I hear a member from Ontario. I would rather not reply. When you have it all and you start criticizing those who are not so lucky, it is not very nice.
With 30,000 to 42,000 more jobs, do members know by how much we could lower the unemployment rate in Quebec? It would drop by 1.2 points. This means that instead of an annual difference of two to three percentage points for the past 25 years, there would have been a difference of one to two points between the unemployment rates in Quebec and Ontario, or the average unemployment rate in Canada.
Reducing the unemployment rate by more than one percentage point takes energy, originality, economic policies and relatively good conditions for a fair length of time. Simply restoring the criterion of demographic weight, i.e. 24% in goods and services procurement, research and development spending, federal laboratories, and their staff as well, and all the salaries this research and development staff would receive within Quebec, would reduce the unemployment rate by one percentage point.
Based on the latest unemployment figures, this would mean the rate would be 7.8% instead of the current 8.8%. That is still high, but simply by treating Quebec fairly and adjusting payments and procurement of goods and services, the federal government could reduce unemployment by one percentage point, create the 30,000 to 42,000 jobs Quebecers are waiting for and are entitled to but are being denied. They are being denied a share of the taxes they pay.
The $31 billion in taxes they pay the federal government adds up over time. And it is time the federal government assumed its responsibilities and started treating Quebec fairly. We are not asking for more than our share. We are asking for 24% of spending, our demographic weight in terms of the total population of Canada. There are 30,000 to 42,000 jobs riding on the good will of the federal government and fair treatment for Quebec.
Not surprisingly, people say they are tired of hearing Quebecers' same old refrain about federal transfer payments ad nauseam. This is not something dreamt up by sovereignists or the Bloc Quebecois. The Bloc Quebecois was formed in June 1991. This situation has been going on for 25 years. Federalists in Quebec City, such as Mr. Bourassa, have denounced this situation, based on federal government figures.
We did not make up these figures. They do not come from the Bloc Quebecois, the Parti Quebecois or the Quebec Liberal Party. They are federal figures from Statistics Canada. If hon. members look in the Statistics Canada catalogues under federal government expenditures on goods and services, by province, and under capital expenditures, they will find them. They are not made up.
I have a bone to pick with the members of the Liberal Party from Quebec, across the way. It seems to me that the first thing to do, as Quebecers, would have been to demand justice of the Minister of Finance or the President of Treasury Board, as far as federal transfers and general expenditures are concerned. They have not done so. They prefer to laugh in our faces.
Every time the question of inequality of federal government expenditures and investments in Quebec is raised here in the House, I see Liberals from Quebec over there laughing, finding it funny. They find it funny that we are, year after year, shortchanged to the tune of 30,000 to 42,000 jobs. They find that funny.
When they receive people in their riding offices who have lost their jobs, mothers or fathers in their forties, or in their fifties—which is becoming increasingly frequent—they feign compassion, saying “Oh, if only we could help you, but you know the state of the federal public finances makes it impossible. We will work very hard at it, though”.
They do nothing of the kind. They are a bunch of do-nothings. The best proof of this is that, in the last budget brought down by the Minister of Finance, Quebec got nothing. Ontario got all the structural investment.
The Ontario ministers got something from the Minister of Finance's budget, but Quebec got nothing. Some Quebec MPs travelled the length and breadth of Quebec to say—