Mr. Speaker, I want to take a few minutes to be on record at third reading of the bill. I greatly regret what is happening in the House these days. We should be debating what is good for Canadian taxpayers and we find that distant party over there has used pretty well all of the time to spread misinformation about us and to try to make political points in a very cheap way. That is very unfortunate and I also found it very hurtful. The things they said about me are things which are just not accurate. It reminds of the 1997 election campaign.
I will say this. In the 1993 election campaign the Conservative who was the sitting member of parliament was a real gentleman. He was a really good man. When we had the all-candidate debates in the different fora he was a real gentleman. He was thoughtful and considerate. I do not hesitate for a moment to give him, Mr. Brian O'Kurley, great accolades for the way he conducted himself.
Somehow the party which was defeated and annihilated in 1993 decided to use the approach of attacking people viscerally and personally. That was why the Conservative candidate in the 1997 election, whom I will not name, said things about me which anyone who knew knew were not true. They were just not true. When he said these things publicly on one occasion I remember I stood up and said at a meeting, “Mr. Chairman, anyone who knows me knows that what this candidate has said about me is untrue. Why should they consider even voting for a person who has so little regard for the truth?” As a matter of fact, that Conservative candidate did not even get his deposit back because people saw through that.
Earlier this evening things were attributed to me that I take personally because they were attributed to me as a member of the Canadian Alliance, formerly the Reform Party. Publicly and loudly the members of that distant party put me into a category which is frankly not true.
I came here with great ideals. I believed then and I believe now, that the MP pension, because it exceeded what was available to other Canadians under the Income Tax Act rules, was excessively generous. Very frankly, for them to say these things is very demeaning and I was hurt by it when they spoke that way.
Be that as it may, I guess one cannot be in this business and not expect to be falsely accused occasionally. However, I would like to say unequivocally that I have been committed for the last seven years and continue to be committed to bringing into this place a pension plan which a person of honour can participate in without shame. I do not believe that we are there yet.
It is important for me to also say that this plan is particularly bad for me because I decided in 1995 to opt out of the other plan. I have been making contributions to an RRSP. I am trying to organize my financial life so my wife and I will not be on welfare when we finally retire. This particular plan is a real dilemma for me. As soon as this plan is brought into place, money will be taken from my paycheque without my ability to stop it which will thereby take away my RRSP deposit room. I find that distressing because I had hoped to do it that way.
It was not my choice to change this system and plan. To be falsely accused that I wanted it and that I want back in is hurtful, harmful and simply is not true. I think it is unbecoming of the members who have made those accusations.
Nonetheless, it is almost midnight. I am on the record as saying that I am opposed to it and that I will vote against the bill again, as I did earlier. This is being done against my will. I want that to be clearly on the record. Very frankly, my integrity is not for sale and I really regret that even that implication is being made.