This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #149 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

Privilege

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Jacques Saada Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, all these allegations and declarations were made before Mr. Justice Gomery, who held an inquiry and did not see fit to draw negative conclusions about anyone. I do not want to repeat this inquiry. It has already been held.

The reason I raised this issue is that the Parti Québécois made perfectly clear and legal contributions to the Bloc Québécois's electoral campaigns to the amount of $163,929 in 1997 and of $166,400 in 2000, and that is without taking into account the contributions made by some of the Parti Québécois' provincial associations. I have nothing against that. However, I would have hoped, since there were interrogations about what happened with Oxygène 9, that the facts were checked and that every one treated on an equal footing.

Privilege

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take the floor on the question of privilege which has been submitted to the House and accepted by the Speaker concerning not only our 10 percenters but also our householders. Today the House of Commons is therefore seized of this matter. Although some think it undemocratic to do this, such in fact is democracy.

There is a problem, and we, the hon. members on each side of the House, are in the process of presenting and arguing our points of view.

Earlier, I was listening to the hon. Liberal member saying that he did not understand how the NDP could have joined forces with the Bloc Québécois and the Conservative Party. We have come to the point where the Liberals think only of themselves. A proposal has been made to the Liberals so that the House of Commons might continue to sit. So long as the House is in session, things can be provided for Canadians. Our aim is not in fact to support the Liberals but to work in the interest of Canadians. We want to be here, in the House, to pass bills and budgets that will help Canadians.

This was done last spring, when $1.5 billion was allocated toward reducing student debt. The NDP was proud of this. Similarly, $1.5 billion will be granted for affordable housing. This fall, however, after the tabling of the Gomery report, when the NDP wanted to have a productive Parliament, the Liberals were asked if they were prepared to save our public health care system. It was sad to hear the Prime Minister reply that he was prepared to grant the provinces new money, while preventing private-sector physicians from benefiting from it. But as for the $41 billion that was allocated last spring, given that this is federal money, he was not prepared to require the provinces to spend that money only on the public health care system. It is simple: the Liberals favour a private health care system. When the Liberals say that money from the federal government can be given to the private health care system in Canada, and that they cannot backtrack on the $41 billion, they are telling us they want a private system. They are turning a blind eye to this issue. That is what is really happening, and it is dangerous.

Just recently, the Liberal Party of Quebec announced in the National Assembly that it wants a parallel private health care system. This shows that the Liberals want a private health care system in Canada. They want their friends, the large insurance companies, to be able to sell insurance like companies do in the United States, because people will have to get their own insurance and pay for it.

I gave an example the other week. Imagine that, today, we have two heath care systems in Canada: a private system and a public one. Canadians fought so hard for a public health care system. The NDP is proud to say that, 50 years ago, Tommy Douglas at the time forced the government to establish a public health care system across Canada. We believe that, rich or poor, those who are sick should be able to receive the same services. What kind of idea is that: the rich could be treated the same day, while the poor would have to wait for six months? That is unacceptable here, in Canada, one the most wonderful countries in the world. The Liberals have decided to turn a blind eye on this.

To be productive, while waiting for an election after the second Gomery report was tabled, the Liberal government could have taken position and said that it had an agreement with the NDP. But why should the NDP have to continue supporting a Parliament that is not working, and a government that has been caught red-handed taking money from the taxpayers to give it to its political party in Quebec and would have us believe that it did not know what was going on? As the story goes, the Prime Minister of Canada, who was finance minister at the time, the President of the Treasury Board, who was from Quebec and handled the sponsorships, and the Minister of Public Works, who was a minister from Quebec, none of them knew that money was going into the Liberal coffers.

I am sorry but the people back home do not buy that.

Privilege

11:55 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

The hon. member for Bourassa on a point of order.

Privilege

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I can understand that, being so passionate, the member can get a little carried away, but we should never challenge the integrity and respectability of the members. He is making false accusations and that is not acceptable in this House.

Privilege

11:55 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

I did not hear the member for Acadie—Bathurst make such accusations. I might have been distracted. I think that the member for Acadie—Bathurst knows the rules of the House of Commons well enough to respect all his colleagues, whether individually or collectively.

The hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst.

Privilege

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, thank you for your comment on the speech I am in the process of making. I greatly appreciate it.

I can understand the member for Bourassa. He was worried because the Liberal Party has been caught with its hands in the till taking money from taxpayers to give it to the party in Quebec. That is unfortunate.

Just imagine, there is a national unity fund. I was listening a moment ago to a Liberal colleague who was saying that hon. members knew that there was a sponsorship program. Yes, we knew there was one, but we did not know that it was there to be stolen from. It was there so sponsorships could be obtained, and not only in Quebec. In our part of the country, we had the Canada Games in Bathurst and Campbellton and the money was used for sponsorships. It was a good system.

As I recall the Auditor General made the comment that it was not a bad program. There are programs that are good, but if they are badly administered, they will be lost. The Auditor General said that she had not asked that the sponsorships be abolished, she had asked that the sponsorship scandal be stopped. She said that the program was badly administered. Justice Gomery said the same thing.

That was done with taxpayers’ money, the money of people who get up in the morning and work very hard. The money comes here to Ottawa, and these people want the government to manage it properly. Today the Liberals are trying to make us believe that they manage money properly. They took $48 billion from the Employment Insurance Fund. They put the money into the general fund to pay down the debt, to balance the budgets and they put it into the sponsorship scandal. It was done with money taken from our people who are suffering and who are hungry. You can imagine what happened when the time came to vote.

On Friday, in L'Acadie nouvelle , in the column headed L'opinion du lecteur , one of our provincial Liberal elected representatives asked me and Jack Layton to make sure that Employment Insurance was on the table if there were any negotiations with Paul Martin. I told our local Liberal member that he should ask his colleague, Paul Martin, to finally grant the best 12 weeks. He should not ask me. I am not the Prime Minister of Canada. He should be asking Paul Martin, his colleague and friend the Prime Minister.

Privilege

Noon

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Order, please. I was assuming that the member for Acadie—Bathurst was quite familiar with the rules. I must assume he got carried away. I wish to remind the hon. member that he cannot refer to members of this House by name, but rather by their title or responsibilities.

I would ask the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst to comply with the rules.

Privilege

Noon

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, thank you for reminding me that I should not have named the current Prime Minister, who was the finance minister at the time of the sponsorship scandal. I apologize sincerely.

Let us get back to debate now. We are talking about $48 billion taken out of the employment insurance fund. I want to tell the Liberal member from my region that, if there was one day of debate in June, it was because of the NDP and its motion to restore the criterion of the best 12 of 52 weeks. The seven Liberal members from New Brunswick voted against that motion. In fact, my dear friend Denis Landry should be asking those seven Liberals to support the member for Acadie—Bathurst and the NDP members when they present a motion to the current federal Prime Minister. Maybe we would see changes if we were to ask the question of the right persons and to put pressure on the right persons.

Let us look at what is happening now. Fishers from our region came to Ottawa last week or two weeks ago to demand the right to fish for herring, something that had been shut down since last spring because of Prince Edward Island. Four Liberal members from that province and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans had no valid reason for shutting down the herring fishery. These four Liberal members from Prince Edward Island are preventing these people from fishing in Canadian waters under federal jurisdiction. That is what the Liberals are like.

The election campaign has already started. The member for Beauséjour announced in the papers on Thursday that $100 million would be invested in his riding. Do the Liberals have a right to campaign using Canadians' taxes? Have there not been enough scandals? The Liberals should be ashamed of themselves.

When I requested funding for the Lamèque arena, I was told that there was no program for an arena. But the minister responsible for ACOA, who is from Prince Edward Island and is responsible for the entire Atlantic region, is prepared to invest $3 million in Saint-Léonard, a Liberal riding. It is a disgrace to see how the Liberals are governing these days using billions of dollars.

I believe that Canadians want a government that will be fair to them for once. It is too bad that our Canadian people, whether they live in Quebec or any other province, are losing confidence in politics.

Look at what is going on now. It is totally unacceptable. As I said, people in my region do not believe that the Liberals were unaware of the money they were receiving. It was millions of dollars. Do they think people are crazy? Do they think people cannot see straight? People feel used.

The Liberals tell us that if we propose calling an election in January, we are playing into the hands of the Conservatives and allying ourselves with them. No, we have a proposal for an election to be called in January with the voting day in February. Why does it matter whether the voting day is in February or March? There is a big difference. The Liberals are playing favourites now with taxpayers' money. That too is scandalous in my view. They should be studying the bills before the House of Commons and ensuring that our bills are passed because they are important for our people.

That is what we should do. We should ensure that this government puts a stop to the privatization of health care. But the Liberals are not prepared to do that. They are in the process of selling our health care system. This is shameful, and I want to speak out against it today. They want to sell our health care system to insurance companies, as in the United States. The poor will be unable to pay for this and will have to wait six months in hospital corridors. That will be the result.

The rich, who have the resources, will show up at their doctor’s office and say, “Look, here’s the money, I want care”. Other people will be waiting in line like animals.

This is not the sort of country I want to live in, nor the sort of country I want to promote. The Liberals should be ashamed today that they are incapable of saving our health care system. They like to boast; they are very happy with the things we have. But we have certain principles which hold that this health care system should be saved. Another of our principles is to have an employment insurance system that permits people who lose their jobs to be covered by that system.

For example, consider this. I will relate a few facts which show how the government is misusing the money of Canadians. To celebrate Canada Day, New Brunswick receives $120,000 for a population of 720,000, and Ontario receives $700,000 for a population of 11 million, yet for that same occasion Quebec receives $5 million for a population of 7 million. That is unacceptable. This year, for the first time, Quebec received only $3.5 million. Millions of dollars do a lot of good in a community. But everyone should be treated the same.

We are annoyed that there was a sponsorship program to save Quebec and that such a program caused a scandal. We may lose Quebec because of the Liberals. They should not cast blame on the opposition, but on themselves.

You have been incapable of managing the money of Canadians. If we lose our Canada, it will be your fault. You had the money in your hands and you mismanaged it. That is regrettable. The minister can say what he likes. You mismanaged the money and today we may be paying the price for it.

Privilege

12:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

I would remind the member for Acadie—Bathurst that he must address his comments through the Speaker. If the member wants to accuse me, I will then disagree with him. I therefore ask the member to rephrase his statements or his questions.

Privilege

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, you are too kind to accuse. Your work is truly impeccable. I did not intend to accuse you. I am sure you did not take the sponsorship money, so I will not accuse you.

In closing, we have before us a question of privilege in the House. The question is whether our householders or 10 percenters—call them what you will—are used correctly.

According to the Standing Orders of the House, when such a thing happens, the question must be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. I will not comment on the content nor base my observations on it. However, one committee, that is the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, could look into this as quickly as possible. We know that Liberals do not like 10 percenters and householders. They can go into any riding to make political announcements, but they do not want the opposition to have the right to speak or criticize in other regions of the country. I do not agree with that.

Householders or 10 percenters are important for the opposition. Such is democracy.

If the content of the pamphlet is that bad, the member for Bourassa could still press charges against those who are responsible. He can take them to court. The court will decide if there was defamation. However, I will never accept my privilege as a member being taken away from me.

Privilege

November 14th, 2005 / 12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was interesting to hear my colleague from the NDP say that his party was not entering into an alliance, an unholy alliance, with the Conservative ideologues and the Quebec separatists. So I am just curious what in fact this is. Is this a political ménage à trois? It is a pretty scary thought.

More interesting, the member mentioned that in the spring they were not allying with the Liberals, but in fact were helping to govern to ensure that very important legislation would get passed. We have some 30-odd bills on the order paper that, if there is a non-confidence motion, will not get passed. Following that logic, I would assume the NDP is now saying that these are not important bills for the people of Canada.

What sort of bills are these? There is Bill C-66, the energy relief bill, which would provide relief in January for people on fixed incomes, our seniors and families on low incomes. It would fall to the side. Does his party not feel that is important legislation? There is Bill C-69, the agricultural marketing programs act bill; or Bill C-64, the vehicle identification bill or, as some would call it, the Chuck Cadman bill. It would unfortunately fall by the wayside. There is Bill C-16, the impaired driving bill and Bill C-54, the oil and gas exploration bill. I am sure that the members opposite from Alberta will be happy to see that one fall by the wayside. There is Bill C-11, the whistleblower protection bill, and Bill S-39, the sex offender database bill. Which of these bills does the member feel is not important enough to be passed?

Privilege

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have to laugh a bit, not at my colleague, but at the comment as to which bill is not important enough to pass. I remember when the Liberals put Bill S-3, the official language bill, before the House four times and voted against it four times. That was a very important bill to Canadians.

When we look at this question, does it mean that we should not have an election in March because it is dangerous that we vote and that the separatists have a vote? Is that what we have to stop? Do we have to stop elections in Canada? What is the difference between now and March? Is it just because the Prime Minister of this country has decided so? Is that all it is?

The NDP has a motion that says that we would not call an election before Christmas and that we should call the election in January when the House of Commons is adjourned anyway until February. The House of Commons is not sitting from the middle of December. The NDP is proposing that the election is called in January and takes place in February.

Negotiations are already taking place among House leaders. We are ready to fast-track bills like the reduction on the fuel bill, to put it before the House, and pass it in one day. I have seen the Liberals pass a bill in the House in one day when they had the majority. When they wanted to legislate people working for Canada Post, it was done in one day. We could pass bills here in one day as long there is a majority or as long we have the unanimous consent of the House. All the opposition parties are willing to put bills before the House that are important to Canadians. We are prepared to allow Parliament to continue to allow for time for certain important bills to go through.

If we have an election before Christmas, it is because the Prime Minister of this country and the Liberals have decided so. We are proposing to begin the election when the House of Commons is adjourned. Any Canadian could see through that. That is what we are proposing. We have good bills that should go through. We have bills that have been on the waiting list for 12 years that have not gone through and should have gone through before now.

We are ready to look at bills that are important and put them through before Christmas. I would like to thank my colleague for asking this important question because maybe people did not know we could do that.

Privilege

12:15 p.m.

An hon. member

Are they going to do that?

Privilege

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Yes, they will. He is looking at the Bloc Québécois members. Will they? Yes, they will, on some bills that we will bring before the House. We will see how much this House can get done in the next month.

Privilege

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Myron Thompson Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have been here quite a while and I would like to mention that during the period of time I have been in the House of Commons there was the HRDC scandal, the tainted blood scandal, the pepper spray scandal and the Pearson airport scandal. Everyone will remember the hotel Shawinigate, the golf courses and the water fountains. There was the Airbus scandal. The residential schools affair also came up. There has been more money spent on lawyers than it would have taken to compensate the people who suffered in those residential schools.

Now there is the sponsorship scandal, the Dingwall scandal and the Ouellet scandal. We had strippergate or the stripper scandal, whatever we want to call it. This has all occurred since the Liberal government has been in power. Day after day, year after year, these kinds of things happened based on lies, fraud, theft, mismanagement, corruption and downright incompetence.

Could the member tell me why the government should have one more day to govern in this manner in this kind of situation?

Privilege

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, that is why Canadians have lost confidence. There are still a few things we can do in a few days which we believe could be done, except if the Prime Minister decides not to do it. I think that is the direction the Liberals are going in, which shows how bad they are.

It is a scandal when they take $48 billion away from working people, and put it in a general fund to pay the debt and balance the budget on the backs of men and women who lost their jobs. Every time there is an election, they build their platform on it and campaign on it. What the Liberals have done is wrong. There are many wrong things they have done and they will be judged.

A man called me this morning and said he could not believe we were asking people to vote during the holidays. I said it was not me, that the Prime Minister of this country will make that decision. It is much better to take half an hour to vote for the democracy of one's country than spending eight hours in a store or going to a bingo, or going here or there because of the vehicles we have today. If it needs to be done for our country, we should do it because we have to save our country and Canadians are very--

Privilege

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Privilege

12:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Order, please. Does the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst want to continue answering the question or has he finished?

Privilege

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I will quickly finish answering the question by saying that Canadians are very smart people and will know what to do. The only message I want to give to Canadians is that some countries go to war to obtain the right to vote and all we have to do is get in our cars. We have that democratic right. I want to encourage all Canadians to vote when it comes time whether it is in December, February, March or July, it does not matter. We should use the right we have that other countries do not have. I hope Canadians will do that.

Privilege

12:20 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Liberal

Claude Drouin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Rural Communities)

Mr. Speaker, I want to share my time with my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health.

The question of privilege granted to my colleague from Bourassa shows just how serious this is. When a party like the Bloc attacks people's reputations instead of sticking to a debate about ideas, as we should here in the Parliament of Canada, it shows how prepared this separatist party is to do just about anything to break up our country.

What I find disgraceful in what the Bloc members are doing is that they are attacking the reputations not just of members of Parliament but of their families and friends as well. I know that the Bloc members have families too. If they would just take two seconds to stop and think, they would immediately cease this disgraceful approach and unfortunate lack of judgment.

I should emphasize, though, that some Bloc members are not descending to conduct like that of their colleagues.

We heard the member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean tell the House that some members had thin skin but his was thicker. I was hardly surprised to see that he could not stop laughing when we were debating a matter of privilege here over a serious attack on someone's reputation.

I would like to return to the thick skin of the member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean. When his opponents pointed out during the last election campaign that he lived in a residence in Gatineau worth more than half a million dollars and had a shiny Cadillac, all of a sudden his skin became very thin. And yet, this was as true as can be. Here we see it every day with the Gomery report, and everybody is quoting it over and over and no party in this House has cast any doubt on the report. It acknowledges that no member of the government was involved in the scandal. So why does the Bloc not apologize and stop its smears and disinformation campaigns? The Bloc members often quote us this page or that of the report. They should read page 77 of the summary, where they will see Mr. Justice Gomery acknowledge that the government was not involved in these misappropriations.

All of politics loses because of the Bloc's behaviour. No time must be wasted in returning to debating ideas. This is why I am interested in the real reasons behind the thoughtless attacks by the separatists. They are supposed to be defending the interests of Quebeckers, but they have ignored a number of issues. There was the metro scandal in Laval, Quebec, which occurred while the mother house was in government. Some $178 million was involved. The work is not complete, and the cost is over $1 billion. It is a scandal. And yet, the Bloc members neither criticized the mother house nor called for it to investigate. Then there is Gaspésia, where costs spiralled $200 million over the original estimate. It could be called a scandal. There is the Caisse de dépôt. There are a lot of examples.

I will spend a little time on Oxygène 9.

Privilege

12:20 p.m.

An hon. member

In the case of the employment insurance, the figure was $46 billion.

Privilege

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Drouin Liberal Beauce, QC

I would remind the Bloc member that it was not $46 billion in the case of Oxygène 9. We will never know the figure, because the sovereignists lacked the nerve to investigate. They lacked the courage. Here, however, we did not lack the courage to acknowledge malfeasance and to have the guilty pay the price. We have sent this message here since the outset and will continue to do so.

Instead of being a responsible and transparent government, they had the minister Gilles Baril resign and promoted him to the position of vice-president of Hydro-Québec in Chile. They never investigated and never found out who was guilty. And the Bloc members are trying to teach us a lesson, we who established the Gomery commission and called in the RCMP to uncover the guilty parties.

Criminal charges were laid against four individuals, and 32 civil cases were initiated against individuals or companies for a total of $57 million. In so doing, we have demonstrated our desire to take action to ensure that such major problems never recur. That was the action of a responsible government. We have recreated the position of Comptroller General of Canada as well as comptroller positions for each department, in order to ensure that any program put in place will comply with Treasury Board standards and regulations.

My reading of these tactics is that the Bloc does not know what to do with a government that respects its commitments. This shows how important it is for the government to do exactly that. I will list but a few of our commitments, as time is unfortunately limited.

A few weeks after the election, a health agreement was signed for a total of $41.5 billion, $9.6 billion of that to go to Quebec over 10 years. Health is the ultimate priority of Quebeckers and Canadians. That was the action of a responsible government. We noted a major problem relating to equalization, and wanted to ensure its stability, so that the provincial governments will not be caught unawares because of an adjustment to the highly complex equalization program rules. What was the outcome of that? Within just weeks of the signing of the health agreement, an equalization agreement was concluded for $33 billion over ten years.

I would remind my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois that, this year, the agreement will see $4.8 billion going to Quebec in equalization payments. Next year, the amount will exceed $5.3 billion, or an increase of over $500 million in direct payments to Quebec. This is proof of how the Government of Canada respects its commitments.

We talked about parental leave. We have made an investment of $750 million per year to enable the province of Quebec to make its own decisions concerning parental leave and to enable families to have children, which is essential for our country. Subsequently, we have seen that Quebec is a leader in early learning and child care programs and we wanted to establish a national program. Therefore, an agreement of over $1 billion over five years was concluded. That enables Quebec, as a leader in this area, to share its know-how and expertise with the other provinces and territories, while respecting the fields of jurisdiction.

Too often we hear our colleagues from the Bloc Québécois say that the government does not respect provincial jurisdictions. The Charest government mentioned a while ago that it had concluded 150 agreements with the federal government. This is proof of mutual respect. And the interim leader of the Parti Québécois added: “One hundred and fifty agreements! The Parti Québécois has concluded 400 agreements with the Government of Canada.” This shows things are working out in this country. We are able to get along. However, when we are dealing with the Bloc Québécois, no agreement is possible.

It is too bad that I only have one minute left, because I could have continued for hours and hours to show just how much the Government of Canada has the interests of Quebeckers and all Canadians at heart.

In conclusion, I will talk about Bill C-9. Over $300 million will be given to the regions of Quebec, which constitutes concrete action. Going back to the main point of the debate, I would like to quote the Bloc leader:

On a sharply critical note, [the leader of the Bloc Québécois] said that in a society, attitudes fraught with hypocrisy and innuendo are not to be tolerated. If there is evidence, let it be known, do not let the rumour mill run. Rigour is required at all times; otherwise, we end up with statements starting with “Someone told me they have heard”. That is hearsay, gossip, and it is not right, be it directed at politicians or anyone else. There is nothing more harmful than rumour because it is not factual.

When the Bloc leader made this statement in Le Soleil , to whom do you think he was referring? He was referring to the separatists, who attack each other personally. This is reflected here when unaddressed householders contain personal attacks. Bloc members quote liberally from the Gomery report, saying it contains real and concrete facts, and yet, they do not say a word about the government. This is unacceptable and I hope they will apologize and demonstrate sound management and good behaviour in the House.

Privilege

12:30 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to the speech my colleague from the other side delivered. Since the Gomery report is the topic of the day, let us talk about it. I want to tell my colleague across the floor that we have read the Gomery report. I am a lawyer so I will refer to the report and the summary.

Here is what Justice Gomery says on page 9 of the report:

As an initial finding, which will be expanded upon in the pages that follow, it became apparent to me throughout the hearings that, with virtually no exceptions, the conclusions of the Auditor General of Canada, expressed in Chapters 3 and 4 of her 2003 Report to Parliament, have been confirmed. With only one exception of a purely technical nature, relating to the purchase of horses by the RCMP, no one has seriously suggested to me that any of her conclusions were unfounded.

Thus, we must look at the conclusions and I am coming to my question. The conclusions of the Auditor General quoted on page 12 of the summary are as follows:

Parliament’s role was not respected;

there was a breakdown in internal controls;

there were problems related to the selection of agencies;

files were poorly documented; amendments were made irregularly;

there were serious problems relating to section 34 of the Financial Administration Act;

commissions and production costs were excessive; and

the Government’s Transfer Payments Policy was not observed.

Therefore, I read the report and I could keep asking questions for the remainder of the month. Do you agree with the conclusions of the Auditor General quoted by Justice Gomery on page 12 of his report? If so, since you must agree—I suppose you agree with the report entirely—what do you intend to do? What guarantee do we have? This is the reason why we have informed our constituents about this scandal.

Do you agree with the conclusions of the Auditor General stated again in the Gomery report, which is about one of the worst scandals in Canada?

Privilege

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Drouin Liberal Beauce, QC

Madam Speaker, I am somewhat surprised that the member would dare rise in this House to ask this question. I told him in my comments that, as regards the metro in Laval, it was over $900 million. With the sponsorship program, it was $350 million over a ten-year period.

Many organizations from which Bloc Québécois members benefited did receive the money as agreed. However, there was some misappropriation of funds, and we took action. We fully accept the content of the Gomery report. On page 77 of the Summary, it is mentioned that no government member was involved. Therefore, how can the member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue, who is a lawyer, dare accuse some people, when the Gomery report tells the truth? The member refers to various pages, he says that he has read everything and that he is prepared to ask questions for weeks and months. He sent this piece of trash to his constituents and indirectly accused, through some comments, people who were exonerated by Justice Gomery himself in his report. But the member is nevertheless accusing these people. He has the nerve to rise in this House and ask questions, but we never saw him protect the interests of Quebeckers in the numerous scandals that involved his party's head office for years. Perhaps a reminder is in order here. Perhaps the member was pleading cases before the courts when these scandals occurred, and perhaps he was not aware of what was going on. Just think of the metro in Laval, the caisse de dépôt and Oxygène 9.

Given all this, perhaps the member should just keep quiet for a while.

Privilege

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Françoise Boivin Liberal Gatineau, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to take my colleague back to the householder issue, which is at the core of the question of privilege. We are hearing all sorts of things back and forth across the House. Some people seem to find the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Bourassa very funny. However, all of us in this House maintain that we want to defend our democratic rights, and this is central to our role as politicians. We are supposed to be leaders of Canadian society, but there are times when some might wonder, given the level of some debates.

We are talking about a householder. I have here the householder of the member for Drummond. It is one of those that was sent out. It covers a lot of things. Indeed, it tries to make certain innuendoes. I would like to draw the attention of the honourable member—