House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

Supply
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

I would ask the hon. member for Charlesbourg to please speak without any props.

Supply
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg, QC

Madam Speaker, it is unfortunate that the Standing Orders of the House require the cameras be trained only on the person speaking, because our audience missed a real burlesque show.

Permit me to share with this House some thoughts on the distressing performance by the government since the allegations of influence peddling became public. According to the Prime Minister, this is a model government. Since 1993, the party and the government have boasted of their honesty and integrity: no scandal, clear sailing. They were lucky, but the good times are finally over as we can see.

I will not go over the facts, as they were related several times earlier. I will, however, say the following. It is all very sad for the Solicitor General. The Prime Minister knew, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services knew, the Minister of Human Resources Development knew, the President of the Treasury Board knew, but the Solicitor General did not.

Section 5(1) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act provides that: “The Governor in Council may appoint an officer, to be known as the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who, under the direction of the Minister—that is the Solicitor General—has the control and management of the Force and all matters connected therewith”.

It is unbelievable that the minister responsible for the RCMP is practically the only member of the Liberal cabinet unaware of the events. Does the Solicitor General still have any credibility?

Either cabinet has no confidence in him—in which case it would be very difficult for the Solicitor General to do any sort of sensitive work if his cabinet colleagues did not trust him—or the Solicitor General is not on top of the issues. I am sorry, but, if there is one position here in Canada that requires a person be aware of the issues, it is that of minister, and especially that of Solicitor General. Another possibility, and this is becoming downright dangerous, is that the Solicitor General has lost control of his responsibilities, which include the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP, which, coincidentally, has been in the headlines of late.

If the Solicitor General is not in control, democracy is in jeopardy.

The kind of scandal in which the Liberals are currently involved—and this is indeed a scandal—has not been seen in Quebec for over 20 years, ever since the Parti Quebecois first came to power. And it is no coincidence.

René Lévesque came of age politically under Maurice Duplessis and had grown to despise the dubious financing practices of the Union nationale, obviously, but also of the Liberal Party. His feelings in the matter were shared by a whole generation of men and women in Quebec. Consequently, on August 26, 1977, René Lévesque had the National Assembly pass the bill to govern the financing of political parties and amend the Elections Act.

By restricting political party financing to voters only, Quebec was sending a very clear message: politics is to serve the common good, not the interests of corporations, be they large corporations or major trade unions. In the province of Quebec, politics serves the citizens, and Quebec is a model of democracy around the world.

To my colleague, the hon. member for Bourassa, I say that we are not tearing our shirts. We are bursting with pride, and rightly so.

What is incredible is that the situation at the federal level has not changed. Remember when the Tories were in power, which was not so long ago, all kinds of scandals broke out. There was the Sinclair Stevens affair, the Oerlikon affair, the influence peddling affair involving MP Grisé, the tainted tuna affair and the Airbus affair, which is still causing a stir today.

During the entire time when the Conservatives were in office, the Liberal Party, which was the official opposition at the time, acted outraged over all these scandals and strongly condemned the government. But what did they do when in government? Absolutely nothing.

Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

They did worse.

Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg, QC

My colleague, the hon. member for Frontenac—Mégantic, is right, they did worse. It is clear today that the real reason why Liberal members denounced the Conservative government's scandals was that they were not the ones at the receiving end. That was their only reason for denouncing these scandals.

How can I walk through my riding and tell constituents on Grands-Ducs Street in Stoneham, Vaillancourt Street in St-Émile or Mathieu Boulevard in Charlesbourg that federal politics is completely clean, as provincial politics is in Quebec? I simply cannot, as two of Canada's major political parties have proved the contrary.

The Liberal Party has made it clear that it does not want the current situation to change and is perfectly happy with the status quo.

I am reminding the other parties that the Bloc Quebecois has already made a commitment to accept only contributions coming from voters, from individuals. Can the Reform Party make the same commitment? Can the Conservatives? Can our colleagues from the New Democratic Party? I am waiting for an answer.

In closing, the revelations made just recently show that a major cleanup of federal politics is in order. It can be done, but do we have the will? Where there is a will, there is a way, as they say. The Bloc Quebecois found the way to do it because it wanted to. My question to the other parties is: Do you want to?

Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Madam Speaker, the member opposite sounds like Tartuffe who said: “Hide thy bosom from mine eyes”.

Let us look at contributions received by the Bloc Quebecois. If they want to talk principles, that is what we will do.

In the riding of Drummond, someone received a contribution of $1,500. Does this mean the person is working for the corporation that gave the money? Would Bloc members rather have ten contributions from members of the board than one from the corporation? Would they rather have preferential rates and a loan from the Mouvement Desjardins? Are they in the pay of the Mouvement Desjardins?

I find it despicable to come up with these allegations, to continually act like Tartuffe, when we all know that the Canadian system is probably one of the best in the world. The Bloc must stop tarnishing our institution to promote its separatist dream. The Bloc's own true leader, Lucien Bouchard, ran under the Conservative banner. In 1988, he received $41,000 from organizations that were not individuals. When I see members opposite continually cry murder, I feel sorry for them, Madam Speaker.

I have a question for the member for Charlesbourg. Does he find it normal that, on the one hand, his colleagues receive contributions while, on the other hand, they say that these people are not in the pay of those corporations? Does he believe one can be bought with a contribution in return for some assets? When will the hon. member talk seriously, Madam Speaker?

Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank the former assistant director general of the Liberal Party of Canada, who in fact held that position when the allegations—

Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

I rise on a point of order, Madam Speaker.

I left my position as general manager in October 1996 and the allegations are supposedly about something that took place on March 6, 1997. I ask the member to withdraw his remarks.

Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg, QC

Madam Speaker, what took place on March 5 and 6 is that the RCMP was informed about what was going on and about what had gone on earlier.

In true parliamentary spirit, I would like to begin by congratulating the member for Bourassa. I had not had a chance to do so and his presence in the House today is a measure of his tenacity and determination.

Not once, not twice, not three times, but four times he ran before winning an election. And just as a little aside, he might like to tell us a little later why, having had to run four times to get elected, he does not want to allow Quebeckers to vote a third time on Quebec's sovereignty? That is a good question and one he should perhaps answer.

That having been said, I would like to inform the former general manager of the Liberal Party of Canada that, during his 1993 campaign, his third campaign, which he lost by the way, that he received $13,222 in corporate donations. So, once again, before casting aspersions, before making any accusations whatsoever, let the former general manager of the Liberal Party of Canada look in his own backyard, in his own party and in his own riding.

Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Madam Speaker, when I was at college, I took two courses on statistics. And we were told that, when a general survey is mailed out, for every person that answers, there are between 75 and 119, if memory serves, who read the document, and who are interested in replying, but who are afraid to, or do not have the time or the guts to do so.

As regards the trail of wrongdoings now plaguing the government and the Liberal Party, five corporations, five businessmen informed the Minister of Human Resources Development that they had been asked for cash contributions, and asked to keep quiet about it.

If five have done so, according to the figures I recall, there may well be 800 to 1,200 industries, businessmen, who have had their arms twisted to contribute very large amounts of money. We have learned that in certain cases, and this is absolutely scandalous, amounts as high as $50,000 were involved. I must applaud the businessmen, the entrepreneurs who took the trouble to write or telephone the Minister of Human Resources Development to tell him that this seemed dishonest, that it had a certain odour about it, and to bring it to his attention.

Naturally, the minister took the trouble to write to Mr. Murray of the RCMP to ask that the matter be investigated. If five individuals brought this to the minister's attention, it means there are many others who coughed up large amounts. And I suspect that certain companies in my riding coughed up money.

Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to pick up on what my colleague, the member for Frontenac—Mégantic, was saying. Surely this is just the tip of the iceberg we are talking about right now, and it is important that the government one day shed light on this whole affair. But unfortunately it seems this is not its intention.

Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

It being almost 2 p.m., we will proceed to Statements by Members.

World Rural Women's Day
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and support the celebrations of world rural women's day on October 15.

The idea of an annual celebration of rural women originated in 1995 during the fourth United Nations conference on women held in Beijing.

It is appropriate that the day chosen to celebrate this day is one day before world food day as women in rural areas around the world make an invaluable contribution to the production of food and the management of other natural resources.

Despite their crucial role, many rural women face serious limitations in access to land, credit, agricultural extension services and other key resources.

If governments are to achieve international development goals such as world food security and sustainable development we must support the contribution of women and their full participation in agricultural and rural development.

Please join me in honouring the contributions to our welfare made by these one billion rural women.

Sikhs
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to join Sikhs across Canada in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Sikh pioneers to Canada.

After experiencing hardships, racial discriminations, Sikhs and people of South Asian origin should be commended for their openness, success and contributions to Canada.

Our heritage values, strong family ties, community involvement and peaceful coexistence enrich Canada and its cultural mosaic.

Yet memories of hardships and prejudice experienced endure. The 1914 Komagata Maru incident mars Canadian history; 356 persons, most of them Sikhs, were detained for two months and forced to depart resulting in the loss of many innocent lives at sea. The government of Canada owes these people an apology.

By remembering history, government must learn the importance of equality and fair treatment of all people.

Radar Veterans Reunion
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to acknowledge two of my constituents from Huron—Bruce. Mr. James Henderson and Mr. Bruce Wamsley both served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the second world war. They are present here today in Ottawa as part of a special World War II radar reunion.

During the second world war, Canada served the vital function of providing the combined Commonwealth forces with the bulk of their tactical assistance and expertise. More specifically, Canadian Forces Base Clinton, a base that was located in my riding, was primarily responsible for this function. CFB Clinton trained hundreds of Allied airmen in the use of radar, thus enabling them to carry out their duties with greater efficiency, accuracy and safety.

I proudly salute all former servicemen. Their efforts and sacrifice during what was the world's darkest hour ensured the preservation of the values and traditions that all Canadians enjoy today.

C.D. Howe Institute
Statements By Members

October 9th, 1997 / 2 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles-A. Perron Saint-Eustache—Sainte-Thérèse, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the C.D. Howe Institute released an analysis which confirmed what we have been saying for a long time. It says that Canada and a sovereign Quebec would be well advised to negotiate promptly a mutually beneficial agreement.

The arguments of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs are once again refuted by common sense. It must be that the oft-repeated words of the Quebec premier are finally finding an echo in English Canada.

I remind you that Mr. Bouchard was saying recently to English-Canadian businessmen that Canada and a sovereign Quebec would negotiate an agreement in good faith, simply because it would be in the best interest of both parties. This is the truth.

Those who try to intimidate Quebec can talk all they want, reality will overtake them and common sense will prevail.