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House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Scarborough—Rouge River Ontario

Liberal

Derek Lee LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the standing orders, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 20 petitions.

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec East, QC

Mr. Speaker, there does not seem to be a quorum in the House.

And the count having been taken:

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I see a quorum.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies Québec

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian group of the Canada-France Interparliamentary Association, which attended the meeting of the Standing Committee of the Association in Paris from March 6 to 10, 2000.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Scarborough—Rouge River Ontario

Liberal

Derek Lee LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 29th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the associate membership of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and I move concurrence at this time.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, additionally, if the House gives its consent, I move:

That the following members be added to the list of associate members of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs: Scott Brison, Tony Ianno, Benoît Sauvageau, Paul Szabo and John Williams.

(Motion agreed to)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

May 9th, 2000 / 10:10 a.m.

Reform

Rick Casson Reform Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present two petitions today from the good folks in southern Alberta.

The first petition deals with child pornography. The signatories are horrified by pornography which depicts children and are astounded by legal determinations that the possession of child pornography is not criminal.

They call upon parliament, which has the duty to enact and enforce the criminal code, to take all measures necessary to ensure that possession of child pornography remains a serious criminal offence.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Reform

Rick Casson Reform Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the second petition has to do with the definition of marriage.

These petitioners pray that parliament withdraw Bill C-23, affirm the opposite sex definition of marriage in legislation and ensure that marriage is recognized as a unique institution.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle Progressive Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I present a petition on behalf of 200 people in St. John's East.

The petitioners, citizens of Canada, draw to the attention of the House of Commons that because the British Columbia court of appeal did on June 30 dismiss the appeal to reinstate subsection (4) of section 163 of the criminal code making possession of child pornography illegal in British Columbia, that by upholding a lower court decision on the issue of possession of child pornography that possession is now legal in British Columbia and that the well-being and safety of children are put in jeopardy. Therefore the petitioners request that parliament invoke section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to override the B.C. court of appeal decision and reinstate subsection (4) of section 163 of the criminal code making possession of child pornography in B.C. illegal and by doing so reinforce and reaffirm their objection to the B.C. court of appeal decision.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Wentworth—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I present two petitions pertaining to Bill C-23 in which the petitioners ask that the bill be withdrawn and that the House affirm marriage as an opposite sex relationship. I think at the time that these petitions were prepared the petitioners did not realize that in fact the government did insert a definition of marriage that would please them enormously. Nevertheless I submit these petitions and observe that they also note that they want to see the government advance legislation that defines dependency relationships as being entitled to benefits in the same sense that Bill C-23 extended the benefits to opposite sex relationships and same sex relationships.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Scarborough—Rouge River Ontario

Liberal

Derek Lee LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from December 1, 1999 consideration of the motion that Bill C-5, an act to establish the Canadian Tourism Commission, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Canadian Tourism Commission ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Before giving the floor to the hon. member for Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, I wish to inform the House that speeches on this bill will now be ten minutes, with no questions of comments.

Canadian Tourism Commission ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

I appreciate your informing us of that, Mr. Speaker, because, as you are well aware, I am always ready to share my ideas with my colleagues, particularly under your skilled leadership from the Chair.

I was very pleased to accept the invitation of my colleague from Témiscamingue to take part in this debate. He is the one who has managed the debate for the Bloc Quebecois, and he has done the committee work. He is one of the most dynamic members of our party.

In caucus, he pointed out to us that we would be greatly ill advised to support such a bill. I will have an opportunity to speak of our position in detail, but I would like to start by setting out the general principle.

On the Bloc Quebecois side, we all know that the federal government has launched a vast nation building campaign. All excuses are good for this government which is looking for visibility. It is seeking visibility in an excessive, obsessive and even pathological way.

Fortunately, within the caucus, some ministers are not following the flock. For the most part however, we do not understand why it is so important to adopt or propose a Canadian tourism commission. If ever there was one area that should be handled by the communities, it is certainly tourism.

I feel quite comfortable speaking about this issue because, at the beginning of the 1990s in Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, a riding with an extremely important working-class background, we chose a development based on what we call neighbourhood tourism.

At that time, Hochelaga—Maisonneuve went through a process of industrial dequalification. While the main employers in that district were the textile, shoe and clothing industries and the Vickers shipyard, from the early 1980s until 1990 or 1992, we lost a considerable number of jobs. We must remember that there were 30% too many ships on the seas, and the shoe and textile industry lost some momentum. I must admit that the textile industry recovered slightly in Montreal after it was restructured and reengineered.

However, I did understand that, in the district of Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, we would never again be the working-class district we had been. We benefited from the presence of the Olympic stadium. We will recall that in 1976 the Olympic Games were held in Montreal. With the construction of the Olympic stadium, my district became one of the five major tourism growth poles in Montreal.

Of course there is also the Old Montreal. Some of our hon. colleagues might have come to visit Quebec in the past and spent a few days in the Old Montreal, which is a very important tourism centre.

There is of course another tourism centre that the hon. member for Laval Centre visits regularly: the St. Joseph's Oratory and Mount Royal. That is a very important tourism centre. Another tourism centre that has emerged is the Maisonneuve area, which is comprised of the Olympic stadium, the Biodome, the Insectarium and the Olympic facilities.

In the 1990s, I was personally involved in my community. A few years later, my constituents gave me the pleasure of trusting me with their confidence when they choose me as their elected representative here in the House of Commons. I have always seen it as a privilege that had to be renewed from day to day, always keeping in mind that the only way to live up to that duty properly and carry out our function as members of Parliament was to keep a great proximity with our constituents and remain very close to their concerns.

Within the tourism growth poles that have emerged in Quebec, the district of Hochelaga—Maisonneuve found its place, and we live in the shadow of the Olympic stadium. The Olympic Stadium is located on Pierre-de-Coubertin Street. I had proposed in the 1990's the establishment of a functional link in the south of this neighbourhood, between the Olympic stadium and Ontario, Adam and Sainte-Catherine streets. That strategy has been adopted by the economic decision makers.

Why do I talk about that? First of all, because very interesting things are happening in Hochelaga—Maisonneuve. I take this opportunity, before moving to the substance of the bill, to say that Hochelaga—Maisonneuve is a neighbourhood—and it is in moments like this one that the member for Charlesbourg's hospitality and enthusiasm are precious—a neighbourhood that has a rich industrial heritage.

We have for example the east end art and cultural centre, which is like a flagship for the community groups. During the summer months, from Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day until Labour Day week-end, there are activities on the marketplace. Let me give you a scoop, Mr. Speaker. This is a piece of information that I would like to share with all my colleagues and the viewers at home. This summer, starting on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, we will have “la Bolduc” on the marketplace.

I would like to remind members that “la Bolduc” was born on Létourneau Street, in Hochelaga—Maisonneuve. I would be tempted to sing one of her songs, but the presence of the deputy whip in the House prevents me from doing so.

The roaring twenties brought us the wonderful Bolduc. One cannot imagine the impact this singer had on our folklore. She was one of the first artist to penetrate the American market. This summer, in Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, there will be an interpretative tour presenting the life of “la Bolduc” through various monuments and architectural artifacts.

I ask all my colleagues, especially the member for Ahuntsic and the member for Windsor—St. Clair, to visit Hochelaga—Maisonneuve this summer and discover how alive the past is there and how tourism is thriving in a working class neighbourhood in an industrial setting—everyone knows that Hochelaga—Maisonneuve is located between downtown and the end of the island. The interpretation trail, which gives expression to the best of Bolduc's repertoire draws people from New England.

Something happened, and I will digress a little to tell you about it. From the beginning of the 19th century until the 1930s, 500,000 Quebecers left the province to pursue their career in the United States. There are those who say that, if these people had not been forced to leave, to move to the United States, we would no doubt have won the 1995 referendum.

I wanted to point out this fact of history, and I also want to tell you that our premier, Lucien Bouchard, is one of the best to have served Quebec.

Mr. Speaker, you are indicating that I have only a minute left. I have not said even a fifth of what I wanted to say about this bill.

I have to say that we oppose the bill, because we believe there already exist appropriate structures within the provinces and the various communities. This is especially true in Quebec, because the society there has integrated tourism into its economic development. It did so, naturally, because tourism generates revenues of $5.4 billion.

I do not know if any of you saw the report on RDI yesterday. The member for Charlesbourg, partial to this sort of information, will remember that last year was the best year of the decade for tourism in Quebec. Quebec, with its tourism offices, succeeded in creating stakeholder groups with enough resources so that people in North America and Europe find pleasure in discovering tourism there.

I close by inviting all my fellow citizens, all those watching and my colleagues here to take advantage of the season of tourism in Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, which will be both colourful and lively.

Canadian Tourism Commission ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec East, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Hochelaga—Maisonneuve who spoke on Bill C-5 to explain how well tourism is working in Quebec and our concern that this bill might establish a Canadian tourism commission that could create problems for agencies that are now working very well.

In Quebec, the agency known as Tourisme Québec was established and is working very well. Of course, we want to fully encourage tourism because it is now one of the primary industries, if you will, in Quebec. We have considerable attractions.

Quebec City, where I am from and which is in my riding, was recognized by UNESCO as part of the international heritage.

Tourism in Quebec has grown considerably in the last few years, partially because of the attractions, but also because of the involvement of the Quebec government. Indeed, I could mention a series of actions taken and of mandates reinforced by the government for Tourisme Québec.

These actions were successful. I must say that Tourisme Québec has consolidated the efforts. Tourisme Québec is comprised of almost all tourism associations in Quebec and several private interests to take joint action in the development of this sector.

Indeed, this is a sector that does not necessarily require the involvement of the federal government. Of course, since this is an extremely important industry, any effort to improve tourism is appreciated by those who work in this sector. What concerns us is that the establishment of the Canadian tourism commission will be another form of intrusion in sectors that are working well in Quebec.

Not only is this an intrusion into the activities of an agency that is working well in Quebec, but it could also be an encroachment on Quebec's jurisdiction over tourism. Why bother an agency that is working well? I fear that the federal government wants to expand this commission's mandate—because it already exists with more limited powers—and through Bill C-5 to expand its spending powers, among others.

We know very well that its basic purpose is more propagandizing in Quebec. Of course, Quebec is considered as a threat to Canada because of its sovereignist vision. In fact, the federal government has, for some time now, not responded to Quebec's justified demands. Quebec has long been asking for recognition within Canada, which should have gone without saying and should have been given a long time ago, but was refused. On the contrary, a whole series of agencies have been set up essentially to promote the federal government.

That is all this commission is. Certainly, it can have some beneficial effects, but essentially its purpose is to invest more in areas where federal visibility can be ensured.

I would like to make two quotations, including one by Pierre Elliott Trudeau. He said “One way to offset the attraction of separatism is to use time, energy, and vast sums of money to promote federal nationalism”.

Mr. Trudeau believe in using English-Canadian nationalism, federal nationalism, to thwart Quebec's nationalism. He used this attitude, these means at the federal level to counter Quebec nationalism. In fact, the idea was to set up agencies spending as much money as possible to give great visibility to Canada and its flag and to show that, in fact, Canada is working well.

I have another quotation from the current Prime Minister who, quite recently, on February 16, 2000, said “It is very important in every riding in Canada that the people of the ridings know, when there is a subvention coming from the taxpayers of Canada, that the money is coming from the taxpayers of Canada, particularly in areas where some people want to quit Canada because they do not know the good that this government is doing for its citizens”.

First, the money that the government is using comes from Quebec taxpayers; it is Quebec's money that the federal government is using. There are huge amounts of money sent back through programs. In this regard, Quebec receives more than its share. If there is one area where Quebec receives more than its share, it is for propaganda on national unity.

It is a well known fact that in other areas, such as research, job creation, industry, et cetera, Quebec does not get its fair share, but in that area we receive a lot.

For several years now, since 1993, the government has worked relentlessly to set up agencies such as the CIO or Canada Information Office, which every year gets $20 million, most of which, namely 60% to 70%, is spent in Quebec.

There is also the one in a million flag project launched by the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Responsibility for this propaganda campaign focused on Quebec was removed from that minister. The Department of Public Works and Government Services is now responsible for this project and, because of that, the spending authority has been increased in several areas, including in public works.

In addition to this, there are also a series of agencies and offices. It is unbelievable. It is mind-boggling to see all the money spent by the federal government specifically for Quebec. Again, this is money for propaganda. All this money is being spent to create an image, not jobs. This money is being spent by agencies close to this government.

For instance, what does Attraction Canada do? It makes signs that can be seen here and there, such as along highways. These signs, and there are many of them in Quebec, suggest a nice visit to a national park.

In fact, of the $12 million allocated for 1999-2000, 60% was spent in Quebec. One wonders why 60% of Attraction Canada's publicity was spent in Quebec. It is to attract people to anything that symbolizes Canada.

For instance, the Council for Canadian Unity has spent most of its $6 million budget in Quebec.

Why was 65% of the budget for Canada Day, which is organized by Heritage Canada of course, spent in Quebec? Of the $5.5 million spent last year for Canada Day, $3.5 million was spent in Quebec.

The list goes on and on. We could add the spending by the Canada Information Office, by the Council for Canadian Unity, as well as the one in a million flag project. The amounts are huge. There is also Operation Unity. If we were to add up all the money spent on propaganda in Quebec, the amount would be staggering. It is unfortunate, because that money could have been spent for a good cause instead of being used to create an image in Quebec.

We have the same fear with regard to the establishment of the Canadian tourism commission. By establishing this agency, the government has found another way to spend millions of dollars in Quebec to pitch national unity.

Canadian Tourism Commission ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Dennis Mills Liberal Broadview—Greenwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I could not disagree more with the Bloc Quebecois in terms of its assessment of the bill.

Tourism is one of the greatest galvanizing agents in the country which encourages Canadians to travel from coast to coast and to interact coast to coast. It is an instrument that pulls us all together. It is an instrument that helps us to understand each other in a better way. When we think of it logically the separatists would not want to support an enhanced tourism commission, especially one that has had the success of our tourism commission over the last few years. It would work against the separatist ideology.

I want to focus today on tourism as it pertains to my constituency in downtown Toronto. We are going through a massive renewal of the waterfront in downtown Toronto. I have a document in front of me that was recently released entitled “Our Toronto Waterfront: Gateway to the New Canada”. I am sure members have read assessments in the papers of some of the work of the author, Mr. Fung, in recent weeks not just in Toronto but in different parts of the country.

This will be the biggest infrastructure renewal project in our country's history. In terms of dollars it will probably be more than what we spent on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Some members of the House might feel a little uncomfortable about the fact that all three levels of government are considering a major investment in the centre of downtown Toronto, but at the anchor and core of this thinking is the whole tourism realm.

The tourism industry is the fastest growing industrial sector on the planet. When we talk about tourism we are not only talking about leisure tourism. We are also talking about business tourism. In other words, when a city wants to compete today for trade shows and business events it must have not just the convention facilities and hotels that are part of the business experience, but it must also have all the supplementary activities if the city is to be considered a world class tourist destination location.

I am appealing to the House, as we look into the whole realm of tourism, that consideration in time be given to the notion of revitalizing the waterfront in downtown Toronto. It is not a waterfront that is used exclusively for the residents of the greater Toronto area. It is a tourism destination which economically benefits the entire country.

In other words, there are times when certain cities in our country have to compete on the world stage. For example, when Calgary put in its bid for the Olympic Games, it was not just a benefit to Calgary when it staged the Olympic Games. It was a benefit to every part of our country.

What we are attempting to do in Toronto with our waterfront is primarily a tourism objective, tourism that will serve in an economic sense every region of the country. That is how we have to look at major projects like this one, especially around tourism.

The multiple spinoffs that happen in tourism are something that we tend to forget at times. We will see only the initial capital investment, but we will not see all the ancillary benefits of businessmen and women coming to a city. It might be for a convention or a trade show. Inevitably, if they have the opportunity of to enjoy other components within the particular destination, it can have a dramatic effect on business investment. It can have a dramatic effect on reputation as we deal in a global market more and more, as our life and business experience evolves.

When we look at capital investment today we tend to want the immediate return to be the driving force as to whether we make a decision in terms of investment. It is the responsibility of the House to not just look for the short term, but to look for the long term effects.

In a beautiful city like my own city of Toronto, where it would cost a lot of money to revitalize and renew the Toronto waterfront, the temptation would be to forget about tourism and raise money by selling parcels of land so that we could build condominiums. This would do a number of things. It would take a beautiful jewelled location in downtown Toronto and allow only a few people to enjoy it. Whereas, if we think of tourism, not only could all of Canada enjoy it, but as well all of those visitors who want to enjoy not just the hotel room or the convention centre, but all of our community.

One of the models for rejuvenating a downtown area for tourism is the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. As one member of parliament for the downtown area, I would love to see a Tivoli Gardens treatment in our downtown waterfront corridor because when we as a community show all Canadians and anyone who is visiting our country our respect for the environment, our respect for all of our community having access to special areas, that has a profound long term tourism impact.

With this legislation we are renewing our commitment to the Canadian Tourism Commission. I appeal to all members to continue to support the good work that the Canadian Tourism Commission has been doing over the last five years. I continue to urge all members to reinforce not only their budgets, but to use their influence in cities across the country which have the potential to be world class tourism jewels. I urge them to use their experience in tourism to ensure that those spaces are there not only for the good of the whole country, but for the benefit of all those people who visit our cities.

Canadian Tourism Commission ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased, albeit somewhat surprised, to address Bill C-5, an act to establish the Canadian tourism commission.

As we know, tourism is a rapidly expanding industry all over the world. This is a result of globalization, because as transportation modes become faster and more accessible, people who previously did not have access to international tourism are now deciding to visit various countries, and this is of great benefit to people the world over.

Tourism is also important for various regions of the country, particularly the federal riding of Charlesbourg, which will soon be called Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, after the senators have heard me. I cannot understand why they have summoned me to talk about the name of a riding, as they are not elected, but this is another matter. As I was saying, the federal riding of Charlesbourg is one of the nicest ones in Canada.

It includes eight municipalities and most of the green belt around Quebec City.

From Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier in the west to Sainte-Brigitte-de-Laval in the east, this greenbelt is one of the finest assets of the tourist industry in Quebec and Canada, an industry that is in full expansion.

People from all over the world, particularly Europeans but also many Asians, want to come to Quebec and to Canada to see our wide open spaces and to commune with nature, because they often live in countries which, unfortunately, are not as fortunate as Quebec in this regard.

The greenbelt around Quebec City is located just a few minutes from downtown, from the Old City, which is one of the finest world heritage sites. It is only a 15 minute drive on highway 73 from the Old City, with its atmosphere that goes back to the 17th and 18th centuries—my colleague from Québec East agrees with me—to the wilderness. People around the world are increasingly aware of this.

I have had a pamphlet published which I will bring for distribution on my trips abroad. In a few weeks I will be going to Australia to promote the federal riding of Charlesbourg for investors and vacationing tourists.

In my riding of Charlesbourg, tourism has been targeted as one of the most important themes of economic development. Tourism can be seen from different angles.

We have the park along the Jacques-Cartier River, which is really exceptional, with its deep canyons. I formally invite members to visit the canyons in this park. They will be stunned by their beauty. Activities include boating, kayaking, climbing, hiking or picnicking. This is an exceptional site, and I want to point out the excellent work done by Marie-Michelle Parent to develop the park.

There is also the Stoneham ski resort, which is in full expansion and will also be a major tourist attraction for my riding and the whole Quebec City area.

Another ski resort is Le Relais. This excellent resort, which is drawing more and more people, is also just 20 minutes from downtown Quebec.

Work is underway on the Trans-Quebec trail, which is intended to be a northern version of the famous Appalachian Trail in the United States, and which will help us discover, in Quebec, and Charlesbourg in particular, some of the most breathtaking landscapes that a hiking enthusiast may see. In the wintertime, activities such as snowshoeing, skiing and snowmobiling are possible.

The federal riding of Charlesbourg is exceptional for tourism. One of the main attractions in that riding could be the Charlesbourg zoo, the development of which has been considered a priority by social and economic stakeholders in the greater Quebec City area. I notice the chief government whip is nodding in agreement and listening to me intently.

All the stakeholders in the greater Quebec City area have asked the federal government to invest in the Aqua-Zoo project—the aquarium in Sainte-Foy and the zoo in Charlesbourg—as an important tourist attraction. The Government of Quebec has made a firm commitment to help finance that project, but, unfortunately, the answer from the federal government is late in coming, as always.

I invite the Minister of Revenue, who is responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, to announce very soon that the necessary investment will be made to revitalize the Aqua-Zoo.

This is just an introduction to show the importance of tourism to us, in the Bloc Quebecois, and to myself, as the member for Charlesbourg.

Unfortunately, Bill C-5 does not meet the many demands and the many needs of that growing industry, as I was saying earlier.

The federal government is at war with the Government of Quebec and wants to impose at all costs its vision of a united Canada, or should I say of a standardized Canada from coast to coast. Bill C-5 is just one element of this shameful project on which millions and millions of dollars are spent. Bill C-5 is just aimed at increasing the federal government's visibility. Its sole purpose is to buy the loyalty of Quebecers, whether as individuals or as members of organizations. The backdrop to all this is an incredible fiscal imbalance.

The federal government has already announced a $95 billion surplus over the next five years. Bloc Quebecois members and the rest of the House know only too well that these surpluses will be more on the order of $137 billion to $140 billion over five years, while the provinces—all of them, not just Quebec—are having trouble keeping their heads above water.

The federal government has decided to use the huge surpluses it has built up on the backs of the provinces, on the backs of the most disadvantaged and the unemployed, so that it can increase its visibility and invade normally provincial jurisdictions.

Let us be clear that everything this government does is dictated by the desire to stop the rise of the sovereignist movement in Quebec. It is afraid because it is only too aware that the next time Quebecers are asked whether they want their own country, the majority will answer yes. There is one objective behind all the government's actions and that is to put a stop to the inexorable growth of the sovereignist movement, whatever the financial or social cost.

One might wonder why it came up with this particular bill, Bill C-5, when most provinces, and especially Quebec, already have infrastructures, well developed tourist networks and strategies much better suited to their own situation than Bill C-5 could be.

I must wrap up my remarks because time is unfortunately running out. The Bloc Quebecois is firmly opposed to the federal government using Quebecers' tax dollars in order to promote in all areas, including tourism with Bill C-5, its vision of a Canada that is united from coast to coast in order to stamp the maple leaf on everyone's forehead when that is not what Quebecers want.

We are strongly opposed to this bill and never—this government had better listen up—never will Quebecers be bought with their own money, never will they allow their vote to be bought by such a pathetic government.

Canadian Tourism Commission ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont, QC

Mr. Speaker, like my colleague, it is with some surprise that I address Bill C-5 today. Come to think of it, as I read this bill this morning, it is with great pleasure that I do so.

Bill C-5 aims more particularly at establishing the Canadian tourism commission. It is quite clear that in Quebec's own economic life, tourism has always been an important driving force of economic development.

Tourism is not only an important economic development factor in Quebec, it is also an employment development factor. The jobs are not limited, as they are in other industries, to a few areas or cities. On the contrary, for us Quebecers, tourism is an economic and employment development tool in each of the regions of the province.

Given that Quebec has spent many years developing an expertise in tourism, developing the appropriate infrastructure and putting in place a tourist services supply, and that Quebecers have spent many years developing a foreign marketing network, I find that the government has a lot of nerve to put forward today an act to establish the Canadian tourism commission.

It is important to remind hon. members of a number of things that have been accomplished up to now in the province of Quebec and some of the success stories that have brought tourism development in Quebec where it now stands. In the last 25 years, the tourist services supply has changed considerably in Quebec.

Several years ago, when people were talking about the tourist infrastructure, they meant the big tourist complexes only. However, to respond to the demand of the new clients who are looking for specialized tourist services, Quebec had to adapt its tourist products.

For example, since Europeans are coming to Quebec in greater numbers, we had to develop tourist products tailored to their needs. But what do Europeans and Americans like about Quebec? The great outdoors, which Claude Gauthier described as made up of lakes and rivers. Quebecers have always been proud of the great outdoors, which still constitute an important tourist product.

Besides the wide open spaces, there is also adventure. Adventure is now an important tourist attraction. This was developed in the regions by small businesses who, through our network overseas, work day in and day out to attract tourists who would like what Quebec has to offer.

The bill is rather odd. Its objective is to establish a Canadian tourism commission but we already have an agency called Tourisme Québec. I worked there for a few years. I know that tourism is a priority for Quebec. Furthermore, the Parti Quebecois government established the Department of Tourism in 1994.

At first there was just a junior minister in charge of tourism policy, but later on a senior minister was appointed to head a full department with all the necessary powers to develop tourist products. Tourisme Québec was given an impressive mandate to promote Quebec's tourist products, including facilities, infrastructure and tourist attractions.

I want to mention one of the mandates of Tourisme Québec. It must, among other things, guide and co-ordinate public and private initiatives on tourism. This is important. Unlike what happens in all other sectors, this does not imply a fragmented marketing strategy.

To attract clients, there must be co-ordination in the marketing of the projects, in the way what is available in the tourist industry is advertised. Tourisme Québec co-ordinates this tourist supply and how it is marketed.

Another important element is to promote awareness of tourist products and knowledge of tourist clienteles. We know that we must do more than simply develop tourist products; we must ensure that specific clients are made aware of the tourist products developed in our regions. All the Tourisme Québec advertising campaigns abroad were aimed at ensuring development of tourist products. That is the role of Tourisme Québec.

Another mandate of Tourisme Québec is to support the improvement and development of Quebec's tourist supply. Another is to organize and support the promotion of Quebec and of its tourist products on various markets. This is another important element in the mandate of Tourisme Québec. Tourisme Québec must also inform clients on tourist products in Quebec and build and operate public tourist facilities.

Tourisme Québec has a very clear mandate. It contributes to developing the tourist product, to guiding and co-ordinating the supply, to organizing and supporting the promotion of Quebec as a tourist destination. I fail to see why the Canadian government wants to establish a Canadian tourism commission when Tourisme Québec is doing a fine job promoting tourist products and tourist supply in Quebec, under a well designed marketing strategy.

I remind the House that we have developed what we call in Quebec the Associations touristiques régionales to co-ordinate, to organize and ensure adequate development of tourism in Quebec. For Montreal, where my riding is, the situation is somewhat different. We do not have an Association touristique régionale but we have an office du tourisme, as does Quebec City. Big cities have an office du tourisme to promote them.

In conclusion, I have to say that I am rather worried. There will be overlapping in the activities of this new commission and those of Tourisme Québec. The new commission will duplicate work done by a public organization with a clear hospitality and clientele co-ordination marketing strategy.

The commission's goal also worries me. If Tourisme Québec is doing a good job, why establish the Canadian tourism commission if not to set up a federal promotion and propaganda machine? That also worries me.

Why fix what is working in Quebec? Why establish a new structure when the most recent figures released by the Quebec tourism minister and department are very interesting? Tourism in Quebec is doing well. We have no need for a new structure to reach new objectives when we are already reaching the existing ones.

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The Deputy Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

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Some hon. members

Question.

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The Deputy Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.