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House of Commons Hansard #131 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was protection.

Topics

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We have a number of important visitors in the gallery this afternoon. I would like to first draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Felipe Ramon Pérez Roque, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would also like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia. His Holiness is also the Moderator of the World Council of Churches.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would also like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable David Simailak, Nunavut Minister of Finance.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Finally, I would draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Constituencies Fund Committee from the Parliament of the Republic of Kenya, led by the Honourable Karué Muriuk, the Chairman of the Committee.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

October 4th, 2005 / 3:05 p.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, discussions have taken place among all the parties concerning recorded divisions scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, October 5, on the 11th and 12th reports of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, requesting an extension to study private members' bills. I believe you would find consent that the recorded divisions scheduled for Wednesday, October 5, on the motions to concur in the 11th and 12th reports of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage be deemed carried.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. parliamentary secretary have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-11, An Act to establish a procedure for the disclosure of wrongdoings in the public sector, including the protection of persons who disclose the wrongdoings, be read the third time and passed.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I am advised that the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park has five minutes remaining in the time allotted for his speech, followed by the usual questions and comments period. I invite the hon. member to resume his remarks.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

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.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member correctly pointed to several instances of Liberal theft, Liberal fraud, Liberal corruption and Liberal crime. These instances are becoming so frequent that they scarcely even make news any more.

We had a Liberal government that systematically stole over $100 million over the period of seven years, shovelling much of it back into Liberal Party coffers, a criminal conspiracy in which up to 600 different individuals are implicated.

It just strikes me as amazing that—

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am becoming a little concerned about the allegations of criminal wrongdoing and theft when that has not even been adjudicated. I think the member should be cautioned about the language he is using.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I have indicated to the member my concern about the constant use of language in this way and I think he might show some restraint in the way he speaks. As the hon. member for Mississauga South has pointed out, the words cannot be used in relation to a member and he has come very close in his suggestions and the use of these words in relation to members. I would invite him to exercise proper caution and curb his language.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be cautious but I will not be silenced by that member's dilatory motions intended to interrupt the truth in the House of Commons.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

No, but he will be silenced by the Speaker's efforts to restrain his language. I know he will want to observe what the Speaker says in all respects.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate those words of wisdom.

Once again, there was a criminal conspiracy involving 600 people over a seven year period and not a single person has gone to jail. Two and a half years after we learned about this massive criminal Liberal conspiracy, not one person has gone to jail. An individual is caught red-handed stealing $1.5 million and he does not receive a jail sentence. Only in the Liberal wonderland can such a thing occur. That member cannot obstruct that truth from coming out in this House or anywhere else.

I now ask my hon. colleague if he will explain that we need a new government to prosecute this kind of crime and this kind of corruption in order to get to the bottom of it and reach real justice.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order on the matter of relevance to the matter before the House. The member is talking about matters to do with judicial proceedings of which there have been no convictions. I am sure it is not relevant to the bill.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park, I am sure, will make remarks that are relevant to the bill in his response to the question he was asked. We will hear him now.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, indeed, my colleague has given me a bit of a challenge to bring it back there, but it is on the same general topic and that is that we need to make sure that Parliament's oversight of the public purse is impeccable and that this type of activity, which my colleague has described, just simply does not occur.

I find it absolutely incredible, as he has mentioned, that this has been known for seven years. If our system were working correctly, in that length of time for a shoplifter there would have been justice, there would have been a penalty and there would have been a sentencing. After seven years nothing has happened.

My colleague's complaint is absolutely and totally legitimate. These laws have to be corrected. The rules and guidelines have to be lived by. They are not and there is no penalty for not doing so.

With respect to Bill C-11, it would increase the degree of thought that a person might give before he or she embezzles public money. The probability of my being caught is now increased. For the person who does not have the built in moral compass that would prevent him from doing it, perhaps the fear and the increased probability of being caught will have that deterrent effect and, in that sense, the bill is necessary.

However I still decry the fact that under successive Liberal governments the culture of lack of honesty has been allowed to grow to this point with no penalties that are visible at all for breaches of that trust.