Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for what I consider a generally well thought out question. I would like to be able to answer some of his comments.
Where I do not agree with him, however, is his statement that everything has to be virtually torn down and started again from scratch. I would like to send a message to the Canadians who are listening to us just about everywhere. As Justice Gomery stated so aptly, the bulk of our elected representatives, the people who have committed to public life, and our public servants, are good people. They are honest and hard-working.
What bothers me the most is that this notion, wrong though it is, does not merely affect the member for Gatineau, but nearly all of us in this place. This is unfortunate. It also affects all those who might be interested in entering politics. Our young people are disillusioned. They might have been interested in getting involved in politics, but are less interested after seeing all this. Women will be affected the same way.
I would like the hon. member to know that we do not need to start all over from scratch, because there is still a lot of good within this party. Given the steps that have been taken by the government, the Gomery findings, the steps taken by the President of the Treasury Board, by the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, and by the cabinet as a whole, and given all the government initiatives, something can be done.
Not done overnight. I have never claimed that it could. I am one of those who feel some work is needed to restore people's confidence in politics, and even in the party. I am sure the truth will out, however.
As for the member's question relating to the bill introduced by the Leader of the Opposition, I am in favour of anything that will improve the job we have to do. Unfortunately, for many of those who are listening to us, political party financing is often where the problem lies.
I myself have no worries. Everything done in my riding is done in an extremely open way. We even report $25 donations, which we do not have to do. I do not want anything at all to make people suspicious.
However, I would like to say the following in response to the member's question. I tend to want to support measures that build taxpayer confidence in our system. That is extremely important. I consider it much more important than this sort of question and appreciate it.
If this is to be debated, it is the sort of debate we should have now, in the wake of the events concerning the sponsorships. That is what we should do as responsible individuals. We are supposed to be political leaders. We wonder why we are so low in the polls across Canada. It may not bother the people here in the House, but it bothers me. I find this one of the most noble of activities, not because it has privileges, but because people place their trust in us. When the relationship of trust is broken or one of us breaks it, we all feel the impact.
This is unfortunate, because our country has one of the most open and extraordinary systems of democracy. When I see one party trying to destroy it and break up the Canadian federation, it breaks my heart. We have a worldwide reputation.
It has been said in this House that we dropped down the ladder of corruption, for example. We are ahead of the United States and France. France is very popular with the Bloc. We should be proud of that. However, we can and must do better.
Thankfully, we are not into partisan politics. The Chair ruled this to be a prima facie question of privilege. In this context, for it to be sent to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. We cannot hijack Parliament—an expression everyone will understand—for partisan debates again.
I personally have had my fill of it.