Madam Speaker, they are gutting our regions. We had regional ministers who were up to date on what was happening in our regions. Now, we are left with one minister from Toronto. If I talk about a salmon river in Charlevoix, I hope he knows that I am talking about salmon because I am not sure he has travelled very far in Charlevoix.
That is where I have a problem: they are robbing Peter to pay Paul, to make a cute photo, but doing so creates inequality. Our regions are being deprived of ministers who need to be in our regions.
Whether it is in the regions of Quebec, of the Atlantic or of Newfoundland, they are regions. Now, there is just one minister responsible for them. He is in Toronto, and while he certainly may travel, he is not familiar with the regions.
I was looking at the current cabinet list and there are very few people from the regions. Most of them are from urban areas. That means that our regions have been forgotten.
I have nothing against gender equality. I have nothing against equal pay for equal work. A minister of state and a minister do not have the same responsibilities. If we support Bill C-24, not only will ministers and ministers of state be equal, but everyone will ask for equal pay. All the members, critics, and the opposition will want the same salary as those opposite. We will have parity.
As women—I am not minimizing the role of women, far from it—we have already been in government and we had the ear of our prime minister. Today, I will tell you that I am going to vote against this bill, because it is an empty shell.
We are giving the Liberals a blank cheque and we do not know what they want to do with it. There have already been enough scandals on that side of the House. We do not want more of them. The Liberals are still giving money to their friends who do good work for the Liberals, but not necessarily for Canadians.
We are all different in the House: there are Conservatives, NDP members, Liberals, those in the Bloc, the Green Party. However, when we come to the House, we speak for all Canadians; we are not supposed to be partisan.
Today opposition members are being asked to vote on a bill on pay equity for positions with entirely different responsibilities. Pay equity is equal pay for equal work with the same responsibilities. A minister of state and a minister are not the same things. I would hope that women are not being appointed to these positions to fill some sort of quota to achieve parity. It is insulting to women to say that a position is vacant and needs to be filled by a woman to make the pictures look good.
I have never been superficial and I am not going to start now. I am here because I am a woman of character and I can go wherever I want by opening the doors that I want. I will never say “because I am a woman”. I am here because I am qualified to be here.