House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was liberal.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Bloc MP for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Maraloï Family April 29th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the Maraloï family, who had to put up with a lot of hostility from the federal Department of Citizenship and Immigration, and a good deal of procrastination from the department of immigration and cultural communities, will finally be allowed to stay in Quebec.

As the Official Opposition, we want to pay tribute to the courage and determination of these people who found themselves, quite unwillingly, at the centre of bureaucratic wrangling over immigration. After being wrongly told by the federal government that Quebec had the power to accept them as permanent residents, and then, turned back at the U.S. border while facing threats of deportation to Rumania, they finally saw an end to their troubles with the bureaucracy.

We are welcoming the Maraloï family in the Quebec society and we wish them all the success and happiness they deserve, at the eve of their new life in Quebec.

Mil Davie Shipyards April 28th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, we wonder if there really is a Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec.

Are we to understand from the minister's silence that he agrees with the statements of the Minister of Transport? Is that why the Prime Minister refused to make any specific promises to the shipyard workers in Lévis during the last election campaign?

Mil Davie Shipyards April 28th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, Ottawa has yet to announce its decision

regarding the construction of a new ferry to service the Magdalen Islands. This project would certainly put MIL Davie shipyards in Lauzon back on track.

Yesterday the Quebec minister of industry criticized the federal government's attitude and stated the following: "We are entitled to have our ferry and to have it built here in Quebec. All of a sudden, the federal government has taken an interest in this ferry and wants to award the contract to a shipyard outside the province".

My question is directed to the Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec. Can the minister give us his assurance that he will do whatever it takes in order to get the Prime Minister to rein in his Minister of Transport so that he does not play politics at Quebec's expense and divert the contract to build the ferry from MIL Davie in Lauzon to Saint John Shipbuilding Ltd., which happens to be located in the Minister of Transport's own province?

Transport Canada April 26th, 1994

I have a supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. Can the minister confirm that his government will privatize the Coast Guard, hence decreasing the competitiveness of ports along the St. Lawrence Seaway and forcing shipowners to look for someone to foot the bill, which will come to about $200 million a year?

Transport Canada April 26th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, we learned from a working paper drafted by Transport Canada that the minister of Transport is considering eliminating 14,000 jobs by privatizing several activities and going as far as privatizing all activities conducted by the Canadian Coast Guard.

Can the minister confirm that he is about to downsize its department by eliminating 14,000 jobs?

Pearson International Airport Agreements Act April 26th, 1994

Madam Speaker, you will understand that, as transport critic for the Official Opposition, I am extremely interested in Bill C-22 which was presented at first reading on April 13, 1993. I also carefully reviewed the report Mr. Robert Nixon submitted to the hon. Prime Minister on November 29, 1993.

I did not waste any time in studying the contract signed on October 7, 1993 by the Government of Canada and T1 T2 Limited Partnership. I also asked certain employee associations for their opinion and consulted with some airport managers. I will not violate any official secrets by saying that, after these consultations and all that reading, I agree with the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition and ask this House to authorize a Royal Commission to hold an inquiry on the circumstances surrounding the deal entered into by the government and T1 T2 Limited Partnership.

In its present form, Bill C-22 contains a dozen clauses. We agree with some of them but cannot support the wording of subsection 10(1), and I quote:

If the Minister considers it appropriate to do so, the Minister may, with the approval of the Governor in Council, enter into agreement on behalf of Her Majesty to provide for the payment of such amounts as the Minister considers appropriate in connection with the coming into force of this Act, subject to the terms and conditions the Minister considers appropriate.

During the election campaign, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, the present Prime Minister, made it very clear to the parties involved that he would have no qualms about cancelling the deal after he was elected. Following this statement, the chief negotiator for the former government requested written instructions on whether to complete the transaction. The then Conservative Prime Minister specifically requested that the agreement be signed that very day. However, concluding a transaction of this magnitude in the midst of an election campaign, effectively tying the newly elected government to the previous government's policies, flies in the face of normal democratic practices.

We must admit that the new Liberal Prime Minister, who was elected last October 27, wasted no time in dealing with the situation, announcing on December 3, 1993 the cancellation of the Pearson Airport privatization deal. Unfortunately, he probably soon realized that some of the people involved in that deal belonged to his party. It is probably why, on April 13, 1994, his government presented a bill to finalize the cancellation while reserving the right, under subsection 10(1), to enter into

agreements on behalf of Her Majesty to provide for the payment of such amounts he himself considers appropriate.

You will understand that to exclude Parliament from such an important decision and to give a blank cheque to Cabinet, especially the minister of Transport, is unacceptable.

During the last campaign, our party mentioned that the Liberals and the Tories were so similar that they were like two peas in a pod or "blanc bonnet, bonnet blanc", as we say in Beauport and on Île d'Orléans. This bill confirms it.

It is unacceptable for payment of compensation to be authorized without even being sure such compensation is warranted. When examining all the documents, and particularly the lengthy Nixon report, I wonder if there was any wrongdoing in that operation and I am very concerned about the answer.

After the royal commission of inquiry has made its review, after its decision and recommendations, maybe we will come to the conclusion that it is rather T1 T2 Limited Partnership that should pay compensation to the Canadian government. If however the royal commission concludes that there is compensation to be paid, Parliament will still be in a position to make a fair and enlightened decision.

I mentioned that we were not in agreement with section 10(1), but I would like to add that there should be another section in the bill saying who should manage Pearson International Airport. We all know that Transport Canada still operates the airport, but we would have liked to see this bill determine clearly that the Toronto airport should be under the management of a non-profit organisation just like the Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton airports.

In these cases, management is a group of people from the local community so they are quite capable of defending the interests of those they represent. Let me just give as an example Aéroports de Montréal, the corporation that operates the two Montreal airports; the members of its board come from the business community and are also board members of the SOPRAM, the corporation responsible for the promotion of Montreal airports.

The eighth member is the president and chief executive officer of Aéroports de Montréal, ADM if you will. It is also interesting to note that SOPRAM is a non-profit organization comprising 21 members appointed by the following organisations: the City of Montreal, the City of Laval, the Conférence des maires de banlieue, the Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, the Corporation de promotion de l'aéroport de Mirabel (COPAM), the Société montérégienne de développement (SMD) and the city of Longueuil.

This kind of representation means that the corporation is sensitive to local interests and has a perspective rooted into the business community. This is a prerequisite that we would have liked to see in Bill C-22. I would like to come back to the royal commission we are requesting. Why should we have a commission of inquiry? There are several reasons.

The first would be to determine why, on March 11, 1992, the government asked formally for proposals regarding the privatization of Terminals 1 and 2 of Pearson Airport. There would be only one phase and no prequalification, contrary to the process for Terminal 3, which was to be in two phases.

The second reason is that, looking at the Nixon report, we note that the call for tenders left only a very short time, 90 days, which meant that only groups closely connected with the operation of the airport, like Claridge and Paxport, could possibly submit a valid tender. This explains why only two tenders were received. Paxport had already submitted a privatization plan in 1989, but had had to withdraw, and Claridge was operating Terminal 3.

The third reason is to determine why the contract was signed on October 7, 1993, during the election campaign, and despite the fact that the very hesitant chief negotiator had asked for written instructions before signing the deal.

The fourth reason is to determine what role did the lobbyists played and whom they lobbied. The fifth one, to determine the cost to the public of this hasty decision, and who really benefitted from it. The sixth one, to establish why the Conservative government sought to privatize Pearson Airport, the most profitable in Canada. The seventh reason, to find out why the government allowed T1 T2 Limited Partnership a rate of return of 24 per cent before taxes and 14 per cent after taxes.

The eighth reason is to see why the Nixon Report recommends that no compensation be paid for lost business opportunities and lobbying costs. Have the commissioners uncovered even more irregularities than we know of?

The ninth reason is to determine the role of certain stakeholders closely linked either to the Conservative Party or to the Liberal Party of Canada.

The tenth reason is the answer to the following question: Why did the government not include in Bill C-22 a clause allowing it to transfer the Pearson Airport administration to a non-profit organization?

These are some of the reasons why a royal commission of inquiry is needed to arrive at a well advised decision. It is also important that the commission clearly indicate the impact of lobbyists in this case. It must examine the costs to the taxpayers,

the impact on jobs in the Metro Toronto area, and especially, the impact on transportation in Canada.

I will be focusing in particular on the repercussions of this transaction on Canadian transportation. My colleagues will discuss not only the impact on public finances and on jobs in the Metro Toronto area, but also the role of lobbyists in this affair.

Airports, along with aircraft and human resources, are the mainstay of the air transport industry. Airport facilities allow you to increase the number of destinations, accommodate various types of aircraft and provide different kinds of services.

Air transportation has a great influence on the overall economy of a region. An airport is the point of arrival for foreign investors and the point of departure for local human and non-human resources. For the region where it is located as well as for the destinations it is linked with, an airport is considered a significant economic lever.

According to a study conducted by the École des hautes études commerciales of Montreal in the late 1980s, the contribution of Montreal airports to the Gross Domestic Product in terms of value added in 1992 was expected to be $1.3 billion in direct effects only and $2.2 billion in both direct and indirect effects.

To show just how airport facilities can influence regional development, let me quote from an IATA report issued in December 1991. In Toronto, the addition of a runway would mean $3.5 billion more in revenues for the region over the next 15 years and $9 billion more for the province. The impact on the employment situation would be significant: locally, the addition of the runway would create 3,300 new jobs every year and 3,700 jobs throughout Ontario, which comes to over 7,000 new jobs for Ontario.

Also, in its October 1992 issue, the magazine L'Actualité reported that the number and frequency of air transport communications between major cities is the fifth criterion used by potential investors.

The air transport industry depends directly on airport facilities. Carriers are the primary clients of airports and it is thanks to the serviceability of airport facilities that airlines can develop and generate by their activities considerable revenues for the community.

The main cause of these decreases is quite clear. In the mid 1960s, projections for future passenger and cargo traffic led authorities to plan the building of a second airport in Montreal, that is Mirabel. According to the projections made in 1967 for the 1980s, we were to expect 14 million passengers and 2,020,000 tons of cargo by 1985.

Also in the mid 1960s, we anticipated a 15 per cent growth rate for passenger traffic in the Montreal area, that is approximately 10,600,000 passengers for 1975, the year Mirabel was going to be inaugurated.

Lastly, Mirabel was to be the sole gateway in Canada for all transatlantic flights and, eventually, for all international flights other than transborder flights.

Things did not turn out that way. In 1985, the combined passenger traffic for Dorval and Mirabel was 7 million passengers, that is half of what was initially projected. In 1985, the combined cargo traffic for Dorval and Mirabel was approximately 105,000 tons, which is less than what Dorval handled alone in 1975. This cargo is 5 per cent of what was projected in 1967.

In the years following the inauguration of Mirabel Airport, Montreal lost the preferential status that it had been promised. Mirabel is no longer the only gateway in Canada and more and more airlines are authorized to offer direct flights from other Canadian airports to foreign destinations.

Between 1966 and 1975, passenger traffic in Montreal grew by about 9.9 per cent, which is 5 per cent less than expected. However, the growth rate did not remain steady after 1975. Between 1975 and 1984, passenger traffic grew by only 2.24 per cent, which represents an annual growth rate of less than one quarter of one per cent. So, the growth rate at both Montreal airports was about 10 per cent of the Canadian growth rate during the same period.

Between 1975 and 1984, increases in passenger traffic occurred mainly in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Halifax. Montreal accounted for only 1.86 per cent of the overall growth in traffic in Canada during this nine-year period. Also, during the last ten years, that is from 1981 to 1991, the growth rate of passenger traffic in Montreal was minimal compared to the 44.55 per cent rate recorded in Toronto.

In 1981, Dorval and Mirabel handled 7.5 million passengers a year, whereas Toronto handled 14.7 million. The slow growth of airport activity in Montreal since the early 70s is especially notable compared to what happened in Toronto over the same period. Statistical data are a proven measure of airport activity.

Therefore, one can imagine that the negative impact of this shift in economic activity from Montreal to Toronto has played a major role in the erosion of Air Canada's pilot base in Montreal in favour of Ontario's capital. For example, in 1979, Air Canada had 461 pilots based in Montreal and 451 in Toronto, a difference of 10 in favour of Montreal. Some 13 years later, in 1992, Air Canada had 301 pilots based in Montreal and 781 in Toronto, a difference of 480 in favour of Toronto. Over a 13-year period, Montreal lost 160 pilots whereas Toronto gained 480 pilots. This

about-turn is due mainly to the fact that Montreal has lost its privileged status with regard to direct flights to Europe, which allowed a shift in economic activity from Montreal to Toronto.

In closing, I would like to quote the words of Mr. Tory Hine, financial analyst for Scotia McLeod, as reported by the magazine Wings , vol. 5, in the fall of 1992.

"We have an airline industry concentrated on a single hub, Pearson International in Toronto, with secondary hubs in Vancouver, the Pacific gateway and Montreal. The position and dominance of the Toronto hub is the single asset of Canada's industry. The potential for Toronto to be the North American scale hub is important for the jobs and revenue which would be created in the Toronto area, but it also provides an important link which enables Canada to participate fully in both the Canada-U.S. and North American free trade agreements. The split of Montreal's two airports between international services at Mirabel and domestic and transborder services at Dorval means that the two airports are relegated to serving primarily the local market. Montreal as a result has not emerged as a full hub".

Again, if Montreal could have maintained the status it enjoyed in the seventies, it would not have to limit itself to serving local routes.

In conclusion, the Montreal airports authority manages Montreal's two airports very well. Business people and airport people are talking to each other and the best solution will soon be found. Hopefully, the Montreal airports authority will try to convince airlines to have their inspection and maintenance work done in a place where air traffic is already heavy. This would have a major impact on employment at the Air Canada technical maintenance centre in Montreal, where close to 3,500 people work and which is known around the world for its excellence and expertise.

My party does not intend to take the place of local people when it comes to deciding whether there should be one or two airports in Montreal. We are convinced that they are able to make the right decisions.

The government will soon have important decisions to make concerning Pearson Airport, and I am not talking about compensation, but about its future and administration. Before making decisions that could result in one area of the country being more prosperous than another, would it not be a good idea to review the whole Canadian airport system, to discuss with business people and specialized agencies, and to involve the provincial governments so that all regions, and not only one, can prosper?

Pearson International Airport Agreements Act April 26th, 1994

I detect some contradiction in the words of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, and I will explain why.

It seems to me that the parliamentary secretary is speaking from both sides of the mouth, not at the same time, of course, but I will explain myself.

On March 10, the Minister of Transport, in response to the Budget Speech of the Minister of Finance, said in several places-I do not have the Hansard with me, but I studied his speech very well-that several activities currently conducted by Transport Canada would have to be sold and privatized.

I would like the parliamentary secretary to indicate to me whether there is not a contradiction in what he was saying earlier about the fact that the Pearson airport should continue to be part of the public heritage.

Sahtu Dene And Metis Land Claim Settlement Act April 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on April 12, I informed the Speaker of the House that the Minister of Industry had still not recommended to the government to make decisions on two issues affecting the MIL Davie shipyard in Lauzon, namely the Magdalen Islands ferry and the multifunctional smart ship project.

I added that, if the government still believed in employment, it had no reason not to make an immediate decision on the future of this shipyard. I also informed the House that, with every passing day, government inaction threatened the survival of the biggest private business in the Quebec City region.

The employers, employees and people concerned are not at all satisfied with the answers then given by the Minister of Industry to these two questions. We cannot be satisfied with a stock answer such as the one we received. We agree that, as the custodian of public funds, the government must make decisions that are in the best interest of taxpayers, but it must still make them.

In the last election campaign, all local stakeholders told the parties now forming the government and the Opposition how important it was to react rapidly in the MIL Davie case because failure to do so could lead to economic disaster, namely the closure of the MIL Davie shipyard. The shipyard is now in a state of panic as no contract has been or is waiting to be signed.

At this time last year, 3,000 employees were working. There are now 2,000 workers but this number will go down to 300 in December if the government does not assume its responsibilities right away.

As you can appreciate, people are ready to use any means to ensure their survival. They do not intend to wait for the provincial election to be called without the federal government taking a firm stand. All too often, campaigning politicians promised the shipyard it would be awarded contracts that never materialized after the election.

Today I am asking the Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry to give me a definite answer on the government position in this case, not on a whim but because the situation is serious and urgent. That is also the reason why, Mr. Speaker, you allowed me to address this House tonight pursuant to Standing Order 37(3).

People on both shores of the Quebec City region who work in the private sector are dependent on two major industries: pulp and paper and shipbuilding.

The pulp and paper industry is already facing serious difficulties in trying to apply certain federal environmental standards but, Mr. Speaker, if you allow me, I will bring this thorny problem to the attention of the House a little later.

The other industry supporting 3,000 employees has no contracts left and is about to close its doors. I would like the government to be aware of the major problems that would be created by its failure to take immediate action. Three thousand families represent about 10,000 people who will live on unemployment insurance for a while. The following year, these 10,000 people will be forced to live on welfare with all the psychological problems brought on by this situation. These psychological problems will lead to a significant increase in health-care costs paid in part by the federal government.

The government, I am sure, analyzed all these repercussions and I fervently hope that my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry, is now in a position to give us the good news right now, namely that MIL Davie of Lauzon has been awarded the contract for building the Magdalen Islands ferry as well as the smart ship prototype so that it can survive for the next few years.

Budget Implementation Act, 1994 April 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, a few days ago I had the privilege to ask this House to accept an amendment to Bill C-17. My hon. colleagues decided otherwise and, as any good democrat, I accept their decision. That does not mean that I agree with this bill, and for the second time, I will try to explain my reservations to this House.

Some of the wording of this bill leads me to believe that it would be premature to pass it. Let us take, for example, the wage freeze. I already said yes to the freeze for certain categories of public servants such as federally-appointed judges, parliamentary agents, the Governor General, lieutenant governors, Parliamentarians, and certain members of the Canadian Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. But I believe that it is very dangerous to remove any incentive for public servants and to prevent them from climbing the wage ladder.

This bill also caps payments to provinces under the Canada Assistance Plan after the 1994-95 fiscal year. The Canada Assistance Plan cannot be modified without a national consultation and, for this reason, I found it premature, at this point, to cap payments for 1995-96.

I do not agree either with authorizing the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to borrow money. The CBC is a public corporation and as such should be funded by government grants and advertising revenues. With a deficit of more than $500 billion, this government does not need to authorize public corporations such as the CBC to borrow money, thus adding to the Canadian deficit. Anyhow, if the CBC chalks up a deficit, Canadians will end up paying anyway. So, let the Canadian government give the corporation the necessary budget to promote Canadian culture and inform Canadians but we must not authorize it to borrow money.

Although this bill contains many questionable and premature items, the most questionable of all is the reform of unemployment insurance. The changes proposed in Bill C-17 are unfair and will harm Canadians, especially in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

The government proudly proclaims that the proposed changes will bring about savings in UI expenditures of $725 million in 1994-95, and of $2.4 billion in 1995-96 and 1996-97. Does the federal government think it is doing Canadians a favour with such a measure? Does it really believe that it will create more jobs by lowering the premium? No, I do not think it will and I am convinced that this government does not think so either. It is just passing its financial problems on to the provinces, as it has been doing for some time. What will Canadians and Quebeckers who will no longer be entitled to unemployment insurance live on? On welfare, which is of provincial jurisdiction.

The results of this decision are twofold. First, the human person, and I often talk about the human person when I address this House, will lose dignity, because in addition to being out of work, they will no longer have the income to which they contributed with their premiums. They will face the problems of welfare recipients, despite the efforts of our provincial governments to make welfare less painful. Mr. Speaker, human dignity means being gainfully employed. As Félix Leclerc, who is from Saint-Pierre on Île d'Orléans in my riding, said, the best way to kill a man is to pay him to do nothing. With this bill, the government is not creating jobs, it is shortening the unemployment insurance benefit periods and forcing people to depend on the state for subsistence.

Secondly, the changes to unemployment insurance will force the provincial governments to increase their welfare budgets and thus increase their deficits. That is what these premature changes will do.

The people of Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans, whom I have the honour to represent in this House, want to have something fine, true and real to hang on to so that they can forget the recession we are going through and the financial difficulties they have had to put up with for several years. The people of Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans are entitled to work so that they can consider themselves full citizens. They are entitled to

believe in their elected representatives. They are entitled to hope that their representatives will find solutions for the current problems and prepare better days for the years to come.

This House where the people of Canada are represented does not have the right for partisan reasons to pass legislation that is premature and unfair to the people of the Atlantic provinces and Quebec.

I therefore ask this House to reject Bill C-17 on second reading and thus permit the House to go more thoroughly into the proposals which were made to us prematurely in this bill.

High Speed Train April 13th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to say that Quebecers who are listening to us, and also some Canadians, must be convinced, when they hear comments such as those coming from the Reform Party, that Quebec should become sovereign. I thank the Reform members for behaving in such a way, because they are helping our cause.

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to thank you for allowing me to support my colleague from Joliette who moved this motion in the House, by asking him to demand that the government take the required measures to authorize the construction of a high-speed train linking Quebec City and Windsor.

As early as February 1, I had the opportunity to address this House and explain why the government should implement this project as soon as possible. I was recently followed by the youth wing of the Quebec Liberal Party, which is determined to pressure the Johnson administration to hold to it. That same federalist youth wing tabled this resolution at the policy conference of the Quebec Liberal Party in Montreal in March. The leader of the Parti Quebecois, Jacques Parizeau, often asked the former premier of Quebec, Robert Bourassa, to put this project forward as an economic recovery tool. I am telling you all this because the implementation of the HST in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor has almost universal support in Quebec. To be convinced of that, you simply have to look at the 1991 report of the Task Force on the Quebec-Ontario High-Speed Train, co-chaired by the honourable Rémi Bujold, the former member of Parliament for Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

I know that the government is expecting a report by this summer, which will make comparisons between competitive technologies. However, this is a question of form, not of substance. I am sure that the report which will be presented to the Minister of Transport will indicate a strong desire to go ahead with the HST and will suggest several ways to do so. Recently the dollar has been in a free fall while interest rates have been rising-we cannot know how high they will go-and the stock market has been very volatile.

In these circumstances, it would be easy to criticize the Minister of Finance for not having reduced our deficit. It would be easy to criticize the Governor of the Bank of Canada for having allowed a rise in interest rates. It would also be easy to ask the government to review its borrowing policy on foreign markets in order to protect ourselves from the fickleness of foreign investors from all parts of the world. But, Mr. Speaker, Canadians are worried and in need of a leader, of a government which will restore their self-confidence, a government which will give them hope in a better economic future in the short term, with an extraordinary venture, the construction of a high-speed train.

Why such a train? The government claims that it is ready to provide venture capital to promote high-tech industry, but are these empty promises? What is it waiting for to give the go ahead to the HST project? In two years it will be too late. The Americans will have forged ahead, depriving us of any hopes of winning contracts for high speed lines. We will not be able to export $200 billion worth of technology over the next 10 or 12 years. At stake are many value-added jobs as well as our competitive edge in the high tech transportation field.

Why a high speed train? Because it will travel a corridor more than 1,200 kilometres long. It means more than 120,000 jobs over a 10-year period.

A high speed train will allow municipalities in the corridor to build the infrastructure necessary for the economic development of their citizens and will give them hope for a better future for their children. This venture, worth some $7.5 billion, will be the highlight of this last decade, a landmark future generations will remember about the 20th century in Canada.

When I have the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life in my riding of Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans, the same two issues keep cropping up: the fears of seniors and the exasperation of our youth with our generation.

Let us look at the fears of seniors. They are concerned about developing our country, educating the next generation, establishing in our society all the required structures for education, hospital and other health services, transportation, environmental protection and good quality of life in general. Ten years ago, these people were not worried about their future, they believed the next generation would take care of them and they would reap what they had sowed a hundredfold. But as soon as they meet with economic difficulties, all governments, including the one in place, ask seniors to pay the bill.

Let us look now at young people, those who dreamed of a better world, those who worked hard to acquire a specialty and university degrees, those who were promised a leisure society in the year 2000, those who are presently discouraged, jobless and frustrated because they see the previous generation-our generation-enjoying conditions they will never be able to obtain. We have to give them faith in and hope for a brighter future. We must leave them something besides an accumulated debt of $500 billion. We must show them that we were daring and that we left them with big projects and the opportunity to develop them in the years to come.

The HST project is exciting, visionary and affordable. Affordable in the long run if we learn to expand it according to our means; affordable because each dollar invested will create real jobs for the long term, not temporary employment like the municipal infrastructure program.

Railway companies are less and less interested in operating regional lines. They would rather be travel wholesalers operating only the main lines. After studying the situation in several countries like Italy, Germany, Japan and the United States, we concluded that rail transportation is a state responsibility almost everywhere. Decisions on operation and expansion are always taken by government, which is also involved directly in construction and financing either through subsidies or loan guarantees.

There would be nothing wrong with following the same model used for the bridge between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, which will be done with the help of the private sector and some generous subsidies from the federal government. As for the environment, it is interesting to know that, even when running at 300 kilometres an hour, the HST uses close to half as much energy as a car and four times less than passenger jet aircraft.

The HST would not cause air emissions and would use a type of energy that is abundant in Ontario and in Quebec. Following the cancellation of the agreement with New York State, these provinces have an enormous electrical potential to support this new transportation mode. Besides, this means of transportation is not so new since most big North American cities used this type of energy for their transit from the 1900s to the 1950s. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, our ancestors left us everything we need. Now, all we have to do is demonstrate a willingness to innovate in a transportation corridor that presents many opportunities.

Finally, I strongly urge this House to adopt the motion presented by my colleague from Joliette and to demand that the government rule immediately on its substance, in other words to give the go ahead to the HST, subject to a review of the terms and conditions which will be presented to the Minister of Transport in June.