Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today to support Bill C-392, which was introduced by my colleague from Repentigny. She worked long and hard before presenting it to people across Quebec. She worked tirelessly to get the support of Quebeckers, which I believe was necessary. I congratulate her from the bottom of my heart.
I am proud to be in the House to support this bill. I believe it is the kind of work that should be done here in the House. It is a job well done. I therefore want to commend my colleague for that.
Is Quebec a colony of Canada? That is a legitimate question. If we are to believe what the Liberals and Conservatives are saying, then, unfortunately, we cannot help but conclude that the answer is yes.
The situation we are dealing with here mirrors the infamous Home Rule that Great Britain introduced in the Victorian era. That is what the Liberal and Conservative members' opposition to this bill tells us.
According to the Constitution, Quebec belongs to Quebeckers. This is part of the Constitution, but are we actually masters in our own house? In most areas, we are. However, when it comes to areas that the federal government controls, we are not. Is this Home Rule? Under Home Rule, the precious little colonies are told to draft their laws as they wish, but when Queen Victoria or the federal government sets foot in their colony, Quebec, they are not subject to our laws and regulations or to the values we espouse. This is unacceptable.
We often hear the Prime Minister and his cabinet members say that it is 2018, after all.
Why, in 2018, are Quebeckers not allowed to make their own laws and regulations? They are still subject to a higher power, a neighbour that does as it sees fit.
We, the 10 Bloc Québécois members, have had many cases where we were confronted with this frustration. The case that comes up the most is the one involving the installation of cell towers. Earlier, my colleague from Salaberry—Suroît was talking about the case in Châteauguay, a highly publicized case that perfectly illustrates this deeply unacceptable situation.
A private company comes into a municipality and dictates where it wants to install its tower. As everyone knows, there are urban planning and land use rules, Quebec laws and municipal bylaws. This is not the wild west. We cannot approach development willy-nilly like this is the wild west. There are standards for implementation and harmonization. The public has to be consulted, and the infrastructure has to be built in a smart way. That is not what happens when it comes to areas of federal jurisdiction. Cell towers are considered a matter of federal jurisdiction, but the private company can disregard the law and claim that municipal regulations do not apply to it and if people do not like it, too bad.
There is a cell tower in my riding, and a rival company wants to build another one right next to it. The municipality refused and suggested that the company build its tower in a different location for a certain sector. The municipality also said that this would cost a little more but that it was willing to help the company out. In these kinds of situations, the company sometimes says yes, but it often says no. It can do whatever it wants because it is not subject to Quebec laws or municipal regulations. That is unacceptable. We are not masters in our own house, and this dates back to Victorian-era colonialism. We cannot accept that.
The member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame implied that the bill was unconstitutional. Come on. If that were true, it could not be debated in the House. The bill is completely constitutional. This bill asks the House, the government, to ensure that when federal infrastructure is built in the municipalities of Quebec, it is done in accordance with the laws and regulations. This is not about prohibiting all development. We need cell towers, but we need to make sure that companies abide by the laws and regulations.
On another note, my colleague from Montcalm could go on at length about the small airports issue. In Quebec, that happened under agriculture minister Jean Garon, whom our interim leader often quotes. He was the one who set up protection for agricultural land. It is an aggressive law, a tough but fair law, to preserve Quebec's best land for farming and protect it from being used for speculative real estate development or whatever else. We made rules. Our system is working well, and we are proud of it. Again, the purpose of the bill is not to say that there shall be no more small airports, it is just to make sure they are built according to municipal regulations and Quebec laws.
As things stand, if a developer comes along and the municipality says it cannot do whatever it wants there, the developer says it could not care less because it is a matter of federal jurisdiction and the Minister of Transport does not seem all that concerned about taking the community's wishes into account when building that kind of infrastructure. My question was, is Quebec a colony of Canada? Judging from what the Liberals and Conservatives have been saying, the answer is yes.
Earlier, my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent rose to present the Conservative Party's position. He implied that we must defend what is good for the whole country, even if it is contrary to the will of the people of Quebec. Quite frankly, I was expecting a little more support from a member who represents Quebec. What he implied was that they are going to push through energy east because their leader made that commitment. They will ram it through even if people oppose it. He said that the Conservatives would not vote for such a bill because it would limit their authority.
What is that argument but a colonial attitude towards Quebec on Canada's part? The people do not want it. We know that there are no economic benefits and that not one litre of this dirty oil will be consumed or refined in Quebec. It will just be transported to the Irving refinery and then exported. We do not need it. We are assuming all the risks. We are entitled to say that we do not want it. He said that even if we do not want it, the Conservatives will impose it and they will not support Bill C-392 because they want to retain colonial control so they can continue to control Quebec. That is unacceptable.
I was very disappointed to hear him say earlier that he was sad that energy east had been abandoned. He said it had nothing to do with the outcry in Quebec. Today, Éric Girard, the finance minister for Coalition Avenir Québec, which is currently in government in Quebec, was asked by a journalist whether his provincial counterparts were pressuring him about energy east. He said no, there was no social acceptability for the project, so he did not see why they would pressure him.
I found it rather odd to see the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent go to war against the party he used to lead so that he could defend oil companies in the west. We often see him stand up in the House to stand up for the interests of the west. Is he ever able to rise in the House to stand up for the interests of Quebec? The party he once led, which is currently in power in Quebec, is saying that there is no social acceptability and that there never will be. The member said that the Conservatives want to retain colonial control so that they can continue to impose it anyway. This is unacceptable.
Obviously, the bill affects all federal infrastructure that might be installed in Quebec. We are therefore talking about the Aeronautics Act for airports, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act, which covers wharves and small craft harbours, and the National Capital Act, which governs the activities of National Capital Commission in Ottawa and the Outaouais region. The bill also affects the Radiocommunication Act for communications infrastructure, as mentioned, including cell antennas, the Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act, which governs all federal properties, the Canada Marine Act for ports, and also the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act. To our understanding, it is not clear whether a project funded by the infrastructure bank would automatically be exempt from municipal regulations and Quebec laws. We would therefore no longer be masters in our own house. It is unacceptable.
Is Quebec a colony of Canada? Given what the Liberals and the Conservatives have been saying, unfortunately, we can only conclude that it is.