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Results: 1 - 15 of 106
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, it is not without a certain bitterness that I join the debate on this bill.
Of course, we can tout the merits of Canada's two official languages. I rise in the House with all due respect for francophone minority communities outside Quebec and anglophone minority communities in Quebec. There is no denying, however, that, over the past few years, there has been an effort to relegate the sovereignty issue to the dustbin of history and to downplay the importance of acknowledging Quebeckers' quiet nationalism, which concerns me greatly. I have observed firsthand that the French language is at the heart of culture.
Last week, we debated the bill on indigenous languages. We heard from several people who stated just how important indigenous languages are to the indigenous identity and culture, and how it is very important to preserve them. The situation in Quebec is obviously not the same because Quebeckers have had the opportunity to take strong positions and to implement measures such as Bill 101. It was highly controversial at the time but it ultimately played an important, structural role in Quebec culture, and is a critical part of French's resilience in Quebec.
I am talking about our national question being turned into a bit of folklore, because, I would remind hon. members, Quebec is a distinct nation. I immediately think of simple things like the fact that our parliament is not called a legislature, but a national assembly, like in France, to reflect the fact that we adhere to the Civil Code instead of common law. We have a republican-like way of thinking, a way of seeing society that is more reflective of France, but includes a healthy mix of our status as Canadians and North Americans in the Westminister system.
My general impression when it comes to defending the interests of Quebec is that there are not too many Quebec MPs who want to talk about quiet nationalism, an expression that I quite liked and adopted. It was coined by Alain Dubuc, and economics columnist at La Presse. This is a nod to the Quiet Revolution and a characterization of our nationalism. In Quebec today, in 2019, this is a consensual nationalism, in the vast majority of cases.
Some hon. members represent largely anglophone communities where people are not inclined to be open to this idea. I forgive those members for not rising often enough to stand up for the quiet nationalism we are seeing in Quebec. As for the other MPs, I honestly have to say that I am very frustrated. For four years now, I have been front and centre at all times. My party, the NDP, gives me room to talk about how vital culture is to our television and popular music industries. Quebec's cultural industries are thriving. Every time we talk about a Canadian filmmaker doing well internationally we are proud of that, but often that filmmaker is from Quebec. We are so proud we might as well be talking about an Olympic champion. However, this does not come from nothing.
In the Olympics, there are programs such as own the podium. In Quebec and Canada, Quebec culture was allowed to thrive in television, film and music. How did we do that? By enforcing regulations; not letting ourselves be colonized and stepped on like doormats; and telling industry stakeholders interested in developing international culture that we had a weakness and that we needed to be a part of the story. If there is foreign content, there will have to be local content. This goes for all Canadian content, and everyone knows it, but it takes on a whole new meaning in Quebec. Both Canadian and Quebec content are hugely successful and have exceptional ratings, and ultimately, they also have a positive impact on society.
I will stop there to return to the bill introduced by my colleague from La Pointe-de-l'Île.
In Quebec, protecting culture means ensuring that the stories we tell reflect peoples' lives. I often give the example of the show Fugueuse, which had great ratings and a profound social impact. Every day after an episode would air, social workers and screenwriters would come to Longueuil station to talk about child prostitution, which is a blight, especially in my constituency. The show is having an impact.
In Quebec, we have invested in this particular way of telling our stories and expressing our love to one another, of greeting the world and welcoming new communities that come here. Last year, at a televised gala, we learned that Fugueuse helped 20 or so young people get out of prostitution after speaking to their parents. How marvellous is that?
Some people might say they are sick of hearing about the bloody Quebec culture and would rather watch Netflix anyway because the content is more relatable and much better. Is it though? I myself obsessively watched 13 Reasons Why, a series about teen suicide, before my daughters watched it, because I wanted to make sure it was appropriate for them. Then I learned that, according to American studies, youth suicide rates rose by 27% after the first few episodes were released. That is a huge increase.
The reason I bring this up is that we need to defend the Quebec nation in a constructive way. That is why we in the NDP strongly objected when this bill was designated as non-votable. Incidentally, I tip my hat to the member for Hamilton Centre, who fought to convince all his colleagues to vote to debate the bill. This bill represents an idea that could be immensely improved by the work of all the legislators in the House. I do not want to hear anyone telling me this bill is silly. If there is one bill that was sloppily cobbled together without constructive input from all members of Parliament, it is the omnibus bill that contained a certain little provision about SNC-Lavalin. We know all about the disastrous consequences for that company, which is Quebec's leading engineering firm, and above all for my dear Liberal colleagues, who really messed up.
The NDP believes this is an important issue because we are acutely conscious of the significant contributions that these new cultures make. They are going to help us build a stronger Quebec. Naturally, teaching French to newcomers is the central issue. We actually adopted a resolution on this topic at the last NDP convention in Trois-Rivières: Whereas immigration is essential to address the labour shortage, which is hurting the economy; whereas the Conservative and now the Liberal governments did nothing to support francophone immigration and make French language classes more accessible—God knows that is true; and whereas francophone immigration is indispensable for ensuring the future of Quebec and francophone communities across Canada outside Quebec; be it resolved that an NDP government will commit to providing adequate funding to increase the required percentage of French-speaking immigrants and will adapt existing immigration programs to Quebec's unique economic, social and labour needs.
That is why the Quebec caucus would surely have voted in favour of this bill at second reading so that it could be sent to committee. We are not getting anywhere by cutting ourselves off and talking past one another. It is shameful and disrespectful for any Quebec MP to ignore the vulnerability and value of Quebeckers' quiet nationalism and to fail to proudly defend Quebec's distinct identity.
In closing, we are very disappointed that we are not able to vote on this bill. This really is a dialogue of the deaf. It seems like members just want to put a lid on this issue and not talk about it. I would urge my dear friends to wake up. There is a quiet nationalism in Quebec, and it is high time we helped it along rather than stand in its way.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw attention back to the question posed by my colleague from Kitchener. He was absolutely right to bring up SNC-Lavalin.
This kind of procedure will rush the bill through the House of Commons. However, the government has presented a budget and an omnibus bill that includes everything but the kitchen sink. When the government tries to pass measures without anyone knowing, it thinks it knows better than everyone, that it knows all the answers. The government came up with a haphazard solution to the SNC-Lavalin problem. The Liberals figured that they would tinker with the legislation a little and it would work. It did not work considering the mess that you and those who live in Quebec are now dealing with.
The government is coming up with solutions in secret and is not presenting them to the 338 members of the House in order to take advantage of their expertise in finding solutions.
I would like to know whether the Minister of Finance will answer my colleague from Kitchener.
Can the government assure us that there will not be any more mistakes, aberrations, serious errors and serious consequences for all Canadians and for you as a government like we saw with the improvised line regarding SNC-Lavalin?
The government is irresponsibly improvising because it thinks it knows everything.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech.
I cannot help but respond when I hear the member for Winnipeg North say that Canadians chose to put an end to austerity. There is a huge difference between austerity and the deficit-palooza we have been experiencing ever since. It is pathetic and completely irresponsible. I agree with my colleague from Durham on that.
Obviously, I understand that he is concerned about workers at the GM plant in Oshawa. There is no long-term vision to try to keep those big plants here in Canada, to open more plants, and to manufacture models of the future rather than models that are going to be discontinued. Could we build vehicles of the future that would sell well and ensure that jobs are not lost in this industry?
I would like to ask my colleague whether he noticed any hidden or dangerous measures when he pored over this bill. That is the challenge that we, as parliamentarians, have to face. We need to go over this phone-book-sized bill with a fine-tooth comb to make sure we do not miss anything, but we do not have time for that. As a result, the last omnibus bill contained a ridiculous, half-baked measure on SNC-Lavalin and now we are seeing the terrible impact that is having on Quebec, jobs and engineering in Canada. It also created a huge scandal that is going to hurt the Liberals in the next election. It serves them right.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I know that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change often talks about how high a priority this is for him. However, when we look at the current situation, the budget or just the headlines, it is clear that there is a disconnect, from a financial point of view. It is valid to bring up deficits, but the most urgent issue is climate warming. One province, Alberta, has based its economy on oil production. What is the government going to do to come up with some kind of social licence, and what efforts will be made to limit greenhouse gas emissions? These things will not happen overnight. Oil is to Alberta what potatoes are to Prince Edward Island. I can see why they are scratching their heads, saying they cannot stop production because it would bring their economy to a halt.
How does the government plan to convince Albertans to accept help from across Canada in order to migrate to some other basis for their economy? What is it suggesting? It sounds like it is going to take 200 years to meet our targets. That is pathetic.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Lac-Saint-Louis for his speech.
I noted that he spoke with great pride about the budget and also that he insisted we must fight global warming. I thank him for that, because I believe we do not discuss it enough.
I would like to ask him two questions. First, given that he spoke about plug-in hybrids, I would like him to remind me whether plug-in hybrids such as the Chrysler Pacifica, which is built in Windsor and is the only vehicle of this kind made in Canada, will be eligible. Could he please refresh my memory and provide details about that?
Second, since he is an experienced politician, he knows full well that over the next six months the only thing the parties are going to do is sling mud at one another and quarrel about whether there will be a carbon tax. That will be a pointless fight. I would like to know what he thinks of that.
Take, for example, the resignation of Nicolas Hulot in France. He said that partisan politics do not work. We do not want yellow vests in Canada. There was the United We Roll movement. We must find a consensus and the social licence for what needs to be done.
Does my colleague not agree that it would be good if, before the end of this session, we could come up with a non-partisan, all-party approach to meeting our greenhouse gas reduction targets?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I feel the minister is being sincere about this bill, and I am happy to see that.
Indeed, the work has begun, and a significant effort is required from all committee members. There are several relevant topics that could be raised at committee.
I heard the question asked by my colleague from the Green Party, and I want to make sure my friend properly understood her request. She is calling on the government to listen to amendments that may be forthcoming—not just those brought forward by the three main parties, with whom the Liberals have negotiated carefully and well, believe me, and explored the possibilities.
I say this honestly and without cynicism: reach out to experts in this Parliament from the other parties. To be frank, I must say that, in the scandal involving SNC-Lavalin, you wanted to deal with it very quickly and, in the end, that has put a lot of jobs at risk when those in jeopardy should be the white-collar criminals. Of course, it was not you, but everyone knows that your government moved very quickly to add a provision in an omnibus bill, and now we are in this mess.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, my colleague said, “to make a contribution at some point”. Is “some point” in six years?
What a meaningless answer. The Liberals are just putting things off. Honestly, I completely understand my colleague from Quebec. I am not sure if that is the name of his riding, but everyone knows who I am talking about. He was getting very worked up listening to the government's petty answers. The government is clearly under the impression that the blue bloods, the members of royalty, know what to do. It is appalling.
There is something that really sticks in my craw. I have been a member of the House and vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage for seven years. This year, we did not agree with the Conservatives, but at least they were doing things properly. When we began the copyright review, we knew it was a big deal. There was an ad hoc committee for all the parties participating. There were special clerks, analysts and advisors.
In order to get its own way, the government decided to revamp the Copyright Board of Canada without knowing what changes would be made to the legislation. It is like trying to build a Japanese car with American tools. The government knew it was not a good idea, but it did it anyway.
The government asked the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to examine certain provisions of the act here and there. Members did not have the slightest idea of the scope of the task they were being asked to do.
Did the government do that to be able to get its own way? Do the Liberals think it is right that universities and colleges pay for electricity and insurance but do not pay royalties to authors?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague from St. Catharines for coming back to this topic when he had any number of topics to choose from in these 800 pages. I appreciate that. I think this is an important topic. I find it worrisome that our Conservative colleagues seem determined to deny the facts and reject the solutions. This is rather sad.
I have a question. With all due respect to our veterans, I think he was right to reference a war effort. Our enemy now is even greater than our greatest adversaries in the world wars. This absolutely calls for a war effort.
My question is the same as the one I asked the minister during the debate on global warming. In light of the Conservatives' denial, are you prepared to have the House appoint a super minister to combat global warming?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, we cannot oppose a good thing. It is quite clear that this bill makes good sense. However, I find it rather sad because it is like changing the wipers on a lemon with a flat tire.
Animal welfare is the subject of many conversations. There is a legal grey area. There are animals that are mistreated and even tortured. We have seen so many farms where conditions were just deplorable. I can hardly believe people treat animals that way. An animal should have rights and not be treated like property or merchandise. That is a simple idea.
It is a little surprising to see a government reject a private member's bill from one of its own and then present an abbreviated version that does not reflect the reality of people with animals, both those who love them and those who torture them.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a question, particularly since he is a members of those committees.
Ordinary Canadians who work hard and pay their taxes find it unacceptable that the government is introducing bills that merely fiddle with minor details. Will the government review the tax system? The NDP has asked it to do so many times.
The government is encouraging cynicism among Canadians by failing to make major changes, such as establishing a public registry of those who benefit from the tax exemptions given to the wealthiest Canadians and big business. When people hear that a company did not pay taxes one year or that it was taxed at only 1% when they were taxed at 33% or 34%, it makes them very angry.
I am sorry, but I must remind the House that a Liberal prime minister registered his Great Lakes ships in Panama.
Would my colleague care to comment on that?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, it is rare for us to all agree in the House because we have views unique to our own very different parties. Although we often see the same problem from different angles, it is quite clear that each party has its own stereotypes and ways of doing things. We are used to Liberal spin, as they want to manipulate what we think.
We in the NDP have not had the chance to form government, so of course we cannot be blamed for the serious problems that have been affecting Canadians for a long time. The blame lies more with the Liberals or the Conservatives.
I hold my colleague in high regard, but I am sorry to hear him constantly saying that we did not vote for this or that bill they brought before us. I am not a tax expert, but that is disappointing. I do not see what your point is. The point here is to show that these people are not really doing the work necessary to fight tax avoidance and tax havens. That is clearly the point. So why are you coming after us? I do not understand.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech. I think that his input is important. He seems to have a lot of experience in business and finance. I found his explanations of the issues interesting, particularly what he just said about the free trade agreement with the United States, which was clearly signed at the expense of Quebec and Ontario dairy farmers.
I would like to ask him a question. I think he is very articulate. He was saying earlier that it is problematic when businesses break the law. However, he did not find it problematic that our laws establish certain tax havens. It may be a bit candid of me to say this, since I have no training in that regard, but I cannot understand why big business is allowed to get away with so much.
When it comes to free trade, is it possible that the Conservatives' approach is depleting the skills in our revenue collection agencies, while the private sector is busy snapping up the best and brightest, those who know the most about tax evasion?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague for his speech, but especially for his dedication to this file.
When Quebeckers hear the name Pierre Nadeau, they think of a great journalist who had a following on television and radio, but in Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, Pierre Nadeau, above all else, is known as a prominent, social neighbour who loves to talk. I am not sure exactly what kind of disability he has, but he has some form of aphasia. He gets around using a mobility scooter and he is very active. He is a development officer at AILIA, a Quebec association whose mission is to make housing, including social housing, more accessible for those who need it.
Nearly half a million people in the greater Longueuil area do not have access to the Montreal metro because there is no elevator access to the Longueuil metro platform. Even if, by some miracle, someone manages to get on, there is no elevator at the central hub, Berri-UQAM.
Does my colleague think that this new legislation will fix these unjust situations?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, did I really hear my colleague opposite say that if there were only New Democrats, we would still be going around doing business with horse-drawn carts? Is that really how you understand our concerns? That is abysmal. Allow me to officially insult you and to call you a blowhard and a moron. I will apologize later, but I am telling you what I think. I am happy that the Speaker was not listening at that precise moment.
It is pathetic to see you depicting yourselves as heroes by stating that you negotiated perfectly—
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I apologize.
How many times have we decried the fact that the public was kept in the dark about these negotiations? I had to learn, because I am not an expert. The purpose of debate is to learn and move forward. We are in Parliament.
How is it that in the United States the two main parties are represented in the negotiations? This helps us better understand the complicated issues surrounding this agreement.
How come you never allowed anyone outside your sacrosanct government to be there?
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