Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised that the hon. member for Kindersley-Lloydminister would use expressions such as scandal and so on to describe the situation that has occurred.
He knows perfectly well that his comments are inappropriate and grossly exaggerated. But of course he is trying to appeal to an audience that the Reform Party traditionally appeals to, claiming the usual virtue that the NDP used to claim in this House but even they have abandoned this pretence.
The hon. member knows perfectly well that what the government has done in this case is entirely in conformity with the red book. When he quoted from the red book he omitted to mention the fact that the references he made and the quotations he cited from the book were taken from a section dealing with the obligation of lobbyists to disclose certain facts to Parliament.
We talked about openness in government in connection with lobbyists because we were concerned that in the case of the previous government there were dealings going on between lobbyists and members of Parliament and members of cabinet that were not open to public scrutiny. We decided that should be opened up and to that end we have introduced Bill C-43 to amend the Lobbyists Registration Act, which bill is currently before a committee as the hon. member knows perfectly well.
Under Bill C-43 the ethics counsellor is available to advise not just the Prime Minister but also to make certain statements to Parliament. He is given independent powers with respect to the lobbying industry. If there are grounds to believe there has been a breach of the lobbyists' code of conduct the ethics counsellor could decide to investigate and the report on the investigation would then be reported to Parliament.
Also under Bill C-43 the ethics counsellor must report to Parliament annually on the administration of the legislation regarding lobbying.
The hon. member knows perfectly well that is all contained in the draft bill. If the member had been responsible in making his comments he would have pointed that out. He knows that is the situation.
In fact the Prime Minister has accepted full responsibility for the actions of the Minister of Canadian Heritage in this case and quite properly so. He described the minister's actions as an honest mistake that was corrected by the minister at the earliest opportunity.
I do not understand why the hon. member will not accept that explanation. To me it is a reasonable one. As the Prime Minister said in the House in question period yesterday, the buck stops here. He is taking responsibility and no ethics counsellor can take that responsibility away from the Prime Minister of Canada who is ultimately responsible to this House.