Debates of Nov. 24th, 2005
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.
- Question Period
- Canada Account Report 2003-04
- Canada Health Infoway
- Government Response to Petitions
- Security Committee of Parliamentarians Act
- Interparliamentary Delegations
- Committees of the House
- Youth Criminal Justice Act
- Canadian Autism Day Act
- Criminal Code
- Questions on the Order Paper
- Question No. 240
- Questions Passed As Orders for Returns
- Question No. 184
- Question No. 195
- Question No. 198
- Question No. 212
- Question No. 226
- Business of the House
- Anne Pennell
- Member for Westlock—St. Paul
- Fort Garry Historical Society
- Foreign Policy
- Citizens' Advisory Committee Awareness Week
- Member for British Columbia Southern Interior
- University of Waterloo
- Diabetes Month
- Orléans Francophone Involvement Movement
- Member for Okanagan—Shuswap
- Liberal Women's Caucus
- Member for Saint-Maurice—Champlain
- Gomery Report
- Tourism Award
- Income Trusts
- Guaranteed Income Supplement
- Child Poverty
- Sponsorship Program
- Liberal Party of Canada
- Sponsorship Program
- Canada Labour Code
- Softwood Lumber
- Canada Revenue Agency
- Canada Elections Act
- International Cooperation
- Citizenship and Immigration
- Political Party Fundraising
- Public Safety
- Firearms Registry
- The Environment
- Business of the House
- Points of Order
- Canadian Forces
- Points of Order
- Committees of the House
- Points of Order
- Trade Compensation Act
November 24th, 2005 / 11:20 a.m.
Tony Ianno Trinity—Spadina, ON
Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON
The member for Trinity—Spadina is once again making his customary contribution in the House, which is to heckle meaningless remarks. I will say no more about that at this time.
An hon. member
No class at all.
Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON
I am sure Madam Speaker will do her best to keep order in this rather chaotic place. I hear a chorus rising from the Liberal benches in support of the member for Trinity—Spadina. They will have their turn to explain themselves to the Canadian public soon enough.
Today, as a result of the Liberals refusing to keep their election rhetoric and protect public health care from Americanization, and as a result of their refusal to listen to a majority vote of the House on a compromise election timing that gets things done in the fall and then moves in an orderly sensible fashion to an election in January, and of course, Justice Gomery's indictment of the Liberal Party culture of entitlement, corruption and arrogance, the New Democratic Party is forced to say that we have no confidence in this government.
As a result of Liberals refusing to keep their promises to protect public health care, and as a result of the Prime Minister's refusal to compromise and listen to the majority in this House, a democratically elected majority, and as a result of Justice Gomery's very clear indictment of the Liberal Party culture of entitlement and corruption, the New Democratic Party is forced to say that it has no confidence in this government. Enough is enough.
Enough is enough on Liberals saying one thing and doing another. After 12 years of Liberal government, it does not matter what the Liberals say. It matters what they do.
Let us begin with health care. For 12 years the Liberals have said they will protect public health care and yet they have overseen the fastest expansion of American style private for profit health care in this country. There are private clinics, private surgeries, private diagnostics and $41 billion is being thrown around without a single condition being established to prevent privatization from growing. The New Democratic Party can have no confidence in Liberals protecting public health care. Twelve years say that their words do not match their deeds. Enough is enough.
Let us consider jobs. For 12 years the Liberals have said they will stand up for workers but they have gutted employment insurance so that two out of three Canadians who need help no longer qualify to get that help and end up living in poverty. The Liberals let George Bush attack our forestry workers and the Liberals do not fight back.
They are 12 years late on an auto strategy and have no idea how to build the green cars that Canada wants right here in Canada. Over 140,000 manufacturing jobs have gone during their tenure. The forestry industry is in crisis. Auto plants are closing. Pensions are unprotected. Farm income is at an all-time low. Forty-eight per cent of the children living in poverty in Canada today are part of working families. The myth that workers are properly taken care of and that a job will eliminate poverty is perpetuated even in the House today by the Liberal representatives. New Democrats have no confidence in Liberals protecting the jobs and the industrial base of this country. Twelve years say that their words just do not match their deeds. Enough is enough.
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Burnaby—New Westminster.
Let us turn to the environment. For 12 years Liberals have promised to cut pollution. There were promises of a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2005. Here we are in 2005 and the United Nations has reported that emissions will rise by 24%, have already risen by 24%, rising faster than even in the United States. The Liberals oppose mandatory fuel efficiency. They opposed rules to make polluters pollute less. They give billions to oil and coal. The smog season in this country now runs from February to October. New Democrats have no confidence in the Liberals to clean up the environment. Twelve years say their words do not match their deeds. Enough is enough.
When we turn to Canada's role in the world, again for 12 years the Liberals have promised that we would play a role in the world that would make us proud, but they have cut foreign aid and broken our promise to the world. They have ignored Stephen Lewis and not one low cost AIDS bill has gone to Africa yet. They have let the country that invented peacekeeping slip to 33rd in the world. The Prime Minister only said no to George Bush on missile defence because he did not have a majority. New Democrats have no confidence in Liberals playing a role in the world that makes Canada proud. Twelve years say their words do not match their deeds. Enough is enough.
On the issue of national unity, for 12 years the Liberals have been saying that they would strengthen Canada, but support for sovereignty is at an all-time high. The criminal activities of the Liberal Party in Quebec have insulted Quebeckers and the rest of Canada.
The Liberal Party has been the best recruiting tool for the Bloc Québécois. New Democrats have no confidence in a Liberal Party that Justice Gomery says is engaged and has been engaged in an organized kickback scheme in Quebec. We have no confidence in that party to unite people in a common cause from coast to coast. Its record has done the opposite.
New Democrats cannot express confidence in a party whose own corruption has fueled a resurgence of support for Quebec's sovereignty. Enough is enough.
On ethics, for 12 years Liberals have said they will clean up politics, yet cronyism continues. Corporate lobbyists run the show here and do not play by the rules. Justice Gomery found that the Liberal Party was guilty of an organized kickback scheme. The Liberal Party ignores parliamentary votes time and time again and has broken its word on democratic reform.
We cannot express confidence in an arrogant party driven by a culture of entitlement 12 years in the making. People deserve better than their taxes ending up in Liberals' pockets and in those of their friends. Enough is enough.
It gives the NDP no pleasure to say that we have no confidence in this Liberal government, but after 17 months of trying to achieve results and witnessing the inflexibility, the stubbornness, the arrogance and the corruption, we cannot and will not support this party. Our party will be voting no confidence in the this Liberal government on Monday.
We proposed a compromise that would get things done in the fall and provide for an election after the holidays.
The Deputy Prime Minister herself says there is nothing that would be an obstacle to this, but unfortunately the government has not accepted it.
On Monday we cannot vote confidence in the government, because 12 years have passed for which the party needs to be judged on what it has done, not what it says.
Tony Ianno Minister of State (Families and Caregivers)
Madam Speaker, it is very interesting to listen to the NDP, which purports to be a party that cares about people, and to at the same time take into account, even just in the last year and a half, many of the programs we have brought forward, programs to help Canadians achieve their potential. For the most vulnerable in our society, we continue to work to try to bring forward programs such as affordable housing, rent supplements, and the RRAP program to allow low income seniors and the disabled to stay in their homes and their communities as long as possible.
Let us take into account the aboriginal issues that we in our party are working hard on, to make them work in a way that will give the aboriginal community its rightful place in our society and in the world. Today there is a great conference taking place. It looks great, but in the end, the opposition party is bringing forward the confidence motion which will not allow us to put in place all the agreements that have come forward.
Let us take into account literacy and the programs we have put in place to help all of our citizens achieve their potential, as well as the labour market retraining program for those who are not able to work today, even though, over these last 12 years, over 3 million more Canadians are working today than there were 10 years ago.
Twenty-five per cent more Canadians are working today than in those days when the unemployment rate was 11.4%, with the party on the opposite side that believes in survival of the fittest. Now, suddenly, the NDP has given up its principles for sheer, simple, crass political points.
Yesterday, the NDP members gave us a vote of confidence. Today, suddenly, they do not, and they are pulling out of the air all of these other reasons. When we were trying to pull together more affordable housing, public transit and all of the other issues in our platform, which we moved up to accommodate the NDP members so they could see that we were real about those issues because we had them in our election platform, they supported us, even though they had the opposite side calling them many names. The member for Toronto--Danforth said “making a deal with the devil”. I think he was referring to the separatists. Now, not only is he going in with the people talking about making a deal with the devil, they have all gone together.
Canadians will punish the New Democratic Party, because--
Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC
Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wonder if my hon. colleague from the Liberal Party would show a little respect for the leader of the New Democratic Party, ask a question and leave him some time to respond rather than using up all the time.
The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)
That is not a point of order, but I would encourage the member to get to his question.
Tony Ianno Trinity—Spadina, ON
Madam Speaker, I am getting to my question. The only problem is that when look at child care and at not participating in the Iraq war, compared to who he is supporting--who would have probably done that at the time--I wonder about the member's principles. Tommy Douglas is probably turning over in his grave, looking at cheap political points versus caring for the people of Canada and the principles of sharing, understanding and tolerance that have made this country truly great. I wonder what the hon. member is going to say to Canadians at large when they ask him--
The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)
The hon. member for Toronto—Danforth.
Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON
Madam Speaker, first let me speak about the record of the New Democratic Party in this 17 month Parliament. I believe that Canadians will see when they look at the record that it is the New Democratic Party that tried to set things right with an attitude of compromise and hard work, while keeping in mind what Canadians were most concerned about for their families and their country. Let me give some examples.
A parliamentary crisis came about last spring when the first version of the budget presented by the Liberal Party forgot to mention aboriginal communities, forgot to mention affordable housing, which was desperately needed, forgot to address the issue of rising tuition fees, did not make a commitment on foreign aid, had nothing to do with fixing people's homes to burn less fuel and help them save energy, and had nothing to do with protecting workers' wages in the event of bankruptcy.
The New Democrats came forward at that time and said to the Liberal Party that if it would eliminate its corporate tax cuts to its friends and instead invest in these key areas, we would support the budget. That stands as a very important achievement and as the type of thing that New Democrats will do in the House, particularly when we have more members following the next election.
Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC
Madam Speaker, I am pleased, on behalf of my party, to rise in the House today to say that I agree that this government no longer has the confidence of Canadians. This week in the House, the majority of members from all sides voted for a January or February election.
The Prime Minister, who says he wants to reduce the democratic deficit, has done the exact opposite. He has refused to heed the extremely clear directives of the House and the democratic direction expressed. He has decided, despite this, to dig in his heels and force an election campaign during the Christmas holidays. How atrocious. The Prime Minister is ignoring the will of the House, thereby forcing a Christmas election on Canadians.
I would like to quote a few things Justice Gomery said, because this is extremely important. Everyone knows that this government has lost the trust of Canadians and they also know why. For 12 years, this government has been one long scandal. It is obvious to Canadians, with the sponsorship scandal, that this government is corrupt.
Justice Gomery and his commission of inquiry found:
clear evidence of political involvement in the administration—;
a veil of secrecy surrounding the administration—;
reluctance, for fear of reprisal, by virtually all public servants—;
deliberate actions to avoid compliance with federal legislation and policies—;
They broke the law. They have not apologized; rather, they continue to break it. I will come back to this later.
I continue to quote:
a complex web of financial transactions...involving kickbacks and illegal contributions to a political party—;
certain agencies carrying on their payrolls individuals who were, in effect, working on Liberal Party matters;
the refusal of ministers...to acknowledge their responsibility for the problems of mismanagement that occurred.
Finally, I come to the most important point:
the existence of a “culture of entitlement” among political officials—;
These are Justice Gomery's findings, and the Liberal Party and this government will be judged on those findings in the coming weeks.
That is not all. Over the years we have consistently seen this culture of entitlement impregnate every level of the Liberal Party. All we have to do, going beyond the sponsorship scandal, is talk about some of the other scandals of the government: the Somalia inquiry that was shut down; the APEC inquiry; shawinigate; the tainted blood scandal; the HRDC scandal; the employment insurance rip-off; George Radwanski and the consistent process of unlimited expense claims for Liberal appointees, something that has been in existence and that the Liberals have done nothing about.
We have had the Prime Minister's CSL contracts and the fact that the government was 1,000% off in estimating the value of those contracts. We have over $9 billion going into unaccountable foundations that are beyond the purview of the Auditor General and the government refuses to allow those funds to be scrutinized by the Auditor General. We have Canada Post and André Ouellet. We have David Dingwall and his entitlements. We have the ambassador in France throwing $200,000 parties. We had the submarine fiasco. We had the Toronto Port Authority, which I will come back to in a moment.
What we are talking about is systematic corruption. Judge Gomery identified it and clearly said that the culture of entitlement exists within the Liberal Party and that is why Canadians will be judging it in just a few weeks.
The Toronto Port Authority is the latest in the long list of Liberal scandals. Here we have $35 million that was thrown away for a bridge that was never built. We have had freedom of information requests. We have questioned the minister and we have continued to try to get answers as to what happened to that $35 million. Where was it paid? Why was it paid? The government stonewalls because it is afraid that Canadians will find out the truth. We will continue to press the government to find out what happened to that money.
It is not just because of what the Liberal government has done that Canadians have lost confidence. It is what the government has not done. Every time Liberal members rise in the House to talk about what a beautiful job they have done, we in this corner hang our heads because we know that the government is so disconnected from the reality that exists on main streets across the country that it does not even realize the size and scope of the economic disaster that Canadian families are facing from coast to coast to coast.
Over 60% of Canadian families are earning, in real terms, less than they were earning 15 years ago. We have seen that most jobs created by the Liberals' policy have been part time or temporary in nature. Most of those jobs no longer have pensions. Most Canadian families are having a harder and harder time of it, struggling more and more to get by, and the government has done nothing for them.
We have over 1.1 million poor kids in the country and the government has done nothing for them. We have seen homelessness triple in many communities across the country, poor families, working families that can no longer afford housing. We know the government did nothing until the New Democratic Party caucus forced it to cut the corporate tax cuts it wanted to bring in and to bring in $1.6 billion to start addressing the homelessness crisis.
The truth is that the Liberal government does not act unless the NDP forces it to. We have done a lot with 18 or 19 members. I can tell members that in the next House, in the 39th Parliament, we will be doing oh so much more because we will have oh so many more members of Parliament in the NDP caucus forcing members in the other three corners of the House to work on these important issues.
The government has failed Canadian families. We have seen a failure of dealing with poverty among kids that is growing at record levels. We have seen a failed trade policy, which is another reason Canadians have lost confidence in this government.
In August, George Bush arbitrarily ripped up the dispute settlement mechanism of NAFTA and our government has done absolutely nothing in response. In British Columbia, 20,000 jobs have been lost and 40,000 jobs have been lost across the country. What has the government done, aside from placing a phone call, which obviously took a lot of effort because it took two months to make it? It has continued to negotiate concessions on NAFTA-plus. The NAFTA-plus concessions, as we know, are in over 300 areas, including food safety and air safety. Instead of standing up to the Bush administration, the government just cannot wait to concede more to it. That is another reason Canadians have lost confidence in the government.
Canadians have lost confidence in the government because its environmental policy is a failure. We are in a worse environmental crisis now than before the Liberals came into government. Smog days have expanded, as the member for Toronto—Danforth mentioned. Greenhouse gas emissions have not gone down. They have gone up more than 20%. We have seen increasing for profit privatization in health care, which the government has done nothing about, and a sell-out of Canada without precedence. Even Brian Mulroney was not this bad. Eleven thousand corporations and companies have been sold out by the government by a rubber stamp process.
Canadians will have a choice in a few weeks that is beyond the corrupt Liberals and the foolish Conservatives. Canadians will have a new choice. They will be choosing between the NDP, the Liberals and the Conservatives. However the NDP brings forward the most popular and the most trusted leader in the country. That is the choice facing Canadians.
Robert Thibault Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his words. They are confusing though. He says that Canadians will have a choice among several different viewpoints.
I have worked with this member in the House. Together we have sometimes helped major bills to progress, pursuant to certain discussions. Today he spoke in favour of a motion from the official opposition, a party that believes the very opposite of what he believes, of his ideas and ideology. He said that we have not stood up to the Americans enough in trade negotiations. But here he is supporting a party that could be described as the lapdog of the Americans. Some people would say that, and quite rightly.
It is hard to understand why he would support a party that does not believe in a united Canada; a party that would risk the unity of Canada to further individual political careers; a party that would take advantage of situations and ally itself with the separatists—the socialists are now allying themselves with the opportunists—; a party that even says there could be several national capitals.
All the projects that his party promotes are social and community projects that the federal government also promotes. They need a fairly strong central government that assumes its responsibilities. In the area of early childhood, we have made a lot of progress by injecting $5 billion. Insofar as the child tax credit is concerned, it is this government which brought that forward. The other party across the aisle would turn all these responsibilities over to the provinces and we would have to withdraw, probably leaving us with not much more than defence.
We have seen that some provinces did not want to share their wealth with families in need. These families had to rely on social assistance. That is what happened in my province. But still the NDP members would work together with a party that would keep it at this level. At the same time, they tell us they are going to support the motion because they have lost confidence in the government.
Just last week, though, they introduced a motion that indicated they still had confidence in the government for a few weeks—maybe until an auspicious time came along for them from an electoral standpoint. I do not know whether this is their auspicious moment, but they must think so. It is certainly to the advantage of the Bloc Québécois. In acting as he does, is the member aware of the dangers they are posing to our country?
Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC
Madam Speaker, I will start by thanking the hon. member for his question, because it is the fundamental question for the coming election.
Is there really a difference between the corrupt Liberal Party and the Conservative Party? None that I can see.
What has the hon. Minister of Finance promised after the election? He has promised two things: tax goodies for this country's big businesses and bank mergers. He has said he will wait for the election before proceeding with those two major priorities of the Liberal government.
The Liberal Party will spend two weeks being a New Democratic Liberal party. For two weeks, it will address some issues it has ignored for 12 years, but basically the principles it believes in are exactly the same as the principles of the Conservative Party. That is why there will be a choice between three parties in the coming election.
The same phenomenon arises when we look at the privatization of health care. The government did nothing to prevent that. The same thing goes for the environment. There are no differences between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party.
Now for a word on national unity. The Liberals lost all credibility when they deeply wounded our national unity. The Liberal Party used national unity, something all Canadians want to strive for, to fill its own pockets. This is absolutely shocking, and the reason the Liberals have no credibility whatsoever when they talk of national unity.
Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC
Madam Speaker, the time has finally come.
For months, we have been watching the sad spectacle of a government up to its neck in the sponsorship scandal, the worst scandal in Canadian political history.
During the Gomery Commission hearings, we learned a great deal about the Liberal Party of Canada led by the Prime Minister. What we learned is that the Liberal Party of Canada broke laws, diverted public funds and tried to buy votes using our own money.
Judge Gomery's report says that the Liberal Party of Canada brought shame upon itself, that it instituted a system of bribes from which it reaped the benefits and that it broke the most fundamental rules of democracy. That is what we know.
It is impossible for this House, in all good conscience, to have confidence in the Liberal government. The motion we are debating today is therefore the result of a common finding by the three opposition parties which, I remind you, make up the majority in the House of Commons. The Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Québécois may disagree on many issues, but we agree that the Liberal Party and its leader have lost the moral authority to govern.
Judge Gomery did not have a mandate to punish those responsible for the sponsorship scandal. That mandate falls to the public. And with this motion, voters will be able to pass judgment and punish the members of the Liberal Party of Canada when they cast their votes.
The Prime Minister, who is the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, vowed that he was going to clean house. He did the exact opposite by perpetuating the Liberal culture of cronyism, patronage and concealment.
He appointed his friends and Liberal Party organizers Dennis Dawson, Francis Fox and Art Eggleton to the Senate. He gave diplomatic postings to Yvon Charbonneau and Mario Laguë. That is cronyism. Despite all his lovely promises to bring in new mechanisms to eliminate what he termed the democratic deficit, the Prime Minister has become the very incarnation of that deficit.
He continues to approve the Liberal Party of Canada appointing Liberals as returning officers; that is patronage. Elections Canada, through Mr. Kingsley, has been asking for years for the same process we have in Quebec, that is, an independent commission that appoints qualified people rather than Liberal supporters to serve as returning officers. The Prime Minister rejected that idea.
He also refused to allow the House to inquire into Option Canada, even though that organization contravened the Quebec Referendum Act and clearly broke federal Treasury Board rules; that is concealment.
Here we have an organization created at the last minute getting $4.8 million two or three weeks before the 1995 referendum, one week after it was created. Never before did the federal bureaucracy move so fast. What a strange coincidence.
We can see why the Prime Minister is afraid to bring things into the light. Option Canada was run by Claude Dauphin, a man the Prime Minister later hired as a special adviser on Quebec. What a great message for the Prime Minister, defender of rights and the law, to send us in making that appointment.
The Prime Minister also promised that the inquiry would get to the bottom of the sponsorship scandal. However, there is still much we do not know about the sponsorship scandal.
For example, to which Liberal Party candidates did Marc-Yvan Côté, who was himself expelled from the Liberal Party of Canada, distribute tens of thousands of dollars in envelopes which he slid into the pockets of these candidates? We know how that happened: it was Brault to Corriveau, to Béliveau, to Côté. You would think it was a hockey game. And Côté shoots and scores. In this case, we would like to know where Côté was aiming. He told us that 18 ridings had received money, along with 10 candidates. If they do not want to give us the names of the guilty, they should at least give us the names of the innocent.
We would be satisfied with that.
The Liberal Party expelled him, but not those who received the money; it is forbidden to give, but not to receive.
They tell us that they have repaid the $120,000 in dirty money. They have reimbursed this amount, but those who received it have spent it. But they do not go after them.
And to cap it all, in the last election, they managed to lose $40,000 in the riding of Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, which does not appear anywhere in the election report. The president of the riding association has said he was disappointed at the Liberals, adding that, after spending 40 years in their service, he was going elsewhere.
This Prime Minister who refuses to answer us thus has his reasons for doing so and for investigating. This Prime Minister has broken all his promises.
By tabling a budget instead of an economic statement last week, the leader of the Liberal Party gave us proof that he had learned nothing from the sponsorship scandal.
This is an election budget, which perpetuates all that is worst in the Liberal culture.
The Liberal government was completely dishonest nature in its estimates.
The Bloc had the same figures last February, and it was right on target. We said it was $11 billion, the government said it was $4 billion. They were only 280% out. Just a little mistake. It was the loaves and the fishes, because it offered the same figure, namely $11 billion, a few days ago.
Just before the election, enormous budget surpluses suddenly appear, as if by magic—it is enough to make Houdini jealous.
These enormous budget surpluses are the absurd proof of the existence of the fiscal imbalance: too much money in Ottawa for its own areas of jurisdiction; not enough in Quebec and in the provinces to address the challenges of health and education.
Just think about it: Health Canada employs 10,000 public servants in Ottawa, but does not run a single hospital. What is wrong with this picture? These people know everything, however. Ottawa knows best. It is no business of theirs, but they know best. Now they are going a bit further: they do not recognize the existence of this fiscal imbalance. They created it, however, just as this Prime Minister created the tax havens. He has eliminated some; but there is one he has forgotten: Barbados.
Why did he forget Barbados? In 1998 he introduced legislation excluding Barbados from the list of tax havens. One has to wonder, why make this legislation retroactive to 1995? It seems that his company, Canada Steamship Lines, left Liberia to set up shop in Barbados—what an extraordinary coincidence—with ships built in China and—not proud enough of Canada—with flags from other countries, except Canada in most cases.
And this Prime Minister claims to be a person of integrity and honesty.
He goes further by increasingly interfering in Quebec's jurisdictions in the name of national interest, he says. Children are of national interest. He discovered that there are children in child care, so he interferes in child care. There are some in primary schools, so he interferes in primary schools. Just think, there are some in hospital. Then it must be a federal jurisdiction. What is more, there are some living in towns, imagine that! So, he interferes in towns on behalf of children, who are of national interest.
Such is the reasoning of this Prime Minister and, once again, he is trying to buy voters with their own money. It is the sponsorship scandal all over again. However, he is not correcting the injustices he himself created.
I am thinking of last night, and this is as cynical as it gets; for years, together with the hon. member for Saint-Maurice—Champlain, we have been fighting for low-income seniors to get the guaranteed income supplement. The Liberals told us it was not true, but then they had to admit that it was. Some $3.2 billion was extorted from the poorest in society. The Liberals have always refused to meet our demands.
Yesterday, during second reading of Bill C-301, An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act (monthly guaranteed income supplement), surprise, surprise, the Liberals voted in favour of our request. The result of the vote was 259 in favour and 0 against. During the election campaign, they will be able to say that they supported the request and that they are taking care of seniors. We got unanimous consent in the House. When there is unanimity here—we got it four times this week—we move on to third reading.
Then, what everybody agreed on here is immediately put into effect. We figured, “They're going to agree to third reading. They finally got the idea”. The NDP said, “Yes, let's proceed”. The Conservatives said, “Yes, let's proceed”. But Liberal voices rose, saying, “No, no, no. We do not want to proceed”. Essentially, this is utter hypocrisy, and it is reaching new heights.
Some hon. members