Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary might have benefited from listening to my presentation, since it contained a number of the responses he is seeking. I will, however, be pleased to remind him of a number of things.
First of all, yes, of course, the Bloc Quebecois is a sovereignist party, because we consider, and have numerous occasions to demonstrate, that the federal regime penalizes and disadvantages Quebec, and that Quebec would have a better chance to develop if it were not part of the Canadian federation.
In fact, Quebec and Canada would be in a far better position to look to their own development, in partnership with each other, if they agreed to acknowledge that they are indeed two distinct countries, completely different one from the other.
Our mission in the meantime, however, also involves defending the interests of Quebecers to the best of our ability. I cannot therefore accept the argument put forth by the parliamentary secretary that we are here for the sole purpose of denigrating everything the federal government might do. There is no doubt that the recent budget, which provides that the transfer payments will now be calculated on a per capita basis, is totally unacceptable and detrimental to Quebec.
It is not I nor the Bloc Quebecois saying that, it is the President of the Treasury Board. I will quote him again, since the parliamentary secretary did not listen. In 1995, the President of the Treasury Board said “This would be the worst possible situation for Quebec. It would be so bad that, in my opinion, it does not make sense that this could be the solution”. After all, it is not the sovereignists who decided that. Yet, this is the solution chosen by the government.
Where were the Liberal ministers and members from Quebec when this per capita formula for transfers to the provinces was adopted at Quebec's expense? What did these people do? Why did they remain silent, instead of protecting the interests of the Quebecers who elected them?