Mr. Speaker, I will go back to talk about the raising of money. As I said earlier in my speech, we just simply do not believe that political parties should take money from taxpayers. They should be required to raise the money from the people who they claim to represent.
The Prime Minister said that we needed the legislation to remove the perception that the Liberal Party was giving lucrative contracts, grants and loans to political supporters, and he is right. Bill C-24 would remove the perception that these things are not happening because there will not be any corporate donor trails for the Canadian Alliance to follow to reveal the corruption. However Bill C-24 would not change the reality of political patronage and untendered contracts being awarded to supporters of the Liberal Party.
There will still be untendered contracts awarded to friends and relatives. There will still be payments for reports that do not exist. There will still be ministerial interference in the approval of loans and grants by government agencies, and it will be almost impossible for us to trace those connections.
The Prime Minister will still be free to make phone calls to the Business Development Bank of Canada and order them to give loans to his friends. It will not change any of that at all. The bill is a fraud. It is an excuse to take taxpayer money and give it to political parties, and it will not make the slightest bit of difference to the awarding of untendered contracts and improper practices that are occurring daily on that side of the House.
While all this is going on, it will be taxpayers who will be watching the Liberal government shovelling money out of the treasury and into the coffers of political parties.
As I said, the Liberals claim they introduced Bill C-24 to deal with the perception that there were problems over there, but there are problems over there. Many of those problems are presently with the RCMP for investigation. The problems were revealed for the main part in response to attacks by opposition parties, particularly the Canadian Alliance, over what appeared to be links between the donations made by corporations and individuals to the Liberal Party of Canada and the subsequent awarding of contracts, grants, loans and special deals.
Let me give an example. The industry minister recently announced a $60 million handout to two private companies in Ottawa headed by an Ottawa billionaire. He should be embarrassed to even ask for the $60 million. A billionaire asked the government over there, the Minister of Industry, to give him $60 million. He is Terence Matthews, an identified Liberal donor. He donated $25,000 recently to the Deputy Prime Minister's leadership campaign.
The minister has claimed that the $60 million awarded to the two companies of Terence Matthews is not a gift, that he expects every nickel to be repaid. How many times have we heard that. Unfortunately, the Technology Partnership Canada program, under which the $60 million was awarded, has a less than satisfactory history of success. It has handed out close to $2 billion but has only been repaid $35 million.
It is hard for the average Canadian taxpayer to imagine how the government could have the gall to give $60 million to a billionaire to fund something that he should have funded himself.
As if the handout was not bad enough just in itself, in return for the generosity, the minister and Technology Partnership Canada have agreed to accept share warrants for a pre-determined number of shares in Mr. Matthew's companies. Now we are in the share market business with taxpayer money. The problem is those shares do not trade on any stock exchange because they are shares in private companies. Their value will be decided at some point in the future by financial institutions and the government. It is unbelievable that we give $60 million to a billionaire, then we take shares and we do not even know what they are worth. It is an absolutely incredible thing.
I figure that if and when Mr. Matthews takes his companies public, which he might do, either we will make some money on these shares or we will lose our shirt. Either way, we really have no business being in this part of the business.
Are you indicating my time is running out or to keep focused, Mr. Speaker?