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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Manicouagan (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply May 3rd, 1994

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to address the House this afternoon on the subject of the government's tax system. Since the Bloc Quebecois was elected last October 25, it has tabled a motion calling on the government of Canada to strike a committee to review all government spending.

For many months now, the Bloc Quebecois has been demanding an in-depth review of the tax system, the aim being the elimination of tax inequities. Having brought down a $164.7 billion budget providing for a spending increase of $4 billion for 1994, the Liberal government should review its spending practices because it has chosen the easiest course of action, which is to raise taxes.

Finance minister Paul Martin's recent budget sets a second record in this House, what with a deficit of $9.7 billion and $110 million in interest charges per day. Given the current state of the economy and the high levels of unemployment and poverty in Quebec and in Canada, the $110 million in interest charges which the federal government pays to financial institutions could surely have been put to some other use. It could have been

invested in a variety of other areas such as social housing or in business recovery programs aimed at job creation.

There is an urgent need for the government to review the entire tax system. Furthermore, as I stated earlier, it is also very important that the government agree to the motion presented in this House by the Bloc Quebecois which calls for a committee to be established to review government spending item by item and to give the government some control mechanisms.

When the Minister of Finance appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance, of which I am a member, I asked him whether it was the public servants who were mismanaging programs, or the politicians who were spending too much. Of course, since the minister wanted to protect some public servants and deputy ministers, he had to take full responsibility and reply that it was the politicians who were spending too much.

I believe that politicians should give themselves monitoring tools, because they are the ones who must take responsibility when the government tables a budget and has a deficit. Every four years, political parties have to go before the best judges of their actions: Canadians and Quebecers. We cannot afford a budget like this one, with a deficit of $39.7 billion. The government is trying to eliminate a deficit by creating another one.

You will remember that when the Conservatives tabled a budget with a deficit of $32 billion, the largest ever at the time, it caused an uproar. The Liberals just hit the roof. This was unprecedented. But this was just rhetoric on their part to get elected. Indeed, the Liberals' recent budget is proof that they are no better managers than the Conservatives of the time.

It is important that the government implement all the Auditor General's recommendations. His services are costly. In fact, it costs the government $60 million over three years for this audit of its books, a job which the Auditor General has always done well and will continue to do well. We are not asking for cuts affecting social programs, low-income and single-parent families, or social housing. We are asking the government to make cuts in its own fat. It is the Auditor's mandate to find out where that fat is, and he does a very good job at that.

The Bloc Quebecois is also asking that a committee be set up to review all government expenditures. The Reform Party agrees with us on this score. This committee would include members of all political parties, mainly the government, the Bloc Quebecois and the Reform Party, who, along with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of National Revenue, would take a look at all expenditures which are not essential to the operations of this House.

It is important that the government give itself means to control each department. And if in its budget, the government approves the budget for the Department of Transport, and if the Minister of Finance includes in his budget a budget for health programs for the Department of National Health and Welfare, the officials who run this program must be responsible for its administration, and the ministers responsible for their respective departments must be accountable for those departments.

A minister who is there just for the prestige is pretty useless. I think ministers should be responsible for their individual departments and for the programs in those departments. If the minister does not do his job or if the official doesn't do his job, in that case, let us get someone else. However, we cannot afford to approve a budget with a $39.7 billion deficit, knowing full well that in the end, if the economy or employment recovery is not up to expectations, we may end up with a deficit of $45 billion or even $50 billion.

Public servants and the ministers in their respective departments must be aware of their responsibilities and administer the programs and budgets they have been given to administer by the government.

I have been sitting on the finance committee for about two months, and we heard many witnesses for the municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, unions of municipalities, restaurant owners, and so forth, and everyone is trying to find ways for the government to raise revenue without affecting the consumer. I think the government should stop worrying about how to raise revenue, because workers and consumers are already paying far too much.

What the government should worry about is how to cut its spending, and it doesn't take very long to find out how to do that. What it takes is a good committee that looks at departmental budgets item by item. Its work would be cut out for it. For a start, we should act on all the recommendations made by the Auditor General. We pay too many taxes and too much income tax, and we should try to eliminate monumental mistakes like the contract at Pearson Airport in Toronto. This is the only federal airport in Canada that makes a profit, that generates a total of $50 million annually, and the previous government decided to privatize it.

Did the government decide to reward indirectly those who had contributed to the election campaign? The Bloc Quebecois is asking for a public inquiry to prove that the present government did not enjoy certain advantages as result of actions taken by the previous government, actions which have penalized taxpayers in Quebec and Canada. Quebecers and Canadians pay too much tax, and people are wondering whether they are getting their money's worth.

We pay taxes to the federal government and to Quebec. We turn over $28 billion per year in taxes to the federal government, in addition to paying provincial taxes, the GST, the TVQ, municipal taxes and school taxes.

Quebecers are prepared to pay a single harmonized tax, one that would give the provincial government control of all tax dollars and combine the GST and the TVQ into a single tax for a single country. This will come to pass when Quebec achieves independence.

As I was saying, workers and consumers are the ones left to pick up the tab. From the moment he is born, a Canadian child owes $20,000 to the federal government. And this same child will be paying until the day he dies.

Allow me to explain myself, Madam Speaker. As I was saying, when a child is born, he inherits a $20,000 share of the deficit. From the time they are old enough to attend grade school and high school, CEGEP or university, students pay taxes on books, goods and services and computers, etc. In short, even their education is taxed.

For parents who must incur a number of expenses related to their children's education, the process can be quite costly. Not every municipality or region in Quebec or in Canada has a CEGEP or a university. There is a CEGEP in the Charlevoix region. However, when students wish to go to university, they must travel outside the region and this can be very expensive.

A student from Baie-Comeau who decides to further his education in Montreal or in Quebec City will probably have to pay anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 per year. Quite often, his father or mother, or sometimes both, end up unemployed, or even on welfare because a plant was forced to close, jobs were cut or a contract terminated.

If the student wishes to stay in school, he is forced to rely on loans and bursaries. When they graduate from university three or four years later, students find themselves $20,000 to $25,000 in debt and this, without any guarantee of finding work when they get out of school.

Naturally, these parents cannot afford to pay the required $8,000 to $10,000 a year and the child, having taken out loans, often must abandon his studies, for lack of funds.

There should be a tax deduction form for parents, to help children who study away from home. Let me explain. At present, when a couple divorces and the father is ordered to pay alimony to his ex-wife, the portion of his income which is paid in alimony is tax deductible. On the other hand, the same parent, if he is a good father and puts one, two and sometimes as many as three children through university, incurs very high expenses, but the money invested by parents in the education of children attending university is not tax deductible. The government should come up with programs to help, through the tax system, working taxpayers who pay to send their children away to get an education. These young people are our future. I also think that it would help prevent dropping out.

It is also urgent, both at the federal and the provincial level, that vocational schools be reopened. There will always be intellectuals with the skills and financial means to enter university, but there are also young people who do not have the skills or the financial means to go to university. There is an intermediate level that used to exist in the seventies-I am talking about vocational training.

You know that these jobs are increasingly occupied by women. Equal pay for equal work! These would be much sought-after trades because in construction, we will always need plumbers, electricians, carpenters, mechanics and the likes. There are only two classes: labourers, almost like welfare recipients, and professionals. But the construction market will always exist and I think governments should re-open vocational training centres to help those who lack the skills to go on to university.

The government tried to compensate for taxes by promising "jobs, jobs, jobs" in its red book. They will have to take action. Six months after the Liberal Party was elected, 23,000 more people live on social assistance in Quebec. They have exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits and are now on welfare. As I said last week when the Prime Minister declared that the unemployment rate was down 2 per cent in Quebec, it is because social assistance has gone up by 2 per cent.

The only reasonable thing in the Liberal Party's platform is the infrastructure program. Of course, this program will help small municipalities and some regional county municipalities. But $2 billion for the infrastructure program is not enough. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities recommended that the government should invest at least $15 billion in the program. The infrastructure program will not cure the unemployment cancer. Part of the problem in Quebec and Canada can be solved by a $2 billion infrastructure program, but not all of it.

One does not treat a broken leg with a Band-Aid or a general cancer with aspirin. The government must inject more money into this program to create jobs and help municipalities; this, in my opinion, would turn a good program into an excellent program. Again, what ratepayers do not have to borrow, they do not have to pay. I will be happy to resume my comments after question period.

Manpower Training April 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois deplores the fact that the Liberal government is dragging its feet on a number of issues, including MIL Davie, Hyundai and Oerlikon. The government's inertia will be very costly to Quebec in terms of lost jobs. This is happening at a time when Quebec would need an additional 215,000 jobs to bring employment back to pre-recession levels.

Unfortunately, the many instances of federal intrusion in provincial jurisdiction indicate that the government is anxious to extend its influence, thus creating the usual duplication and overlap. We saw this recently in the manpower training question. The federal government's desire to intervene in this field in provincial jurisdiction is a blatant contradiction of the consensus reached by all social and economic partners in Quebec.

In a nutshell, the federal government intervenes where it should not and does not intervene where it should.

Budget Implementation Act, 1994 April 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to participate this morning in the debate at second reading of Bill C-17, which deals with the budget.

Let me give a little background on Canada's budget, debt and deficit. In 1980-when the Liberals were in office-a debt was generated, as well as a deficit which set the first record. Four years later, in 1984, the debt had climbed to $187 billion with Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau in charge, and the current Prime Minister, Mr. Chrétien, as his Minister of Finance.

From 1980 to 1984, 74 of the 75 members representing Quebec in this House were Liberals. There was only one Conservative MP in the province, namely Roch LaSalle from Joliette. What did the Liberal members representing Quebec do in this House? Were they muzzled by MPs from English Canada?

The debt of $187 billion which the Conservatives inherited from the Liberals in 1984 had grown to $500 billion by 1993. In 1988, the riding of Charlevoix was represented by a Conservative member; however, it was represented by a Liberal from 1980 to 1984.

Between 1984 and 1993, the member for Charlevoix and Prime Minister of Canada, Brian Mulroney, was at the helm and left a debt of $500 billion, which costs Canadians $108 million every day in interest charges. Six months later, Canada's debt stands at $525 billion, costs $110 million a day in interest, and the Liberal government is proud of the Minister of Finance's budget. A deficit of $39.7 billion-which sets the second record in this House-is something unheard of until now. The government wants to reduce the deficit by creating deficits. Many Liberal MPs are uncomfortable with this $39.7-billion deficit but, unfortunately, when the vote is taken in this House, the Liberals, who are too uncomfortable to discuss this issue, will prove us right and vote for their budget because they are once again muzzled by the government.

Madam Speaker, you cannot gag members for years and years. If you do, they will try to speak from the side of their mouths and those who enjoy a long career in this House might end up with a crooked mouth. Liberal members must have the opportunity to vote freely on the budget, which will then undoubtedly be rejected.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel. This budget contains a lot of increases. People in Charlevoix will be affected by all these measures, since the government has increased unemployment insurance premiums for workers and taxes for the elderly. It has increased the deficit as well as the number of unemployed Canadians and helped to create a feeling of social insecurity in this country. Unfortunately, all of this will have a negative impact on my constituents in Charlevoix.

The budget does not only include increases, it also contains cuts that we have to mention here, if only to be honest. Social programs are cut by $7.5 billion over three years. Instead of dealing with unemployment, the government has chosen to go after the unemployed. The government also cut social housing and daycare programs, as well as assistance to low-income families, job training, post-secondary education, assistance to single-parent families, help for families with handicapped people and programs to help the handicapped re-enter the labour force. All this in the International Year of the Family.

The government did not take its responsibilities. It has no backbone. It should have cut where cuts are needed. It should have cut the Senate budget, ministers' expenses and pension funds of members of Parliament. It should also have set the age of pension eligibility at 60. People in Charlevoix, in Quebec and in Canada are being hurt and this budget will only increase the poverty level. This week, the Prime Minister was pleased to tell us that the unemployment rate was down, but when unemployment decreases by 2 per cent in Quebec, welfare increases by 2 per cent.

I want to remind members that the Bloc Quebecois tabled a motion in this House to set up a committee to examine all government expenditures, item by item, department by department, to review the Auditor General's recommendations and to report on these issues. Auditors General, past and present, have always done a good job. Unfortunately, their reports have always been overlooked.

The government is seeking additional revenues. In the red book, the Liberal government said it would abolish the GST. Why do they want to do so? Because this tax is visible and the Liberals want a hidden tax. Why? So they can raise the GST from 7 to 12 per cent. They want to broaden the tax base to be able to tax food products, drugs, education, volunteer organizations and charities. Who will pay and suffer? Not the senators, but workers and consumers, low-income families, seniors, single-parent families, the unemployed, students, the handicapped-of which I have many in my riding of Charlevoix. They are the ones who elected me to represent them and defend their interests. That is why I speak today, to defend their interests.

There are too many welfare recipients and UI beneficiaries in Charlevoix. Once these people have paid for rent, food, clothing and hydro, which are necessities, they cannot afford to buy medication for their children or for themselves.

Let us look at what the government has spent. According to an old saying, money cannot buy happiness. That may well be true, but money sure helps to pay the bills. The government spent $800 million to implement the GST, but it cost small businesses $6.4 billion. Yes, the GST needs to be improved. Canada is going deeper and deeper into the red, the budget is in the red and the deficit is not getting any smaller under this Liberal government.

The message is clear: Quebecers do not trust the federal system anymore. The people of Charlevoix proved it on October 25. Quebecers from 54 ridings proved that they have finally understood that the federal government is no longer effective. Liberal or Conservative, it is all the same.

I have to thank the people of Charlevoix, both the sovereignists and the disenchanted federalists, who voted for me and sent me here to protect their interests in this House today.

It was Paul Martin, the minister, who said that the House of Commons is a theatre. On October 25, the people of Quebec tried to change the actors in this House. If the House of Commons is a theatre, it is important also to change the horror movie that is playing here, the one about social insecurity in Quebec and in Canada.

Is it the politicians who spend too much or the bureaucrats who are guilty of mismanagement? I asked the Minister of Finance this question. His answer was: the politicians, of course, because we lack control mechanisms.

In closing, I would like to leave a clear message with the people of Charlevoix and of Quebec. Tomorrow's generation will have to foot the bill. I hope that Quebecers will choose the only solution that will enable us to help them. They will very soon be given another option, namely Quebec's sovereignty.

Income Tax Act April 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, with all due respect I think that the authority over this House rests with the person occupying the Chair; you are vested with that authority.

Earlier, at the opening of the sitting, to make the Chair's job easier, I tabled on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois the complete list of our members who wished to speak. Two of my colleagues from the Bloc Quebecois had taken their seats when I handed in my list at the Clerk's table. At the same time, you asked: "Are there hon. members who wish to ask questions?" At that precise moment, I was at the Clerk's table dropping off my list in duplicate, with one copy for the Clerk and one for the Chair, to help identify those members who were to speak.

When you called a member from the Reform Party to speak, if he was not here at the time, you should have called the next speaker, namely Gérard Asselin, member for Charlevoix, the first name on that list. I was right here, at the Clerk's table.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension Act, 1994 April 12th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, you have been telling us that you travelled extensively in the province of Quebec, as I am sure you have done right across Canada. But if you have not visited the great region of Charlevoix yet, I invite you to do so because, as you know, this is the region that used to be represented by the former Prime Minister, and he certainly promoted the region, the city of Baie Comeau in particular.

Charlevoix is both a tourist and industrial region on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, a very desirable tourist region that several members from Quebec and Canada would love to represent. Electoral boundaries readjustment could be used to divide to conquer.

As several members indicated, a sense of belonging already exists within regions, ridings, RCMs, municipalities and even school boards. As I understand it, this government's priority is to create jobs, reduce unemployment, keep students from dropping out and provide increased security to low income families as well as seniors.

The time the government will spend redrawing the electoral map, dividing certain regions in Quebec and other Canadian provinces in the process, will undermine the efforts of the men, women and corporations that have been working together. As you know, at one time, if one municipality-and it is the same with regions-if one got a CEGEP, the neighbouring municipality or region wanted one of its own. You ended up with a lot of duplication between regions. White elephants were built in various cities and regions, which the people now have to pay for with their school taxes and their municipal taxes.

I think that more and more, since the last electoral boundaries readjustment, people had thought-and they still do-that the electoral map would remain the same for the next 20 or 25 years. More and more, in socio-economic summits and sectoral round tables, people have been taking charge of prioritizing viable economic initiatives to create employment and this has prompted mayors and councillors in some municipalities to

assume responsibility for themselves and even make compromises so that each region could get its fair share of benefits.

With respect to the infrastructure program developed by the current Liberal government, several municipalities and RCMs have met with the Union des municipalités du Québec or the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as far as smaller municipalities are concerned, to try to make the program as effective as possible. Also, many small municipalities cannot afford to pay for their share of this tripartite cost-sharing program.

So, many have decided to get together to invest in joint projects within a given RCM and buy sanitary landfill equipment or some other piece of equipment, just to take advantage of the program, create jobs and make the system useful and profitable for the region without getting into debt, especially the small municipalities, as in some cases the per capita subsidy could be $15,000. They got together and conceived a major project that would benefit small municipalities. In addition, Mr. Speaker, we hear more and more about high school drop-outs at the Grade 9, 10, 11, and even 12 level. In my riding where there are four school boards, they co-operate to design programs to make primary and secondary schools more cost-effective and interesting and to prevent kids from dropping out of school in every community. I am sure that this is done in Charlevoix and it must be done in every other region.

The Charlevoix region took control of its own destiny in this regard and will do so again in the future to ensure its industrial development. To ensure such development, we must deal with small and medium-sized businesses and other economic issues. For this, we need dialogue and co-operation between municipalities, and that is when some municipalities will give priority to certain issues rather than others.

Mr. Speaker, the riding of Charlevoix includes 42 municipalities on the North Shore of the St. Lawrence forming four regional county municipalities, four chambers of commerce and four school boards.

I think that this government has a lot of work to do to create jobs and improve social security, and that it would be a good thing to defer this bill for at least two years to let the economy recover and allow us to dot the i 's and cross the t 's. I also think, as the member for Charlevoix, that there is a lot to do at home, in every region of Quebec, and mainly in Canada.

Social Program Reform March 18th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, we saw last night how the Prime Minister was welcomed to New Brunswick.

To thank the people of Beauséjour for re-electing him in 1990, the Prime Minister in effect gave them a nice poisoned gift: a reform of the unemployment insurance program that cuts deeply into the benefits of thousands of recipients in New Brunswick, as everywhere else in Canada.

Quebecers and Canadians have no intention of bearing the brunt of a strategy that tries to solve the deficit problem at the expense of the unemployed and of low-income people.

The people of New Brunswick, through their hostile reaction, are saying no to the proposed reform of social programs, just like the people in Toronto who said the same thing to the Minister of Human Resources Development.

It is obvious that the government must thoroughly review how it intends to reform social programs.

The Budget February 24th, 1994

Madam Speaker, in response to the minister's speech, where he talked about sending a clear message, I would like to tell him that since the tabling in the House of this budget, which will be in effect until March 31, 1995, Canadians and Quebecers do indeed find the message very clear.

It is clear because, regardless of whether Conservatives or Liberals are at the helm, people no longer have any confidence at all in the present federal system. Let me explain: Canada is operating increasingly in the red. Both the budget and the deficit reflect this fact. Liberals, for a second time, have set a record. The first one was when they created the deficit, under former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. This week, they set a second record, when they brought down a budget forecasting the

largest deficit ever, $39.7 billion; never before has a budget projected this large a deficit.

How does the minister intend to reduce the deficit when he has tabled a budget forecasting a $39.7 billion deficit? I await his answer.

Supply February 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment on the speech just delivered by the Reform member, who objects to the striking of a special committee to examine federal government expenditures. During the last election campaign, his party strongly advocated that the government clean up its act as far as spending is concerned. That is why, I think, they were elected in western Canada with such a majority. When you go hunting, you arm yourself appropriately, just as when you go fishing, you use the right gear. You cannot change equipment, even if you decide to do something else.

The Reform Party campaigned to defend the interest of its electorate, as we did during the campaign, as we always do in the

House, and as the Bloc Quebecois will continue to do throughout its mandate. Hence the importance of striking such a committee. The Bloc Quebecois said during the last election campaign, and I am very proud of it, that it would defend the interests of Quebecers and, in its capacity as the Official Opposition, the interests of all Canadians, of course, as far as government expenditures are concerned. Today, in Quebec as well as in Canada, there is a feeling of social insecurity, because Canada's debt level is very high, as is the interest on this debt which is in the order of $110 million per day.

I think there must be, here in Parliament, a committee to study government expenditures, item by item, and also to verify all departmental expenditures, item by item. An hon. member said earlier that such a committee has always existed in Parliament, which brings me to the following question: Did such a committee exist in 1980? Did that committee exist from 1980 to 1993? If it did, either it was ineffective, did not do its job properly, or else did a very good job but was not listened to. The previous governments did not listen to suggestions made by that committee because, from 1980 to 1984, the Liberals were in office and the debt stood at $30 billion in 1980, whereas by the time the Conservatives took over, it had already climbed to $187 billion.

Similarly, if the committee was in place after 1984 and until 1993, what did the government do with the recommendations of that committee? The $187 billion debt inherited from the Liberals kept increasing under the Conservatives. What prevented the government from taking appropriate action? Did it follow the recommendations of that committee? Is there any point in having a committee if the government does not follow its recommendations?

I suppose that the committee does a very good job and makes some useful recommendations to reduce expenditures, or at least to flash a yellow light warning ministers and some departments of imminent danger, by telling them that they are about to go over their budget, or to flash a red light telling them that they have indeed used up their budget and must be careful with their spending.

I also want to say that there would be no overlapping in this case because, within the government finance sector there is a Department of Finance as well another department called Revenue Canada. I guess you could call that overlapping. Likewise there is a finance committee, of which I am a member, and there is also a public accounts committee.

The Bloc Quebecois motion is to ensure that government expenditures are thoroughly reviewed and that a report is then tabled in the House.

Earlier we referred briefly to infrastructures. I think that the $2 billion infrastructure program of the Liberal government is insufficient, since the Federation of Canadian Municipalities suggested a $15 billion investment.

My question is: Is it the politicians who spend too much, not knowing where they are headed, or is it the civil servants who mismanage programs?

I will conclude by saying to the Reform Party that the situation is much worse than that.

Social Security System January 31st, 1994

Madam Speaker, I would like to follow up on the comments made by the hon. member who just spoke and who said that these are times of change. Indeed they are, as was also mentioned by the Minister of Finance during Question Period.

This is a time for change in Canada, with the arrival of a new federal government, but let us not forget that things also changed in Quebec on October 25, when three million Quebecers elected 54 Bloc Quebecois members to represent them in this House, as well as to protect Quebec's interests and give it real power.

The hon. member raised the issue of poverty. In 1980, the Liberals took 74 ridings out of 75 in Quebec, the hon. Roch LaSalle from Joliette being the only Conservative member. At that time, the debt stood at $30 billion. In 1984, when the Liberals were ousted and replaced by the Conservatives, the debt had risen to $187 billion.

From 1984 to 1988, the Conservative government enjoyed a strong majority, including in Quebec. From 1988 to 1993, Quebec gave a second chance to the Conservative Party. The debt, which stood at $187 billion when the Liberals left in 1984, has now climbed to over $500 billion under the Conservatives, and the Liberals are in charge again.

We just talked about poverty in this House, but it should be pointed out that each day the debt now costs every Canadian and Quebecer $108 million in interest. With these $108 million we could build social housing. We could give some security to our young people in post-secondary education and prevent them from dropping out. We could provide vocational training, thus creating something between the dayworker and the university graduate. We will always need plumbers, carpenters, electricians and other tradespersons. Today, more and more women are seeking employment in non traditional jobs, in construction and in industry for example. It is something we are very aware of in Quebec.

We have heard talk about poverty in this House and bragging about how we were going to correct the situation with the infrastructure program. The Liberals had their chance, the Conservatives had their chance, but red or blue, they are two peas in a pod, there is no difference. I am convinced that at the end of the mandate of this government, the Canadian debt will not have shrunk a bit. Despite all the speeches that are made, things remain the same. We have heard about the minister's speech, which cost $173,000. It is only the beginning, we will see more of that kind of waste.

A number of young graduates from universities or Cegeps must pump gas, because they did not get an education which would have prepared them to take over from those who were there before and built this country. This is why Quebec wants to take charge of itself, Quebec wants to be the master of its own destiny in the fields of education, manpower, health and municipal affairs.

Infrastructure Program January 27th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question for the Minister responsible for Infrastructure.

Can the minister tell us if ratification of an agreement with Quebec is delayed because Ottawa is reluctant to give Quebec full authority and wants to have a say in the choice of projects in Quebec?