Mr. Speaker, it is nice to get into the debate today and speak to this motion. The motion raises very serious concerns about the proper use of government resources and government funds, and it raises questions about accountability.
First, to the movers of the motion, I have heard some members of the NDP talk about how they are vigilant in the public interest and public matters and issues that are important to Canadians, yet today we are dealing with this motion. I do not think that this is at the top of Canadians' list of important issues to be dealt with.
This is the same NDP that is now before the PROC committee to discuss its leader's actions in opening an office in Saskatchewan, where there are no NDP members. If we look at the job description, we see that it talks about assisting members of Parliament through outreach to their constituents so as to best represent them, but the NDP does not have any constituents there. The telling tale in the job description is under the qualifications, which ask for experience in election campaigns. It is clearly a breach of government resources and House of Commons resources to open up an office to carry out partisan activities. That is coming from the NDP.
Let me come back to this issue. Yes, we must hold the government to account. We need to know who flew on the taxpayer's dime and whether those costs were reimbursed in the appropriate manner. These are important issues to bring forward.
Let us be crystal clear that we also understand that the Prime Minister cannot travel on a commercial aircraft. Any time that the Prime Minister must travel, for whatever reason, he must travel under the protection of the Department of National Defence. Most Canadians and most parliamentarians understand and respect that.
However, the use of government aircraft for party business is a broader pattern of public resources being used for Conservative partisan purposes. It goes well beyond shuttling top Conservatives to partisan events. We will look at some of the examples.
Let us look at government advertising. This includes tens of thousands, even hundreds of millions, spent on high-cost, low-information government advertising, such as advertising the government's action plan. These advertisements are clearly meant to sway Canadians toward the opinion of the Conservative Party and are not government advertising.
It also includes over a quarter million, and still counting, to send out press releases. It goes on to talk about the government's websites. The government has just completely overhauled its websites and has moved away from providing information and toward more partisan advertising for the government.
We can then look at the Prime Minister's new 24 Seven website, which shows the farcical videos launched by the Prime Minister's Office. There are four staffers spending their time and using government-owned equipment to create these videos of the Prime Minister and senior Conservatives to promote nothing other than themselves and the Conservative Party. Many of these videos have had only a dozen hits. This is not a very good use of taxpayers' dollars.
To come back to the use of government resources to shuttle around cabinet ministers, we still have the former Minister of National Defence being airlifted by a search and rescue helicopter out of a fishing trip that he was on. This just goes to show the very poor planning of the government on this particular issue. The minister knew well in advance that he had a meeting and a press conference that had been planned for weeks on that particular day. He could have altered his schedule somewhat, but no, he decided to call in the resources of the Canadian military to airlift him out of a fishing camp.
Let us get back to the use of overseas travel and using these government aircraft to ferry delegations around the country and around the world. It is an important task. We have to be represented in the world and we have to provide transportation to these delegations. The problem is that a lot of these delegations do not truly cross partisan lines.
In the past, when Conservatives went to the Ukraine and other places, they invited other members of Parliament from all parties to represent the government and Parliament. However, we have seen more and more often that they are only using it for their own Conservative MPs and their buddies. One only needs to look down the passenger list of some of these delegations to see that they are all well-connected Conservatives, including donors and fundraisers. It shows a partisan face to the world when this is done.
To summarize, yes, Liberals are very concerned about the proper use of government aircraft, and we should be vigilant about it. If these uses cross the line, it is only right that the governing party reimburse Canadians fully and fairly for the expenses at fair market value. Unfortunately, we keep seeing many examples of the Conservatives harnessing public resources for clearly partisan ends. The use of government aircraft for Tory officials only came to light through access to information. That leads to the question of what else might be going on that has not yet come to light.
Where is the total respect for taxpayers' dollars? This is a government that rode in on the high horse of accountability. It might have been a pink My Little Pony, because everything they said they would not do, they have done. Where is the transparency and accountability?
Liberals will be supporting this motion. We look forward to hearing other members' opinions on it.