Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand and speak in support of the Bloc opposition motion:
That the House express its full and complete confidence in Elections Canada and the Commissioner of Canada Elections.
Noting that six of the British Columbia Conservative MPs participated in this in and out scheme, I wanted to share time with my colleague and speak in support of the motion.
The Conservative Party appears to have devised a systematic scheme to cheat the Elections Canada rules with respect to financing campaigns. Elections Canada caught the Conservative Party red-handed with this and is investigating.
The key that I want to bring to this debate is the lack of accountability by the Conservative Party and government, which I believe is at the heart of its response to the issue of having perhaps been caught cheating.
There appears to not only be a systematic scheme to get around Elections Canada laws, but this ties into what appears to be a systematic scheme to undermine democracy in Canada. One of my colleagues, the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, spoke earlier about a number of officers of Parliament who were fired or forced to resign by the Conservative government when they criticized or did not support the Prime Minister or the Conservative Party in some way or another. That is a very long and now growing list.
I want to point out that the president of the Law Commission of Canada was fired in September 2006. A scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada, Andrew Okulitch, was fired in September 2006 for objecting to an order that he praise Canada's new government in supposedly non-partisan correspondence. Allan Amey, the president of the Canada Emission Reduction Incentives Agency was fired and his agency dismantled. Jack Anawak, the ambassador of Circumpolar Affairs, an important area and issue in Canada, was fired and his position eliminated in September 2006. The ambassador for the Environment was fired in 2006, and I wonder to what she was objecting.
We have a systematic pattern of the Conservative government not wanting people in positions of neutral responsibility and respect to comment on the its activities.
The ethics commissioner, Bernard Shapiro, resigned after several run-ins with the Prime Minister over the appointment of the trade minister. Jean-Pierre Kingsley, the Chief Electoral Officer, “resigned” in December 2006 after forcing the Conservatives to admit they violated election financing laws. It looks like forced out to many people. John Reid, the Information Commissioner, was forced out in September 2006 after criticizing the Prime Minister. The chairman of the Immigration and Refugee Board “resigned” in March 2007 because of government's attempt to politicize the Immigration Review Board.
The list goes on. The ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces was forced out, only two years into a five year appointment, after months of not seeing eye to eye with the government.
We could then go to the muzzling of a respected Environment Canada scientist, Mark Tushingham, who was prohibited by the government in April 2006 from promoting his book on global warming, probably because the government had cut most of the Liberal programs to deal with the challenge of global warming and reduce greenhouse gases.
I am pointing to a systematic scheme to undermine democracy by treating commissioners and other officers of the House and other respected non-partisan members of the fabric and network of democracy in Canada of undermining them and their ability to scrutinize the government and to comment on the activities and actions of the government and the Prime Minister.
The decision to take the Chief Electoral Officer to court when that office discovered a possible systematic scheme of cheating the taxpayers of Canada through this in and out scandal is just one in that lineup of the undermining of our democracy here in Canada. It is certainly not something with which Canadians can be comfortable.
I am looking forward to having Elections Canada shed light on what actually happened and begin to stop this systematic scheme of suppressing, firing and forcing to resign, and specious lawsuits against anyone who has the courage to speak up about the activities of the Prime Minister and the Conservative government.