Madam Speaker, the reality is Conservative candidates spent Conservative funds on Conservative advertising. It is true that the national party transferred funds to those local candidates and that those local candidates purchased services from the national party. This is not only legal and ethical, it is common practice.
In the 2006 election, the Liberal Party of Canada transferred $1.7 million to its local candidates and in that same election those local candidates transferred $1.3 million back to the Liberal Party. This means Liberal riding associations moved $6.6 million in monetary and non-monetary transfers to Liberal candidates and invoiced $1.4 million in goods and services for those candidates to pay back. Not only does these transfer in happen from national parties, but it is in fact the case that the Liberal Party engaged in transfers out.
I do not say that to throw mud or besmirch reputations. The Liberal Party officials who made these transfers to local riding associations and the local riding associations that transferred the money right back, oftentimes the exact same amount on the exact same day, engaged in a legal and ethical practice for which I would not condemn them. They were fully within the law and clearly within the balance of ethics to which we all ought to adhere. That was the 2006 election.
In 2004 the Liberal Party made monetary transfers of $1.6 million to local candidates and its local candidates transferred $1.3 million back to the national party. In that election, the national party gave money to riding associations that probably did not have means of their own and those riding associations then purchased services from the central party, which is entirely a legal practice. As we can see from the enormity of the transfer, $1.6 million in and then $1.3 million out was not an exception, but it would be more accurately called the rule. It was widely practised over at least two elections by the Liberal Party. Those elections I refer to are 2004 and 2006.
The Liberal Party was not unique in engaging in the in and out transfers. The NDP transferred $884,000 to local candidates and those local candidates transferred back $545,000 to the central party. Roughly three-quarters of a million dollars went in and $500,000 went out with respect to the NDP in the 2006 election campaign.
In the 2004 campaign, just to show this was not a one-time practice for the NDP, the party transferred roughly half a million dollars to local candidates and those local candidates transferred back $385,000, about half a million dollars in and about $400,000 out. Again, this was not an isolated case, not an unusual practise, not an anomaly, but a systematic in and out effort exercised by the New Democratic Party.
May I emphasize for my colleagues in the NDP, for many of whom I have a great deal of respect, that when they made these in and out transfers on such a large scale, they did absolutely nothing wrong. There was nothing illegal, nothing unethical, just like the Conservative Party did absolutely nothing wrong when it made similar transactions.
The NDP and the Liberal Party did not engage in criminal activity when they made those in and out transfers. Their only crime is hypocrisy, and they are committing it today, not then.
That leaves the Bloc Québécois. The Bloc Québécois national party transferred $732,000 to its local candidates and local candidates transferred back $820,000 in that election. This is not only a practice that the party engaged in but one that it engaged in systematically, as we can tell by the enormity of the size of the transfers. It is impossible that this would have been just a on-off practice for the Bloc Québécois because those kinds of numbers would not be exercised through a single riding association. It would need to have involved at least dozens.
I have example after example of where members of literally every central party represented in this House of Commons transferred exact amounts to riding associations and those riding associations transferred those same exact amounts back to the central party, often on the very same day. This was widely practised, systematically undertaken by every political party in the House of Commons. I have a whole binder full of examples that I can share of where those in and out transfers occurred in other political parties.
Let us break down this debate into its component parts. Is it legal and ethical for a party to transfer funds to local candidates? Yes. That has never been a matter of dispute. Are local candidates allowed to purchase services from a central campaign? Yes. It happens literally every day. I imagine it probably has happened during the time that has transpired since I began my speech only moments ago, although I suspect it seems like a longer time to my friends on the other side.
Is it legal for local candidates to include national messages, national leaders, national party logos and names in their advertisements? Yes. That is not only common practice, it would be considered extremely unusual if a local candidate did not mention the party leader name and national message in his or her advertisements.
Therefore, if we take those three component parts of this controversy, and we all agree that they are completely legal, ethical and common practice, then we must conclude by those three steps that the ensemble of those three steps is also legal, ethical and commonplace. That is why we have taken Elections Canada to court. In one case, one court sided with the Conservative Party. In another case it was otherwise. However, we will continue to defend our position because it is legal, ethical and common practice among all political parties.
Given that the party followed all of the rules and conducted itself with the highest standard of ethics, I think what we are witnessing here, unfortunately, is the politics of personal destruction undertaken by the Liberal Party in this case. I think the Liberal Party can do better than that. All of us should be focused on the issues that matter to Canadians.
When I travel through the constituency of Nepean—Carleton and I ask my constituents what issues are on their mind, they tell me that it is jobs, saving for the future, a plan to get rid of the deficit and efforts to keep prices reasonable for Canadian consumers. I say to my friends on the opposition benches that never did one of their slurs create a job, reduce unemployment, give a middle-class family the chance to save for its future, help reduce the deficit or keep prices reasonable for Canadian families.
What will do those things is our economic action plan, which has created 460,000 jobs. What will help families save is our tax free savings account, which has allowed five million Canadians to put aside money for their futures. What will help us lead the world out of deficit is the plan that we have that will balance our budget by 2015 and has so far kept our deficit to roughly a quarter or a third of the size of our American neighbours on a per capita basis. What will help with the global concern of rising prices is this government's and Prime Minister's decision to lower the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%.
On those issues, we are getting the job done for everyday Canadians, which is why the Canadian people support this government.
I would encourage my distinguished colleagues on all sides of this House to work with us in order to advance the cause of our economic action plan. We need to put aside small differences and focus on the big picture, the big picture being the jobs that Canadians need so that the 460,000 people who got the jobs can be met by hundreds of thousands more, which is our goal. These people will be able to come home at the end of the day, open the door proudly and tell their spouse or their children that they got the job and that they will be able to pay the bills. Their hopes and dreams will be possible. They will be able to afford to send their daughter or son to post-secondary education because they are working again. They will be able to have the retirement they dreamed about and worked for their entire lives because they will be able to put aside money and take advantage of the new tax free savings accounts. The mother of three children will be able to shop and provide food for the family because the prices are reasonable.
Those should be the goals of this House. We should be working with all parties, as we have through five successful budgets that we have managed to pass in a minority Parliament, to advance the kind of economic agenda that brings prosperity to the families that form the backbone of this country. That is the centre of this government's undertaking. We are committed to provide the stable and prosperous future that the Canadian people sent us here to deliver. We are leading in the world. We have unemployment lower than our competitors, hundreds of thousands of jobs being created and money being saved by families for their future. That is what we are elected to do and hat is what we will continue to do.