Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak in our Parliament. One of the primary functions of Parliament is, and has been since Parliament was invented, to carefully administer and to be a watchdog for the expenditures of the king.
Of course we have the king over on the other side there, wandering around handing out billions of taxpayers' dollars, and with this bill, Bill C-48, once again he would have an unfettered ability to spread that money around. I think that we as Canadians ought to be terribly concerned about this kind of legislation that permits the finance minister and the Prime Minister to do all of these things without accountability.
We have been made so aware in this country in the last four years or thereabouts, with this ad scam thing, that to spend money out of a grand scheme and a big fund, without a detailed plan and without accountability, is just a recipe for disaster.
I would remind all the members here and all those who happen to be listening around the country that ad scam happened because there was actually a hidden fund called the unity fund. It was not even specifically stated; the government did it sort of on the sly. Money was allocated from this so-called unity fund. The Auditor General subsequently reported that there were huge amounts of money, over $100 million, for which she could see no evidence, no paper trail, no justification for spending the money, or even a record of where it had gone.
Now we are in a place where this government is currently under investigation by Judge Gomery as to all these illegal and I would say criminal activities, because taking money that belongs to others is called theft; and that is exactly what this government has done.
Bill C-48, in this little collusion affair between the Liberals and the NDP just in order to buy their votes, sets up exactly the same kind of scenario. I would be very concerned if I were a member of the Liberal Party or the NDP supporting this and saying, “Here is where we want to go”. It is going to hang on their shoulders. Hopefully, when the Canadian people wake up and see what is actually happening here, it will pull them right down to zero.
I did a little calculation and I made an interesting connection, that is, the 19 votes that were bought with this $4.5 billion works out to pretty well as much per vote as the cost of an election, at around a quarter of a billion per vote. The money the Liberals have spent per vote, for those 19 votes, would buy an election. In other words, the money that this deal cost is equal to the cost of 19 federal elections. That is amazing.
Of course we know that the money that is allocated is for what the NDP and the Liberals think are good causes. I would venture to say that I, as a member of Parliament, a Canadian citizen and a representative of the people in my riding as well as one who is looking to the well-being of all Canadians, would favour the programs that they are talking about, but the way this is being done is absolutely untenable.
If these were good, important programs, and they are, then why did the finance minister not put them into his budget speech?
Do members remember way back in the old days that when information from a budget was leaked it would precipitate the resignation of the Minister of Finance? That was not so terribly many years ago.
Now not only do we have the total speech being leaked in advance, but we also have this bizarre scene in which the speech the finance minister gives on budget day has become meaningless. I think this is a tragedy, because as for what he said on that particular day with respect to the government's anticipated plans for taxation, the receipt of money, and the expenditure of that money, all the money that is to be put into the various government programs, that plan turns out to have been nothing but a giant hoax.
There he was saying it, but when we tried to propose amendments, we were told that it could not be done. For the record, we actually tried to influence the budget in advance and frankly were quite singularly rebuffed. When we tried after the fact to propose amendments, we were told very clearly that it could not be done, that the speech the finance minister gave on budget day is what is going to be.
In fact, that is how it has always been.
What did we find two weeks later? The government was facing extinction. It was on the endangered species list. There was all this garbage that we were getting from Gomery. There was all the evidence that showed there was so much criminal activity not only on the front benches of the government but also in the Liberal Party itself, which is the root of the government. As a result, Canadians were saying that they were going to turf those guys. Bring on an election, they were saying, we are going to replace them because they are not worthy to run our country.
What did the Liberals do? First of all, they ignored some votes in the House. We had I believe five votes, two of which were explicit non-confidence votes. I remember, Mr. Speaker--and I am going to do it now because when the Deputy Prime Minister did this it was not shown on camera and Canadians did not know this--that when we had that vote of non-confidence and the Liberals lost that vote of non-confidence, the Deputy Prime Minister made a gesture like this one: “So?” That is exactly what she did: “So?” In other words, a vote in this place does not matter, she was saying, we will just ignore it.
So doctor democratic deficit killer over there, the Prime Minister, does not believe in democracy. The Liberals lost five votes and then, finally, in order to make sure they won one, they had to entice one, and tried to entice more, of our members to cross over. We know they cut a deal with the Minister of Human Resources, because she landed up over there and she is in cabinet. The evidence is there. There was a deal cut. It happened.
Now they have tried to cut a deal with the NDP and the NDP has bought into it. I cannot believe that the NDP would be willing to prop up this corrupt government at such a huge price.
I am simply saying that Bill C-48, the bill we are debating today, is the government's attempt at trying to look, at least formally, as having fulfilled a deal that was made between those two guys, in the hotel in Toronto, with the candles burning and the soft music playing. It was absolutely incredible.
I need to say a little more about this. Right now we are debating this at what is called report stage, and I imagine this is not significant to many people, that is, Bill C-48 was passed here by a slim majority at second reading with the NDP's help and the other shenanigans that the Liberals pulled in order to entice votes. It was passed at second reading. It went to committee and the committee dealt with it.
The committees are supposed to scrutinize legislation. The finance committee did this. It proposed a number of amendments. What do we have today when we are dealing with report stage? All we have to do is look at today's order paper where these amendments are spelled out. I am going to read a very small part of them. Motion No. 1, which we are now debating, is basically this:
That Bill C-48, in Clause 1, be amended by restoring Clause 1--
That is because the committee in its wisdom deleted clause 1 of the bill and reported it back to the House. Where is the democracy? Where is the process of the committee? Why is it not being paid attention to?
Instead, the committee reported the bill back to the House and that arrogant Liberal government simply brought back an amendment saying that anything the committee has done, it will undo. Once again, the Liberals have the purchased votes over there and will probably get it to pass.
It is the same for Motion No. 2:
That Bill C-48, in Clause 2, be amended by restoring Clause 2--
In other words, the committee took it out. The government says it is going to put it back in. It says, “We have these bought votes over here and we will just put it back in”. Democracy just goes poof, out the window.
The Prime Minister ought to hang his head in shame. He ran for the leadership of his party. He ran as a potential prime minister of the country in the last federal election as the person who was going to address the democratic deficit. At every stage he is doing the opposite. Meanwhile, Canadians are suffering because of the lack of a fiscal plan that would put Canada on a solid footing, which is where it ought to be.