Yes, his name was Mr. Paul Bonwick.
Creating more open government by improving access to information is what the accountability act will do as well.
I would like to talk a little bit more about each of these areas, but I do want to say that I will be splitting my time with the member for Mégantic—L'Érable.
Let me talk a little more about reforming the financing of political parties. Money of course should not be the way that one accesses government. Canadians should have the ear of the government and not a chequebook. To me that means quite plainly that one should not be able to buy access. The federal accountability act would help take government out of the hands of big corporations and big unions and would give it back to ordinary Canadians. The federal accountability would limit individual donations to $1,000 a year. We would ban contributions by corporations, unions and organizations and prohibit cash donations of more than $20.
I think I have a great question here. How many members of the Liberal Party had secret trusts that they had set up? These trusts were not subject to the Canada Elections Act. The accountability act would also ban secret donations and gifts to political candidates. It would also increase transparency and help Canadians feel more confident about the integrity of the democratic process.
Another part of the accountability act for which I have great appreciation is the strengthening of the power of the Auditor General. Canadians truly deserve to know how their hard-earned tax dollars are going to be spent and the Auditor General needs the power to follow the money to make sure that it is spent properly and wisely. The government would give new powers to the Auditor General to audit individuals and organizations that receive federal funding.
This would help the Auditor General to hold to account those who spend taxpayers' money. We recall how many billions of dollars were in the foundations. The government and Canadian taxpayers had no authority and no right at all to actually see how their taxpayers' dollars were being spent.
In addition to that, we will provide real protection for whistleblowers. I think the fact that the man who blew the whistle on the sponsorship scandal chose to run for us says a lot about what we are proposing for whistleblower protection. The men and women of the public service deliver important programs and services that touch the lives of Canadians each and every day. That is why another of our federal accountability act's key components will focus on providing real protection for whistleblowers.
People who see problems in government need to know they can speak up. Too often in the past, whistleblowers have been punished for saying the truth. The government will give real protection for whistleblowers by giving the public sector integrity commissioner the power to enforce the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act. The law would be extended to all federal bodies. In addition, the law would be amended to protect all Canadians who report government wrongdoing, not just public servants.
The act would also help clean up government procurement. The Government of Canada is one of the largest purchasers of goods and services in the country. Its practices should be free of political interference and conducted fairly so that all companies, regardless of size and location, have the opportunity to compete for government work. We would enshrine in law the principles of a fair, open and transparent bidding process.
We will also toughen the rules around lobbying. Canadians need to know that lobbying is done in an ethical way. After the 2004 election, we saw Liberal ministers immediately come back to lobby their former cabinet colleagues. People should not get rich bouncing between government and lobbying jobs. Lobbyists should not be allowed to charge success fees, whereby they only get paid if they deliver the policy and the change their clients want. The government would get rid of success fees and extend the ban on lobbying activities to five years for former ministers, their aides and senior public servants. In addition, we would create a new commissioner of lobbying with the power and resources to investigate violations and enforce the rules.
We will also strengthen access to information legislation. Canadians deserve better access to government information. The Government of Canada belongs to the people and it should not unnecessarily obstruct access to information.
I will wrap up and say that I look forward to the many questions I am sure I will be receiving from my colleagues. I look forward to being a part of the government as we work toward restoring accountability for the people of Canada.