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House of Commons Hansard #64 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was national.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Fitzpatrick Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address some of the comments of the Bloc members.

I want to make it clear that I am a provincial rights person. I think the Constitution of our country should be adhered to and followed. However, I want to emphasize this for the Bloc members.

Under section 91 of the Constitution, the federal government is given exclusive jurisdiction over something called trade and commerce. Every public company in the province of Quebec is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Unless I am missing something here, it is the only major public exchange we have in Canada. Why are Quebec companies listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange? They want investors in Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, Ontario and all other provinces to invest in their companies, which is a good thing to do. Companies need capital to run a business. I did not know the Bloc was back to the socialistic mentality of 50 or 60 years ago, but in a free market economy companies need capital. Those companies have freely listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange to raise capital and to grow and become good companies, which they are.

I have invested in many of these Quebec companies over the years. They are good companies, and I think it is a good thing. However, if I were a shareholder, and I have been one, I would object to having to put up with the inefficiencies of adhering to 13 provinces and territories, their regulations, their lawyers and the expenses involved in trying to do business. It is unnecessary.

Americans would shake their heads over this. They have one agency, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, that sets the rules for all 50 states. They have big capital markets. It is the place to do business in the world.

We want to do business in Canada and grow Quebec companies and other companies. Why does the member want to handicap Quebec companies by imposing all the rules and regulations from 12 other jurisdictions on them and pay lawyers and bureaucrats in Saskatchewan, or in Alberta, or in other provinces, to impose the unnecessary duplication of rules on the trading of their shares on one market? It does not make any sense to me.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to hear my colleague say that he is concerned about the provinces.

If he is so concerned, then he should listen to Quebec and the provinces. Positions were adopted unanimously by the National Assembly of Quebec, which said that it wanted to regulate securities itself. This system works very well.

As I said in my speech, according to the OECD, Canada has the second most efficient securities system. We are also a top performer when it comes to securities regulation. So why change things all of a sudden? There is no reason. Absolutely nothing about the Minister of Finance's proposal proves that the system would be more efficient if it was centralized. That is not true. The system works. My Liberal, or rather Conservative, colleague—

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

An hon. member

It is the same thing.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

In any event, they have the same centralist positions.

The member says so himself: he invests in Canadian companies and Quebec companies, and the system works. Good. I know that the system works well. We are going to keep our jurisdiction over securities.

As for the constitution, I believe that my friend should take another look at the constitutional legislation, because Quebec has jurisdiction over securities.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, the attempt of what we are discussing today is to make the regulatory system more efficient by combining and streamlining the different jurisdictions into a single window regulatory system. Businesses across the country do this. There is no reason why—

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

The hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé for a very short response.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat that this is one of Quebec's areas of jurisdiction. The current system is working very well across Canada, and the provinces and territories have their own securities legislation.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to speak in the House today about the Bloc Québécois motion concerning a national regulator. Earlier, a Bloc member said that there was only one party in the House of Commons defending the interests of Quebeckers. Unfortunately, I completely disagree. Obviously there is a party in this corner, the NDP, that defends Quebeckers, the working families of Quebec, just as it defends the interests of all Canadians. Also, it is not true to say that only the Bloc speaks on behalf of Quebeckers. The NDP also defends the interests of real people in Quebec.

I am taking into account the interests of ordinary people across the country as I speak to this Bloc Québécois motion. We have a problem with this Conservative government. We are the only party that has always been opposed to this Conservative government's program. First the Bloc Québécois supported the Conservative Party for a year and a half. Then, after the byelections last summer, it realized that it was not in the best interest of Quebec to do that, so it changed course. Now, it is siding more with the NDP. We are very pleased that the Bloc Québécois has recognized the NDP's leadership. Now the Liberal Party is defending and supporting the Conservatives' program.

We do not agree with the government's approach. When the government talks about creating a common securities regulator, it is trying to go beyond the regulation we should have across Canada to protect ordinary people from corporate fraud.

We know full well that in Quebec this system works well. We recently saw the trial of Vincent Lacroix. Quebec already has a serious system that can bring people to trail and sentence them for committing securities fraud.

Our problem is that we cannot trust this Conservative government. Two years ago, it took over power from the Liberal Party, which was involved in a number of scandals, as we know. Since the Conservatives have been in power, they have not taken any effective measures, they have not taken any measures to have a healthy system that protects Canadians. Our former finance critic spoke many times in this House about the Conservative Party's lack of commitment.

When the Minister of Finance talks about implementing a national securities regulatory mechanism, we do not trust him. The reason is simple: for two years we have been listening to the Conservative government talk out of both sides of its mouth. We heard this in matters of international trade, an area I am quite familiar with. We heard this in the softwood lumber issue. The government said it would do something in the interest of the softwood lumber sector across the country. Instead, it put a softwood lumber agreement in place that has cost 10,000 jobs across the country so far.

We also hear this double talk from the Conservative Party concerning NAFTA. They said they had no desire at all to renegotiate NAFTA, but then we clearly heard the Minister of International Trade speak openly with members of the U.S. Congress and say that he was quite willing to renegotiate NAFTA.

We hear this double talk not only in the area of international trade, but also in the budgets presented by this Conservative government. Every time, the Conservatives make it a priority to lower taxes for big business.

The Conservative government is now talking about establishing sound securities regulations for the entire country. Oh, sure. It has no credibility in this matter. It has not shown the least bit of interest in establishing a protective system or measures that would reduce the current amount of securities fraud. I will come back to this, because it is very important. The problem remains that the Conservative government cannot be trusted in this area. That is very clear. It did not take any of the steps that it should have taken and did not do its job. That is the main reason we will support this motion.

We will support it for another reason, and that is the principle of cooperation among the provinces and the federal government. This Conservative government rarely talks about it, but certain regions of this country, such as Quebec and Manitoba, have taken steps in the area of securities. At the same time, the federal government is not showing any desire to cooperate, discuss or negotiate in order to create a system. Unless we have an effective system, based on negotiations and cooperative federalism, Ottawa will always dictate what happens.

For these reasons, we cannot support the federal government's approach because it does not have credibility and it did not hold the usual discussions for a change of this nature.

I would like to go back to the Quebec system for a few moments. The National Assembly of Quebec clearly stated that this Conservative government's idea is not a good one. In this area, Quebec has clearly put in place a regulatory system that is more advanced than those found in some other Canadian regions. We should examine what works in the Quebec system and the possibility of implementing it in other regions.

The government chose not to do that. Following the Vincent Lacroix trial, it did not take note of how well the system works and it did not consider how to put such an efficient system in place elsewhere. It did not do that. It said that it would be the one to decide, even though this Conservative government does not have any credibility in this field.

A corrupt Liberal government was replaced by a Conservative government that promised to do better. However, particularly in recent months, we have been treated to the same types of scandals we saw under the former Liberal government. Nothing has changed. We now have the Cadman affair and NAFTAgate, the repercussions of which will be felt beyond our Canadian borders. Last week I was in Washington and people were talking about how that deliberate leak of information was totally unacceptable. This is another Conservative Party scandal.

I do not have the 60 pages of notes on the many Conservative scandals, but one example is the Elections Canada scandal where they tried to deliberately get around Elections Canada's rules to spend more than the legislated maximum amount.

Once again, in light of all of these scandals, can we trust the Conservative government when it comes to securities? I think not. Obviously, we cannot trust the government.

Those are all of the problems related to this issue. The Conservative government lacks credibility and, for the past two years, it has been behaving just like the former Liberal government. Nothing has changed. I bet that when the Liberals come back here—they are not here today—they will—

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

An hon. member

Oh, oh!

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Pardon me, Mr. Speaker, I should not have said that.

I will explain. That is why the Liberals always side with the Conservative government. Confidence in the way the system works is wanting, and there is a crying need for real change. Everything that relates to how the country is governed, to federal-provincial relations, and to how the government deals with real problems that people face every day is part of the approach.

We do not believe that the government will take the right approach. We think that when the government wants to regulate securities, it is actually trying to take power away from the provinces, who are doing an excellent job of regulating. The government wants to chip away at the security we have and give us a system that is worse than the one we have now.

These are the reasons why we are saying that essentially we cannot agree with the government's approach. Essentially because this scandal-ridden Conservative government now has about the same credibility as the former scandal-ridden Liberal government.

We cannot say we are going to give Conservatives a licence to impose securities regulations right across the country because we do not believe that they are going to act in the appropriate way. When there are other provinces, Manitoba and Quebec being notable among them, that have actually put in place an effective system, why would the government not try to cooperate with those provinces and build on that system, and do it in an effective way that actually brings us a better system? Those are the questions that we have to ask.

I would like to talk now about the measures that the NDP has already proposed because it is an important element to add to this debate today. The member of Parliament for Winnipeg North has brought to the House, a number of different times, important motions and important suggestions to the national government.

She has put forward proposals about the issue of corporate crime and cracking down on corporate crime. The government has not picked up any of the elements that she has been proposing over the course of the past few years. She has been a very tireless crusader for diminishing the level of corporate crime and yet we have not seen the government pick up any of the elements that she and this party have put forward.

We find it remarkably suspicious that the Conservatives might try to impose something nationally when they have not put in place the building blocks that we have clearly suggested need to take place as first steps to building that comprehensive support in securities regulations right across the country.

Here are some of the elements. We have talked about an increased and independent mandate for the RCMP-integrated market enforcement team. We have called for that, but we have not seen it actualized in any of the government proposals.

We have talked about bringing international standards to Canadian corporate accounting and law. We have not seen any action on that front.

We have talked about an examination of new laws here in the House that might prevent non-compete payments and we have not seen that action as well.

We have talked about, and the member for Winnipeg North has talked about, really harnessing the expertise of the Department of Finance, the Solicitor General, Industry Canada and other federal departments. The member for Winnipeg North has been talking about this for a number of years.

What has happened? No action, essentially no action regardless of the fact that this is clearly an identified problem in certain parts of the country. When we see the province of Manitoba introducing changes to its securities act rather than having the federal government pick up on that and improve it, we see no action at the federal government level.

I would like to talk for a moment about an article that was published last fall on this issue. It is by Greg Selinger who is the chair of the Council of Ministers of Securities Regulation. He is also the Manitoba minister of finance, one of the best financially managed provinces in the country. Of course, it is an NDP government.

I note that having analyzed over 20 years of NDP governments, along with governments from the Parti Québécois, Liberal governments and Conservative governments, the federal ministry of finance, after that longitudinal and most comprehensive study in Canadian history, gave A marks to the NDP. Most NDP budgets in the actual fiscal year-end are balanced.

We cannot say the same for the other parties. In fact, two-thirds of Conservative budgets were in deficit over that 20 year period. Not their budgets, not the political spin at the beginning but the actual fiscal period returns. They were in deficit. The only ones worse than the Conservatives were the Liberals where 86% of the time they were in deficit in the actual fiscal period returns.

When I say that Manitoba is one of the best financially managed provinces in the country, it is no surprise. The NDP simply manages money better. Why is that? It is because our origins are from the best financial managers in the country, the ordinary working men and women. They are the ones who must manage household budgets. They actually need to work every day to scrimp and save to do the things they do to raise their families and contribute to their communities. They are the best financial managers in the country, which is why the NDP, not the Conservatives and Liberals because they have no proof to point to, has been noted by the federal Department of Finance as being the best financial management party in the country. That is an important element to add. We can never forget that.

I will now come back to what the Manitoba minister of finance said in the National Post on October 26. He said:

Critics also try to convince Canadians that our securities regulatory system is enormously complex and expensive. In fact, as my colleague, Quebec Minister of Finance Monique Jerome-Forget, pointed out in a recent speech, direct regulatory costs and financing costs are typically lower in Canada than in the United States, and the Canadian system is as uniform and harmonized as the American system.

He goes on to say:

The provincial and territorial governments recognize that markets evolve rapidly, and that securities regulatory systems require constant innovation and reform. Since the Provincial-Territorial Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Securities Regulation was signed in 2004, the Council of Ministers has worked hard to implement practical and meaningful reforms, with considerable success. The Council of Ministers is committed to the passport system, which improves access to Canada's capital markets by enabling participants to deal with only one regulator and one set of rules. Moreover, it recognizes the fact that securities regulation in Canada is matter of provincial jurisdiction.

He concludes by saying:

The fact is that Canada has vibrant, healthy and safe capital markets with a world-class, well-performing regulatory system. Provincial and territorial ministers are committed to continuous improvement of our regulatory system and the competitiveness of our capital markets.... The federal government should respect our jurisdiction and support the passport system. That would send a strong and important signal to Canadians and to the international community about the true state of Canadian securities regulation and Canadian capital markets

The solutions lie in what the member for Winnipeg North has proposed. The solutions do not lie in the Conservatives' attempt to try to run roughshod over provincial jurisdiction and to try to give a special gift to their corporate friends. That is why we are opposing what the Conservatives are doing.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am quite surprised by this dramatic shift in policy by the NDP. It was only a few months ago that the finance critic for the NDP, the member for Winnipeg North, declared that her party was a large proponent of a common securities regulator. She, as the finance critic, openly admitted that Canada did not seem to have the toolbox necessary to deal with corporate fraud.

In May 2007, in a Toronto Star interview, she was quoted as saying that she was convinced of the need for a national securities regulator, rather than the piecemeal approach, the provincial approach.

Why has the NDP abandoned the position of its former critic of just a few months ago?

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the political spin of the Conservatives is quite funny to see. The member for Kitchener—Conestoga mentions a toolbox and then does not mention any of the tools that the member for Winnipeg North put forward that the Conservatives have refused to implement.

There is a whole variety of tools and I mentioned some of them in my speech a few minutes ago, as the member for Kitchener—Conestoga would surely have heard. We and the member for Winnipeg North have put forward a whole range of tools. Have the Conservatives used any of them? No, not a single one.

As the NDP is the only party seriously thinking about this issue, I would ask the Conservatives to please take our toolbox, use the tools and implement the program. They, of course, will not because it is very clear that they do not want a crackdown on corporate crime. Nothing in the Conservative government's record shows that it is serious about cracking down on corporate crime.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I must congratulate my colleague on his speech. There were a few sidetracks at the start, when he was questioning the paternity of the true defence of Quebec values, but everyone in this House knows that the Bloc Québécois proclaims this loud and strong. I will, of course, not deny, however, that we understand each other well on a number of issues. The proof, moreover, lies in the fact that the hon. member has said he approved of this Bloc Québécois motion and his party would follow suit.

I congratulate him for one thing in particular. He spoke of the Conservative double-speak and I would like to hear his reaction on that. In 2006, the Conservatives campaigned on a supposed openness toward Quebec and the provinces and spoke of asymmetrical federalism. This government used a number of terms. In fact, at that time it was not the government but it aspired to form the government. With certain symbolic gestures, this openness may have taken some people in. Today we know the true face of the Conservatives, and this is what I will question my colleague about.

Thanks to the Constitution, particularly in this area, Quebec and the provinces have the right to express their opinions internationally on the subject of securities. When someone wants to take away a power that has been given to a province, to Quebec in particular, by the Constitution, this is a backward step. One can imagine that it is worse for sovereigntists, but I am convinced that my colleague agrees with me. What the Minister of Finance wants to do at this time with his pan-Canadian securities commission is in real contradiction with this talk of openness.

Can the hon. member comment on this flagrant contradiction by the Conservative government, a contradiction that is totally unjustified and unjustifiable?

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, it appears as though the Conservative government is speaking out of both sides of its mouth. People, not just in Quebec, but across the country, were taken in by this double talk. They wanted to believe what the Conservatives were saying, but now they realize that the Conservatives are doing exactly the opposite. The member for Richmond—Arthabaska already mentioned this.

The Conservatives spoke about openness towards Quebec, and also proposed a securities commission. The commission would penalize Quebec instead of working with the Quebec government and with the Quebec National Assembly to find a way to improve the situation in the country.

Add to that the other existing tools that the NDP gave the Conservative government to fight fraud in large corporations. We gave them the tools. The member for Winnipeg North offered the tools, but the Conservatives refused to use them. They do not take this and many other matters seriously.

In the end, the Conservative government is acting exactly like the former Liberal government. It says one thing and does another, at the expense of the majority of Canadians.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my turn to congratulate my colleague from Burnaby—New Westminster. But I just want to remind members that the virtues he is attributing to his party are perhaps unwarranted. He said that we supported the Conservatives when it came time to vote.

When we supported the Conservatives during the vote, it was in the interests of Quebec. The NDP voted, with the Conservatives and the Liberals, in favour of a bill that was very offensive to Quebec, the clarity bill, which was sponsored by the current Leader of the Opposition.

Quebec remembers that. Furthermore, last year, my colleague from Trois-Rivières introduced a motion in this House calling on the House of Commons to recognize that Quebec should receive a fair share of economic spinoffs representative of the significance of its aeronautics industry. But once again, the NDP voted with the Conservatives against Quebec.

Quebec has made its feelings known about the withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan, because 70% of Quebeckers are opposed to our being there. The NDP voted against the motion to end our mission in Afghanistan in 2009, which extended our mission to 2011. If they had voted with us, the mission would not have been extended to 2011.

We are happy that they have finally had a moment of clarity when it comes to Quebec, but will our NDP friends realize that they have also spoken out of both sides of their mouths and actions for Quebec have been contradictory? It is time for them to join forces with the Bloc Québécois to defend the values and interests of Quebeckers.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, despite my fondness for the hon. member, I would like to clarify a few things. The Bloc Québécois wanted to extend the mission in Afghanistan until 2009, as though it were a value espoused by Quebeckers. We, however, said no. We said that an immediate withdrawal was needed. I do not think that the Bloc was really reflecting the interests of Quebec at that time.

Now, for two budgets and two non-confidence votes, the Bloc has supported the Conservative Party, regardless of what the Conservatives were doing to Quebec and regardless of the fact that the Bloc obtained nothing. The Bloc Québécois supported the Conservative Party. That is why, two years later, the Conservatives are still here and able to wreak havoc in Quebec and elsewhere in the country.

The Bloc Québécois made its biggest mistake in the softwood lumber file. I am sorry, but there are thousands of people in Quebec who have lost their jobs because the Bloc supported the Conservative Party. These people are in Abitibi, Saguenay, and Mauricie. These people lost their jobs because the softwood lumber agreement was a big trap for Quebec and for the softwood lumber workers in this country. The Bloc should have continued to defend the principle that it defended in the summer of 2006. At that time, the critic for international trade, the hon. member for Joliette, said he was against the softwood lumber agreement. However, the Bloc Québécois changed its position, which cost thousands of jobs in Quebec. So I am sorry but despite my fondness for the member, I cannot accept what he is proposing.

Actually, it is the NDP that supported the interests of Quebeckers in this Parliament. Sometimes the Bloc joins us, which is even better, but sometimes the Bloc Québécois has false starts and supports the Conservative Party. We all know how that turns out. It is too bad.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will start by commenting on that last answer, because we just heard a typical answer from the NDP, to the effect that “Ottawa knows best”. A member from British Columbia is telling us that everyone in Quebec was wrong. Everyone asked the Bloc Québécois to support the softwood lumber agreement: unions, employers, the National Assembly. The feeling was the same all across Quebec. If you had come to Quebec, you would have known that everyone supported that agreement. It was far from perfect—

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

Order, please. I would like to remind the hon. member to avoid using the second person and concentrate on using the third person. In addition, I think he will want to know that, contrary to what he may have been expecting, instead of having 20 minutes to give his speech, he will have 10 minutes. He therefore has 10 minutes to make his comments, because, unfortunately, I will have to interrupt him at 5:15 p.m. to put the question.

The hon. member for Jeanne-Le Ber.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, that does not present a problem. I will proceed as quickly as possible. However, what the hon. member said needed to be corrected, just like the Afghan mission.

We need to get serious, forget about all the speeches and focus on actions. There have been votes. There have been three votes on this issue. On three different occasions, we have had to choose between extending and not extending the mission. When the first vote was held, on a motion to extend the mission, the Bloc, like the NDP, voted against extending the mission until 2009. But some Liberals voted for the motion, which meant that the mission was extended for a second time.

A second vote was held in this House on a motion not to extend the mission. The Bloc Québécois was consistent and obviously voted for the motion not to extend the mission. The NDP saved the government by voting against that motion to end the mission.

Now, the NDP can trot out all sorts of political and strategic arguments to justify its actions, but it used the wrong strategy, and because of its partisan interests, the Liberals are now supporting the government on extending the mission until 2011. The NDP can claim they were using partisan strategies, but when they come up with strategies and make a mistake, then maybe their strategists are not as good as all that.

But I digress. I could also have talked about the Clarity Act. For a party that calls itself the New Democratic Party, it is extremely paradoxical, shameful even, to vote for an act that basically denies Quebeckers the right to make their own decisions about their future—a right recognized in all international conventions, the right to self-determination. Until the NDP apologizes for this, it cannot claim to be defending consensuses reached in Quebec. Today, of course, it is supporting one of those consensuses.

I should take a moment to catch my breath. I got a little angry as I listened to what my NDP colleague had to say. I am sure that all Quebeckers who were listening to us got angry too—at least, many of the Quebeckers around me did.

That consensus was loud and clear in the National Assembly, where the following motion was unanimously adopted:

That the Assembly ask the Federal Government to abandon its Canada-wide securities commission project.

That seems pretty clear to me:

That the Assembly ask the Federal Government to abandon its Canada-wide securities commission project.

It is so simple that I think even a Conservative member might be able to understand it. Even Conservative members from Quebec can understand it. The Liberals might even understand it. Of course, they would have to be awake and alert enough to understand what people are saying.

Quebeckers elected 125 members to represent them, and these representatives have asked the federal government not to go ahead with this project. We got an answer this morning. I listened to the Minister of Finance speak with the sort of pathetic paternalism that borders on contempt when, much like the NDP did earlier, he told us that everyone in Quebec is wrong. The 125 members of the National Assembly do not know what is good for Quebec. Quebec's chamber of commerce does not know what is good for Quebec either. Unions do not know what is good for Quebec. Editorialists and political observers—all those people—are wrong because the Minister of Finance is the one who knows what is good for Quebec. He only wants what is best for us. And he will end up taking away the best of everything we Quebeckers have.

This type of arrogance was to have disappeared with the election of the Conservative government. For years, the Liberals as well as the NDP— with their comments on softwood lumber, such as those we just heard—have been taken to task for this attitude.

The Conservatives had promised Quebeckers that they would stop interfering in Quebec's jurisdictions. It was supposed to have been the end of Liberal arrogance, but it has persisted. In only two years, the Conservatives have learned many lessons, after observing the Liberals over the course of 13 years.

It is unacceptable that the promise made to Quebeckers has not been kept. It will be even more regrettable when Quebec MPs vote against this motion tonight. It is absolutely shameful. Tonight, they will choose between voting against their party or voting against Quebec. They will vote against the Quebec nation. If I am wrong, I will admit it in this House. However, I am convinced that these members will choose to vote against Quebec. This evening we will watch the Liberal and Conservative members from Quebec vote against this motion. Only the Bloc Québécois steadfastly defends Quebec. It does not do so occasionally, like the NDP; it does not do so from time to time, like the Liberals; and it does not do so by accident, like the Conservatives. Only the Bloc Québécois members always defend Quebec.

For 13 years, the Liberal members of Parliament from Quebec rolled over and toed their party's line. They always preferred voting against Quebec to voting against their party.

The Conservative MPs strut around Quebec saying they have recognized the Quebec nation. What is that recognition worth if they promote a position that goes against a unanimous decision of the National Assembly of Quebec? How can they claim even for a minute that they represent Quebec when they vote against a motion like the one before us today, which represents a consensus in Quebec?

Earlier I said that everyone in Quebec was against the government's bill to create a national commission. It was rather paradoxical to hear the minister talk this morning about national standards and the need for a national voice. What nation is he talking about? I thought we were told in this House that Quebeckers formed a nation. Will these Quebeckers have their voice within this federal agency? Of course not. That is why everyone in Quebec is opposed to this plan.

Everyone in Quebec is opposed to this plan, except 20 or so Liberal and Conservative MPs who will vote against this motion, unless I am wrong. Believe me, that is my greatest wish. I hope I am wrong. I hope that when the time comes to vote, all the MPs from Quebec, Liberal and Conservative alike, will say enough is enough. The National Assembly, the assembly of the nation of Quebec which represents all Quebeckers, unanimously passed a motion. I hope that, as members of the House of Commons who represent the nation of Quebec—as unanimously recognized by the House—they will put aside their party lines and their partisan interests. I hope they will stand up and vote in favour of the Bloc Québécois motion and thereby respect the areas of jurisdiction of the National Assembly and the nation of Quebec.

I see that I have to end my presentation. I would have been pleased to answer a few questions. The Liberal and Conservative MPs from Quebec still have 15 minutes left to accept the arguments of the National Assembly of Quebec and its unanimous motion.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

It being 5:15 p.m., it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the business of supply.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Royal Gallipeau) Conservative Royal Galipeau

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

All those opposed will please say nay.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.