Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague the hon. member for Vancouver Island North for this excellent speech.
However, there is one element of Bill C-55 which he did not address. This concerns students faced with bankruptcy. Bill C-55 proposes a change to the rules governing the bankruptcy of former students, since at present the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act says that persons reduced to bankruptcy cannot be discharged from a student debt if they are still at school or if they finished their studies less than 10 years previously. Bill C-55 would bring that period down to seven years.
The Bloc Québécois has for a very long time been committed, although more formally in its 2004 election platform, to abolishing the waiting period during which students cannot be released from their debts through bankruptcy. We believe that there are prejudices that cause certain persons to believe that it is easy to declare bankruptcy, even though we know that a judge has to rule on that question, and normally a judge would dismiss any far-fetched applications. There are also prejudices which hold that students are more inclined than other social groups to try and shirk their commitments, such as student debt. Yet no study has ever proven this.
Furthermore, the change from ten years to seven is very arbitrary. This bill speaks of seven years, but it could well be five. And why not four? Why not three? While we are at it, why not zero? So the Bloc Québécois could be expected to submit an amendment in committee to abolish this waiting period before students can include their education debts in a bankruptcy.
The hon. member from the Conservative Party said that all the parties here present have their hearts in the right place in terms of wanting to defend wage earners. Former students are also wage earners. I was wondering if the party represented by the hon. member for Vancouver Island North would forget about these prejudices and support the Bloc Québécois amendment that will be submitted in committee.