Hon. Dennis Dawson:
Honourable senators, I rise in support of the bill sponsored by our colleague, Senator Pratte. He sponsored this bill because he is the senator representing the riding in question. I too would like to express my support for this initiative.
As you have already heard more than once, this week I am celebrating my 41st anniversary on Parliament Hill. The only person in this room who was here at the time was Senator Harder. Other members have served since then, and my friend Senator Joyal arrived here before me. Thus, I have seen many changes to riding names over the years. I am therefore pleased to support Senator Pratte, because some anomalies deserve to be corrected.
When it was decided to rename the riding with “Lacolle” in the title, it was a mistake. Legislative anomalies do happen. Sometimes, when amendments are discussed too quickly without carefully study, mistakes are made. The people who created that riding confused the municipality of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle with the city of Lacolle. From the first election campaign, people asked that the name be changed. Furthermore, the candidate who was elected, Mrs. Shanahan, made a campaign promise to have the riding name changed if she won the election. Now she is keeping her word and introduced a bill to do just that, because the name is not at all appropriate.
I would like to share an example brought to mind by some of my colleagues from Quebec. When my friend, Senator Maltais, came to the Senate, there was a riding known as Québec East, which was a historic riding. Louis Saint-Laurent was from that riding, and it has produced quite a number of prominent parliamentarians. When it was called Québec East, it was located east of Quebec City. For 20 years, everyone was too nostalgic to change the name, but over time, the riding ended up in the west end of Quebec City. The riding, which was represented by our colleague, Senator Verner, required changing the electoral map. It was renamed Louis-Saint-Laurent because the original name was no longer appropriate.
These anomalies should be fixed. This bill should be sent to committee as quickly as possible if we want this to be done in time for the next election campaign. We need to act fast.
I am therefore seeking your collaboration to get the bill to committee as quickly as possible so the committee can make this simple change and correct an anomaly in a riding name. Thank you.