Mr. Speaker, under Standing Order 52, I wish to request that an emergency debate be held this evening regarding the absolutely disastrous situation facing the textile industry.
In support of my request, I would remind the Chair that, yesterday, 800 workers from the municipality of Huntingdon, in the riding of Beauharnois—Salaberry, that is 75% of the work force in this municipality, learned that they were losing their jobs on a permanent basis, either immediately or in the spring.
Thousands of jobs are currently at stake in Quebec, and the impact is very great. I will simply remind the House that there are 600 such jobs in Trois-Rivières, 600 more in Drummondville and another 800 yesterday in Huntingdon. Quebec is experiencing an economic crisis, as is the rest of Canada. Altogether, the number of jobs located in Canada is about 75,000.
So, I ask for agreement of the House to hold this emergency debate. Before we permanently and prematurely adjourn for the holidays, I believe it is important for members of this House to take a few hours to debate, with the government, the thousands of jobs that have been lost, as well as all those that will be lost shortly.
This is an extremely urgent matter. It is the result of a tragic decision that is affecting, among many others, the municipality of Huntingdon, where 75% of the work force is being permanently laid off overnight.
I think that, in keeping with the holiday spirit, parliamentarians will surely agree to spend a few hours longer in the House to hold this debate on the textile industry. That seems logical to me. We cannot deny this opportunity to those who have just learned the worst news anyone can get 15 days before Christmas, in other words, that they have lost their job and come to the end of their career. We want to question the government about this. No measures have been implemented yet to help these industries suffering from the loss of hundreds of jobs.
Mr. Speaker, I am confident that you will allow this emergency debate to be held, given the extreme urgency of the situation and also the fact that the House will not be able to consider this matter again before the end of January, when the House resumes. I am confident that the Chair will agree that our work, which normally would have continued until Friday, can at least continue until later this evening. In many cases, it is a matter of survival for the people of Huntingdon and others in the industry. We must question the government before the holidays.