May 11, 2004) OTTAWA
- In a highly dramatic, pre-election day in question period, NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis's challenged
Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan to apologize on behalf of
the Liberal government to Canadians for the sponsorship scandal
and for "being so careless with taxpayer dollars."
"Will this government apologize? Will they say they're sorry?"
However, McLellan did not apologize and said the government has been clear about its wish to get to the bottom of the scandal.
But Wasylycia-Leis shot back, saying that the RCMP's laying of fraud charges
yesterday against the former executive director of the sponsorship program, Chuck Guite, was not enough.
"The Liberals simply have no shame," she said. "Canadians aren't buying Chuck Guite as the lone gunman because they know there's a grassy knoll full of Liberals that this government is desperate to hide until after Canadians get to vote."
The sponsorship scandal was front-and-centre in question period today as Liberal members of the Public Accounts committee moved to end testimony before a likely federal election call.
All opposition parties weighed in on Adscam and issued some major challenges to Prime Minister Paul Martin - who was not in question period - and the Liberal government.
The Bloc went one step further and called on the prime minister to appear before the committee before calling an
election to further explain his February comments that there had
to be political direction in the scandal.
"If he's so transparent and clear, why is refusing to testify before the Public Accounts committee and tell us before an election is called who provided the political direction?" asked BQ Leader Gilles Duceppe.
"Who was at the head of all this? Was it his predecessor? Was it him?"
Martin's name is included in a
witness list compiled for the committee by KPMG.
And Conservative Leader Stephen Harper was the most blunt of all, suggesting the charges against Guite and Groupaction president Jean Brault in relation to the scandal were just a small part of overall government corruption.
"There are in fact at least 36 separate police investigations we are aware of into the conduct of this government," he explained. "It is unprecedented in our history.
"Are these charges not just the tip of the iceberg into the culture of corruption that has been the hallmark of this government for over a decade?"
McLellan accused Harper of being reckless in his comments.
"I reject the outrageous premise of the question just asked by the leader of the official opposition," she said
"In fact, the RCMP is conducting investigations. Charges have been laid. The RCMP will continue to pursue this matter as it sees appropriate but I do want to underscore how singularly inappropriate I find the premise of the honourable member's question."
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