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House of Commons Hansard #85 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It being Thursday, I believe the hon. member for Wascana has a question.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the government House leader could indicate his preferred schedule of House business for the balance of this week and moving into Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

In view of the fact that it appears we would not have a Thursday question opportunity next week, could he give some indication of his plans for the period when we return on December 4, particularly as he has indicated that there will be a discussion in the House in the first two weeks of December with respect to the issue of same sex marriage. I wonder if he has yet been able to designate a specific time.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

3 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, in answer to the hon. member's first question concerning my preferred schedule, my preferred schedule would be a schedule where all government business gets expedited and passed in the next three weeks and have the other place return the bills that we have already sent them. That is my preferred option.

In any case, if that is not possible or probable, we will continue today with the debate on the Bloc opposition motion and tomorrow we will begin on the government's motion in the name of the Prime Minister, followed by report stage of Bill C-24 and Bill S-5.

We will continue with the business from Friday next week, with the exception of Tuesday, November 28, which of course will be the final allotted day. We will be adjourned for Thursday and Friday of next week, Mr. Speaker, as you may already be aware.

I can indicate to the hon. member that we will be proceeding with the motion that he referred to and we will get to it before the Christmas break. I will be continuing my discussions with House leaders of all political parties as to some parameters and to get some common agreement on the conduct of that debate.

The House resumed consideration of the motion and of the amendment.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Prior to oral question period, the hon. member for Papineau had the floor. Three minutes remain in the question and comment period after her speech.

Since there are no questions and comments, resuming debate, the hon. member for Lévis—Bellechasse.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my Franco-Ontarian colleague, the hon. member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.

We resume debate here today on a very important motion. It is understandable why I am so proud to show my support for the motion introduced by our Prime Minister. The motion recognizes that Quebeckers form a nation within a united Canada.

Before I go any further, I would like to clarify one thing. I must refer to a French dictionary because sometimes between French and English there are some things that are difficult to distinguish.

There are two French definitions of nation. What we are talking about today regarding this motion is that a nation is a large human community, mostly living in the same place, sharing more or less strongly historic, linguistic, cultural and economic links. This is what we are talking about today.

Of course, with respect to Quebec society.

The other nation is the one we recognize as a sovereign nation, which is Canada. Canada is a true nation in terms of a sovereign country. It is important to clarify that.

I would like to share something else with my fellow colleague. As a Québécois, when I feel respected as a Quebecker I feel even more Canadian. This is at the core, I would say, of the last 30 years of the sovereignist movement.

The aim of today's motion is deeply rooted Indeed, over the past 30 years, the sovereignist movement has grown out of disrespect for the very spirit of the Canadian federation and disrespect for Quebec's specificity. It is important to understand this. As long as we, as Quebeckers, feel respected within the Canadian federation, we will no longer necessarily feel the desire to leave.

It is not surprising that the Conservative Party is here today to properly represent and recognize Quebec's specificity. Why not? Because the Conservative Party fundamentally respects the federation, the spirit of Confederation. In other words, it recognizes that certain powers belong to the federal government and others belong to the provinces.

Often, if we really get to the bottom of things and ask sovereignists what they really want, they say they want to respect the spirit of the Canadian federation so as to ensure that the rights and privileges that belong to the provinces are respected. This includes education and various jurisdictions that are particularly vital to the protection of language.

I would also like to state that this exercise will help us to define ourselves as a Canadian nation as well. One of the fundamental characteristics of Canadian society is the distinct nature of Quebec. It is what differentiates us from Americans and other countries, for example. And it makes it possible to have a country where we can express ourselves in two languages. As a Quebecker who is also a Canadian, I am blessed by the fact that this distinct nature is recognized in the other provinces. Bilingualism is a good example of that.

Today, the motion tabled is based on a fact that I would like to highlight: Quebec's distinct nature is at the heart of the Canadian federation, and that is nothing new. It is nonetheless an important motion.

I would like to refer to the editorial in today's edition of La Presse, where Mr. Pratte writes that “the motion tabled yesterday by the Prime Minister...represents historic progress”.

Today, our Prime Minister is reaching out to all parties, including the Bloc Québécois, to obtain their support for this motion. If it is adopted, the Canadian Parliament will be giving unprecedented acknowledgement of the distinct nature of Quebec.

Today, a Conservative government has further shaped the Canadian identity by recognizing the distinct nature of Quebec.

Mr. Pratte continues:

This step forward is not an isolated step in a long series of failures, as the sovereignist version of our history portrays it. On the contrary, it is another step in an evolution that is very favourable to Quebeckers, despite a significant number of backwards steps and a great deal of frustration.

Thus, the relationship of the founding peoples is evolving and Quebeckers are finding enough space to develop and to achieve their prosperity.

Why do we have a federation here, in Canada? It is precisely to take into consideration Quebec's specificity. When we opted for that political system, back in 1867, we did not choose a unitary system. We opted for a confederal system, in which the provinces are responsible for certain jurisdictions. So, this respect for Quebec's specificity is at the core of the Canadian system.

Moreover, as we know, in Quebec we have notaries, and we use the civil law, which is based on the famous Napoleonic code. We also have school boards, and Quebec justices who sit on the Supreme Court. So, there are many examples which illustrate that Quebec is recognized and that it has its own place within the Canadian federation. This vision is fundamentally different from that of opposition colleagues, particularly Bloc Québécois members.

The Conservatives are proposing that the Quebec nation, that Quebeckers fully recognize themselves within the Canadian federation. We do not want the narrow vision of a self-centred nationalism but, rather, a federalism that is open, for example, to other francophone minorities across Canada.

I am taking this opportunity to salute the Quebec government for its initiative, for reaching out to the other francophone minorities and trying to provide support as well as a framework to these primary safeguards of the French language.

The real question today is: Does the presence of a sovereign party in this House help Quebec, does it ensure that Quebec becomes a more prosperous society? That is the real question behind today's motion. And we should ask ourselves that question.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please.

The hon. member for Terrebonne—Blainville is rising on a point of order.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I feel that the hon. member opposite is ignoring the real question, the real debate. He has just completely changed the subject and I ask you to call him to order, please.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I realize that the hon. member wishes to discuss the motion before the House, and I have heard nothing out of order up to this point. He has certainly asked another question, to which he clearly wishes to respond himself. The question may be relevant to the motion before the House. I don’t know.

We shall hear the hon. member. He must have the opportunity to conclude his remarks.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I hope that you stopped your stopwatch for these few moments of interruption.

What I am basically saying is that the motion before us today is in fact intended to recognize that Quebeckers form a nation within Canada. That is basically what I am saying.

I am also saying that, as a result of my presence within this government to defend this proposal, solutions can be put forward for the advancement of this recognition.

Consider, for example, the fact that we are committed to restoring the fiscal balance, or that we are committed to introducing effective means of combating climate change. I hope that we will have the support of my colleagues in the Bloc so that Quebec and Quebeckers can have a healthier environment.

I would also like to state—and it is important for me to do so—that every time Quebec has had sovereignist parties, it has experienced setbacks. The Quebec nation, if we can call it that, has undergone setbacks when it has had sovereignist parties. We just gave the example of the environment. What has happened over the last 13 years with sovereignist representatives of Quebec here in this chamber? There have been major setbacks. An explosion of greenhouse gas emissions.

I am proud to be a Quebecker and a Canadian. It is important to say in this House that one can be a Quebecker and a Canadian at the same time, and be both in the fullest sense. I think that this is a matter of mutual respect for our differences.

Quebec has a leading role to play within the Canadian federation. It is present and active. And like all Canadians, I think that we want to work to strengthen our federation while respecting the distinctiveness of each of the regions of the country, collaborating with our partners, and restoring the fiscal balance.

More than ever, I want to continue to help ensure that the collectivity of Quebec thrives within the government, and I will be happy to respond to questions from my colleagues in the House.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Thibault Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, first off, the member for Lévis—Bellechasse provided us with a definition he found in a dictionary, and I would like to point out to him the fact that his research was not very thorough, because I do not believe he is intellectually dishonest. He used only one definition that relates to a country. He did not use the definition that relates to people. I too can bring dictionaries into this House. I refer to the definition of the word “nation” in the Le Petit Larousse as it concerns people:

Large community of people, typically living within the same territory and having, to a certain extent, a shared history, language, culture and economy—

I would ask my colleague, the member for Lévis—Bellechasse, a Quebecker, why he left out this very important element?

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see that we refer to the same dictionary, because we have the same Le Petit Larousse. It is important to have the same references. We are talking about the same nation. I hope you will recognize the motion. Indeed, according to Mr. Pratte:

If they vote not to recognize Quebeckers as a nation within Canada, they will demonstrate that they are serving their own purposes rather than those of their electors. They will be betraying the interests of Quebeckers.

I invite my colleague to support the motion. We have an opportunity here in this House to unanimously recognize the fact that Quebeckers form a society within the country. I invite him to support the motion. It does not commit him to whatever follows. We would have thus unanimous support. All Quebeckers in this House will have the opportunity to support this motion.

I cordially invite him to do so.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his comments. I am an Acadian. My Acadian friends live in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, the Magdalen Islands, Louisiana, Maine, Montreal and across Canada. They are members of this people. We really do not define ourselves geographically, even though people think most Acadians live in the Maritimes.

I have friends who are Quebeckers, and Quebeckers form a people. They share a common language, culture and history. A number of them live where I do, in Baie Sainte-Marie. They are just as much Quebeckers as the people who live in the Lac-St-Jean region or other regions. They are members of the same people.

If this people is to be defined by the word “nation”, it seems to me that it would be ridiculous to limit that to a particular geographic location, when there are Quebeckers pretty well everywhere in Canada. It could be said that the people of Quebec form a nation within Canada. That way all Quebeckers would be included. Would it not be silly to consider a Quebecker less of a Quebecker than others and less of a member of the nation if he moves around within the country?

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank my colleague for his comments. The Acadians have provided great lessons of solidarity and have behaved like a great people in the past, in order to preserve their rights and their language. In Quebec, unfortunately, we sometimes tend to be a bit inward-looking. We have forgotten that some francophone groups needed our support to continue setting themselves free.

This is also something that is involved in this motion. When we talk about open federalism, we are thinking of minorities, regardless of whether they are anglophone or francophone, as long as they can support one another. We have to broaden our horizons. This is also what we are talking about when we discuss nationalism or open federalism. This is fundamental to today’s debate, and this is the reason why I invite my colleague to support this motion. Who knows whether later on there may be other motions that we can consider for other communities since these definitions will certainly apply to others.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of taking part in the debate on the motion tabled by the leader of the Bloc Québécois, which reads as follows:

That this House recognize that Quebeckers form a nation.

I do not have any difficulty in recognizing that Quebeckers constitute a nation within a united Canada. Where my speech will no doubt depart from those of the Bloc Québécois members is that I am certain that this same nation can develop and flourish within a united country called Canada. The proof is in our history.

It is impossible not to be struck by the major transformations experienced by Quebec in recent years, since that critical period that the historians quickly named the Quiet Revolution. It was with the team of Premier Jean Lesage that the Quebec of the early 1960s opened up to the realities of the contemporary world, making up in the space of a few years for a delay it had suffered in a large number of areas of activity, compared to other states and governments, which had already met the challenge of modernity. Quebec managed to achieve, in the space of a few decades—notably as far as the creation of development tools is concerned—what some countries and nations spent generations doing.

Today, Quebec is a modern state that, in the words of former premier Bernard Landry, would be the envy of the world. Indeed, Mr. Landry wrote in the newspaper La Presse, on October 27:

Our nation-state, even without full sovereignty, is even more powerful in some respects than many nation-states that are formally sovereign. Our state already possesses important legal and financial means to support crucial actions for our society in the fields of culture, education, social solidarity, the economy, the environment, justice, international relations and many others.

I have the feeling that this quotation will no doubt be used during this debate, and for an excellent reason. In seeking to demonstrate the merits of the sovereignist theory, Mr. Landry has proved that Quebec possesses the tools necessary for its development and its growth while operating within the Canadian federation.

In other words, Quebec, a modern society open to other peoples and proud to welcome them into its territory, profits from the benefits that result from its integration into the Canadian federation. At the individual level, Quebeckers, while forming a nation, enjoy the benefits that flow from possession of a double identity.

This state of affairs results from the flexibility of our federation, which recognizes the distinct character of Quebec. For example, education which is of critical importance for Quebec is an area of exclusive provincial jurisdiction. The Quebec civil code, which is different from the common law that prevails in the other provinces, is protected by sections 94 and 98 of the Constitution. The use of French, as well as English, is guaranteed in our Parliament as well as in the courts of Canada. While the Parliament of Canada can establish retirement pensions and supplementary benefits, this power is subject to provincial primacy, as a result of which the provinces are predominant, and which represents the constitutional basis for the Quebec Pension Plan and protects it.

In addition, other subjects related to the distinct character of Quebec fall exclusively within provincial jurisdiction, in particular, civil rights and property; the administration of justice and municipal institutions.

The constitutional protection that Quebec enjoys in terms of its identity extends to many other sectors, especially those relating to language, which are enshrined in the Constitution Act, 1982. Let us remember, however, that this uniqueness of Quebec is reinforced by the practice of a federalism that takes into account respect for other levels of jurisdiction and places an emphasis on intergovernmental cooperation.

These are objectives that our government intends to continue pursuing in the future.

There is no denying the prominent role that Quebec has played in building Canada and no one would even try in all good faith; it is equally true, though, that Quebeckers like all Canadians, have benefited from the advantages of being Canadian: a quality of life among the highest in the world and constitutional guarantees of respect for human rights.

Quebeckers have demonstrated after 139 years within the Canadian federation that the legislative and institutional tools at their disposal have enabled their language and culture to flourish and will continue to do so. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms secures the cultural future of Quebeckers by guaranteeing the linguistic rights of francophones at the federal level. The charter also guarantees that French and English are the two official languages of Canada and that they can be used in Parliament, before the courts, and in federal organizations. Furthermore, the right of francophones to an education in their own language is guaranteed everywhere in Canada, as is the right of anglophones in Quebec.

Quebeckers form a nation, but it must be specified that this nation is within a united country called Canada. Quebec’s distinctiveness is recognized and respected within the Canadian federation, and Quebeckers can be themselves within a country that they have helped build, from generation to generation, side by side with their fellow citizens in the rest of Canada.

In the open letter that he sent to our Prime Minister last October 27, the former Premier of Quebec, Bernard Landry, concluded by saying:

You must know in all honesty that you will then be confronted with the following question: why should the Quebec nation content itself with the status of a province in another nation and renounce its equality with your nation and all the others? That is still and forever a question of truth and elementary logic.

Truth and logic are on the side of history, and history reminds us of this reality: Quebeckers form a nation within a united country called Canada.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to see how aware the member is of what is going on in Quebec. Not only is he aware, but he has a special fondness for Quebec, of which he knows all the institutions by heart. He will be a choice candidate when we achieve our independence. He can apply for immigration and we will pay special attention to his application.

I would like to ask the member if he understands the fact that in the motion proposed by his party, Quebec is being boxed into a reality. The motion we are proposing does not say anything else but that we are Quebeckers and that Quebec is a nation, without any condition. The rest is all hypothetical. Right now, what the members opposite are trying to make us say is not at all what is in the motion. I want to know if the member fully understands that.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, what I do understand is that the Bloc Québécois refuses to acknowledge the truth. The truth is that Canada is a federation that works. It works because of our heritage, the heritage of a decentralized country, the heritage of a federation that recognizes the realities and specificities of our provincial and federal partners.

What we are saying to Quebec is that we want Quebec to have vitality as a province, but within Canada. We recognize the Québécois as a nation, but within a united Canada. We are offering them open federalism.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to make a few brief comments on the motion put forward by the Bloc before asking a question.

For the vast majority of my life I have lived in Nova Scotia. I grew up with a great appreciation of the Acadian presence in Nova Scotia and in Atlantic Canada. I considered Quebec to be a very dynamic, creative and exciting province outside of Atlantic Canada about which I did not know a great deal.

I then had the privilege of being elected leader of the New Democratic Party and coming to Ottawa in 1995. Over the last 10 years, I have developed an enormous appreciation of how very special and, in some ways, unique, the province of Quebec is within the Canadian family.

In order to fully appreciate that I think one must live, however briefly, in the province of Quebec and not just in the wonderful cities of Quebec and Montreal, but in the northern part of the province. I had the opportunity to live in the Lac-Saint-Jean area and Jonquière over a period of years taking brief French immersion courses.

When the member speaks about his support for a strong Quebec within a united Canada, which his government has expressed in the motion introduced yesterday, I wonder if he would comment on whether he sees ways in which the Canadian government could enhance the relationship between Canada and the people of Quebec through changes--

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member's question follows up on a theme about being Québécois and being proud to be Québécois, proud of our culture and of our contributions to Canada and wanting to remain in Canada.

My grandfather, also Pierre Lemieux, was born in Quebec City. My father was born in Quebec City. My father's family lives in the province of Quebec. We are not only proud of our culture and of our heritage, but we are proud Canadians as well. What this government is offering to Quebeckers is that they can be proud of their culture and their contributions, but they can be proud Canadians as well.

Quebeckers realize this. Quebeckers have fully participated in the founding of Canada. They have supported Canada, knowing full well that their unique heritage would be respected by this country. The vast majority of Quebeckers are rightly proud of their Quebec identity.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert.

I am very proud and pleased to rise today to speak to the Bloc Québécois motion asking that the House recognize that Quebeckers form a nation, to which we have been adding “within Canada” since this morning.

I feel like speaking from the heart about all that I have heard since this morning. I listened closely to the speeches by federalists as well as to those by my colleagues and, frankly and honestly, I have to say that I am stunned by the questions and discussions I have been hearing in this House on this matter. I have also been receiving since this morning calls from constituents, people who have made the democratic choice to elect Claude DeBellefeuille as the MP for Beauharnois—Salaberry. These people have elected a Bloc Québécois member, as have voters in 51 out of 75 ridings in Quebec. Even the member for Lévis—Bellechasse cannot ignore the fact that, once again, a majority of Quebeckers have massively and overwhelmingly voted for the Bloc.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

I will carry on, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday, after this motion was announced, the Prime Minister rose in this House and said he would not recognize the existence of a Quebec nation without qualification, that it had to be within a united Canada. As a federalist government still suffering from the Canadian mental block, the Conservative government felt compelled to diminish the import of this rather simple recognition, to the point of rendering it meaningless. The motion by the Conservative Party was different from the one put forward today by the Bloc Québécois. This is proof.

Why does the Prime Minister not support the Bloc Québécois motion? I received a call from a constituent this morning, asking why the Prime Minister was suddenly recognizing Quebec as a nation at this time of year, but did not do so when he was in Quebec City on June 24, which is Quebec's national holiday. Why today? One has to wonder. I have been asked the question. Is the Prime Minister forced to make a commitment because, today, the Bloc Québécois is again stirring discussions and debate in the House on such a simple issue?

Why is the Conservative minority government continuing to oppose the amended motion? I would say that the Conservative Party's motion is a trick. That motion is conditional, with no effect or consequence. It is significant that the Prime Minister did not provide us with any information yesterday about how his government plans to interpret this concept of “a nation within a united Canada”.

What is he promising with this motion? What does it mean? What will it mean in fact? Let us not forget an important statement the Prime Minister made yesterday:

Do the Québécois form a nation independent of Canada? The answer is no, and it will always be no.

The Prime Minister also said that yesterday.

The motion proposed by the Bloc Québécois today is straightforward, clear and simple. The Conservative Party's objectives are much less so. The government is trying to pre-empt the Bloc Québécois. Why? Because it is no different from all the other federalist governments that came before it. Conservative or Liberal, it makes no difference. They have a barely controlled terror of unconditionally recognizing Quebec as a nation. To their way of thinking, that would give ammunition to the sovereignists and would further their plan for sovereignty. The question is simple. Do Quebeckers form a nation?

The Conservative government opposes the Bloc Québécois motion because it asks for real, unequivocal, unconditional recognition of the existence of the nation of Quebec. Everyone, starting with the Conservatives themselves, has begun to dilute this motion.

We are talking about a party that held its caucus meeting in Quebec City on the eve of Quebeckers' national holiday, but could not even say the word “nation” in a sentence. The national holiday was not that long ago. It was in June, and now it is November.

Meanwhile, the Liberals are in turmoil in the midst of a leadership race where only one candidate has come out in favour of recognizing Quebeckers as a nation. If the Conservative government is as sincere as it would have us believe, it should accept the amended motion introduced by the Bloc Québécois, because this debate raises another interesting question: would the Prime Ministerreally talk about a nation if he had to entrench it in the Constitution? We wonder.

Next week, the Conservative Party will very likely vote against the Bloc motion on the grounds that it has already recognized Quebec as a nation. But Quebeckers are not fools, Prime Minister. They know a trick when they see one.

Opposition Motion—The Quebec NationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

An hon. member

Mr. Speaker!