Canada wants to create health research institutes. Let us talk about research institutes. Out of 43 research institutes in the national capital region, 42 are located in Ottawa and one is in Hull. And it is Quebecers' taxes that pay for this. Twenty five per cent of these institutes are paid for by Quebecers who, in return, only get one of them out of 43.
Research institutes are important. Contracts are awarded, well paid jobs are created and subcontracts help generate economic spin-offs. But no “Let us keep Quebec a prisoner within Canada. We want the taxes paid by Quebecers. We are not interested in giving them back services”.
At one point, Quebecers told themselves “Let us try to correct things. Let us make reforms”. In 1982, the Constitution was unilaterally imposed by Ottawa. No Premier of Quebec, either sovereignist or federalist, has ever agreed to sign it as things now stand. It was tried with the Meech Lake agreement, where we put forward five little minimum conditions. We were turned down. As for the Charlottetown accord, the rest of Canada said no and so did we. We considered that we did not have enough power and the rest of Canada considered that it was giving us too much.
Now what is this bill trying to do? It is trying to trap Quebec within the Canadian federation. After accusing the Liberals of diverting money belonging to the Quebec people, I accuse them of hijacking democracy because we have seen closure after closure with this bill, and a bold and unacceptable attempt by the government to restrict the number of amendments that the members could move, allowing ministers to move more.
It is a good thing the opposition held together and managed to thwart these plans, but it will not prevent the government from trying to impose all its wishes on us, like closure to limit debate. We are told that we will be voting like little rabbits; this is what I understood a little earlier from one of my colleagues. What is this? Are we acting in a undemocratic way when we vote laws in the federal parliament the way we have been doing over the last hundred years?
There is a limit. And it is not a question of money. The only thing we can do is a little bit of parliamentary resistance as far as the votes are concerned, and we are even blamed for that too.
This is to show how the government intends to keep Quebec in the prison of confederation. The bill is quite undemocratic. Since when is 50% plus one not acceptable? Canada itself has recognized referendums that took place in Croatia and in Macedonia, where the 50% plus one rule applied.
Furthermore, the question had two components, one of which was on partnership. Now, the government tells us “No, there will not be any partnership. We will examine this in the House of Commons, in our great paternalistic wisdom toward Quebec. We will examine whether your question is clear enough”.
I want to say one thing. There is no single prison that will keep Quebecers in this federation when they decide enough is enough. There are not enough locks in all the Ottawa region to keep all Quebecers within the Canadian federation when they decide enough is enough. There is no prison that is tight enough to keep them inside forever.
Quebec sovereignty is the only solution, with a partnership offer, and I hope Quebecers will understand this. I also hope that Canada will be open to this idea at that time. It is not with bills such as this one that the government can ensure Quebec will stay within the Canadian federation; on the contrary, when it decides to leave, nothing will stop it.