Mr. Speaker, perhaps I could pick up where my colleague across the way left off because I was astounded by the statement that he made at the end of his remarks. I think it is fairly accurate to quote him as saying that he supported a few extra million dollars to guarantee the political integrity of the election process.
I find that astounding because the fact is that, with or without Bill C-24 and its generous increase in taxpayer subsidization of political parties, if people lack the moral integrity to decline influence, corporations and individuals will find ways of funnelling money to political parties and leaders to influence them. It is a fact of life. If the individual or the political party wants to be influenced, no law in the world and no amount of government taxpayer subsidization will prevent that from happening.
For the hon. member to say that he is going out on the hustings to brag about this new piece of government legislation, Bill C-24, that funnels some $22 million per year into the hands of politicians and political parties and that he is going to be proud of that during the next election campaign, it shows the extent of Liberal thinking. It blows the mind of the average overburdened taxpayer in the real world, outside of this Ottawa bubble, that the member, not only in speaking for himself, but for a lot of Liberal government members, would make such an incredible statement of support for this legislation.
Why did Bill C-24 come about? It came about because there was and there is a perception that the government led by the Prime Minister, who is just about finished his tenure as leader of our country, has been tainted by a number of scandals. The government brought forward this legislation to provide a smokescreen so that its candidates could go out in the next election campaign and say they had a lot of scandals that had the appearance of influence peddling and kickbacks, and that type of corruption. There was the perception, and pretty widely reported, that a lot of corporations over the 10 year life of this administration received substantial grants and contributions from the taxpayer and by sheer coincidence made generous donations to Liberal candidates, and in some cases Liberal cabinet ministers and/or the Liberal Party.
In order to create an illusion that the Liberals were going to address that and do something about it, they came up with Bill C-24. They now intend, as was stated here a few minutes ago, to bring forward time allocation and rush this piece of legislation through because it is the most important issue that is seizing the nation. I mean everybody in the real world, outside of Ottawa and Parliament Hill, is talking about the need for Bill C-24. Everyone is trying to figure out some way of sending $22 million to political parties every year from now on.
I do not hear that and the Canadian Alliance is the party in this place that is opposed to this legislation. We have said that repeatedly ever since it was brought forward. The government asks, why is the Canadian Alliance opposed to this? It says that taxpayers already subsidize political parties. We have a tax credit. If somebody makes a donation to a political party or a candidate, they are eligible for an income tax credit. That is true. For example, on a $200 donation it is a $150 tax credit. That has been in place for quite some time.
Political candidates, their campaigns and political parties are also eligible for rebates from taxpayers. In the case of a candidate, like myself, I ran in four election campaigns, unsuccessfully in the first one and successfully in the last three. Each and every time, if I received, which I obviously did, more than 15% of the vote, I got a 50% rebate from taxpayers of the money that was donated to me and that I in turn spent on my election campaign.
The government House leader argues, what is the big deal? Political parties, candidates, and politicians are already subsidized by the taxpayer. Well, it is a big deal. The issue is, why must we burden the taxpayer more? The argument is that somehow this particular government ended up with some egg on its face because of some pretty shady operations. It accepted corporate donations and in turn those corporations turned around and had fairly lucrative contracts. It has been revealed in the press. I am not talking about anything new. There have been a series of those over the last number of years.
Rather than restoring the integrity that the Prime Minister promised in the red book back in 1993, he is solving the problem by bringing forward a bill and having the taxpayers pay for it. Corporate donations would be outlawed above a certain amount so that there cannot be any of these large corporate donations to political parties and instead we would have the taxpayers pay for it. That would solve the problem. It is not funny.