Mr. Speaker, like my colleague across the way I am proud to be a Canadian. Prior to that I was an immigrant. I see no reason to support this bill.
I begin with the idea that this bill is going to save $7.3 million. I cannot find this anywhere in the document. Rather it appears to me to be a hodge-podge of ideas designed to remove more tax dollars from the pockets of taxpayers.
The bill proposes an omnibus department of government designed to promote a greater understanding of human rights. How often do we hear that? It has not one word about human responsibilities.
The bill proposes a department to promote fundamental freedoms and related values. The term related values has no meaning to most Canadians. What values are related to fundamental freedoms? Could it be that the term may give another minority group another reason to challenge the current charter or human rights legislation because their values are related to fundamental freedoms?
The bill allows for the establishment of multiculturalism, another tax grab. The Liberal government started multiculturalism as a means of using tax dollars to buy votes and it continues to do that today. Canadians, if given a choice between funding special interest groups under the guise of multiculturalism or funding education, health care and social services, would always vote for the essential services, not for a waste of tax dollars.
I recently attended a multicultural event. It was marvellous. We had ethnic food, represented by 14 countries, flags flying for each country, ethnic dancing. It glorified the splendour of young men and women, wearing ethnic costumes, depicting the varied artistic culture of their homelands.
This event did not cost taxpayers one red cent. It was entirely funded by those in attendance. There was a $20 admission fee. Not only did everyone have a great time, the event earned enough money to assist one group with its building fund. That is my kind of multiculturalism, the proud display that cost taxpayers nothing.
The bill proposes to finance the cultural aspect of the status of the artist. Could anyone please tell me what that really means? It surely sounds like another waste of taxes to special interest groups who are so successful in lobbying the government for hard earned tax dollars. Another example of a catch-all phrase that steals taxes from essential services is the government's intent to fund cultural and heritage industries, including every form of entertainment imaginable.
In case the government does not know, we have a vibrant entertainment business in Canada that does not need tax dollars to survive. It is funded on a user pay system. If citizens partake in any event they pay for it. What is wrong with the free enterprise system funding cultural heritage industries? All the user-pay system does is stop wasting tax dollars.
The government proposes that this new super department will oversee sites, canals, battlefields, railway stations and federal buildings of historical importance. I ask, who decides this importance? More special interest groups clamouring for tax dollars? More than likely.
Also the bill proposes to have control of national parks. Since there are national parks in my riding this is of special interest to me. My constituents already know a small band of radicals have the heritage minister's ear. Instead of allowing Canadians access to their national parks he seems intent on doing whatever is instructed by these radicals to prevent our national parks from being open to call Canadians.
It seems the minister listens to those who are already established in the parks and are preventing others from doing likewise. Again, special interests will control this department.
The bill proposes to encourage and promote development of amateur sport. Yet every parent I know that has their child in organized amateur sports like hockey, ringette, baseball and soccer are finding it more difficult each year to afford keeping their child in any of these sports. Again, special interests receive the tax dollars.
The bill proposes to advance the equality of status of English and French with the use of federal tax dollars. The provinces should be controlling language, not the federal government. Again special interests will benefit and all Canadians will pay.
The bill will allow spending tax dollars on state ceremonies and Canadian symbols. May we ask what ceremonies and what symbols, or dare we ask?
The bill also proposes to fund with tax dollars the formulation of cultural policy as it relates to foreign investment. Can anyone in the House tell Canadians exactly what this means? Who knows? I doubt if this government knows either.