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House of Commons Hansard #157 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Boulianne Bloc Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is at issue, really, is democracy. From day one, we have noted the lack of respect. The Liberal Party trampled democracy.

Quebec and Canada have worked hard to get this parliamentary system, and ministerial responsibility in particular. We could also mention the courts, and what not. However, ministerial responsibility, as defined by the Liberals, is lack of respect.

They say they did not know, they are not responsible, they were not aware, no one told them. That is not ministerial responsibility. It is an important choice, and those whose actions bring scandal ought to resign.

We have had several scandals: the gun registry, the HRDC boondoggle and, now, the sponsorship scandal. The problem with that is that the public no longer trusts the day-to-day management of the finances.

That is what we are told by everyone. If there is no money, they figure it is because it has gone somewhere else: into the pockets of close friends of the Liberal Party. That is what is at issue. That is the issue. The punishment for the Liberals, the public insists, is to get rid of them as soon as possible.

Here is my question to the hon. member. Is this motion not appropriate punishment? Is it not reasonable for the public to think that, once and for all, they will be getting what was coming to them and face the consequences of their actions, of their lack of respect for democracy?

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy, NB

Mr. Speaker, absolutely, this is about restoring accountability. There has to be accountability.

Justice Gomery found that the Liberal Party was responsible for these activities. It was the Liberal Party of Canada that benefited from these illegal activities, from taking taxpayers' money and indirectly or directly lining the pockets of Liberal Party activists and Liberal Party workers.

Absolutely, someone has to be responsible. The Liberal Party of Canada has to be responsible. The Prime Minister has to be responsible. The current Prime Minister was the minister of finance at that time. He was the minister responsible for the nation's financing. He was the caretaker of taxpayers' dollars. He was also responsible for this program that was being administered.

The then minister of finance, the current Prime Minister, should have known what was going on. It was his job to take care of our finances. The Liberal Party of Canada benefited from this program. Ultimately that responsibility is on the Liberals and now is an opportunity for Canadians, having heard what Justice Gomery said about the sponsorship scandal, to pass judgment on those responsible.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, the question is why do we need an election? The non-confidence motion says that this House has lost confidence in the government. To put it in simple terms, it is because it is time to clean house. Specifically, it is an indictment of the government by the House saying that the government is condemned for its arrogance, for its culture of entitlement and for the corruption, the scandal and the gross abuse of public funds for political purposes. The government has lost touch with the common people and it is here to serve only its own ends.

Why do we need an election? Because it is time to clean house. There is a job that needs to be done and it needs to be done now. In fact, the majority of people will take the time in a responsible way to exercise their duty and responsibility to set the country on the right course by electing a new government.

It is the solemn responsibility that must be exercised as a cloud falls over the present government. It is a fundamental change that the people of Canada are about to make and make it they will with all the seriousness and determination that will be required, despite the time of year or the exact call of the day, because it is the right thing to do and it is the very thing that needs to be done to set our country on the right course and in the right direction.

Why does the Prime Minister want to wait until the second part of the Gomery report when the first part has been the fact finding part, and all the facts are in? It is not because he hopes to learn more about what happened, but rather it is the hope on his part that the public will have forgotten what happened, that the attention will be drawn to something else, that the real transgressions, that the severity and the magnitude of them will somehow be softened by the lens of time.

The Prime Minister is afraid to face the music, or shall I say the consequences. It is the cowardly act of not wanting to face the consequences here and now when the evidence is still fresh. The government has taken away supply days and the opportunity for earlier confidence votes. Now it is trying to say that somehow the opposition is forcing an election at this time of the year.

I am a lawyer, and Gomery indicated that on the evidence he could not find any blame or responsibility. That is not saying there is not any blame or responsibility. A case can be won or lost based on the evidence that is presented. One can have a winning case and still lose if the evidence is not presented or the necessary evidence is unavailable at the time of the hearing, or it is not pursued with the vigour required to unearth it to bring it forward. In fact, it may be because the nature of the evidence is buried and cannot be brought forward.

To the use the words “based on the evidence” makes the finding very qualified. Let me reiterate what I mean. Justice Gomery said in respect to one aspect of the hearing:

It is extraordinary that no witness is willing to tell the Commission exactly what transpired in the period following the political decision made by Cabinet on February 1-2, 1996....It is impossible to believe that there were no meetings or discussions involving the Prime Minister and his staff during that period concerning the implementation of the decision, but Mr. Pelletier conveniently purports to have no recollection of what actually happened.

That does not mean that there were no meetings. It only means that based on the evidence, he could not find that meetings took place.

He also spoke about Lafleur Communications and how he had the suspicion that the objective of public works was to qualify them as quickly as possibly so it could be one of the suppliers, although he had a suspicion the evidence was not there.

Somehow the Prime Minister interprets or takes the words of Justice Gomery to say he is exonerated from blame or for any carelessness or misconduct. The one person who knew of the evidence is the Prime Minister who made a national address saying the following with respect to his involvement. He said:

Let me speak plainly: what happened with the sponsorship file occurred on the watch of a Liberal government. Those who were in power are to be held responsible. And that includes me.

That sounds like a confession. He went on to say, “I was the Minister of Finance. Knowing what I've learned this past year, I am sorry that we weren’t more vigilant”. Then he had a stroke of conscience and corrected himself, “That I wasn't more vigilant. Public money was misdirected and misused and that is unacceptable”.

This happened on his watch, while he was the finance minister, when he knew where every penny moved, where every dollar went. He was not there to ensure that it did not happen. He must now face Canadians and let them judge. The facts are in and it is time for the jury to make its decision.

When the captain was involved, we have to wonder about the involvement of the first officer. The Prime Minister either knew of the general climate in Quebec or he otherwise turned a blind eye to what was going on around him. He was an able minister and he had the pulse of what was taking place when he orchestrated a silent coup to displace the then prime minister. He stated that he knew nothing, saw nothing, yet nothing moved without his knowing.

One would think that the government would have learned from the Gomery experience, but it is clear that it has not. We have only to look at the Dingwall affair and the Herle affair to see for ourselves that despite the multitude of promises and assurances from the Prime Minister that things would change, they have not. Nothing has changed.

Let us look at the Dingwall affair. An executive quits his job, the Prime Minister issues high praise for him, yet his expense account would make the most liberal of Liberals blush. That is okay, let us pay him a severance of $500,000 without even blinking an eye. Only when extreme pressure was placed on the government, did the Prime Minister blush at his earlier comments.

Let me give the House a more current example of the culture of which I speak.

The rules say that bids are to be solicited before any contract is entered into. There are certain exceptions, pressing emergencies, contracts under $25,000 and so on. Mr. Herle, known to just about everybody as the national Liberal campaign co-chair and party pollster, was given a contract to the maximum amount of $23,112, just under the $25,000 rule limit, where he billed about $3,000 without bids being solicited. He was contracted to provide advice, including advice on public opinion research, regarding the Minister of Finance's mini-budget or economic update. Was there anything wrong with that? He said that the contract had been given by the Department of Finance. It was within the rules, and the guidelines were followed.

The government does not get it. There is something with that culture of entitlement with benefiting its own. It is the idea as Rex Murphy stated of “tacit license to feed and appoint its own, to make merry with the public purse and a mockery of all the established rules under the self-serving gloss that it is acting in the public good”. As he further put it, “It's a closed, incestuous circle in which elected office is seen as a lever to reward friends or party workers or as the ideal base to prepare for lucrative careers on the public purse after elected politics”, the whole gauntlet of reward appointments for the well connected. He went on to say, “But outside of those extremes, they've hit the bottom of the barrel, dug underneath the barrel, and found an even lower place where there are no self-respecting barrels at all”.

That is why we must have an election and why the government must go.

New rules to show the way are important, but what is more important is a brand new set of people and a brand new government that will truly be the people's servants, who will be prepared to take a loss and sacrifice for the good of the country, for the good of its people, not because that is what the public would expect but because it is the right thing to do.

All of this is best highlighted and shown for what it is by the recent announcement by an individual who was prepared to pay a huge personal price and to make a personal sacrifice in order to do the right thing. The epitome of what I say, Mr. Allan Cutler, who blew the whistle. He knows all about this. I am reminded of his words earlier this week when he said that he took a look around and was impressed with what he saw in the federal accountability act, but more important, in the leader of the opposition as well as those around him.

Mr. Cutler wants to see accountability in government. Canadians, people who work hard, pay their taxes and play by the rules also want to see accountability in political leaders, and our leader exemplifies that. Mr. Cutler and all Canadians want to see the end of the influence of money in politics. Our leader is the right man to do the job. Mr. Cutler, along with all Canadians, value honesty and integrity in a leader and that is something our leader exemplifies.

This team will clean house and will implement the tough federal accountability act to ensure that this does not happen again. We have the plan, we have the rules and we have the right people. We do not have to wait for Justice Gomery any longer. We need an election because it is time to clean house. It is this culture of corruption and entitlement that must go and it must go now. The people of Canada will see to this.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Boulianne Bloc Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the hon. member on his presentation. He explained the issue really well, particularly when he talked about the responsibility of the current Prime Minister in the sponsorship scandal. Everyone knows that he was aware of what was going on.

It is true that the Prime Minister is not directly blamed in the Gomery report. However, if we read between the lines, it is clear that, considering the positions held at the time by the current Prime Minister, namely that of vice-president of the Treasury Board and Minister of Finance, he had some responsibility.

In fact, Justice Gomery talks about this in his Summary. He defines the Treasury Board as follows: “The Treasury Board...functions as a management board overseeing all federal government operations”. This means that nothing happens without first being checked by the president or the vice-president of the Treasury Board. And who was the vice-president at the time? It was the current Prime Minister.

Similarly, if we read between the lines, we notice that Justice Gomery refers to ministerial accountability. We mentioned it earlier. He said: “Law, tradition or convention dictate that the Minister has sole authority for the management and direction...”. Contrary to the definition of ministerial accountability given by the Liberals, if we read between the lines, it becomes very clear that the current Prime Minister was responsible.

I have a question for the hon. member. He concluded his speech by saying that this government deserves the punishment that the public will mete out. Does he think that the government should step down immediately?

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, if I ran a department or were a head of government, I would take responsibility for what happened on my watch. One cannot have billions of dollars going by without knowing something is wrong.

When we look at what happened in the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party, it was quite deep and vast and a lot of funds were misused. One would have to wonder at some point. They had a specific meeting to set up this fund. Moneys were going through with no particular audit trails or approval processes. I would have thought one might have wanted to ask if moneys were being dispensed in a proper way when one part of the province was doing very well in meeting its expenses and paying its employees.

There is an obligation on those who are responsible to ensure not only that the systems are in place but to be vigilant. To use the words of the Prime Minister, “I should have more vigilant”. He could have said “we”. Corporately we have a responsibility to be more vigilant, but he personally had a responsibility to be more vigilant and to see that this kind of thing did not take place.

As elected members of this House, there is a responsibility that goes with the office. If things happen under our watch, the responsibility has to kick in. The public will see to it that the ultimate justice is paid in this case. It is a culture that has pervaded government. The Liberals almost do not recognize that there is a problem. It is for that reason that a cleaning of this House is required.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am just listening to the debates this morning and I hear all the members of the House talking about what the Liberal government has done to Canadians for the last decade, stealing money and funneling it into its Quebec arm, et cetera. I want to know if things have changed with the government.

Clearly, $40 million is still missing. Right now the Liberal government refuses to sue itself to recover any of that money. Therefore, I do not see anything changing. We still hear about the Prime Minister running around the country on taxpayer dollars, in corporate jets paid for by taxpayers, for Liberal fundraising and Liberal Party initiatives.

We even see now an orgy of spending by the Minister of Finance of billions of dollars. Here is the crux of the issue. Nothing has changed with the government. Our aboriginal communities are still on boil water orders. Even in Ontario, 40 reserves are still boiling water.

The government has not done anything in 10 years. Is not the best thing for Canadians--

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Souris--Moose Mountain.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, there is no question that it would be awfully difficult for a person to make the decision whether he was going to sue himself or those close to him. Those decisions should be made at least at arm's length and perhaps should be made by those who have no connection or anything to benefit by it.

In terms of a change in direction, we have had ample time now in the House, in this session, to see that very little has changed. The means are whatever are necessary to get to the end. If the end is staying in power, to continue the culture of entitlement to benefit those around them, if it means the Liberals have to drop billions of dollars, in fact, empty the entire vault just to stay in power and do things a day or two before an election, or buying votes, that is wrong. This is the exact thing that needs to be rooted out of this place.

Anne PennellStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, Lawrence Pennell, who served his country with great distinction as Solicitor General of Canada during the mid-1960s, recently suffered the loss of his wife of many years.

Anne Pennell was a woman of class and dignity who, behind her modest and retiring nature, was a lady of ability, character and strong social conscience. She was active in the cause of education in my riding of Brant and was for many years an unflagging volunteer canvasser for several charitable organizations.

In spirit and thought, she lived a wonderful unchanging life and was a person of faith and hope who brought the sweetness of love and laughter into the family home.

On behalf of my community, I wish to express our collective heartfelt gratitude for her life, her work and her example of an extraordinary human being. As someone once said, I desire to live worthily as long as I live and to leave to those who come after my memory and good works.

Member for Westlock—St. PaulStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am proud today to pay tribute to my friend and colleague, the member for Westlock—St. Paul.

The member first arrived here with his Reform Party compatriots in the rebellion of '93. The political landscape was forever changed as they began a process of tearing down big arrogant government, something we will finish next week.

The member for Westlock—St. Paul was re-elected three more times with tremendous plurality, showing the growing respect and admiration held by his constituents. The member was born in Westlock and produced grain and cattle while becoming a highly regarded expert in gas and oil exploration.

He is a man who personifies the work ethic that has built Alberta into the economic powerhouse it is today. My friend from Westlock—St. Paul is the consummate Albertan, a gentleman of soft speech and iron will, a man of principle and dignity. He has sacrificed neither during his years in the chamber.

On behalf of his constituents, the Conservative Party of Canada and all members of the House, I wish all the best in the years ahead for Dave and his family.

Fort Garry Historical SocietyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, just south of my riding is the St. Norbert Heritage Park, an excellent collection of Métis homes and artifacts set in an historically significant site.

The Fort Garry Historical Society is based in my riding and has been doing an exceptional job preserving the site, the building and the artifacts. It is now in the process of restoring another home, the Delorme Residence. The cost of the restoration is slightly over $200,000.

I wish to recognize the Fort Garry Historical Society and its committed membership for undertaking this new venture. The Delorme house is of significant historical value in Manitoba as it is associated with Louis Riel and the north west rebellion.

I wish them well in their fundraising efforts and I look forward to touring the new addition to the St. Norbert Heritage Park.

Foreign PolicyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, so far, the online consultation with the public in Quebec and Canada conducted by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade concerning Canada's international policy statement has clearly demonstrated that, for Quebeckers and Canadians alike, fighting world poverty should be at the forefront of Canada's broader objectives with respect to international cooperation.

The majority of respondents agree that the most important factor in determining international aid levels and conditions should be poverty reduction and that Canada should schedule firm budgetary expenditures so as to reach the international aid target of 0.7% of GDP by 2015.

Despite what he said at the UN World Summit in September about the importance of reducing world poverty, the Prime Minister failed to turn his words into actions by committing to reach the 0.7% target by 2015.

Citizens' Advisory Committee Awareness WeekStatements By Members

November 24th, 2005 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week the Correctional Service Canada and communities across the country are celebrating Citizens' Advisory Committee Awareness Week.

Citizens' advisory committees have been part of the correctional process for more than 25 years. All federal penitentiaries and parole offices are advised by nearly 600 citizens on such committees. Citizens' advisory committees help enhance public security in Canada by strengthening the bonds between the communities and the correctional system.

I would like to encourage all members of Parliament to join me in recognizing and congratulating those who contribute as members of 106 citizens' advisory committees across Canada.

Member for British Columbia Southern InteriorStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Gouk Conservative Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is probably the last time I will rise in the House as a member of Parliament. After four terms of representing the good people of the most scenic riding in Canada, it is time for me to pursue other interests.

Those interests will involve a lot more time with my family, especially my wife Ann, who has been unwavering in her support of my career both as an MP and prior to that. We often hear of the sacrifices made by the members of the House but we do not speak often enough of the sacrifices made by members' families. My wife has made whatever success I have enjoyed possible. I intend to spend much more time with her than I have been able to do in the past. It is her time too.

I thank the members of my board for their unwavering support. I thank and acknowledge my staff, Danielle Jackson, Sarah Tupholme and Bonnie Fowler. Not only have they been tireless in their efforts on behalf of constituents but they have become very special friends.

Finally, I want to thank my constituents for the incredible honour that they have provided me to be allowed to represent them here in Ottawa. I thank them sincerely and leave here hoping that I have measured up to what they expected of me.

University of WaterlooStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, congratulations go to the University of Waterloo for once again being named the best comprehensive university in the country and ranked number one in all measures in this category in Macleans ' national reputation survey: the highest quality, leaders of tomorrow, most innovative and best overall.

Innovation is a major ingredient in the University of Waterloo's success. Its pioneering of the co-op education program and allowing members of the university to retain their intellectual property have paid big dividends: the University of Waterloo personnel have founded 22% of all technology transfer companies created by a university in Canada.

When all universities in all categories were compared, the University of Waterloo was still judged the number one university in the country. I congratulate the University of Toronto for placing second. Congratulations also go out to all Canadian universities because they all provide high quality education for students across the country.

Diabetes MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, November is diabetes month and more than 550,000 Quebeckers live with this disease.

Diabetes is of concern to me because I have a son who is a type 1, insulin-dependent diabetic.

There is no cure for this disease and it has a very high economic cost, estimated at $2 billion a year in Quebec and $13 billion in Canada.

The socio-economic impact of diabetes is also a harsh reality for diabetics. They are denied access to certain professions or often lose their jobs. Their families are more often in crisis as a result.

Canada has one of the highest incidences of juvenile diabetes in the world. Conversely, it is significantly behind in terms of government support for research into this disease.

In handing out billions of pre-election dollars, did the Prime Minister perhaps forget a gift for people with diabetes?

Orléans Francophone Involvement MovementStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Godbout Liberal Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, for 27 years, MIFO, the Francophone involvement movement in Orléans, has been showcasing francophone culture and promoting the cultural expression of the Orléans community. It meets artistic, cultural, social, community and educational needs by providing a variety of services in French for francophones and francophiles of all ages, from the very young to the not so young.

To show how much MIFO is appreciated, I wish to inform hon. members that during the recent Francophonie Gala put on by ACFO Ottawa, MIFO, its general director and its president won the Grandmaître award for the organization that has made the greatest contribution to the development of the Ottawa francophone community.

Ottawa—Orléans is pleased and extremely proud of this jewel of our Franco-Ontarian heritage. We wish MIFO many more years of success.

Member for Okanagan—ShuswapStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Myron Thompson Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured today to pay tribute to my great friend, the member for Okanagan—Shuswap. Over the past 12 years, this member has been steadfast in his loyalty to his constituents and Conservative values. His commitment and work ethic can be traced back to his days in ranching and mining.

When he first landed on Parliament Hill back in 1993, he proudly stated, “When I go to Ottawa, Ottawa won't change me!” I will admit that nothing has changed this man. He proudly wore his stetson and cowboy boots to remind his constituents that he was their man in Ottawa.

There are enough stories over the last 12 years to fill the entire Library of Parliament, many of which cannot be repeated here. There were many issues he was passionate about, including softwood lumber, free trade, justice, child pornography, marriage, euthanasia and terrorism.

Personally, I will deeply miss his friendship on the Hill. He has a long battle ahead of him but I know there is no one tougher to fight this fight than the member for Okanagan—Shuswap.

I am sure if we had a parliamentary hall of fame this member's stetson would proudly hang to remind us all that we are here not for ourselves but for our constituents.

May God bless my good friend.

Liberal Women's CaucusStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Françoise Boivin Liberal Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, today's opposition motion demonstrates beyond a shadow of doubt that we are approaching the end of the 38th Parliament. Although there is much still to be done for the well-being of all Canadians, I would like to take advantage of this opportunity today to thank all the members of the Liberal Women's Caucus, as well as the Minister responsible for the Status of Women, the hon. member for Jeanne—Le Ber, for the confidence they have shown in me throughout the past year in my capacity as chair of that caucus, as well as member for Gatineau.

The Liberal Women's Caucus that I chaired has had a great influence on a number of issues, including the missile defence shield, additional funding for seniors and natural caregivers from the Minister of Finance, national child care, and gender equality.

My thanks to all these committed Liberal women. See you again soon.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Edith Kaggwa is a hard-working registered practical nurse at St. Peter's Hospital in my riding. She has four daughters aged 12, 9, 6 and 5, three of them born here in Canada.

Edith is an active member of her church and a well liked member of the hospital staff, but next week she faces possible deportation to Uganda, one of the most dangerous places on Earth. Edith is so afraid that she would rather put her daughters in the care of the Children's Aid Society than take them to Uganda.

Amnesty International reports that thousands of Ugandan girls as young as eight years old are used as domestic slaves, raped and assigned as wives by the Lord's Resistance Army.

Edith's husband was deported to Uganda five years ago and no one has heard from him since.

The Hamilton community is rallying in support of Edith Kaggwa. On their behalf, I call on the immigration minister today to help Edith and her family. Let them remain safe and sound in Canada, their adopted home.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, since the Liberal government took power, our criminal justice system has been seriously weakened and Canadians' safety jeopardized.

The Liberals' bleeding heart mentality has resulted in dangerous offenders walking free. Under the government there is absolutely no truth in sentencing. This is not just the opinion of those of us on this side of the House. It is the opinion of police officers such as Corporal Randy Yaschuk of the Strathmore RCMP.

Corporal Yaschuk was the arresting officer when Shawn Robert Sherwin was charged with 17 counts of breaking and entering, four counts of theft, firearms possession and mischief.

Sherwin was sentenced to five years in February 2005 but, courtesy of the Liberal government, Sherwin was released on parole on November 11. He served only 10 months. As a result, the people of Rockyford, Alberta live in fear that he will move back into their community and re-offend.

It is time we replaced the government, a government that puts the rights of offenders ahead of the rights of victims and the protection of society. It is time for change.

Member for Saint-Maurice—ChamplainStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to mark the departure of a number of our colleagues who will not be running in the next election campaign.

The Bloc Québécois wishes to thank the 20 or so MPs who will not be running again for the contribution they have made to democracy.

I would like to pay particular tribute to the dean of the Bloc Québécois contingent, our colleague for Saint-Maurice—Champlain, who is leaving us.

A long-time sovereignist and committed activist, who sat in the National Assembly under the leadership of René Lévesque, he has instilled all of his wisdom, determination and courage into our caucus.

We are proud to have had the opportunity to work with him and I can assure him that we will continue his fight to ensure that justice is done with regard to low-income seniors and the GIS.

Thank you for your work, your devotion to Quebec, and your friendship.

So long, Marcel.

Gomery ReportStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, one cannot read Gomery without recognizing how it chronicles the last 12 years of Liberal greed. Justice Gomery himself stated:

The Report that follows chronicles a depressing story of multiple failures to plan a government program appropriately and to control waste—a story of greed, venality and misconduct...in government....

Senior Liberals deliberately circumvented federal legislation, including the Canada Elections Act, the Lobbyists Registration Act, the Access to Information Act and the Financial Administration Act as well as federal contracting policy and the Treasury Board transfer payments policy. This clearly resulted in a culture of entitlement among Liberal political officials.

The Liberals have a million excuses but Canadians only need one question answered. With Gomery documenting millions of dollars in waste and the rampant abuse of the public service, why is it the Liberals did nothing until they were caught?

Tourism AwardStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Keskinada Loppet, which takes place in my riding of Hull—Aylmer, recently won the Hertz Canada event of the year award at the national awards for tourism excellence of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

This event, which has been held in Gatineau since 1982, has helped put Canada on the map as a premier winter destination. With more than 11,000 participants from over 20 countries, it is Canada's largest cross-country skiing event and represents Canada on the world loppet circuit of the sport's most noteworthy races.

Input from both visitors and participants generates continuous improvement. This year, the organizers of the Keski introduced a number of firsts in its history, including the setting of a Guinness record for the world's largest ski, on which 100 people managed to fit, new skiing events, a trade show, receptions and medal ceremonies.

I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to the Keskinada Loppet and its president, Claude Laramée, for winning this prestigious award.

FinanceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, the last days of this government are not a pretty sight. As if three budgets in the last nine months were not enough, the government is now throwing money at taxpayers at the rate of $1 billion a day.

This is the typical Liberal thinking that Canadians are not smart enough to know when they are being bought with their own money.

Will the minister admit what analysts are already speculating: that the government is on a fast track to a deficit?