Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether I hold the record for the longest interruption of a speech. About eight or nine years ago I was giving the last speech of the day and the particular bill I was speaking on was not called again for a whole year. It was a couple of days short of a year before we resumed the debate, and I finished my speech after about 12 months of waiting, so to me this little delay for question period is nothing compared to that.
I would like to complete my speech on Bill C-11. Before the interruption, I was talking about the fact that among Canadians there is an increasing lack of trust in their politicians and their government. I think Bill C-11 at least partially addresses this. We must first and foremost change the whole culture, the whole way of thinking. That is what is important here. Hopefully, with people knowing that somebody else can blow the whistle on them, it will mean that we will have many fewer instances of people abusing the public trust.
I would like to point out that one of the reasons for this is that even under the present law when people are found out and found guilty, the penalties seem to be quite disparate from what other Canadians face. I want to share with members an observation made to me by the editor of the Sherwood Park News , which I think is very appropriate here.
She and I were talking about the sentence Paul Coffin got for stealing, which he admitted. He confessed to it. He stole millions of dollars from the Canadian people. His penalty is that he has to give speeches on ethics, but he must be finished by nine o'clock. The editor of the Sherwood Park News said she has covered the local court there a lot and has seen way more stringent penalties for young people who have been picked up for shoplifting in the local mall. So here we have one person who is picked up for shoplifting a $50 or a $100 item and who gets a more stringent penalty than somebody who steals from the taxpayers in the amount of millions of dollars. This needs to be corrected.
I suppose we could say that our case is with the judge who handed down that particular sentence, but it is also with the government of the day. This Liberal government has set up a culture in which this type of thing is tolerated. It must come to an end. This must be stopped. Otherwise, we are going to land up with even less trust and respect for government, for Parliament and for our institutions in this country. It should not surprise us that people increasingly object to having to pay their income taxes when there is so much misuse and abuse.
The latest case with the president of the Mint is another example. How atrocious and how shameful it is that an individual can so abuse the money that is entrusted to him. It is not his money. He is there on behalf of the Canadian people to try to manage, of all things, the printing of our money and the production of our coins. He is in charge not of our monetary system but our monetary framework and he is getting away with this abuse. If we cannot trust the people in Canada's bank, who can we trust? This has to come to an end.
I urge this government not to stop at Bill C-11 with a little whistleblowers' legislation. Let us change the culture of what is happening. Let us communicate clearly to all civil servants what the expectations are. Those expectations must include an impeccable attention to honesty and trust and absolutely no abuse.
Let us do that. Then, hopefully, Canadians will once again be proud to be Canadians and proud to pay their taxes and will have faith and trust in Parliament and in our civil service.