Madam Speaker, the Conservatives were elected in 2006 on a platform of accountability and transparency. However, once the election was over, the Conservatives' true colours shone through: they traded in transparency and respect for deceit and intimidation.
On April 22, I asked the Conservative government why it has systematically attacked senior officials who were trying to do their job.
As usual, the Conservatives resorted to smart remarks instead of the truth. A number of watchdogs have been victims of intimidation or have been dismissed because they dared to do their job. I have some examples.
Jean-Pierre Kingsley, the former Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. The Liberals had asked the Conservatives to come clean once and for all on election financing and to shed light on some serious allegations. The Conservative Party had allegedly broken the law by exceeding the legal limit allowed during the last election campaign by more than $1 million. There was also a dispute on the issue of political contributions received during the 2005 national convention.
As a result of these disputes with Elections Canada, Jean-Pierre Kingsley tendered his resignation after 17 years of good service. I blame the Conservative government for the resignation and the loss of this senior official who was highly respected by all, here and abroad.
Bernard Shapiro, Ethics Commissioner. The Conservatives appointed a new ethics commissioner after Mr. Shapiro held an inquiry into whether the Prime Minister employed improper means to persuade the former member for Vancouver Kingsway and Liberal minister of international trade, David Emerson, to switch parties.
Yet the Conservatives did not object to his appointment. Mr. Shapiro had a brilliant background. He was the rector and vice-chancellor of McGill University, a professor of public policy at the University of Toronto, and a deputy minister in four Ontario government ministries.
Linda Keen, chair of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. The Liberals called for an independent review of Ms. Keen's dismissal because the Prime Minister completely ignored the law when he fired her. But that criticism was motivated primarily by petty politics.
It seems that the only interests protected by that decision were the Prime Minister's political interests. He found a scapegoat. He even silenced Ms. Keen in the middle of the night, just hours before she was to appear before the House of Commons committee. The Conservatives shut Ms. Keen up instead of letting her tell the truth. What will the Conservatives do next? We are starting to see a real trend here.
Robert Marleau was Information Commissioner. After serving the House of Commons for 31 years, Robert Marleau was appointed Information Commissioner in January 2007. In June 2009, he resigned for personal reasons.
Robert Marleau had the nerve to criticize the Conservative government's lack of transparency. In his annual report, he stated that Canada had “to regain its status as a leader in the area of access to information”.
Instead of changing its corporate culture, this government relied even more heavily on secrecy to prevent access to information.
The Conservatives have created a climate of fear and intimidation throughout the public service.