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Results: 1 - 15 of 342
View Michael Ignatieff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, before we start this debate, I have a few words for you. You are at the end of your term as Speaker of the House, and I would like to express how much fondness and respect we all have for you. Your rulings have left their mark on our country's history.
Mr. Speaker, you have taught us all, sometimes with a modest rebuke, sometimes with the sharp sting of focused argument, to understand, to respect and to cherish the rules of Canadian democracy, and for that your citizens will always hold you in highest honour.
This is a historic day in the life of Canadian democracy, the democracy that you, Mr. Speaker, have served so well. I have to inform the House that the official opposition has lost confidence in the government.
The government no longer has the confidence of the official opposition.
Our motion asks the House to agree with the finding in the 27th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented on March 21. This was a historic finding. It was the first time that a parliamentary committee has found the government in contempt.
Today, with this motion, we ask the House to do the same, to find the government in contempt and to withdraw the confidence of the House.
With this motion, we are calling on members of Parliament to condemn the government for its contempt of Parliament and to withdraw the confidence of the House. This is a historic day in the life of Canadian democracy, but it is also an opportunity for us to confirm our commitment to parliamentary democracy and its fundamental principles.
What principles are we talking about? That the government has the obligation to provide members of this House with the information they need in order to hold the government accountable to the people of Canada.
The principle at stake in this debate goes to the heart of parliamentary democracy: the obligation of a government to provide members of this House with the information they need in order to hold the government accountable to the people of Canada.
We are the people's representatives. When the government spends money, the people have a right to know what it is to be spent on. Parliament does not issue blank cheques. For four months, the opposition has asked the government to tell the Canadian people the true cost of its budget plans. For four months, we demanded to know how much Canadian taxpayers were being asked to pay for fighter jets, prisons and corporate tax breaks. For four months. this House and the Canadian people were stonewalled by the government and they are being stonewalled still.
For four months, we have been trying to hold this government accountable. For four months, we demanded to know the real cost of the fighter jets, prisons and tax breaks for major corporations. For four months, we did not get a single answer, aside from the contempt and arrogance of this government. And today, still, we have no answers.
We were shocked, but we were not surprised. After all, this is the same government that shut down Parliament twice, the same government that was forced, by one of your rulings, to hand over documents to do with Afghan prisoners, and we are still waiting for those documents.
In the case of the Afghan documents, the government's excuse for withholding the truth was national security. In the case of the budget documents, it invented something about cabinet confidence, but actually it did not even bother with an excuse at all.
But you, Mr. Speaker, would have none of it. You, Mr. Speaker, held that the rules of our democracy require the government to answer the questions that Parliament wants answered. The matter was sent back to a committee for action and it came back with a finding of contempt. That is why we are where we are today. The House must decide whether the government has broken a basic rule of our democracy and therefore, whether it can remain in office.
For our part on this side of the House, there is no doubt. You, Mr. Speaker, have spoken, the committee has spoken, and now the House must speak with a clear voice. It must say that a government that breaks the rules and conceals facts from the Canadian people does not deserve to remain in office.
With one clear voice, the House must declare that a government that does not respect democracy cannot remain in power. We have had enough. If this vote results in an election, the Canadian people will have the opportunity to replace an arrogant government with one that respects democracy.
To those who say an election is unnecessary, we reply that we did not seek an election, but if we need one to replace a government that does not respect democracy with one that does, I cannot think of a more necessary election.
It is not just democracy that the House will be called upon to affirm this afternoon. The House should also affirm Canadians' hunger, nay their longing, for change. It is time to change Canada's direction. It is time to get us on the right path. After five years of Conservative government, it is time to say enough is enough. Enough of the politics of fear. Enough of the politics of division. Enough of the politics of personal destruction.
Enough is enough. We need to look at the government's priorities. It wants to spend 1,000 times more on fighter jets than on helping students in CEGEP and university. We reject the government's priorities. It is offering less to seniors for an entire year than what it spent on one day of the G20. We say no to this kind of waste. The government wants to spend 1,000 times more on prisons than on preventing youth crime. Again, we say no. This government's priorities are not in line with the priorities of Canadian families. We have had it. Enough is enough.
The priorities of the government laid bare in that thin gruel that we saw earlier this week reveal a government out of touch and out of control. There is no credible plan to tackle the deficit because there are no numbers any reasonable person can believe in. There is no vision of how to sustain our health care system. There is not a word about affordable housing, not a word about child care, and nothing for the pressing needs of Canadian families in poverty.
Instead, we get jets, jails and giveaways to oil companies, insurance companies, and banks that are doing just fine, thank you very much.
So we need a change. We need to focus scarce resources where they really matter: early learning and child care; college and university education for all, especially for aboriginal and immigrant Canadians; energy efficiency and green jobs; family care for our loved ones in the home, and security and dignity in retirement. We need all of this plus a clear plan to clean up our country's finances and get us back to balance without adding to the tax burden on Canadian families.
These are the priorities of our people. These are the needs that we must serve. These are the priorities at home. However, let us not forget the priorities abroad. We have so much ground to catch up. We have a government that has lost our place in the world and lost our place at the Security Council of the United Nations.
We need a government that restores our honour, our credit, and our prestige on the international stage, a government that understands the deep and committed internationalism that dwells in the hearts of all Canadian citizens.
We need a government for the people, a government that is accountable to the people and that serves the people and democracy.
I want to conclude by saying a few words about democracy. Some members of this government have been charged with electoral fraud. A member of the Prime Minister's inner circle is accused of influence peddling. Enough is enough. People are fed up.
I return to where I started, to democracy, to the abuse of power. We have a government whose most senior members stand accused of electoral fraud. We have a Prime Minister who appointed, as his top adviser, someone who served prison time for stealing money from his clients, someone who now faces accusations of influence peddling, and is under an RCMP investigation.
Canadians look at that picture and they say, “We have had enough”. This House has had enough, enough of the abuse of power and enough of the bad economic choices.
We have a government with unique distinctions. We have a government with the largest deficit in Canadian history. It is the highest spending government in Canadian history. It is the most wasteful government in Canadian history. Finally, it is the first government in Canadian history to face a vote of contempt in this House.
This is a government and a Prime Minister that is out of touch and is out of control. It is time for a change.
Mr. Speaker, I urge all of the members to support our motion.
View Gilles Duceppe Profile
View Gilles Duceppe Profile
2011-03-25 13:18 [p.9279]
Madam Speaker, the motion we are debating today is on the confidence that every government must earn and keep.
We are dealing with a government that has woven a web of deception, attacked democracy and demonstrated an utter lack of integrity.
We are dealing with a government and a Prime Minister who have written off Quebec.
It is no longer possible to have any confidence in this Conservative government.
The fact that it was found guilty of contempt of Parliament, a first in the history of Canada, is serious enough in and of itself.
It was not just a simple mistake and the Prime Minister cannot suggest that there were extenuating circumstances.
The Conservative leader's decision to hide the truth was premeditated.
What is more, the Conservative leader is a notorious repeat offender. He and his party have quite the rap sheet.
The Conservative leader and his entourage have turned deception and trickery into a system of governance.
They have simply been making up the facts and fudging the truth, as we saw in the case of the Afghan detainees.
It goes on like that, deception after deception.
For example, when it came to the procurement of fighter jets, the government hid the numbers.
The Conservatives' populist law and order bills are going to cost several billion dollars.
The Conservative leader and his cohorts have decided to adopt the American approach, one that has unfortunately failed and that costs a lot of money.
They know it but, for them, it is not the actual results of public policies that matter, it is the ideological results.
The Conservative leader knows very well that, if the public learns that his policies are costing billions of dollars, he will fail in his attempt to impose his ideological agenda.
For years, the Conservative leader and his cohorts have claimed to want to fix the justice system, but each time they were given the opportunity to abolish automatic parole after one-sixth of the sentence has been served, they refused, finding a new pretext for doing so each time.
The Conservatives did not hesitate to spread falsehoods about the Bloc Québécois and it took widespread indignation about the release of Vincent Lacroix for them to stop their hyper-partisan game.
Another example: the Conservatives want the public to believe that they are responsible for the economic recovery.
It is the exact opposite.
Had there not been a proposed coalition against his government at the end of 2008, the Conservative leader would have sunk the Canadian and Quebec economies.
The only reason why there is a stimulus plan, an unsatisfactory one at that, is because the opposition parties made him come up with one.
Today the Prime Minister said that even the idea of a coalition is illegitimate, but he is misleading the public.
In 2004, he himself planned to form a similar coalition, and he knows it. I will read the letter he wrote, which I signed, as did the leader of the NDP.
You could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government’s program [the government was Liberal at the time.]We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation.We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.
The thought was that the Conservative leader would become prime minister after coming to an agreement with the leaders of the Bloc and the NDP about the content of the throne speech and the budget. And look what happened.
Another lie: for months the Prime Minister has been saying that he does not want an election.
But his actions over the past weeks have demonstrated the exact opposite.
He did not hesitate to orchestrate a $26 million pre-election ad campaign with taxpayers' money.
He deliberately wrote off Quebec in his budget in order to ensure that we could not vote for it.
On Wednesday the Conservative leader repeated once again that he did not want an election, yet he completely dismissed any possibility of amending his budget.
All of the Conservative leader's actions point to the same thing: he wanted an election.
He told the public exactly the opposite of what he was really thinking.
After so much deceit, how can anyone have confidence in the Conservative leader and his entourage? Especially since the case against the Conservatives is so strong.
Not only has there been contempt of Parliament, but also patronage, influence peddling, electoral fraud and RCMP investigations. The Conservative government handed out many partisan appointments, despite its promises to end that practice.
A former advisor to the Conservative leader and the Minister of Natural Resources is under criminal investigation. The party is facing charges for violating the Canada Elections Act, and I am not talking about one isolated incident. According to Elections Canada, we are talking about a premeditated system of electoral fraud. We are talking about violations committed by the highest authorities in the Conservative Party, the Prime Minister's inner circle, and several of his ministers. For a party that claims to be the champion of law and order, it is rather pathetic.
The case against the government is very strong and there are no extenuating circumstances. The Conservatives are repeat offenders and definitely do not deserve the confidence of the people of Quebec. We therefore plan to vote in favour of the non-confidence motion against this government, this party and its leader. We will do so on this very question of integrity, but we will also do so because the Conservative leader has not honoured his commitments to Quebec.
The Conservatives wrote off Quebec in order to trigger an election. The Conservative leader made sure that the economic and financial needs of Quebec would be completely ignored. The refusal to give Quebec compensation for harmonizing taxes is a perfect example. Everyone agrees that this $2.2 billion compensation is a matter of basic fairness. All the parties in the National Assembly agree. The agreement is ready to be signed. Quebec has been waiting for 19 years.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister's political lieutenant from Quebec had the nerve to say that an election would delay negotiations with Quebec. That is taking people for fools, especially knowing that the Conservatives have done everything they could to trigger an election. The truth is that the Conservatives knew they would lose votes in Canada if they were fair to Quebec. The truth is that the Conservative MPs are prepared to sacrifice the interests of Quebec in order to obey their master. When the time comes to speak for Quebec, to represent the consensus in Quebec, they keep quiet, as usual. They deliberately chose to ignore Quebec and turn their backs on their province. Quebeckers will not forget that.
There is a total of $5 billion worth of disputes between Ottawa and Quebec that the Conservatives have completely ignored. We are talking about $630 for every Quebecker, including babies. For a family of four, this represents $2,500. Two thousand, five hundred dollars is the amount of money Quebec families have to do without for health services and education. For every Quebecker, there is a tangible loss of $630 per person. We will remind Quebeckers of that. Our requests meet with consensus and are simply fair. Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Atlantic provinces, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have all had their turn. Now it is Quebec's turn and the Conservative leader has chosen, with the complicity of his MPs from Quebec, to cast us aside. Quebeckers will not forget that.
When it comes to social programs, the Conservatives do not care about the middle class. The budget ignores the amply demonstrated need for real reform of employment insurance. The Conservatives do not care about the sad fate of the unemployed. The Conservatives distort the facts, as usual, by saying that with the eligibility threshold of 360 hours that the Bloc Québécois is calling for, people will receive 50 weeks of benefits. That is not true and they know it. With that threshold, in Gaspé, it is 32 weeks, in Lac-Saint-Jean it is 20 weeks and in Gatineau it is 16 weeks—not 50.
What is worse is that the Conservatives are telling us that they will be helping themselves to the EI fund to pay down their deficit, as the Liberals did before them. I will be clear and frank: that is theft.
In Quebec, the forestry industry has been in a crisis for over seven years and many mills have shut down, throwing thousands of workers onto the street. Older workers who lost their jobs need an assistance program. The Conservatives ignored that too.
Our poorest seniors were offered a small increase to their guaranteed income supplement, but no one is fooled; the Conservatives were just hoping to score some political points, since they did not even have the heart to bring in automatic enrolment.
This means that thousands of seniors will be left in the lurch, without any resources. We can see the full extent of the deceit and cynicism of these ideologues who claim to want to help our poorest seniors. There is only one word to describe the Conservatives' offensive attitude, and that is “hypocrisy”.
This budget continued to ignore the economy in the regions. After the automotive industry in Ontario got a gift of $10 billion, it should have been the turn of Quebec's forestry industry. But no, all it got were some crumbs. It was the same for Quebec's manufacturing industry, which cannot count on an extensive federal policy to help it overcome the Canadian dollar's oil-fuelled rise in value. All the Conservatives have to offer the regions of Quebec are tangible losses.
In short, any way we look at this budget, it is clear that the Conservatives have ignored Quebec. We will remind Quebeckers of that.
And the files are piling up. Yesterday, for example, the government announced that it had reached an agreement with Quebec on the Old Harry site, off the Magdalen Islands. But the Conservative government refuses to accept its responsibilities and ratify the border agreement between Quebec and the Atlantic provinces that Newfoundland disputes. The Conservatives refuse to impose a moratorium on the exploration and development on the Newfoundland side until Quebec has completed its environmental assessment.
There is another question. When the agreement is signed, does the Conservative government intend to offer Quebec the same terms as Newfoundland, which received $4.5 billion under the side deals? This very Wednesday, the Minister of National Defence clearly stated that Canada' interests take precedence over those of Quebec.
The government is about to offer a loan guarantee for the installation of an underwater electricity cable that will save Newfoundland and Labrador hundreds of millions of dollars but will be detrimental to Hydro-Québec and, therefore, to all of Quebec. What are the Conservative members from Quebec doing? They take it lying down and saying nothing.
It is very clear that Quebec cannot trust the Conservatives with its future. It is even more apparent that the Conservative leader wants to obtain a majority and the risk that he will do so is very real. That is a real danger to Quebec. If it happens, the Conservatives would be free to impose their ideological policies, which are harmful and contrary to the interests and values of Quebeckers. The Conservative ideology is foreign and warlike; Quebeckers find it disgraceful.
We are talking about billions of dollars in additional and often useless military expenditures. The Conservative ideology means protecting the interests of big oil companies. It means more prisons and more guns in circulation. The Conservative ideology means continued assaults against the environment, the distribution of wealth, gender equality, science, truth and democracy. A Conservative majority means the completely negation of everything we are and new assaults against Quebec culture. It means that our economic interests will be completely ignored and our regions will be even more neglected.
We cannot ignore this threat. Quebeckers therefore have a very clear choice to make. On one hand, there are the Conservatives, who have a cynical, sneaky, deceitful and cheating attitude. Their goal is to obtain a majority so that they can impose their backward and dangerous ideology without anyone being able to stop them. And, when it comes time to speak on behalf of Quebec, the Conservatives do not say anything. They bow before their leader and turn their backs on Quebeckers. We saw this in Quebec City on the issue of the arena, as well as on many other issues.
On the other hand, there is the Bloc Québécois, the only party in Quebec that is able to stand in the way of the Prime Minister's goals. Today, we are voting to show that the elected representatives of the Quebec people do not have confidence in this government, which has turned its back on Quebec. We cannot trust these Conservatives, who have tried to mislead the public, who have engaged in undemocratic behaviour and who have disregarded any notion of integrity.
The Conservative leader and his cohorts are known to be repeat offenders. They must be condemned without hesitation. They do not deserve our confidence. Today, it is the people's representatives who are voting. In a few weeks, it will be the voters' turn to do so. There is only one way to protect our values and democracy and that is through democracy itself.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Scott Brison Profile
2011-03-24 10:53 [p.9172]
Mr. Speaker, I was actually very proud to be part of a government that had the guts and courage to appoint Justice Gomery and support his work in getting to the bottom of this and to have a judicial inquiry. The Liberal government was not afraid to get to the truth, to achieve justice on behalf of Canadians, and to do the right thing for Canadian taxpayers.
That is very much unlike the Conservative government today, which did not listen to Elections Canada when it told the Conservative government that its party was breaking the law. The Conservative government will appeal and continue to appeal, and refuse to take the judgment of Elections Canada seriously or to listen to the courts that say the Conservatives are guilty of breaking Canada's election laws.
There are two Conservative senators potentially facing jail time. The government continues to defend the indefensible in the in and out scandal. The Prime Minister does not respect the law, the courts or Parliament, and does not believe in or understand the importance of these democratic institutions in keeping us free.
With the most recent Bruce Carson issue and $80 million being funnelled to his fiancé from the Government of Canada, money that should have gone toward water purification, to the Elections Canada scandal, and the potential jail time for Conservative senators, the government is in it up to its neck in corruption and rot. It will not do what Liberal governments did, get to the truth for Canadians and do the right thing.
View Anita Neville Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Anita Neville Profile
2011-03-24 14:33 [p.9203]
Mr. Speaker, Bill S-11 is the Conservative plan that would grant power to the Indian Affairs minister to impose drinking water systems on first nations bands. Bruce Carson was responsible in the PMO for aboriginal policy and, as legislative director, he helped develop Bill S-11.
Could the government confirm that the bill was key to his plan to skim off his $80 million share of the $1.6 billion pot of money that was destined to help desperate aboriginal communities?
View John Baird Profile
View John Baird Profile
2011-03-24 14:34 [p.9203]
Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely outrageous.
The Liberals are showing absolute contempt for Canadian voters. Normally in Canada the winner of the election gets to form a government, but not with the Liberals. They have such contempt for the Canadian electorate that they want to form a risky, unstable government with the Bloc Québécois and the NDP. They do not have the courage to be open and transparent with Canadians.
Rather than spend $400 million on an unnecessary election, let us focus and put that money to work for Canadian seniors who desperately need our help through the guaranteed income supplement.
View Anita Neville Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Anita Neville Profile
2011-03-24 14:35 [p.9204]
Mr. Speaker, this is about the Prime Minister's judgment.
How does a man like that get put in charge of drafting government legislation? How does a disbarred lawyer, who served time in jail and was being chased by Revenue Canada, get the highest security clearance? Why did all of those ministers or their officials meet with him when they knew Bruce Carson was banned from lobbying?
We now learn that his son, Craig Carson, was a senior ministerial adviser to Jim Prentice and even to the current House leader. Did he have any role in setting up these—
View John Baird Profile
View John Baird Profile
2011-03-24 14:35 [p.9204]
Mr. Speaker, it is more slander, more smear from the Liberal Party.
The Liberals are bankrupt of ideas. They have nothing to show Canadians on jobs, the economy and economic growth.
We have a low tax plan to help create jobs. We have a budget before the House that will support the most vulnerable seniors by increasing the guaranteed income supplement.
What we have is a Liberal Party that has contempt for the Canadian electorate. It wants to force an unnecessary election rather than do the right thing and help Canadian seniors.
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-24 14:36 [p.9204]
Mr. Speaker, Bill S-11 would give the Conservatives the power to impose their solution for drinking water on the first nations. Telling the first nations that they are not competent to make that decision for themselves is insulting enough. Through this scheme, Mr. Carson's fiancée allegedly pocketed $80 million in commissions for selling water filtration systems.
Are they not ashamed of profiting from the misfortune of the first nations?
View John Baird Profile
View John Baird Profile
2011-03-24 14:37 [p.9204]
Mr. Speaker, not one single dollar went to that company, not a single dollar. If the Liberal Party has any evidence of that, I would encourage it to table it before the House.
The reality is the Liberal Party is making it up as it goes along. It will not be honest and transparent with Canadians about its plan for a coalition government with the Bloc Québécois and the NDP. This would be unstable and would cause great damage to our country.
There is a great Canadian tradition that the person with the most votes wins. That should apply to Canadian democracy. The Liberals should stop their contempt for the Canadian electorate.
View Raymonde Folco Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Raymonde Folco Profile
2011-03-24 14:37 [p.9204]
Mr. Speaker, we do not have to make it up. The facts are awful as they stand.
Mr. Speaker, Bruce Carson did it all: chief of staff for the Prime Minister, special advisor to environment minister Jim Prentice and special advisor to the last two ministers of natural resources, including the Prime Minister's Quebec lieutenant. Mr. Carson even drafted a bill that would have given him access to part of the $1.6 billion allocated to the first nations.
And the Prime Minister had no idea what was going on? How can Canadians believe that?
View John Baird Profile
View John Baird Profile
2011-03-24 14:38 [p.9204]
Mr. Speaker, a former British prime minister said the following:
I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.
That is the Liberal Party. When it comes to jobs, the economy and economic growth, the Liberals have absolutely no solutions to offer the Canadian people. Our government is focused on jobs. Our government is focused on helping the most vulnerable seniors in Canada.
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
2011-03-24 14:43 [p.9205]
Mr. Speaker, Bruce Carson was given privileged access by the Prime Minister to inside information about Canada's energy and environment policy. He was not alone.
The Conservatives gave $15 million for a new program while Mr. Carson was advising the Prime Minister on energy and environment. He was then made the executive director of the same program, but it now turns out that the deputy director, Mr. Adamson, is a former Conservative policy adviser to the Minister of Industry, who had funded the program in the first place. To top it off, the program's current chair, Mr. Heidecker, is the former vice-president of the Alberta Conservative Party.
The question is no longer whether the Prime Minister is giving—
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Gerard Kennedy Profile
2011-03-24 14:44 [p.9205]
Mr. Speaker, we know why the member opposite is avoiding the question. The Prime Minister arranged for $15 million in taxpayer dollars to employ his former senior staff. What did Canadians get for this $15 million?
On the organization's website, Canada School of Energy and Environment, is a presentation Mr. Carson gave in 2010 to the Manning conference entitled “Managing a Conservative Political Agenda in a Minority Situation”. It is full of advice on how to manipulate the media, question period and members of Parliament.
Will the Prime Minister now admit he is just a defrocked televangelist of accountability--
View John Baird Profile
View John Baird Profile
2011-03-24 14:45 [p.9205]
Mr. Speaker, I do not think I got the hon. member's question. We can have another try from the member for Parkdale—High Park.
I remember when Peggy Nash was here. She was always fighting for the cause of senior citizens. If Peggy Nash were in the House today, she would be voting for the guaranteed income supplement increase because it is in the best interests of Canadians, and they deserve it.
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