IN THE HOUSE ~ Question ~ Independent oversight of MPs' expenses

   41st Parliament, 2nd Session

M. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NPD): Monsieur le Président, encore une fois, on n'a pas de réponse.

    Hier, le NPD a proposé de remplacer le Bureau de régie interne par un système de contrôle indépendant et il a proposé d'appliquer la Loi sur l'accès à l'information à la Chambre des communes et au Sénat. Les conservateurs et les libéraux ont voté contre ces efforts pour améliorer la transparence.

    Les conservateurs peuvent-ils expliquer pourquoi ils refusent que la Loi sur l'accès à l'information s'applique à leurs sénateurs? Que cachent-ils aux familles canadiennes?

    Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, this party has led the way with respect to transparency and accountability. One of the first acts our government brought forward in 2006 was the Accountability Act. At the same time, when it comes to presenting Canadians the expenses that members of Parliament have, it is our party that has led the way with proactive disclosure.

    I note that the NDP members are refusing to put their expenses online. I hope they will join with the Conservative Party in making their expenses available online to all Canadians.

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, two-thirds of the Conservative caucus did not even bother. That is why we need uniform disclosure. That is what Canadians deserve.

    Liberals and Conservatives refuse to let the Senate and House be subject to the Access to Information Act. That is shameful. The Auditor General has said there needs to be independent oversight of MPs' expenses, no more MP self-policing. The NDP agrees with the Auditor General.

    Why are Conservatives and Liberals blocking the Auditor General's efforts for transparency around MPs' and senators' expenses? What are they trying to hide?

    Hon. John Duncan (Minister of State and Chief Government Whip, CPC): Mr. Speaker, Conservatives are voluntarily reporting their travel and hospitality expenses because we are committed to increasing accountability for Canadian taxpayers. We continue to seek support from all parties to improve reporting that applies to all parliamentarians and we believe that all parties should voluntarily disclose in the meantime.

    It is worth noting that only the NDP members have chosen not to provide the public with details about their travel and hospitality expenses.

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