Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to the NDP's amendment to Bill C-28, which is about the Conservative government's economic statement.
At the outset, I would like to make it clear to my NDP colleagues that the Bloc Québécois opposed Bill C-28 and the economic statement. We will also oppose the NDP's amendment for one simple, good reason. The reason we are opposed to the economic statement is that it does nothing to address the most serious crisis currently facing Quebec's regions: the crises in the forestry and manufacturing sectors. Once again, the NDP must be seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses, because it has not put forward anything to solve the real problem: the crises in the manufacturing and forestry sectors.
My colleagues here in the House will confirm what I am saying. The member from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord will tell you that the Saguenay region has been hit hard by the forestry crisis, and my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé will tell you that Mauricie has been feeling the pinch because of the crises in the forestry and manufacturing industries. The time for looking at what the Conservative government could do through rose-coloured glasses has passed. Once again, it is time to see things as they really are.
It is clear that the Conservative Party has decided not to do anything about the forestry and manufacturing crises in its economic statement. The party's philosophy is to let businesses die, to let the free market do what it wants, to believe that big companies will survive and should be allowed to destroy small companies every day. Right now, the problem in the manufacturing and forestry sectors is that the big companies are destroying each other. Even they cannot survive. That is the reality of the situation.
The government is offering tax cuts to businesses, and that is fine for businesses that are making a profit. But right now, Quebec's forestry sector and much of its manufacturing sector are having problems. The softwood lumber crisis was never resolved. Businesses were never given the help they needed. Then the Canadian dollar rose to dizzying heights. Even in the economic statement, the picture painted by the Minister of Finance is one of economic recession in the manufacturing sector. Oil companies will not be affected.
Obviously, in granting tax reductions, the Conservative Party wanted mainly to please its friends, the oil companies. That was the purpose of the economic statement and that is the problem I have today with the NDP motion. Once again, it does not address the real problem. The idea behind the motion is to remove tax credits, which is fine, but the NDP is not addressing and does not want to address the real problem, which is the crisis in forestry and manufacturing. The NDP, with its rose-coloured glasses, is as bad as the Conservative Party, except that the two parties are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
I am glad to be a member of the Bloc Québécois. It is the only party in this House that is in touch with the grassroots, close to the people, and that can clearly say what impact the higher Canadian dollar and the softwood lumber crisis, which the Conservative government never solved, are having today. Jobs are being lost in most regions of Quebec.
Companies are closing on the other side of the river in Gatineau. Everyone will say that it is a large city, but Domtar has closed and Bowater has shut down one machine. Once again, the forestry crisis is affecting the cities in Quebec. Imagine the impact it is having in the regions. That is the hard reality and the impact of the Conservatives' free-market approach.
In the manufacturing and forestry sectors, the government should look at its own data, its own figures, which clearly show that there have been successive job losses since 2005, totalling 125,000, including 65,000 jobs lost in Quebec since the Conservatives came to power. The economic statement solves nothing, absolutely nothing. The member from Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean and the Minister of Labour are telling us to wait for the next budget. That means there is nothing in the economic statement, absolutely nothing.
That is why, once again, we will vote against Bill C-28 and against the NDP amendment. It was a flawed economic statement, a flawed bill for the forestry and manufacturing industries. We will take a stand for Quebeckers in the regions and in the urban centres who are being hard hit.
Shawinigan was hit hard last week and so was the City of Gatineau and insecurity reigns. Large companies such as Bowater and Abitibi-Consolidated have merged. That was the first phase of a shutdown that will be followed by a second phase. The companies, the industry and the owners are no longer hiding the fact that there will be a second phase.
The Conservative government is being consistent in its Conservative philosophy. It will wait as long as possible until as many businesses have closed as possible. In the end it will come to the rescue of one company that has only half its labour force left.
On one hand we have the Minister of Labour's attitude and on the other hand we have the Economic Development Agency of Canada, which is trying to revive the regions through diversification. At worst, we will end up with the Minister of Labour's approach. In my opinion, the member for Jonquière—Alma is an embarrassment to his region. He is saying that many jobs are being created in Alberta and that 55 year old unemployed workers should go there for work. That is his message. It is terrible coming from a minister from Quebec, especially from Jonquière—Alma, a region that has worked hard to build the Quebec of today and part of Canada.
Finally, if it were not for the primary resources sector, the forestry and mining sectors, Quebec and Canada would not be what they are today. The people in those sectors are living day to day.
The Conservatives think that since the oil industry is doing well we should all fall all over ourselves and make oil. Society is more complex than that. We realize every day that the Conservatives want nothing to do with Quebec's problems. The Conservatives say so and prove it every day. In any event, they have shown it in Bill C-28, in their economic statement. The New Democratic Party is doing the same thing by showing its flagrant lack of interest in the problems Quebeckers in the regions are experiencing in the forestry and manufacturing crisis. They must be able to sense that in the rest of Canada, but with their rose coloured glasses, instead of making amendments and proposing things that would solve the industry's problems, they want to lower corporate taxes.
The Quebec association of manufacturers and exporters is in favour of the tax cuts. In fact, the day these industries start making money, they will be happy to have more competitive taxation. But they are saying that this is not enough, because the crisis in the forestry and manufacturing industries must be addressed now. It is serious and will take some serious money. We must find a way to revive these sectors and implement everything the Bloc Québécois has called for in this House. We are telling the government that cuts and credits alone are not enough, that tax credits must be made refundable. This means that if a company is not making money, instead of it being deducted from profits, the company will receive a cheque, because it did not in fact turn a profit in a given year. With that money, the company would be able to purchase new machines and upgrade.
We are trying to make them understand that the solution is simple, and they know it. The problem is that they do not want to do it. Once again, the Conservative free market philosophy is that things should fix themselves. But things will not fix themselves in the forestry and manufacturing sectors for the simple reason that the Canadian dollar will not stop rising.
Obviously, the brilliant Conservatives had not counted on the dollar rising. Now this is happening and jobs are lost every week across Quebec. The Bloc Québécois will never accept this situation and will never stop rising in this House to speak out against what the Conservatives are doing and what the NDP is in the process of doing: ignoring the real problems, which leads to massive job losses in the forestry and manufacturing sectors.
These Quebeckers who have worked hard their entire lives to support this society deserve to be taken care of now. They deserve a good chunk of the $11.6 billion surplus to revive the forestry and manufacturing industries and not to create something new. That is what they deserve.