House of Commons Hansard #112 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was loan.

Topics

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Essentially what this bill does--

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

Order, please. I am sorry to interrupt the House. There are two minutes left under debate for the hon. member for Ottawa South. I see that there is much interest among members from all corners to ask questions. There will be some time for that. Please be patient.

The hon. member for Ottawa South has another two minutes.

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, essentially what the bill does is further empower those people who already have influence, the influence of some amount of fame and the influence of none. Worse, it will do so at the expense of those who have neither.

This is, of course, what I think the Prime Minister wants to happen. His long time adviser and confidant, Tom Flanagan, said as much in the Globe and Mail just two weeks ago. Let me quote from the editorial:

--there would be fewer candidates. Only well-known candidates would be able to get start-up capital from banks....

Therefore, the aim of the bill, which the NDP supports--and which I find outrageous--is to ensure that only well known candidates can run for federal office. Let us look at who will find it much harder to run for office should this bill pass.

Many groups have said that women looking to run in a nomination contest would find it harder. A single mother who works to provide her kids with a decent apartment and a hopeful future will not be a prime candidate to secure a bank loan. She does not own her home or even a fancy car with which to back the loan.

She has a desire to run for office to make a difference for her kids and for millions of other Canadian children like hers. Maybe she would not be able to win. Who knows? Getting elected is not easy. But if there is one thing we as the current legislators of this House should never, ever do, it is to give even more advantages to a wealthy, well-connected individual who is also seeking that nomination or seat.

That is why I cannot support the bill at third reading. The negative consequences of the bill outnumber the positives in such a stunning manner that I cannot see how any progressive-minded politician could support it.

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have one very brief question. The member says he is against it. Is he actually going to show up and vote against it?

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the question gives me a chance to again talk about some of the major reasons why this is a bad piece of legislation for the country, and although--

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, in the little time that is left today, I want to say that we cannot allow another federal election under the current election financing rules, because the loans loophole that we seek to plug by this bill is big enough to drive a Mazda truck through.

That is what I heard earlier in this debate. That is a graphic illustration of how the current regime can be abused by those who would seek to abuse it.

I would ask my colleague another very simple question. When is a loan not a loan? I will help him with the answer. A loan is not loan if it never gets repaid. It ceases to be a loan and becomes a donation, and it is an illegal donation if it is larger than $1,100.

We are seeking to rub that out. It has to be eliminated before the next federal election or we will allow the same kind of abuse, but it will even be more widespread, I would suggest, than the abuse that has already taken place in this loans loophole regime and scenario that exist now.

I cannot understand for the life of me how he fails to see that we have to take big money out of politics. Big money in election financing undermines democracies. It bastardizes democracy, so to speak, and makes it less fair for those who want to seek political office on a fair and level playing field.

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the member is so concerned about eliminating big money from politics, why is he not turning his guns on and rubbing the noses of the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence in it in regard to their actual undisclosed leadership campaign contributions, debts and payers?

If he is that concerned, and here is the theory about this issue, why is he not turning his party's guns on those undisclosed loans? He is not because this is about politics for the NDP. This is not about improving the status of financing in Canada. I would remind him, even though he fails to remind Canadians of this himself, that it was our government in 2003 that introduced the very first annual limits on individual contributions to a party and a candidate.

It was our party that banned contributions to political parties from corporations and his friends in the unions. Those changes stand today as the most significant at the federal level that we have ever seen in this country.

We went further in 2006. I would remind the member of that. We further lowered the amounts that were entitled to be contributions. They are now tied to the rate of inflation. In theory, they should rise only slightly each year.

Therefore, it is passing strange that the NDP is now turning its guns on the party that cleaned up election financing in the first place, while partnering with the Conservative Party, whose Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence, at the very least, have never come clean on who paid off their debts and who gave them money for their leadership races. It is high time for Canadians to know who put this Prime Minister in office, what influences is he now bearing, and how this is affecting public policy across the country.

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

I want to thank the hon. member for Kings—Hants for his patience. He now has the floor.

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question for the hon. member is a very simple one on the role and power of Canadian chartered banks. The NDP members consistently attack the chartered banks as having too much power in the Canadian economic and political environment. This legislation will in fact strengthen that concentration of power.

Does the member see the potential risk? If we in fact limit these loans to chartered banks and other major financial institutions, they would have the discretionary capacity to say no to a potential leadership candidate who was perhaps opposed to bank mergers or to some of the measures that the banks want to see implemented in legislation.

In fact, they would have the capacity to say no to almost every New Democrat running for a leadership, because New Democrats are consistently against Canada's chartered banks. In fact, this legislation could entrench and strengthen the tremendous power that Canadian banks would have over the political process and the Canadian economy.

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I cannot thank my colleague from Kings—Hants enough for those insightful remarks. He is absolutely correct. NDP members are speaking out of both sides of their mouths. First they attack the big banks and now they are fighting to keep Canadian chartered banks in this, to make them more powerful, more responsible and, for that matter, more influential in political outcomes in Canadian society. They have not thought this through at all.

This is about the NDP cozying up to the Conservative Party and trying to make a cheap point. It will not resonate with Canadians, certainly not with those thousands of Canadians who do not come from fame or money and who want to be appear in elections for nominations and beyond and serve their country.

Canada Elections Act
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

It being 1:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

When we return to the study of Bill C-29, there will be four minutes left for questions and comments for the hon. member for Ottawa South.

Speaker's Ruling
Federal Sustainable Development Act
Private Members' Business

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

I must first read a Speaker's ruling concerning Bill C-474, An Act to require the development and implementation of a National Sustainable Development Strategy, the reporting of progress against a standard set of environmental indicators and the appointment of an independent Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development accountable to Parliament, and to adopt specific goals with respect to sustainable development in Canada, and to make consequential amendments to another Act.

There are four motions in amendment standing on the notice paper for the report stage of Bill C-474.

Motions Nos. 1 to 4 will be grouped for debate, and the voting patterns for the motions are available at the table.

I shall now propose Motions Nos. 1 to 4 to the House.