House of Commons Hansard #149 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was animal.

Topics

Privilege

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, thank you for your comment on the speech I am in the process of making. I greatly appreciate it.

I can understand the member for Bourassa. He was worried because the Liberal Party has been caught with its hands in the till taking money from taxpayers to give it to the party in Quebec. That is unfortunate.

Just imagine, there is a national unity fund. I was listening a moment ago to a Liberal colleague who was saying that hon. members knew that there was a sponsorship program. Yes, we knew there was one, but we did not know that it was there to be stolen from. It was there so sponsorships could be obtained, and not only in Quebec. In our part of the country, we had the Canada Games in Bathurst and Campbellton and the money was used for sponsorships. It was a good system.

As I recall the Auditor General made the comment that it was not a bad program. There are programs that are good, but if they are badly administered, they will be lost. The Auditor General said that she had not asked that the sponsorships be abolished, she had asked that the sponsorship scandal be stopped. She said that the program was badly administered. Justice Gomery said the same thing.

That was done with taxpayers’ money, the money of people who get up in the morning and work very hard. The money comes here to Ottawa, and these people want the government to manage it properly. Today the Liberals are trying to make us believe that they manage money properly. They took $48 billion from the Employment Insurance Fund. They put the money into the general fund to pay down the debt, to balance the budgets and they put it into the sponsorship scandal. It was done with money taken from our people who are suffering and who are hungry. You can imagine what happened when the time came to vote.

On Friday, in L'Acadie nouvelle , in the column headed L'opinion du lecteur , one of our provincial Liberal elected representatives asked me and Jack Layton to make sure that Employment Insurance was on the table if there were any negotiations with Paul Martin. I told our local Liberal member that he should ask his colleague, Paul Martin, to finally grant the best 12 weeks. He should not ask me. I am not the Prime Minister of Canada. He should be asking Paul Martin, his colleague and friend the Prime Minister.

Privilege

Noon

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Order, please. I was assuming that the member for Acadie—Bathurst was quite familiar with the rules. I must assume he got carried away. I wish to remind the hon. member that he cannot refer to members of this House by name, but rather by their title or responsibilities.

I would ask the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst to comply with the rules.

Privilege

Noon

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, thank you for reminding me that I should not have named the current Prime Minister, who was the finance minister at the time of the sponsorship scandal. I apologize sincerely.

Let us get back to debate now. We are talking about $48 billion taken out of the employment insurance fund. I want to tell the Liberal member from my region that, if there was one day of debate in June, it was because of the NDP and its motion to restore the criterion of the best 12 of 52 weeks. The seven Liberal members from New Brunswick voted against that motion. In fact, my dear friend Denis Landry should be asking those seven Liberals to support the member for Acadie—Bathurst and the NDP members when they present a motion to the current federal Prime Minister. Maybe we would see changes if we were to ask the question of the right persons and to put pressure on the right persons.

Let us look at what is happening now. Fishers from our region came to Ottawa last week or two weeks ago to demand the right to fish for herring, something that had been shut down since last spring because of Prince Edward Island. Four Liberal members from that province and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans had no valid reason for shutting down the herring fishery. These four Liberal members from Prince Edward Island are preventing these people from fishing in Canadian waters under federal jurisdiction. That is what the Liberals are like.

The election campaign has already started. The member for Beauséjour announced in the papers on Thursday that $100 million would be invested in his riding. Do the Liberals have a right to campaign using Canadians' taxes? Have there not been enough scandals? The Liberals should be ashamed of themselves.

When I requested funding for the Lamèque arena, I was told that there was no program for an arena. But the minister responsible for ACOA, who is from Prince Edward Island and is responsible for the entire Atlantic region, is prepared to invest $3 million in Saint-Léonard, a Liberal riding. It is a disgrace to see how the Liberals are governing these days using billions of dollars.

I believe that Canadians want a government that will be fair to them for once. It is too bad that our Canadian people, whether they live in Quebec or any other province, are losing confidence in politics.

Look at what is going on now. It is totally unacceptable. As I said, people in my region do not believe that the Liberals were unaware of the money they were receiving. It was millions of dollars. Do they think people are crazy? Do they think people cannot see straight? People feel used.

The Liberals tell us that if we propose calling an election in January, we are playing into the hands of the Conservatives and allying ourselves with them. No, we have a proposal for an election to be called in January with the voting day in February. Why does it matter whether the voting day is in February or March? There is a big difference. The Liberals are playing favourites now with taxpayers' money. That too is scandalous in my view. They should be studying the bills before the House of Commons and ensuring that our bills are passed because they are important for our people.

That is what we should do. We should ensure that this government puts a stop to the privatization of health care. But the Liberals are not prepared to do that. They are in the process of selling our health care system. This is shameful, and I want to speak out against it today. They want to sell our health care system to insurance companies, as in the United States. The poor will be unable to pay for this and will have to wait six months in hospital corridors. That will be the result.

The rich, who have the resources, will show up at their doctor’s office and say, “Look, here’s the money, I want care”. Other people will be waiting in line like animals.

This is not the sort of country I want to live in, nor the sort of country I want to promote. The Liberals should be ashamed today that they are incapable of saving our health care system. They like to boast; they are very happy with the things we have. But we have certain principles which hold that this health care system should be saved. Another of our principles is to have an employment insurance system that permits people who lose their jobs to be covered by that system.

For example, consider this. I will relate a few facts which show how the government is misusing the money of Canadians. To celebrate Canada Day, New Brunswick receives $120,000 for a population of 720,000, and Ontario receives $700,000 for a population of 11 million, yet for that same occasion Quebec receives $5 million for a population of 7 million. That is unacceptable. This year, for the first time, Quebec received only $3.5 million. Millions of dollars do a lot of good in a community. But everyone should be treated the same.

We are annoyed that there was a sponsorship program to save Quebec and that such a program caused a scandal. We may lose Quebec because of the Liberals. They should not cast blame on the opposition, but on themselves.

You have been incapable of managing the money of Canadians. If we lose our Canada, it will be your fault. You had the money in your hands and you mismanaged it. That is regrettable. The minister can say what he likes. You mismanaged the money and today we may be paying the price for it.

Privilege

12:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

I would remind the member for Acadie—Bathurst that he must address his comments through the Speaker. If the member wants to accuse me, I will then disagree with him. I therefore ask the member to rephrase his statements or his questions.

Privilege

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, you are too kind to accuse. Your work is truly impeccable. I did not intend to accuse you. I am sure you did not take the sponsorship money, so I will not accuse you.

In closing, we have before us a question of privilege in the House. The question is whether our householders or 10 percenters—call them what you will—are used correctly.

According to the Standing Orders of the House, when such a thing happens, the question must be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. I will not comment on the content nor base my observations on it. However, one committee, that is the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, could look into this as quickly as possible. We know that Liberals do not like 10 percenters and householders. They can go into any riding to make political announcements, but they do not want the opposition to have the right to speak or criticize in other regions of the country. I do not agree with that.

Householders or 10 percenters are important for the opposition. Such is democracy.

If the content of the pamphlet is that bad, the member for Bourassa could still press charges against those who are responsible. He can take them to court. The court will decide if there was defamation. However, I will never accept my privilege as a member being taken away from me.

Privilege

November 14th, 2005 / 12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was interesting to hear my colleague from the NDP say that his party was not entering into an alliance, an unholy alliance, with the Conservative ideologues and the Quebec separatists. So I am just curious what in fact this is. Is this a political ménage à trois? It is a pretty scary thought.

More interesting, the member mentioned that in the spring they were not allying with the Liberals, but in fact were helping to govern to ensure that very important legislation would get passed. We have some 30-odd bills on the order paper that, if there is a non-confidence motion, will not get passed. Following that logic, I would assume the NDP is now saying that these are not important bills for the people of Canada.

What sort of bills are these? There is Bill C-66, the energy relief bill, which would provide relief in January for people on fixed incomes, our seniors and families on low incomes. It would fall to the side. Does his party not feel that is important legislation? There is Bill C-69, the agricultural marketing programs act bill; or Bill C-64, the vehicle identification bill or, as some would call it, the Chuck Cadman bill. It would unfortunately fall by the wayside. There is Bill C-16, the impaired driving bill and Bill C-54, the oil and gas exploration bill. I am sure that the members opposite from Alberta will be happy to see that one fall by the wayside. There is Bill C-11, the whistleblower protection bill, and Bill S-39, the sex offender database bill. Which of these bills does the member feel is not important enough to be passed?

Privilege

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have to laugh a bit, not at my colleague, but at the comment as to which bill is not important enough to pass. I remember when the Liberals put Bill S-3, the official language bill, before the House four times and voted against it four times. That was a very important bill to Canadians.

When we look at this question, does it mean that we should not have an election in March because it is dangerous that we vote and that the separatists have a vote? Is that what we have to stop? Do we have to stop elections in Canada? What is the difference between now and March? Is it just because the Prime Minister of this country has decided so? Is that all it is?

The NDP has a motion that says that we would not call an election before Christmas and that we should call the election in January when the House of Commons is adjourned anyway until February. The House of Commons is not sitting from the middle of December. The NDP is proposing that the election is called in January and takes place in February.

Negotiations are already taking place among House leaders. We are ready to fast-track bills like the reduction on the fuel bill, to put it before the House, and pass it in one day. I have seen the Liberals pass a bill in the House in one day when they had the majority. When they wanted to legislate people working for Canada Post, it was done in one day. We could pass bills here in one day as long there is a majority or as long we have the unanimous consent of the House. All the opposition parties are willing to put bills before the House that are important to Canadians. We are prepared to allow Parliament to continue to allow for time for certain important bills to go through.

If we have an election before Christmas, it is because the Prime Minister of this country and the Liberals have decided so. We are proposing to begin the election when the House of Commons is adjourned. Any Canadian could see through that. That is what we are proposing. We have good bills that should go through. We have bills that have been on the waiting list for 12 years that have not gone through and should have gone through before now.

We are ready to look at bills that are important and put them through before Christmas. I would like to thank my colleague for asking this important question because maybe people did not know we could do that.

Privilege

12:15 p.m.

An hon. member

Are they going to do that?

Privilege

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Yes, they will. He is looking at the Bloc Québécois members. Will they? Yes, they will, on some bills that we will bring before the House. We will see how much this House can get done in the next month.

Privilege

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have been here quite a while and I would like to mention that during the period of time I have been in the House of Commons there was the HRDC scandal, the tainted blood scandal, the pepper spray scandal and the Pearson airport scandal. Everyone will remember the hotel Shawinigate, the golf courses and the water fountains. There was the Airbus scandal. The residential schools affair also came up. There has been more money spent on lawyers than it would have taken to compensate the people who suffered in those residential schools.

Now there is the sponsorship scandal, the Dingwall scandal and the Ouellet scandal. We had strippergate or the stripper scandal, whatever we want to call it. This has all occurred since the Liberal government has been in power. Day after day, year after year, these kinds of things happened based on lies, fraud, theft, mismanagement, corruption and downright incompetence.

Could the member tell me why the government should have one more day to govern in this manner in this kind of situation?

Privilege

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, that is why Canadians have lost confidence. There are still a few things we can do in a few days which we believe could be done, except if the Prime Minister decides not to do it. I think that is the direction the Liberals are going in, which shows how bad they are.

It is a scandal when they take $48 billion away from working people, and put it in a general fund to pay the debt and balance the budget on the backs of men and women who lost their jobs. Every time there is an election, they build their platform on it and campaign on it. What the Liberals have done is wrong. There are many wrong things they have done and they will be judged.

A man called me this morning and said he could not believe we were asking people to vote during the holidays. I said it was not me, that the Prime Minister of this country will make that decision. It is much better to take half an hour to vote for the democracy of one's country than spending eight hours in a store or going to a bingo, or going here or there because of the vehicles we have today. If it needs to be done for our country, we should do it because we have to save our country and Canadians are very--

Privilege

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Privilege

12:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Order, please. Does the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst want to continue answering the question or has he finished?

Privilege

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I will quickly finish answering the question by saying that Canadians are very smart people and will know what to do. The only message I want to give to Canadians is that some countries go to war to obtain the right to vote and all we have to do is get in our cars. We have that democratic right. I want to encourage all Canadians to vote when it comes time whether it is in December, February, March or July, it does not matter. We should use the right we have that other countries do not have. I hope Canadians will do that.

Privilege

12:20 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Liberal

Claude Drouin Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Rural Communities)

Mr. Speaker, I want to share my time with my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health.

The question of privilege granted to my colleague from Bourassa shows just how serious this is. When a party like the Bloc attacks people's reputations instead of sticking to a debate about ideas, as we should here in the Parliament of Canada, it shows how prepared this separatist party is to do just about anything to break up our country.

What I find disgraceful in what the Bloc members are doing is that they are attacking the reputations not just of members of Parliament but of their families and friends as well. I know that the Bloc members have families too. If they would just take two seconds to stop and think, they would immediately cease this disgraceful approach and unfortunate lack of judgment.

I should emphasize, though, that some Bloc members are not descending to conduct like that of their colleagues.

We heard the member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean tell the House that some members had thin skin but his was thicker. I was hardly surprised to see that he could not stop laughing when we were debating a matter of privilege here over a serious attack on someone's reputation.

I would like to return to the thick skin of the member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean. When his opponents pointed out during the last election campaign that he lived in a residence in Gatineau worth more than half a million dollars and had a shiny Cadillac, all of a sudden his skin became very thin. And yet, this was as true as can be. Here we see it every day with the Gomery report, and everybody is quoting it over and over and no party in this House has cast any doubt on the report. It acknowledges that no member of the government was involved in the scandal. So why does the Bloc not apologize and stop its smears and disinformation campaigns? The Bloc members often quote us this page or that of the report. They should read page 77 of the summary, where they will see Mr. Justice Gomery acknowledge that the government was not involved in these misappropriations.

All of politics loses because of the Bloc's behaviour. No time must be wasted in returning to debating ideas. This is why I am interested in the real reasons behind the thoughtless attacks by the separatists. They are supposed to be defending the interests of Quebeckers, but they have ignored a number of issues. There was the metro scandal in Laval, Quebec, which occurred while the mother house was in government. Some $178 million was involved. The work is not complete, and the cost is over $1 billion. It is a scandal. And yet, the Bloc members neither criticized the mother house nor called for it to investigate. Then there is Gaspésia, where costs spiralled $200 million over the original estimate. It could be called a scandal. There is the Caisse de dépôt. There are a lot of examples.

I will spend a little time on Oxygène 9.