Mr. Speaker, I will share my time with the member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert.
The government has already admitted that there was a parallel group within the Liberal Party of Canada. A parallel group also means a parallel election fund. Unfortunately, it is only natural that when there is a covert election fund, there are various misappropriations of funds, phony or inflated invoices, and reports that were not made, which fail to appear in a clear, specific way in the books. Unfortunately, this is the very nature of a parallel group, as the government has already admitted, and therefore of a secret parallel election fund.
We in the Bloc Québécois started informing the House as early as 1997 that highly irregular things were going on under this program. On many occasions, and especially in the course of this Parliament, we have given the Prime Minister an opportunity to do the right thing, make the right decision, and act in the interests of his fellow citizens, not that of his party and especially not to pay off his friends. He has been given this kind of opportunity on many occasions.
What we are asking for today with this motion is very simple. Some very serious allegations are being made before the Gomery commission, allegations that call into question the very basis of our democracy. What we are asking of the Prime Minister is very simple: that he take no chances. An amount of $2.2 million may have been paid out illegally, so let him take no chances, let him do the right thing and put it in a trust. That seems to me the noble and the right thing to do.
Above all, the citizens of Canada and Quebec would not want the Liberal Party of Canada waging a fourth election campaign with dirty money. Yet this Prime Minister has done nothing. On every occasion, he has taken action only when pressure was being put on him, when he was being driven into a corner and his denial of the obvious was becoming laughably absurd. Apart from that, the Prime Minister was doing nothing. Today he is still trying to buy time, to hide at times behind the commission or behind the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, to avoid answering questions which really are very simple questions. This is truly unfortunate for democracy, both in Canada and in Quebec. This is why the Prime Minister should take action.
All of the opposition parties agree that this motion is the right thing to do. For a change, it seems to me that this would be a fine initiative on his part, he who made himself the champion of eliminating the democratic deficit. Why should he not, for once, respect the will of this House by depositing the $2.2 million in a trust?
We all hope that the Liberal Party will be able to reclaim its honour, if it still has any left. To do so, it does not have to wait for the Gomery commission to complete its work. Once again, this is obvious.
Again today, in oral question period, the Prime Minister made much of his not waiting for the completion of the Gomery commission to fire ambassador Gagliano and to sack André Ouellet and Jean Pelletier, among others. Today things are too hot for the Prime Minister, and he has once again chosen to hide behind the commission and so avoid his responsibilities. He wants us to wait for the Gomery commission to complete its work.
At the moment, the Gomery commission is teaching us many things about the operation of both this government and the Liberal Party of Canada.
The government itself agrees that there is a parallel group within the Liberal Party of Canada. Among the things that have come out at the Gomery inquiry is that there was a well organized system in place to finance the Liberal Party of Canada. We learned that Jacques Corriveau, the main bagman of the Liberal Party of Canada, received 10% of the agency commissions collected by Groupaction on the sponsorship contracts that went to Polygone/Expour. For this stratagem alone, according to the inquiry, Mr. Corriveau may have received half a million dollars from the Liberal Party of Canada.
What else did we learn from the inquiry? That Jean Brault was heavily solicited by the Liberal Party of Canada between 1995 and 2002. There is a direct connection here. If these companies wanted to obtain contracts from the federal government, there was just one very simple condition to be met: give money to the Liberal Party of Canada.
I would reiterate that these are not donations. This was tax money, the money families pay to the state so that their needs can be met when there is a crisis. What does this government do? Takes the money and hands it over to its party to ensure re-election. This is scandalous, a denial of democracy. The Liberals conducted three election campaigns with that dirty money and are getting ready for a fourth.
If the Prime Minister had just a bit of honour, he would do the right thing and put the $2.2 million into a trust account. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure that he will not be doing so, and that is most unfortunate.
They are saying that this government recognizes some serious acts have been committed, and that there is a parallel group. The members of this government have sometimes gone much further than that. On the eve of the 2004 election campaign, the Minister of Transport himself said, “We will not campaign using tainted money”. However, that is exactly what they did in 2004, and we do not want to see this repeated in 2005.
The Minister of Transport went even further, saying that the Liberal Party of Canada could immediately deposit an equivalent amount in a special account. For once, I would like to do as the Minister of Transport says. We are providing him with an opportunity today. I encourage him to vote in favour of our motion, if he wants to be consistent with the remarks he made last year.
This is such a great opportunity. We are dealing with actions which, again, undermine the very basis of our democratic system. Beyond all the criticism, I am prepared to reach out to them. They should do things properly and, to be on the safe side, deposit this $2.2 million in a trust account. It seems to me that is the right thing to do. The Prime Minister ought to bow to the will of the government.
It is sad to think that three elections were financed with dirty money. In these three elections, the Liberal Party diverted funds which it gave to friends to make them rich, so that they could then make donations to the Liberal Party of Canada. That is a disgrace. By his current inaction, the Prime Minister is bringing disgrace on his function. This is an unspeakable scandal.
It sometimes makes me very sad to say that I am a member of this Parliament and to be up against a government which was involved in a scandal that will go down in history. To this day, we remember the railway scandal which took place 100 years ago. I am convinced that, 100 years from now, people will still be talking about this sponsorship scandal, which brought disgrace on both the Liberal Party and the function currently held by the Prime Minister.
To conclude, I will briefly reiterate that, with this motion, we are giving the government an opportunity to make amends, deposit the $2.2 million in a trust account and avoid financing a fourth election campaign with dirty money from the sponsorships.
I encourage all Liberal members, and my hon. colleagues from Quebec in particular, to vote in favour of this motion.