Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to add my voice to that of my colleague, the member for Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup, in vigorously condemning the intentions of the Liberal Party now ruling Canada in the spirit of Bill C-49. The act to authorize remedial and disciplinary measures in relation to members of certain administrative tribunals, as written, is very worrisome.
Now that Parliament has reconvened, the constructive criticism of the official opposition will again, I hope, bring home to the public the lack of originality that has characterized the Liberal government since its election in October 1993.
Bill C-49, like most of the bills put forward by the government, shows once again the lack of rigour and transparency that are becoming the trademark of the Liberal Party of Canada. Not only is the government once again getting ready to back the most flagrant cases of patronage, but it will also be giving itself the means to override the application of justice in administrative tribunals.
What we see in Bill C-49 is simply scandalous. The government, through the President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, will be supporting the contravention of the most sacred of the principles underlying our political system by interfering with the notion of the independence of the judiciary with respect to other organs of government.
We have already seen the Liberals' arrogance and their lack of regard for the precepts of our parliamentary system, but the tabling of Bill C-49 is beyond all understanding and shows the government's unbelievable contempt for the public it is supposed to be serving.
During the holidays, we did a lot of visiting back and forth between friends and family. As my uncle said: "We are going to take advantage of the fact that the member for Frontenac is here". One of my nephews, a student at Laval University, told me how he had read in a magazine last month about a survey of the public's level of confidence in 28 liberal and professional or semi-professional occupations.
They were physicians, lawyers, engineers, teachers, new car salesmen, used car salesmen, architects, businessmen, retailers, farmers, and of course politicians. Do you know that in the poll on how much our fellow citizens trust us, we came second last? We got 4 per cent, just ahead of used car salesmen.
When we look at what the government has been doing for the past three years, I believe that the Prime Minister himself and his cabinet have greatly contributed to the lack of trust in politicians.
We only have to think about the Airbus fiasco. The government tried to sue the former Prime Minister and had to apologize 14 or 15 months later. A first for a government. On top of it all, we are paying the court fees. If you add up Mr. Mulroney's legal fees and the government's expenses, the total bill will be well in excess of $5 million.
Was this a case of political vindictiveness? The question was asked today. Who in the cabinet is responsible for this nasty piece of work which is further discrediting this country's politicians?
We only have to think about the appointment of Quebec's lieutenant governor who had to resign a few months later. Another ill conceived appointment by this government. Every time the government makes a new Senate appointment, my office receives hundreds of letters and telephone calls in protest.
Since the Senate cannot be abolished without their unanimous consent, people would like no new senators to be appointed and, in time, as the population is aging, there would no be no senator left and the government would not be any worse off for it.
And then, there is the Prime Minister's fumbling over the past few years on the issue of the GST and his infamous red book. He said: "I never said that. You did not understand. You read it wrong". They showed him the video tape, they played it back, but he said: "This is not what I meant. You are thick, you never understand anything I say".
And yet, his deputy prime minister had the courage to resign last spring because she had promised she would if the GST was not scrapped within one year. It took some prodding, of course, but she eventually resigned, and getting her re-elected after her mock resignation has cost the Canadian treasury $500,000.
With her quizzes, her famous CIO, the Canada Information Office, and her flag program, the Deputy Prime Minister has done much that explains MPs' drop in popularity in the polls.
Luckily, Mr. Speaker, that is not your kind of politics and you have always acted in such a way as to maintain the public's respect for political figures. I wish this government would mend its ways.
Bill C-49 before us this afternoon is a disgrace. It is outrageous for the government to be allowed to remove people designated to sit on a decision-making board or tribunal. They will appoint yes-men and women and tell them what to do and what to say, like puppets. "Yes, that is right. Yes, 5 per cent. No, say 4.9 per cent instead".
This borders on indecency. When a democratic government has reached this point, there is cause for serious concern and one might wish it would disappear from the political scene.
On two occasions, Canadian voters elected a party that brought disgrace upon this country. Only two members of this party were re-elected. There is no doubt that the Liberal Party should pay for misleading the public with false promises about the GST. And then there was the infamous Airbus affair, an unprecedented occurrence in the annals of politics.
According to historians, never before in Canadian history had the federal government brought biased, unfounded action against a former Prime Minister and so soon after the fact. Proceedings were instituted at the beginning of 1996 while the alleged wrongdoing took place in 1992. That was a first.
I think we must join with the hon. member for Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup in wishing that this bill be hoisted for at least six months. In the meantime, let us hope that the government will call an election or review Bill C-49.