Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to participate in this debate. I want to reiterate the motion:
That, given the lack of new legislation introduced by the Liberal government during the Third Session of this Parliament, this House recognize that the current government is not new, but rather one that is intricately linked to the past decade of mismanagement, corruption and incompetence, and has accordingly lost the confidence of this House.
That is quite a statement to make about a government. The evidence is very clear. It is interesting that today we were talking about some of the sponsorship scandal grants. There are pages and pages of them, and the government says, “Well, that is the old government. That is the Chrétien government. That is not us”.
This list was given to us by the current President of the Treasury Board and it is not right. It is deceptive. It does not give us the right information. It says that organizations and events received a certain amount of money and they did not receive that amount of money. They received substantially less. Today we were able to prove that in the House. The minister said, “Give us proof”. We have the proof right here.
We have a copy of the amounts that are supposed to be issued and then we have the cheques which are for much less. Where did the rest of the money go? That is a list of about 500 sponsorship grants. There is another one showing 721 grants. In it there is four contributions to the Bluenose Trust. One is for $2.3 million. The Bluenose Trust said it only got $359,000. Where did the almost $2 million go?
This is not the old Chrétien government. This is the new government. It says it is new but really they are the exact same people. They will not answer the questions. The Prime Minister stood and said, “I am mad as hell and I want to get to the bottom of it”.
All they have to do is give us the answers. This is part of the process. They pretend that the House of Commons is not part of the process, but it is. We ask specific questions and they say, “If you have information or evidence, table it”. They have all the information. They have all the grant information. They know where all the graft went. They know where all the commissions went.
Today I raised an issue about a tulip festival in Truro, Nova Scotia. It says right here in the government document that was tabled that it got $5,000. The cheque stub is for $3,625. Where did the rest of the money go? It is not a big grant, but it is a lot of money to the tulip festival.
Then, if we go to this list of grants, there are three more tulip festivals listed, but these are not for $3,000 like the one in Nova Scotia. This is a tulip festival for $310,000. This is through the Gosselin Communications Liberal advertising firm. There is another one for $172,000. This one went through Groupaction so we know it is legitimate and certainly all the money went to that tulip festival.
Here we are in Nova Scotia trying to get $5,000 and we cannot get it. They slice it back and give a third of it to some advertising agency, but they give tulip festivals that are sponsored by Gosselin Communications or Groupaction $310,000, $172,000, $194,000. This is crazy.
I wish every Canadian would go to the Public Works website and just look up under “Communications, sponsorship update” and go through this. It will make them sick the amount of money that went out.
Here is one that I like for Y2K, Groupaction, $1,276,000 and Y2K never even happened. My all-time favourite is number 699. It just states that for unforeseen events, paid to Groupaction, $200,000 even, just for unforeseen events.
Here we are trying to sponsor a community event like a tulip festival in Truro and we cannot get $5,000, but Groupaction puts a bill in for unforeseen events, whatever they are, and gets $200,000 of taxpayers' money. It does not even have to say what it is for. It does not have to say what it did with it. It just put its hand out and the Liberals truck it over in a wheelbarrow. It is disgraceful.
Again, I recommend that Canadians go to the Public Works website, go to Communications and go to the sponsorship update. It is absolutely disgraceful. There are pages and pages of them. Every time I look, I find more information and there are more grants.
The minister says, “We are going to do all 721 grants”. Well that is just one little package of grants. The President of the Treasury Board issued this package of grants. There are grants everywhere. There are more lists. These are just two lists and there are about 1,200 grants here.
The Minister of Public Works said that he is going to analyze 721 of them. He should analyze every single one of them, find out where every single cent went, who got the commissions, what Liberal advertising agencies got the commissions on all these grants. Every single one should be analyzed, not just a select few. The government should stand up. It has all this information. It has all the records. It can answer these questions.
The Prime Minister stands up and says that he is mad as hell and he is going to get to the bottom of it. There is no trouble getting to the bottom of it. All the government has to do is open the files, look to see what happened and report to the House what happened. However, it is not taking any responsibility. Nobody is taking responsibility. The government is getting to be a laughing stock. It is making a laughing stock out of the House of Commons, because when we ask questions about these sponsorship grants the Liberals say that is what the committee is for and they wish it would hurry up and do its job.
This is part of the system and the Liberals are neglecting it. They are refusing to answer any questions. They are hiding behind all these committees and solicitors and everything they have set up to cover it. It is certainly the same old government. It is the same people. There is nothing new. Even today, it is the new government hiding what the old government did. We are asking the Liberals today to produce a new list of every grant, all the commissions paid to the Liberal advertising agencies, wherever they are, in every single detail. I will be surprised if we get that. This information was given to us by the new government. It is the same old information and it is wrong and deceptive and it deceives the House.
There is a little headline here, “Where did the money go?” That is a good question. It should be, “Where did your money go?” not “Where did the money go?” That should be the headline to every single Canadian and every single Canadian should know where their money went. The government could answer those questions but it will not. It is the same as the gun registry, $1 billion here, $1 billion there. Who knows, is it $1 billion? Is it $2 billion? I do not know what it is and probably nobody does.
How could one spend a thousand million dollars on setting up a database with a bunch of computers? I do not want to over simplify it, but that is basically what the government had to do. It had to set up a computer database and write in firearms. How could it possibly spend a thousand million dollars? Now there is speculation it is two thousand million dollars. Anyway we look at it, there is no sense to this. There is no explanation. The Auditor General said she could not even figure it out. There is no way of knowing how the government spent the money. All she knows is that the entries are there where the cash went out. There is no accountability. There is no management. There is no responsibility for anything.
Now there is this fiasco where the former minister of public works, Mr. Gagliano, stood up and say that he is not responsible for his department, that we cannot expect a minister to be responsible for his department. My goodness, what a stupid concept. How could someone expect a minister to be responsible for his department? Then the deputy minister came and said that he is not responsible. No one is responsible.
We have been at this now for weeks and we have not seen one shred of evidence. We have not seen one person stand up and say, “We are accountable. We are sorry. We made a mistake. We did not do it right, but we will do it right”. They will not say that. They just say, “No, it is not me. It is not my department. Well, it is my department but I am not responsible”. It is incredible that nobody is taking responsibility.
Now there is a switch in tactics. It is going from the new government to the old government tactics because this weekend we heard the Minister of Canadian Heritage say that it was no big deal, it is just another file and it is just the way they do it. How can a minister say that? It is not just one file. It is hundreds of files and probably thousands of files and they are right here and every single one of them deserves to be investigated. It is not the way things should be done.
I will say one thing. We have a new leader in our party. When we go into the election, it is going to be about ethics and nobody is going to be able to point to our leader and say that this man will waste our money, because he will not. Nobody will be able to point to him and say that this man will steal our money, because he will not. Every Canadian will know it. The Liberals are not going be able to say that because everybody knows the Liberals will take their money and they will spread it around. They will waste it. They will squander it. They will give it to their friends and do whatever they want to do because they think they own the country and they run it.