Mr. Speaker, perhaps it would be useful at this point in the debate to remind members of Parliament and Canadians watching the debate what exactly is the motion before the House.
One would think, based on some of the comments from Liberal members, that we are dealing with some ridiculous, weird idea, when in fact we are dealing with a motion that says:
That, in the opinion of this House, during the week of January 2, 2006, the Prime Minister should ask Her Excellency the Governor General of Canada to dissolve the 38th Parliament and to set the date for the 39th general election for Monday, February 13, 2006; and
That the Speaker transmit this resolution to Her Excellency the Governor General.
We have before us a very reasonable proposition, a constructive, common sense proposal to deal with a stalemate in the House. It would deal with a very difficult situation, that being the loss of confidence by the majority of members in the House, by three out of four political parties in the House, a loss of confidence in the government of the day, and a desire to go to the polls as soon as possible.
In the motion is a recognition that Canadians would prefer that we not conduct an election during the upcoming holidays. Canadians would also prefer that we complete the pressing work of the House that has been long promised and can be completed expeditiously.
Canadians want to see us keep our commitment to first nations people. They want us to be present at the Kyoto accord discussions, but they also want an election.
This proposal is merely an attempt to accommodate the wishes of Canadians, which is to have an election as soon as possible, but not at a time when it interferes with a very spiritual time in the lives of Canadians. Is that so much to ask?
We have just heard from the dean of the House, the member for Elmwood—Transcona, a member who knows the rules of this place inside and out, a constitutional expert, a parliamentary affairs expert, and a man of great wisdom. He has presented to us a rationale for this motion that makes sense.
Why do we go on with the rest of the day? Are the Liberals not yet prepared to say “uncle”? I do not hear anything. Maybe it is time that they said “uncle” and let this debate come to an end. Let the government show that it is prepared to do what is right, what is reasonable, and show compassion, cooperation and compromise. That, in essence, is all we are talking about.
Three parties in the House from very disparate points of view have come together to compromise, cooperate and show compassion. All we are asking is for the government, the fourth party, the Liberal Party in the House, to join with us in accepting and agreeing to the wishes of Canadians.
As has been identified by so many speakers before me, this is not a party or a government that practices compromise. This is a party and a government that practices obsessive behaviour. This is a party that has, over the years, refused to compromise on so many important issues. It is perhaps more understandable today to see the Liberals refuse to compromise on such a common sense, practical and reasonable solution to a very difficult situation.
We have seen the Prime Minister's obsessive style at work before. Many have referred to different examples. We could talk about any number of issues. Perhaps most directly would be the number he did on the former Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien. Clearly, this is not a man who compromises.
However, that does not mean we ought not to try because his colleagues around him may have some sense of the need to compromise because they are hearing the voices of Canadians. They know the importance of respecting the wishes of their citizens and constituents.
This country was built on the values of cooperation, compromise and compassion. Surely, if anything, those should be the values at play in this chamber. Surely, that is the art of politics and is what encourages people to participate in the democratic process. Surely, those are the values that in fact deal with the Prime Minister's so-called obsession with the notion of a democratic deficiency in this Parliament and in the country.
The real question for us today is why the government does not want to accept such a reasonable compromise? Is it that the Liberals do not want a winter election? We have heard that. Many have been on the news saying they would not want to be out there asking people to go to the polls in the winter. As so many of my colleagues have pointed out, the Prime Minister's own proposal, his original proposal last February 14, called for an election in the dead of winter. Remember that he promised that the election would be called 30 days after the delivery of Judge Gomery's report that was expected on December 14. We would have been in an election anyway, in the dead of winter. That is not an argument and it is not an excuse.
Could it be that this is an attempt to distract voters from the issues pertaining to the sponsorship scandal? Is it perhaps an attempt by the Liberals to play the work of a magician and focus our attention on something other than the stark realities of the Gomery report?
We know that the Prime Minister has come out of the Liberal sponsorship swamp with muck all over his boots. He wants more time to wipe it off before he stands on Canadians' doorsteps asking for their vote. He should know that it will take more than eight weeks, or 18 weeks, to get rid of the stench. The Liberals should borrow their election campaign motto from Shakespeare. Would it not make sense if they used the words, “Out, damned spot!”? I think that would be a very appropriate election slogan for the Liberals right about now.
There is the question, the real possibility, as my colleagues have said, that in fact the government is only rejecting this proposal, so that it has more time to buy the votes of Canadians, so that it has more time to campaign at public expense using the Challenger and other means of communication and transportation, and to bring goodies to the doorsteps of each and every Canadian across the country.
We certainly saw that already this week in the so-called economic update, really a budget, which managed to spread around about $39 billion in Liberal election promises. That is over the next five years. By their own calculations, the update says that the Liberals have kept back an additional $15.5 billion in planning surplus from the anticipated surplus over the next five years.
I guess we all wonder what the Liberals have planned for the final run up to the election. It does not take much imagination to guess how much of that remaining $15.5 billion will be left on election day. Does the Prime Minister really think Canadians are gullible enough to believe his explanation?
If we consider Monday the first day of the Liberal campaign, here we are on day four. It is day four since the Liberal election campaign formally launched itself at the finance committee of this Parliament, and we saw how the Liberals are at it again.
It is election eve and here comes the finance minister pretending to be Santa in a pinstriped suit with a huge sack of goodies, something for everyone and each one tagged from the Liberal Party of Canada. Do not open until voting day of course because they are all IOUs. They are Liberal promises because they are really part of an election platform, not an economic update at all. But in the world of Santa, reality is not all that important. It is all about winning.
Liberal wins do not build houses or purify drinking water or end child poverty. Canadians are still waiting to redeem Liberal promises from elections past. Yes, Canadians remain wary indeed that we do not again end up, the day after the election, looking through the window at a banker's feast with just a chunk of coal in our stockings. Canadians ask this government to accept this reasonable, responsible, and common sense compromise. Let us get on with it.