I would like to draw your attention to certain facts, Mr. Chair.
First, the committee decides what its procedure will be. In fact, the Speaker of the House reminds us of this constantly. That is what the committee has just done, Mr. Chair. It was done with due respect for the skill with which you chair this committee. I don't think it challenges the way you chair the committee. You chair the committee based on the information you have. So there is no challenge to that legitimacy.
Mr. Komarnicki raised a good argument when he said that this bill is about a national policy that all the provinces will have to follow, while the Constitution provides that social housing is under provincial and territorial jurisdiction. If you follow that logic, the bill would not be in order if we did not amend it.
Second, I would also like to draw your attention to clauses 3 and 5, where the federal government's new power is defined, strictly on the basis of consultations with the provinces and other levels of government. Subclause 3(2) says that the Minister has the authority to develop a national housing strategy that "shall provide financial assistance, including financing and credit ...".
That subclause describes an entire field that in fact becomes virtually exclusively a matter under the jurisdiction of the federal government, when it does not have that jurisdiction. In paragraph 5(1)(a) we have the same thing. That paragraph talks about "... develop[ing] standards and objectives for the national housing strategy ...". It could not be clearer.
The bill also says that the federal government has full authority in consultation with the provincial ministers and provincial representatives. We can come back to this when we talk about the other amendments.
That is why our amendment is not only in order, but is also unequivocally appropriate in a bill like this.
Otherwise, we oppose it and say that it violates provincial jurisdiction, particularly because the amendment also states a position taken unanimously by the National Assembly of Quebec. All parties in Quebec, without exception and regardless of political stripe, have always defended Quebec's right to be able to exercise its full jurisdiction in relation to social housing and to be able to withdraw from national strategies with full compensation where it considers it appropriate. That is what the amendment says.
That is why I urge my colleagues, including those in the Conservative Party, to vote in favour of this amendment. They have to clearly understand what the amendment means and ensure that the government does not oppose it by using royal recommendation.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.