Madam Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be splitting my time with the charming member for Jeanne-Le Ber. I will be very happy to do that.
I am also very pleased to speak to the question of a single securities commission that is the Conservatives’ present proposal, unfortunately supported by the Liberals.
To us in Quebec, this is a very important question. It is not just a question of jobs. Since Confederation, in 1867, this has been one of our rights, under our jurisdiction. It is in the Canadian Constitution, in section 92(13), which clearly says that securities are matters assigned to the provinces.
A few seconds ago, the member for Edmonton—Leduc told us something else completely false. He said that under the passport system, there are 13 different sets of regulations, and there is no agreement. That is absolutely false. There is set of regulations for all 13. Passports are managed in one place. So these kinds of falsehoods mean that the people who are listening to us actually think that it would be a good thing to have a single office for all of Canada.
Why are they saying the passport system is not working? Perhaps because Ontario has not joined it. That might be it. However, has Ontario not joined it precisely so that it will ultimately be able to show that the passport system does not work? Then the people from that province could say that clearly it does not work, because they are not participating in it, it is not a Canada-wide system and they want to give us a Canada-wide system.
So there are a lot of falsehoods being spoken on that side. I would not want to rate the experts, who are better at this than me. Pierre Lortie, who wrote “Challenging Conventional Wisdom”, has said how well the Quebec system works, as do the other provinces’. Henri Brun says this is federal trick. Mr. Brun is a very well known constitutional expert, perhaps one of the greatest in Canada.
I would also just like to point out that someone like Jeffrey Macintosh of Toronto has said this bill might not pass muster with the Supreme Court. When someone like Mr. MacIntosh says that, we can imagine there is a significant chance that the Supreme Court will have to go back to what is in the Constitution.
When I hear the Conservatives opposite and the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Finance, who was in fact joking with the member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup while my colleague was laying out the Bloc Québécois’ positions, positions that represent the ones taken by all of Quebec, I do not understand how they can look us in the face and laugh at our critic, when for 20 years we have represented a majority of Quebeckers in this House. I do not understand it.
Actually, I think the Conservatives from Quebec were elected on false representations. When the Conservative leader was not yet prime minister, he came to Quebec and made a big speech, and said: “If you vote for me in Quebec, I will respect your jurisdiction.” Everyone said yes. They are barely in office and the first thing they do is introduce a bill that very much does not respect our jurisdiction over securities.
It is amazing that the government said one thing to get elected and now totally forgets it. That could even be called misrepresentation. It said it would respect the jurisdictions of the provinces, and it should do so. When promises are made, they should be kept.
The government’s position on securities regulation is not very good at all. It is just trying to please some voters. These are the same voters the Liberals do not want to lose. That is why the Liberals are going to vote in favour of a single securities commission located in Toronto.
The government says it is absolutely necessary to harmonize all the rules and regulations in a single place. Europe is an economic union and not a cultural or social one. Yet it does not do this. It has harmonized its rules and regulations. The 13 commissions that developed the passport system are already harmonized. If they need further harmonization, I am sure that Quebec, Alberta and the other provinces would be willing to do so. It is shameful for the government to say the existing commissions are not necessary and it is going to create another one because there are no examples elsewhere. They say we are the only ones in the world who do it our way. I fail to see, then, why the European Union does not have a single securities commission. All the countries kept their own commissions. So it can work. The European Union did not try to centralize them, as the Conservative government is doing. The Conservatives are obsessed with centralization just to please certain people.
When they mandated Purdy Crawford to do a study, they could have asked him for an objective or comparative study or to examine what already exists. But no, he was clearly asked to do a study with a view toward a single system. The purpose of the study was not to examine what was done previously.
The government’s position is false and deceitful because it did not try to establish a better system. It just tried to establish a centralized system, full stop.
As long as the government wants to steer profits into Ontario, I do not see how the arguments could be any stronger. No one seems to care that we are going to lose 100,000 or 155,000 jobs. The government says we say the same thing over and over, but what else can we do? So long as it does not drop this bill, we are going to repeat ourselves again and again.
We wonder why the Conservative government does not have the wisdom to say officially that it is withdrawing the bill. It has asked the Supreme Court for an opinion. I think the honest thing to do would be to say this, but the government does not do it.
I will finish by repeating that the Quebec National Assembly—I am not talking about a sovereignist National Assembly but the one that was elected with a federalist party in power—voted unanimously on October 16, 2007 on a resolution to save these 155,000 jobs. The National Assembly told the government its bill was crap and the commission should be kept in Quebec. The National Assembly said again on May 27, 2010 that it did not want this bill.
It seems to me that we should respect the sovereignty of the National Assembly.