Madam Speaker, I am not sure if I am required to say it is my pleasure to speak to this bill, but I do not think that is the case. I would be lying to the House if I said that it is my pleasure to speak on this bill, for the simple reason that it is completely unacceptable for us, for all of the provinces and especially for Quebec.
The federal government has the knack when it comes to causing trouble; it is as though they have specialists working on it. When something is working fine, they find a way to introduce legislation to interfere as much as possible in provincial jurisdiction.
The bill contains titles that look good: protecting submerged lands, protecting the environment. By and large, these titles appear to please everyone and it is difficult to argue against them.
Yet this bill interferes directly in areas of provincial jurisdiction, clearly contravenes Canada's constitution. My colleague, the member for Châteauguay, an eminent lawyer, explained to what extent this bill is designed to go against common sense, against the rights set out in Canada's constitution.
A question that comes to mind is: Why does the government do everything it can to show disdain, be insulting and disorganize what should actually be organized? This is the question we may ask ourselves, because if the federal government wants to protect marine areas, I believe it could very well do it within its own area of jurisdiction, without disorganizing what can be easily organized, with the co-operation of all.
I had the opportunity to speak in this House about polluted submerged lands, for example, by Canadian Forces and by the federal government. If a am correct, those submerged lands have been intentionally polluted since 1952. I come back to this matter that is a federal responsibility because it is the polluter who must clean it up.
Back home, there are still 300,000 mortar shells on the bed of lake St-Pierre waiting to be fished out. The banks of the St. Lawrence have been damaged by the navy, by ships, a sector which I believe is entirely a federal jurisdiction. As a matter of fact, we would like to see the federal government assume its responsibilities in that area, which is without a doubt under its jurisdiction. There would be no problem. Everyone would be happy, though I suspect that pleasing Quebec is what the federal government dislikes the most.
We are always left grappling with situations with which the federal government refuses to deal. But when it is a matter of finding ways to interfere in Quebec's jurisdiction, for example, they are experts and are impatient to act.
Non only does the government try to duplicate what the provinces are doing, it also tries to do the same within its own areas of jurisdiction. Concerning protection of seabeds, three or four government departments are stepping on each other's toes. They will expand into provincial jurisdictions, namely in the area of environment. So there will be duplication. How can this bill be seen as a way to manage the country efficiently?
I find it somewhat disappointing to have to deliver a speech which goes against common sense, against what we should be doing here and against discussions which could move things forward.
I am always extremely disappointed to see how they do not seem interested in potential areas of cooperation. And yet, there are many of them. We cooperated after the events that took place this fall. The Bloc agreed to cooperate as much as possible for the good conduct of business in the wake of these events.
The discussions held in committee this morning on a bill were intended to further the interests of the whole of Canada and of Quebec. Unfortunately, a bill such as this one leads us to believe that everything is being done to destroy good understanding, scale down the jurisdiction of the provinces and increase dissatisfaction.
The Bloc Quebecois does not support this bill. Indeed, it is not the first time we speak to this legislation. I do not know how much an amendment can change a piece of legislation, but I do think that the best amendment we can put forward is for the government to step aside and work in its field of jurisdiction.
I would ask the federal government to assume its responsibilities and stop wasting our time with issues and legislation whose only purpose is to destroy harmony. It should act to clean up the banks of the St. Lawrence, Lake St-Pierre and the Jacques-Cartier River. It should recognize its responsibilities in these areas instead of constantly trying to annoy provinces and creating overlapping between its own departments.