Mr. Speaker, the member for Abitibi said he was willing to table the document in question, but I see the government leader does not want the document tabled. It does not matter really. I think the public can see the Liberal flip-flop on this whole issue.
Before I start, since this is my first speech in this 36th Parliament, I would like to thank the people who sent me here to represent them. It is my first term as member for the riding of Repentigny, but my second term in this House. So I have the honour of being the first member of Parliament for Repentigny and I hope I will also be the last since that riding will soon disappear.
I want to thank the whole team who helped me get re-elected and who worked very hard throughout the campaign. I want to thank the members of my family for their support and the people of the five municipalities of my riding, namely La Plaine, Mascouche, Lachenaie, Charlemagne and Repentigny, who have placed their trust in me for the second time.
The debate was a bit chaotic this morning. Therefore, it is very important to read the motion again just to know what we are supposed to be debating and put aside the kind of outrageous remarks we have heard from some members, namely the member for Abitibi—if he does not agree, he can stand in this House and say so—as well as the member for Bourassa.
The motion reads as follows:
That this House condemns the attitude of the Government, which refuses to introduce in-depth reform of the legislation on the financing of federal political parties even though the existing legislation allows for a wide range of abuse.
I can see that the members opposite agree, even the member for Abitibi who spoke out against this motion earlier today.
It is important to note that public financing has been part of our tradition for more than 20 years now. It is important to note that all political parties, even federalist parties in Quebec—and by that I mean the Liberal Party—have adopted that type of financing to achieve a healthy democracy in Quebec.
We are proud that, in 1977, the Parti Quebecois passed a law that says that only a voter can make a contribution. This legislation eliminates possible political influence from pressure groups whose objectives are more to change the direction of public policies than to allow a party whose ideology is close to that of their members to assume and retain power. The legislation limited contributions to $3,000 per year per voting citizen.
The objectives of the legislation were to limit to voters—and this is true democracy—the right to contribute to political parties, because we speak on their behalf and we should not be influenced by companies roping us in with lavish contributions.
We have been trying for a long time to make the government understand that this legislation is something normal that should also apply to the federal level, the Canadian level. As early as March 1994, our colleague from Richelieu tabled a motion that read:
That, in the opinion of this House, the government should bring in legislation limiting solely to individuals the right to donate to a federal political party, and restricting such donations to a maximum of $5,000 a year.
We know that at the provincial level the ceiling is $3,000. We did not want to be too restrictive and we set the maximum at $5,000 a year.
We may go through a lot of debates and often try to skirt the actual facts, but we have to wonder why the Liberal Party voted against that proposal. Clearly, they had something to hide. This is quite obvious, since they say that contributions to party financing should not be limited to individuals.
In a while, I will give you some figures on the contributors to the Liberal Party. Then we might be able to understand why the party does not want to depend only on individuals for its financing.
Why would anyone oppose a bill which specifically seeks to clarify and to improve the fundraising process for federal political parties?
It is suspicious to say the least. When people will know who is making contributions to the Liberal Party fund, perhaps they will understand why Liberals are opposed to such and such a bill or why they are against a motion like this. An article published in La Presse on July 22, 1993, revealed that Bombardier had given $29,932 to the Liberal Party. Air Canada gave $957 to the Liberal Party and $31,000 to the Conservative Party, after receiving a subsidy and being awarded contracts worth $75 million. Imperial Oil chose a more balanced approach and covered all the bases by giving $34,000 to the Conservatives and $34,000 to the Liberals. They were covered in any case. Following these generous contributions, the company was awarded contracts worth $186 million. Canadian Airlines gave $11,415.08 to the Liberal Party, while Pratt & Whitney made a $7,500 contribution to the Liberals.
Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I will continue to tell the House who is giving money to this generous party. In 1994, the Royal Bank of Canada gave $88,700 to the Liberal Party; RBC Dominion Security, $99,000; the Toronto Dominion Bank, $77,000; Wood Gundy, $106,000; Richardson Greenshields, the investment firm, $99,000.
We would have thought that, after coming to power following the 1993 election, the Liberals would have gained some wisdom. We would have thought that, after having written in the red book that it wanted to increase the voters' confidence in their elected representatives, the Liberal Party would have changed its ways and accepted a bill on the financing of political parties that would make things a little more transparent for the public. But no, the Liberals did no such thing.
In 1996, when they were in power and getting ready for another election, they continued to collect money. Another article from La Presse, this one dating back to 1996, states that it was business which made it possible for the Liberals to collect more money that the previous year. The most generous ones, Nesbitt Burns for one, gave $88 000, $81 000, $73 000. We are not talking here of normal contributions, Mr. Speaker, we are talking of donations of more than $75,000.
In closing, I would like to ask a few questions of my Liberal colleagues, and I would like the answers from the hon. member for Abitibi. Could it be that the Liberals called an election more than six months before the usual time, and a year and a half before the end of their mandate, because the government feared that the RCMP investigation was going to break? How does the Prime Minister explain that the code of ethics has nothing in it about influence peddling? Why did the Prime Minister not give his ministers any guidance on ethics after the minister responsible for human resources development alerted him to the RCMP investigation? How is it that the Prime Minister, the Minister of Public Works, Pierre Corbeil, and the director general, Mr. Béliveau, were informed of the allegations by the Minister of Public Works himself? Why does the code of ethics not apply to the Liberal Party of Quebec when it applies to the government? Why was Pierre Corbeil not suspended from his duties as soon as this information was learned? I would like all these questions answered, Mr. Speaker.