I hear the House leader for the Conservatives commenting on my comments. We have not forgotten, nor has the public, the depths to which the confidence in government fell when his party was in government some years ago.
Under this government the Prime Minister and his ministers have been and remain accountable to parliament for their policies and their ethical behaviour. However beyond undermining the Prime Minister's personal responsibility for his ministers, the bill would also undermine accountability and our system of responsible government in general.
As I mentioned earlier, we must congratulate the member for Verchères--Les-Patriotes on raising the issue of the integrity of public office holders in the House. As everyone knows, public office is a matter of trust. In 1994, the Prime Minister told the House that “the trust in institutions... is as vital to a democracy as the air we breathe”.
The standards the government has kept since 1993 have raised the bar for ethical conduct and Canadians have placed their continued trust in the government by re-electing it in 1997 and 2000. The bill would work against the progress we have made since 1993 and would undermine the principles of democratic government.
The bill is also contrary to the United Kingdom's approach to ministerial ethics, which is what the bill claims to be based on.
For these reasons I cannot support the bill. I urge all hon. members to do likewise.