Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague, the member for St. John's East, who would like to share some of his comments with respect to the motion.
I appreciate that my colleague from the Bloc has brought forward the motion. I listened to the convoluted logic of the government House leader and as I said earlier, I can honestly say I was very confused with his Alice in Wonderland logic as to whether it is or is not a confidence motion.
In my opinion, this is not a confidence motion. This is a question that is being asked in every coffee shop across the country. It is a question that is being put to me constantly in the shopping centres, on the streets, in the parking lots, in phone calls. People are asking why is the Prime Minister hanging on by his finger nails when he should be passing the baton to the next prime minister, the soon to be leader of the Liberal Party, and provide Canadians with what they are desperately searching for, and that is good government?
Unfortunately we do not have that. We have a Prime Minster who, for any number of reasons which I will get into, has decided that he will hang on for as long as he can. I must admit it will be to the detriment not only of good governance but to the detriment of this country. He is doing a disservice not only to the country and to the people who demand government, but he is doing a disservice to himself.
I wish, if nothing else comes from this debate today, that we pass the message to the current Prime Minister, “Please, sir, quit doing this disservice to yourself. Please get on with your retirement years and do what it is that you wish to do, write a book or smoke some marijuana”, which is the last thing I heard that he wanted to do when it was legalized. “Please get on with your life and let Canadians get on with what they would like to see right now, which is good government”.
To the chief technocrat of the government benches, the government House leader, no, this is not a vote of confidence. This is simply a motion that has been put forward which says, “Please, Mr. Prime Minister, with all your good graces, as soon after the new leader is chosen in your party, please make way for that leader and let Canadians get on with their work”.
It was said earlier that this is without precedence. This is something we are living in history. It is a historic moment because never before has there been this kind of transition from one leader to another. We have seen that within our own parties. I have lived through a leadership convention and when it was over the new leader took over the day after. We have seen it in the Alliance Party. We have seen it in the Reform Party. We have seen it in the Bloc. We have seen it everywhere except on the benches of the government.
The fact is there are forces at play. Unfortunately they are forces of personal egos, which I do not think have any place right now in the form of good government in this country.
Why can the Prime Minister not leave? Why can he not accept this as being a friendly motion to suggest that once this move is taken, Canadians would like to see this transpire very amicably between him and the member for LaSalle—Émard? The problem is that there may be a little more animosity between the member for LaSalle—Émard and the current Prime Minister than we would wish to have in our country.
There are a number of issues. One is ego. We have talked about that. As a matter of fact, there is a headline that reads “PM's delay delivers 'bad government': The Prime Minister letting ego dictate lengthy good-bye”. That is not good for the country.
That sentiment, which is shared not only in the newspaper headings but as I said earlier, in the coffee shops, is one which we and the backbench members of the government get to listen to on a regular basis. I do not think there is one soul over there on those benches who has not heard it, if not once, at least a thousand times. There is not one person on those benches and on these benches who does not realize that the next leader of the Liberal Party will be the member for LaSalle—Émard.
Let us get on with business. Let us not drag this thing on until February and keep a rudderless government in office when Canadians are crying out in desperation to deal with issues that are so very important. That is where we have to get.
There is no magic about February. The only magic is that there is an individual who does not want to let go, an individual whose ego is bigger than the country and certainly bigger than Centre Block. It is a person who probably just wants to stick around to celebrate a birthday in the House again. It is an individual who probably just wants to stick around because there is something magic about 40 years. We just heard about 37 years from the chief technocrat on the government side. Maybe he wants to stick around simply because it is 40 years.
The motivation of why we should be here in the House is to provide good leadership to Canadians which they so justly deserve. Maybe he just wants to stick around and have those fingers hanging onto the power because he wants to do his swan song. He wants to have his meeting at the summit of the Americas. Maybe he wants to take his international travel to a new height.
That is not good government. That is not what Canadians deserve. Let us make sure that the individual who is going to replace him does so sooner than later.
There is also a serious problem. I have been involved in business for a number of years. When an individual stays a little too long and when that individual is not wanted, there is a real danger of sabotage. There is a danger of that same sabotage taking place here in the government. That is really a concern.
If the existing Prime Minister wants to make it so unhealthy for the new prime minister, the only ones who will be affected are the country and its citizens. We should not put ourselves in that position. We should not allow the outgoing Prime Minister the time to be able to sabotage the incoming prime minister, because nobody wins. The only thing that wins is ego.
There are so many issues which are unable to be attended to right now. We heard the finance minister say he could not put forward a budget in February because he does not know the direction the new prime minister is going to take. We need a fiscal plan put forward. If we cannot have a fiscal plan put forward until after the new leader is prime minister, we are going to be rudderless again for that four or five months.
The finance minister said that we cannot have that fiscal stability which we crave and need so much in this country. We have a loonie that is soaring which is good. There are some issues that have to be dealt with but the finance minister cannot deal with them because he has not been given direction by the new prime minister. We have to set the budget. We have to have the long term vision defined as to where we are going. We have heard other members talk about the democratic deficit. We have to talk about that and put it forward to Canadians but we cannot do that because the new prime minister does not have the ability to do it.
We have to deal with one of the most serious issues right now, which is Canada-U.S. relations. We have a Prime Minister who should not be there after November 15, who cannot even get a meeting with our major trading partner, the President of the United States. Sure, he had the photo op. I am sure there were a whole bunch of little bureaucrats, little minions running around so that the Prime Minister would be seen with President Bush, and he was. It was wonderful. He went on a tour up the river but they cannot sit down in a room and talk prime minister to president right now about softwood lumber. They cannot talk about mad cow disease which is devastating my community. It is devastating agriculture as it has never been devastated before.
We do not have a Prime Minister who can sit down with the President of the United States to deal with major issues because the president does not want to talk to him. Let us fix the problem. Let us not wait until February. Let us fix the problem after November 15 so we can get those relations back together.
Our economy depends on this. This is not about ego. This is not about hanging on just because there are some personal animosities. This is about our country. This is about what we have to achieve in order to retain our standard of living the way we want it retained. Let us get off the pot and make sure we redevelop those relationships with the U.S.
What about federal-provincial relationships? Cooperative federalism has been in a deficit in the government for the last 10 years. The prime minister in waiting has attempted to develop those cooperative federal-provincial relationships.
Let us start now. Let us not wait until February. Let us start in November. We can work toward a great plan to bring the provinces together instead of trying to divide them. We now have an opportunity to make our country much stronger with the provinces and territories. Let us not wait for six months just because of ego, just because somebody wants to hang on to power for that much longer.
What about our military? What about the military that we have sent to Afghanistan? What about their requirements? Some tough decisions have to be made not only by the Minister of Finance, but by the Prime Minister in order to put the resources together and into a priority for the military at the current time. We need that desperately.
What about natural disasters, as was talked about? Mad cow is one, the fires in British Columbia are another and the hurricane in Nova Scotia is another. There is a great need. I have always stood in the House and said that what we really need is a natural disaster plan. We need something we can take off the shelf and say “Here is a consistent plan”, but that is a whole speech for a different day. What we need now is a Prime Minister who is prepared to tell his ministers to go forward and fix the problems, to put some financial compensation packages on the table that we can accept and which Canadians deserve right now with some leadership.
I am going to let my colleague take over from here. This is not a non-confidence motion. This is a motion that should be and has to be accepted by everybody, especially the government of the day. Now is the time to get the message across and have the current Prime Minister retire, and retire with some shred of dignity, which we have to insist that he take.