Mr. Speaker, Bill C-13 is extremely important because we have already had this debate when it appeared as Bill C-56. My colleague, the hon. member for Drummond, was a visionary and had in the mid-1990s suggested that parliamentarians should consider such legislation. She introduced a private member's bill that sought to prohibit human cloning for reproductive and therapeutic purposes.
I am extremely saddened—I do not know if it shows; I remain calm at all times—by what is happening here today. When we left for our ridings in June, I asked the Minister of Health to ensure that the Bloc Quebecois could support this legislation. We are not being politically correct with regard to this legislation. We are not debating abortion in terms of pro-life or pro-choice. This is not what we are doing; we will have other opportunities to do so.
We agree that the Criminal Code which is a federal responsibility must contain provisions prohibiting various practices on humans that, for ethical reasons and humanist reasons are unacceptable. We are talking about cloning, transgenesis, gender selection and the possibility of playing with prenatal diagnoses, in short, any and all considerations that we agree need to be federally legislated.
The problem is that this legislation contains a proposal to establish a regulatory agency responsible for implementing any regulations. This regulatory agency and the regulations, established under Bill C-13, would be incompatible with about a dozen provincial laws.
We must not forget the starting point, which is that one out of five couples in Canada experiences some degree of infertility. This is the premise. Obviously, some people, like Louise Vandelac, a UQAM researcher, say that this legislation should focus more on preventing endocrine disruptors in the environment, which cause infertility in humans.
If we look at the bottom line, we can see that the problem with the future regulatory agency is that it will not take into account a number of laws duly passed by the Quebec National Assembly.
If Bill C-13 is passed, it should be divided into two bills. In fact, upon our return in January, with its usual the sense of responsibility, the Bloc Quebecois asked for that specifically. All my colleagues in the Bloc Quebecois would have been only too happy to vote in favour of a bill focussing exclusively on prohibited activities. I am sure that our colleagues from the Canadian Alliance, the NDP and the Progressive Conservative Party would have too.
This bill would have the federal government regulate the provision of services in private clinics and hospitals. Under section 112 of the Quebec Act respecting health services and social services, the Quebec Minister of Health and Social Services is responsible for determining which facilities will provide artificial insemination services and other forms of medically assisted reproduction services.
So, if the bill, and subsequently the related regulations, were passed, this would mean that the federal government could then override the right of the Quebec Minister of Health and Social Services and the National Assembly to establish the conditions under which health professionals will provide medically assisted reproduction services.
Bill C-13 is incompatible with the Quebec Civil Code, the act respecting health services and social services, the act respecting the protection of personal information, the act respecting medical laboratories, the charter of human rights and freedoms, the medical code of ethics, the guidelines of the Quebec health research fund, and the ministerial action plan for research ethics and scientific integrity.
On Saturday morning, I met with the Fédération québécoise de planification des naissances. This Quebec group knows Bill C-13 well, and has been interested in issues having to do with planned parenthood for many years. The political attaché to Mr. Couillard, Quebec's health and social services minister, was also present.
We seemed to be reading the bill the same way. I know that the Government of Quebec has not yet announced its final position on this issue. It will do that soon. But the Government of Quebec—which is not a sovereignist government, we know—was very worried about the precedent that might be created.
I explained matters to the researchers, the feminist groups and the federation. There are groups in Quebec who have been waiting for such a bill for 15 years. One of the people at the meeting was Louise Vandelac, a researcher who had worked with the Baird Commission. She withdrew from that commission, as did the wife of the hon. member for Calgary Centre. We know that these people went as far as the Federal Court to protest some of the activities of the Baird commission.
And yet, the political attaché to the minister of health and social services was aware, as are the members from Quebec—those from the Bloc Quebecois anyway, but perhaps not the Liberal members from Quebec—that if this bill is adopted, we will be creating a precedent allowing a regulatory agency to intervene directly in establishing and regulating services provided in hospitals and private clinics.
If, as Bloc Quebecois members, we pass Bill C-13, since we do acknowledge the need for legislation on banned practices—so much so that the member for Drummond introduced a bill on it as far back as 1995— this means the federal government is going to conclude that it has leeway to get involved in early child education and palliative care. It will take advantage of this precedent, unfortunately, to interfere in health and social services, beyond the limits of its jurisdiction.
We have worked very hard on this issue. There is nothing partisan about it. People with fertility problems who want to have a child go through a lot of turmoil. We have received all kinds of testimonials, and I could talk about them for hours. So I asked the federal health minister: “Why did the federal government not split the bill?” I went on to say “If you are convinced you are not ultra petita , not outside your area of jurisdiction, why do you not table a letter from the Quebec minister of health, and one signed by yourself as federal health minister, acknowledging that, regardless of what agency, and what regulations are adopted by the Government of Quebec, this will be the law applicable to Quebec.
Equivalency will be acknowledged right from the start. It is possible that there could be an equivalency agreement in the bill. This must, however, be evaluated by federal officials, and what guarantee do we have that everything done by the Government of Quebec, which had provisions in its civil code as far back as 1994, will be acknowledged?. What guarantee do we have that any agency and legislation created subsequently by the National Assembly will be recognized?
I say again to the minister, if we get that letter, that guarantee, we will vote in favour of this bill at third reading. If we do not, however, believe me, we will not keep quiet and allow jurisdictions to be trampled over in this way.
Given the urgency of the situation and the fact that I, as a Bloc member, have followed this issue from the start in the Standing Committee on Health, could you, Mr. Speaker, find out whether, in the spirit of camaraderie that ought to exist in this Chamber, and given the importance of the issue, I might not have an additional 15 minutes to complete my speech? I would see that as a sign of true camaraderie.