House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cost.

Topics

Opposition Motion--Documents Requested by the Standing Committee on Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my hon. colleague from Lac-Saint-Louis, a great riding which has great representation.

I want to start by talking about the comments that were made by the hon. member who just spoke. He was very passionate about the issue of crime and making our communities safe and secure. I applaud him on his passion. The only thing is, I would like to point out that many years ago a lot of American politicians, congressmen, senators and the like, including Newt Gingrich, I believe, and even state politicians, spoke with the same amount of passion, and now they have come back from that and said that they should have put more emphasis in other areas, which the government is not doing currently.

When it comes to recidivism rates, it should be looked at in a holistic way and not just from the incarceration aspect. I will put that aside for a moment.

We are talking about accountability. It has been a while since we talked about the Federal Accountability Act. After several years of having the Federal Accountability Act in place, it reminds me of back in the 1950s when Ford introduced the Edsel. It went over like a lead balloon. It really just stuck around for no apparent reason and wheedled its way out of existence, but we certainly did not forget.

In this particular case with the Federal Accountability Act, it seems to be one of those issues with which we have become familiar when it comes to the Conservative government, where one has to practise what one used to preach.

There is a certain amount of accountability, to say the least, in all of this, including areas of the east coast, where the Conservatives talked about custodial management of the fisheries, when they talked about the Atlantic accord. These were issues that were put out there in the storefront as to what the Conservatives would do as a government. By the time Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and Nova Scotians picked up the product from the window in 2006, metaphorically speaking, and brought it to the counter in an election, it turned out to be a different product entirely. Members will get the idea of what we are talking about, and it goes to the crux of that issue and several more over the past four or five years, and certainly in 2006.

I would like to congratulate my colleague from Wascana for bringing this motion forward. I think he makes some very good points, even in the wording of the motion itself. He talked about the government complying with reasonable requests for documents, particularly related to the cost of the government's tax cuts for the largest corporations and the cost of the government's justice and public safety agenda, which I have already talked about, and a violation of the rights of Parliament, and that this House hereby order the government to provide every document requested by the finance committee by March 7, 2011.

At about 2 p.m. today, the Conservative government tabled documents in response to our request for information. Kicking and screaming, the Conservatives tabled the documents with the House.

At first blush the documents pertain to corporate profits before taxes, cost estimates of the F-35 stealth fighter purchase, detailed cost estimates of the Conservatives' 18 justice bills, including capital operations and maintenance costs by departments. Once again, that is what was in the title.

After a short little while and some investigation, we realized some of the issues that we must address after that tabling in the House. There was no information provided with regard to the F-35 purchase. The government documents do not provide any detailed costing of its 18 justice bills, just surface material. The Conservatives estimate that the 18 justice bills will cost only $650 million over five years. However, earlier this year the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated that one single bill, Bill C-25, would cost federal and provincial governments about $5 billion per year.

The discrepancies are incredibly wide. The logic by which it is brought in is probably about two inches thick. It is time for us to give this some serious, sober second thought. That is why I am glad we are having this debate today and making the demand. I certainly hope, and anticipate, that the opposition parties will vote in favour of bringing the information to the House.

Also, Bill C-16, ending House arrest, would have no cost impact according to the Conservatives. Bill C-21, the white-collar crime bill, would have no cost impact according to them. Bill S-6, serious time for serious crime, would have no cost impact as well, on which we throw a lot of doubt, given the fact that we have seen some of the evidence, both in committee and in the House.

Each and every one of those bills would put more people in jail, would require the construction of new prisons and would require more personnel and operating costs. It is not credible that those bills would not require more expenditure. That certainly is the case. Time and time again the Conservatives bring the cost estimates into this House, yet the members that are debating this motion today state they are no longer a factor. The costs must be racked up in order for our communities to be safe and secure. I have nothing against that. The problem is one can say one thing to one group of people and then turn around and say something else.

I mentioned earlier to an hon. member from Quebec about the situation with search and rescue. We hope that sometime soon there will be a commitment to purchase an aircraft for fixed-wing search and rescue or search and rescue airplanes regarding the five bases.

In this situation, in testimony given at the defence committee, we heard from victims whose family members were lost at sea. It is not just search and rescue, it is the Coast Guard as well. At the time the Coast Guard and search and rescue did their utmost to ensure those lives were saved. What we are doing now is questioning the response times and the parameters of response times. Should they be shortened, it would require more resources, not better personnel because they are already the best in the business, in my opinion, but it would require more resources. As a result of that, the questions that came from the government were, “Do you realize the cost of this? Do you know that it is going to cost and extra $200 million, $300 million, $400 million?”

Costs become a factor there, but not a factor when it comes to this. That is certainly something we should question a little further.

I did mention the F-35s in this particular situation. There are many countries around the world that are now casting doubt upon their acquisitions when it comes to not just the purchase price, but also their operations and maintenance over many years. We must question whether this is the right time to be doing this.

As I mentioned earlier, the other issue is the corporate tax cuts. If we look throughout the European Union right now, I will not say that it is becoming a veritable basket case, but nonetheless it is a tough situation for the major countries, and not just some of the smaller economies such as Greece, Ireland and other countries, but also for Germany and in the U.K.

The U.K. is going through major cutbacks and increased fees, measures such as these, in order to curb what is about to become a staggering deficit that not just people's children but their grandchildren will have to pay off. In doing so, it is exercising prudence.

I remember during the election campaign in the United Kingdom the parties were not just bragging about how they would reduce taxes, but they were also bragging about how they were going to reduce costs. It seems as though every party involved, whether it was Liberal, Democrat, Labour or Conservative, was bragging about the fact that that party would cut more.

In this particular situation, information is needed. If the Conservatives are saying that they do not want to create more revenues through taxation, I have nothing against that, but I do when it comes to other things like fees. Recently they imposed a security fee at airports. They can attack us and talk about an iPod tax and the like, but why do they have a tax on travellers? Am I being facetious in saying this? A little, but I am illustrating the point. There are security fees involved because at the end of the day, they cannot pay the bills. It has to come out of general revenue, so there has been an imposition of fees on particular segments of the population.

I even would go so far as to say that recreational boaters now have to get a licence that requires a fee. Is that a cost recovery issue? It just might be, but it is an illustration of how things have to be done.

To curb this $56 billion deficit, if the Conservatives want to get back to a zero deficit in five, six or seven years, there will be some serious decisions that have to be made.

My hon. colleague across the way spoke of cutting transfers. Let me talk about that. They have a big issue coming up when it comes to health care and health care transfers. I would like my hon. colleague to stand up and talk about that for just a moment because at some point he will have to justify giving the same or more money at the same time as he is going to reduce this $56 billion deficit. Let us see if he can jump through those hoops.

Opposition Motion--Documents Requested by the Standing Committee on Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona.

Opposition Motion--Documents Requested by the Standing Committee on Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is we should not have to fight the government for every piece of information. It should be automatic. My understanding is that in the United States legislative proposals are costed out and presented that way to the legislators.

Why would a government think that somehow 308 members of Parliament are supposed to make a decision without knowing the costs? The government does not provide the information until we have to go to great lengths, such as bringing in opposition day motions, and, as with the Afghan detainee issue, conducting a virtual war against it to get this information. Even then it is given very reluctantly. Now it is giving just partial information that does not really give us all the bases that we need to make a decision. That, unfortunately, is the relationship we have with the government.

There are many examples. I mentioned I ran into Gary Filmon, the former premier of Manitoba, over Christmas. He said that he sent the government a long email about how to make minority government work. He did a great job of making a minority government work, with Senator Carstairs and Gary Doer. A lot of things were done in that two-year period. It has been five years and the government has not even responded to his email. That is how it treats the advice of a former premier who knows how to work with a minority government.

The government needs some counselling because it simply does not seem to get it.

Opposition Motion--Documents Requested by the Standing Committee on Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I remember my colleague mentioned the story about the former premier of Manitoba and some of his input regarding minority parliaments. We accomplished a lot when it came to minority governments back in the 1970s, great social policy such as the CPP, the QPP and other reforms as well.

He is correct. It almost seems like the idea of making great policy in the House is as result of severe brinkmanship. It comes to the point where the discussion has been downgraded to bumper sticker slogans time and time again. I think maybe all members of the House might be responsible for that.

However, at some point, we have to ask ourselves if we can elevate the debate. My hon. colleague from Scarborough pointed out several times in the House that all the crime bills could be reduced to just a few. The government keeps going over and over it again, giving bumper sticker titles and everything else. If it is about advertising for the Conservatives, then they should take out an ad. In fact, they did take out an ad. However, they did not talk about that. They talked about people's personalities and something that was irrelevant to public policy in our country.

Again, fundamental decisions have to be made. The 10-year agreement on health care transfers has to be discussed. Yet we do not seem to be having those discussion. We find ourselves focused on smaller details time and time again.

I appreciate the advice of Mr. Filmon.

Opposition Motion--Documents Requested by the Standing Committee on Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor is aware that the Parliamentary Budget Officer has been frustrated in his attempts to assess the government's stated goals in relation to reducing or eliminating the deficit by 2015, which he and the IMF have said that their numbers indicate the government will not be anywhere near balancing the books by then. He has been trying to get access to information to assess how the government is planning to go about this. The government, unlike previous governments, and even the Conservative government in 2006 its first year in office at least, will not give this information. It claims it is a cabinet confidence.

Why does he think the Conservatives are so secretive? What does he think they are so afraid in hiding this information?

Opposition Motion--Documents Requested by the Standing Committee on Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, because the Conservatives feel an election is around the corner.

Opposition Motion--Documents Requested by the Standing Committee on Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

February 17th, 2011 / 4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address the House in the debate on today's opposition motion. When I speak with my friends and constituents, I often sense their frustration when it comes to public affairs. They tell me that governments should be run like companies. In other words, when it comes to public governance, private sector principles should apply. It is obviously difficult to compare the two. The two domains are quite different, and some would argue that there is little overlap between them. They do however have one thing in common. In democracies, as in financial markets, there must be, to the greatest degree possible, a fast and unfettered flow of precise and accurate information.

Information must not, however, be confused with propaganda, a brand of freedom of expression where information is carefully controlled and manipulated by a head of state, for example, who may, for partisan purposes, wish to conceal the truth from the public or misinform voters. I am referring, of course, to our Prime Minister, whose political staff, as we know, occasionally devote their time to drafting hefty, secret instruction manuals for the benefit of Conservative members as they go about their task of creating confusion in committees, thereby stifling democratic debate, which is intended to be a way of informing the public about important issues of the day, issues that the public cares about.

Allow me to use the analogy of the financial markets. The government's behaviour is akin to that of a person who manipulates information in order to benefit one investor over another, or to benefit himself.

I will digress for a moment. I am reminded that my colleague, the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, attempted to amend the bill on white-collar crime, Bill C-21, in an effort to introduce tougher penalties for crimes that involved manipulating the financial markets. Her amendment was, unfortunately, defeated. I will not say more on that issue, though.

We cannot make informed decisions without having as much information at our disposal as possible. A dearth of complete and reliable information leads to poor decision-making—everyone knows that—whether in business or in politics.

In politics, an absence of information is an attack on democracy and an absence of transparency is a sign of the government’s contempt for the electorate. And in practical terms, it ultimately leads to ill-conceived policies and programs that produce results that disappoint the public, results that are not what the public wants and expects, results that run counter to their welfare.

In a parliamentary democracy, the tabling of a budget and the debates and votes that follow are a crucial process and are at the very heart of our parliamentary democracy. The budget embodies the government’s vision and the priorities that flow from it. It is the plans and specifications, the government’s actual architecture for the year to come. Canadians must be able to see their values and their aspirations reflected in the budget.

As parliamentarians, we have a heavy responsibility when it comes to the budget. We, on behalf of the electorate, must decide whether it reflects their priorities and achieves the budgetary balance that will enable our society to progress, socially and economically, while at the same time not creating a burden for future generations. More specifically, in the present circumstances, there is an urgent need to know, on behalf of the electorate, how much the incarceration plan put forward by the Conservative government will cost. We are trying to find out how much the irresponsible policy of cutting corporate taxes will cost Canadians in the long term.

In short, absence of transparency has become the trademark of this Conservative government, which is weakening our democracy with its complete lack of respect for the right of parliamentarians and our constituents to have access to the best possible information. Canadians are the ones paying the bill, at the end of the day. We are dealing with a government that wants to spread disinformation for purely partisan political purposes. That is called manipulation, contempt, a lack of ethics—in short, corruption of Canadian democratic values.

It feels as if we have gone back to the Duplessis era, the Nixon era, the Joseph McCarthy era. They are blithely drawing up lists of enemies of the state and of good, committed people, like Colonel Pat Stogran, the Veterans Ombudsman; Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin; Marty Cheliak, Director General of the Canadian Firearms Program; Linda Keen, President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission; Peter Tinsley, Chair of the Military Police Complaints Commission; Paul Kennedy, Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP; Adrian Measner, CEO of the Canadian Wheat Board; Munir Sheikh, Chief Statistician; Steve Sullivan, Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime; Kevin Page, Parliamentary Budget Officer; and Rémy Beauregard, Chairperson of Rights and Democracy. The list is much too long for me to be able to finish it in the limited time I have.

Before we can decide whether or not to support the budget, it is very important that we know how much the government's justice policies are going to cost, not only this year, but in years to come. We have to know what the burden will be on our children and our grandchildren. This will create additional expenses, debts that we will not be able to wipe out as quickly as the Minister of Finance thinks.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer has said many times that we will not even have a balanced budget in 2015. He recently added that we now have a structural deficit of $10 billion. We have to address this because as the Canadian public ages, there will be additional health care costs. There will be additional costs associated with the Canada pension plan. This will become a sort of demographic deficit with regard to the federal budget.

That is why, before voting on this budget, we need to know what the financial impact will be of the measures the government is announcing before the budget, the justice laws to incarcerate more Canadians and undermine the safety of our communities.

These are the types of things we need to know if we want to act as responsible parliamentarians.

Opposition Motion--Documents Requested by the Standing Committee on Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the Liberals for introducing their motion today. It would appear it has already achieved some results. The government has provided us with some of the information for which we have asked.

As our party, through the member for Windsor—Tecumseh, has pointed out, the information that we have is certainly not as complete as we would expect it to be, but it is a good step.

The fact is we should never have to resort to opposition day motions and other forms of legislative action to force the government to do the right thing. It should be an automatic common sense approach when the government brings forward a legislative agenda.

For example, when we are in an election period in the next month or so, the reporters will hold all parties accountable, particularly the government, to every promise they make in the election. The Prime Minister will have microphones in his face and he will have to cost out each of his proposals for the election campaign, as will all the other leaders. What is the difference here? As members, we expect to get proper information from the government. Why do we have to fight for that information?

Does the member have any further comments about that?

Opposition Motion--Documents Requested by the Standing Committee on Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact, if the past is any guide to the future, the government will make promises during the election campaign. Based on its past performance, it will probably not be able to cost those promises until maybe 8 o'clock in the evening on election day.

Therefore, the member has raised a very good point. We have seen the government's style in doing things and I do not think it will change during an election campaign.

It is true that the government has tabled some documents, but at the last minute. Obviously, none of us have had a chance to go through the documents. However, I would have expected the government, with all of the resources at its disposal, to provide summary information, succinct tabular information, to allow us to understand what it has tabled in the reams of documents it has tabled for show only.

Opposition Motion--Documents Requested by the Standing Committee on Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his excellent speech, which I very much enjoyed. We are talking about details, figures, that have to do with the future budget and the government's expenditure plan, which concern the Parliamentary Budget Officer. This position was created by the Conservative government, which appointed the incumbent. Now, the government does not want to assist the Parliamentary Budget Officer. It does not want him to have information and to have enough money to do his job. It is trying to hide the real facts from him.

On the one hand, the government does not want anyone to know about its plan and how it makes its budget decisions. On the other hand, it does not want to say why, for example, it decided to cut funding to KAIROS. It did not want to give the real reason. It says that it was CIDA's decision, but in reality it was a decision based on its ideology.

In my colleague's opinion, why is the government so secretive?

Opposition Motion--Documents Requested by the Standing Committee on Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is a good question. There is a common thread in the government's actions. It wants to hide the truth as much as possible from Canadians. That should come as no surprise. We have spoken for years about the Conservative Party's hidden agenda. If a party has a hidden agenda, then naturally, once elected, it will want to hide its agenda.

Opposition Motion--Documents Requested by the Standing Committee on Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to speak to the Liberal opposition day motion. I must admit that this is one opposition day motion I like a lot and that my party will be supporting.

I would like read the motion. I listened to a lot of speeches and I never heard one word by any government member dealing with this motion in any way, shape or form. It reads as follows:

That, given the undisputed privileges of Parliament under Canada's constitution—

—and, obviously, the government does not believe that because it is disputing it—

—including the absolute power to require the government to produce uncensored documents when requested, the government's continuing refusal to comply with reasonable requests for documents, particularly related to the cost of the government's tax cut for the largest corporations and the cost of the government's justice and public safety agenda, represents a violation of the rights of Parliament, and this House hereby orders the government to provide every document requested by the Standing Committee on Finance on November 17, 2010, by March 7, 2011.

That is the actual wording of the Liberal opposition motion today. The question is why a party in the House would have to bring a motion like this in the first place. There are many other topics the Liberal Party could be dealing with and that we could debating today in the House, rather than presenting a motion requiring the government to do something that any sensible government would and should do in the first place.

A member of the Bloc spoke earlier today and I was rather impressed by his comments when he was drawing the parallel between this particular fight and the fight last year with the government over the Afghan detainee issue.

At that time the government said it could not provide the information because it involved national security. It was able to sell that argument to the public somewhat. Some members of the public might believe there may be some national security aspect to the information and that it should not be released.

However, the member went on to say that the information we are asking for now is the costing of tax cuts into the future. It is actually a projection. How could that possibly be called a national security question? If the Conservatives do not call it that, they will call it something else.

What possible argument could they have for not providing the information? Obviously they did not have an argument because, at the end of the day, they ended up tabling information just a couple of hours ago, which we have not had a chance to thoroughly digest yet. However, from what we can see of the information, it is certainly not the complete or full information that we would expect before we are required to make parliamentary decisions in the House, which could have long-lasting effects and cost billions of dollars.

The second part of the motion is the cost of the public safety bills. This is an issue that has been before the House for some time. There has been a lot of debate about it. We know that in other jurisdictions, the United States and elsewhere, there is a requirement that when a bill is brought in, it be fully costed.

As I had indicated briefly before, during election campaigns, reporters will be chasing all party leaders for costing of items. It is just something that is done. Why and how the government thought that somehow it could bring in this whole program of so-called tough on crime initiatives without anyone asking whether there was a cost to these items was absolutely crazy for them.

Therefore, we know the government has the information and we have been asking for it. Just two days ago in a committee meeting on Bill C-59, the Abolition of Early Parole Act, the Liberal member for Brampton West asked a question of Ms. Mary Campbell, the director general of the Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate at Public Safety Canada. He asked her if she had the information regarding Bill C-59 in terms of its cost, and if she could not provide it, did she have it all.

Her answer was, “I have most of that information. It's part of my responsibility in terms of developing legislation to consider costs. Yes, I have most of that information or access to it.”

She told the member for Brampton West that if she did not have it, she had access to the information he was looking for.

However, she also said that the issue was the disclosure of it. She stated, “As I said, the government has indicated it's a cabinet confidence.”

Therefore, the member for Brampton West continued, “So you've provided the costing information to the government about what it would cost for these changes?”, meaning Bill C-59.

She responded, “I said that I have the information or access to it. I really can't talk about what I've provided the government in any detail because I think that is cabinet confidence of advice.”

Finally, the member for Brampton West asked, “So if the government asked you, in theory, to provide it, you would be able to answer that question for them?”

She stated, “I think I'm able to answer almost all questions that I'm asked about legislative proposals.”

There is the answer to the question. The information is available just like we knew it would be. The information is there. The Liberal member asked three times at committee and Ms. Campbell said she had it and had access to it, but she could not give it to him because the government said it was a confidence issue and, therefore, he could not have that information.

That is a terrible way to be running a government. It is little wonder that the government finds us quite upset with the approach it takes and that the Liberal Party has brought in its motion, which will get the approval of all three parties in the House.

The government knows it is not a matter of national security. Therefore, it knows it will have to provide the information sooner or later. Therefore, perhaps the government thinks that somehow this information will be damaging if the public were to know how much it would cost to implement a crime bill.

Given that the Conservatives know when the election is going to be, or at least they think they know, perhaps their strategy is to put this off until after an election. The Conservatives want the benefit of running on the tough on crime agenda but not have to answer any questions on what the cost of that agenda would be. That is my guess at this point, because I know that the government will have to provide the information.

Some of this information can be put together just by extrapolation. The member for Windsor—Tecumseh has done calculations. In the case of the two-for-one remand credits, the member for Ajax—Pickering asked the government what those would cost. I believe he was told that the cost would $90 million. When he consulted with the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the latter said, no, the cost would $2 billion a year. Of course, the final costs are projected to be somewhere in the $10 billion to $13 billion range.

Also, there are implications for the provinces. No less than a few days ago, we had the Premier of Ontario being quoted in one of the national newspapers as saying that the federal government was simply transferring costs to the provincial governments. With the Conservative government planning to bring in $9 billion worth of prison development in the near future, we are going to see a lot of that cost absorbed by the provinces.

The provinces will be under a lot of pressure as they are already. The federal government will not just assume the extra costs, the provinces will as well. The government is off-loading part of that agenda onto the various provinces. The provinces are probably fearful of that, which, to me, is probably the reason the government is trying to hide the information.

When we ask for information from the government and, if it is a straightforward answer, it provides it. If the government does not see any negatives in providing us with the information, it will provide it to us. There is a lot of concern on the government's part about providing this information, perhaps because it thinks members of the public will be upset when they find out the true cost.

Bill C-59 was a good example. All the presenters at committee simply wanted their money back. They were not there to hear about the parole law for white-collar criminals in jail being changed from one-sixth to one-third. They will be quite surprised with the tough on crime government when they find out that Mr. Jones will stay in prison for an extra year. He received an 11 year sentence--

Opposition Motion--Documents Requested by the Standing Committee on Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

You want to make it tough on him then let's get tough.

Opposition Motion--Documents Requested by the Standing Committee on Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Yes, the government wants to be tough on crime but I think the public will be quite disappointed. The public will be saying that Earl Jones was put away for 11 years for white-collar crime but, after going through a big charade with the Bloc and pretending you were doing something, what did you do? You simply increased his sentence from 2.5 years to 3.5 years. Now he will be out after 3.5 years. Good job, Mr. tough on crime--

Opposition Motion--Documents Requested by the Standing Committee on Finance
Business of Supply
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member seems to be inferring that I was doing something but I think he was referring to perhaps the government. I would just remind him that when he uses the first person, members of the House might assume that he is referring to the Speaker. I would ask him to refer to his colleagues either as members or by their riding names.

It being 5:15 p.m., it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the business of supply.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?