Mr. Speaker, I am very proud, as always, to stand in the House and represent the wonderful people of Timmins—James Bay and to speak to the implementation of this budget bill.
What has become very clear over the last number of years with the Conservative government is a pattern, and a very disturbing pattern, of reckless spending, reckless attacks on the credibility and the institutions of public office in this country and a sense of entitlement that we see again and again of who one knows in the PMO. If one is a buddy of the Conservatives, things happen.
We are looking at the largest debt in Canadian history but, as we would all agree, some of that debt was necessary in order to stimulate a very broken world economy. However, when we look back at what we have after spending the $50 billion, I think future generations will wonder what the Conservative government was thinking.
For example, the Conservatives blew money right across the country on personal pet projects. For instance, in the industry minister's riding, they paid stimulus dollars to heat the seats in the hockey arena so that the derrieres of Conservative voters would not be discomforted while they were watching amateur hockey.
Meanwhile, there is no plan for national broadband across this country. In Australia, under the Labour government, it made a commitment to hook up 93% of Australia by massive broadband implementation, while, in my riding, they are still talking about dial-up as being a standard for duty to serve.
We could have had a massive infrastructure program to retrofit homes across the country so that people could live better. Instead, we again see personal pet projects, like draining a lake in Muskoka, building a fake lake in Toronto, blowing through $1 billion on a weekend, blowing $17 billion on stealth fighter jets to fight a Cold War that has long since past, $17 billion on a single source contract and no justification, and $10 billion for prisons at a time when crime rates are dropping. The latest figure is that the Conservatives will spend $155 million on 570 jail cells, which amounts to $270,000 per jail cell.
Meanwhile, in my communities of Attawapiskat and Kashechewan there are no grade schools and the government says that its pockets are bare. Children in Oxford House First Nation cannot go to school because it has been poisoned with mould. The government says that the cupboard is bare for them.
Again, if one is a buddy to someone in the PMO there is always money to be found.
We need to look at a few glaring examples. I think the Conservatives are sending the signal that if people are one of them, they should put the touch on them and they will look after them. Nowhere is this more glaring than in the fact that, as I raised in the House earlier this week, there is a NAFTA challenge by an American named Vito Gallo who is demanding $355 million from the Canadian taxpayer for the failed Adams Mine project. We have a number of NAFTA challenges at different times between investors in foreign countries and, as much as we have raised problems with chapter 11 of NAFTA, we have never seen anything as outrageous and bizarre as this.
Ten years ago, Waste Management Incorporated walked away on the Adams Mine project because of the issue of liability, in the same way that the second largest waste management company in North America, BFI, Browning-Ferris Industries, walked away just a few years previous to that because of the issue of liability. The deal died and the city of Toronto made it clear that it would never entertain this garbage project again because it was so reckless and so unfounded. It was also subject to a federal EA, so that if anyone even wanted to try to take on this bizarre scheme, they would have to face a federal environmental assessment because it had been identified as a threat of groundwater contamination on the Timiskaming First Nation territory.
Long after that deal went south, a group of Conservative businessmen set up a numbered company in Toronto. They secretly bought the site but they did not do anything with the site. They did not put any money on it nor did they bid on any contracts. It was just a numbered company.
The interesting thing is that Mr. Vito Gallo claims to be the sole owner of this site. He says that he is owed $355 million from the Canadian taxpayer. When we look at who invested in this site, we see connections to the present Conservative Party. It is quite staggering.
For example, on May 8, 2003, the Globe and Mail identified the owners of this numbered company, 1532382 Ontario Inc., as being the Cortellucci-Montemarano Group. The Globe and Mail reported that “A major contributor to...[the] Conservative Party has quietly bought the Adams Mine...in Northern Ontario.... The contributor, the Cortellucci-Montemarano Group, is attempting to buy 2,000 acres” of crown land beside this site.
On May 9, 2003, the Toronto Star reported that Mario Cortellucci had admitted that he was one of dozens of investors. This is not like Vito Gallo, who nobody had ever heard of, claiming to be sole owner. He claimed to be one of dozens of investors.
The article in the Toronto Star is very fascinating. It starts off with the line:
Walking into the Hollywood Princess off of the string of strip malls along Highway 7 in Concord is like stepping into another world. The massive banquet centre is all about glamour, complete with fountains, mirrors and white columns that have served as the backdrop to countless wedding receptions and, perhaps more significantly, dozens of high-priced Tory fundraisers. This is the world of Mario Cortellucci....
The address of the Hollywood Princess restaurant just happens to be the same address that a cheque was written to the Ontario government in an attempt to buy 2,000 acres of Crown land secretly from this numbered company. It is the same address, which is 2800 Highway 7, Concord, Ontario. We see direct money from Canadian businessmen in this numbered company. We do not see any Americans or any mention of Mr. Vito Gallo.
I am sure members are wondering why a guy like Vito Gallo would be so brazen as to think he could hit up the Canadian taxpayer for $355 million for a project that he never put a dime into or bid on any contracts. We would think this to be a spurious claim but when we look at the financial connections between those backers and the government, it is quite astounding.
For example, Mr. Mario Cortellucci gave $5,000 to the federal Conservatives in 2004 and $5,000 to the federal Conservatives in 2006. Ginesia, Nicola and Rosanna Cortellucci gave $5,000 each to the Conservative Party in 2004. Three others, Fabrizio, Nicholas and Sabrina Cortellucci, gave $2,500 each to the Conservative Party in 2004 and then gave the maximum of $5,000 each to the Conservative Party in 2006. Five other Cortelluccis gave $17,500 to the Conservatives in January 2004.
Now, through their numbered companies, which is where it gets interesting, Four Valleys Excavating and Grading Ltd., which is tied to Nina Cortellucci, gave $12,170 to the leadership bid of the present finance minister and then $5,000. Also, $10,000 was given to the leadership bid of the present industry minister.
Eiram Development Corporation, which lists Mario Cortellucci as director, gave $10,000 to the present finance minister. Another company, 1532382 Ontario Inc., the very company that is going after the taxpayer claiming to be an American company, gave $4,000 directly to the present finance minister in his leadership bid.
We have a number of other companies but I will not go through more details.
The fascinating thing about this--