Madam Speaker, I will not be using all the time available to me. I would simply like to take a few minutes to speak against Motion No. 3 in particular.
The purpose of this motion is to reduce the maximum available capital from $250,000 to $100,000. My main argument can be found in the title of the bill, which reads “an act to increase the availability of financing for the establishment, expansion, modernization and improvement of small businesses”.
When the stated goal is to increase financing, I have difficulty going along with cutting back on what was previously available to small businesses.
I would like to take advantage of the presence in the House of the Secretary of State for Regional Development for Quebec to point out that this particular program of small business loans is important precisely because of the shortcomings in the programs under the secretary of state's responsibility. Because of the absence of good regional development measures, businesses need access to such a program.
There are the CFDCs, of course, but they are of no help to small businesses wishing to expand. The emphasis is often on new small businesses, which are very important, and capital funding.
The amendment moved by the Reform Party member would not create problems for those wishing to start up a business. However, existing businesses sometimes need loans to consolidate their activities, to expand, to develop and to create jobs.
I often criticize the government's prime interest in big business or high tech companies. I have nothing against them, they are extraordinary. However, these businesses set up primarily around big cities and centres. This is unfortunate for businesses in rural areas, in the regions that want to keep their young people and staunch the flow to the major centres. This program will help local businesses create jobs or keep them. Businesses sometimes modernize to keep jobs. If they do not, they could have to close.
This program then makes this possible, and we in the Bloc Quebecois support it. Though sovereignists we may be in the Bloc Quebecois, we are not always negative, we do not always oppose government measures, although this measure, in our opinion, should have been improved. This bill should have been improved. We would have hoped for a broader vision for all government programs, not only those of the federal government, and that they would have been compared to those of the provinces, especially Quebec, and the financial opportunities offered by such organizations as the CFDC.
Failing the best, we will have to be satisfied with what is not too bad. This is why the Bloc Quebecois supports this bill. Obviously, however, we oppose any attempt to limit the availability of funds to small businesses.