Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform the Chair that I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine. She will have the opportunity to make her comments in a few moments.
I want to discuss the motion presented by my colleague, the hon. member for Bourassa, and express my outrage and disgust following what was done to him and to some other colleagues of mine.
When I was elected, in June 2004, it was for the purpose of working to improve the well-being of my fellow citizens. It was certainly not to adversely affect it. I remember, in 1998, when I was elected city councillor in my hometown for the first time, watching MPs and politicians in general, and telling myself that more needed to be done to gain respect. We must show Canadians what we have to do to earn its respect.
Members of Parliament, like officials from all levels of government, are in office to serve the public. We are here to ensure that what we do is for its well-being. One thing is sure: denigrating others will not make us automatically look better. The role of an MP is to work to improve things. We should not hit each other on the head, thinking this will improve our image and help us do better come the next election. That is definitely not how Canadians and Quebeckers see things. Later on, if I have the opportunity to do so, I will explain my position clearly by showing that Quebeckers do not think like that.
We have to look at the situation and show respect for our institution, the Canadian Parliament, but, more importantly, we must show respect towards each other. There are two very important aspects. The first one has to do with Canadians. If we look at the national polls, if we listen to the comments made by the public about politicians, we see evidence of cynicism. I think it is largely because of us, politicians, if Canadians have a problem of sorts.
When I ran in the 2004 election, it was to improve Parliament, to show the Canadian people that we were capable of working for them and of being honest. Certain members of the House are having some difficulty.
When we look at these leaflets that were widely distributed, it is easy to say, as certain members have mentioned, that asterisks are used to refer readers to explanations. You know as well as I do that when we buy an insurance policy or get a mortgage, there are often notes or asterisks that refer us to some other section. We all know that most people will not read these explanations. We are not much different from one another. That is what we will do.
However, doubt is put in the people's mind. Was that done in a spirit of malfeasance or really for the improvement of the politicians of Canada? This is what we must ask ourselves. That issue must be cleared because we cannot continue to create situations such as these forever and ever.
These leaflets were not distributed in my riding. I am convinced that the members of the Bloc Québécois will certainly not send leaflets to New Brunswick. However, if they do, I will say clearly that I do not believe that they should do it. All they want to do is sow doubt in the minds of Canadians. A doubt is not the same thing as reality or the truth.
We must be extremely careful with this. I have always said that the problem is not necessarily a matter of conflict of interest, but rather of what is perceived as a conflict. Sowing doubt in people's mind may hurt those who defend the interests of Canadians, including the 308 members of the House of Commons.
I was talking earlier about respect and I must say that, when I was elected, I said to the people who were working around me and to my constituents that, what they see on television is not very edifying. People look at the politicians in the House of Commons. I was looking at them before I was elected. Before and after the election, voters, my friends and constituents told me that the debates in the House of Commons were certainly not the best way to enhance the image of a federal member of Parliament.
When people from my riding come here, I always wonder if they really deserve to see what is going on in the House. When a member asks a question, he certainly wants an answer. I am pleased now to be able to make my speech and to express my opinion without any noise in the House. This is important, but it is not always the case. It clearly shows people that the most important thing is respect toward other politicians. I just made the comment and already I hear voices getting louder. Hopefully at least some members present try to do things the right way. When they express their opinion, they express it and, when others express their opinion, they listen. I wanted to point out this important fact.
When our constituents come here to see our debates and question period, they are certainly not going home with a good impression. As federal members of Parliament we must show respect. Respect must be reveal itself through what happens not only in the House, but also in our ridings. The image of federal members of Parliament or of the Canadian institution that the House of Commons is cannot be restored with negative messages. We are all here with the same objective, which is to move things forward for our fellow citizens. I can never insist enough on that. We are here to make positive things happen and to improve the quality of life of Canadians. No more, no less. That is what is really important to us.
In 1998, the second time I was elected as a city councillor, I put that into practice to show people how important respect is for a politician, even at the municipal level. I had to be a model of respect for the population of my community. That is how we can be sure to make things happen. One thing that is clear in this whole issue of propaganda—perhaps that is not a strong enough word for it— is that during elections, candidates are entitled to say their opponent's vision is right or wrong. They can explain their position on the issue and put their own vision forward. The pamphlet that was sent out is certainly not a way to advance things. And neither is sowing the seeds of doubt in the public mind.
I could go on all day long, but I will conclude to allow my colleague from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine to speak. The act of using our privileges and the taxpayers' money to disseminate propaganda in random ridings, with the goal of questioning the credibility of some of my colleagues is unacceptable. I think that is something our friends from the Bloc should be aware of in future.
It is important to have a conscience, we all know that. It is also important that parliamentarians and elected officials be respected. However, one must not forget that they have been elected by the population. Respect is a two-way street in the House. Attacking the integrity of individuals will in no way improve our image or enhance our value.