The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing -- Edmund Burke
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
"The debate over country-specific resolutions -- resolutions which specifically name states that violate human rights standards -- now rages at the General Assembly. The issue is also in the center of a debate over the attempt to reform the UN Human Rights Commission. UN representatives of dictators far and wide are yelling foul; "naming and shaming" is just plain unneighborly, uncooperative behavior. Talking is a better way of resolving genocide, rape, and torture. Any attempt to do more is an imperialist plot........"
"DOBBS: It's been 11 days since Congressman Curt Weldon sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld demanding Able Danger officials be allowed to testify before congress. The letter was signed by more than half of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives. And as of tonight, Secretary Rumsfeld has not responded.
Last night here on this broadcast former 9/11 commissioner Tim Roemer said Able Danger hearings should be allowed to go forward, but he continued to defend the 9/11 Commission for not including any mention of Able Danger in its final report, despite claims by Able Danger officials they had identified Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 terrorists more than a year before the attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIME ROEMER, FMR. 9/11 COMMISSION MEMBER: We couldn't put a chapter in our books saying that people thought they saw a chart without having the evidence of that chart. So we need substantiation that there was a chart. This is about the evidence involved in factually presenting a chart that shows that Atta and the other terrorists were investigated or identified ahead of time, and finally, I'd say, let's get to the bottom of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Congressman Weldon joins us from Wilmington, Delaware. First of all, you have to be at least gratified that Tim Roemer, a member of the commission, said we should get to the bottom of this?
REP. CURT WELDON, (R) HOMELAND SECURITY CMTE.: I appreciate Tim saying that. You know, it's amazing, Lou. We spent $15 million and they hired 80 staff people and yet the 9/11 Commission has been more involved with spin since the Able Danger story has broken than they have been at getting at the truth. American people want the truth. Now you have a 9/11 Commission where the 9/11 family members are saying we don't trust what you reported. We don't believe you. You have the FBI director Louis Freeh saying, if we had the Able Danger information, we might have been able to stop the hijackings.
What's the 9/11 commission trying to hide? Are they worried about their linkages, their consulting contract with the Defense Department and the intelligence agencies, or do they really want to get to the truth.
If they want to get to the truth, Lou, they'll stop talking about what they didn't do and start talking about getting to bottom of the whole story.
DOBBS: The whole story, according to several of the former commission members, is all about that chart. Is there any evidence that the chart did exist? And how do you respond to putting forward the chart as the basis to move forward?
WELDON: That's a red herring, it's not about a chart. The Able Danger team amassed 2.5 terror bytes of information about al Qaeda. That's equal to one fourth of all the printed material in the Library of Congress. This was a briefing that was given to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Sheldon.
It's not about a chart. That's their red herring to try deflect criticism away from them. It's about information about al Qaeda that we had before 9/11, and they owe it to the American people to help us find out the status of that information and why we didn't act on it.
DOBBS: You have more than half of the members of the U.S. Congress signed on with you, with your letter, seeking the opportunity for public hearings to free up the former members of Able Danger to testify before Congress, and the secretary of defense has not responded to you, what do you do now?
WELDON: I had a good meeting with the deputy secretary of defense, Gordon England. Rumsfeld was out of country last week and England told me that he would meet privately with Rumsfeld. I assume he did that over thanksgiving.
Gordon England and Rumsfeld are honorable men. I expect an answer this week, and this story's not going to go away. One hundred and three Democrats and 143 Republicans are saying we demand a public hearing, not a private session where people can hide or distort what's being said, an open public hearing.
Both the number two Democrat in the house Steny Hoyer, and the number two Republican in the House, Roy Blunt, signed this letter. It's time for us to get truth to the American people.
DOBBS: Congressman Curt Weldon, trying very much, trying as hard as anyone could to put forward the truth. Thank you very much for being with us, congressman.
WELDON: My pleasure. DOBBS: We'll have much more on the Able Danger controversy tomorrow evening. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh will join us, he's blasted the 9/11 Commission as well for what he calls its incomplete investigation. He'll be our guest tomorrow night. Please be with us."
The gun registry is still working like a charm...that $50? million for a half baked social engineering program will do nothing today to curtail the
violence.Taking a number of stone killers out of circulation will.The buck passing doesn't seem to be having an effect.
Interesting to hear the Liberals regurgitate they have so much more to do.They only had 12 years.
"Perhaps we could see some shots of the lavish behind-the-scenes goings-on at the Montreal Grand Prix, with Liberal politicians and cronies entertaining themselves at taxpayers' expense? Perhaps an ad could recreate one of those legendary "cigar club" evenings at which sponsorship deals were done over Havanas donated by Fidel Castro's ambassador.
Justice John Gomery has concluded that these misdeeds took place over seven years without Paul Martin ever catching on.
That too offers a rich target for Conservative ads. The theme could be: What else has Paul Martin missed? Maybe that's why taxes are so high -- and the hospital waiting lists so long -- because Mr. Martin just didn't notice. Perhaps the ads could feature an alarm clock and a cheerful message to Canadians that it is time to wake the Liberals up."
Drivers start your engines............this election will be won by those who best get their supporters to the polls on election day-
"Ask yourself, after 12 years of Liberal rule, is our health care system better or worse? Are waiting lists for surgery and diagnostic tests longer or shorter? Is our military stronger or weaker? Do our immigration and refugee system, and our criminal justice system, inspire more confidence, or less?
No wonder Martin launched his campaign last night with the same old tired fearmongering about Stephen Harper and the Conservatives taking the country "backward." The Liberals have scarcely moved anything forward except spending.
Twelve years of Liberal scandal, boondoggles, cronyism, corruption and theft have corroded our democracy. It took an unprecedented act of Parliament to finally bring them down.
Their long, shameful rule is over. It's now up to voters to seize this precious opportunity and make sure they stay history."
"So, that adds up to $2.7 million we taxpayers have recovered from the thieving Liberals out of more than $100 million.
The Liberals are suing 12 former big-time Liberal friends for another $57 million to recoup that stolen sponsorship loot.
That adds up to $59.7 million.
We all know, according to Gomery, that despite what federal auditor general Sheila Fraser said in her report, the $250-million sponsorship scandal was much worse than first believed. But let's just stick with her number of $100 million doled out for little or no work. Subtract $59.7 million from $100 million and that's $40.3 million.
Why is no one going after it? Not the RCMP, not the Liberal government, not the Liberal party and not Liberal appointed Judge John Gomery.
Duff Conacher, the head-honcho of the non-partisan Ottawa-based group Democracy Watch, wants to know why no one is talking about the $40.3 million? Why didn't Gomery, who had full access to AdScammers' bank records, follow the money trail?
Where is that $40 million? We all know $40 million can't just up and walk away on its own. So, whose bank account is it in and are the Liberals going to use it to fight yet another election with stolen taxpayer money?"
Mr. Peter MacKay:
According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, 145 announcements have been made since November 3 totalling the humungous figure of $24 billion. The federation notes that the money is being diverted to swing ridings.
The Prime Minister can no doubt buy the Liberals, but when is he going to realize that he cannot buy Canadians with billions of dollars and promises he will not necessarily keep?
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government's announcements are completely within the most recent fiscal framework.
I want to congratulate the Minister of Indian Affairs and the Prime Minister for the historic meeting in Kelowna last week. It will allow this country to make a huge change for the better in its relationships with aboriginal people.
Let me quote a comment made this weekend when the question was asked of the hon. gentleman which one of these things would he not do, speaking of the spending announcements, he said, “every one of them”.
* * *
Mr. Peter MacKay (Central Nova, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we do it faster, better and more honestly.
According to Ipsos-Reid, Canadians will not be fooled. Sixty per cent of voters believe that the Liberals are “only addressing these issues after years of neglect” and it is a cynical effort to buy votes. It is so bad that even Liberals are speaking out. The member for Sarnia—Lambton said that he was turned off by the spending announcements.
It is this type of typical, frantic, partisan vote buying effort that gave rise to the sponsorship program. Does the Prime Minister really believe that rushing money out the door on the eve of an election will distract Canadians away from his Liberal government's sordid record of waste, mismanagement and corruption?
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let me finish that last quote. The question asked of the hon. gentleman on the weekend on CBC radio was with reference to the spending announcements by the government, “Which one of these things would you not do?” The answer from the deputy leader of the Conservative Party was:
Well, we will answer unequivocally none of those things would we cancel, none of these things would we not pursue.
Mr. Peter MacKay (Central Nova, CPC): Mr. Speaker, let me repeat, we have a real Conservative platform that Canadians will embrace in this election.
The Prime Minister bragged yesterday that every single penny of the federal government's announcement had been budgeted for. Right. This is despite the fact that the finance minister admitted last Friday that there was over a $200 million error in the recent mini-budget. Of course, his record on income trusts and predicting surpluses is a bit dodgy anyway.
Christmas is coming and the Prime Minister and his elves have announced a blizzard of spending announcements attempting to buy the votes of Canadians. How many other mistakes and miscalculations has the Liberal government made in the government's attempt to rush out and buy Canadians with--
The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Finance.
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would ask back, how many budgetary surpluses has this government filed? I can tell him. There are five more in the fiscal framework. It is the best fiscal record of any Canadian government since 1867.
Unlike the party opposite, we will stand with the unemployed with new labour market agreements. We will stand with our military in new military equipment. We will stand--
The Speaker: The hon. member for Medicine Hat.
* * *
Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the minister is very right. He will stand with the unemployed.
Last week there were a number of published reports alleging possible insider trading on leaked information from the finance minister's office. Here is what one small investor wrote to us:
The latest information was released to a bunch of insiders from Bay Street....I personally lost around $2000....I believe somebody should be taken to task and end up in jail for insider trading.
Surely the minister understands the need to maintain investor confidence. Why is he not calling in the RCMP? What is he afraid of?
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there are appropriate independent authorities to supervise and investigate all stock exchange activities and they will decide for themselves, without any interference by either the hon. gentleman or the government whatsoever. I am satisfied that all requirements were honoured.
What we see here on the floor of the House of Commons is like a year ago and all of the wild comments about child pornography and last week and all the wild comments about organized crime. It is just another drive-by smear campaign by the Conservative Party.
Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it was a $100 million crime and it was pretty well organized. I do not know what one would call that.
The chief financial officer for the country basically said he would rather cover up for the Liberal Party than protect small investors. That is not acceptable. Here is what another investor wrote:
I want to know who had “advance” warnings on where the government was going on this. Which “insiders” to the Liberal Party had advance information on the surprise early announcement--
That person lost $5,000. That is what we all want to know. When will the minister stop covering for his--
The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Finance.
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman's allegations are false. They are beneath contempt.
Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC): Mr. Speaker, here is how one banker described the Liberal income trust scandal in the Financial Post:
The government has leaked this out to their friends and cronies in the business community and...panicked the little investors who sold. It's brutal. It's third world. It's unbelievable. The government then tells a bunch of Bay Street insiders what it is going to do so they can profit. And then it does it. It's insane.
The Liberal culture of entitlement is all about benefiting powerful insiders at the expense of ordinary Canadians. Why did powerful Liberal insiders benefit yet again from access to information that should have been secret?
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman's allegations are again flatly false. I do not think I need to take any lessons from a member of this House who believes that his patron saint is Conrad Black.
Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC): Mr. Speaker, that would be the same Conrad Black who gave the Prime Minister a $50,000 leadership contribution, I guess.
The finance minister is responding in the same way the Liberals do at the beginning of every Liberal scandal: to deny. But how can the finance minister be so sure? Market activity tripled in certain stocks in the course of two hours before his announcement was made. Al Rosen, a leading forensic accountant, says “clearly there was a leak some time between...2 and 4”.
The question for the finance minister is, who knew what in his office? Has he made an enquiry in his own office? If not, how can he be so sure there was no leak?
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, for the good of the nation, it is very good news that the hon. gentleman is not in charge of stock exchanges. In fact, there are the appropriate authorities that are in place for that purpose. They provide the supervision. They provide the investigation. They will do whatever they believe is necessary to be done.
Mr. Peter Van Loan (York—Simcoe, CPC): Mr. Speaker, there once was a practice, long abandoned under the Liberal government, of the finance minister resigning if budget contents leaked, this on the principle that inside information should not allow those connected to government to profit. Now leaks are common, in part because budget-type announcements come almost weekly instead of yearly from a government that has abandoned normal prudent fiscal practice.
The Prime Minister has just proposed restoring traditional ministerial accountability as proof that he is going to clean up corruption. Will it apply in the case of the recent reports of insider trading on tax changes? Or was the Prime Minister just kidding when he announced the return of the ministerial accountability principle?
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is there are no credible allegations. In fact, the opposition is trading in its usual pre-election process fluff. There is nothing to the suggestions that those members have put before this House.
Mr. Peter Van Loan (York—Simcoe, CPC): Mr. Speaker, Canadians will not be surprised if the Prime Minister's latest promises on cleaning up corruption have the life span of a fruit fly. After all, there is a lot rotten in the government.
The Minister of Finance created the uncertainty in the markets with ill-considered comments in the first place. Then, according to Al Rosen, who is among the most respected finance experts, there is evidence that some people had inside knowledge of the minister's new tax policy in advance of the public and profited.
Will the Minister of Finance take responsibility for this situation? Or is there still, in the words of Justice Gomery, a “refusal of ministers...to acknowledge their responsibility”?
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to note that Judge Gomery said, in relation to my activities as Minister of Public Works, that in fact I set the “standard” that should have been applied in that particular file. I appreciate that comment from Judge Gomery.
Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services wants to convince us that the Liberal Party of Canada has paid back to the taxpayers every red cent that was illegally received. According to Justice Gomery, however, $40 million is still missing, and no one knows where it is.
The election is approaching. A Conservative government will doggedly pursue the Liberal Party in order to recover the millions of dollars that have disappeared from the public purse. Why does this Liberal government not manifest that same desire?
Hon. Jean Lapierre (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I do not know if there is some sort of sickness going the rounds of the Conservative Party, but they are making up a lot of stories these days. Its leader invented the fact that Justice Gomery had made reference to organized crime, and now this member is trying to invent the fact that Justice Gomery said there was $40 million missing. Both are lying, and both have created these stories out of whole cloth.
Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, CPC): Mr. Speaker, what we have said is that the Liberal approach to cleaning up the sponsorship mess has been more talk than action. The Liberals talked about paying back the stolen money. Justice Gomery said that $40 million was stolen. The Liberals say they have paid back $1 million. Only the most blind Liberal partisan can believe that Liberal math.
The Liberals said that they were going to go after the people who got the stolen money, but the Prime Minister has not held accountable any one of the eighteen Liberal candidates who in 1997 got illegal, stolen sponsorship cash. Why has the Liberal approach to the sponsorship program been so much talk and so little action? Do taxpayers not deserve better?
Hon. Scott Brison (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the Liberal Party of Canada has paid back every penny received inappropriately as a result of these activities. Furthermore, the analysis was conducted based on Justice Gomery's facts.
The Conservatives can work with the separatists and pull figures out of the air to try to besmirch the reputation of good people who are involved in political life, but the fact is that our analysis is based on Justice Gomery. We trust Justice Gomery, not the separatists and the Conservatives.
Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the justice minister has repeatedly stated his personal opposition to mandatory prison sentences for violent crimes. Now, on the eve of a federal election, he embraces mandatory prison sentences because his polling shows 82% of Canadians support these measures.
Why does the minister continue to insult victims of crime and those affected by gun violence by producing legislation as a meaningless public relations exercise only when he knows it cannot pass?
Hon. Irwin Cotler (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the one thing I will not do is exploit victims of crime. What I did was respond to the unanimous recommendation from the federal-provincial-territorial ministers of justice meeting in November. I said that I would move with all deliberate speed to table legislation, and that is exactly what I did.
Access to Information
Ms. Helena Guergis (Simcoe—Grey, CPC): Mr. Speaker, on top of its culture of entitlement, the government has earned a reputation for its culture of secrecy.
Ms. Rosemary Ur: What about your jewellery?
Ms. Helena Guergis: The access to information commissioner has noted that the federal government remains seized with a culture of distrust and resistance to the law that is supposed to give the public access to government documents. Canadians want to get to the bottom of Liberal corruption.
Could the current government assure us that should Canadians vote for a change of government in the next election, there will be no systematic shredding of documents and destruction of records?
Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, should such a--
The Speaker: Order, please. I am trying to get a little order so we can all hear the minister. The President of the Treasury Board has the floor. The hon. member for Simcoe—Grey is anxious to hear the answer. I cannot hear the answer and he is sitting closer to me than he is to her. We will have a little order.
Hon. Reg Alcock: Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, I missed the reference to jewellery. Let me repeat my comment, should such an unlikely circumstance come to pass, the government will respect all policies as it always does.