Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, today two people were arrested and charged with fraud, representing just 2% of the $100 million at the heart of the Liberal sponsorship scandal. Clearly there is more to come given the rush of Liberal members who want to shut down the Public Accounts Committee so the Prime Minister can go to the polls before his hypocrisy on almost every issue becomes clear to the voters.
Is it not true that the Liberals want to shut down the Committee because they know that today’s arrests are just the tip of the iceberg of Liberal corruption? Is that not what is really going on?
Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, far from shutting down the Public Accounts Committee, it was the government that asked that Committee to sit early. It is the government that has been encouraging that Committee to get on with its work. I want to thank the Members who have been working very hard.
I think it is appropriate to have an interim report, if that is the decision of the Committee this week. I think it is appropriate to let Canadians know about the dozens of witnesses who have been heard and the state of the investigation by the Committee to this point.
However let me reassure the hon. Member and the House that it was the Prime Minister and the government that said we would get to the bottom of this matter.
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister wants us to believe he is getting to the bottom of all these Liberal scandals but Canadians are way ahead of him. They know that Liberal corporate cronies and backroom boys have seen the public purse as a branch plant for their corrupt party.
The Prime Minister also wants us to believe that he is really mad about all of this. Let us see if is he mad enough to ask the Liberal Party to give us our money back, starting with the almost $300,000 it received in kickbacks from its corporate cronies at the centre of this scandal. Is the government willing to start with the $300,000 and give it back to the Canadian people?
Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I believe the Member got all of her hot words into the question but what she has not provided is a single shred of evidence. She should put evidence on the table that says that and it will be responded to. However to simply sit here and come to judgment before anybody has had a chance to look at the facts does not help the dignity of this place.
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the evidence is there but the Member chooses to ignore it. I have homelessness in my riding, seniors who cannot afford prescriptions and kids choking on smog. While these scandals are going on, people are literally dying on the streets in our major cities, thanks to this Prime Minister’s conservative budget. We want our money back so we can do what the government should be doing, which is helping Canadians who are hurting, not stuffing money into Liberal pockets. Again, when will the Liberal government ask the Liberal Party to give Canadians their money back?