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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was liberal.

Last in Parliament March 2015, as Conservative MP for Ottawa West—Nepean (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 45% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply April 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Kitchener—Waterloo for his welcoming remarks on my election to this place. I look forward to working with him and others.

I think the last time the Liberal Party tried to investigate Brian Mulroney it ended up paying him hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars and having to issue a formal apology. Taxpayers' dollars went to pay for Liberal bungling. The member should be very cautious if he wants to reopen that issue. I remember the former justice minister having to issue a public apology and writing a very large cheque, perhaps a seven digit figure, over a million dollars in legal fees for that bungling. I hope we do not have to go back down that route.

With respect, I disagree profoundly with the member opposite. The member opposite said that Chuck Guité was inherited from the Conservative government. Our public servants do not work for a Conservative government or a Liberal government. Our public servants work for Canadians. We have a non-partisan public service. I want to underline that for the member opposite.

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply April 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I expect that every day the Minister of Public Works and Government Services will be on his feet answering questions in question period in the other place. I think he was asked two questions yesterday. This is good for accountability. As well, another 25 ministers will be here in the House of Commons.

I respect the opinion and judgment of the member opposite. I would be dishonest if I did not put on the table my concern about the continued maligning of our public service. The Liberal Party has tried to blame our public service for the scandal and the member opposite has thrown fuel on that fire. No member of the public service woke up one day and said, “How do I funnel money to the Liberal Party in Quebec?” That is a fact. Public servants did not do that.

What we did see in Justice Gomery's report was the active involvement and collusion of senior members of the Liberal Party both on Parliament Hill and in the province of Quebec, who were involved in the disbursement of public funds. We heard stories of envelopes filled with $7,000 and even $50,000 in cash. No member of the public service woke up one day and wanted to funnel money to the Liberal Party in Quebec. I can assure the member opposite of that.

Someone will have to stand up for the public service. I can say that there will be two people who will be doing that. They will be the political minister responsible for Quebec, the member for Pontiac, and there will be myself, the member for Ottawa. We will be the first two to stand up for the public service.

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply April 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the member said that we could perhaps have no greater victory in this first session of the 39th Parliament than that we could pass, enact into law, the federal accountability act, to leave a legacy of accountability and to show all Canadians that we can make this Parliament work and that we can clean up once and for all the cynicism that has grown over the past 13 years.

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply April 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the Minister of Transport, my colleague the member for Pontiac.

It is a great privilege for me to rise in this place for the first time. At the outset I would like to thank the electors of Ottawa West--Nepean for their support. I commit to them that I will work hard each and every day to serve their interests in this place. Their priorities which they sent me here to address are health care, crime, support for seniors, and to be an advocate for our public servants.

A great number of very distinguished people have preceded me in this place. I would like to pay tribute to Marlene Catterall who served as our member of Parliament in Ottawa West--Nepean for the past 16 or 17 years, to David Daubney, Beryl Gaffney, Bill Tupper who was a real mentor to me, former Speaker Lloyd Francis who was good enough to come to my swearing in, along with David Daubney, Walter Baker, Dick Bell, and my great-uncle who served as the member for my riding in the 1940s. I am very privileged to follow him.

Today I rise to speak about accountability. It is one of the most important responsibilities, in my judgment, facing any government. Canadians, all of us, were shocked at the sponsorship scandal and other examples of irresponsible government. It shook the confidence of Canadians to the core. As the Prime Minister has noted publicly, and I do not think we can do it enough, this Conservative government does not blame the members of the public service for what happened. They did not cross the line. It was their political masters who did.

I want to say very directly that rebuilding the public trust can be the most important legacy for the 39th Parliament. Our federal accountability act can change how government works. It will make it easier not just for the House but for all Canadians to hold their federal government to account. I hope we will use this first step to rebuild the public trust of Canadians in their government.

We are going to focus on five key reforms. We want political reform through changes to electoral and party financing so that there is real confidence that undue influence is not exerted on the political process, on the parliamentary process or indeed on government. We want parliamentary reform through enhanced support for parliamentary committees so that all members of Parliament can do their jobs, and through stronger roles and greater independence for the officers and agents of the House of Commons and Senate.

We want public sector reform through better and improved accountability structures.

We want procurement reform to ensure that Canadian taxpayers are getting value for their hard-earned tax dollars and that the processes are open.

We want to see additional reforms to help increase transparency in government.

The reforms we will present to the House and through the House to Canadians will be far reaching and comprehensive.

Accountability is the very foundation for Canada's system of responsible government. It is key to assuring Parliament and Canadians that public resources are used both efficiently and effectively. Accountability means leading by example. That is especially true for those who aspire to public office, for members of Parliament and the political parties that all but one of us represent.

As I mentioned earlier, the federal accountability act will reduce the opportunity to exert undue political influence through large and secret donations of money to political parties and candidates. This will ensure greater transparency and help Canadians feel more confident about the integrity of the democratic process.

Canadians expect their elected representatives and indeed all public office holders to make decisions that are in the public interest and not in their personal interest both now and in the years to come. Public office holders must perform their duties and arrange their private affairs to withstand the closest public scrutiny. They must uphold the highest ethical standards at all times.

The weaknesses in the current Lobbyists Registration Act have increased the perception of conflict of interest. We must be concerned about conflict of interest, but we must be equally concerned about the public perception of conflict of interest. Some people feel that there is a privileged access to government that is reserved only for a chosen few. That is something this government intends to deal with head on when we introduce the federal accountability act next week.

I am privileged to represent the riding of Ottawa West—Nepean. In the national capital region a huge number of men and women work in the public service and deliver important programs and services that touch the lives of all Canadians every single day. We recognize the professionalism and dedication of the men and women who work in the public service and the value that they bring to the table. As Conservatives we see a strong role for a vibrant, healthy and dynamic private sector as the instrument of economic growth, as the engine of opportunity in the country, but it does not demean the important role that the public sector plays in the Canadian economy and the important role that members of the public service play.

The federal accountability act will help clarify roles and responsibilities which first and foremost will strengthen accountability. Our objective through the federal accountability act which was cited in the Speech from the Throne will be to have an even stronger public service, one that will continue to be second to none internationally.

The government is one of the largest purchasers of goods and services in the country. I strongly believe that the bidding process for government contracts must be fair, open and transparent. The federal accountability act will include an overarching statement of principles to meet these objectives.

One of the most important roles of Parliament is to hold the Government of Canada to account for the use of taxpayers' dollars. To do this effectively, parliamentarians need objective and fact-based information on how the government spends funds. That will be an important part to the parliamentary budget authority that we will propose next week.

I look forward to working with members on all sides of the House to make this new federal accountability act reality. The measures that I highlighted today signal a dramatic change in the way this city works to move from a culture of entitlement to a culture of accountability that pervades Parliament Hill, that pervades the public service, that pervades Canadian society so that all taxpayers will have the confidence that their tax dollars are spent wisely and well.

I look forward to working with members on all sides of the House, with my own caucus colleagues, with members of the official opposition, with members from Quebec and the Bloc Québécois and colleagues from the New Democratic Party. Pat Martin, one of the NDP members of Parliament, was quoted in the Hill Times. He said that we could leave a better legacy--

Business of Supply April 4th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That the business of supply be considered at the next sitting of the House.

(Motion agreed to)