Mr. Speaker, my Bloc Quebecois colleagues are nervous. In my opinion, they fear that their holidays in the Canadian Parliament are coming to an end.
I only have to hear my colleague from Jonquière to know she is nervous. They fear the next election although it is not for tomorrow. Luckily for them, we do not support their motion, otherwise they might have to face an election very soon.
I am convinced that no other party has more to lose if an election campaign took place in the near future than the Bloc Quebecois.
I only want to say that, fortunately, being inconsistent does not make one sick, otherwise my Bloc Quebecois friends would be quite ill. The PQ government always applied a double standard with regard to the federal government.
The federal government is always to blame for everything. The motion concerns a democratic imbalance. The Bloc members are talking about democracy and imbalance. And yet their founding father, Lucien Bouchard, was Quebec premier designate for a long time. There was no motion then mentioning a democratic imbalance and demanding that an election be urgently called to change the government.
The former Quebec premier, Bernard Landry, was premier designate for many months, and yet there were no demonstration asking for a quick election. I believe, and it is quite understandable, that they are in a slight panic. Our Bloc Quebecois colleagues are nervous. I listened to my colleague, the member for Roberval, who keeps wringing his hands. I can understand his nervousness.
They are all the more nervous as they really love being federal members of Parliament and sitting in this great Parliament, the symbol of western democracy. They are quite concerned, and understandably so, about losing their seat. That is why I will vote against the motion, because it would result in an early election and I want to make sure they stay here a bit longer, to benefit from their ideas and have the opportunity to debate with them.
I will add that the Prime Minister of Canada, who is like everyone of us—we all have our shortcomings and our qualities—is doing a more than commendable job. The government track record shows that it has focused its action on areas that are of the utmost importance for the future of Canadians, including young people across the country.
I am used to hearing this type of demagogy from my Bloc Quebecois colleagues. They are nearby in my region. I have grown accustomed to them. The idea is that, since here in the Parliament of Canada we deal mostly with regional matters, the Bloc members have decided they would take national issues, try to turn them into endless fights, and constantly bring up senseless figures.
Here is a good example of that. A few weeks ago, the Canadian Labour Congress published a report. Bloc Quebecois members and the central labour bodies in my riding held press conferences to say that the Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay region had been shortchanged by $157 million. I told myself that, instead of reacting too swiftly, I should sit down and go over the figures. That is what I did and then I reacted very objectively.
You know that the Bloc Quebecois loves to harp on employment insurance. They keep bringing up unemployment again and again. They are not interested in jobs and successes. They want to capitalize on disappointments.
In 2002, the employment insurance program paid $239 million to people in my region. The figures provided by some residents, particularly Bloc Quebecois members and the central labour bodies, were not accurate.
Often, general themes are applied to specific regions, but they have nothing to do with the reality of life in those regions.
They also speak a lot about the fiscal imbalance; it is a buzzword these days. I said to myself that I should do some research and find out if there were such a major fiscal imbalance between Quebec and the rest of the Canadian federation. They always end up convincing the social and community stakeholders in Quebec that they are right.
Concerning the fiscal imbalance, each year, Quebec gets several billion dollars more out of the federation than it puts in.
Canada's is a country of growing prosperity. At present, it ranks first among G-8 countries. Obviously, all Canadians can benefit from equalization, a program from which the Government of Quebec greatly benefits, as the recipient of 50% of all equalization payments made. Under this program, the provinces can invest in whatever area they please without any federal restriction.
That is quite apart from all the social transfers. This is very important to governments. The central government has trade relations, with the American people, that generate a trade surplus of $90 billion a year. There are obviously spinoffs for all the regions, and Quebec in particular. All the better if they benefit from this.
One must be careful not to fabricate, to take general notions and say they are doing us harm. That is not true. As far as the government's record is concerned, the Prime Minister has played a lead role in research and development. I notice colleagues from my region, the hon. members for Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay and for Jonquière. Our region has benefited in terms of R and D. In a few weeks, we will be opening a Canadian aluminum technologies centre. This represents an investment of more than $60 million by our government.
It is easy to understand, because our region produces aluminum ingots, but producing ingots no longer creates jobs. We have lost in excess of 6,000 jobs in our region.
I have convinced my government of the importance of processing. We will be processing aluminum. National programs were developed in cooperation with the National Research Council and Canada Economic Development for that purpose. All these areas of research are important for the future of our country, and the future of my region in particular. I fight first and foremost for the future of my region.
I am trying to target sectors where our government has proven a major player. Genetics is one. I could talk about infrastructure programs. We created a special infrastructure program for the highway between Quebec City and Chicoutimi. This is a $2 billion program. The Bloc members voted against it, and then they try to make people believe that they deserve all the credit.
We have to be realistic. The Bloc's motion is totally unacceptable. This motion refers to a democratic imbalance, but given how the Bloc interprets democracy, we have absolutely nothing to learn from it. In my riding in 2000, I witnessed the democratic process according to the Bloc. It rejected young people without member cards. It refused to let one young person run in a convention in 2000. It decided, arbitrarily, to have the reeve run against me in the 2000 election. I was quite happy when, despite all odds, I still managed to win hands down.
In short, the Bloc motions are always vague and meaningless. Upon closer examination, this motion does not hold water. I am convinced that the Bloc members did not even read their own motion. I know perfectly well that they do not want an election to be called right away. They are well aware of the polls. They know all too well that Quebeckers want more for their money from the Canadian federation. That is what members try to do, as I am trying to do to the best of my knowledge and abilities.
It is a pleasure for me to share these comments with the House. It will always be a pleasure to talk about our government's record and our efforts to improve all our programs.
The Bloc's favourite topic is employment insurance. It will never mention that premiums have been lowered by 30%. It will never mention that parental leave has increased from six to twelve months. It will never talk about the elimination of the intensity rule. In short, it is not interested in solutions. It is only interested in problems. The Bloc is not interested in talking about jobs, it prefers to talk about unemployment.
The best thing we could do is vote against this motion and think about what is in the Bloc's best interests, because it is in its best interests that this motion be defeated.