Mr. Speaker, I invite you and all members of this House to look at the blues to see what was said exactly. What I said was that money was received by the Liberal Party of Canada. According to testimony that has now been made public, that money was given to the Liberal Party of Canada and its Quebec wing.
The Liberal Party of Canada used that money in the 2004 election, as we assumed it did in the 2000 and 1997 elections also. This is the main reason why we want today's motion to be adopted. It would prevent the Liberals from using that money in the next election. This is the first thing that must be clearly understood: we do not want that money to be used in future elections.
The Minister of Transport himself recognized the existence of dirty money. He also said that that dirty money would be given back. The problem is that he made that promise ten months ago but has yet to act on it. This is why we are bringing forward this motion in the House today, with the support of the Conservative Party and the NDP. We are not accusing the Liberals of anything. We are simply saying that, in light of the information available to us, that money must be put aside.
We are applying here the same practice used since the beginning of this debate, since we started asking questions. Some 450 questions have been asked in the House about the sponsorship scandal, which prompted the investigation by the Auditor General, followed by the Gomery commission.
From the beginning, our position has been that the matter has to be cleaned up, and the situation clarified so as to achieve results. It has now become obvious that the minority government opposite can be brought down anytime. We want to make sure that the money it will use during the next election campaign will not include the dirty money that has been identified.
We are not asking the Liberals to give that money to the government; we are simply asking that they put it in a trust account. After the whole situation has been assessed, we will see whether the money should be returned to the Liberal Party or kept there because it was raised inappropriately.
We now have sufficient evidence. Given that the Minister of Transport is saying the same thing, it is fully justified to ensure that this money is not used in an upcoming election campaign as it was in the last.
On the sponsorship issue, the current Prime Minister never acted until he was forced to. We therefore have to hammer at him every step of the way, if we want anything done. Action was taken only after the Bloc and the other opposition parties laid matters on the table, after the Gomery commission exposed facts adding to what we already knew. That is why we introduced this motion today.
Because the Prime Minister is continuing to refuse to return the dirty money, the House has to push him to do so. He boasts about having taken action on the sponsorship issue, listing the reasons that prompted him to act. Now, we have to put even more pressure on him to achieve tangible results.
It is pretty obvious that our motion today is designed to improve the quality of democratic life in Quebec and Canada. We have to ensure that, in the next election campaign, there will be a level playing field.
In the past, seats were won that way. The Prime Minister boasts about establishing a commission of inquiry in February 2004. But the fact is that he did so after questions had been asked by the Bloc since October 2002, especially in connection with the establishment of a commission of inquiry.
The Prime Minister claims to have fired Marc LeFrançois, Jean Pelletier, André Ouellet and Ambassador Gagliano as a result of the Auditor General's findings. Again, it was the Bloc Québécois that forced the Prime Minister to fire these men. The Prime Minister was simply reacting to political pressure from the Bloc Québécois. I remember the hon. member for Mercier saying that the ambassador's appointment made no sense. At the end of the day, that was the conclusion the Prime Minister arrived at, but only because we had laid the foundation to getting justice in this situation.
The Prime Minister must commit right now to respecting the decision Parliament will make at the end of this debate. If the Prime Minister wants to show good faith in this issue, why not have his members vote in favour of the motion? He could say, “Yes, we will put money aside in a trust account. Even though we made terrible mistakes and behaved inappropriately, effective immediately we will put money aside until there is an election or we have all the information we need to ensure fair competition.”
The Prime Minister does not need to wait until the end of the Gomery inquiry for that. He did not wait to sue the agencies and the guilty individuals. That is precisely the crux of the matter. As long as this does not affect the Liberals as a party, it is not an issue and they keep going about their business. However, when they need to exonerate themselves or get out of the situation, they take the type of action they took against the agencies and the guilty individuals.
However, in light of the evidence in the present situation, the Liberal Party of Canada should do what the Bloc Québecois, with the support of the Conservative Party and the NDP, is requesting. This debate is not about separatism, the official opposition or power struggles. It is about democracy, because we want the democratic process in Canada to become healthy and fair again, so that all Canadians can compete on a level playing field.
The Liberal Party of Canada has to put at least $2.2 million in this trust. We came up with this amount following Mr. Brault's testimony. This is a minimum of dirty money that should be deposited in this trust. By creating this trust right now, we could put all the dirty money identified in testimony before the Gomery commission in a safe place. Luc Lemay's testimony ended just recently. We are still waiting to hear Jacques Corriveau, Claude Boulay and Paul Coffin. More witnesses will somehow soon corroborate that there was in fact misappropriation of funds.
Through the Gomery commission, we have finally learned that there was a well organized system to finance the Liberal Party of Canada.This is what I am saying and what I have been saying all along: a system was put in place, there can be no doubt about that. Who, specifically, are the culprits? Maybe we will have learn more over the next few weeks and months, but a system was in place. One could even check the percentage to be systematically funneled back to the Liberal Party of Canada.
While the transport minister blames a so-called “parallel” group for everything, we learn from witnesses at the Gomery Commission that people very high up in the Liberal Party of Canada were involved. Indeed, the PMO, Jean Chrétien, Jean Pelletier et Jean Carle approved budgets and projects. Every year, the finance minister replenished the national unity reserve used to finance the sponsorship program. The Treasury Board and its vice-president turned a blind eye on some shady practices. The bagmen and the firms that were doing partisan work for the Liberal Party of Canada were lining their pockets. Why would we wait any longer to demand that that money be placed in a trust account?