Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Everyone knows that my party is in favour of changes, but not any changes and not at any cost. My party tends to be in favour of self-determination, both for a people and for voters.
We are here talking about the principle of whether or not to consult the public, allowing them to give their free and informed consent to change the democratic rules. If we discuss the principle from that angle, I think we should be careful not to make assumptions about the voters and their intelligence. Of course, if we do the work within the established timeframe, we see that it's quite absurd. We have held consultations everywhere and it will not happen. However, if we invest the time and resources to get it right by 2019 and if we think of a formula with an additional question on the ballot for the election, I have faith in the people's intelligence to settle the debate.
Mr. Fitch, I imagine you will agree with me. Why make the people settle the debate? Because all the experts who have come to meet with us, be they for or against the change, have told us that each voting system has its advantages and disadvantages. This is not a debate among politicians or among experts. This should not be just for the initiated. This must be a debate that belongs to the people, and it is up to the people to decide and to weigh the disadvantages and advantages that they are willing to accept.
Mr. Fitch, if the people want to keep the current system, I guess you will not be against a referendum in which they can express their opinion. You said that the public should be consulted only if the intent is to make a change. Given that the people's representatives mandated a committee to finally address the issue, we argue that the people must decide on the issue in either case. Realistically, we will not reach a consensus by December 1. As for the voters, they need to be better informed. So let's take the time to do things properly. That was my first point.
Second, the committee has discussed the principle of a change. The majority of people we have met have told us that a proportional system is needed. Being in favour of the principle of proportional representation is one thing, but defining that model is a completely different thing. It's when the model is being developed that the partisan bias may appear. Just think of the new electoral maps that are prepared each year. By the way, if we applied the electoral map of 2012 to the 2011 results, no candidates from my party would have been elected. So the devil is in the details.
If we are able to talk about the principle, I don't understand why we are not able to build on the principle that this debate should belong to the people and be settled by the people through a referendum. I don't understand why, in principle, we are saying that the committee has a duty to decide for the people. That's not my idea of democracy.
Ladies and gentlemen, what do you think about that?