Mr. Speaker, I will try to answer the member's question in two ways. First he says that if we were to add a room on to a house would that not be improving it. It could. However what is happening with our university infrastructure is that the foundation is crumbling and the walls are caving in. The libraries and laboratories in our universities are in trouble because of the lack of investment. The walls are falling down and the roofs are leaking.
Would this be the wisest investment? Yes, we could add a room but is it the wisest investment to add a room when the educational infrastructure is in such desperate shape?
My second comment may be perhaps more persuasive for the member. I probably will not do justice to André Lareau from Laval University when I quote him, but I want to remind the member of what this Quebec expert said on Bill C-5 in pleading for it to be set aside. He said:
However, one of the objectives of the tax system is to distribute wealth fairly. How can we justify a government financial assistance program that targets the well-off members of society?
To summarize, richer families are the big winners in the income splitting that results from the education savings plan. Furthermore, they benefit from these amounts because their children are less likely to have to work. We have a double impact that benefits upper income families.
I would not have thought that would be the position of the Bloc. I say, with no reservation and no hesitation, that one of the reasons that it is so shocking to see the Bloc supporting this flawed bill is that in the province of Quebec, under both Liberal and Péquiste governments, there has been an understanding of the comprehensive approach that is needed. In fact, we have the asymmetrical educational measures taken in Quebec, an approach that goes in the opposite direction to this one.
I hear in this member's question the same thing I am hearing, and dismays people so much, is that is it not better to do something than to do nothing. It is not better if the choice we are making of the something is the wrong choice, that there are other things that are more important in both the short term and the long term and certainly in the medium term to which the educational dollars ought to be directed.
I make that plea again, particularly for the Bloc members because I think Quebec, I do not want to go over the top here, has closer to a model of what is needed in the rest of the country. The only thing that has interfered with Quebec governments, the previous Péquiste government and the current Liberal government, from doing an even better job on supporting the educational needs of students, particularly access to post-secondary education, is the fact that the federal government still has not even replaced the massive unilateral cuts that it introduced, starting with the so-called 1995 budget.
I do not know why the Bloc would be voting for this bill.