Mr. Speaker, I will tell my hon. colleague that during the debate even his former leader finally recognized the existence of what we call the so-called fiscal imbalance. He said this publicly during the debate.
There is indeed a fiscal imbalance. There is the Ontario proposal and the series of proposals which will also be made by many other provinces. According to the Séguin report, ultimately, there is too much money in Ottawa for its responsibilities and not enough in the provinces and in Quebec for their own responsibilities and jurisdictions. To be clear, the main budget items are health and education. But the provinces do not have the resources to deal with these.
Equalization must be reviewed on the basis of the ten provinces, and not just five. Non-renewable natural resources must not be excluded, something which would cost Quebec some $650 million. We must be very clear on this subject.
All of the indices have to be considered. Then we must agree on an equalization policy that is fair, remembering that if certain provinces are receiving equalization, it is often because they have not received the necessary industrial investment.
A dollar invested in equalization may be equal in terms of quantity to a dollar invested in industrial policy, but it is not equal in terms of quality.
From 1970 to 2000, $66 billion was invested in oil, natural gas and coal; Quebec paid for about a quarter of this. In the nuclear industry, it was $6 billion; Quebec paid for nearly a quarter. For example, Ontario Hydro operates with nuclear energy. We therefore paid for a quarter of Ontario Hydro’s development, while Hydro-Québec did not receive a penny from Ottawa. Over the same period, $72 billion was invested in natural resources unrelated to Quebec, and $329 million was invested in clean energies, with not a penny to Hydro-Québec.
So this is the discussion we need to have, and I urge the government and the entire House to have it.