Mr. Speaker, it is with considerable disappointment that I find it necessary to rise during the adjournment proceedings as a consequence of the response that I received regarding the Liberal slush fund known as the sponsorship program.
What was truly remarkable about the reply that was made on behalf of the Prime Minister was that it was even made. The President of the Treasury Board was being truly deceptive when he suggested that the $3,000, for example, that was asked for from the local fair in an opposition riding was somehow equivalent to the hundreds of thousands of dollars and in some cases millions of dollars that were funnelled into the ridings of Liberal Party members, with the appropriate commissions skimmed off of course.
What has truly amazed Canadians is the shameless gall of the Liberal Party in this scandal. How low can one go in stealing from children? People in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke were shocked to hear how a Liberal ad firm pocketed $350,000 in commission from the Boy Scouts of Canada. Out of $600,000 that was supposed to go to the Boy Scouts for a camping jamboree, it received $250,000. Therefore, $350,000 was skimmed off to a Liberal ad firm, perhaps for an eventual campaign contribution to the Liberal Party of Canada. The Liberal Party does not go any lower than when it steals from children.
Opposition members participate in government programs in good faith. The President of the Treasury Board was wrong to suggest that opposition members were somehow tainted by the sponsorship scandal because opposition members trusted the government to run a program in an honest fashion.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly denied knowledge of the sponsorship program as a secret Liberal slush fund. The President of the Treasury Board, on the other hand, said in this House that the presence of this Liberal slush fund was common knowledge, so common in fact, that the staff of the Minister of the Environment referred to this program as a Liberal slush fund.
Who is telling the truth? The Prime Minister who denies any knowledge of the slush fund, or everyone else, including the President of the Treasury Board, who tell us that the existence of the slush fund was quite public?
The sponsorship scandal has directly touched my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke. In response to a legitimate request for funds for a hockey tournament, the Fred Page Cup that was being hosted in Pembroke, local organizers received several thousand dollars.
The question that is being asked in my riding by the parents of the hockey players in that tournament is, out of the dollars requested, how much was skimmed off into the pockets of the Liberal Party ad agency Compass Communication? How much of that money was eventually put into the pockets of the Liberal Party as a campaign contribution? How much of that money actually went toward the children that participated in the hockey tournament?
We know through the sworn testimony of the former deputy minister of public works, Ranald Quail, to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, that the Prime Minister's Office was directly involved in selecting events that received sponsorship money.
If the Prime Minister were truly sincere when he tries to distance himself from his years as finance minister by pointing fingers at Mr. Chrétien and his political handymen for the sponsorship scandal, he would be purging his party of all these individuals, not just high profile targets like Mr. Chrétien's--