November 24, 2005

LIB

Jean Lapierre

Liberal

Hon. Jean Lapierre

Mr. Speaker, first of all, for employment insurance, I know that the Bloc members are not concerned with the employment aspect, as we are, but only the employment insurance aspect. That is exactly in line with their philosophy, as I have said. They want to ensure that as many people as possible are out of work so that as many people as possible will be riled up. That is not our approach. The unemployment rate is the lowest it has been for thirty years, and they ought to be pleased about that.

The Bloc is also talking about government spending. Are they not in favour of the $30 billion or so in tax reductions we have made available to Canadians, because our economy is in good shape? Are they not in favour of the $535 million in equalization payments that will be going to Quebec because the economy of Ontario and Alberta is in good shape? Are they not in favour of the way we are sharing funds?

When the hon. member says that the federal government is not responding to Quebec's aspirations, that is not true. In the area of health, all provincial first ministers have asked for additional transfers for health, and we have said yes. All first ministers have asked us to do more for education, and we have said yes. Quebec's finance minister was delighted that they are going to receive transfer payments for student loans and bursaries to facilitate access to higher education.

This government has a record of which we can be proud, and that is exactly what we will be taking door to door in Quebec. We offer economic security, political stability and international leadership.

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CPC

Cheryl Gallant

Conservative

Mrs. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the testimony during the Gomery inquiry revealed that the Liberals have lost the moral authority to govern, but there are indications that the corruption is far more widespread.

During 2003 a cash contribution from a container company controlled by John Webster, David Herle and Michael Connolly, 55555 Inc., was listed as the single largest contributor to the Liberal Party, in the amount of $2,974,341.20. Polling contracts were identified by the Auditor General as an area abused by the Liberal Party and Justice Gomery was specifically prevented from investigating that part of the Auditor General's report.

As a phantom company with no previous history, could money have been washed through this company the way donations were washed through companies named by Justice Gomery in his report?

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LIB

Jean Lapierre

Liberal

Hon. Jean Lapierre

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member reacted as though she had taken lessons from Dale Carnegie. In reality, she is trying yet again to tarnish reputations. She is abusing her parliamentary privilege, something the opposition has been doing for months. Not only did the opposition members not expect Justice Gomery's findings to totally contradict them, but they spent months and months trying to tarnish the reputations of the Prime Minister and the ministers of this government who were fully exonerated.

Accordingly, these smear campaigns and the use and abuse of parliamentary immunity are totally disgraceful. We approve of Justice Gomery's findings that the Prime Minister and all the Quebec ministers are totally exonerated. They are as pure as driven snow.

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LIB

Hedy Fry

Liberal

Hon. Hedy Fry

Mr. Speaker, I believe I am sharing the time with the hon. Minister of Transport.

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The Deputy Speaker

I wish to clarify for the House that the time between the Minister of Transport and the parliament secretary has been divided.

Resuming debate, the hon. parliamentary secretary.

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LIB

Hedy Fry

Liberal

Hon. Hedy Fry (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development (Internationally Trained Workers Initiative), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to take part in today's opposition day motion. I want to focus on two major points. FIrst, I want to highlight the incoherent and inconsistent approach that the opposition has taken to the confidence conventions of Parliament.

Second, I want to take the opportunity to put on record the numerous initiatives that this government has taken to change the way that things work in Ottawa, to change our institutions, to change the way that things work in Canada to support productivity and investing in Canadians, to in fact look at increasing our trade and competitiveness in the world, and to play a role in the world to protect and to be compassionate with other nations that are not as fortunate. These are the things that this government has done and would like to do.

For weeks the opposition has supported the government in implementing its policy agenda, even while talking about wanting to force an election. If that is not an incoherent thing, I do not know what it is.

In speech after speech the opposition has talked about the Gomery report and what terrible things it said. I would like to quote what Justice Gomery said. He said:

There is no reason for the public's confidence in the integrity of our democratic institutions to be shaken....Canadians should not forget that the vast majority of our public officials and politicians do their work honestly, diligently and effectively, and emerge from this inquiry free of any blame.

Instead, what we hear is innuendo after innuendo and I can only come to one conclusion. We know that the Prime Minister has promised to call an election 30 days after Justice Gomery's final report. Why is it that if everyone across the way is so convinced that we have done terrible things that they do not want to listen to what the facts say in the report? Because the opposition wants to run an election on innuendo. The opposition does not wish to run an election on facts. Those members do not want to hear what Justice Gomery has to say, but we want to hear what Justice Gomery has to say.

The fact is it was this government that brought the Gomery commission into being, giving it the broadest possible mandate to get to the truth. It was this government that cancelled the whole sponsorship program as soon as the Auditor General's report came out saying that there were problems with that program. It was this government that took steps immediately after Justice Gomery brought out his interim report to take care of some of the things that he talked about with regard to the bad apples that we have all heard about within the Liberal Party itself and within other sectors. This innuendo is really what it is all about.

The whole idea of confidence and the confidence convention in this place is at the heart of our system of responsible government. In fact, it is a basic principle that requires the government to be responsible to the House for its actions. This government must have the confidence of a majority of members to remain in power.

There have been very few occasions in Canadian history, in fact there have been no examples over the last 25 years, when a government has fallen because of a confidence vote. The first government to be defeated was the Meighen government in 1926. Prime Minister Meighen was defeated on a motion that basically questioned the legal authority of the government to govern.

We know from that affair that Prime Minister Meighen took action in the House of Commons. As a result of the lack of confidence in him personally, the opposition took the immediate opportunity for lack of confidence in him.

In 1974 the Trudeau government was defeated on a subamendment to a budget that neither opposition party could support.

The best known example of a government being defeated on no confidence was the Clark government in 1979, when the opposition parties strongly objected to Mr. Crosbie's budget that increased gasoline taxes.

What do opposition parties do when they are faced with a lack of confidence? They immediately do what they need to do to defeat the government at the earliest opportunity. We know that the opposition could have done that by passing a subamendment to the budget which condemned past governments for their policies.

What do these experiences teach us about that convention and that practice in this House? We have learned that opposition parties in the past were not afraid to demonstrate their lack of confidence in governments.

What we have seen in this House is games being played. We have seen silliness in the past by members not going to committees and not forming a quorum in the House, a little bit of game playing. This is not about a lack of confidence. The same opposition parties supported this government on its ways and means motion yesterday. They have supported this government on its budget bills.

The opposition parties have supported this government, although I must say it is inconsistent of Her Majesty's official opposition in saying that it wants tax cuts and then did not support tax cuts. It is another example of the incoherence and the game playing that is going on. In fact, when we brought about $100 billion in tax cuts in 2001, the same opposition party that bleats about tax cuts all the time did not support it either.

I just wonder whether this is all a game. Is this a game? With a lack of confidence in a government, it should not be supporting the government's votes in the House. On 50 occasions in Parliament those opposition parties have expressed their confidence in this same government. Now this week, suddenly they are eager to implement the government's fiscal priorities. We saw that from the way they voted.

There was the absurd motion a week ago Monday which suggested that the opposition parties want an election called in January, but in the meantime, they want the government to implement its policies. Are they supporting the government's policies? Do they think that they are good? If so, they have confidence in the government.

Again we are back to political opportunism, wanting to run on innuendo and not wanting to wait for the Gomery report to listen to the truth. If they are so convinced that this government is corrupt, they should listen to the truth and then run on that. That is not what we see happening here. What we see is political opportunism at its absolute worst.

There are facts that I want to bring out. It was, as I said before, this government that brought about the Gomery commission. We are not afraid of Gomery. We want to hear Gomery. We want to hear what he says. We want to listen to him so that we can make those changes, and we have already made changes after his interim report.

For the sake of a few months, three months actually, we have really important bills, but these opposition parties do not want to bring about those bills, for whatever their reasons. These are bills that, for shame, many of Her Majesty's loyal opposition who come from the west should feel terrible about not bringing forward.

We hear them arguing about how they have no trust in the United States trade, that softwood lumber is not working and there is frustration. What does this government do? We want to diversify and broaden our trade, so we set up the Asia-Pacific trading systems. We want to work on that. We set up the Pacific gateway bill. We set up some policies that go with the Pacific gateway. The ones that would benefit are the western provinces, yet this bill is not going to come fruition because the opposition parties do not want to wait three months to allow this bill to pass. As a British Columbian, I can only say shame, shame, shame. That is all I can say.

The 2010 Olympics is going to be a really big thing for British Columbia. We have worked so hard. That bill was to come here within the next three months. They do not want that to come forward. The money that was to be allocated for that is going to die.

We talked about street racing and there was this big talk in the House about crime. We are bringing out a street racing bill. In Richmond, B.C. we have seen the death of a policeman and others from street racing. That bill is not going to be passed because the opposition parties are in hurry to get into an election and not allow that come to the floor.

The NDP are no better. We heard questions today in question period about most indebted countries. We have a bill of $130 million to forgive the debt for the most indebted countries. That bill is not going to pass, yet the NDP are saying they care about it.

We talked about immigration. We have about $168 million now that is going to go to immigration to deal with citizenship, to deal with adoption, to deal with some of the things that those parties have said they wanted to support. That bill is not going to come before the House because of that political opportunism.

There is climate change and the Public Health Agency. We are worried about avian flu. We saw what happened with SARS. None of those things are going to come to pass because of that kind of cheap political opportunism in this House.

All I can say is shame.

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CPC

Jim Gouk

Conservative

Mr. Jim Gouk (British Columbia Southern Interior, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, if anybody knows about funny speaking, it is the hon. member who just spoke.

First, she talks about the games that are played. Let us talk about some of the games. Let us talk about a government that removes the opposition supply days so a non-confidence motion cannot be brought forward on a corrupt government.

Let us talk about when the Liberals filibustered their own motions to prevent anything else from coming forward. Then they voted closure on themselves in order to cut it off at the end. Talk about games.

Then there were the arcane procedures that the Liberals brought up to disrupt the normal flow of business in the House in June. I am not sure if it was the hon. member who just spoke or the transport minister before that who talked about deals with the Bloc. We have not made a deal with members of the Bloc. They happen to be voting the same way we are. That is the deal.

However, the Liberals made a deal with members of the Bloc last June to get their support and to prevent us from bringing forward motions. They do not need to tell us about playing games. They are the ones who are doing it.

The Liberals lament about the fact that we are having an early election. Yet they did it in 1979 after only nine months, as the hon. member herself said, because of a gas tax. Yet as soon as the Liberals became government, they put in the very thing on which they defeated the previous government.

We are not getting the gateway bill and other bills like that. Why? Because the government has never brought them forward. They have not even been on the order paper. The gateway bill would have passed. We had already indicated we would support it, but the Liberals did not bring it forward. They are playing games. They want to hold that up and say that this is the gateway bill, but we did not get it because the opposition called an election.

The final point the member can address is in terms of an early election. She said that they were prepared to call the election as soon as the final report of Gomery came in, which was due on December 1. It has been delayed. If the final report had been delivered on December 1, it would have meant we would have had an election in late December, early January, the very thing we offered the Liberals and they turned it down. If there are any games being played, it is by them.

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LIB

Hedy Fry

Liberal

Hon. Hedy Fry

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister made a promise to this nation, face to face and directly, that he would call an election 30 days after the Gomery inquiry report. Mr. Gomery makes a decision about when to bring his report down and we know his report is scheduled for February 1. Thirty days after that, the Prime Minister will do as he promised.

However, I still have to wonder why the opposition parties do not want to hear what Mr. Gomery has to say, and prefer to run an election on innuendo.

Deals with the Bloc? When we make a deal with any political party in this place, and we have done so, it is to help to pass public policy. It is to help to move legislation forward. This is for the benefit of Canadians.

We know what the Bloc's agenda is. It is not a hidden agenda. Bloc members are raising and increasing their capacity and their capability to divide the country once more into separation. It is for shame that the opposition parties are making deals with them to bring down a government so that can happen.

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NDP

Bill Siksay

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Siksay (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the member's speech. Unfortunately, all the criteria about which she complained and about the timing of the election, could have been solved had the Liberals been prepared to compromise and work in the context of a minority Parliament, and not pretend that they had a huge majority from Canadians to do whatever they wanted to do.

We could have heard the second Gomery report if the Prime Minister had accepted the opposition proposal. We would have heard the second Gomery before the election date. We could have dealt with legislation right up until the Christmas recess. We could have gone through a lot of legislation till then, but the Liberals were unwilling to compromise so we will be unable to do that.

We could have had more legislation on the agenda. The parliamentary secretary knows full well that the citizenship legislation to which she referred was delayed and delayed. It was promised months and months ago. Then finally when we get it at the last minute, it is only a small portion of what was promised originally.

We could have avoided a holiday campaign by accepting the opposition proposal for an election called in January to be held in February. That would have met all her complaints, but her government, her Prime Minister, were not willing to join the compromise and realize that Canadians had only given them a minority government, not a majority government. I hope she can comment on that.

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LIB

Hedy Fry

Liberal

Hon. Hedy Fry

Mr. Speaker, I will be delighted to comment on that. The hon. member said that we did not compromise. We did. We made an agreement with the NDP for the sake of passing important measures in the budget early in the spring of this year. However, when the NDP wanted to make another deal that we did not think was in the best interests of the people of Canada, we said no, so it picked up its toys and decided to go home. That is what we call making a compromise in the House.

The Prime Minister made a promise that he would let Gomery give his final report and call an election 30 days after. We have heard from Mr. Gomery that it will not be until February 1. He cannot break that promise. He made the promise to get to the truth. Sufficient money was spent on the report. Mr. Gomery went around the country in order to write a report and to find the facts. We need to hear those facts, and that is why we cannot make the “compromise” about which the hon. member spoke.

The member spoke about delays in bringing forward legislation. I recall in the House when two opposition parties would not come to committees. I recall when opposition parties walked out of the House so its business could not be done. I still say that this is about games, and it is a shameful thing.

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The Deputy Speaker

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Macleod, Softwood Lumber; the hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, National Parole Board; the hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl, Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

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CPC

Loyola Hearn

Conservative

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's South—Mount Pearl, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to join in this debate. The big question is does the House have confidence in the government? The answer to that is a resounding no from every opposition member in the House.

One might ask why I, coming from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, would not have confidence in the government? Unfortunately, an end has to come to this debate tonight and unfortunately there will be a vote Monday and we will leave here. I could go on until some time well into next week giving reasons why I have absolutely no confidence in the government.

Last year we saw a battle in the House like none ever fought before on behalf of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It came as a result of game playing by the government opposite.

In the last election, the government committed to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador that it would provide greater benefits from the revenues derived from offshore development. It made the promise simply because the Conservative Party had made a solid commitment to the province in writing, which the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, being the smart individual he is, held up and asked the Prime Minister to match. Under pressure, the Prime Minister did but never in writing.

What did we see after the election? We saw the government back away from the commitments. We saw it trying to twist and turn every way it could to get out of delivering to our province the promises it had made. The provisions from the development of the offshore oil resources are so abundant off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Conservative Party and its leader, along with all members, not only Atlantic members, tried to convince the Prime Minister to deliver on his promise. Not only had Newfoundland and Labrador received such a promise, so had Nova Scotia. Members from Nova Scotia and my province, including the member for St. John's East and myself, along with the leader and every member in the Conservative caucus and others helped in this effort.

It took constant pressure day after day. It took the province to get down on its knees, eventually taking down flags to draw attention to the problem, before the Prime Minister relented and was forced into delivering. People ask why we should have confidence in the government. That is one of the answers.

Let us look at the fishery. During the Prime Minister's visit to my province prior to the last election, he promised that we would take custodial management of the fisheries off the nose and tail of the Grand Banks. When the campaigning started, the government said that we would take custodial management. We have not heard the words mentioned since by the government. In fact, we have seen it back away.

Before I go too far, Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be splitting my time with the member for Durham.

It was promise after promise, and we have seen it happen again. Yesterday the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans came to my province. He talked about all the things the government was doing to preserve our cod stocks. He did it because tomorrow the standing committee will be tabling a report which will show to the House and the country what the government has done to try to protect and enhance the stocks off the coast of eastern Canada. Game playing is absolutely at its fullest.

What about search and rescue? Why did it take a search and rescue helicopter over two hours to leave the ground when a distress signal had been received from an overturned boat? It took half an hour or so to identify where the signal came from.

I realize it is a big ocean and it probably does take some time, but officials were phoning everywhere to determine whether the boat was at sea and whether it was a valid call. All the Department of National Defence had to do was call the Department of Fisheries to find out. With the black boxes that are on our boats now, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is updated every hour as to where these boats are. One call to one of the government's own departments could have told them in seconds where the boat was. It took over half an hour of phoning all over the place in an uncoordinated manner to determine whether the signal was legitimate.

When it was determined that the signal was legitimate, it took 1 hour and 55 minutes to get a chopper off the ground. Why? It was because the search and rescue crews work eight hours a day, five days a week. Unfortunately, the original eight hour shift was still on duty when the signal was received but they were let go and the standby crew had to be called in. It gets worse but I will go on more with this story later this evening because there were some other complications.

However the loss of time also meant the loss of lives unfortunately. Two people died within 25 minutes of rescue arriving. If the rescue had been more efficient those two crew members would have been saved. Should we have confidence in a government that runs an operation that way?

With respect to our seniors, we saw the charade being played here yesterday when the Liberals tried to say, in supporting one of the bills brought forth, that they support seniors. However when they were asked by the Bloc who put forth the motion if they would be willing to have the bill go to third reading, which the NDP, the Bloc and ourselves agreed to, they declined to do so.

The charade is up front. The Liberals make commitments and promises before an election but they do not deliver afterward. The people of Canada are sick and tired of it. The only people rewarded by their promises are their friends, which Justice Gomery did a good job of pointing out.

Liberal members have stood in their place time after time and said that Justice Gomery has cleared the Prime Minister. Justice Gomery said that the Prime Minister should be exonerated from the management and the direction of the program. He did not say that he did not know or that he was not involved. In fact, Justice Gomery said that ministers turned their backs on what was going on. He said that Treasury Board abdicated its responsibilities.

Who was the vice-chair of Treasury Board? Who was the minister of finance who directed funding? Who was the key minister, the spark plug from Quebec, in the government? Everybody knows it was the member for LaSalle--Émard, the Prime Minister.

Is anyone going to believe that somebody who was the minister of finance, the vice-chair of Treasury Board, the key man in Quebec, did not know what was going on during the scandal? There are two options: first, the truth is not being told; or second, the individual had to be totally incompetent. Either way, members of the House of Commons and the people of this country would have no confidence in somebody running this country who fits into either one of those categories. They would certainly have no confidence in the way ministries are run.

As I said, I could go on well into next week with other reasons but I have agreed to split my time and I will certainly do that with the member for Durham.

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LIB

Roy Cullen

Liberal

Hon. Roy Cullen (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the comments of my colleague from the Conservative Party. I was under the impression that he had some experience in government and that he would have known how government operates. I had the distinct honour and pleasure to serve as the parliamentary secretary to the former minister of finance in 1999-2001 and I know how he operates. I know the kind of schedule he keeps and the kind of focus he has on the large macro-economic picture. I know the time that is spent on building a budget and looking at the various analyses leading up to a budget. I know how he deals with issues of fiscal policy.

Once a budget is developed and presented in the House of Commons, once the legislation is written up and the ways and means motions are prepared, then the minister of finance looks to his ministers to implement those programs and services within the resources that are allocated.

The minister of finance cannot be expected to be running around a $180 billion operation checking to see whether every bit of money that is spent is in accordance with government policy and Treasury Board policy. It is not an operation like a local garage. The owner and operator of a garage would know how every cent is spent, but the minister of finance is in charge of a $180 billion a year organization.

I went to a lot of the meetings in 1999-2001 and this item was never on the radar, nor should it have been because that is not the role of the minister of finance. The member opposite should know how the government operates.

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CPC

Loyola Hearn

Conservative

Mr. Loyola Hearn

Mr. Speaker, let me thank the hon. member for telling me, telling you and telling the whole House how incompetent the minister of finance really was.

I was in government and I was a minister. I ran the department and I knew what was going on in my department. I did not get in trouble nor did any of my people because we did what we were supposed to do. We looked after the money that came to us from Treasury Board and Finance but we had to account for it.

Government or ministers of finance or presidents of Treasury Board or treasury boards do not throw out money to departments and say, “Here you are, little boys and girls, do whatever you want with that money”. Everyone has to be accountable, which means that the people in charge of the purse, Treasury Board and Finance, must follow the dollar. In this case, they did not follow the millions of dollars, not to say the dollar.

Can we absolve the Prime Minister because as minister of finance he did not know? If he did not know, he should have known.

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LIB

Francis Scarpaleggia

Liberal

Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we hear it over and over again that if the minister of finance did not know, he should have known. That would mean that we are accusing the minister of finance at the time of being negligent. Either we accept the Gomery report or we do not. We cannot be selective.

Let us talk about the issue of negligence.

The Gomery report stated very clearly in section 16.3, page 430 of the English language version:

[The Prime Minister], whose role as Finance Minister did not involve him in the supervision of spending by the PMO or PWGSC, is entitled, like other Ministers in the Quebec caucus, to be exonerated from any blame for carelessness or misconduct.

Ministers are not responsible for what they do not know about the actions and decisions of the PMO or other ministers. This absolves the finance minister at the time from negligence. Has the hon. member read this page in the report?

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CPC

Loyola Hearn

Conservative

Mr. Loyola Hearn

Mr. Speaker, the testimonies just keep on coming because again we are hearing people say that the finance minister was directly involved, but he did not know what was going on. The former prime minister, Mr. Chrétien, who chaired cabinet as prime minister, said that he knew as well as everyone else knew.

To say that he is exonerated, certainly. We did not say, the Bloc did not say nor did the NDP say that the present Prime Minister was there and supervised who received what share of the money from what good friend in the promotions company. Oh, no. Mr. Gomery said that he was not involved in the supervision but he did not say that he did not know.

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CPC

Bev Oda

Conservative

Ms. Bev Oda (Durham, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about the critical need for a change in the leadership, government and culture in how this country has been run.

Today, we have a corrupt and arrogant government that does not believe in democracy, accountability, and has learned nothing from the Gomery report or the Auditor General of Canada.

First and foremost, I stand on behalf of the honest hardworking men and women, the families across our country, the seniors who after a lifetime of work deserve better, and our children and youth who will inherit this country as the next generation. The government has made a mockery of the democratic process and robbed the public purse with which it was entrusted. This is not the legacy we should be creating.

The citizens in my riding of Durham want the same things Canadians in Nova Scotia want. They want the same things Canadians in Quebec and B.C. want. Honest Canadians want honest government, principled and accountable to the people. However, my constituents know that this is not possible with the government. They know this country has a sorry future with a government that has been found guilty of criminally stealing public funds and makes promises it has no intention of keeping.

If we allow the government to continue in office, what does that say about us as a country? What does it say to our children whom we want to grow into adults with integrity and principles, who see a purpose in hard work and earning an honest living, who enjoy the fruits of their labour, and will willingly contribute to the well-being of fellow Canadians and to this country's future?

If we allow the government to stay in office, we are saying that bribery, criminal activities, and deception are the basis on which we choose to build our country, making us no better than countries based on corruption and thievery, countries many of our newer Canadians have left behind. The Conservative Party is not prepared to let that happen.

We believe that Canadians deserve a government that earns their trust, not abuses their trust, and a government that believes it is accountable to every voter and not entitled to break laws and deny it when caught. This Liberal government is about sponsorship, HRDC boondoggles, Shawinigate, and remember our subs and helicopters.

For years members of the Liberal Party have been abusing taxpayers and using our money for their own purposes. The Liberal Party ignores laws and does nothing to strengthen laws to protect Canadians. Despite the Prime Minister's promise to clean up government, like his other promises, the scandals and abuse just keep happening. This cannot be allowed to continue.

Canadians want an open, transparent, and accountable government that cares about the issues that they have to deal with every day, such as jobs, the environment, education, public security, and rising energy prices and taxes. These are the issues that we should be debating in the House of Commons.

The seniors in my riding are facing rising costs, lost income and struggling to stay in their homes. Why did the government keep Bill C-66 off the order paper for so long, a bill that would provide them with the help they need? Why threaten income trusts which are the retirement savings of thousands?

Why did the government cancel the take note debate last week on the agricultural crisis requested by a member of the opposition? Why did the government vote against so many motions to help farmers in Canada? Why did the government vote against the bill to protect young children from sexual predators? Why has the government not delivered its promised auto strategy only to see the announcement this week that almost 4,000 auto workers in Durham are facing job losses? I could go on and on.

The government has to be held to account for its inactions on so many issues challenging Canadians today. Conservatives have shown good faith in trying to make government work. Of the 72 government bills put before the House of Commons, the Conservative Party voted to support or indicated it supported over 60% of those bills. Canadians have given each of us in this chamber their trust, a trust that we will look to their concerns, well-being and futures.

Canadians' tax dollars are an investment in a prosperous future for our nation. That prosperity will not become a reality under the government. Why? Canadians' tax dollars are being wasted on a $2 billion gun registry, but gun violence increases.

Payments to advertising agencies end up in envelopes to pay for Liberal election campaigns and millions are lost and unaccounted for in contracts to Liberal friends. Now the government is on a free fall spending spree with no more forethought than the spectre of the upcoming election.

As each day passes the amount goes up and up at a rate of a billion dollars a day. This frantic frenzy has to stop. This is craziness. It is no more than bribery for votes. The Liberals are trying to bribe Canadians with their own money.

Canadians will not be fooled by these shabby tactics, nor will they be deceived by the threats that seniors will lose their GIS increases that have already been passed by the House.

The military knows that as of last April it has been receiving the raises in salary the Prime Minister claims will be lost if an election is called. The municipalities in Durham can be assured that their infrastructure dollars are not in jeopardy.

I am certain that these final, desperate attempts to cling to power will only reinforce the resolve of Canadians to elect an honest, principled and more accountable government. We need leadership that will not close its eyes or deny its culpability in these acts.

The Gomery report may have exonerated the Prime Minister from responsibility for the operation and management of the sponsorship scandal. Sure, he was not the shop foreman, but as the finance minister, the second in command at Treasury Board, in control of the Liberal Party in Quebec, how could he have not known? Either he was involved or he was incompetent. Either way, we know that this is not leadership.

Let us remember, the Prime Minister was there for the GST flip-flop. He was there for the tainted blood scandal. He was there for the APEC inquiry, Pearson airport and David Dingwall.

Now is the time for principled Conservative action. Now is the time for the Leader of the Opposition's federal accountability act, a contract with Canadians, to clean up government and put Canada back on the track to prosperity.

I came to this chamber with a deep sense of pride and the weight of the responsibility given to me by the voters in Durham. Each of us has a duty; the duty of public service, not entitlement. I was honoured to have the opportunity to work for my constituents, for all Canadians and for my country. However, there is no honour in allowing corruption, mistrust and inaction to invade the core system of our nationhood, the federal government.

At the beginning of this new millennium it will be a Conservative government that will fight to bring honour and pride back to Canada. Under the leadership of the Leader of the Opposition, the Conservative Party is a powerful and effective force in Parliament, a party of principled direction, honesty and vision.

We are a party with a plan for Canada. We have a plan to give families jobs and the right to the rewards of their earnings; a plan so seniors can live in their retirement without worrying about access to health care, paying bills and safety in the street; a plan for economic prosperity and growth; and a plan so our children and youth will care about their neighbours, their community and their country because they are proud to be Canadians.

We believe in and hold the same values as Canadian families, communities and individuals. We believe each one of us deserves the same opportunities to a good job, an education, and to the economic well-being for families and seniors in safe, strong communities.

Let the people of Canada define themselves as a people who want trust and integrity, not corruption; action, not only promises; a prosperous future, not financial woes. Canadians must have the opportunity to decide the kind of Canada they want and the future they believe the next generation deserves. That is why I am confident Canadians will choose to elect a Conservative government.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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NDP

Bill Siksay

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Siksay (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the member was talking about some of the economic concerns of families in her riding of Durham. I know that people in my constituency are concerned about the rate of poverty in Canada. Today we had the Campaign 2000 report card on child poverty in Canada. It points out that there are still over a million children in Canada living in poverty and that 48% of those children live in families where the parents are actually working. The report also points out that 49% of immigrant children in Canada are living in poverty as well. These are damning statistics.

I wonder if the member might comment on those statistics and comment. For me, this is a real issue of confidence in the government's inability to deal with the whole issue of poverty in Canada, when we see it rising. Would the member comment on that?

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Subtopic:   Supply
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CPC

Bev Oda

Conservative

Ms. Bev Oda

Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to respond about child poverty in Canada. I think it is a disgrace that Canada has such a high degree of child poverty. This is not something that we characterize Canada as having.

We have role models here who are not showing us that we need to take care of each other. The role models we have in the government show us that we just take care of ourselves. If we cannot show a better example to Canadians, then we will not have the needed caring of each other and everyone in our community.

Child poverty is an extremely important concern that we have to address. As I said in my speech, I am concerned about what we are leaving as a legacy for the next generation and to have child poverty in this country is something that we cannot abide by. We believe that every family has to have the opportunity to earn a good living in order to make their future secure.

We believe that we want a country--

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. It being 5:15 p.m. it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings. Pursuant to order made earlier today all questions necessary to dispose of the opposition motion are deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until Monday, November 28, 2005, at the expiry of the time provided for government orders.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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November 24, 2005