Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to take part in the debate on Bill C-48, which sets out the agreement between the Liberal Party of Canada and the NDP.
This is an opportunity for me to condemn a two-part hoax. First, the leader of the NDP thinks he won points for the agreement set out in this bill. Second, the Liberal Party of Canada, through the current Prime Minister and with the help of the leader of the NDP, is inferring that this bill improves the budget, known as Bill C-43, which was totally unacceptable to the NDP and to us when we first debated and voted on it. We voted against it, as everyone knows.
Unfortunately for the Liberals, only the NDP truly believes that this agreement will do something for Canadians and Quebeckers. I saw the embarrassment of some NDP candidates in Quebec as result of this agreement. They had a great deal of difficulty understanding why, in exchange for so little, the leader of the NDP agreed to support a government that, clearly, according to witness after witness before the Gomery commission, appears to be led by a corrupt party.
Obviously the leader of the NDP and his MPs will say that they obtained $4.6 billion for social housing and the environment, among other things. It is all just smoke and mirrors. I will have the opportunity to easily demonstrate this.
I want to come back to the fact that the Liberal Party of Canada and the federal Liberal government specialize in this kind of hoax. Its other specialty, obviously, is believing that taxpayers' money belongs to both the federal government and the Liberal Party of Canada.
That said, I want to come back to this series of hoaxes. Unfortunately, I have just a few minutes, so I will not be able to name them all.
The 25th anniversary of the 1980 Quebec referendum on sovereignty- association is approaching. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Liberal Party leader who campaigned for the no side said, in the Paul Sauvé Arena “—we are willing to lay our seats in the House on the line—”.
With what result? A unilateral constitutional agreement that Quebec is not party to and has never signed, despite the fact that both the Liberal Party of Quebec and the Parti Québécois have formed the Quebec government. It caused a constitutional crisis that has yet to be resolved.
In 1995, in response to a question on sovereignty and a partnership with Canada put to him while he was campaigning for the no camp, Jean Chrétien declared his love for us, “We love you, stay with us”. I do not think he convinced very many people. He was nonetheless confronted with a very close vote on referendum night.
What came out of this great declaration of love by Jean Chrétien and the rest of Canada? The clarity legislation. While this does not make any difference, attempts have been made and continue to be made to convince Quebeckers that they are not the masters of their own destiny. That is another federal Liberal hoax.
During the election campaigns of 1997, 2000 and 2003, we were promised a massive overhaul of the EI system. Each time, the elephant gave birth to a mouse. I clearly recall that, in 2000, the member for Bourassa travelled to Jonquière, where the steelworkers were furious. Before this audience, the Liberals made the promise to carry out this reform if they voted for them. The steelworkers did not believe a word they said; they are clever, they realized it was a hoax. As it turns out, the Liberals did not do a thing.
They did the same thing in 2003. They carried out a mini-reform, adding $300 million to the program, when the surplus in the employment insurance fund was $46 billion. That money was diverted to pay back the federal government's debt. In fact, my colleague from Chambly—Borduas questioned the minister on that earlier. The minister recognized that this was a very complex issue. Why would it be so complex? The Liberals, who have been promising reforms since 1997, should know how long it takes to examine an issue. Committees have made recommendation upon recommendation. One more hoax.
I am sorry to say that the Liberal Party of Canada attracts primarily billionaires, be it as leader or as Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. I hope that, unlike the Prime Minister, the minister is not building her fortune on tax havens.
I can guarantee that I will conduct an inquiry into this matter.
During the last election campaign, at the leadership debate in French, the Prime Minister made a public promise to overhaul EI to make it accessible to the unemployed by reducing the number of qualifying hours. Nothing happened.
I could mention the foundations used to hide the surpluses. I could mention the equalization program, which was unilaterally amended, amendments that have cost Quebec dearly. I could mention the fiscal imbalance that only the federal Liberals, in Canada and Quebec, deny. I could mention supply management, which the government boasts about defending, while it lets in modified milk products from all over the world, thereby jeopardizing this supply management system.
I could also mention Kyoto. Major international commitments are being made, but there is no action plan to ensure that we will achieve the objectives we have committed to. What is more, this is going to hurt Quebec.
Today, we heard another hoax. Yesterday, it was announced that a $750,000 trust fund had been set up. On the one hand, we have learned today that this trust does exist, but that it does not contain $750,000. On the other hand, this amount represents a very small percentage of the dirty money taken by the Liberal Party of Canada. This trust fund is just an empty piggy bank. It is a small empty pig created, once again, to try to deceive Quebeckers and Canadians.
Today, there was yet another hoax in the shape of Bill C-48. It implies that the government is going to improve Bill C-43, the Budget Implementation Act, 2005, which was tabled by the Minister of Finance in February. The leader of the NDP must have been surprised when he realized that his agreement with the Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party was not attached in amendment to the budget, but was instead a separate piece of legislation marked Bill C-48. This means he will have to vote in favour of Bill C-43, although he voted against it at first reading.
I must say, moreover, that the only party that has been consistent since the start of this budget debate is the Bloc Québécois. Quebeckers know that. We were opposed to the budget from the start, we still are, and we will be tomorrow. The little amendments brought in with Bill C-48 will not convince us otherwise.
In fact, when one reads the bill, one can see as I have said that it is nothing but smoke and mirrors. I will therefore read an excerpt from Bill C-48.
Subject to subsection (3),...in respect of the fiscal year 2005-2006—
This paragraph says that all payments made by the Minister of Finance may not exceed $4.5 billion over two years. So:
subject to subsection (3), ... in respect of the fiscal year 2005-2006—
The same thing for 2006-07.
the Minister of Finance may... make payments out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund up to the amount that is the difference between the amount that would, but for those payments, be the annual surplus...and $2 billion.
This means that above $2 billion, if there is a surplus, the Minister of Finance will be authorized to use this surplus to comply with the agreement with the NDP. Well, last February, the Minister of Finance was telling us that there was no leeway and he had gone as far as he could go. Suddenly, he finds money. Over the last few weeks, he has discovered $22 billion for promises. This is much more, by the way, than what the leader of the NDP obtained. And why $22 billion? Because the government is under pressure to have an election. I must say that this has paid off much better for Canadians and Quebeckers. Half of this amount is going to Ontario. These are not election promises? It is totally unacceptable.
Earlier I described a bit the federal Liberals' propensity for hoaxes. The only thing that the government can do therefore—and knowing this, it will surely do it—is spend money all over so that there will not be a surplus if it does not want to comply with its agreement. And that will be completely consistent with the bill.
The leader of the NDP failed, therefore, to obtain any guarantees at all regarding this $4.5 billion. It also states in the bill that the maximum is $4.5 billion. For each point, it is the same thing.
Bill C-48 does not guarantee any improvements to social housing, absolutely no correction of the fiscal imbalance, and no improvements insofar as the Kyoto protocol is concerned. In view of its mandate to advance the interests of Quebec, the Bloc Québécois therefore has no other choice, in all logic, than to vote against Bill C-48, as it will also vote against Bill C-43. Thus it will demonstrate both its disagreement with and its lack of confidence in this government, which does not deserve to govern the country any longer.