House of Commons Hansard #85 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Government Performance Reports
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, as part of a comprehensive effort to inform parliamentarians and Canadians on the government's performance, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 88th report on performance for 2005-06 on behalf of departments and agencies, as well as an annual report entitled “Canada's Performance The Government of Canada's Contribution”.

Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction
Routine Proceedings

November 23rd, 2006 / 10 a.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), to lay upon the table, in both official languages, the annual report on Canada's contribution to the global partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to eight petitions.

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-35, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (reverse onus in bail hearings for firearm-related offences).

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 22nd report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(2). This report contains the list of items added to the order of precedence as a result of the replenishment that took place on Tuesday, October 31 under private members' business that should not be designated non-votable.

Procedure and House Affairs
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(2) the report is deemed adopted.

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-385, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (addition to order of prohibition).

Mr. Speaker, currently, the courts cannot prohibit a pedophile from being alone in the presence of a child under the age of fourteen years. I am introducing this bill today in the House of Commons in order to correct this shortcoming so the Criminal Code may be amended to permit the courts to impose such an order of prohibition.

The aim is also to help protect children. This legislative amendment will reduce the risk of repeat offences with regard to individual rights and freedoms.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Literacy
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting today a petition from the people of Thunder Bay—Rainy River concerned about cuts to literacy and requesting, in a very positive manner, the reinstatement of funding for literacy.

The riding Thunder Bay—Rainy River has 16 municipalities and 11 first nations and these cuts affect all of them. We are asking the government, in its economic statement today, to ensure that literacy is restored to its previous level and, indeed, to go beyond that.

Canada Labour Code
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure and honour to table here nearly 1,500 signatures in support of Bill C-257, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (replacement workers). As we know, antiscab legislation can shorten labour disputes, improve the atmosphere in the workplace and provide a balance in means of exerting pressure during negotiations for both management and employees.

Justice
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to table in the House today a petition containing hundreds of signatures from my riding of Abbotsford and signatures from across the great province of British Columbia. They have been collected by justice advocate, Gertie Pool.

The petition informs Parliament that citizens wish to see repeat sexual offenders, like Peter Whitmore, kept away from our communities and children. It goes on to say that my private member's bill, Bill C-277, which would increase the maximum sentence for luring a child for sexual purposes over the Internet from 5 to 10 years in prison, would renew faith in the House if passed. Our children deserve no less.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion—Quebec Nation
Business of Supply
Government Orders

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

moved:

That this House recognize that Quebeckers form a nation.

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like you to know that I will be sharing my speaking time with the member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean.

The motion the Bloc Québécois is putting before the House today will enable parliamentarians to recognize that Quebeckers form a nation. It is the recognition of a simple fact.

We formulated this motion in such a way as to make it acceptable to everyone. We thus did not link the recognition of the Quebec nation to any other consideration. No condition is attached to this recognition. We also did not formulate the motion in such a way as to permit its interpretation to mean recognition of a sovereign nation, which Quebec is not—at least not yet. We are therefore presenting a motion respectful of one and all, without making recognition of the Quebec nation subject to partisan conditions.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister, did the exact opposite. He introduced a motion recognizing the Quebec nation while imposing a condition—a partisan condition. That is absurd. It is clear that the Prime Minister is simply trying to save face. The only respectful approach to take towards Quebeckers is to recognize them for what they are—a nation that does not stop being one when it is no longer part of Canada—clearly, an unconditional nation.

It is not up to the Prime Minister to decide what option Quebeckers will choose. It is not up to one particular party to decide how Quebeckers will choose. The future of Quebec belongs to Quebeckers—period. Quebeckers will decide their own future under the standing orders of the National Assembly.

I repeat. Quebeckers form a nation, not on the condition of their remaining in a supposedly united Canada. They constitute a nation, not on the condition of their forming a country. Those are political options. They are both respectable, because they are both democratic. In neither instance can the existence of the nation of Quebec be predicated on a particular action or option.

We are a nation because we are who we are, whatever future Quebec chooses. The recognition of Quebec as a nation by the House of Commons is more than symbolic, and certainly above partisan politics. For Quebec, there is no other issue more fundamental than this. It is also a fundamental issue for Canada.

The proof of this lies in the very debate taking place here today and across the country, both in Quebec and in Canada, and in the media. It is an issue which is taking up a great deal of energy.

For years, federally elected representatives have wanted to avoid this thorny issue and sweep it under the carpet. Yet the issue resurfaced recently with the adoption of a related motion by the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party of Canada. It also came up following the adoption of an NDP declaration at its convention in September in Quebec City, and yet again following the Bloc’s motion and yesterday’s motion by the Prime Minister. We cannot ignore this issue when so many people are talking about it, and this is to be expected.

Many commentators and federally elected representatives have dug in their heels and refused to acknowledge this evidence that Quebeckers form a nation. Many surveys have found that a large majority of Canadians are not interested in officially recognizing that Quebeckers form a nation, neither better nor worse than Canada, but certainly different. This refusal to recognize Quebec for what it is is why Quebec is not a signatory to the Constitution. This refusal to recognize Quebec as a nation is also why Quebec is considered a province, no different than the rest and not as the place that is home to a nation.

By adding his coda to the Bloc Québécois motion, the Prime Minister is trying, clumsily as he put it, to delude Canadians. In the Quebec National Assembly, sovereignists and federalists alike agree that Quebeckers form a nation. The motion adopted by the National Assembly in 2003 is respectful of the people of Quebec. I will read it to you. It says, “That the National Assembly reaffirm that the people of Quebec form a nation”. This motion was adopted unanimously, by both sovereignists and federalists.

This motion does not subject our identity to one political option or another. If the Prime Minister is acting in good faith when he says he recognizes Quebec as a nation, he will support and vote for the Bloc Québécois motion. If he does not, everyone will know that the Prime Minister sees Quebec as a nation subject to Canada’s rule. Everyone will know that his true interest lies in political sparring. If he votes against this motion, which, I would like to remind you, is identical in every respect to the one adopted by the National Assembly, then it is because he does not believe that the Quebec nation is free to decide its own future. If this is the case, then the statement the Prime Minister made yesterday is just empty talk. I hope this is not the case. I hope he will have the courage to openly recognize Quebec as a nation.

Our intention with this motion is to stop elected representatives from sweeping the matter under the carpet and to have them take a stand on this fundamental issue. There is no question of setting conditions on this recognition. It is not a matter of saying that we recognize the Quebec nation as long as Quebec remains in Canada, or of saying that Quebec forms a nation only if it becomes a sovereign country. We are what we are, period. That is all. And that is the question that is being asked.

It turns out that, by introducing this motion, the Bloc Québecois has forced the issue and is making us all look in the mirror.

This morning, there was a range of viewpoints in the Canadian media. Some agreed with the Prime Minister’s position. Others are deeply dismayed and saying it is not possible to recognize the Quebec nation.

I urge the members of this House to see this through to the logical conclusion and to free themselves from those psychological barriers that prevent them from recognizing the Quebec nation, simply, without any second thoughts, without any ulterior motives and especially without petty partisanship.

I urge Quebeckers to pay close attention to the debate and take note of how each member of this House votes.

Opposition Motion—Quebec Nation
Business of Supply
Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the matter before us today is one of—