Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, in the last election we promised Canadians a genuinely free vote on the issue in the House of Commons. My party, including the cabinet of my party, will vote freely on this issue.
I know that the new Leader of the Opposition has said he will not allow a free vote by his caucus members. I hope that proves not to be the case because I think the rights of members of Parliament are some of the most important rights we have in this country.
In case you were wondering, the issue in question is not whether Québec is a nation. For that vote, held just over a week ago, Harper whipped his cabinet, forcing a minister to resign rather than support it. Apparently Harper doesn’t think recognizing ethnic groups as nations constitutes a moral issue. Or he’s just a hypocrite. One of those.