Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote remarks by Alain Dubuc, a journalist and economist, in La Presse . He said he was a federalist in the last referendum.
Just to give his remarks a little credibility, because there are people in the government and in my party who say that we behave this way because we are separatists, he himself said that the federal government has cut $6.8 billion, including $2.5 billion this year, in funding to the provinces over the past three years.
That means that the provinces have to face this cut and continue to pay the same percentage of taxes. If the government is cutting money to the provinces, it should also cut the taxes and revenues it takes out of the provinces. The provinces are getting it both coming and going. And, in return, they get what Alain Dubuc of La Presse describes as the big box of Smarties. In other words, they sprinkle little treats here and there just so they can say they are doing something for health, for poor children, and so forth.
I would ask my colleague to comment on this example. According to Alain Dubuc, and it is easy to calculate: In the case of poor children, the federal government and the Minister of Finance say they are helping poor children, but the figure works out to be $28 a year per child. That is, 53 cents a week per child. It hardly pays for a litre of milk per child.
So you can see how ridiculous it is to gloat that, as $2 billion is being taken away from Quebec, poor children are being given 53 cents a week. My colleague made an excellent speech. I would like his comments, because I find this way of going about things totally ridiculous.