House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Windsor for a number of things that he pointed out in his speech, and for raising some recent history that is helpful I think as we view the situation today. It is always useful for us to look back.

He reminded members in the House that Liberal, Tory same old story is a phrase that we are fond of in the Province of Manitoba. He pointed out some of the similarities between the history of corruption from the current ruling Liberal Party and the corruption of the Tory government under Brian Mulroney.

There were guys like Roch LaSalle, who frankly make the current Liberals smell like a spring day. There was corruption under the Mulroney years that used to horrify Canadians right across the country, and they turfed them out with such vigour that the party had only two seats remaining. We should be conscious of recent history as we hear the new Leader of the Opposition remind Canadians about the corruption of the Liberal Party.

I want to thank the member from Windsor for pointing this out and for helping us keep in context the fact that we had the least popular government in Canadian history, the Mulroney government, because once a week a crooked cabinet minister would fall. Almost weekly Tory cabinet ministers were busted for the most blatant, overt corruption one could imagine. They were less creative than the Liberals. In fact they were crude.

Tory corruption is often blunt and crude. The Province of Manitoba comes to mind. The most recent Conservative government in the Province of Manitoba was turfed out for election rigging, vote rigging, and for corruption scandals.

It is bizarre for us to hear the sanctimonious bleatings of the new leader of the official opposition, now in fact the old Tory party, trying to claim that it will be less corrupt. It is Liberal,Tory, same old story. We cannot tell the difference from where we sit.

Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the outset, I did not find anything in my Winnipeg colleague's comments with which I could disagree. However, it is worrisome, when we see the self-righteousness that embodies the background of the motion, that there is not some acknowledgement on the part of the Conservatives that they are also at risk.

I want to say to them and to the government that we need not so much the protestations of substance that we got from the House leader earlier this afternoon around democracy and the democratization of this institution. One of the greatest protections we have is if there is full democracy here, if the members of Parliament can in fact perform their duties fully, whichever government is in power at any given time. That is our greatest protection from this type of scandal being allowed to evolve to any degree.

Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the House precisely what we are debating today. We are debating an opposition motion that reads as follows:

That, given the lack of new legislation introduced by the Liberal government during the Third Session of this Parliament, this House recognize that the current government is not new, but rather one that is intricately linked to the past decade of mismanagement, corruption and incompetence, and has accordingly lost the confidence of this House.

The part about losing the confidence of the House by not bringing forward legislation is something that does not need to be articulated because it is quite clear. This Liberal Prime Minister campaigned to be the Liberal leader and the incumbent Prime Minister of the House of Commons for probably five or six years. He never really stopped campaigning, but it really kicked into gear about five or six years ago. He has been trying to have a bloodless coup with the former prime minister Jean Chrétien for quite some time.

The current Prime Minister became leader of the Liberal Party by promising many things such as a new agenda, a new deal for cities and by promising a comprehensive approach to all kinds of things under the sun. We have seen virtually no new legislation in the House of Commons over more than 100 days since he was elected and sworn in December of last year as Liberal leader and Prime Minister.

I saw a television program the other day where one of the Liberal cabinet ministers had this very point put to him. The minister said that was not exactly true. He said that the Liberals had put forward whistleblowing legislation, and it is true that whistleblowing legislation will be coming forward. The interesting thing to note is the official opposition put forward whistleblower legislation quite some time ago, but the government failed to acknowledge that fact. It would only be under a Liberal government, with the layer upon layer of corruption that we have seen over the past while, that would actually need comprehensive whistleblower legislation.

In the tradition of parliamentary democracy, it used to be that ministers would take responsibility for their portfolios. It was quite sad and embarrassing to hear the former public works minister, Alfonso Gagliano, last week play a who, what, me, I do not know role. It was the most important program that the country had after the 1995 debacle of the Quebec referendum campaign, where the prime minister essentially sat on his hands and almost saw the country dissolve. Alfonso Gagliano was put in charge of the fundamentally important program where $250 million was pushed into the province of Quebec to raise the profile of the federal government. Some basic cursory realities of what constitutes sound fiscal management were not adhered to at all. The average hot dog stand had better lines of financial accountability than the Liberal government had with $250 million in what was supposed to be one of the most important and comprehensive programs to meld the country back together after the divisive 1995 leadership campaign.

Before I go further and talk a little more broadly about Liberal scandals and some of the numbers involved in this, I want to comment on some of the remarks made by my colleague from Winnipeg Centre and on the remarks made by the member for Windsor--St. Clair.

Sanctimonious hypocrisy and posturing is something that is entirely inappropriate on issues like this. I always find it a bit funny when the NDP and Liberal members of Parliament talk about the Conservative Party led by Brian Mulroney. I am tempted to remind people that when Brian Mulroney came into power in 1984, I was seven years old. I was not exactly one of the backroom bagmen boys for the Brian Mulroney regime involved in that kind of corruption.

The reality in politics is that we tend to say that they are Liberals and they are all bad, or that they are New Democrats and they are all scandalous, or that they are all Conservatives and they have all been involved in scandals of the past.

The reality is we have to hold individuals accountable for their own actions and for that behaviour. It is not fair to say that all New Democrats under the government of Glen Clark were corrupt and irresponsible. It is not fair to say that all Progressive Conservatives under governments in the past were corrupt and irresponsible. Equally, it is not fair to say that all Liberals are corrupt and shadowed by the scandals that we have seen over the past couple of months.

What is fair is to ask for some accountability and responsibility. It is fair to ask for people who knew things to step forward and to be honest and straight up with what they knew and when they knew it, not to play hide and seek and not to run away.

It really is a fool's game to look at politics, as I described politics, as professional sports; that is all Liberals are bad, all Conservatives are good, all NDP are evil and vis-à-vis, and the rotating goes on depending on how one looks at federal politics. That kind of simplistic, frankly childish look at politics is totally inappropriate. We are all individuals.

The problem with this scandal has been the individuals who are at the heart of it. Those individuals who are truly responsible for the throwing away of $250 million in the ad scam and more than that over the past decade are hiding behind all kinds of political games and smoke and mirrors.

I had to take a long view of Liberal scandals over the past decade. If we add up all the money that has been wasted, stolen or spent irresponsibly over the past decade, we come to a startling number $7.093 billion. That number is arrived at by adding up the following things: $2 billion for the gun registry; the helicopter cancellation; the billion dollar HRDC boondoggle; the home heating fuel rebates that went to almost everyone who did not require them; in 1992 to 1993 the company owned by the Prime Minister received $161 million from government contracts; the ad scam of $250 million; and the unnecessary Challenger jets of $100 million.

If we want a global number, when we add up all the scandals and all the corruption, the number we arrive at is $7.093 billion. That is an astonishing amount of money that could do wonderful things for Canada. For that amount of money, we could solve a number of problems.

It is very interesting how the debate has unfolded, not just over the past five minutes but over the past little while, and I see the member from Brampton West—Mississauga, an anonymous MP who no one ever knows. It is interesting how Liberal members of Parliament have had smirks on their faces, the sort of awkward arrogance that they are the incumbent government party and that they will be in power forever.

With the new Conservative Party and with the momentum we have with our new leader, the smirk and the arrogance that the Liberals have had for the past decade will be wiped away. It is being wiped away by the emergence of the new Conservative Party and a governing alternative that is really present for Canadians. It is also being wiped away by the number of Canadians who are sick and tired of the Liberal arrogance, the Liberal corruption, the throwing away of money and all the scandals they have seen over the past decade.

Canadians deserve better and taxpayers deserve better. Certainly all Canadians can agree that those people who knew what was going on, when a quarter of a billion dollars was being spent in a high profile program, should have been held accountable. That is what we are doing as the official opposition. That is why we have this motion. That is what we expect from the Liberal Party of Canada.

Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

I inform the hon. member for Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam that he has 12 minutes left in his speech after question period.

Kent Ellis
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to note the passing of one of Prince Edward Island's most beloved sons, Dr. Kent Ellis, who was in the truest sense of the word the Island's country doctor.

After 43 years of practising medicine, he has been acknowledged as a deep caring man for his patients, his province and his country. He at one time cared for 3,500 patients, while the average was 1,500.

Beginning his practice at his house, in 1959, Dr. Ellis diligently served patient by patient, family to family, generation to generation, and was respected by all.

As well, he started Marco Polo Land, a landmark campground, and served on Unit Three School Board. He was active in the tourist association, the hospital and health services commission, his church, and was current chair of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation. Above all that, he found time to show his love for his family.

Dr. Kent Ellis, a figure larger than life, will be greatly missed by all of us privileged to have had the honour to know him.

Government of Canada
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians in my riding of Calgary East share the same goals like other Canadians: families raising their children; senior citizens looking forward toward quiet retirement; new immigrants looking forward to settling in their new country; and youth aspiring for a brighter future.

They all work hard and pay their taxes. In return, they expect responsibility and fairness from the federal government. But what do they get in return? They get patronage, self-promotion and abuse of taxpayer dollars, for example, the sponsorship program, the Liberal flag scandal, an immigration scandal due to patronage appointments, and Gagliano crying to Canadians that he is poor, while we know that is not the truth.

It is time to get rid of this government. It clearly does not deserve the confidence of honest and hardworking Canadians.

Riding of Compton—Stanstead
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

David Price Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to invite my colleagues to discover for themselves the beauty of the riding I have the honour to represent.

Those who would like a preview of the magnificent landscapes and superb historic buildings that are found all over my riding can go to see two films which have just been released and which were filmed in Compton—Stanstead last summer.

The first, Taking Lives , starring Angelina Jolie, was filmed in the heart of the town of Stanstead. Hollywood worked its magic, for the film crew arrived in July to shoot wintry scenes in this charming town.

The second film, The Secret Window , stars Johnny Depp. It was filmed in the picturesque village of North Hatley, where French President Jacques Chirac also vacationed last summer.

The riding of Compton—Stanstead is an extraordinary place.

Regional Development
Statements By Members

March 22nd, 2004 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 15, the Prime Minister of Canada went to Val-d'Or. He attended two meetings and had an opportunity to listen to many requests made by the people of the vast riding of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik.

He was told about many things, including: the importance of assistance for mineral exploration and the mining sector; the urgent need to resolve the softwood lumber crisis; the need to help the agricultural sector; as well as the need for support for projects benefiting the James Bay Cree, the Inuit of Nunavik, the Algonquians of Kitcisakik and Lac Simon, and the native friendship centres in Val-d'Or, Senneterre and Chibougamau.

The Prime Minister was very attentive to the requests coming from our large resource-based region, and asked many questions about the issues.

In particular, he noted two major concerns of the region: the first is economic development, which involves the forestry, mining, and agri-food sectors, and the native peoples and Inuit; the second is the issue of native and Inuit education.

Toronto Jewish Community
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Art Eggleton York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to condemn the anti-Semitic incidents that occurred in my riding of York Centre over the weekend.

Twenty-two tombstones on Jewish graves were upturned at Bathurst Lawn Memorial Park. Swastikas and genocidal slogans desecrated the Pride of Israel synagogue and the Eitzchaim Jewish Day School. Numerous United Jewish Appeal signs were defaced.

This, only two days after 13 residences in neighbouring Thornhill were sprayed with anti-Semitic graffiti. This, on the weekend marking the 60th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary, where 500,000 Jews perished. This, on the day marked by the United Nations as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This, on the streets of Toronto, here and now.

The League for Human Rights of B'nai B'rith Canada reports that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada has doubled in the last three years. This is unacceptable.

I call on all Canadians to stand with their Jewish neighbours to confront bigotry. I call on Canadian law enforcement officials to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable.

I ask the Government of Canada to consider new measures to combat the rising tide of extremism targeting Jewish Canadians.

Rural Communities
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, rural Ontario is under assault from federal and provincial Liberal governments that neither understand nor respect the rural way of life.

At the core of the Liberal attack is the belief that it is acceptable for governments to strip away the value of private property without providing compensation, or to arbitrarily adjust taxation levels in ways that amount to a confiscation of some or all of the value of private property.

In Ontario, this attack on rural property includes: the shutting of local slaughterhouses that cannot keep up with everchanging and arbitrary rules, the imposition of new sawdust disposal rules that may shut down many small sawmills, and the creation of nutrient management rules that make perfectly safe existing practices unlawful.

Finally and most egregiously, it is a year since the Liberals passed the Species at Risk Act without the amendment that I had proposed, which would have guaranteed full and prompt compensation for landowners who lose the use of lands inhabited by endangered species. The government promised that compensation would be assured in the regulations under the act. Today, it is clear that this was just another Liberal lie to rural Canadians.

Nobody disputes the right of governments to take property for public purposes or to limit its use, but depriving rural Canadians of full, prompt and just compensation is unjust and it must stop.

Progressive Conservative Party
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is a day of mixed emotions in the political history of this country. The new so-called Conservative Party finally has a new leader as per the results from the weekend.

However, it is a sad occasion, because it marks officially the death of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, the death of the party that was the home of memorable names such as Macdonald, Cartier, Borden, Diefenbaker and Stanfield.

Sadly, the new Conservative Party is not progressive. It simply demonstrates to all Canadians that the so-called merger was nothing more than an Alliance takeover, which is what we said.

There might be a new Conservative leader, but it is the same old Reform/Alliance Party with no Tories allowed.

Middle East
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning Israeli helicopters killed the spiritual leader of Hamas in an air strike as he left a mosque. Two of his bodyguards and five bystanders also died.

This has triggered an international outcry. The Bloc Quebecois agrees with the foreign affairs ministers of the European Union, who voiced concerns about the consequences of this assassination, in stating, “Not only are extrajudicial killings contrary to international law, they undermine the concept of the rule of law, which is a key element in the fight against terrorism”.

We also support a motion today by four members who state that Canadian law must recognize suicide attacks as crimes against humanity.

The Bloc Quebecois considers that acts of violence by both sides must cease and urges the Government of Canada and international organizations to step up their efforts to put an end to violence in the Middle East. The road to peace starts with an end to violence.

World Water Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Christian Jobin Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, the international community marks World Water Day. Water, which is the source of life, is a major concern for our government.

In my opinion, it is appropriate to highlight the numerous steps taken by my colleagues from Compton—Stanstead and Brome—Missisquoi to defend the quality of this country's water reserves.

In fact, at a time when there is a plan to expand a landfill site on the banks of the Black River in Coventry, Vermont, my two colleagues are doing everything possible to inform our American neighbours of the associated risks. The plan threatens the main tributary of Lake Memphrémagog, which supplies drinking water to hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

Unfortunately, my colleague from Sherbrooke does not deserve similar congratulations. While the quality of his constituents' drinking water is at stake, he prefers to take part in partisan spats.

Conservative Party
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians finally have what they need: a united Conservative Party doing what is right instead of a divided Liberal Party doing what is wrong and corrupt.

Our recent leadership convention attracted the strongest candidates for Prime Minister in a very long time. Tony Clement and Belinda Stronach proved that Canadians hunger for experience and change. Of course, no one better embodies both these qualities than the overwhelming winner, the member of Parliament for Calgary Southwest.

As Prime Minister, this man will lead Canada into a new era in which we will all be proud to call ourselves Canadians. It will be an era where Canadians are able to save for their families' future; an era where our streets are safe; and an era where being sick does not mean waiting months on end for necessary surgery or cancer treatment.

This is his vision for Canada. It is a Conservative vision. It is a vision all Canadians can share.

Mitchell Sharp
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay respect to Mitchell Sharp and his remarkable life of public service.

Mitchell Sharp began his career in public service during the second world war when he joined the Department of Finance as director of economic policy division. Sharp notably helped negotiate Newfoundland's entry into confederation in 1949.

In 1951, Sharp moved to the trade department and after working briefly in the private sector he was drawn back to public service when he was asked by Lester B. Pearson to organize a Liberal thinker's conference in 1960.

This marked the beginning of his great political career. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1963 and served in cabinet for nearly 15 years. Even though he left politics as an MP in 1978, Mitchell Sharp continued to serve the government for another generation.

I invite all members in the House to join me in recognizing the brilliant career of a great man who served his country so well and who was respected by all Canadians.