Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Jeanne-Le Ber.
The Bloc Québécois is in favour of the NDP's motion. The Bloc Québécois will support this motion being debated today. The purpose of this NDP motion is to debate a subject that Quebeckers have agreed on for a very long time and that, for the Bloc Québécois, is restating the obvious. There is no doubt that the Québécois form a nation.
Since a nation has its own language, culture and territory, recognizing its existence implies recognizing its identity, values and interests as a nation. By recognizing the nation of Quebec, the House of Commons has recognized that Quebeckers have the right to control the social, economic and cultural development of Quebec.
Quebec is a French-speaking nation and not a bilingual province, something that should be made perfectly clear. It is all very well for the House of Commons to adopt motions recognizing the existence of the nation of Quebec and stating that it must have certain powers. The reality is that the federalist parties far too often oppose plans to grant more power to that nation. Just look at the Bloc Québécois bill to apply Bill 101 to companies under federal jurisdiction.
The Liberal Party of Canada opposed having Bill 101 apply to federally regulated businesses. Yet the member for Papineau recognizes that it is important for immigrants to learn French. He says that Quebec's goal of francization is legitimate and that the wording of Bill 104 simply lacked “subtlety”. “Immigrants to Quebec must learn French first and foremost,” he said about Bill 104, on which the Supreme Court of Canada ruled. Yet if he recognizes the importance of learning French, why did his party oppose the application of Bill 101? I am referring to the member for Papineau.
Recently, a Supreme Court ruling invalidated Bill 104 in Quebec with regard to bridging schools. What this means is that even in its own areas of jurisdiction, Quebec does not have full jurisdiction. This is one reason why many Quebeckers want Quebec to become independent.
It is important to remember that this is the reason René Lévesque refused to sign the Canadian Constitution in 1980: the National Assembly was losing part of its jurisdiction over education and the language of the Quebec nation, which is completely unacceptable. It is always dangerous when one nation's language laws are subordinate to another nation's laws and institutions. Quebec passed legislation to protect its language, and a federal institution has just decreased that protection. That is something we cannot accept.
For 20 years, Quebec has had a policy on integrating immigrants: interculturalism. But the federal government's insistence on imposing multiculturalism, an integration policy that is foreign to Quebec, is doing tremendous harm to the integration of immigrants to Quebec.
My colleague from Jeanne-Le Ber will have a chance to talk about this. The official language of Quebec is French everywhere, except when it comes to the federal government, which considers that there are two official languages. The Bloc Québécois asks that the federal government recognize and comply with the Charter of the French Language in Quebec in the Official Languages Act and comply with the spirit of the charter in regard to the language of signage and of work in related legislation.
At the risk of repeating myself, it is important to remember that Quebec is a French-language nation, not a bilingual province.
Also, since civil law and family law fall under Quebec's jurisdiction, the province should have full authority over family reunification.
The Bloc Québécois believes that since telecommunications and broadcasting are important to the future of Quebec culture, these powers must be delegated to the Government of Quebec. The Bloc Québécois believes that Quebec could create its own broadcasting and telecommunications council which, while complying with federal legislation, could implement its own regulations based on its own concerns and interests.
The recognition of a nation is more than symbolic, because the nation is where political decisions are made. Recognizing a nation means recognizing a political entity with legitimate political rights and aspirations.
That is exactly what Robert Bourassa said in the Quebec National Assembly when the Meech Lake accord failed:
—English Canada must clearly understand that, no matter what, Quebec is today and for all times a distinct society, free and capable of assuming its destiny and its development.
Unfortunately, most Canadians who thought that there would be consequences for recognizing the Quebec nation were opposed to doing so. The House will remember. It was 2006. Most people who supported it were quick to point out that it essentially meant nothing. That is rather appalling, since recognizing a nation means recognizing a people and an entity. It means recognizing that people have the right to take the destiny of their nation and of their fellow citizens into their own hands. It means recognizing that nation's needs.
Having independence and sovereignty means three things: it means creating one's own laws; it means collecting all one's taxes, all the money that is from the people for the people; it means signing one's own international treaties. That is what Quebec wants. It wants complete and full sovereignty.
By recognizing that the people of Quebec form a nation, Canada recognized that all the positions that the Bloc Québécois defends in the House of Commons are legitimate and appropriate. These positions include: respect for Quebec's distinct character; acknowledgement of Quebec values; settlement of the fiscal imbalance; full respect of Quebec's jurisdictions, which means putting an end to federal spending in Quebec jurisdictions; the end of Canadian nation building, which aims to create a Canadian nation and to weaken the Quebec identity.
In short, by recognizing the Quebec nation, Canada recognized that it was normal for Quebeckers to think about Quebec's interests first and foremost, which is consistent with the view of the Bloc Québécois.
The Quebec nation has a language, French. Canada must take that into account and adjust its legislation accordingly, including by making sure that federally regulated businesses are required to operate in French in Quebec, just like Quebec businesses.
The Quebec nation has a culture, the Quebec culture. Federal laws and institutions that have an impact on culture and identity must take that into account and stop trying to shove us into the Canadian mould as if there was only one nation in Canada, the Canadian nation, of which Quebec was only a regional component.
With our vision of Quebec and the integration of newcomers to Quebec, the Bloc Québécois is working, here in the House of Commons, hand in hand with the National Assembly of Quebec, not against the National Assembly and its decisions. We have a vision of a full-fledged society that is international in scope, a society that has aspirations, a society that welcomes immigration based on Quebec's needs. This vision of immigration, by the way, recognizes fully that French is the common language of Quebeckers.