Mr. Speaker, today, the Bloc Québécois is making a very simple request: that the federal government issue a formal apology to the people expropriated from Forillon Park.
My colleague, the member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, just mentioned Sainte-Scholastique. Let us remember Kouchibouguac in New Brunswick and the saga the Vautour family had to endure. Here, in the Outaouais region, the National Capital Commission expropriated the people of Lac Philippe to create Gatineau Park. It is important to note that it was francophones who were living in that area. They were all expropriated. The people who were living in the Meech Lake area were all anglophones who were more well off and who were well connected with the Liberal government that was in power at the time. They were not affected. It is not that they deserved to be expropriated, but the people from the Lac Philippe area are still suffering as a result of this incident.
There are other stories, like the story of Hull, for example. Why were federal buildings put up in Hull, just across the bridge, where the people of Hull lived? Why were they not built on the outskirts of the city to let those people stay in their homes and their community? No, they were cavalierly expropriated. They had to leave and go live somewhere else, like Baron or Pointe-Gatineau. They were expropriated and paid peanuts for their houses. Some of them still live in trailers today because they were not given enough money to build houses like they had in Hull.
At that time, Hull's social fabric was destroyed just so that the federal buildings would not be too far from Ottawa, from the capital, from Parliament. Once again, Liberals, Liberals, Liberals; Trudeau, Trudeau, Trudeau. That is what the federal government did to those people then. They really suffered.
Are the Conservatives like a bunch of Trudeaus? Will they take on the mantle of Pierre Elliott Trudeau and follow in the Liberals' footsteps by not apologizing? That is what we are hearing today. The Conservatives' silence is deafening. They did not rise to say that they were going to apologize to the people of Forillon because the government put them through hell.
The government did the same thing to the Métis. After Louis Riel was hanged, the Métis became corner people or road allowance people. They were not even recognized as human beings. In places in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the way to evict them was to burn down their peat moss houses, because they did not pay municipal taxes. That was another form of expropriation by the federal government. It is time for us to come back down to earth and show some humanity.
Consider the deportation of the Acadians. Of course, that was under British rule, before Canada. Consider what happened to them. They were separated and sent to New England, the Falklands and Europe. On some ships, far out at sea, children were thrown overboard so that the Acadians would have no descendants.
Canada has a very dark history when it comes to expropriation. We took people's property; we uprooted them from land that belonged to them. Forillon is another example of this.
I will not go into detail about the hell the people of Forillon went through and are still going through today. They are still alive and they are watching us today. They are hoping to see something other than a bunch of little Trudeaus who continue to perpetuate the insult against them. I see the serious look on your face, Mr. Speaker, and I am convinced that you are going to talk to the people in your caucus so that they stand up and acknowledge the horror and hell that we made the people of Forillon go through.
There are testimonies. We expropriated these people and burned their houses down right in front of them. When they wanted to go back to their community later to visit one of the three cemeteries in Forillon Park and pray at the graves of their loved ones, we made them pay because they were entering a Canadian national park. Nice!
Is that what Canada is about? Will the caring federalists who so love their big country stand up one day? Will they stand up one day and say that they did something wrong, admit their mistake and present the people of Forillon with tangible, official apologies from the House of Commons? Elderly people had to dig around in their wallets to find change so they could go and pray at their child's or spouse's grave inside Forillon Park. It is one example, but I hope that it raises their awareness and that they will not ask how much it is going to cost the Canadian treasury. If the government members are human beings, they will show it. This is a golden opportunity.
“The government sent a subpoena to my father telling him that his house now belonged to the Queen. He never would have believed that they would come to take him out of there. Well, the RCMP forcibly turned him out of his home”, remembers Charles Bouchard, the son of one of the expropriated residents. His father, Édouard, or Eddy, who is deceased, was the last person expropriated to leave his house on the Anse-Au-Griffon trail, one of the areas ceded to the federal government. “He did not want to leave, but he had to resign himself to it. To force him out, the Liberal Government of Canada cut off his telephone and other services.”
Charles Bouchard remembers receiving $1,400 for his 50-acre parcel of land. And his father was given the meagre amount of $20,000 for the house, other buildings, land and two sugar bushes he owned. That gives us an idea of what transpired, and it did not take place in 1622, but in the 1970s. Few members of this House had not yet been born in 1970. About one hundred of those expropriated rebelled against the paltry compensation from Pierre Elliott Trudeau's Liberal government, and they went to court. They managed to get a little bit more.
Jérémie Dunn has provided another account of the events. The program Enquête will be featuring a story about this tonight at 8 p.m. on Radio-Canada. My colleagues should watch it as they will learn a few things. The Radio-Canada program Tout le monde en parlait recently discussed the 225 Gaspé families that were expropriated. The program showed the houses before the expropriation and as they were burning. The houses were burnt down.
We understand the situation. It would be very easy to offer a sincere apology. In fact, we are sincere. We must promote all forms of respect, and our sense of humanity must inspire us when dealing with these people who suffered and continue to suffer—and who have suffered enough—because of the horrible act perpetrated by the Liberal Government of Canada against the people expropriated to create Forillon Park.
Mr. Speaker, I am counting on you to convince your people to rectify the situation.