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House of Commons Hansard #60 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was financial.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I believe that this is the most blatant proof that the Bloc Québécois members are the only ones uncompromisingly defending Quebec's consensus and the National Assembly's unanimous motions. We do not ask if it will be bad for such and such a group. We are here to serve certain interests and we will not compromise on that. It is sad to see that the Quebec members from the national parties are sometimes forced to compromise just so they can keep their seat in the Conservative caucus.

However, in the end, the voters will decide. If I were in the same situation as many of them, I would look ahead and see that the future does not look promising. Many of them will lose their summer job.

Message from the SenateGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order. I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed the following public bill to which the concurrence of the House is desired: Bill S-203, an act respecting a National Philanthropy Day.

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra, Access to Information; the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, Persons with Disabilities.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me an opportunity to respond to the motion presented by the member for Hochelaga.

The Bloc Québécois' finance critic has the right to express his point of view on a Canadian securities regulator, but he cannot twist the facts to suit his purposes, which is something he does very well.

This is not the first time that an opponent of a Canadian securities regulator has quoted the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) selectively to back up his position.

The OECD supports creating such a body in Canada. In its survey of Canada, it said the following:

The current diversity of regulations—for example, each province has its own securities regulator—makes it difficult to maximize efficiency, and increases the risk that firms will choose to issue securities in other countries. A single regulator would eliminate the inefficiencies created by the limited enforcement authority of individual provincial agencies,

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) noted the following in its report on Canada: 2009 Article IV consultation.

A federal regulator could coordinate more readily with other regulators in monitoring risks and responding quickly to a crisis, and could also have an enhanced focus on the issues that securities markets may pose for national financial stability.

If the Bloc Québécois finance critic refuses to acknowledge what the IMF and the OECD have said, then he should at least listen to Earl Jones' victims, who also agree with this proposal. Joey Davis, the spokesperson for Earl Jones' victims, stated that they support the Minister of Finance's initiative and that he wants Mr. Bachand and Premier Jean Charest to work with Ottawa instead of against it.

Canadians know that we are going through tough times, and they want the government to do everything it can to ensure the country's stability and economic growth, which is exactly what our government is doing very well.

We all know that in 2007 and 2008, the global economy was on the brink of disaster for reasons that were not under Canada's control and were due primarily to bad decisions made in the United States. The stock markets plunged and many multinational banks went bankrupt, only to be saved by the state, or in other words, by taxpayers.

The turmoil that the capital markets were thrown into around the world has had a real impact, and not just on prosperous bankers and fund managers. Whether it was small investors, retirees or families setting money aside for the future, everyone felt the effects of the crisis when the value of investments like RRSPs and mutual funds literally collapsed.

During the global crisis, access to credit became the main problem facing Canadians. After all, if families and households could not obtain the financing they needed, Canada would be unable to promote the strong growth needed to get out of the recession.

That is why the government created a $200 billion extraordinary financing framework to facilitate access to financing for Canadian households and businesses during this extremely difficult period.

This was a robust initiative with several components. Under the framework, we launched the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to respond to the global credit crisis. We expanded financing support through two Crown corporations: Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

We also established the Canadian Lenders Assurance Facility (CLAF) and the Canadian Life Insurers Assurance Facility (CLIAF), which are both designed to help Canadian financial institutions gain access to global credit markets by providing loan guarantees similar to those offered in other countries.

This speedy and energetic response meant that Canadian banks and other financial institutions remained very solid, well capitalized and less dependent on leverage than their foreign competitors. Clearly, our plan has worked.

Today, global capital markets are relatively stable, and the Canadian financial system is on solid footing. The World Economic Forum considers our banks to be the most solid in the world. We can be proud of this.

However, there is a major flaw in our system that the global economic crisis brought to the forefront: Canada is the only industrialized country that does not have a single securities regulatory authority.

The debate about creating a Canadian securities regulatory authority has gone on for years. In 1935, the Royal Commission on Price Spreads recommended that a national securities commission be created. Since then, Canadian and international studies have recommended that a single regulatory body be created.

Unfortunately, things have changed little over the decades. The result is that our country of 34 million people has 13 regulatory agencies, 13 sets of rules and 13 fee schedules. In a world characterized by the interconnectedness of capital markets, where investors can invest billions of dollars virtually instantaneously, we have to lower barriers rather than raise them.

International organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development believe this fragmentation is a major flaw in our system. And the government is taking measures to remedy that flaw.

Creating a Canadian securities regulatory body was a key commitment in each of the budgets we have introduced to date. Working with the provinces and territories, we were the first to call for a more efficient and simpler system of securities regulation. And today we are closer to the goal than any government that came before us.

Since the 2006 election, the government has been preparing to establish a Canadian securities regulatory body. We have made more progress than all of the previous governments.

In February 2008, the government established the expert panel on securities regulation, tasked with providing independent recommendations and advice to federal, provincial and territorial ministers on how best to improve securities regulation in Canada.

According to the expert panel's final report:

While the terminology has differed over the years...the conclusion of virtually every study has been the same: Canadians are ill-served by such a balkanized system. It is worth noting that Canada is the only developed country without a national securities regulator.

In July 2009, we announced the creation of the Canadian Securities Transition Office, with the mandate to lead the transition to a single Canadian securities regulator and to develop a proposal for draft Canadian legislation to be known as the securities act.

In collaboration with the 10 participating provinces and territories, the transition office has developed a draft Canadian securities act. It is presently preparing a comprehensive transition plan and will soon begin to develop the regulations and procedures that will accompany the draft securities act.

The Bloc must know that a few months ago the government of Quebec decided to make a similar referral to the Quebec Court of Appeal.

It is therefore appropriate for the Government of Canada to refer the matter directly to the highest court in the land in order to obtain a definitive decision on the constitutional power of the Parliament of Canada to legislate in this area.

Benoît Pelletier, a professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa, who was the Quebec minister of Canadian intergovernmental affairs from 2003 to 2008 says that “deciding to ask the [Supreme] Court for an opinion is just and fair in my opinion“.

I believe this measure is raising concerns in Quebec. I can tell you that, over the years, studies have consistently shown that having 13 regulatory bodies, 13 sets of officials and 13 legal standards, let alone all the attendant paper shuffling and red tape, causes very high costs for companies all over the country, including those in Quebec. Those costs will go down when all these various regulatory bodies have been combined into one.

To draft the legislation, the government already had the firm support of the provincial-territorial advisory committee made up of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut. We thank them for their vision and their desire to create a better system.

The proposed Canadian securities act that resulted from their efforts will lay the foundation for a new Canadian securities regulator, which will provide better and more consistent protection for investors across Canada. Furthermore, it will also improve regulatory and criminal enforcement in order to better fight white collar crime. People who commit securities fraud will face a stricter, more thorough system, and more importantly, one that is easier to enforce.

More specifically, the proposed legislation will cover securities-related offences currently covered by the Criminal Code, including securities fraud, market manipulation, insider trading and misrepresentation of the facts. And these provisions will apply across Canada.

At present, provincial securities regulators hand nearly all cases over to the police for investigation any time criminal conduct is suspected. Giving the regulatory body the opportunity to investigate these crimes will allow it to take on a role that complements that of the police, bringing in new expertise, providing additional resources and increasing the field staff in order to combat securities-related crimes.

The proposed legislation also gives new powers to gather evidence in order to reduce the time and resources needed to investigate securities-related crimes. In short, a Canadian securities regulator will have the mandate, structure and powers needed to intervene on a national level. We will fill in the gaps. This is a major step forward for Canadian investors.

The legislation will also establish new powers to gather information from market participants in order to ensure financial stability.

The provinces, including Quebec, could choose to continue with their own securities regulator. I will repeat that because it is important: the provinces, including Quebec, could choose to continue with their own securities regulator. We will respect the jurisdiction of the provinces that choose not to take part and we will continue to invite them to contribute to setting up a better system.

The Government of Quebec could very well decide to keep its own securities regulator, but we hope it will embrace the wisdom behind creating a new Canada-wide regulatory body, especially given the interconnectedness and the great complexity of modern capital markets.

With the proposed Canadian securities act, the government has taken a significant step toward filling a major gap in our system and ensuring that our securities regulatory system serves as an example, as our financial system does, to the international community. I hope that all the provinces and territories will eventually see the benefits of these efforts and will work with the Government of Canada on implementing a Canadian securities regulator.

In closing, I would like to come back to a statement by Marcel Boyer, vice-president and chief economist of the Montreal Economic Institute and Bell Canada professor of industrial economics at the University of Montreal:

A single securities commission with a strong regional presence would favourably resolve the complex issue of regulating securities in Canada: keeping decentralization beneficial, where businesses remain free to deal with either office, while providing regional or industrial entities with a strong voice within a single national body that defines and applies uniform standards and regulations. With decentralized non-exclusive offices [again, non-exclusive offices] that are nevertheless able to influence for the better, a single securities commission would promote innovation and efficiency in terms of financial market regulation while at the same time ensuring de facto mutual recognition of regional sensitivities and distinctive features.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, for a former printer, a missing character makes a bad impression. I hope he will get over it. He will need to when he returns to his trade after the next election.

He did manage, though, to read his text reasonably well. I would like to point out to him that he admitted that Canada came to the help of the banks, something the government has always refused to say. He also mentioned EDC and said that Canada had set up insurance facilities and loan guarantees. So it was part of the system.

He said we have to reduce barriers. But there are no barriers now. The passport system means there are no longer any barriers. Fifteen years ago, there were 13 different commissions and 13 sets of rules and regulations, but that is no longer the case. He said very clearly that his government would not respect Quebec passports. It is the government, therefore, that is erecting barriers.

When he goes back to his business and wants to issue securities, he will need to have his passport in Quebec but will not be able to go abroad, to Canada, to find financing, whereas he can now.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Hochelaga is a very good actor. If he were in the Gala des Olivier in Quebec, I am sure he would win some incredible awards. He is a fabulous actor, not just in the House but also in committee. I really must congratulate him because he is really very good.

The member for Hochelaga is trying to make Quebeckers think that, being in Canada, we would not be winners if we were on a national leveraging effect. I would like to draw to his attention, though, that until there is evidence to the contrary, Quebec is part of Canada, to the great annoyance of the Bloc members here today. Quebec must therefore respect the other Canadian provinces that want to be part of a regulatory system like this. Every province can choose whether to be part of the system or not. We say it over and over: the system is not being imposed. In return, the other provinces must also show respect for Quebec. That is why the government plan is a voluntary one.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member who just spoke is at odds with his fellow Conservative finance minister from Alberta, Ted Morton, who is asking what Ottawa is trying to fix that has not already been addressed or could not be fixed within the current passport system.

Why is the Alberta finance minister asking questions about why it is that we have gone through 10 years of harmonization efforts to create a passport system that is working very well? Why is he saying that the Canada passport system is recognized as among the best in the world, with the OECD and the World Bank group rating it ahead of the United States and the United Kingdom? Two years in a row the Milken Institute ranked Canada first as having the best access to capital.

Why is the Conservative finance minister in Alberta asking these questions and attacking what the government is doing?

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the system that our government currently wishes to implement will protect Canadian investors. I sincerely believe—and I mentioned this in my speech—that the victims of Earl Jones support this bill.

I would also like to speak about Mr. Lacroix's victims because this morning I heard a colleague opposite say that 900 people in Quebec had been compensated by the AMF. I can say that 900 out of 6,000 is not very many. If we could go back in time a bit to Mr. Lacroix's heyday when he caused all sorts of problems for his investors, we could ask people if they thought the AMF did extraordinary work on this issue. The AMF was accused by all sides. I sincerely believe that the AMF, like any other system in Canada, can be strengthened and improved.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to thank the NDP member across the way for supporting a Conservative finance minister. I hope he does that for more than just the province of Alberta and supports the federal Conservative finance minister, the number one finance minister in the world.

We will eliminate duplication and unnecessary costs through this process. It is a situation where there will be no office closures and no loss of jobs. It is voluntary. I do not know what the member does not understand about it being voluntary, but it is a voluntary system and it gives Canada a competitive advantage.

My interest is in what we would lose as a result of not going ahead with the system. I have looked at some of the reports by, for instance, the Canadian Bankers Association and the Investment Industry Association of Canada and they have clearly said that we are losing opportunity in Canada.

I am wondering if the member could comment on John Coffee's Colombia University study which shows that Canada loses about $10 billion a year in economic output and 65,000 jobs. Why has this not been done before? Could the member elaborate a bit on what we are losing as an opportunity cost?

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the very good question.

In fact, the people of Alberta know how to count. I can actually say that Mr. Coffee's study states in particular that, with a national regulator, there could potentially be additional investments of more than $10 billion in Canada, which is not peanuts. With these investments, we could potentially create 65,000 jobs in Canada.

Therefore, the work we are doing will improve conditions in Canada so that investors will invest in Canada. Canada's population of only 34 million is equivalent to that of California.

I sincerely believe that it is in our interest to work together to establish a national commission.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, thank you for letting me speak to this issue again.

The member talks about respect for Quebec. But if they respect the people of Quebec and those who were swindled by Earl Jones, I want to remind them that they are responsible for going after criminals. Prosecuting criminals comes under their jurisdiction. Earl Jones was not registered and would not have been registered with a Canadian securities commission either.

A member said that the Royal Bank comes under federal jurisdiction, yet the federal government has done nothing about this since 2003. Mr. Coffee's study was also mentioned. Has the member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup read Mr. Coffee's PowerPoint presentation? Mr. Lortie, the former president of the Montreal stock exchange and Bombardier Transport, tore apart Mr. Coffee's study. I hope the member will have the chance to read it and—

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please. The hon. member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague from Hochelaga that we were elected at the same time in by-elections. He was elected in Montreal, and I was elected in the most beautiful region in Quebec, if not Canada, in Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup. What is more, I replaced the Bloc after it had held the riding for 16 years.

So I do not think the member for Hochelaga is in any position to lecture me. The voters in La Pocatière and Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup are as smart as those in Montreal, and they made a choice. I respect their choice, just as I respect the choice his constituents made.

That said, in all sincerity, we are putting this system in place to protect Canadians like the victims of Earl Jones and all the others.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel.

It is with a great deal of interest, and concern, that I am rising on this Bloc Québécois opposition day to strongly condemn this government's unrelenting efforts, and even obsession, to marginalize the Quebec nation, in particular by depriving it of the major economic lever of securities regulation. This is shameful.

Let us be clear—and I hope that all Conservative and Liberal members from Quebec are listening—securities regulation is an exclusive jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces.

The federal plan proposed by the Minister of Finance destroys Quebec's exclusive responsibilities with respect to property, civil rights and jurisdiction. In fact, with his national commission, the Conservative finance minister who introduced this legislation wants to do Montreal out of what it has for Toronto's benefit.

A Quebec coalition made up of a very large number of stakeholders is opposing this single securities regulation system. They include Quebec City, the City of Montreal, Quebecor, Pierre Lortie, La Capitale, professor Jacques Saint-Pierre of Université Laval, the Institut québécois des planificateurs financiers, the Groupe Jean Coutu, the Solidary Fund QFL, the CSN's equity fund, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, the Chambre de la sécurité financière, the Chambre des notaires du Québec, the Chambre de commerce du Québec, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Cascades and many others. Moreover, the Quebec National Assembly is unanimously opposed to this bill.

And what do we see in the House? It is a disgrace. Members from Quebec come to Ottawa to work against the will of those who elected them. Indeed, Quebeckers are overwhelmingly opposed to this legislation.

Let us also not forget that this new hostile takeover attempt by the federal government is unanimously opposed by all elected members of the Quebec National Assembly.

The plan to have a single securities regulator goes against Quebeckers' will. The federal government wants to create a single securities regulator. Quebeckers are asking the government not to proceed with this legislation.

How can Conservative members, including newly elected Conservative members, vote against the will of their own voters? I am referring to the member who just spoke, the member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup. He was just recently elected, and he has opposed, in the House, all of these socio-economic players in Quebec. Just newly elected, and he has gone ahead and voted against the will of the Quebec National Assembly. He is voting to strip Quebec of its financial system for Toronto's benefit. That is unbelievable.

Furthermore, the Liberals have not learned their lesson over the years. They were punished. They have been in the opposition for a few years, but they are still not doing any better. They are still in favour of centralization. They still do not take into account the interests of the Quebec National Assembly and of Quebeckers. They simply defend the interests of the people of Ontario, in this case. The members from Quebec, both Liberal and Conservative, will once again vote with the federal government to create this single institution, which will weaken Quebec's financial system and which will lead to the loss of jobs.

With the complicity of the Liberals, the Conservative government is just as determined to strip Quebec of its authority over securities, ignoring the will of the National Assembly.

Since June 2009, the Liberal leader has been showing a lack of leadership on the securities issue. Instead of speaking out, he has hidden behind the argument that a Liberal government would have referred this issue to the Supreme Court of Canada before taking action. We are not discussing a legal issue in the House; it is a political issue.

In Quebec, it is the Bloc Québécois that has the support of the National Assembly, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Cascades, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, the Quebec City Chamber of Commerce, the QFL Solidarity Fund, Power Corporation, Quebecor, Transat, Transcontinental, Industrielle Alliance, and many other economic institutions in Quebec. All of the members from Quebec in this House will vote in favour of a bill that all of these socio-economic players have unanimously criticized. It is absolutely disgraceful, and for the Conservatives, it is so petty.

All of Quebec's economic, financial and business stakeholders have formed a strong coalition against the plan of the federal government.

That is significant. Mouvement Desjardins applauded community mobilization and is urging the federal government to shelve this proposal, which everyone recognizes as authoritarian, harmful, centralizing and failing to respect Quebec's jurisdiction.

Why is the government so determined to dismantle a system that, according to the OECD, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, is a model for the rest of the world? The system works. It is efficient. Let us not forget that the OECD, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund support our passport system, calling it better than that of the Americans and the English.

Moreover, the OECD has ranked Canada second in the world with respect to securities regulation. What reason could there be for changing an efficient system? That makes no sense.

That is not so bad for a system that some people here say does not work well. All of a sudden, the Minister of Finance woke up with a brilliant idea to create a single securities commission, claiming that the current system, which is recognized internationally, is no longer efficient. The new system will require major investment. Already, $150 million has been invested to implement a system that they say will be better than the one we have now. But there is no proof that it will improve things. Quite the opposite.

In addition to maintaining well-paid jobs in Montreal in the financial, legal and administrative sectors, the Autorité des marchés financiers allows us to retain expertise that is important to Quebeckers and to the proper functioning of our financial system. We want to keep it. The AMF is our last bastion against the complete disappearance of stock market activities from Montreal since Toronto acquired the exchange.

To sum up, this Conservative power grab with Liberal support will inevitably cause high-ranking positions and value-added activities to leave Quebec for Toronto.

That is not what Quebeckers want, and the Bloc Québécois will oppose this proposal to the bitter end.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, we have demonstrated, through dozens of speeches today, that the passport system works. No less a figure than the Alberta minister of finance, a fellow Conservative to the Conservatives here, is onside against his own party on this issue. He used all the same arguments that the member just made, that this system works and it has worked for 100 years. A more recent version of the passport system is a big improvement over the past and it works very well.

People suspect that, at the end of the day, this is all about the transfer of jobs to Toronto. It will be great for Toronto because it will concentrate more jobs there. However, there will be a loss of jobs in Montreal, Winnipeg and Alberta because of what the government is up to.

My prediction is this will probably never happen. Why the government is embarking on an initiative like this in the first place is beyond me.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, it just does not make sense that the Conservative Party is putting in place measures such as this when it boycotts measures that could provide more support for people, such as the unemployed or seniors. It is not too interested in that. It wants to mess with a system that works. We all know that by destroying the passport system, the Conservative Party expects to benefit from conflicts among regulatory bodies. The Conservative government is inevitably creating a reason for Canadian corporations to turn to the national commission, which will obviously be located in Toronto.

How can the Liberal and Conservative members from Quebec meekly stand by as power is taken away from Quebec and given to Toronto? That is the question raised by our NDP colleague.

We are pleased that the NDP supports our motion because, as the member mentioned in his speech, the effects will be felt not only in Quebec, but also in Winnipeg, which is in his riding. This bill must be defeated in the House once and for all.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak about the Bloc Québécois opposition motion. First, I want to congratulate my colleague from Hochelaga who has done an excellent job all day trying to defend the interests of Quebeckers and to make the rest of Parliament understand that it is not true that Canada is always number one.

I have been pressured since my arrival at the House of Commons in 2000. The first lobbyists I met as a member were from the banks. They tried to make us understand that the banks in Canada needed to merge and grow in order to acquire other banks. They had the support of the Conservatives and some of the Liberals. The Liberals have always been divided on this issue. There was the pro-Martin camp and the pro-Chrétien camp. The pro-Martin camp was in favour of merging the banks, but the pro-Chrétien camp was not. The Bloc Québécois fought hard and managed to put off those decisions until an election was called. Since then, it has not been brought up again, which saved Canadian banks.

Moreover, as recently as last week, the new president of Power Corporation said he had made a mistake in 2000 when he supported bank mergers. He stated that the government was right not to allow the banks to merge, because they obviously would have bought a lot of bad debt. They would have bought American banks, which would have made Canada much weaker.

At the time, the Conservatives were in favour of mergers. I remember that the current Prime Minister, who was on the opposition side back then, fought for bank mergers. Today, I did not hear him say anything. He should have done the right thing, like the new president of Power Corporation, and apologized for the mistake he made back then.

The Conservatives are making a second mistake by trying once again to centralize. That is what the banks wanted to do in 2000: expand, centralize and be able to make acquisitions. Now the government wants to do the same thing, even though we have a passport system managed by the provinces that works quite well.

That is the reality and that is what our colleague from Hochelaga—a renowned economist and former minister in the Quebec government—has been trying to convey all day. Furthermore, he tried to make them understand that not only is this a mistake, but it will deprive Quebec of some of its powers. The Conservatives are trying to expand the system's administration in Toronto, while weakening Quebec, but more importantly, weakening the entire system that was created in Canada.

I thank my colleague for trying to make them understand the situation and I hope all hon. members will realize that when we defend Quebec, often we are also defending Canada, and we are trying to get them out of an impasse that will only lead to more mistakes.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

It being 5:15 p.m., pursuant to order made earlier today, all questions necessary to dispose of the opposition motion are deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until Monday, June 14, 2010, at the end of government orders.

The hon. Minister of State for Democratic Reform on a point of order.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Conservative Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe if you were to seek it, you would find unanimous consent to see the clock at 5:30 p.m.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Is that agreed?

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion—Securities RegulationBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

It being 5:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-280, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (qualification for and entitlement to benefits), as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

There being no motions at report stage the House will now proceed without debate to the putting of the question on the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.

Employment Insurance ActPrivate Members' Business

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

moved that the bill be concurred in.