This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #199 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

While I am on my feet the member might find that quote.

I would not want the House to think there is any inconsistency on the part of the Chair with regard to props. Understanding of course that the motion today brought forward by the Reform Party on this allotted day specifically makes mention of a particular book, certainly I understand that it will have a greater and wider use than it or any other book normally would. If any other books are used, of any colour or for whatever reason, please quote from them before you do anything else.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is fine. I appreciate the opportunity to have a chance to check for the right chapter.

This book is also entitled "The Gospel According to Preston Manning and the Reform Party". I quote the hon. member for Cariboo-Chilcotin. This is openness in government: "For goodness sake, Jack, don't say things like that. We have a reporter in the car." That is a good quote. I suggest that reflects the Reform notion of openness in government. He was in the House a little while ago explaining a mistake he had made in debate earlier this morning to the hon. whip, who caught him up on some facts he had got completely wrong about some appointment. I suspect if there had been a reporter nearby he might have been more careful in his remarks.

I want to turn to the one other thing that happened with respect to free votes. We adopted a motion in the House about free votes. The hon. member may have forgotten. It was a motion proposed by the hon. member for Mission-Coquitlam. I quote the motion, because it was adopted unanimously, if I am not mistaken, in June 1994, in compliance again with the red book and our notion of free votes:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should continue increasingly to permit members of the House of Commons to fully represent their constituents' views on the government's legislative program and spending plans by adopting the position that the defeat of any government measure, including a spending measure, shall not automatically mean the defeat of the government unless followed by the adoption of a formal motion.

That was all agreed to. There is no doubt that free votes are permitted and that they happen. The hon. member should be relieved by the fact that they happen on a daily basis.

Now I will turn to public consultation, because it is another area where the government has excelled. It has undertaken the most comprehensive consultative exercises to ensure that the views of the Canadian people are represented in legislation that is brought forward in the House. There have been broad national consultations on immigration policy, social policy review, gun control, and on two federal budgets. The result is policies that Canadians support and a government that Canadians respect in record numbers.

This is far from the Reform idea of consultation. We witnessed something of its idea when one of its members travelled to Washington to consult with Americans who agreed with him. That is its idea of consultation. It opposes is trips where you might get exposed to somebody with ideas that are different from your own. When it can take a trip and meet with people who think exactly the way it does it goes. That is the Reform approach to travel.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

If you pay your own bills.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

I see, it is pay your own way. I am delighted they pay. Even if Reformers went at the public expense, all they want to do is meet with people who agree with them. I am sorry that is true, because I think part of the job of members of Parliament is to listen to all views. It is something that we on this side of the House try to do whenever we visit our constituencies. We meet with constituents whose views are not the same as ours. We talk to them, share their views and hear what they have to say.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Then you tell them.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

We tell them our views. I am not afraid to discuss my views. I tell people what my views are.

When they learn that the public supports a government bill, Reform members make excuses, ignore the wishes of their constituents, and vote against the bill just for the sake of opposition. I thought we were going to see a change.

I cannot quote chapter and verse from the blue book because I cannot find a copy. The hon. member keeps waving it, but I do not have a copy. Perhaps he could send me one another day.

One thing I recall from the blue book was that we were not to do things in Parliament the way we used to. My goodness, I am having trouble telling the difference between the party in opposition and the New Democratic Party when they occupied a similar position.

One only has to look at the record of the Reform Party in its consultations, particularly with aboriginal groups. We have seen the spectacle of its meetings in British Columbia recently where it was discussing aboriginal land settlement issues and it did not invite any aboriginal people to come to the meetings. I think it is a poor way to carry on consultations.

I want to turn to the ethics counsellor and the whole question of ethics, which is indirectly raised-

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, honestly, the braying on the other side is excessive. I believe my time is about to run out.

The government has lived up to its commitment to provide more open and accountable government by setting up the ethics counsellor and introducing the lobbyists registration bill. The government also has proposed a special joint committee to develop a code of conduct for members, which motion has been opposed by the Reform Party and stalled in the House by the actions of the Reform Party. Obviously, they do not want the House to come up with this set of criteria of ethics guidelines for members, which I think is important and I would like to get on with.

We have to look at the record of the government overall. I think it has been excellent.

The member for Kindersley-Lloydminister in his speech this morning complained about the government's use of time allocation. Honestly, if the hon. member had been here in the last Parliament he would have learned a lot about time allocation and closure. There are two rules, which the hon. member should know. We have not used the closure rule recently. I do not know whether we have used it all in this Parliament. We have used time allocation. I can only say that if the members had been here the last time, they would think life in this Parliament is bed of roses. It was used by the government on repeated occasions against the opposition at that time. It has hardly ever been used in this Parliament.

Members opposite have got off very, very lightly in respect of the government's approach to the House. We have deliberately tried to allow members to express their views on all these things. Hon. members opposite have had ample opportunity to make their views known, not just on government bills but in other debates.

I would love to go on about some of the other aspects of legislation, but unfortunately I see my time has expired. There are questions and comments and I will be glad to answer questions from the hon. members opposite.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened very closely to the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands. I noticed in particular that, according to him, all the decisions made by the Liberal government so far were in keeping with the promises in the red book.

I wish to remind the hon. member that, during the election campaign, the current Prime Minister, who was then Leader of the Opposition, was against free trade and in favour of GST reform and said that he would not touch social programs and transfers to the provinces. But we know what happened to all these resolutions. The Liberal government did just the opposite.

I remember another matter that was widely discussed during the election campaign, especially in Ontario, namely the Pearson airport deal. It is one of the areas in which the former Tory government had to pay for its poor performance under the circumstances, since the Liberal Party had promised to review the matter. Yet, once in power, the Prime Minister appointed Mr. Nixon, a former Ontario finance minister, to look into this deal. During the investigation, Mr. Nixon himself said that there might have been certain irregularities due to lobbyists.

A little later, the ethics counsellor, who reports not to the House of Commons but to the Prime Minister, admitted at committee meetings that Bill C-43 would not have changed anything regarding the misconduct of lobbyists in the Pearson airport deal. He said himself that it would not have changed anything. Yet, the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands brags about the merits of the bill.

I have two questions for him: First, how does he explain that it took the government 18 months to table this bill with the Pearson airport deal in the background, when the information obtained under the Access to Information Act reveals that Bill C-43 has been modified and is not in keeping with Liberal promises, precisely because of lobbyists' influence? I would like him to answer this question.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member misunderstood the circumstances. First of all, I must say that the Minister for International Trade is here and that he is the one who made the necessary changes to NAFTA so that we could support it. That is why the Prime Minister promised during the election campaign that the agreement would be changed. The Minister for International Trade, an excellent minister, made all sorts of changes to the agreement so that it could be passed in this place. That is my first point.

Regarding Bill C-43, I must tell the hon. member that this bill was introduced in this House June 16 1994. So, this is not brand new. If we had problems with this bill, getting it passed in this House and all, it was because of the hon. members opposite filibustering, talking endlessly and showing such a keen interest in this bill.

I say to the hon. member do not criticize the government for being slow and bringing it in 18 months after we took office. We introduced it six or seven months after we took office. It has taken almost a year to get it passed because of the obstruction primarily of members on the other side of the House, because we have not put up an inordinate number of speakers on the bill.

Since the hon. member touched on something else the Prime Minister promised, which was transfer payments to the provinces, the Prime Minister indicated there would be ample notice of changes in those transfer payments. He never promised they would remain the same or always increase, and he has lived up to that promise fully.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, as Canadians from coast to coast know by now, the holy grail of the Liberal Party is its now infamous red book, otherwise referred to as the dead book-cold and getting clammier as each day goes by. I remind members opposite the infamous red book is a two edge sword. It will also hold them very accountable for what they have not done which they had promised to do.

My question to the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands, and I ask it most seriously, has to do with the efficacy of using the red book, primarily an election document. It was a compilation of promises put together in a binder. It was a method of appealing to voters and saying this is how they could get elected.

In the last election the Liberal Party gained 177 seats, a vast majority in the House. It did so by getting something in the order of 41 per cent of the total votes cast.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

An hon. member

It was 43 per cent.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

The hon. member opposite tells me it was 43 per cent. I am wondering if the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands would speak about the integrity and whether it is right, proper and appropriate to foist on Canadians holus-bolus the Liberal election document as a mandate for change when that party received 43 per cent of the total votes cast. It is nothing like a majority.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Given the brevity of the question from the hon. member for Edmonton Southwest, I will take an equally brief question from the hon. member for Kootenay East and the parliamentary secretary can respond to both.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, in reading from this holy grail, the red book, the chapter "Governing with Integrity", it says the erosion of confidence with public servants, the members of Parliament, seems to have many causes. Some have to do with the behaviour of certain elected officials, others with an arrogant style of political leadership.

I wonder if the parliamentary secretary agrees the justice minister, particularly today, showed a tremendously arrogant style when he completely dismissed the question of my colleague from Macleod in saying doctors supported objectives of the firearms legislation when he knows full well every Canadian supports the objectives of the firearms legislation, when he would have known that: "The CMA, however, is unconvinced that the registration provisions proposed in Bill C-68 will be effective in reducing suicides or homicides because they seem to concentrate their efforts on that group of users which poses the least risk to society".

Does the parliamentary secretary not agree this is a very clear cut case of the Minister of Justice showing an absolute arrogance on the part of the Liberal government when he misquoted the CMA?

SupplyGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will deal with the questions in the order in which they were put.

The first question suggested promises in the red book were being foisted on Canadians who did not vote for the Liberal Party and that because we have a majority in Parliament we should not foist the red book on members of the public.

The hon. member, and I know he is one of the few reasonable members of his party, would agree we are at least operating on a blueprint. The red book was not just a series of election promises, it was a blueprint for action when we took office and it was advertised as such by the party. In putting it into place in government we are doing exactly what we said we would do with the 177 members elected as Liberals because they were relying on the red book and putting it forward as their policy.

The problem the hon. member raises is not one he put in his question, but his colleagues would know this is the case. They want us to put in place the policies in the blue book and the policies they are espousing in the House which had the support of far fewer Canadians.

In the circumstances we are probably doing the right thing in the context of the democratic system under which we have operated in Canada for the more than 130 years we have been in existence. I will leave it at that.

With respect to the Minister of Justice and the phoney allegation of arrogance, the Minister of Justice is far from arrogant. We would be hardpressed to find a Minister of Justice who has done more consulting in respect of this bill and who has a firmer grip of the facts on which he bases his acts than the present Minister of Justice.

The hon. member in his question is showing considerable contempt for his electors when he indicates to the House he is not supporting the gun control bill.

I quote from an article written-

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

I am showing contempt for my electors?

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Contempt for your voters, I say to the hon. member.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

My voters? Right.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

I quote from a Globe and Mail column this morning by Jeffrey Simpson. Jeffrey Simpson is not a friend of the Liberal Party. He used to write Tory campaign tracts in his articles in the Globe and Mail. He is certainly one of the better known journalists in Canada:

Shoulder to shoulder with the gun lobby, Reformers spout nonsense about gun registration being a plot to curtail liberties.

This week one of the genuinely stupid ideas of our time made its appearance on Parliament Hill when the attorneys general of Saskatchewan and Alberta suggested that their provinces be exempted from the gun control legislation. Yukon joined in this madness.

Not content with one stupid idea, the provincial interveners produced another. This harebrained idea has been offered before on other issues.

In other words, he went through a series of things he thought were pretty stupid. Every single one of them is supported by the Reform Party.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to address the Reform motion that the House condemn the government for its failure to keep its red book promises to make government more open and accountable.

The Reform Party in 1988 compiled a book of principles and policies, which is probably one of the first political parties to ever put its policies and principles in writing and make a commitment to the Canadian public. On page eight it states:

We believe in the accountability of elected representatives to the people who elect them and that the duty of elected members to their constituents should supersede their obligations to their political parties.

I will predict that within the Liberal caucus when it votes on Bill C-41, the sentencing bill, there will be members who will wish to vote against the government but they will not be allowed to for fear of being kicked out of caucus or off the standing committees.

When it comes to Bill C-68, the gun control bill, some members of the caucus will want to vote against the government. They will have to toe the line or get kicked out of caucus.

Unlike Reformers, they will not be able to fulfil the wishes of their constituents. On this side of the House on both those bills members will vote the clear wishes of their constituents, established in a fashion that has shown and expressed a complete communication system with them, not a poll taken a year and a half ago and then coming out with a law like this gun control bill.

In my original speech I was to speak about how the Liberal government whip has punished, castigated, disciplined, reprimanded, reproached, scolded and penalized several Liberal members for bucking the party line and reflecting the views of their constituents. My colleagues have covered all that. We know about that. The Canadian public knows all about that.

After hearing the government whip's diatribe about Liberal ethics, which I believe is an oxymoron like Progressive Conservative, and hearing about how Liberals are spearheading a special joint committee to develop recommendations for a code of conduct for politicians, I cannot resist making a few comments directed at the Liberal whip.

In typical planet Ottawa fashion the Liberals will study the issue of accountability and review the concept of openness under the guise of a special joint committee. The committee will be comprised of seven members of the Senate and fourteen members of the House of Commons who, along with countless support staff, will travel across Canada and the world to study how other governments hold their representatives accountable. It sounds very important.

Canadian taxpayers will wave goodbye as their brave representatives, along with their entourage, sail off to foreign lands to find out how their politicians conduct themselves.

From experience I know the Liberal members of this committee will constantly utter cliches like "what we need is effective inputs for effective outputs". My favourite is from the Minister of Finance: "What we are trying to do is square the circle with this budget".

That is how governments play up politics in Ottawa with touchy issues like accountability and openness. They study them. The Tories did it and now the Liberals are following suit with their code of conduct committee. It sounds good, looks good but does not do anything.

Reform wants to bring back some sanity to this process. We can give rule number one for code of conduct without even leaving the Chamber and without leaving the shores of this land: do not waste Canadian taxpayers' money on needless junkets.

In 1987 the Ontario Supreme Court found the former cabinet minister Sinclair Stevens had breached the Canadian conflict of interest rules on 14 different occasions prior to his

resignation in 1986. As a direct result the Mulroney government introduced a conflict of interest bill for MPs which unfortunately died on the Order Paper at the end of the parliamentary session. A similar conflict of interest bill was introduced in the next session. It too died on the Order Paper.

As a result of these failed attempts, the Mulroney government created a special joint committee of the House of Commons and Senate to study the issue. Does that sound familiar?

A lengthy study of issues like conflict of interest and accountability was conducted. Witnesses were heard. Testimony was given. A 60-page report was submitted to the House and the Senate. Among the major recommendations was that an independent office be created, the holder of which would oversee the disclosure of assets and liabilities of both the members of the Senate and the Commons and act as an adviser to parliamentarians investigating possible breaches of the act. Does this sound like an ethics counsellor?

The report also recommended clear procedures be established requiring members not to vote on issues in which they have an interest.

These are a few of the recommendations of the 60-page report to the Mulroney government in 1992. Nothing has changed. The hon. Liberal whip was a member of the committee at that time. Now it appears we will spend more money and send another group out to do exactly the same thing. Can he remember what the witnesses said? Can he remember what they told him? I do not seem to recall "vote Liberal and we will reinvent the wheel" in the red book.

It is obvious the Liberals have already attempted to act on a recommendation of the 1992 report which I mentioned earlier. They appointed an ethics counsellor. However, they did not follow through with the full recommendation in their red book. The ethics counsellor does not answer to Parliament. That is a sad disgrace. That lacks integrity. That smacks of misrepresentation.

The Liberals observed this in opposition and subsequently incorporated the recommendations made to the Tories in their red ink book. I have no problem with a party picking up the ball and running with it if it has been fumbled by another party. The Liberals are very good at borrowing ideas from other parties like the Reform Party on the budget.

However, I do have a problem when they waste money to play politics with an issue so they can sell it as their own idea and initiative.

The groundwork for a code of conduct was laid in the last Parliament. Surely the issue of ethics has not changed that dramatically in the past three or four years. The only problem was that the Mulroney government lacked the intestinal fortitude to act on any of the recommendations of the code of conduct.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Indeed.

The Liberals want to be able to use the creation of yet another special joint committee as ammunition in the next election. The Prime Minister will stand in front of voters and talk about how Liberal ideas and initiatives have restored an integrity to the parliamentary system in Canada as a fait accompli. He will speak of how they established a special joint committee to study the code of conduct for MPs and report to both federal Houses. Finally, the Prime Minister will take great pride in the establishment of an ethics watchdog to scrutinize the conduct of Canada's politicians.

People in the real world will think that sounds pretty impressive. They should think again. The Liberals still will not concede any control over the scrutiny of their affairs, as we have witnessed and seen with the conduct of three or four cabinet ministers, two or three members of Parliament of the Liberal caucus. Nothing has been done according to the usage of the ethics counsellor in applying the rules of conduct that currently exist at all the various levels. It is a scam, a sham and a disgrace.

The ethics watchdog they appointed is a lap-dog with no teeth. The bottom line is you do not appoint somebody to scrutinize your activities and those of your colleagues. Where was the ethics watchdog during any of the three "Dupuy-gate" incidents? Nowhere to be found. Where was the ethics watchdog when the CRTC decision on direct to home satellite TV was suspiciously overturned by cabinet to the benefit of the Liberal family compact? The watchdog was nowhere to be found. I think the Liberals have lost their lapdog.

I truly gained some insight about how the Liberals are justifying the expenditure of more taxpayer money to create yet another joint committee on a code of conduct. While in opposition all these code of conduct bills were falling by the wayside. The Liberal government whip was on the committee that reviewed the Tory proposals, in particular its last ditch effort at a code of conduct, Bill C-116.

In his speech last Monday the Liberal whip referred to the difficulty he had reviewing Bill C-116. He stated:

I realized that so much time had gone by that some documents were becoming outdated.

For example, the report of the Parker commission on the dealings of Sinclair Stevens was just about forgotten and we did not have a clear recollection of its recommendations.

It was not easy to examine the whole issue.

Let me put this into perspective for members of the House. We had the Liberal whip saying that it was difficult to debate the last Tory code of conduct bill because too much time had passed since the Sinclair Stevens fiasco, which started the ethics review process, to remember the specifics. Reports were dated. Sources were poor. Details were foggy.

The Sinclair Stevens report was released in 1987. In October 1992, five years later, the Liberal whip wrote an essay in the Parliamentarian Journal entitled ``Members interests: New conflict of interest rules for Canadian parliamentarians''. In the essay he quite clearly referred to and built his argument around Sinclair Stevens case, the very case he said in the House he could not remember.

The Liberal whip is using this memory lapse to justify the creation of a new code of conduct committee at great expense to Canadian taxpayers. If the Liberals want to send members to start a code of conduct review from scratch they should at least be up front about it. They should not feed the Reform Party the line that they cannot remember what was said in the past or that old reports are useless when it is quite clear that the member remembered. In fact his party used portions of the 1992 report in some of its policies and actions to date.

The rationale used by the government whip to justify the need for the joint committee reminds me of a child with a perfectly good bike trying to justify the need for a new bike to his or her parents.

They say: "It is too old. It is not working. I do not like it because it was not my idea. Let's steal this one from the Conservatives. Let's steal the other one from the Reform Party and call it ours". That is what the Liberals are saying about all the extensive code of conduct initiatives that have previously been undertaken. They want a new bike. They want a new special joint committee to show off to Canadian voters. The speech made on Monday by the Liberal whip is testimony to the fact.

The Reform Party is saying that in a time of fiscal restraint there is nothing wrong with using an old bike and the Liberals do not need to blow taxpayers money on a new one. We do not need to send politicians across Canada and across the Atlantic to develop ideas to make politicians more open and accountable. It can be done right here using the information we already have and the minds of those who were sent to Ottawa to do more than collect frequent flyer points, those who were sent here to think, to act and to accomplish.

If the Liberals are truly serious about scrutinizing the conduct of MPs, senators and cabinet ministers, the Reform Party will work with them in the House and in the procedure and House affairs committee. More important, the independent ethics counsellor should be able to enforce the rules without fear of repercussion from his boss, the Prime Minister of Canada: a watchdog that can bite and not just bark.

I cannot understand how the government plays games with words in the English language. It uses sophistry all the time, sophistry in terms of the budget presentation, sophistry in terms of Bill C-85, the MPs pension bill. Somehow because salaries are frozen is justification for $1 million, $2 million and $3 million payouts for life after six years of service and attaining age 65.

Why do government members not come clean with Canadian taxpayers, talk about truth and talk about the facts? They said that the ethics counsellor would be answerable to Parliament. They breached that. They have not done that. They are talking about promises in the red book. They are talking about holding politicians more accountable. The Prime Minister clearly breached that promise.

Nobody hears from the ethics counsellor. He never says anything. All we ever hear is the Prime Minister saying: "I checked with him and he told me it was okay". Where does an ethics counsellor fit into the equation? He is supposed to be there to make sure, when the minister of heritage writes a letter to the CRTC advocating that a certain constituent be considered as a recipient of a radio licence, that it is a breach of his responsibilities and not in line with what he is supposed to be doing as a minister of the crown, especially after he has sworn an oath that he would not interfere or try to influence agencies and boards that work for the government.

Where is the decision on that by the ethics counsellor? There was none. Is that fair to the Canadian taxpayer who is paying for a system that is there structurally but has no teeth to it? That is not the way the system should work. That is not integrity.

Is it integrity to rise in the House and continually shoot partisan shots at each other that do not have the facts behind them? All parties are guilty of it to some degree and we should stop it.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Chamberlain Liberal Guelph—Wellington, ON

I agree.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

I have some support from the Liberal benches.

Members of the House of Commons are elected not only to represent their party platform. When issues come up and they have to consult with their constituents they should be free to represent them and if they do not they are kicked out of standing committees like the three Liberal members were kicked out of the standing committee on justice because they could not support gun control. There are lot more, but those are the courageous ones.

The biggest hoax, the biggest issue in my mind that lacks integrity is the business of the double standard of a politician. It disgusts me. I have been in the private sector almost all my life, with the exception of the last 18 months. I was outside this fish bowl. I thought I could come here and make a contribution, make a difference, but it is very difficult.

Now I am inside the fish bowl with everyone else. I am finding that there are little red fish, little blue fish and little yellow fish swimming around. The national media is swimming around with us. We cannot even make a suggestion without it being distorted by a stupid headline and a stupid commentary. The people who write the articles are not the ones who create the headlines.

In question period ministers continually do not answer questions. Why? They say that it is not answer period, that it is question period. We are charging up about $1 million per year per MP in the House, and this is the quality of work we are delivering to the Canadian taxpayer. We should be ashamed that we do not pay attention to our responsibilities and to the work we should be doing here.

There are 200 rookies here. We have an opportunity to change things. Unfortunately we are the third party. We have already shown the courage and the intestinal fortitude to do what we said we would do.

We say the MP pension plan is terrible and overly generous, and we opted out. We are showing leadership by example. That is not so with these people opposite. I cannot believe the stupidity of some Liberal rookies who allow the veterans to talk them into trough regular: "For anybody in the previous government we cannot change that. We have to leave that and get a 6:1 ratio".

Then there is trough light: "We will cut back. We will only take 3.5 to 1. We will wait until 55 years of age. We will only put in 9 per cent. We will reduce our accrual rate. We will do all this because I guess you guys know what you are doing".

Then there is trough stout where the cabinet ministers can continually add more to their pensions than anybody else.

Where is the intelligence of those rookie Liberals, some of whom I have met, some of whom I respect and some of whom I know are much more intelligent than I am? I know some of them understand the issue much better than I do and agree with me privately but do not have the guts to say so publicly.