House of Commons Hansard #149 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

(Return tabled)

Question No. 938
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Brampton—Springdale, ON

With regard to the Foreign Credentials Referral Office in the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, since January 2008: (a) what are the monthly statistics, by labour market code, of individuals seeking information from any program or service provided by phone, in person or overseas; (b) for each labour market code, what is the breakdown of the programs, services, processes, support or agreements currently in place to assist individuals from those occupations and, if programs or services are not currently available for those labour market codes, the date the department intends to institute programs or services for those occupations; (c) for each labour market code, what is the status of negotiations with provinces, countries and professional organizations for resolving issues relating to foreign credentials; and (d) for each labour market code, what are the monthly statistics of the number of foreign credential problems of individuals successfully resolved by the programs and services of the Foreign Credentials Referral Office?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Madam Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

I wish to inform the House that because of the statements made earlier today, government orders will be extended by 33 minutes.

The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Opposition Motion—Confidence in the government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Madam Speaker, the motion we are debating today is on the confidence that every government must earn and keep.

We are dealing with a government that has woven a web of deception, attacked democracy and demonstrated an utter lack of integrity.

We are dealing with a government and a Prime Minister who have written off Quebec.

It is no longer possible to have any confidence in this Conservative government.

The fact that it was found guilty of contempt of Parliament, a first in the history of Canada, is serious enough in and of itself.

It was not just a simple mistake and the Prime Minister cannot suggest that there were extenuating circumstances.

The Conservative leader's decision to hide the truth was premeditated.

What is more, the Conservative leader is a notorious repeat offender. He and his party have quite the rap sheet.

The Conservative leader and his entourage have turned deception and trickery into a system of governance.

They have simply been making up the facts and fudging the truth, as we saw in the case of the Afghan detainees.

It goes on like that, deception after deception.

For example, when it came to the procurement of fighter jets, the government hid the numbers.

The Conservatives' populist law and order bills are going to cost several billion dollars.

The Conservative leader and his cohorts have decided to adopt the American approach, one that has unfortunately failed and that costs a lot of money.

They know it but, for them, it is not the actual results of public policies that matter, it is the ideological results.

The Conservative leader knows very well that, if the public learns that his policies are costing billions of dollars, he will fail in his attempt to impose his ideological agenda.

For years, the Conservative leader and his cohorts have claimed to want to fix the justice system, but each time they were given the opportunity to abolish automatic parole after one-sixth of the sentence has been served, they refused, finding a new pretext for doing so each time.

The Conservatives did not hesitate to spread falsehoods about the Bloc Québécois and it took widespread indignation about the release of Vincent Lacroix for them to stop their hyper-partisan game.

Another example: the Conservatives want the public to believe that they are responsible for the economic recovery.

It is the exact opposite.

Had there not been a proposed coalition against his government at the end of 2008, the Conservative leader would have sunk the Canadian and Quebec economies.

The only reason why there is a stimulus plan, an unsatisfactory one at that, is because the opposition parties made him come up with one.

Today the Prime Minister said that even the idea of a coalition is illegitimate, but he is misleading the public.

In 2004, he himself planned to form a similar coalition, and he knows it. I will read the letter he wrote, which I signed, as did the leader of the NDP.

You could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government’s program [the government was Liberal at the time.] We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority.

The thought was that the Conservative leader would become prime minister after coming to an agreement with the leaders of the Bloc and the NDP about the content of the throne speech and the budget. And look what happened.

Another lie: for months the Prime Minister has been saying that he does not want an election.

But his actions over the past weeks have demonstrated the exact opposite.

He did not hesitate to orchestrate a $26 million pre-election ad campaign with taxpayers' money.

He deliberately wrote off Quebec in his budget in order to ensure that we could not vote for it.

On Wednesday the Conservative leader repeated once again that he did not want an election, yet he completely dismissed any possibility of amending his budget.

All of the Conservative leader's actions point to the same thing: he wanted an election.

He told the public exactly the opposite of what he was really thinking.

After so much deceit, how can anyone have confidence in the Conservative leader and his entourage? Especially since the case against the Conservatives is so strong.

Not only has there been contempt of Parliament, but also patronage, influence peddling, electoral fraud and RCMP investigations. The Conservative government handed out many partisan appointments, despite its promises to end that practice.

A former advisor to the Conservative leader and the Minister of Natural Resources is under criminal investigation. The party is facing charges for violating the Canada Elections Act, and I am not talking about one isolated incident. According to Elections Canada, we are talking about a premeditated system of electoral fraud. We are talking about violations committed by the highest authorities in the Conservative Party, the Prime Minister's inner circle, and several of his ministers. For a party that claims to be the champion of law and order, it is rather pathetic.

The case against the government is very strong and there are no extenuating circumstances. The Conservatives are repeat offenders and definitely do not deserve the confidence of the people of Quebec. We therefore plan to vote in favour of the non-confidence motion against this government, this party and its leader. We will do so on this very question of integrity, but we will also do so because the Conservative leader has not honoured his commitments to Quebec.

The Conservatives wrote off Quebec in order to trigger an election. The Conservative leader made sure that the economic and financial needs of Quebec would be completely ignored. The refusal to give Quebec compensation for harmonizing taxes is a perfect example. Everyone agrees that this $2.2 billion compensation is a matter of basic fairness. All the parties in the National Assembly agree. The agreement is ready to be signed. Quebec has been waiting for 19 years.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister's political lieutenant from Quebec had the nerve to say that an election would delay negotiations with Quebec. That is taking people for fools, especially knowing that the Conservatives have done everything they could to trigger an election. The truth is that the Conservatives knew they would lose votes in Canada if they were fair to Quebec. The truth is that the Conservative MPs are prepared to sacrifice the interests of Quebec in order to obey their master. When the time comes to speak for Quebec, to represent the consensus in Quebec, they keep quiet, as usual. They deliberately chose to ignore Quebec and turn their backs on their province. Quebeckers will not forget that.

There is a total of $5 billion worth of disputes between Ottawa and Quebec that the Conservatives have completely ignored. We are talking about $630 for every Quebecker, including babies. For a family of four, this represents $2,500. Two thousand, five hundred dollars is the amount of money Quebec families have to do without for health services and education. For every Quebecker, there is a tangible loss of $630 per person. We will remind Quebeckers of that. Our requests meet with consensus and are simply fair. Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Atlantic provinces, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have all had their turn. Now it is Quebec's turn and the Conservative leader has chosen, with the complicity of his MPs from Quebec, to cast us aside. Quebeckers will not forget that.

When it comes to social programs, the Conservatives do not care about the middle class. The budget ignores the amply demonstrated need for real reform of employment insurance. The Conservatives do not care about the sad fate of the unemployed. The Conservatives distort the facts, as usual, by saying that with the eligibility threshold of 360 hours that the Bloc Québécois is calling for, people will receive 50 weeks of benefits. That is not true and they know it. With that threshold, in Gaspé, it is 32 weeks, in Lac-Saint-Jean it is 20 weeks and in Gatineau it is 16 weeks—not 50.

What is worse is that the Conservatives are telling us that they will be helping themselves to the EI fund to pay down their deficit, as the Liberals did before them. I will be clear and frank: that is theft.

In Quebec, the forestry industry has been in a crisis for over seven years and many mills have shut down, throwing thousands of workers onto the street. Older workers who lost their jobs need an assistance program. The Conservatives ignored that too.

Our poorest seniors were offered a small increase to their guaranteed income supplement, but no one is fooled; the Conservatives were just hoping to score some political points, since they did not even have the heart to bring in automatic enrolment.

This means that thousands of seniors will be left in the lurch, without any resources. We can see the full extent of the deceit and cynicism of these ideologues who claim to want to help our poorest seniors. There is only one word to describe the Conservatives' offensive attitude, and that is “hypocrisy”.

This budget continued to ignore the economy in the regions. After the automotive industry in Ontario got a gift of $10 billion, it should have been the turn of Quebec's forestry industry. But no, all it got were some crumbs. It was the same for Quebec's manufacturing industry, which cannot count on an extensive federal policy to help it overcome the Canadian dollar's oil-fuelled rise in value. All the Conservatives have to offer the regions of Quebec are tangible losses.

In short, any way we look at this budget, it is clear that the Conservatives have ignored Quebec. We will remind Quebeckers of that.

And the files are piling up. Yesterday, for example, the government announced that it had reached an agreement with Quebec on the Old Harry site, off the Magdalen Islands. But the Conservative government refuses to accept its responsibilities and ratify the border agreement between Quebec and the Atlantic provinces that Newfoundland disputes. The Conservatives refuse to impose a moratorium on the exploration and development on the Newfoundland side until Quebec has completed its environmental assessment.

There is another question. When the agreement is signed, does the Conservative government intend to offer Quebec the same terms as Newfoundland, which received $4.5 billion under the side deals? This very Wednesday, the Minister of National Defence clearly stated that Canada' interests take precedence over those of Quebec.

The government is about to offer a loan guarantee for the installation of an underwater electricity cable that will save Newfoundland and Labrador hundreds of millions of dollars but will be detrimental to Hydro-Québec and, therefore, to all of Quebec. What are the Conservative members from Quebec doing? They take it lying down and saying nothing.

It is very clear that Quebec cannot trust the Conservatives with its future. It is even more apparent that the Conservative leader wants to obtain a majority and the risk that he will do so is very real. That is a real danger to Quebec. If it happens, the Conservatives would be free to impose their ideological policies, which are harmful and contrary to the interests and values of Quebeckers. The Conservative ideology is foreign and warlike; Quebeckers find it disgraceful.

We are talking about billions of dollars in additional and often useless military expenditures. The Conservative ideology means protecting the interests of big oil companies. It means more prisons and more guns in circulation. The Conservative ideology means continued assaults against the environment, the distribution of wealth, gender equality, science, truth and democracy. A Conservative majority means the completely negation of everything we are and new assaults against Quebec culture. It means that our economic interests will be completely ignored and our regions will be even more neglected.

We cannot ignore this threat. Quebeckers therefore have a very clear choice to make. On one hand, there are the Conservatives, who have a cynical, sneaky, deceitful and cheating attitude. Their goal is to obtain a majority so that they can impose their backward and dangerous ideology without anyone being able to stop them. And, when it comes time to speak on behalf of Quebec, the Conservatives do not say anything. They bow before their leader and turn their backs on Quebeckers. We saw this in Quebec City on the issue of the arena, as well as on many other issues.

On the other hand, there is the Bloc Québécois, the only party in Quebec that is able to stand in the way of the Prime Minister's goals. Today, we are voting to show that the elected representatives of the Quebec people do not have confidence in this government, which has turned its back on Quebec. We cannot trust these Conservatives, who have tried to mislead the public, who have engaged in undemocratic behaviour and who have disregarded any notion of integrity.

The Conservative leader and his cohorts are known to be repeat offenders. They must be condemned without hesitation. They do not deserve our confidence. Today, it is the people's representatives who are voting. In a few weeks, it will be the voters' turn to do so. There is only one way to protect our values and democracy and that is through democracy itself.

Opposition Motion—Confidence in the government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Madam Speaker, I listened to the member's speech with great interest, although it seems it could have been a speech he could have just as easily read in 1993 or 1997. Who knows at what point over the years he could have read that speech, because it is so old and tired.

The bottom line is this is the government that has delivered record equalization payments to Quebec. This is the government that solved the fiscal imbalance. This is the government that is providing record health transfers to Quebec. This is the government that is providing record transfers to Quebec for education, and to each and every province in this great Confederation. This is the government that provided a seat at UNESCO for Quebec. This is the government that said that the Québécois represent a nation within a united Canada from coast to coast to coast.

The leader of the Bloc Québécois sounds like an angry guy today, and he is angry because after 20 years he cannot list a single thing he has ever done for the people of Quebec.

Opposition Motion—Confidence in the government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Madam Speaker, I could have read the very same speech 20 years ago because the situation has not changed. Quebec was isolated then and Quebec still is isolated today. That is the reality.

Now he is talking about UNESCO. Quebec is standing up at UNESCO for one reason: it has no seat. It has no choice but to stand. That is the situation. That shows how much respect the government has for democracy. When people say that Quebeckers have elected members who have done nothing for them for 20 years, those people are saying that Quebeckers are ignorant and that they do not have the right to elect the people who are speaking for them, who are defending them and who are defending their interests and values.

A senator said that federalist parties will not succeed in Quebec because they have nothing to offer Quebeckers. I will take responsibility for many things in life, but I will not take responsibility for the Conservatives' powerlessness.

Opposition Motion—Confidence in the government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Madam Speaker, I have just one question for the Bloc Québécois leader. The Conservative government told us that it was a transparent government that wanted to change Parliament, be open to democracy and get rid of the Liberals because of scandal. I would like to hear his comments on that and hear what he thinks about the wonderful things the Conservatives said in 2006 when they sought the confidence of Canadians. What is the situation today?

Opposition Motion—Confidence in the government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

March 25th, 2011 / 1:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Madam Speaker, I would reply to my Acadian friend that perhaps he is mistaken. This government is very transparent. When we look at the Conservatives, we know exactly what they are thinking. We can see right through them. Quite apart from the image they like to project, if you look closely, you can see right through them. The Minister of State for Science and Technology is a creationist and believes that dinosaurs walked the earth with humans. He thinks that The Flintstones was a documentary and Dino was the star. We can see their old Reform roots, which are likely what inspired the Tea Party.

Opposition Motion—Confidence in the government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

LaVar Payne Medicine Hat, AB

Madam Speaker, I am really curious to know why the Bloc Québécois would join forces with a Liberal-led coalition when the Liberals are the guys who stole $40 million and pumped it into Quebec ridings? How can the member morally stand up and join hands with those guys to defeat this government when his party has not helped to get the money back?

Opposition Motion—Confidence in the government
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the choices are very limited here and the Conservatives are as bad as the Liberals were. It is as simple as that.

In 2004, when the current Prime Minister was the opposition leader, he called a meeting in Montreal at the Delta hotel. He presented us with a plan indicating that the Governor General at the time, Adrienne Clarkson, had no other choice, if the Martin government was defeated on the fiscal imbalance—which was 30 seconds away from happening—and Mr. Harper would become prime minister. For that to happen, it is easy to understand that he had to have the support of the Bloc and the NDP on a throne speech or a budget, otherwise he himself would have been defeated. It was as simple as that.

We in the Bloc Québécois always vote in favour of the best interests of Quebec, because we are the voice of Quebeckers. We do not vote according to labels, as the members across the floor do. In fact, I heard them say they would not vote for a proposal because it came from the Bloc. They are spreading lies.

We supported the first two budgets. We had asked for $3.9 billion for Quebec and we managed to get $3.3 billion. We are proud of that. We stood up; we did not stay on our knees. Some members here, some of the Conservative members from Quebec, must have sore kneecaps. We stand up and speak out for Quebec, and we will continue to do so.