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Speech by Official Leader of the Opposition, Michael Ignatieff, March 25, 2011

Speech by Official Leader of the Opposition, Michael Ignatieff, March 25, 2011

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Published by CBCPolitics
Speech to the House of Commons by Official Leader of the Opposition, Michael Ignatieff, March 25, 2011, to introduce debate on a Liberal motion of non-confidence in the government.
Speech to the House of Commons by Official Leader of the Opposition, Michael Ignatieff, March 25, 2011, to introduce debate on a Liberal motion of non-confidence in the government.

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Published by: CBCPolitics on Mar 25, 2011
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03/30/2011

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March 25, 201125 mars 2011Check against deliveryLe texte prononcé fait foiEMBARGOED UNTIL THE LEADER SPEAKSNE PAS PUBLIER AVANT QUE LE CHEF NE PRENNE LA PAROLESpeech in the House of Commons to Introduce a Motion of Non-ConfidenceDiscours à la Chambre des communes sur la motion de non-confiance
Ottawa, Ontario
Monsieur le Président,Avant de commencer, j’aimerais parler de vous.Vous arrivez à la fin de votre mandat comme Président de la Chambre, et j’aimeraistémoigner de l’affection et le respect que nous avons tous pour vous.Vos règlements et vos jugements ont marqué l’histoire de notre pays.You have taught us all – sometimes with modest rebuke, sometimes with stern force of argument – to understand, to respect, and to cherish the rules of Canadian democracy,and for that alone, all Canadians will be grateful to you.This is a historic day in the life of the democracy you have served so well.I have to inform the House that the Official Opposition has lost confidence in thegovernment.Le gouvernement ne jouit plus de la confiance de l’Opposition officielle.
 
 2Our motion asks the House to agree with the finding in the 27
th
report of the StandingCommittee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented on March 21
st
.This was a historic finding, Mr. Speaker. It was the first time that a parliamentarycommittee has found the government in contempt.Today, with this motion, we ask the House to do the same – to find the government incontempt, and to withdraw the confidence of the House.Avec cette motion, nous demandons aux députés de condamner le gouvernement pour outrage au Parlement, et par conséquent de lui retirer la confiance de la Chambre.C’est un moment important, Monsieur le Président, dans l’histoire de notre démocratie.Mais c’est aussi une opportunité d’affirmer notre attachement à la démocratieparlementaire et à ses principes fondamentaux.De quels principes parlons-nous? Que le gouvernement doit offrir aux députes toutel’information qu’ils jugent nécessaire afin de tenir l’exécutif redevable devant le peuplecanadien.The principle at stake in this debate goes to the heart of parliamentary democracy: theobligation of a government to provide members of this House with the information theyneed in order to hold the government accountable to the people of Canada.We are the people’s representatives. When the government spends money, the peoplehave a right to know what it is to be spent on. This Parliament does not write blankcheques.For four months, the opposition asked the government to tell the Canadian people thetrue cost of their budget plans.For four months, we demanded to know how much Canadian taxpayers were beingasked to pay for fighter jets, for prisons, and for corporate tax breaks.For four months, this House – and the Canadian people – were stonewalled by thisgovernment.Pendant quatre mois, nous avons demandé des comptes de ce gouvernement.Pendant quatre mois, nous avons demandé le vrai coût des avions de chasse, desprisons, et des baisses d’impôts pour les grandes entreprises.Pendant quatre mois, nous n’avons reçu aucune réponse, mis à part le mépris etl’arrogance de ce gouvernement.Et toujours, aucune réponse.
 
 3Nous étions choqués, mais n’étions pas surpris.Après tout c’est le même gouvernement qui a fermé le Parlement à deux reprises, lemême gouvernement qui était forcé par un de vos règlements de livrer des documentsdans le dossier des détenus afghans. Nous attendons toujours ces documents.In the case of the Afghan documents, the government’s excuse for withholding the truthwas national security.In the case of the budget documents, they did not even bother to come up with anexcuse.You held that the rules of our democracy require the government to answer thequestions that Parliament wants answered. You sent the matter back to a committee for action and they came back with a finding of contempt.So this is why we are here now. The House must decide whether the government hasbroken a basic rule of our democracy and therefore whether it can remain in office.For our part, there is no doubt. You have spoken, Mr. Speaker. The committee hasspoken. And now the House must speak with a clear voice: a government that breaksthe rules and conceals facts from the Canadian people does not deserve to remain inoffice.Un gouvernement qui ne respecte pas la démocratie ne mérite pas de rester en place.Ça suffit!Si le résultat de ce vote est une élection, le peuple canadien aura l’occasion deremplacer ce gouvernement arrogant avec un gouvernement qui respecte ladémocratie.To those who say an election is “unnecessary,” I reply: we did not seek an election, butif we need one to replace a government that doesn’t respect democracy with one thatdoes, I can’t think of no more necessary an election!It is not just democracy that this House must affirm this afternoon; it should also affirmCanadians’ hunger for change.It is time to change Canada’s direction. Time to get us on the right path.After five years of Conservative government, it is time to say enough is enough. Enoughof the politics of fear. Enough of the politics of division. Enough of the politics of personal destruction.Assez, c’est assez.

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