Debates of Feb. 17th, 1997
House of Commons Hansard #131 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.
- Corrections And Conditional Release Act
- Correctional Service Canada
- Teaching Excellence
- Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
- National Heritage Day
- The Budget
- Somalia Inquiry
- Great Northern Exhibition
- Youth Unemployment
- National Heritage Day
- Marian Sweetnam
- Canadian Flag
- Canada Pension Plan
- Team Canada
- Capitol Theatre Association
- Farm Industry
- Goods And Services Tax
- Canada Pension Plan
- Public Finances
- Canada Pension Plan
- Somalia Inquiry
- Canadian Embassy In Washington
- Grain Shipments
- Somalia Inquiry
- Department Of Foreign Affairs
- Department Of Justice
- Points Of Order
- Government Response To Petitions
- Questions On The Order Paper
Questions On The Order Paper
Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs
When the Canada pension plan (CPP) was enacted, the government was concerned that the introduction of the new plan not be disadvantageous to its employees, or members of the Canadian Forces (CF) or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). To the greatest possible extent, the introduction of the CPP was to be transparent to employees and members. When employees of the public service, and members of the CF and the RCMP became participants in the CPP, both the contributions and the benefits were integrated into each of their federal pension plans. The net effect was to provide the same retirement income for the same contributions.
On the benefits side, the integration was achieved by incorporating in each of the superannuation acts a clause defining a procedure whereby an individual's benefits under his/her basic pension are reduced by a formula which approximates the benefit that is paid by the CPP for the pensionable time under the individual's basic pension.
Thus, it is the pension plan itself, the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act (CFSA) for members of the CF, which authorizes a reduction of the pension benefits under given circumstances. The CFSA contains in section 15(2) a provision for the pension benefit to be reduced by a formula related to the CPP benefit formula. A deduction must be made from the annuity paid under the CFSA when the contributor reaches the age of 65 years (the age at which CPP benefits were payable, originally), and when the contributor becomes entitled to a disability pension under the CPP or a similar provision of a provincial pension plan.
The decision to integrate the CPP to the various federal superannuation acts was not limited to federal pension plans. At that time, many pension plans providing coverage to private sector employees were also adjusted to integrate the benefits from the CPP with the benefits of their own private plan.
The overall effect of this integration of the CFSA and CPP benefits is that an annuitant's retirement income is more evenly distributed than it would have been had the benefits not been integrated. If the plans were not integrated, the pre-age 65 benefits would be lower to provide for a levelled benefit for life, rather than being able to reduce it at age 65 to take into consideration the income that comes from the CPP. The number of CFSA annuitants in the age group 65 years and over, affected by a reduction in CFSA benefits related to the receipt of a CPP benefit at age 65, is approximately 30,000.
The same principle applies to long-term disability plans. Typically, long-term disability benefits are integrated with other sources of disability income such as workers' compension, CPP, and other employer, government, and sometimes individual, disability plans. The objective of integrating disability income from various sources is to establish the disability income received from all sources to a reasonable percentage of pre-disability earnings. The inclusion of an integration of benefits provision reduces the costs of the disability plan to the employer. As a CPP disability benefit is often available (depending on the precise definitions of disability in the specific plan and the CPP), it is normal for the specific disability benefit of other plans to be reduced by any benefit derived from the CPP.
It is usual for plan provisions to include a clause whereby the specific plan provisions are reduced in some fashion when a CPP benefit is also being paid. In recognition of this practice as being a reasonable course, there is no provision in law to stop such wording from being written into the specific plans. Such legislation would make the design of adequate disability insurance plans much more difficult, as they would have to balance the individual's financial needs over an extended time period with income from either one or two sources, depending on age or degree of disability.
With regard to the numbers of Canadians affected by the possibility of double offsets in the event of becoming disabled while in receipt of both a pension and employment income, the department does not have data available to be able to provide such
statistics. However, the type of circumstances, for which there could be a double offset, would be rare, and the number of individuals in that circumstance would be expected to be low.
Finally, the department is not aware of any legal challenges to these practices. Besides an amendment to the different federal superannuation acts to remove the CPP reduction provision, the department is not aware of any other legislation which would require changes to eliminate this plan design practice from other pension and disability plans.
Question No. 101-
Questions On The Order Paper
Svend Robinson Burnaby—Kingsway, BC
Can the Government of Canada indicate whether any department or agency of the Government of Canada, including the Export Development Corporation, provided loans, grants or other monetary assistance to facilitate the sale or shipping of Ultramar Canada's refinery in Eastern Passage, N.S., to Sharjah Refining in the United Arab Emirates, and if so, what is the amount and nature of this financial assistance?
Questions On The Order Paper
Paul Zed Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
I am informed as follows: The Export Development Corporation has been approached by Ultramar and has offered support for this transaction on a commercial (i.e., non-concessional) basis. Financing arrangements have not yet been concluded.
Other departments and agencies have no information on this subject.
Questions On The Order Paper
Paul Zed Fundy Royal, NB
Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.
Questions On The Order Paper
The Deputy Speaker
Is that agreed?
Questions On The Order Paper
Some hon. members
The House resumed consideration of the motion and the amendment.
February 17th, 1997 / 3:10 p.m.
Beth Phinney Hamilton Mountain, ON
Mr. Speaker, in response to the question, more than 30 countries presently have in place a private copying regime or similar legislation. It should be noted that the United States has a similar regime but that it differs from Canada's in that it only applies to digital audio support and recording devices.
The proposed Canadian legislation allows the government to extend reciprocal treatment to any country that grants or has undertaken to grant similar benefits to Canadian creators of sound recordings.
The member for Kootenay East, who has worked very hard on the heritage committee with the rest of us, spoke earlier today. I was listening to his speech and believe I am quoting him correctly when he said that no constituency in Quebec had ordered more than 400 flags. I would like to make it clear to everybody so that wrong information is not on the record. There is no constituency in Quebec which ordered fewer than 400 flags.
There have also been comments today about the flag program being disastrous to stores that sell flags, flag poles, et cetera. Here is a quote from a citizen who has a store in Peterborough, Mr. Rick Johnson: "My flag sales are a little down, but the sales of poles are way up. The other thing is, flags are not made to last. Once these flags wear out, people will know where to come to buy a new one".
Another gentleman from Peterborough, Warren Davis, also sells flags. He said: "I think it is a great idea. I really do not see how this could have an adverse effect on my business. People are still going to buy flags". He feels that many people simply love to criticize government initiatives and look long and hard for negatives. He said: "Great innovative projects like this get stifled by naysayers. If people would work together as human beings, they would have a positive outlook. I think this project does just that. In fact, they might find that their business will prosper. Sure it costs money, but it has not affected my business one iota". He goes on to say: "This should get people thinking more about flying flags. It is very patriotic. I have been printing flags for 16 years and I think people are thinking more about it this year".
Another woman who owns a flag store said that her flag sales are also down a bit but everything should be all right in the long run. She said: "This business is basically just a hobby for me, but I have noticed an increase in pole sales. I am getting more and more inquiries these days. People are going to need new flags next year. Hopefully they will continue to purchase them. This should not hurt business in the long run, but I hope it does not continue as an annual thing".
Bob Speller Haldimand—Norfolk, ON
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the motion put forward by the separatists. The motion denounces the activities sponsored by Heritage Canada such as the Canada Information Office and the one in a million flags operation.
We are now debating the amendment which was put forward by the Reformers who are supporting the separatist motion. They say that all the words after "Heritage Canada" should be deleted, such as the $20 million spent on the Canada Information Office, the $15.5 million spent on the one in a million flags operation and unprecedented cuts to the CBC. Of course, we know their policy is to get rid of the CBC. I am somewhat shocked that the Reform Party is supporting the separatists.
I was pleased, as I am sure all Canadians were, this weekend to see Ed Mirvish on television getting the one millionth flag. I was very proud when that happened. He is one of Canada's biggest supporters of the cultural industries.
That flag program was a success. The people of Haldimand-Norfolk were very supportive of the program. When I went down the country roads, I saw that people were proud to be flying the Canadian flag. They were proud to show other Canadians that they love their country.
I am not surprised the Bloc members presented this motion. They want to break up and destroy the country. However, I am surprised that the Reform Party joined them. Canadians are proud to stand up for this country, as they are in my riding. I know that it is ideal for the separatists to try to do that, but it is somewhat surprising that the Reform Party would do it. I am sorry that the Reform Party has fallen for this trick of the separatists.
The Liberal Party will not apologize for promoting Canada. Liberal members will not apologize for setting up these programs which get individual Canadians together, get them excited and give them more information about their country. We are working with different community groups, different programs and young people throughout Canada so they will know more about the country. How can that be called propaganda?
The Reform Party has joined the Bloc in saying it is propaganda; that it is nothing but the Liberal Party spending millions of dollars to promote itself. Is it propaganda for the Deputy Prime Minister who today is in Moncton, New Brunswick to set up a new program with 800 different community leaders across the country, from 120 towns and villages, small communities in rural Canada and in the urban centres? They will come together in an exchange program across Canada. Is it propaganda to get Canadians to travel across the country?
I know the hon. member beside me here will remember the Canada 125 program. It was an incredible program that was brought out just before the last election for Canada's 125th birthday. We got Canadians talking to each other. Young Canadians got to know more about their country. This is what we should be doing as parliamentarians. Part of our role is to enable Canadians to know more about their country.
What about a town in western Canada which is planning a cultural event? Is it propaganda to let Quebecers know and to get in touch with towns in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba or Saskatchewan? Is that propaganda? I do not think so and I do not think the Liberal Party or the government thinks so.
Is it wrong to promote mutual co-operation and understanding on economic and social issues, on the cultural development of Canadians? I do not think so. It is not wrong to do that. It is important that we learn more about the cultural diversities of this country, that we learn more about some of the economic problems in this country. Somebody sitting in downtown Calgary or in downtown Vancouver who has never left their community or their province may not know some of the issues facing somebody living in a fishing community or a remote community in Newfoundland or in Tuktoyaktuk or in my riding in southwestern Ontario.
One of the largest inland fisheries in the world is in my riding. We have a lot in common with people in Newfoundland or British Columbia, people on the coasts who rely on the fishing industry. Is it wrong for the Government of Canada to promote that these people get together to talk about their common concerns? I do not think so. I think it is right and it is an important role this government has.
I guess in Quebec it is wrong to promote Canada. This is what these federal members of Parliament seem to be saying, that somehow to promote Canada in Quebec and to show people around Canada the good things in Quebec are somehow wrong and the government should not be able to play a role in that. I do not agree.
TVA and CTV are major partners in Attractions Canada. It is surprising to think that these major networks in Canada would somehow be hoodwinked by the Government of Canada to be used in some sort of propaganda in Quebec or outside.
It is ironic that a Quebec member would bring forward this motion when in fact Attractions Canada's hotline had 9,200 Canadians call it this past week and 5,640 calls, 61 per cent of them, came from the province of Quebec. Simply put, a great number of people within the province of Quebec want to know more about their country. They want to know more about what is happening outside the boundaries of Quebec. In their present role the members across the way or the Government of Quebec certainly will not be the ones that will inform Quebecers about what is happening in the rest of Canada.
If we are going to bring this country together, if we are going to move forward into the next century, we are going to need to know more about each other. We are going to need to know more about some of the problems faced by Quebecers, some of the problems faced by rural Canadians or by people in downtown Calgary. TVA and CTV in joining this program and promoting it are doing what they should be doing as networks.
We need to be serious about the challenges that lie ahead for Canada. We need to ask ourselves going into the next century how we will build Canada and what will be the Canada of the next century. We as parliamentarians going into the next election, if we happen to win the next election, will be the ones over the next millennium who will be making the early decisions as to what Canada will look like. The government is building a Canada for the 21st century.
Information and knowledge empowers Canadians. It lets them chart their own future and destiny. It must be a disappointment for the opposition members that Canadians want to know more about their history, that they want to know more about their institutions, their social and cultural fabric and their achievements. We have had achievements. It is important that this government remind Canadians about these achievements.
We need to understand the diversity. It is strange that this motion would come from a member from a province that is diverse, a province that is unique in Canada. To somehow challenge us on trying to promote Canada in that province is wrong. It shows that their heart really is not in their country. We need to understand our duality. We need to have a country that acknowledges, supports and protects our two official languages and our diversities. We need to work together to build knowledge about Canada and Canadians.
It must be a disappointment to the opposition that we want to know more about our symbols and about our heritage. The more we know about our heritage, the more we know about our culture, about our environment, the better we can understand the challenges we all face and the hopes and dreams of Canadians. We need to build on this. We need to know this before we move into the next millennium.
Canadians share some very fundamental human values. There is our value about having a compassionate and a caring society. We value fairness. We value integrity in our institutions and our practices. We value equality and we value knowing that our differences can strengthen us.
We have learned. What we have learned over our 100 years of history has made us one of the best countries in the world as wide groups like the United Nations look to Canada for leadership.
I appreciate this time and I would not mind being given one minute more.
The Deputy Speaker
My apologies to the member and to all hon. members when I fail to give them a one-minute signal. Questions and comments.
Philippe Paré Louis-Hébert, QC
Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the member opposite defend Canada and its symbols. In principle, I have no objection to that.
We must, however, look at the expenses incurred by the Heritage Minister to promote Canada in light of the living conditions of real people. Would the 1.2 million children living below the poverty line in Canada be happy to wave the Canadian flag?
Would the millions of unemployed Canadians, whose number has not decreased since this government came to power, be proud enough to wave the Canadian flag? Are the millions of Canadians on welfare, whose number has actually increased since this government started making drastic cuts to social programs, ready to wave the Canadian flag?
The hon. member asks if it is wrong to promote Canada in Quebec. It is not wrong but it is rather pointless. If Quebecers were proud of the Government of Canada, we would not have to distribute flags. Pride is not based on symbols but on realities.
I will conclude by asking the following question to the hon. member: If Canadians are so proud of their country, why then did we have to give them flags to wave?
Bob Speller Haldimand—Norfolk, ON
Mr. Speaker, I will never apologize for the Canadian flag, nor will I apologize for trying to promote Canada not only in Quebec but throughout this country. We have a wonderful country, as has been expressed by many people around the world. By flying our flag we are in no way taking away from the other, more serious problems we have across this country.
The government recognizes, as do all Canadians, that as we go into the next century, even though we have moved ahead in many areas, there are still many areas we have not resolved. The hon. member mentioned some. Obviously child poverty and jobs are areas that are very important to the Government of Canada, and we are moving in those areas.
Unless we stay together as a country, unless Canadians realize the importance of staying together and working together, and the importance of being Canadian, we will not last into the next century very long. It is important in the scheme of things to look at the bigger picture, to make sure that when we are resolving some of these fundamental problems we also look at the make-up of the country and what the country is about. It is important that we work toward resolving some of those problems, which is what we have tried to do.
We have tried to use the flag. We have tried to show Canadians the importance of the flag. We have also tried to show Canadians the importance of each other, to teach Canadians more about other parts of the country. We have a large country. It is the second largest country in the world. It is difficult for somebody in downtown Hagersville, where I was born, to go into Quebec. We have a language problem. It is important and it should be a priority for the Government of Canada to take it upon itself to help in that area.
Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC
Mr. Speaker, today, we are discussing a motion condemning the use of public funds squandered on propaganda activities sponsored by Heritage Canada, such as the Canada Information Office and the One Million Flags Operation, at a time when unprecedented cuts have been imposed on cultural institutions in Canada and Quebec.
When I got back to my riding, I went, as I do every week, to buy a number of magazines. One of these was Le Point , whose cover this week read L'unité canadienne se crée-t-elle? , or ``Is Canadian Unity Developing?'' This issue contains a very comprehensive report on the situation in Canada. The government members would be well advised to read this report in order to understand what is happening in Canada and what a foreign observer is thinking of it. The author comments on Winnipeg, for instance. Apparently, it is the coldest place in the world. He also mentions St. Boniface, which has been amalgamated to Winnipeg and where, unfortunately, 70 per cent of the people now speak English.
This is a statement of fact made by a total stranger having to describe our country in an international magazine. He must describe to his fellow countrymen what is happening in another country.
When the Conservative Party was in office, with Mrs. Campbell at its head, it was decided to drastically reduce the number of ministers. The government then thought of establishing a department called Canadian Heritage, which would contain everything that could fit nowhere else. Responsibilities were gathered from all over the place to form a tutti frutti department.
Amateur sports, parks, historic sites and the Department of the Secretary of State were included in its mandate. The department is also responsible for the Queen's visits to Canada, the choice of olympic athletes, etc., as well as funding for these activities. It does a bit of everything, but mostly propaganda. It has become a propaganda specialist.
The creation of this department was a problem for the Liberal Party when they were in opposition. I remember that the first time I went to the Department of Canadian Heritage to meet the then Deputy Minister, he told me he had recommended to the new government that it divide up the Department of Canadian Heritage, instead of using it as a grab bag as intended, and remove Communications from Canadian Heritage, leaving it with only those elements having to do with heritage. If the mission of the Department of Canadian Heritage had really been to reflect what this
country is all about, it would have been told not to forget that in this country, there are two peoples, two languages and two cultures.
But that is not what happened. Once in power, the Liberals, as usual, found things already prepared by senior bureaucrats who are ready to operate regardless of who is in power. The only visible change, when a new government is elected, is the colour of the CBC, which is red or blue depending on the party in power.
When this government came to power, they had to act and ensure passage of a bill creating the Department of Canadian Heritage. They created exactly what Ms. Campbell wanted, and asked it to promote Canadian identity. We then tried to make Canadians understand that they had to take Quebec into account, that in this country there are two cultures and two languages.
It is true that, when we debated the issue, we did not know what the Prime Minister was really thinking. One day, the Prime Minister answering a question happened to say in the House, and I quote: "Mr. Speaker, there is a French culture in Canada, which is Canadian. It is in Quebec primarily, but I think the culture of the Acadians and Antonine Maillet forms part of the French culture, and this culture is not necessarily Quebec culture. So, when we talk about a Canadian culture, it may be of French or English expression". The entire quote can be found in the December 6, 1995 issue of Hansard .
Shortly after the referendum the Prime Minister confirmed that, although a Quebecer, the little guy from Shawinigan had forgotten his roots and had made his another culture, the Canadian culture, renouncing his own, the Quebec culture, for ever. He made this statement on behalf of all his colleagues, confirming that in his view, Québec and the distinct society did not exist, as we saw later with the passing of his phoney motion on the distinct society, this empty shell devoid of any meaning.
Therefore, in the opinion of Canadians, Quebec culture does not exist. Yesterday, while listening to "Le Point", on Radio-Canada, I understood that for many Canadians, the Canadian culture does not exist either. We were shown Saskatchewan francophones, like Carmen Champagne. Since there are only 50,000 people who speak French in that province she opted for moving to Quebec to be able do grow, and make a fortune while selling her records, audio and video tapes, video clips and all the excellent material she produces for children. She was looking for a market and she found one in Quebec; she could not have found one in Saskatchewan.
I also saw other people who spoke English, but I felt they were more Ukrainian that Canadian. They extolled the beauty and the wealth of their culture, but they sounded more like Ukrainians talking to a Quebecer than Canadians. I felt how great their need was to cling to their Ukrainian roots. I believe that the notion of multiculturalism Mr. Trudeau put in the heads of Canadians is probably the single biggest obstacle to the creation of a Canadian identity.
The Prime Minister is looking for ways to have people identify with Canada; I think he could simply abolish multiculturalism tomorrow morning, as they did in several countries like Brazil, and he would find that, tomorrow morning, all the people in Canada would be Canadians.
Except, of course, for Quebecers, who have already made up their minds, at least 50 per cent of them, and know they belong to a culture, they form a people, they have a territory. They still need a country before they can develop fully, but that threshold will soon be crossed and we will have the patience to wait for the next referendum to really fulfil ourselves.
Meanwhile, we observe what is going on in Canada. There is a subculture, the Quebec subculture, and a larger one, the Canadian culture. What happened until 1976, at the CBC for example? Those who governed our country respected both cultures, both people, and the CBC and the SRC received equal funding. The French network and the English network received the same amounts.
After the election of Mr. Lévesque, the surprise of 1976, Mr. Trudeau decided there was a separatist clique at Radio-Canada. He ordered an inquiry, which was considered to be almost an inquisition, to finally find out that it was not so, that there was no such thing as a separatist clique at Radio-Canada. There were only people doing an honest job who, in the news, showed what was happening in Quebec.
In 1995, after the referendum, the Trudeau heir adopted the same attitude. He also said that the CBC had not done its job properly. The French network of the CBC was, once again, hit by funding cuts. Clearly, it will be more and more difficult for the journalists of the corporation to do their jobs in the professional manner they are known for, if the government keeps casting doubt on the quality of the programming, which is excellent. The reason is that the government does not like the way what is happening in our society is presented.
The CBC suffered extensive cuts. The National Film Board lost 20 per cent of its budget. Funding for Telefilm Canada was reduced by $50 million, over and above the cuts already announced, in order to create a fund, with headquarters and decision making in Toronto, for the production of television programs.
This fund will be made up of $50 million from the cable distributors, $50 million from Telefilm Canada and $100 from
Heritage Canada. Directors of the fund have been advised to be careful and to finance programs with a Canadian flavour, programs which promote Canadian culture, in other words they should try to avoid films like "Octobre".
We saw after the referendum the way the heritage committee went on a witch hunt, how the chairman was given the mandate to try to see what was going on, and to promote Canada.
Today, we have reached a stage where we embarked on this campaign to give away a million flags. Not very long ago, a Liberal senator was telling me: "I do not understand you, in Quebec. We have given you bilingual stamps, bilingual bank notes, a flag, a national anthem". I could agree with the bank notes and the stamps, but it was the late great Réal Caouette, with the complicity of a minority government under Mr. Pearson, who felt, on the eve of the universal exhibition of 1967, that it would be shameful to receive the world without a flag which would identify us all. That is when the war to introduce the flag started.
Consequently, I even wonder if English Canadians ever wanted the flag, since the government still feels forced to promote this flag 30 years later. There are limits to thinking that it can impose something to people through propaganda.
As for the national anthem, the government took the one that we used to sing when we were kids and that was called O Canada . The words and the music were composed by two francophones from Quebec. The anglophones translated it, changed it here and there so it would fit their purposes, but the national anthem was not invented by an anglophone of this country; the government took the words and music that two francophones from Quebec had composed.
There are limits to trying to make us believe that we resist that. It is true that we resist because this was another era. The government took the name, the flag, the national anthem; it can have them, but we are somewhat disenchanted with the whole propaganda campaign it is conducting to try to impose these things.
My colleagues have also said it: almost $100 million have been spent on propaganda at a time when the government tells us it has no money, for example, for programming, for small and medium size business, for job creation, for the destitute, for poor children. According to what the Prime Minister told us, some gifts for poor children will be announced in the budget tomorrow. They we made poor and now we are being told: "Thanks to the federal government, we will save poor children." It should have saved them four years ago, instead of waiting until the eve of an election to present us with a budget containing measures to save poor children. Consequently, until now, it is an appalling failure on all counts.
The official languages policy, which is another failure in Canada, is a responsibility of Heritage Canada. Most of the money went to anglophone minorities in Quebec or was spent on teaching English in the other provinces.
They give lip service to bilingualism, but what they really want to do is bilingualize Quebecers to better assimilate them, given that the anglophone minority in Quebec represents only 9 per cent of the population, whereas 54 per cent of civil servants are bilingual. The francophone minority in New Brunswick accounts for 38 per cent of the population, yet only 42 per cent of civil servants are bilingual. And this great government's latest cost-cutting innovation was to create only one 1-800 line for all francophones in Canada having problems with the child benefit.
So, the Official Languages Act has also been a pitiful failure in the public service. According to a study, in the Ottawa-Hull area, where the law provides that French and English are the languages of work, 76 per cent of francophones say that English is the language spoken at meetings. So, the public service is also a tool for anglicizing francophones.
Another innovation is the information highway, where the federal government is interfering again in areas of provincial jurisdiction. Here, as in other areas, the federal government intends to exert its leadership, regardless of Quebec's jurisdiction or its culture. We also find Canadian cultural content in the information society. They never miss an opportunity to express their contempt for the people of Quebec.
This morning, I read in detail about the minister's plans for schools. No one in Quebec can enrol in a school without asking for authorization. In her paper, the minister says that the great values in Canada are tolerance, mutual respect, compassion, and acceptance.
You have to see it on paper to believe it. It is unbelievable. There is no tolerance, no compassion, no respect, no acceptance for the people of Quebec. They talk about values, but they do not believe in them.
What does the minister put in her propaganda kit? She is providing a teacher's guide. This teacher's guide is not authorized by the Quebec Minister of Education. This is unacceptable; this cannot be done in Quebec. There are videos, an audiocassette, a CD-ROM, and a box one can check off to order a flag.
How much does each of these kits cost? There are various kits for various age groups. There is one kit for children between four and seven. The propaganda is adjusted to the children's chronological and psychological age. There is another kit for children between eight and eleven, and another one for children aged twelve and up. They are available in French or in English.
I think the Minister should substantially change her approach if she does not want to see the number of sovereignists keep rising in this country. At the rate she is going now, we thank her very sincerely because she is helping the cause of a sovereign Quebec.
Patrick Gagnon Bonaventure—Îles-De-La-Madeleine, QC
Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to take the floor once again this afternoon to give the Bloc Quebecois, to the sovereignists, to those hard line separatists who spend most of their time rewriting Canadian history a real history lesson.
Bloc members should realize one thing: they do not represent a majority of Quebecers. I challenge them to make a survey asking this simple question: Do you want to have a sovereign country, yes or no? We all know only 25 to 30 percent of Quebecers would support the separation of the province from the rest of the country.
When numbers are quoted, all kinds of examples are used. This morning, I asked a Bloc Quebecois member why the National Film Board spends 73 percent of its budget in Quebec. Why does Telefilm Canada spend 62 percent of its budget in Quebec? Why does the CBC spend 40 percent of its budget in Quebec when the Quebec population is about 24 or 25 percent of the Canadian population? It is obvious that Quebecers can draw concrete benefits, financial, political and cultural benefits from being a part of the Canadian federation.
Cases of demagogy and propaganda have also been raised. I did a little research this morning, and I found a few cases of propaganda. We will play the role of opposition to the Bloc majority in Quebec. I have questions to ask and my constituents do too.
The majority of Quebecers wonder why almost $4 million in public money has been spent on the secret activities of the Conseil de la souveraineté du Québec. Why does Quebec have a 1-800 line, which costs $300,000 to Quebec taxpayers, to promote the independence of Quebec? Why did the presentation in the Grand Théâtre de Québec launching the referendum campaign cost $175,000. I would like to hear the comments of the hon. member for Rimouski-Témiscouata on this.
Lobbyists have been hired at a cost of $531,000 to promote sovereignty in Washington. There have been mailings and all kinds of commissions at a cost of $2.5 million. Some $8.5 million was spent on this happening, on this survey and this referendum. Ir cost $8.5 million. So, to bring up-
Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.
I am ready to listen to the remarks of the hon. member for Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine, but I would rather he would not put Quebec on trial, because we are not in Quebec, we are in Canada. Let him deal with the motion before us and stop his rambling.