Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Matapédia—Matane for his excellent question.
I would tend to call it blindness. They refuse to see reality as it is, to acknowledge that this formula puts Quebec at a disadvantage, so much so that Liberal members of Quebec have voted for the budget and will probably vote for the bill we are now debating. In doing so they will go against what the President of the Treasury Board said four years ago about that formula.
I heard the secretary parliamentary trot out the rhetoric that the government has been spouting in recent months, saying, for instance, that without the $1.4 billion, Quebec could not have balanced its budget.
I wish to say at the outset that without the cuts the government put in place two, three and even four years ago, the Quebec government would have balanced its budget and eliminated its deficit. The federal government, by its unfair reduction of provincial transfers, delayed by four years fiscal balance in Quebec. This was my first point.
Second, I believe I clearly explained earlier that the $1.4 billion is in no way a gift to Quebec. This money was owed to Quebec according to the federal government's own calculations. The federal government had not paid this amount and waited until this year to do so. Therefore, that payment is in no way exceptional. This was money Quebec was supposed to have in any case to draw up its budget.
Incidentally, I mention to the parliamentary secretary, for his own personal information, that for this year the Government of Quebec announced a surplus of $2.9 billion in its budget.
This means that even without the $1.4 billion in equalization payments the Canadian government brags about giving Quebec, which allegedly allowed it to balance its budget, the government of Quebec would have reached a balanced budget om any case, in spite of all the obstacles put in its way by the federal government.