Mr. Speaker, I encourage the member opposite to be judicious in his choice of words when speaking about democratically elected provincial leaders in this country. That kind of language used by the member was not honourable or parliamentary. In fact, it was not said in this House; it was said on the public record. Therefore, I am not going to take the opportunity or any of my time to withdraw the comments. The member knows what he said, and he knows that is was absolutely inappropriate.
Since taking my seat in this chamber in December, I have had a front row seat to some of the most disturbing and troubling behaviour by a government in modern history. No one who is engaged in pop culture will be surprised that the government made it all the way to The Simpsons last night. I know my hon. colleagues were excited to have one of their co-workers portrayed on The Simpsons, but it was in a shameful way. We are talking about the SNC-Lavalin scandal.
Going back to 2015, lobbyists' influence started to take hold on the Liberal government. The sunny ways promised in the election are not what Canadians received. Instead, we see a company accused of bribery to the tune of $48 million, a company that had yachts and prostitutes on offer for Libyan government officials and that is alleged to have defrauded the Libyan people to the tune of $130 million. This has been the undertone of the SNC-Lavalin issue and why it will be facing a judge.
Had SNC-Lavalin gotten its wish, it would have received a deferred prosecution agreement. That remedy was not available in law at the time, so SNC-Lavalin began working on the government. It started working on ministers, backbenchers and the Prime Minister's Office. Because it had that access and was able to get access to the chief clerk of the Privy Council Office, in 2018 it was able to get the deferred prosecution agreement introduced through the budget, and now that tool is available.
However, what the government did not count on was that it had people in cabinet who would stand up against that type of unethical behaviour. There were horrendous actions by this company, which took advantage of the Libyan people trying to recover from a bloody civil war. It offered no contrition for its actions but said that it had hired new people, that it had changed and that it was a new company, so it should not be punished for the actions of people who had the job before. The Liberal government thought it would be a great idea to give it a DPA, so that it would not have its day in court and it would face some much more modest penalties.
Liberals will say that it is not a get out of jail free card. If it is not something sought after, then why did they work so hard and engage in so many meetings to do it? Why have we learned since then that the Prime Minister would fire his Attorney General for not following through on the actions that the lobbyists had the government insert in the budget bill? Liberals went on to see another cabinet minister resign. The Prime Minister's principal secretary resigned, as did the chief clerk of the Privy Council. This was all born out of those meetings, the meetings those lobbyists were able to effect over and over again.
Inserting the DPA in the 2018 budget, giving the possibility of that remedy to the courts, was another broken promise by the government. It took lobbyists to convince the government to do that. The broken promise was that there would be no more sweeping omnibus bills under the sunny ways of the Prime Minister. However, in the back of a 500-page omnibus financial document, the government sought to help out its friends in a powerful corporation. That powerful corporation is well known to the Liberals. It cut them donations to the tune of over $100,000, which they later had to return.
Liberals will deny this. They will deny that there has been unethical behaviour, which the Prime Minister has done several times. They will say there is nothing to see here. However, whether through providing DPAs for friends or providing $12 million for fridges for Canada's most wealthy, the government has not heard a good idea from a corporate lobbyist that it has not tried to get Canadians to pay for.
These decisions are made by a prime minister who is flying from coast to coast, north to south, on vacation getaways that most Canadians can only dream about. They can only dream about them because Canadians are just a couple of hundred bucks away from insolvency under the government. They only wish that they could get the kind of access the corporate elite gets from the government.