should satisfy my hon. colleagues here in the House that the name proposed by Bill , Châteauguay-Les Jardins-de-Napierville, respects all of the pertinent guidelines of Elections Canada.
In closing, I would like to paint a picture of my wonderful riding, which is blessed with splendid natural beauty, fertile land, a vibrant economy, and really nice people. My riding is located in the province of Quebec, on Montreal's south shore, in western Montérégie. It is made up of 15 municipalities, including Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle.
I am also very grateful to represent a riding that is semi-urban and semi-rural. The city of Châteauguay, with its 48,000 residents, including over 15,000 anglophones and allophones, boasts a major industrial area that is home to many innovative businesses.
In contrast, most of the surface area of the riding is rural, and we are also very proud of our agriculture and agrifood industry.
I look forward to my colleagues' questions. I could go on for hours about my riding, Châteauguay—Lacolle, and provide much more detailed information.
Madam Speaker, I appreciated the speech by my colleague from Châteauguay—Lacolle, a riding whose name will change in due time. I want to reassure her straight off that the official opposition fully agrees with the substance of the bill and that we will be supporting the measure.
As my hon. colleague has shown, there is indeed a major anomaly in the name of the riding, which refers to Lacolle, a place that is not even located in the riding of Châteauguay—Lacolle, but rather in that of Saint-Jean.
On a related note, the crossing at the American border is still known as Lacolle, even though that refers to the municipality of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle. I thank my collague for that important clarification. In my own riding, in Quebec City, the Jean Lesage international airport is often referred to as L'Ancienne-Lorette airport, and yet, it is not located in L'Ancienne-Lorette, but rather in Quebec, but it still goes by its old name, even though L'Ancienne-Lorette is across the street. Much to my disappointment, I do not represent the Quebec City airport. It is a shame because aviation is a passion of mine, as I have often mentioned to the . The airport and surrounding area are represented by the hon. member for , whom I value and respect.
We therefore agree with the change and appreciate the member's clarifications. She did a great job giving us the history of her riding and its parishes and towns and explaining the importance that should rightly be placed on having accurate names. I have two simple questions for my colleague regarding minor concerns.
First of all, I have always found it a little strange, to put it politely, that the names of federal ridings are so long. As I learned from the member, they cannot be more than 50 characters, but that seems very long to me. I always have a hard time remembering the name of the riding of my colleague from , which is not too far from my riding. Federal riding names can go on forever. Look at my colleague from . It is one word. It is simple, impossible to mess up. Louis-Saint-Laurent is the name of a former prime minister, so people do not mess that up either. However, when ridings have four or five names stuck together, even if it is under 50 characters, I still think that is too long.
I mention this because the member is proposing that her riding be renamed Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville. If this is what the people want, I have no problem with it, and I support the member, since she took the time to listen to the people. However, I was quite surprised to see that they wanted to change a relatively short name to a rather longer name. I recognize that this is perfectly legitimate, historically speaking.
Furthermore, I am just as surprised as my colleague from and the NDP member that this member chose to raise this important issue, which we do support, in a private member's bill, when if she had just waited a bit, she could have included it in the omnibus bill that the minister will be introducing soon.
For the information of those watching and listening, every 10 years, the electoral map and the riding names are reviewed. In a so-called omnibus bill, which we have no problem with, the government includes amendments proposed by members. Members can be for or against them. It is a legitimate debate.
It is unfortunate that my colleague instead chose to go out on her own by introducing a private member's bill, instead of joining the 337 other members of Parliament who are going to participate in good faith in the government's process, which has the support of parliamentarians.
We all recognize and will fight for the right of the member to table that kind of bill. However, I will express my surprise, because she should have used another way to achieve exactly the same goals. We do support the goals, and we recognize that the population will too. That is fantastic and we do support it 100%. However, we are a bit surprised that she tabled a a private member's bill.
For us, a private member's bill is an important bill. A private member's bill is a front door bill. Why do I say that? It is because less than two years ago in the House, which my colleague from will remember, there was a strong debate about Bill , introduced by the government, which was to kill two private members' bills tabled in the previous Parliament. They were Bill about democracy and unions, and Bill about transparency and unions. Those bills were tabled by Conservative members, but not the government.
For us, those private members' bills were front door bills. Unfortunately, the parliamentary secretary for the prime minister said many times in the House that the Conservative government used back door bills to table those pieces of legislation. What an insult. All members in this House are front door members. All bills tabled in this House are front door bills. No one here is a back door member, and no one here tables back door bills, contrary to what the member for said so many times less than two years ago.
I am going to repeat what I just said. I want to make it clear that for us, all bills are front-door bills, regardless of whether they are private members' bills or government bills, legislative bills or money bills.
Less than two years ago, the member for , the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, no less, made a huge deal out of things and told the House that the Conservative government had used backdoor bills. These were private members' bills. These bills were about union democracy and union transparency. Sadly, they were killed off by Bill , a bill tabled, debated, and passed by the Liberal government.
To be clear for the hon. member for , and I am sorry to refer to her with that title, but I know it will be over in less than two years, Conservatives support the will of the people 100%. We appreciate the hard work that has been done by the member, the fact that she listened to her constituents, and did her homework. That is fantastic. We are just a little surprised by how many members will have new titles, but if that is the will of the people, we will recognize and respect it. We are also a little surprised that instead of getting on the train, and I do not know if that is the right expression in English.
Instead of jumping on the omnibus bill bandwagon, the member decided to go a different route.
Instead of going with an omnibus bill, which we recognize she has the right to do, she decided to go with a private member's bill, while so many other issues could have been addressed as opposed to changing the name of a riding. This could have been achieved with an omnibus bill.
I want to reiterate that we agree with Bill .
Madam Speaker, as has been said, we are beginning our study of Bill , which was introduced by my colleague from .
I am very familiar with the western part of her riding, which used to be part of Beauharnois—Salaberry, the riding I represented before the boundary changes of 2015.
Like the current riding of Salaberry—Suroît, Châteauguay—Lacolle includes a city that contains half the constituency's population, as well as several rural areas. Montérégie-Ouest is a fantastic agricultural region that is also facing some challenges.
I fully understand my colleague's need to change the name of the riding to Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville. As my other Conservative and NDP colleagues said, we understand and commend the initiative shown by the member in consulting her constituents, doing historical research, and keeping an election promise. That is why we are going to vote in favour of her bill.
However, I am wondering, and everyone else is too, why my colleague chose to go with this process and this tool, namely, a private member's bill, given the economic, social, and environmental issues affecting our region and the fact that the government has a process in place to handle riding name changes. Members mentioned an omnibus bill where all members had the opportunity to participate and propose new riding names. We are still able to do that.
The party leaders have already agreed on the process to allow all members of the House to propose new riding names and change the names of their ridings before the 2019 election.
We must first tell our House leader about the name change. Then, the staff of the House leaders will compile a list of the members whose ridings names need to be changed. A member is chosen to draft the omnibus bill that will encompass all of the riding name changes of all the MPs who submitted proposals.
Elections Canada will then be consulted to make sure that everything is in order with regard to the riding names and the time allocated to make the necessary changes. The member will then amend the bill as required, introduce it in the House of Commons, and seek the unanimous consent of the House to change the names of all of the ridings in question at the same time.
That process was used in 2014 with Bill , which enabled all those name changes.
Why did my colleague from use a member's privilege, the privilege to introduce a private member's bill? We know that just over half the MPs will have the privilege of debating their bill in this Parliament. Our names are drawn out of a hat, and chance alone determines where our bill ends up on the list and whether we get to debate it right away.
For example, I am 194th on the list, and I may have the opportunity to debate my private member's bill. That means I have to choose my bill carefully. The bill my colleague chose to debate has to do with changing her riding's name. She could have done that and also chosen another issue altogether. She could have done both to have a positive impact and make life better for the people of her riding and all ridings in Canada, but that is not what she did.
I am quite surprised that she chose to use this tool to promote a name change that we all agree on and will vote in favour of.
I consider introducing a private member's bill on this topic a lost opportunity because a private member's bill can be life-changing for thousands or even millions of Canadians. For example, in Montérégie-Ouest, there are a lot of issues that would benefit from a private member's bill to bring about economic, social, or environmental change.
Les Jardins-de-Napierville is part of what is known as the “Jardin du Québec”. Many agricultural producers are located in this region and they need the support of their local MP.
First, we might consider the challenge of seasonal workers. We know that the vegetable farms need hundreds of foreign workers in their fields between March and October or November. There should be protections for these workers when the government negotiates free trade agreements.
If we look at NAFTA, there are no guarantees that supply management will still be there tomorrow. We have talked about this and raised the issue many times. Why not create a bill on one of these agricultural issues in order to help the agri-food sector, especially since it employs one in eight Canadians?
Our region needs to be more attractive to small and medium-sized businesses. Our rural regions have a dire need for things like high-speed Internet, 4G service, and infrastructure to help young entrepreneurs and to secure businesses that are already established in the region. Back home, a common joke is that when it rains, there is no Internet. When it is windy, there is no Internet. Could the hon. member have worked on a bill to improve that situation for our schools, hospitals, workers, and students?
An economic bill would also have been useful, especially from a government member, who may have the inside track on getting her bill passed.
The environment is another critically important issue. Protecting our waterways is as important for my colleague's riding as it is for mine and for every riding in Canada. In fact, my colleague was invited to the announcement on dismantling the Kathyrn Spirit, which is a threat to a drinking water supply in Beauharnois, on Lake Saint-Louis. That shipwreck has been rusting away for six years. I would have liked to get more support from my colleague from on this subject and to see her work with the hon. member for .
It is rather ironic that both bills were debated today. Bill , introduced by my colleague from has been muzzled. We cannot vote on her bill because the government decided to declare it non-votable in order to make room for the Minister of Transport's bill, which would actually have complemented C-352. The 50 coastal communities that helped develop this bill for the past 15 years will not get to see members of the House vote on it.
An hon. member: That is terrible.
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach: Indeed, that is terrible. It is an attack on democracy. It is sad to see the government misusing its tools to make changes to a riding name, something we are all able to do anyway, and miss out on an incredible opportunity to address pressing issues in the ridings and make progress on currently problematic situations on the ground.
I support the constituents' request to change the constituency name from to Châteauguay—Les-Jardins-de-Napierville. However, I think that the hon. member could have used better judgment by using a better tool and tackling another issue for her private member's business.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill .
This is a private member's bill put forward by my colleague, the hon. member for . As we know, it proposes to change the name of her electoral district to Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville.
The municipality of Lacolle, which is currently included in the name of my colleague's electoral district, is actually located in the neighbouring riding of . This is confusing as we have heard, for residents in both ridings and for this reason, the hon. member for Saint-Jean supports the legislation as well. Our government in turn supports the bill because it makes good sense.
Typically, as all members know, riding names are selected during a process every decade under the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act. In the latest process, census commissions were created in all provinces after the 2011 census. Each three-person commission, in accordance with the legislation, was chaired by a judge appointed by the provincial chief justice.
In the spring and summer of 2012, the commissions crafted and made public proposals for each of their respective provinces. They then held hearings to get public feedback and to consider possible alterations. Final reports were submitted by the Chief Electoral Officer to the Speaker of the House of Commons. They were then referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
This process is as exciting as it sounds. I think we can all agree with that. That referral gave MPs an opportunity to file objections, which the committee considered before producing its final report. That report was put forward to the commissions with the recommended changes.
In the case of Quebec, the committee sent 11 objections to riding names and suggested alternatives. All were adopted and the 2013 Representation Order was proclaimed that autumn, resulting in our new electoral map.
However, Parliament has the option of adopting name changes after this process finishes. Normally this goes smoothly, though in 2003-04 there were objections from the Chief Electoral Officer at the time, Jean-Pierre Kingsley. Mr. Kingsley pointed out that there was an excessive administrative burden imposed because it took place so close to the 2004 election. He also voiced concern that the change could lead to public confusion and additional costs because electoral materials would have to be reprinted and software reconfigured. However, there have not been any significant issues identified when name changes are proposed well in advance of elections.
In the case of the bill we are considering now, there is no indication that the name change will cause any technical problems. Elections Canada has asked that no name exceed 50 characters, including hyphens and dashes. This proposed new name is well below that threshold. I am sure the member for would agree with that.
Elections Canada has also asked that name change bills receive royal assent no later than January 2019. There is plenty of time.
In addition to this kind of legislation, our government and indeed all members of this chamber must do everything in our power to encourage Canadians to participate in our democracy. Confusing Canadians, confusing voters does not foster participation in our democracy. In fact, the has spoken passionately about the need for us to do everything we can to encourage and not discourage democratic participation.
As a result, we are committed to restoring integrity to our democratic process by reversing some of the previous government's Fair Elections Act, which made voting difficult for so many. We are accomplishing this with Bill , which was introduced last year, as all members of the House know. This legislation, if passed, would make it easier for Canadians to vote, get more Canadians involved in voting, and build confidence and integrity in our voting system.
In essence, this private member's bill is about empowering Canadians. It is about empowering constituents to feel they are part of the process.
I do find it a little surprising that some members opposite are quarrelling about the process, although are supportive of the substance. However, there are many ways to get to the same objective. For instance, some people wear belts. Some wear suspenders. Neither is right and neither is wrong. They both get to the goal that is established at the outset, and in this case, it is holding up one's pants. Does it really matter what process is used if it supports the goal? It is a fair and open process. Surely we can all agree on that in this place.
My colleague for knows her constituents' concerns better than any of us. She has heard from them. We heard her say there is a petition in the riding asking to change the name of the riding. The member for would ignore that at her peril. How could she go back home and say she got the petition with the thousand names, but decided to ignore it because the opposition wanted her to do something else for them instead? Would they not ask if she were not here to work for them? Of course she is, as we all are throughout this country, working very hard for our constituents. To the suggestion there is some flaw in her conclusion that it is important to her constituents, I would say, no, there is not.
I honestly believe, as I think we all do, that this private member's bill—
Madam Speaker, I was on the fence about whether to support this bill, but after that speech, how can we not? I believe the member has convinced all of us on this side that we need to support this legislation, maybe with the exception of a few who might also want to change their riding names, but I will get to that.
Like some of the criticism that has been levelled up to this point, it is curious that this is the process the member has chosen to take with her private member's bill. There are members in the House who have been here 10 years and who have yet to bring forward a private member's bill. Then we have this private member's bill, which I guess is a priority for her constituents.
I am just going to read a little of the background for those following along at home, so they know exactly what we are debating.
This bill would change the name of the electoral district of Châteauguay—Lacolle to “Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville”. The sponsor noted, in introducing the bill, that the name “Lacolle”, a reference to the parish of the Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, with a population of 1,500, is often confused with the adjoining and larger municipality of Lacolle, which is in the adjacent riding of Saint-Jean.
She proposes substituting the name with the original county municipality of Les Jardins-de-Napierville, approximate population of 27,870, an upper-tier municipality, which includes the parish of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle and several other communities, mostly within the constituency.
The member was kind enough to provide a map, which she referenced in her speech. I also have not been to her riding. In looking at the map, it looks like a beautiful part of the country. I will have to get there at some point in time. Hopefully the name is reflective of the area, more so at that time, so I, like the member who spoke previously, will not get lost when I am there. However, I do sympathize with the member to a small degree.
My constituency is called Edmonton Riverbend. We have a river that goes through Edmonton. It divides south Edmonton and southwest Edmonton. A lot of what my constituents refer to as Riverbend is an older part of the community. The constituents who live there have been there for about 30 or 40 years.
On the other side of the river, where the river bends, is the newer part of the community. That community does not necessarily classify itself with the Riverbend part. We have community names like Sweet Grass, Blue Quill, and Twin Brooks. These areas of my constituency do not say they are not part of Riverbend, when we look at a normal map. However, according to Elections Canada, the constituency is classified as Riverbend.
For those reasons, it has crossed my mind to look into perhaps changing my riding name. However, I understand there is a process for that. If I were to go down that process, it is outlined pretty clearly, from what I understand. The process is that normally members are to submit the request for riding name changes to their respective House leaders. Members may justify a change on the basis that the current name does not accurately reflect the makeup or the geography of the region. House leaders then submit these requests to the government House leader, who combines all of them into one omnibus bill, which tends to pass swiftly through all voting stages, often in the same day. As an example, in 2014, 30 riding names were changed at once.
It is for this reason, again, that I find it a little peculiar that the member would use the time for a private member's bill to go after this. However, as my colleague mentioned, it is her right, and we definitely do not dispute her right to do that.
As I listened to the debate, I thought that maybe we could make an amendment to the bill. Maybe we could help change the name of the riding for the member. I thought maybe we could name it “Harper Diefenbaker”. That seems like a responsible name. I wonder what her thoughts would be on that. She does not seem to be too open to that.
We have tried to assist the member in the process. However, it is her right to bring forward a bill like this. She could move to Calgary, I guess. It might be acceptable in Calgary.
At the end of the day, we have ridings, and we try to best reflect what the issues of the day are in our ridings. Right now in my riding, all I am hearing about is a fancy outdoor skating rink. My constituents are very concerned about the fancy skating rink. They are also concerned about what is going on with the and the tax changes he has proposed. With respect to those two issues, I would say I am in here advocating for my constituents, because those are the most pressing issues of the day. It is impacting their pocketbooks. It is impacting taxpayers balancing their budgets. Those are the things I would propose in terms of a private member's bill.
Apparently, this is the most pressing issue in Châteauguay—Lacolle, soon to be known as Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville. Therefore, it is within her right to bring this forward. Personally, I tend to support the private member's bill, because she has the right to bring this forward. However, I would think that it is not the best use of a private member's bill.
I served provincially in the Alberta legislature. We had a private member's bill that came forward there with respect to compassionate care leave. A very smart member brought that bill forward. He pitched something he had heard from his constituents, and from stakeholders from across the province. It was something that was not only important to his riding but to the entire province. He pitched this bill, and it was extremely successful. People drove from all around the province to come and meet with him, and talk to him about this bill. It ended up passing, but there was a process to go through. He talked to stakeholders, the opposition, and all the other parties about passing this bill.
He had the compassionate care leave group, the Canadian Cancer Society, and a number of not-for-profit groups on side. Some might say the opposition was on side. Some might say it was the most successful advocacy project in the history of the Alberta legislature. The bill passed, and the pride that was felt among all of the stakeholder groups was unanimous. We were all proud of the member for doing this work. There was a unanimous vote in the House, and it became law in Alberta. That was a successful advocacy for a private member's bill. It changed the province, and the lives of people. It really had an impact on the ground for a number of stakeholder groups.
However, instead of going through a process that has already been outlined, this member has chosen the opportunity to change the name of her riding. It is her prerogative. I tried to make a bit of a friendly amendment here on the floor. However, she did not seem to take to that. Although it is a little odd that she brings this forward, nonetheless I am prepared to support the bill. I look forward to voting on it.