Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member that we are on third reading and that the Bloc Quebecois proposed a number of amendments when the bill was in committee. These amendments were to provide for the fairest possible treatment of the parties.
At the third reading stage, where we are today, we have to decide whether, for instance, we want to move a motion to return the bill to committee or whether, based on the principle of the bill and after debating the matter, we are prepared to adopt the bill in its present form. Our position is that the bill will be useful in the light of the principle that will be implemented.
I understand her point, as to the list of recriminations, for instance. We might in fact want this model to function in a different way. There is a particular perception at work here, and I would urge her to look at what the Quebec model proposes. For instance, amounts will be based on the real costs, in the Quebec model,of bringing up the child, which means that we will really make sure that the amounts paid represent the cost of providing the child with adequate financial support.
I agree with her that the federal model does not reflect the same practical considerations. The model in the Liberal majority's bill is based more on an evenhanded apportionment of expenses. Additional problems may arise. We may not be comfortable with this situation.
However, at the stage of today's debate, there does not seem to be sufficient reason to vote against the bill. We feel there is some hope the provinces will be more sensitive to these problems, since those governments will have to administer welfare, for instance.
So, in the case of all parents and children in special circumstances, we expect that the provinces will be more sensitive and that the federal government, although the discretionary powers it has under this legislation were criticized and pointed out several times in my speech, will allow each province to adopt guidelines that reflect its particular needs.
Another example: the Quebec model will be harmonized with Quebec's income security programs and the provincial tax system. So in this model, we are taking into consideration all the other measures and programs available to ensure that the child is treated fairly.
This is not found in the bill, I agree. It is not harmonized with Quebec programs, but we are willing to bet that it would be better for the children if the bill were passed despite its flaws, which the federal government has refused to correct. At this stage, however, we think it would be better to accept the bill as is so children will stop being taken hostage in conflicts between separated parents.
On the whole, we feel this bill will still be an improvement. Basically, we had the choice between taking an inflexible, uncompromising attitude-a little like the federal government with its paternalistic attitude-or agreeing that the provisions in this bill are enough for now to make sure children are treated right, to at least improve their situation. That is how we look at this bill.
Will other amendments be required in the future? Probably. A bill like this one should perhaps be reviewed in the short or medium term so we can look back and make the necessary adjustments to ensure that no children fall between the cracks and end up in unacceptable situations.
We are willing to bet that the principle of the bill is a good one, that it is not inconsistent enough to vote against. But we are also betting that the provinces will take their responsibilities seriously and do a good job. In any case, we have something to learn in this regard, especially in light of the Quebec model.
In conclusion, we hope the federal government will keep an open mind when it receives applications from the provinces. And its preferred approach will be to give priority to provincial guidelines.