Madam Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to talk about Bill C-22, to establish the Department of Social Development. With all the questions and odd things heard recently, I believe it is very important to put certain elements back in their proper context.
When we say we are interested in obtaining the money we pay in taxes in order to develop the jurisdictions of Quebec and the provinces, we are not begging or asking for something that does not belong to us. It is about delivering services to the people policies are designed for, and not about duplication, encroachment, petty politics or the development of very complex, piecemeal programs within huge departments that duplicate public services. That does not help anybody.
I understand the NDP is having considerable difficulty with these data, because it thinks Ottawa knows best. It is not surprising that often, despite its sometimes noble objectives, it is so far removed from the heart of Canadians and so misunderstood by the public.
The New Democratic Party has the sort of vision that whatever comes from Parliament Hill and flows toward the provinces is a good thing. Rather than debate things where they have to be debated, they think that in the case of whatever is called local development, whatever comes out of the communities or whatever is done in the provinces, a short cut, a national standard, a national program, the great department will replace an integrated approach, proximity of services and provincial accountability. However, they are mistaken, and this is not the way to get support from people.
Maybe it is the way it is done in certain ridings on the west island, I do not know, but I have a hard time imagining someone in my riding saying: “I am suffering from my missing pan-Canadian program. It is hurting me. I have a big problem. You know, I never got my pan-Canadian cheque. I do not have my pan-Canadian day care. I have a fine Quebec day care. The people are nice, but it is not pan-Canadian. It does not have a Canadian flag, and my children are suffering. Public services are suffering too”.
I do not think so and I cannot imagine people asking me for a pan-Canadian system, duplication or Canadian day care over Quebec day care. I do not know how they do that. Do they want a Tim Hortons beside a Dunkin' Donuts? What are they trying to do?
If they are trying to help people in need, to undertake real social development, really increase resource efficiency, do they need to create department after department? Do they need to create little program after little program? Do they have to create things that already exist? Do they need to negotiate 10 years each time over financial compensation for day care and parental leave? Is that serving the public? I do not think so. Really, it is doing the public no service.
And what about the creation of the Department of Social Development? With respect to programs for people with a disability, yes, everyone supports virtue and opposes vice. We all like apple pie. However, we do not agree with having a number of cooks making different apple pies in different ways for the same person. In the end, it does not work. It produces bad results. It is expensive and cumbersome. So, the government wants to create Canadian departments, especially to promote its importance and not with a view to efficiency in areas of respective jurisdiction.
So, there is a fundamental problem because the federal government has spent more—the Comité Léonard proved this—in areas under the jurisdiction of the provinces and of Quebec then in its own areas of jurisdiction.
Given what happened with the HMCS Chicoutimi , the Halifax class frigates or the HMCS Toronto , would it not have been better to what it has to do instead of trying to do what others do very well? Why not apply this to post-secondary education?
I had hoped that this would be clear to the NDP as well in terms of Bill C-48. There is no need to duplicate departments responsible for education and standards. Why duplicate, why redo what is being done well? For the pleasure of saying, “I am in education too; I am in social development too” or for the pleasure of seeing the Canadian flag everywhere?
There was the sponsorship scandal; will there be a social sponsorship scandal? More money will be spent, less and less effectively, on regional development simply to show that it too can spend, even if it makes no sense, even if it has nothing to do with integrated management policies, even if it is removed from the public, and even if it causes both systems to fail. There is a will to centralize.