Mr. Speaker, when I made the request for an adjournment debate regarding the response I received from the President of the Treasury Board to my question of February 11 concerning another multibillion dollar government reorganization, I was surprised, as were all Canadians, to see that this question is now linked to the Gomery commission on the fraudulent misappropriation of taxpayers' dollars.
Canadians know that it was the Prime Minister as the right-hand man to former leader Jean Chrétien who presided over the loss of tens of millions of dollars to such programs as the $2 billion gun registry and the missing millions from the defence department.
Canadians understand that when the Prime Minister chooses to take credit for being in control of Canada's finances on matters of Canada's deficit, he is in effect taking credit for the loss of tens of millions of dollars as the one in control of financial decisions. Control means total control. Taking credit for the deficit follows taking credit for all decisions regarding the expenditure of taxpayers' dollars.
Shortly after Mr. Chrétien appointed the Prime Minister as finance minister in the 1990s, changes occurred, such as the removal of financial comptrollers, which eliminated financial oversight functions in Canada's public service in departments like national defence, Solicitor General, HRDC and for whoever was reviewing the so-called unity fund that directed dollars to feed the sponsorship program.
The Prime Minister's removal of financial comptrollers allowed for that scandal of the waste of millions of taxpayers' dollars. Canadians recall famous fiascos such as the Jane Stewart HRDC scandal and the current Deputy Prime Minister's role in the thoroughly discredited Liberal gun registry, a program that she stated would only cost $2 million and we are now told by the government funded CBC it will cost $2 billion. The gun registry is also implicated in a sponsorship scandal.
The President of the Treasury Board in getting up and bragging that the position of the comptroller general and the rehiring of department comptrollers to re-establish internal audits conveniently ignores the fact that it was his government that cut those checks and balances out of the system in the first place.
It was the Prime Minister as finance minister who cut the funding to those positions as one of his first acts as Mr. Chrétien's finance minister. The public service reorganization is at the root of the Gomery commission inquiry into government corruption, the removal of accountability in government financial decisions.
As finance minister and the vice-chairman of the Treasury Board, the Prime Minister participated in every major financial decision of the Chrétien government. What Canadians fear from another so-called government bureaucratic reorganization is the hidden agenda of the Liberal Party whenever it announces reorganization. The last reorganization led to the sponsorship scandal. Let us not forget the other waste of taxpayers' dollars in the name of so-called efficiency and reorganization.
Canadians fear that the only lesson the Prime Minister seems to have learned so far from the Gomery inquiry into the Liberal Party corruption is the consequence of getting caught. It is the terrible record of poorly conceived and administered politically motivated government programs like the gun registry and the sponsorship program that frightens Canadians.
In responding to my question the President of the Treasury Board stated that most of the missing millions that had been stolen from the Department of National Defence had been recovered. What was missing from that comment, and I look forward to a detailed response, is how much and from whom.
At the time it was stated that there was evidence that this was a multimillion dollar fraud ring involving at least two departments, national defence and public works, and that for $146 million or $168 million to have been stolen, others had to have been involved--