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House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quarantine.

Topics

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Just so we are clear on this, the motion that was proposed earlier was ruled out of order, as was the amendment to that amendment subsequently ruled out of order. Now we are technically dealing with the motion that the debate now cease. That is the motion we are actually debating.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Conservative Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the motion I was referring to was dealt with earlier this morning. We are now back to the closure motion that was principally before the House prior to that time.

Essentially the same issue is before us as Canadians and that is the question of the legitimacy of this government's conduct. I would like to draw the attention of the House to what we have witnessed over the last several days.

We have had the spectacle of the Government of Canada in this House filibustering its own legislation in an attempt to delay the House, to introduce meaningless procedural mechanisms so that the House can never get to the real point that is before Canadians, which is the question of whether or not this government has the confidence of this House. Because if the government does not have the confidence of this House, it is not properly the Government of Canada and this matter should be put before the Canadian people for an election.

This is one of several tactics which this government has used. It has used the tactic of closure and the tactic of filibustering its own legislation. I have not been able to find and am unaware of any circumstance in Canadian parliamentary history or parliamentary history at large whereby a government would introduce filibustering motions to filibuster its own legislation to delay the House. That is a perverse use of this hallowed chamber, which we have never before seen in the history of this country.

If this government believes that it has the moral authority to govern this country, why does it not simply put itself before this chamber and allow a vote to take place? Instead, we have filibustering, delay and closure. Prior to that we have had the gerrymandering of opposition days to prevent the opposition parties from putting in front of this hallowed chamber the very question that all Canadians want answered, which is whether or not this government has the confidence of Canadians. It does not. We know it does not. It should submit to the judgment of this House.

What Canadians have seen over the last several months in revelations from the Gomery commission is enough for Canadians to form the answers and the conclusions they need. As I door-knocked in my constituency, the way one individual put it to me was that “Mr. Justice Gomery may be the judge, but we the Canadian people are going to be the jury”. That is very much the sentiment out there.

I would like as well to come to the question of the finances of this government. There is complete confusion in Canada today as to what the budget of the Government of Canada is. What is the budgetary policy of this government? No one knows. This House does not know. The Liberal members themselves do not know. The NDP members certainly are completely confused as to whether they have a deal or do not have a deal.

One of the principal and most fundamental traditions of this place and of our system of government is that the government must administer the public finances of Canada on a basis that has been approved by the elected representatives of the nation. That is a principle of parliamentary democracy that goes back a thousand years at this point in time. We are seeing this government abrogate that principle.

Approximately six weeks ago, a budget was announced here. In the last two weeks, that budget was reversed and changed. It was amended and then amended again. How could anyone with any credibility say there is a clear budget in place from the Government of Canada?

No one knows what the fiscal policy of this country is right now. That is a shameful situation. It is a situation that violates the principles of our parliamentary democracy. It also leads to questions in the financial and business communities and the community of all Canadians who make financial decisions. What is the fiscal policy? For heaven's sake, how are we governing ourselves as a nation?

Instead, we have the spectre of a $4.5 billion buy-off of the NDP that seems to point us in the direction of an NDP-Liberal coalition. The last time we had that in this country we destroyed the public finances of Canada. It took us 20 years to dig ourselves out of the mess that we got ourselves into as a nation when we last had that kind of left of centre coalition governing this country. It cannot be allowed to happen again. It is a decision of the Canadian people. It is for that reason the question of confidence must be decided in the House. There must be a vote. We must have clarity on this issue.

When I travel in my constituency and when I meet people as I did recently, they are very clear that they do not support what they see from the government. The revelations of corruption from the Gomery inquiry strike at the heart of public confidence in our country. These are very serious allegations of fraud upon government, of public money laundering, of theft. These are all matters which are referenced in the Criminal Code.

The evidence we are hearing at Gomery, not from witnesses who have an axe to grind, but from witnesses who are senior representatives of the Liberal Party of Canada, is that there legitimacy to those accusations. Senior representatives of the Liberal Party of Canada have been stepping forward and saying that the Liberal Party has been complicit, has been involved, in that conduct.

Day after day we hear the Minister of Public Works stand up in this chamber and say that Canadians should not have this matter put before them, that we should wait until Mr. Justice Gomery completes his report. That is not what the Canadian public is saying. Canadians understand that the Gomery inquiry will carry on and that it will deal with what it has been legally mandated to do. The Gomery inquiry does not have the jurisdiction to levy criminal charges. It does not have the jurisdiction to make specific fault finding.

The consequence of all this is that Canadians have lost confidence in what is happening in Ottawa with the government of the day. The government has lost the moral authority to govern the country. That is part of the reason we have seen the situation in this chamber. Until the government has the courage to step forward and show Canadians that it is prepared to submit to a vote of confidence in the House, the situation in our nation will continue to deteriorate.

If the Liberals feel strongly that they have the confidence of Canadians, let them come before this chamber, submit themselves to the House and be judged. The elected representatives of the Canadian people, the members of this honourable chamber, will stand and will vote on the confidence issue. That is what Canadians expect and that is what we need to have at this point in time.

This situation cannot be allowed to continue. The government has taken itself to the very edge of constitutionality in the country. The government has taken itself to the very edge of history of our parliamentary traditions. It does not have the right to do what it has been doing. It does not have the confidence of the House. It does not have the moral authority to govern. It does not have the confidence of the Canadian public. Something must be done about this.

The motion that we have before us with respect to closure touches upon this. It is another procedural mechanism by which the Liberal government delays, obfuscates, ducks and dodges so it will not have to face the House of Commons and submit its conduct and its punitive budget, which has undergone three changes in the last two weeks, to the House of Commons and find out if it has the authority to be governing the country.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am amazed at some of the talk coming from the opposite side. The party opposite does not have members from two of our provinces and does not represent three of our territories. One member talked about health care, The Liberal party attempted to bring forward budgets that were balanced, that were responsible, that would work with first nations and provinces to provide a fairly good health care system.

The party opposite was the party that voted and asked for more cuts to health care. It felt we had not cut enough. However, we did balance the budget over the years and we were able to provide a program that was good for the majority of Canadians and was to bring back confidence to our people so investors would invest and Canada would have a good economy.

In 1993 we inherited the fact that we were on the verge of becoming a basket case before the other nations of this world. Today we can look at a very low unemployment, a balanced budget and a great deal of confidence from our business community. I am surprised that people with legal experience, with business experience, would attempt to make such a tremendous issue of something that is before our courts and before a commission.

We have to remember, in terms of our government and our federal organization, that the government handles more than $350 billion in any given year. Going back over the last 12 years, we have to put into perspective the amount of $250 million that was spent through the so-called sponsorship program. It is amazing that business people are looking at such a small percentage of money. I know it is a large amount of money. In terms of the total amount of money and the total number of employees the government has, it is amazing that a few employees would be so important in the minds of the opposition members in terms of what it wants, which is the desire for power.

Some 10 months ago we had an election. It cost the Canadian people about $350 million. The opposition wants another one. Opposition members should look at history, at the needs of our Canadians, such as a good economy, a good outlook in our budget and above all, a responsible position that reflects Canadian society.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Conservative Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, if I might respond to comments of my hon. friend, whom I respect, surely it is specious in the extreme for the Liberal administration to suggest that because the allegations of fraud, theft, public money-laundering and corruption and conspiracy only relate to the theft of $150 million, that we should not worry and that we should let that same administration carry on with the governance of $350 billion because it was only $150 million, is preposterous. The proof is in the pudding.

Canadians are entitled to watch the Gomery inquiry and draw their own conclusions. They do not need to be a judge, or a lawyer, or have a legal education to know, especially after Mr. Guité testified, that what we have seen is systematic corruption at the highest level of the Liberal Party where the Liberal Party and the Liberal government's administration of money has been corrupt and it has been intermingled. That is surely very clear to Canadians.

Let me come back to another point which was made. My hon. friend talks about Canada's finances in 1993. The issue today is Canada's finances in 2004 and what the budgetary policy of the Government of Canada is. I do not think anyone in the House knows what the policy of the government is on the budget. We had a budget introduced six weeks ago. It contained a certain set of parameters. Since that time we have had Mr. Layton and Mr. Martin announce a budget--

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. I would ask the hon. member to refer to party leaders by their position or by their riding name but not by their personal name.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Conservative Calgary North Centre, AB

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that comment.

The Prime Minister and the finance minister indicated the budgetary policy of the government approximately six weeks ago. Since that time, the Prime Minister indicated two different budgetary policies. As we stand here today, no one knows what the budgetary policy of the Government of Canada is, whether we are spending this additional $4.7 billion. If so, none of this has been approved by the House. The House has not authorized even the budget that was presented six weeks ago, let alone two amendments which have been made to it since that time.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca B.C.

Liberal

Keith Martin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That the debate do now adjourn.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

An hon. member

On division.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

May 5th, 2005 / 12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have addressed the House on numerous occasions, defending the traditional definition of marriage. Today I rise in the House to present petitions on behalf of the constituents of my riding, Niagara West--Glanbrook, pursuant to Standing Order 36.

The petitioners urge the Parliament of Canada to maintain the traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. These petitions are a small sample of the overwhelming correspondence I have received and continue to receive demanding the traditional definition of marriage. While I have received over 10,000 pieces of correspondence directly from my constituents, I have also received thousands more from Canadians coast to coast.

I remind my fellow hon. members from all parties to respect their democratic duty to follow the wishes of their constituents in this matter.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Conservative Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, juvenile diabetes creates many devastating health consequences, not only with a huge human cost but a large financial burden for the Canadian health care system and the economy as a whole, costing Canadians in excess of $10 billion annually, making this one of the nation's most costly illnesses and indeed one of the nation's saddest illnesses. Today approximately 200,000 Canadians suffer from type I diabetes and these rates are increasing. Insulin is not a cure.

I am happy to table a petition today calling upon the government to direct funding of research, specifically targeted to juvenile type I diabetes.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to deposit petitions bringing to the attention of the House that the definition of the House be the lifelong union between one man and one woman. These petitions are from the Hamilton and Niagara area.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson Conservative St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have yet another petition to present from the citizens of Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick. They are opposed to the construction of an LNG terminal in Eastport, Maine.

One could argue or question why we would have a petition against a project outside of our jurisdiction. The LNG project in Eastport, Maine can only proceed if LNG tankers are allowed to navigate through Head Harbour passage, which is Canadian sovereign territory.

Our petitioners are asking the Government of Canada to say no to the transport of LNG tankers through that very dangerous passage. In fact it is rated as one of the most dangerous shipping passages in all of Canada. They are saying that we should exercise our sovereignty rights and not allow this to happen.

To conclude, they are saying that we should protect the fisheries, protect tourism and the natural wonders that make their area special.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today on behalf of my riding of Mississauga South, signed by a large number of Canadians, on the subject of marriage.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that the fundamental matters of social policy should be decided by elected members of Parliament and not by the unelected judiciary, and that the majority of Canadians support the current legal definition of marriage.

The petitioners therefore call upon Parliament to use all possible legislative and administrative measures, including the invocation of section 33 of the charter, commonly known as the notwithstanding clause, to preserve and protect the current definition of marriage as between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:50 p.m.

Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca B.C.

Liberal

Keith Martin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.