Madam Speaker, we as democratic sovereignists are here today, December 13, 2004, to debate Bill C-18 not just out of respect for Canada's institutions, nor out of the respect and admiration we have for you, Madam Speaker, or all the parliamentarians here. We are here mainly to defend the interests of Quebec and its move to full and complete sovereignty.
Like many on this side of the House, it is not because of some folk tale longing or fanatical reflex that I am committed to creating the country of Quebec, but from a conscious decision. Now more than ever Quebec wants to be freed from the shackles of this Confederation in which it is trapped.
To make myself understood in the present situation, let us put a few things in perspective.
After October 1995, with hands over their hearts, they promised to improve the functioning of Canada in order to satisfy Quebec's demands concerning its interaction with the central government. They did not keep their word. They continued to run Canada as though nothing significant had happened in Quebec one night in October 1995.
In their eyes, the desire for change as expressed democratically by half the population of Quebec was nothing more than a tempest in a teapot in the government's efforts to standardize—or weaken—Quebec culturally, politically, economically and socially. What contempt.
In 1999, there was nothing but contempt in the Clarity Act, which was full of rhetoric and ideas from unenlightened dictators, an act that ridiculed Quebec's democracy and the integrity of its National Assembly. What contempt.
Also in 1999, nothing but contempt in the framework agreement on the social union, which is crushing the aspirations of Quebec. This agreement was not validated by Quebec, it does not recognize the existence of the Quebec people, but instead recognizes the equality of the provinces as such, Quebec being considered just a province, a conquered territory.
This agreement recognizes Ottawa's right to spend and deal directly with organizations or individuals without consideration for Quebec's areas of jurisdiction, even if the matters involved are under Quebec's exclusive jurisdiction.
This agreement forces Quebec to concur with Ottawa on the development of new programs in areas under Quebec's jurisdiction and then to meet Canadian standards set by the centralist government.
This agreement obliges Quebec to report to the federal government on the management of various programs; there is, however, no reciprocal arrangement.
This agreement excludes all possibility of Quebec opting out with financial compensation if, given its uniqueness and responsibilities, it wanted to implement its own such programs.
The list goes on with Ottawa's persistent refusal over the past 40 years to negotiate the transfer of responsibility for culture, communications and telecommunications.
All this reflection engendered by Bill C-18 serves to remind members that they are building a highly centralized Canada, impotently united at the expense of a beleaguered Quebec, brought to its knees and constitutionally humiliated with the complicity of its own provincialists.
Quebec is a house. It is our house and we are very attached to it. It has walls—