I'm going to answer Mr. Komarnicki's question and Mr. Jean's question. I think they are both very worthwhile questions that clearly reflect two opposing political options. For that reason, with all due respect, I will come back later with those two answers, but I will start with two statements made by Mr. Hiebert.
Mr. Hiebert started by telling us he is here as a visiting member. My impression is not that he is visiting the committee, but that he is visiting the House of Commons. He is missing a good session.
When the House refers a bill to a committee, it is so the committee can assess it and make amendments, and that is what we're doing. That is the first thing. This is not a cheap shot. It's what he said. He also told us he is visiting and finds this entertaining. I don't find the situation of homeless people at all entertaining. I don't take it lightly, here or anywhere.
Mr. Chair, I come to Mr. Komarnicki's question, because I think he asked a good question. He asked whether the other provinces could also have the right to opt out. However, the fact is that they have never requested it.
The House of Commons has recognized that we are a nation, with the attributes of a nation, let us hope. Those attributes are not always visible. Quebec, not the Bloc but all of the parties in the National Assembly, unanimously, have made the political choice that it will have full powers and full jurisdiction, as recognized in the Constitution, to take responsibility for social housing.
I have never heard Mr. Komarnicki or his colleagues say they wanted the same thing for Ontario or Manitoba or other provinces. That's up to you, you are entitled, it's your choice and we respect it. If there is anything we respect, it is your political choices. They may be described as right-wing, but we pass no judgment on those choices. It's up to you.
In our case, however, it is not our choice and that is not the recognition we have historically been given. As well, Quebec's historical request is not what appears in the bill.
However, I would not want to do to Bill C-304... I think the opposition considers it to be very important. It is not perfect. We want to give it the potential to be adopted, at least by the opposition. It is the basis for an amendment.
I find it unfortunate, however, that something as irresponsible as systematic obstruction of the work we are doing on Bill C-304 would be done here. I think it would be completely irresponsible, just as I would think it was irresponsible if we did it on Bill C-56.
The government asked us to expedite our work on Bill C-56. We did that and I think it is also important to expedite work on Bill C-304. If we are given substantive arguments, we will deal with them. But making arguments as frivolous as saying that it's entertaining is not acceptable. That kind of argument amounts to systematic obstruction.