It is especially difficult to speak on this kind of issues since, as we know, the debate raises so many questions. Given that the motions in Group No. 2 which we are debating deal with prohibited activities, I would like to remind the hon. members that the Bloc Quebecois would have liked to see the bill divided in two. There is basically not much rationale. One could ask: Why do we, in the Canadian Parliament, get to vote on a bill concerning the provision of services in health care institutions?
The reason the government claims that Bill C-13 is legitimate is because it criminalized a certain number of practices. I moved a motion a few months ago calling on Parliament to split the bill. Today, from what I have heard, several political parties, including the Liberals even, realize that the Bloc Quebecois was absolutely right. You might say that this is not the first time that the Bloc Quebecois has enlightened this House. No it is not, nor will it be the last. Nonetheless, it would be better if we could say, “Yes, let us stick to criminal law, for which the federal government has a responsibility.
The public was quite astonished between Christmas and New Year's when Clonaid tried to have us believe—it still has not provided any evidence—that cloning was possible.
The Bloc Quebecois has had a longstanding interest in reproductive technologies. I am especially pleased to point this out because my colleague, the member for Drummond, is in the House today, and this House should applaud her. As early as 1995—and I call on the Alliance members to join in the applause as well—and in 1997 and 2000, the member for Drummond introduced a private member's bill. This took some foresight. The Baird Commission had produced its report. We knew that because one couple in five had fertility problems, technological and medical solutions to those problems had to be explored. The member for Drummond, relying only on her courage and her science, introduced a bill. There happened what happened. Unfortunately, the government did not cooperate as much as it should have and at the time we did not have a system whereby all bills were automatically deemed to be votable as soon as they were introduced by any one of our colleagues.
It is pretty sad to think that if we vote on this bill, the Bloc Quebecois will be torn. We do want provisions included in the Criminal Code as soon as possible. We are talking about cloning but there are 12 other prohibited activities in the bill. But at the same time, can we accept the creation of a regulatory agency, which will interfere in areas of great sensitivity for the provinces?
I will give a few examples. As we know, the Government of Quebec is one of the best governments ever to have been in power since the quiet revolution. This government run by Bernard Landry listed the pieces of legislation that would be inconsistent with the agency, if it were to be established.
Of course, we could talk about the regulations. These are more important than the bill itself. I will come back to this. Let me however set out the inconsistencies between the bill and existing legislation in Quebec.
In Quebec, we have chosen to consider pregnancy as an altruistic act. Wanting to help someone have a child or to do so ourselves is an altruistic act.
It is out of the question for this act to become a business transaction, for a monetary value to be placed on it.
As it stands however, the bill provides for the reimbursement of certain expenditures incurred in connection with the pregnancy, if receipts can be provided. This is fundamentally inconsistent with a philosophy of intervention found in the Quebec civil law.
Another inconsistency has to do with the fact that, as we know, the Quebec government has legislation respecting health and social services. It would pretty strange for it not to, given that the provincial governments are responsible for providing health care services.
What would it mean if the bill were passed? The fact that a power currently vested in our Minister of Health and Social Services, namely the power to designate institutions for the exclusive delivery of certain services, would be taken over by the regulatory agency should certainly be of concern to my hon. colleagues. That is in section 112. It is unacceptable for the federal government to act this way.
The regulations would prescribe not only the conditions under which gametes are to be preserved, but also the qualifications of health professionals to carry out insemination procedures.
This is a matter of interference, and what is the most upsetting to the Bloc Quebecois. If, tomorrow morning, we learned that a public or private laboratory in Calgary, Montreal, Quebec City or the Maritimes had been involved in experiments with the potential to lead to therapeutic or human cloning, there would be nothing in place to deal with it. Neither the Minister of Justice nor the Minister of Immigration would have any recourse, because there is none in criminal law.
At the same time, however, what can we expect of a regulatory agency? We are faced with a problem on which all MPs need to reflect. The member for Trois-Rivières is extremely eloquent on this point when he talks of it in private—and only seeks an opportunity to do the same in public. The problem is that the federal government wants to use health for nation building. The Romanow report is very clear on this.
It is not possible to accept the creation of a regulatory agency with considerable powers, including those concerning professional qualifications of people who are governed by regional bodies of the Government of Quebec.
To repeat, a minimum of 14 acts are incompatible with the creation of this agency proposed by the federal government.
That said, I would like to take this opportunity to say that I personally believe that research has a role to play here. The bill states that therapeutic cloning and cloning for reproduction are prohibited.
Why? It is because we want to promote the extremely important value that each of us is unique. If we put out a call in the Greater Montreal or Greater Ottawa region for someone like the Minister of Immigration, we would not be successful. Each person is unique. We have our own values and personality, and this is especially true for the Minister of Immigration. But I would not want to say too much about his personality for fear of violating the charter even if, in some respects, the Minister of Immigration is likeable.
That said, why are we opposed to cloning? It is because we cannot imagine that parents can raise children who are their exact copy and that, in terms of personal development, a child could be their exact copy. It is not possible.