Madam Speaker, you will understand that we cannot address the amendments grouped by the Chair without first paying tribute to the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.
It is not every day in Parliament's history that dozens upon dozens of hours are devoted to improving a bill. The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot and other members of this House have done so, feeling that the amount of energy invested had to be at least equal to the amount of fixing the bill required.
For Quebec sovereignists, which is what we are, relationships based on equality, respect and recognition have always been extremely important. We know what being a nation is all about; we know what it means to aspire to real development; we know what it is like to want real development tools. Unfortunately, in spite of the hard work of committee members and all the energy they have put into making this bill better, it remains unacceptable.
The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot has been extremely well advised to devote energy to this and to come to the conclusion that, after Erasmus-Dussault, and after the National Assembly, led by Premier Lévesque, passed a resolution recognizing the first nations, it makes no sense in 2003 to come up with a bill that is as colonial, backward-looking, old fashioned and disrespectful as the one before us.
During committee meetings, we experienced the gamut of emotions. We first hoped for collaboration, expecting to find among Liberals some sensitivity and openness to arguments from the opposition. Unfortunately, except for one, the member for Frontenac—Mégantic whom I wish to acknowledge because I believe he was in a different category in terms of the attitude of members of the committee, history will not look kindly on the Liberals. They proved to be dull-witted, narrow-minded, insensitive—