Libby questions the Conservative government on its Senators misuse of public funds

House of Commons

HANSARD

May 27, 2013

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, senior Conservative senator David Tkachuk made it clear the PMO was directly involved in the Senate report whitewash.

According to the senator, Nigel Wright would “want to know things, like ‘When is it going to be done? When is this thing over with?'”

The PMO had a hand in rewriting the report. Conservatives only owned up to the whitewash after it hit the front pages.

Senators cannot be trusted to investigate themselves, so why do the Conservatives continue to call this committee independent?

Mr. Pierre Poilievre (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, the member's premise is once again false. The committee consulted widely in the authorship of its report, including with members of the opposition. The committee chair made that clear.

As to the examination of events that happened, that will occur under the auspices of the House of Commons independent Ethics Commissioner and the Senate's independent Ethics Officer. We look forward to the findings.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, let us continue with the story. The senator told The Globe, “...we had a political problem.” He then goes on to confess he consulted Nigel Wright on the rewriting of the report into Senator Duffy's expense claims.

Will the Conservatives now tell us what documents they have given to the RCMP or the ethics officers regarding this arrangement involving Mr. Wright, Mr. Duffy and Mr. Tkachuk?

Mr. Pierre Poilievre (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, the difference in the report is the result of the reimbursement of Mr. Duffy's expense claims. That is what the chair has said and that is what we have said all along.

Now the question is, “How do we toughen the rules on Senate expense claims to avoid future expense abuses?” We have proposed 11 tough new changes that would eliminate the honour system and require senators to have full documentation for every claim they make.

The only problem is that the leader of the Liberal Party in the Senate has said that he is blocking those tough new changes.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want the Conservatives to come clean on this whole sordid affair.

We now have another federal judge slamming the behaviour of the Conservatives. In his judgment on electoral fraud, Justice Mosley writes:

 

Despite the obvious public interest in getting to the bottom of the allegations, the [Conservatives] made little effort to assist with the investigation at the outset despite early requests.

Will the Conservatives continue to claim they fully co-operated when the court has now said the exact opposite is true?

Mr. Pierre Poilievre (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, the case was brought by a hyper-partisan organization, called the Council of Canadians, which failed to produce a single solitary person who was prevented from voting because of a robocall.

That case by this partisan group was dismissed yesterday by the judge.

This Question Period Transcript was posted on May 27, 2013
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