Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to continue my speech on the opposition motion concerning a single tax return for all Quebeckers, who are the only ones to not have the option to file just one tax return per year.
I would like to come back to something that happened during question period. During question period, in an answer that the Prime Minister gave to one of my colleagues, we heard him say the following:
It is interesting that the Conservatives will not ask that same question in English that was just asked in French about giving to Quebec a single tax filing.
Then I had the opportunity to ask the Minister of National Revenue a question. My colleague and national revenue critic asked the question in English and then I asked the question in French. I asked the government party whether it was possible to do the same thing that it was asking us to do, which was to answer in both languages so that all Canadians could understand it. It was that simple. If I offended the Minister of National Revenue, I apologize, as that was not my intention. I know that she has been working very hard to learn English. I think it is to the credit of all members of the House to want to learn both official languages. This is very important, and in fact I support several of my colleagues who are trying to learn French. I know that she is working very hard on this.
Since it is the Minister of Revenue’s birthday, I apologize if she was offended. That was not my intention. However, I would like the Prime Minister to avoid using the same kind of rhetoric and asking for questions in English or French to try to make us out to be the kind of people who say one thing in English and another in French, when that is completely false.
The Minister of National Revenue may well be celebrating her birthday today, but she is nevertheless completely out of touch with what Quebeckers want, with what the Premier of Quebec wants, with what the National Assembly wants, with what Conservative Party members want and with what the majority of Quebeckers want. They want people to fill out one single tax return every year.
Emotions are running high because an election campaign is just around the corner. I would like everyone opposite to take two minutes to think about this possibility. Do they think we can make Quebeckers' lives easier, yes or no? That is a very simple question. It would not be hard to do. Are they interested in starting talks with the Government of Quebec to find a solution and make a single tax return a reality for Quebeckers, yes or no?
Unfortunately, listening to the various answers and to the Prime Minister, it will not be possible. They have closed the door without any discussion. However, that was not always the case. Remember that, the first time the National Assembly discussed this through a unanimous motion, the first reaction from the Prime Minister was to mock the National Assembly, breaking into laughter after saying that the National Assembly had passed a unanimous motion.
It is still the Quebec National Assembly and they are still elected members. Another assembly must be respected. If the Prime Minister wants to speak with members of the National Assembly, he can get elected to it too. No problem. However, given his attitude since the debate, his attitude toward Quebec, his attitude on the issue of the supply ship Obelix, his attitude on electoral reform and his attitude about deficits that continue to accumulate and grow, I am not convinced that residents of any riding in Quebec would want such a Prime Minister.
The question is simple. If we set aside the debates and partisan statements and put a stop to this government's fearmongering about the thousands of jobs at Revenue Canada in Quebec, would it be possible to have a discussion at a more functional level that would encourage parliamentarians to work together to make it possible to create a single income tax return?
I would like to repeat one thing to all the people working at Revenue Canada in Quebec: no jobs will be lost. Those are just scare tactics used by the Liberals. They are fearmongering, although they are the ones who keep saying that the Conservatives are running fear campaigns. That is strange, but in this case I think that the attacks are coming mostly from the opposite side. No jobs will be lost if we do things right and if we do them in the best interests of Quebeckers, to make their lives easier.
Let's use the resources we have and rely on everyone’s experience and expertise to make this project possible. It seems to me that this is a good project, that it could be achieved together, with Quebec, to show once and for all that Ottawa is not afraid of Quebec and that, to the contrary, it wants to work with Quebeckers.