Mr. Speaker, let me begin by saying that we are not here today because the government has to announce an important new step in the era of ethics. We are here today because the government's ethical conduct has been shameful.
Why are we here today? It is because in 1993 the government went coast to coast and promised Canadians an independent ethics commissioner. Year after year, and I cannot go through all the cases, the government has been confronted with scandal after scandal because it never fulfilled its promise during the 1993 election, despite repeated calls by this party and the other opposition parties.
In 1997 after the hard work of members of both houses of Parliament, including from our side the hon. member for Elk Island, the government received a draft code of conduct for members of parliament. Similarly it went through another two election campaigns and once again never acted on that. It went through scandal after scandal. The record is appalling.
Today we are here because we have in every major newspaper in the country mug shots of the former minister of national defence, two former solicitors general and two former public works ministers. Those are posted in every newspaper. They are posted on every bulletin board and, for all I know, in most police stations in the country.
What we are getting today is just an exercise in image building, but it is more. It is more than an exercise in image building. It is an exercise--