Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to this bill. Because this is the first time I have made a speech since the election, I would like to greet my constituents, who, for the sixth time, gave me a mandate in this House with a wonderful majority. I cannot thank them enough. They can be proud of the job I will do, and I will work very hard for them.
We all know that an economic crisis like the one we are going through affects not only companies and municipalities, but all the men and women in Quebec and Canada. We asked that the budget include exceptional measures that we considered imperative and that all Quebeckers wanted. Instead, the government cut these measures.
The government cut $1 billion from our equalization transfer payments. Imagine how that will affect job creation, assistance for businesses and families and help for our day care system in Quebec. All that money from equalization transfers would have helped carry on all the wonderful work that has begun in Quebec.
But that money has been cut this year, and it will be cut in the years to come. The government is going to do everything it can to chip away at Quebec, in any event. Quebec will always be penalized, and that is unacceptable. The National Assembly had reached a consensus on this. The government has written Quebec off. I cannot wait to see how the Conservative members from Quebec are going to react during the next election campaign and how the Liberal members from Quebec are going to boast about this budget they voted for.
The securities commission is also a priority for the Bloc Québécois. There again, there is a consensus in Quebec. The government wants to create a pan-Canadian securities commission. Once again, they want to duplicate the work that we have already done. We do not need it in Quebec. We already have a solid structure in place; we have our own commission. Henceforth, we will be dealing with a commission to be headquartered where? Probably in Toronto; certainly not in Quebec. That is another budget item.
These are the two main reasons why we will vote against the budget implementation bill. But that is not all. There are a number of other factors at issue that are of grave concern to me as a woman.
There is the matter of pay equity. My colleagues in this House and I are not the only ones to have fought for it. There are so many groups of women who fought for pay equity. My mother fought so that one day we would have equal pay for equal work. That is not too much to ask. And now we will be unable to appeal to the courts; we will be prevented from having the same salary. In this House, as my colleague said yesterday, men and women receive equal pay. But that is not the case elsewhere. I have been in that situation several times. I have seen cases in my riding. You just cannot imagine. Women come to me to ask what recourse they have. They do the same work as a man but are not entitled to the same wages. Sometimes they have to work even harder.
This is an injustice that should no longer exist and one that the Conservative Party, once again, did not pay any attention to. It is unacceptable to take us back in time, unacceptable for women. With such a position, there will be fewer and fewer women in all spheres of elected activity—I mean municipal government, boards of directors, and at the provincial, even the federal level. Fewer and fewer women will want to get involved, because women are not recognized as equal to men. The battles will begin again, the same ones as 40 or 50 years ago, because our government is moving us back in time instead of ahead.
I can tell hon. members that my recent discussions with some women were in that vein. They were not interested in getting involved, because they would never achieve pay equity. This is an aberrant situation and one we will challenge.
There are some that say that people in the arts are living high off the hog. That is wrong, totally wrong. There is plenty of artistic activity in my riding. There are plenty of musicians and painters, and they do not have an easy time of it. They are really just living on the poverty line. What is more, they have just had funding taken away from them. These people travelled abroad often and I myself have travelled to Japan with a delegation of artists. I did this at my own expense in order to give them a chance to gain recognition and meet with Japanese artists. Now they will not be able to do this any more. Foreign artists will be encouraged to come here but our artists will not be encouraged to travel elsewhere. This is another aberrant situation. Are we going to just close up like an oyster?
There is another point I want to make. This Conservative government is taking a piecemeal approach. It has no vision for the future. There is a budget for two years but the measures it contains will not be renewable. I will not even address the Kyoto protocol. We can see that there is nothing in the budget to encourage sustainable development or the measures already in place.
In my riding, CEVEQ has been conducting studies on electric automobiles for 10 years, which is fantastic. They are studying vehicles from California and electric buses, things that we could eventually use here. The government is showing no willingness to make the environment a priority in this House.
I look at youth today—my daughter is studying architecture and the environment and is looking at the current potential to build green buildings and homes. We have extraordinary possibilities ahead of us, but the government is not doing anything to actually implement them.
Geothermal must also be studied. I was not very familiar with it, but my daughter explained to me exactly what it is. It is the future and so we must seriously consider it. It does not pollute. There are a number of products that do not pollute, such as solar and wind energy. Why are we not investing in these areas instead of, once again, investing in oil companies?
I was reading an article this morning in which the Conservatives said that Bombardier did not need the government's help. Ottawa is saying that Bombardier does not need the government's help. It is unbelievable. They just laid off 1,300 people. Bell Helicopter laid off 600. And yet we are being told that these businesses do not need help. We have to take a serious look at reality and react accordingly. The government has a role to play and it must do so immediately.
To conclude, we are against the implementation of this bill.