Mr. Speaker, the economy can be sick, somewhat as people can sometimes be sick. There is an illness that could be called “Dutch disease”. In an economy where natural resources are very important, if we do nothing but give them our full attention, the result is a negative impact on the rest of the economy.
As the Leader of the Bloc Québécois was saying in his speech this morning, it is very clear that the evolution of the value of the Canadian dollar has almost exactly tracked the increase in the price of oil. As a result, we have moved from a 65¢ dollar to 85¢ today, and the dollar was skirting 90¢ less than six months ago. This has forced our manufacturing industries to adjust very quickly, without being able to benefit in any way from an action plan of the federal government which agreed to making big profits off our natural resources, but found ways for the people who supported the economy and developed our manufacturing industry to continue to be competitive.
We have in hand a perfect tool for this. A unanimous report has been adopted by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. There are 22 recommendations, some of which concern sustainable development. Others concern businesses, to give them the option of accelerated depreciation. Others concern worker availability and intellectual property, to ensure that we escape this cycle whereby three months after people from emerging countries come here to visit us, they start producing at home what we were producing here. This has been raised by certain business owners. So there is a report in place. We hope that it is taken into account in the next budget. We shall see what comes of this.
However, the first thing we are demanding is that the federal government recognize that Quebec has practised development which takes into account the concepts of sustainable development, and that Quebec has to be supported in that direction. Quebec has a plan that is working, but it needs $328 million from the federal government so that it can achieve its objectives.
We would like to get this money as soon as possible, while we are part of the federal system. Currently, this is the way to get it. We must keep on asking for it. The Bloc Québécois is submitting this request to the House. No other party has this approach. I have not seen the Liberals say that Quebec has to be given $328 million, or the NDP, or the Conservatives. However we are able to do this, because we are elected by the population of Quebec to defend the interests of Quebec.
In the end, the clearest message is that, if Quebeckers controlled the entire toolbox, if they had all of their income taxes, in no way would they be forced to seek this $328 million from a government that is depending on another majority. Quebec could decide this in its national parliament, the National Assembly of Quebec. This is why the ultimate solution for the development of Quebec is to be found through sovereignty.