-and ensure that people wherever they happen to be in the province of Quebec have access to the services of the Canadian government.
Listen to them shouting. They are shouting because this goes against their purely partisan dogma.
Mr. Speaker, let us consider the motion for a moment. It says:
That this House condemn federal government which, because of its policies, is in large measure responsible for increasing poverty in the regions of Quebec-
I will not qualify the motion as far-fetched, because this would be unparliamentary, but I certainly do not agree with it.
Let us recall the fundamental role played by this government since 1993. We took over a government that was in trouble. The Prime Minister asked for a number of reforms, which were judged and considered major reforms. Today, these reforms have started to bear fruit to the benefit of all Canadians, which means that in the regions people are already enjoying the obvious benefits of these reforms.
Consider for instance the issue of public finance. Thanks to the work done by my colleague, the Minister of Finance and by all Canadians-because everyone did his share so that we can all turn the situation around-thanks to all this, today we have the lowest interest rates we have had in 35 years.
Members opposite refuse to point out the positive effects, the positive results that the government has achieved. Take for instance a small business in one of the regions, which wants to borrow $1 million over ten years. The annual savings due to lower interest rates amount to $33,400. That is tremendous.
And take a private citizen anywhere in Canada who wants to borrow $15,000 to buy a car. In terms of the interest he would otherwise have to pay he will save about $483 annually.
From the outset, the reform of our public finances has produced incredible results for all Canadians, so that today we can look to the future with optimism. And we also see the economy is picking up.
Another reform I would like to mention briefly is of course program review, a fundamental reform that allows us to better target our programs and rethink the way we do things. This reform has also produced tremendous results for the regions.
As far as the Federal Office of Regional Development is concerned, there used to be some 45 programs, but now there is just the one, called IDEE-PME, a sensible and accessible program. This program is based on the enhanced contribution potential of the Canadian government. It is well focussed, essentially on small and medium businesses in the regions, and thus impacts on the driving force of economic development. It is a program with a number of focal points: R & D innovation, market development, exports in particular, all focussed on enhancement. This involves fostering entrepreneurship. That, essentially, is the basis of the program
The other side says that the Canadian government has no reason to exist. Just look at the IDEE-PME program. Who can deny that the Canadian government has competency, knowledge, expertise, where international market development is concerned? What about Team Canada and its success, what about the embassies and consulates throughout the world?