Mr. Speaker, as we know, over the past several years, Quebec has been implementing innovative social programs. This process began with the establishment of Quebec's Office des personnes handicapées, whose head office is, I believe, in Drummondville.
For over 20 years, there has been a practice of integrating people with disabilities into the workforce and making it easier for them to get a job. In the case of those who cannot work, we have ensured that the interpretation of the act on tax issues would be broader, and disabilities that are systematically rejected at the federal level are taken into consideration.
We also see this in our riding offices. People tell us “My application was was approved by Quebec, but not by Ottawa. What is going on? How do things work?” There is a fundamental explanation. There are two governments with different interpretations and different ways of seeing things. This situation is a reflection of our respective societies and it is up to people to decide whether or not they would prefer to have a single government. That would surely be a good solution.
But on a practical level, the fact is that, over the past 25 years, the Quebec government, regardless of the party in office—this is not a partisan issue—has shown openness. From the outset, the principle followed was “if a person is disabled, let us see in what way; let us see what deprives that person of his or her autonomy. If the disability prevents that person from having the same autonomy as someone who is not disabled, we will try to take this into account in a proper way”.
By contrast, the federal government's approach has been that “if the person is not totally disabled, he or she is not getting a tax credit”.
This is why there are two different attitudes. However, it must be recognized that the unanimous report of the Standing Committee on Human Resource Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities seeks to correct this situation. We want to do some catching up. Let us hope that we will have the opportunity to to do so as soon as possible, so as to no longer have this aberration wher aberrationeby the same person is entitled to a tax credit from Quebec, but not from the federal government.
There are no longer any deficits in any government. Therefore, in light of the current financial situation, it is high time that Ottawa displayed the same compassion as Quebec has been showing for over 20 years.