Madam Speaker, it is interesting to know that in this particular instance we are not limited to one minute, or 10, 20 or 40 minutes. I could speak for the rest of the day, if I so chose. If all goes well, I should be completed my speech before the end of the day which will give someone else an opportunity to speak.
Let me get back to the thread of my thoughts. Lobbyists have to register under the bill. The Senate has sent back an amendment which forces them to disclose one more additional piece of information and it is a very important disclosure. It is the area in which they served in a department.
I do not believe it is acceptable for a deputy minister, a previous minister or even a member of Parliament, but specifically a deputy minister of a department to retire from government and then get a job with a business firm that will be lobbying to get a contract in the very department in which he or she had served. Disclosure is one thing, but it is not acceptable and I would like the Lobbyists Registration Act to actually prohibit that activity. In other words, it is like the person in the store, it is not just whether or not we know what is happening, but to actually prohibit the activity per se.
I wish the Senate had done its job and brought in some important amendments of that nature instead of this little housekeeping one which increases the disclosure. However I think we are better off by a small degree in this area than we were 10 years ago with what has happened with lobbyists registration and the work our party is trying to accomplish. We are trying to get a truly independent ethics commissioner, not one that is appointed by the government but one that is truly independent as is the Auditor General for example. I would like to see that strengthened even more to the point where Canadians will once again be able to say “We trust our government. We know it is doing the best that it can and all is well in the House”.