Mr. Speaker, today, we are going to debate Motion M-195 put forward by the hon. member for Brampton—Springdale. This motion concerns skills development, which is Quebec's responsibility.
The Bloc Québécois is denouncing the federal government's interference in an issue that is clearly within the purview of Quebec. There are currently loads of unprocessed immigration files. Out of the blue, the government found some money to include in this year's budget. I will quote the exact figures. On April 25, 2005, the government looked under the mattress and found $75 million over five years to accelerate and expand the integration of internationally trained health care professionals.
Speaking of health, many people in my riding received degrees or diplomas abroad. Canada made them all sorts of promises. They were lured to Canada with the promise of a job. Once settled in this welcoming land, the reality hit them, hard.
The government, which is loaded with money, should give some to the provinces. Matters pertaining to diplomas and degrees and to immigration are the responsibility of the provinces and Quebec. The federal government is creating an extra level of administration to manage those who manage the managers. Clearly, that is more interference on the part of the federal government.
In addition, $68 million over six years is earmarked to facilitate foreign credential assessment and recognition. Here again, the federal government is trying to interfere in and meddle with areas of provincial jurisdiction. The provinces have the necessary expertise to assess diplomas and degrees themselves.
We also have many immigrants in my riding of Compton—Stanstead. My office is located in a multicultural district with Serbs and Croats among its residents. In their home countries, these individuals obtained diplomas and degrees which have never been recognized here. I know that professional associations in Quebec have the standards and expertise necessary to recognize foreign diplomas and degrees.
The hon. member for Brampton—Springdale has said she wants to have a national program. This is not easy, since the conditions are not the same in all the provinces. My daughter is a doctor of chiropractic. The hon. member should know as well as I do that when a chiropractor moves from one province to another, he or she has to get a new licence. Health professionals are not licensed nationally but provincially. I know what I am talking about. If my daughter wants to practise her profession outside Quebec, she has to get special permission from the other province. If this were a national program, it would be chaos once again, but the federal government seems to like that.
Besides, under the Constitution, professional corporations are under Quebec's jurisdiction. It is in the Constitution Act, 1867. This is nothing new. It is right in the Constitution. I have not been a member of Parliament for a very long time, but I have realized this government does not seem to abide by the Constitution, even if the Liberals themselves wrote it in 1867, at a time when there were only two political parties.
In case anyone does not know what I am talking about, section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867, grants exclusive jurisdiction over education to the legislatures of Quebec and other provinces. Education and degrees are under provincial jurisdiction. One day, the federal government will understand that.
We also have section 25 of the Canada-Quebec Accord on immigration. It was not signed in 1867, but in 1991, only 14 years ago. What it provides concerning the reception of immigrants is clear. For those who forget, I repeat that this is section 25 of the Canada-Quebec Accord, which says, and I quote, “Canada undertakes to withdraw from specialized economic integration services to be provided by Québec--”
I hope the translation was well done so that people are able to clearly understand what this means.
Our dear colleague from Brampton—Springdale should talk to the member for Vancouver Centre. I will quote what she said:
The recognition of foreign credentials is a provincial responsibility regulated by provincial legislation, and many of the regulatory bodies subject to this legislation are also under provincial jurisdiction. The federal government cannot interfere and say what it wants done in this regard.
I would add that this is a federalist talking.
I think that there should be a consensus. In fact, one MP says one thing and another MP says something else. Ideally, everyone should agree. That would be best.
Also, by simply having discussions on professional associations signifies that Ottawa does not have the constitutional jurisdiction to legislate this area. All this could compromise the discussions underway between Quebec and professional associations in Quebec.
I do not know if it works the same way in the other provinces but, in our case, we have professionals handling these diplomas. As a result, interference—yet again—by our good old federal government could slow down a process already begun.
In order to make it easier for newcomers to participate, this money should be transferred so they could learn French faster. These people are here, they want to work, share their professional skills, explore and be full-fledged citizens in their new land. However, they face a language barrier.
Last year, some people came to tell me about funding cuts to language training. The fiscal imbalance is to blame. If it were resolved, many other things could be too.
The federal government is interfering in a number of Quebec's areas of jurisdiction. We are debating Motion M-195 on the recognition of foreign credentials, but manpower training is another area in which there is interference. The government also wants to keep the new Canada learning bond set out in Bill C-5.
Then, there is the child care system. The feds are in the midst of signing a pan-Canadian agreement on child care. Quebec has had such a system for over 10 years and has yet to sign anything. What a surprise.
Then there is regional development. Looking at the Summer Career Placement program, it is obvious that there is a movement of young people into the urban centres. One wonders why we still have regional development. As far as I am concerned, it is for urban regions. I also mentioned earlier the small amount of money that we were given for health, which falls strictly under the purview of the provinces. Infrastructure is another national farce. It is a responsibility of the municipalities and municipalities are managed by the Quebec government.
Moreover, they are busy enough without getting involved in the immigration sector. Immigration is very important in Quebec because it gives us a new vision and new knowledge. Quebec is already doing the work and doing it well. However, this takes time and negotiations. The federal government has just created another level of negotiation. In other words, it has just slowed the negotiations under way.
In closing, the Bloc Québécois will be voting against Motion M-195 because it basically deals with staff managing staff managing staff.