Hansard
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 1 - 11 of 11
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2019-06-12 16:50 [p.29011]
Mr. Speaker, several of the amendments that were rejected came directly from the oil lobby. However, some of the amendments would have affirmed respect for the provinces' rights and municipalities' land use plans. Why were these amendments rejected? The Bloc Québécois proposed similar amendments in committee.
Why must the provinces' rights and municipal land use regulations always be ignored?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2017-05-11 12:58 [p.11069]
Madam Speaker, it is my first time rising today in the debate, although I have listened to all the speeches. We do need to study the infrastructure bank more fully. There is a potential role for infrastructure and the infrastructure bank if its purpose is to access financing at a lower interest rate than that available, even in municipalities. This is a valid purpose. My concern is that the municipalities want funding, not financing.
I had hoped to ask this question of government members. Could we get some clarity? I do not feel we now have clarity on how much funding is available for infrastructure projects as opposed to financing through the infrastructure bank. These are separate needs and the first is more urgent than the second.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2017-05-09 15:37 [p.10974]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question and her intervention. We are in agreement; the municipalities will have a hard time seeing any of that money.
The party now in power was critical at the time of the slowness of the previous government’s negotiations with Quebec and the municipalities regarding the transfer of money. It said that it would use the gas tax model, a model that works, to transfer the money that the government must return to Quebec and the municipalities to finance infrastructure.
Once it came to power, that did not happen. The parliamentary budget officer, who will be muzzled under the current bill, says that two-thirds of the funds have not been provided. What is more, the infrastructure bank, which was supposed to help the municipalities, has now been turned into a gift for the government’s friends and the big corporations. This is the worst of scenarios in the worst of all possible worlds.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2017-02-17 11:59 [p.9103]
Madam Speaker, when Ottawa insists on approving infrastructure projects one at a time, everything grinds to a halt and we never get a single penny.
The parliamentary budget officer has confirmed that, of the $13.6 billion announced in the budget, only one-third has been spent. In Quebec, things are twice as bad.
Will the government keep its election promise to transfer all uncommitted funds to the gas tax fund to make sure, according to its platform, that “our communities are not shortchanged”?
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2017-02-17 12:01 [p.9103]
Madam Speaker, that is not what the Liberal Party election platform said.
Only 2% of public infrastructure is federal. The rest, the government does not have a stake in, which is why it takes so long to release the money.
By interfering in other people's business, Ottawa is holding up projects, paralyzing cities, and preventing Quebec from moving forward. Only the Canada 150 propaganda infrastructure seems to be getting money. The government knows all about propaganda.
In the next budget, will the government commit to paying a lump sum for infrastructure, money that remains frozen in Ottawa, and will it stop dilly-dallying?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2016-12-12 15:59 [p.7966]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House at the point of calling the question on Bill C-30, the bill that would bring in the comprehensive economic trade agreement between the European Union and Canada.
I have the honour to represent the only party in this place that has voted against all investor-state agreements. Although mostly the NDP members vote against them, they do not always. I would urge them to reconsider and ensure, for the future, that all investor-state agreements be rejected. They really have nothing to do with trade at all. I want to dive into that aspect of the investor-state agreement and touch briefly on the other aspects Canadians should be concerned about.
First, as many members in this place have already raised, it will increase the cost of pharmaceutical drugs. It is very clear that this will happen. Numerous independent studies have looked at the implications of the so-called CETA on drug prices for Canadians.
Second, it is also clear, and it has been raised by a number of groups, that the language the European Union wants in the text on the question of municipal powers for procurement will also be negatively affected by CETA, including access to procurement for municipalities, academic institutions, school boards, and hospitals. If they should decide that they want to make sure they are buying locally, they could be offending the provisions of CETA.
The third part is the most controversial. It is certainly the most controversial in Europe. It is why Canadian parliamentarians are being sold a bill of goods when we are told that there is any urgency here. I am really surprised that the Liberal government chose not to have significant review and consultation nationally. We had that on the trans Pacific partnership agreement but not on the comprehensive economic trade agreement with the European Union. This is surprising, given that there can be no need for urgency in Canada to ratify when there are 28 countries, and an additional 10 subnational groups throughout the European Union, that have yet to ratify, and given that there is still a pending decision from the European Court of Justice as to whether the comprehensive economic trade agreement is compatible with European law.
The controversy within Europe is overwhelmingly about the one piece of this agreement that I think could be very conveniently and easily removed without affecting the trade aspects at all. This takes some underscoring. What kind of trade agreement has an entire section that has nothing to do with trade? The answer, these days, is almost all of them. We are being sold, hook, line, and sinker, the notion that a trade agreement must include something called investor-state dispute resolution systems, or FIPAs, foreign investment protection agreements.
The first of these anywhere in the world was chapter 11 of NAFTA, and we have a lot of experience with it. I do not believe that even the negotiators of NAFTA believed that they were introducing anything novel when they negotiated chapter 11. As much as Canada had a national debate on NAFTA, chapter 11 never came up, because it was a sleeper provision. It might have stayed asleep, actually, if it had not been for the ingenuity of a Toronto lawyer, Barry Appleton, who decided that chapter 11 of NAFTA could be interpreted in a completely novel way.
The essence of the legitimate protection of investor interests in other countries is that we do not want a government coming along and nationalizing the assets, saying, “You have built a lovely refinery here. We are now going to say it belongs to the government of 'fill in the blank', and you, as an investor, are not going to get your money back on that.”
That is what people thought chapter 11 was initially, because it talked about protection from expropriation, but chapter 11 used some novel language. It talked about governmental measures that were tantamount to expropriation. Here is where the clever lawyering came in.
The first chapter 11 came to us when this Parliament banned the trade and use of a toxic gasoline additive, a manganese-based gasoline additive, that had a human health threat component. It also gummed up the diagnostics of the on-board catalytic converters for automobiles, so car manufacturers were worried that it would void their warranties. Environment Canada was worried that it would cause more air pollution. Neurotoxicologists, like Donna Mergler, at the University of Quebec in Montreal, was worried about it causing an increase in a disease that looks a lot like Parkinson's, but it is manganism.
Well, Parliament banned it, but because of a chapter 11 NAFTA challenge from a private corporation in Richmond, Virginia, Ethyl Corporation, Canada found itself in an arbitration case. This was just the first of many, and we keep losing them, or we keep having them settled out of court, although we cannot call these places courts, unless we use the word “kangaroo” first. These are arbitrations in hotel rooms with private arbitrators. They make money being arbitrators. They are expert lawyers. We can find Canadian lawyers who claim to be environmental lawyers suddenly selling out to be expert lawyers for U.S. corporations at these secret hearings.
The secret hearing process under NAFTA in chapter 11 is egregious. Just as egregious is the Canada-China investment treaty. I would have to say that it is more egregious, because every investor from the People's Republic of China is going to be a state-owned enterprise for the People's Republic China. Therefore, their ability to sue us is virtually unlimited. Of course, the Canada-China investment treaty never had even as much debate as we are getting on CETA. It never went through Parliament at all, because previous Prime Minister Harper approved it in cabinet, confidentially. The treaty binds the Canadian government until the year 2045 to the People's Republic of China, and its state-owned enterprises have more right to challenge decisions made in Canada than any Canadian corporation does.
CETA falls somewhere in between. CETA is being sold to us by many as the gold standard. It was the head of trade negotiations for the European Commission, Cecilia Malmström, who came up with the idea that since this investor-state provision in CETA is so controversial and is attracting so much protest from within the European Union, maybe we can make it look more like a real court and end the fact that it is so clearly profit driven.
Can members imagine arbitrators who are one day working in their big downtown law firms and the next day are essentially judges determining whether the decisions passed through parliaments around the world are going to hold up to their private scrutiny? There is no appeal, no oversight, and no room for intervenors to make the case as to why it was appropriate to ban a gasoline additive or to stop the export of PCB-contaminated waste or to not put a toxic waste disposal facility next to a town's freshwater supply. These are all real-life examples under chapter 11 where the polluters have won and the citizens have lost, and it happens over and over again.
CETA proposes some improvement, no question. It is much better than chapter 11 of NAFTA and better than the Canada-China investment treaty, which we seem to have forgotten ever even happened in this place. When I hear Conservative members getting up and asking whether the new administration under the Liberals is moving too close to China, I kind of want to run over, shake them, and ask if they do not remember that they passed, in secret, or their cabinet did, the Canada-China investment treaty, which is the worst of all of these.
Professor Gus Van Harten, of Osgoode Hall Law School, literally wrote the book on the bad investment deal with China. The book is called Sold Down the Yangtze, if members want to pick it up to find out how our sovereignty was sold out by the Harper administration.
Gus Van Harten has done a careful study of what is being offered in this so-called gold standard, and there definitely are flaws.
The arbitrators will have a more permanent roster. Can members imagine if our judicial system picked judges at random from the private sector, and they did better on cases where the rich guys won? Can members imagine how fair our judiciary would be seen to be? Well, CETA makes an improvement on that. There will be a permanent roster of such judges. They will still be drawn from private-sector work, and although they will be prohibited under the CETA terms from acting as advocates and lawyers before a CETA investment court, they will not be barred from operating as advocates and lawyers under other dispute resolutions, such as chapter 11 of NAFTA.
There is still this culture of an elite group of corporate lawyers who are literally global ambulance chasers. They find companies and tell them that they can sue a government if they want to.
The sad part, as well, is that, for a moment, Cecilia Malmström's proposal called for allowing civil society to come forward as intervenors. That part of her proposed gold standard was dropped.
My plea to the current government, and my plea to all parliamentarians, is to dig in our heels on this. I commend the NDP caucus for digging in its heels on this. We should dig in our heels and say that these are anti-democratic by definition.
There is no chance in the world that a company that emanates from the European Union is going to expropriate Canadian property in Europe, contravening all the laws and international common law practice. We are in a safe zone here, developed country to developed country. Let us get rid of the unfair investor-state provisions and fix CETA so that it is about fair trade.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2016-11-22 12:38 [p.7056]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to address Bill C-30, the act to implement the comprehensive economic and trade agreement between the European Union and Canada.
It is my intention to focus on the investor-state provisions within CETA. I want the record to show that the Green Party shares the concerns of many that this will drive up pharmaceutical drug prices for Canadians. We really do need pharmacare and we do not need to give pharmaceutical companies more advantages than they now have in terms of patent protection. We do need to protect the rights of municipal governments to put out local bids for tender, and not take away their ability to have local procurement. There are impacts on various economic sectors in Canada, including the dairy industry, that need to be better examined.
I want to focus on why this agreement remains so controversial that it is not yet a done deal in Europe. I think Canadians have been somewhat bamboozled on this point.
Certainly, the Conservatives have made the case that all the Liberals had to do was open up a gift package and it was all ready to go. That is clearly not the case. Why is the comprehensive economic and trade agreement in the EU so very controversial to this day? It is because this is the first time, the first proposed agreement, in which the European Union will be accepting an investor-state clause. That is why it remains controversial. That is why it is still to be ruled on by the European Court of Justice. The provision within CETA that many European parliamentarians think is not legal is the investor-state provision. That is why the European Court of Justice will be ruling on it. If it rules that it is beyond the scope of the jurisdiction of the European Union to take away the rights of states and give foreign corporations superior rights, that will blow a hole through CETA.
The same thing will be true when this trade agreement goes to the whole European Parliament for a vote sometime between December and February. If it clears the European Parliament, it then goes to the various parliaments. There are 38 national and regional governments that will still have to vote on this, which is a process that could take two to five years.
Therefore, my first point is this. Why the rush to put through Bill C-30? Why are we not having proper consultations across Canada, and proper and lengthy efforts to hear witnesses, as the government of the day has done under the TPP? This is being rushed despite the deal not yet even existing on the European side. Certainly, the European commissioners have accepted it, but it is not a done deal, and that is because the next trade agreement Europe is looking at having is with the United States. If members can imagine the European governments at the local and national level having a problem with the idea that Canadian corporations can come and sue them in these phony courts, they can be sure they would be even more worried about that happening with U.S. corporations.
Therefore, the first reason, and the number one reason, this agreement is controversial in Europe is the investor-state provisions. I want to back up and explain what these are.
In debate today we heard them conflated with dispute resolutions systems. Everyone understands that when we have a trade deal, the two or three countries involved, in this case a large trading block like the EU, may end up having disputes on trade issues. We have had enough softwood lumber disputes between Canada and the U.S. to explain dispute resolution on the commercial aspects of trade quite well. This is not that. This is not a process to resolve disputes over trade.
What are investor-state provisions doing in a trade deal? That is a good question. They should not be there at all. They are provisions that initially came into the trade world, I would say, by stealth. In all of the national debate, in all of the concerns that Canadians expressed, no one talked about chapter 11 of NAFTA. It was basically hidden away. I have to say that I have spoken to the negotiators of NAFTA. Even they did not know how this provision would be used. Chapter 11 of NAFTA, they thought, merely said that if a foreign government expropriated the assets of a corporation, like a scenario in Cuba where Fidel Castro has the Government of Cuba nationalize all U.S. assets, it would then owe that corporation money for the expropriation of assets. Everyone understood that. It is common law internationally. What chapter 11 did was put in some language that appeared benign but turned out to be a disaster for domestic democratic governance. It put in the words “tantamount to...expropriation”.
Therefore, chapter 11 of NAFTA waltzed through without any controversy, and then very clever lawyers got hold of it. This has created a cadre, a term I will use later as well, of global ambulance chasers, lawyers who went out to find corporations.
The lawyers said that when our government passed the rule that we cannot use that toxic gasoline additive, they thought the corporation had a case against the government under this investor-state dispute. Therefore, Canada, under chapter 11 of NAFTA, was sued for getting rid of a gasoline additive. Under chapter 11, there was the Ethyl Corporation case, where we were sued for banning the export of PCB-contaminated waste. AbitibiBowater sued. However, Bilcon is the worst and most recent case. This is a U.S. corporation that opted not to go to Canadian courts to seek a domestic remedy, but went to the secret Chapter 11 tribunal to get a judgment against Canada to overturn a very strong, solid, defensible, reasonable assessment.
There are no trade aspects to any of these cases by the way. These are not trade disputes. These cases are saying that, as a foreign corporation, a domestic decision by democratic governance has cost it money and its expectation of profits, and so it is bringing a case.
Chapter 11 of NAFTA gave rise to a proliferation of bilateral investment treaties. Generally speaking, the larger economic power is doing business in a small developing country, like a Canadian mining company operating overseas, and the international collective of investment treaties has created real hardships on smaller developing countries. The pattern is clear, and it was put forward and documented by a European think tank. It put together a review called Profiting from Injustice. There is a pattern: the bigger economic power is going to win.
The arbitration process, in other words, is neither fair nor neutral. The global ambulance chasers are a small cadre of international lawyers who get paid $1,000 an hour to be an adjudicator or to be a lawyer for a foreign corporation that is suing a domestic government. The larger economic power is going to win. Therefore, if Canada is being sued by the U.S., we lose.
The worst of all of these agreements has to be the Canada-China investment treaty, which Harper brought in and pushed through with a cabinet vote. It was never debated in the House and never voted on in the House, but it will bind Canadian governments until the year 2045, and it is all completely in secret.
We can now look at chapter 11 secret tribunals and the Canada-China secret tribunals. If our yardstick is those regressive anti-democratic trade deals, and we compare them to the European Union's efforts here with Canada to create an investment court, they are doing everything they can to try to take an inherently anti-democratic system of corporate rule over governments and dress it up to look more democratic, but they have not done the job. It is still an anti-democratic notion at its essence that foreign corporations have the right to sue governments for decisions that have been made with no trade motivation whatsoever but to protect health, safety, and environment within a country.
Why should we agree to these at all?
Earlier in the debate today, I said that CETA creates an investment court. It has adjudicators who are semi-permanent. In other words, they are not being paid for one case and the next day they can go out and be an advocate within the CETA process. The hon. member with whom I was discussing this made that point. I was not able to come back and explain that they can be both a judge in the investment court in the EU and a global ambulance-chasing lawyer on a NAFTA case, or on a Canada-China investment treaty case. They can actually be in the pocket of someone who has hired them, because there are corrupt lawyers who work for companies like Bilcon. These lawyers can be in the pocket of a company like that and then sit as an adjudicator at the investment court between the EU and Canada without having to disclose that they have already been working and are already a lawyer for the very corporation that they would rule over in the case at the investment court in the EU.
These provisions are toxic. As Steven Schreibman, a leading Canadian trade lawyer, said, investor-state agreements are “fundamentally corrosive of democracy”. They have nothing to do with trade.
If Canada wants to get this deal approved in Europe, and if the Liberals want the support of the Green Party in this place, they have to take the investor-state provisions out.
View Xavier Barsalou-Duval Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, people have been worried ever since what happened in Lac-Mégantic.
During the election campaign, Sécurité ferroviaire Rive-Sud launched a petition calling for the end of oil transportation between Saint-Lambert and Sorel until the train tracks are moved. The petition was signed by thousands of people, including myself, the Green candidate, and the Liberal candidate.
We learned that the petition was very quietly presented in the House by the Liberal member for Montarville on April 19. There has been radio silence ever since.
Will the Liberals keep their promise or will we have to wait until Quebec becomes sovereign?
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2016-06-02 13:14 [p.3944]
Mr. Speaker, in Quebec, when it came time to propose a model, people suggested duplicating the federal ridings. For example, they proposed electing 75 riding members and 50 members chosen from a list. People thought that this was entirely legitimate and everyone would be pleased.
However, the work of a member who represents a rural region is quite different from that of a member who represents an urban area. In an urban setting it is easy to just cross the street and catch a bus and even cross three or four counties on one bus ride. However, the same cannot be said about getting from l'île d'Orléans to the other side of the riding. People living in rural areas were opposed to the idea because they absolutely wanted to be close to their member.
I am not sure if that answers my colleague's question, but that is the argument that is made in Quebec.
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2016-04-14 13:21 [p.2233]
Mr. Speaker, for the information of my colleague, my neighbour from Thérèse-De Blainville, Rivière-du-Nord is in Quebec, on planet Earth.
My colleagues from Joliette and Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères met with the UMQ. Its demands are the same as the Bloc's. We were calling for clear budgets that do not cause endless squabbles between Quebec and Ottawa, which we unfortunately did not get.
I am sorry to tell my colleague that his interpretation of the UMQ's position does not seem to match what we took away from our tour of Quebec.
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2016-01-25 11:04 [p.325]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the voters in the riding of Rivière-du-Nord for placing their trust in me during the last election. During my time in office, I will represent them with humility, wisdom and dedication.
I would also like to thank the hundreds of thousands of Quebeckers who decided to put their faith in the Bloc Québécois to speak on their behalf in the House.
The Bloc Québécois is Quebec's party. Our purpose and our primary function here in the House is to stand up for Quebeckers' interests and values. We have a solid team made up of men and women of conviction. Our team will do a great job of representing the thousands of voters who chose to put their faith in our party and who believe in our mission: to fight for Quebec's independence and champion the interests of the Quebec nation.
Since its creation, our party has always acted responsibly in the work it does. Over the years, successive governments have been able to rely on our support when their policies served the interests of Quebec. Our party has also vigorously objected, and rightfully so, any time the rights of Quebeckers have been violated or ignored. For instance, the Bloc Québécois supported Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's work to create the now-defunct long gun registry. We did the same thing when it came time to ratify the Kyoto protocol in order to fight climate change.
We also supported the same Prime Minister in introducing same-sex marriage and imposing a moratorium on the criminalization of cannabis. However, governments that ignored Quebec or abused the rights of Quebeckers remember the opposition work of the Bloc Québécois.
I am sure that no one in this House is proud of the notorious sponsorship scandal. In any case, it was because of the hard, tireless work of the Bloc Québécois and its members that Quebec and the rest of Canada learned of the extent of the corruption surrounding the government of the day.
Hundreds of thousands of Quebeckers have long put their trust in the Bloc Québécois because doing so is good not only for Quebec, but also for democracy. The reasons are clear. First, making Quebec a country is still on the table. I can assure everyone listening that our caucus' commitment to the cause remains unwavering. Another reason we are still in the House is that the Bloc Québécois has always been beyond reproach and devoted to its work.
The Bloc Québécois is not a conventional opposition party. We do not oppose something simply because we are in the opposition. That would serve no purpose or make any sense and, as such, would be disrespectful to those who gave us our mandate. The Bloc Québécois stands up for the interests of Quebec. Until Quebec becomes a country it is critical that its choices are respected. Provided the federal government's decisions reflect such respect then the Bloc Québécois will support the government's policies. One day Quebec will collaborate with Canada, side by side within the community of nations.
We watched the sad spectacle put on by the previous government for far too long. The rights of parliamentarians were violated for nearly a decade. The House of Commons was reduced to playing a supporting role to a prime minister who did not believe in parliamentary work. The public service, scientists, women and workers were muzzled and treated with disdain, and the Conservative government basically ignored the environment, when the time has long since passed for critical action on climate change.
The Conservative government worked to achieve a single goal: to use its power to remain in power. A change in direction and tone was needed. In that regard, all the parties that ran against the Conservatives in the last election can congratulate themselves for expressing and doing something about Canadians' frustration and dissatisfaction with that government by removing it from power. That is why we commended the Prime Minister's announcement in the throne speech of his intention to return to a parliamentary tradition where respect for the opposition is a given.
There is no democracy without the work of a real opposition. The Bloc Québécois supports a number of the objectives set out by the Prime Minister. We will support some of those initiatives in keeping with our tradition of working together constructively.
First of all, we are thrilled to see that the government shares our concerns about climate change. However, we are asking that the efforts to combat climate change that Quebec has been making for a long time now be taken into account in the plan that the government will be putting forward in this regard.
That being said, all states must do their part, and there is a consensus in the scientific community to that effect. Even former U.S. vice-president Al Gore recently pointed out the major efforts Quebec has made to help combat climate change. The government cannot ignore that fact. If the government wants our support, it needs a plan that takes into account the leading-edge work that the Quebec nation has done to date.
The same is true for the matter of end-of-life care. We believe that Canada must enter into an informed and thorough debate on this issue, similar to that undertaken by the Quebec National Assembly.
However, Quebec cannot be penalized for having led the way in this area. On the contrary, we believe that the government must acknowledge Quebec's invaluable contribution, get the rest of Canada up to speed and adjust the targets for each province based on the efforts made since 1990 and the Kyoto accord.
In his speech, the Prime Minister claims that he intends to strengthen the employment insurance system. We support that. We believe it is high time that employment insurance truly was an insurance program and not a tax on labour. At present this is not the case, as EI seems to be a deficit reduction tax.
For the past 20 years, the EI fund has been ransacked time and again. If the Prime Minister is serious about strengthening the program, he must agree to make the fund truly independent. We are still adding up the billions of dollars that have been looted from this fund since 1996.
It is time to put a stop to that practice and to ensure that workers have real support when they lose their jobs. There is currently no indication that the Prime Minister intends to solve this problem once and for all. We are asking him to do so.
The Bloc Québécois has always been a staunch defender of workers' rights. We urge the Prime Minister to listen to our proposals if he truly wants to find appropriate, sustainable solutions for employment insurance.
Health is another very important issue. The Prime Minister has told us that he plans on talking to the provinces to reach a new agreement. Again, we have some conditions. Ottawa will have to increase federal health funding by 6% until 25% of Quebec's system costs are covered. Ottawa must also consider that our population is aging.
The Bloc Québécois will remain opposed to any law to implement the trans-Pacific partnership or the Canada-Europe agreement if the following conditions are not met. First, supply-managed cheese and agricultural producers will have to be fully compensated for any revenue losses. In addition, the federal government will have to provide considerable support for the next generation of farmers, to the tune of $100 million a year in investments. Lastly, the government will have to bring in border controls to prevent milk proteins from entering.
The fiscal imbalance is still a reality, and it could doom Quebeckers to decades of austerity unless something is done.
In the not-too-distant past, the Bloc Québécois was instrumental in partially addressing this issue. However, let us not kid ourselves. Everyone here is well aware that the expenses are in Quebec City, but the money is here in Ottawa.
The Prime Minister can get the Bloc's support if he acknowledges this situation and starts restoring the spending balance between the federal government and the Government of Quebec.
We salute the government's intention to renew its relationships with first nations. We fully support the Prime Minister's plan to tackle, at long last, the many issues they have been facing for too long. The Prime Minister said that he will initiate a nation-to-nation dialogue with aboriginal peoples. This is a noble initiative, and we will make sure that what is good for first nations is also good for the Quebec nation.
We will also support the government's plan to reduce taxes for the middle class. We believe that the middle class in Quebec and Canada must be strengthened. However, we would also like to see the government do more for low-income citizens. The middle class has been shrinking over the past 30-plus years not because the people of Quebec and Canada are getting richer, but because the number of people with low incomes is growing. If the government really wants to be progressive, it has to tackle poverty. Yes, we have to do whatever we can to strengthen the middle class, but all governments have an even more pressing duty to eradicate poverty. We would like the government to take meaningful steps toward that goal.
For all these reasons, we see many areas on which the Bloc Québécois and the Liberal government can agree and work together. The Prime Minister's wishes and goals are in line with many of the Bloc Québécois's demands and commitments. However, some important issues were ignored in the throne speech. We believe that a tax-free UCCB would be far more beneficial to Quebeckers than the proposed Canada child benefit.
We also believe that scrapping Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, would be better than a lengthy process to reform it.
In terms of infrastructure development, we want to make sure that Quebec's jurisdictions will not be violated for the umpteenth time by a federal program that ignores federal-provincial jurisdictions. If the federal government is serious about coming up with solutions to modernize our infrastructure, it needs to provide the Quebec government with the resources. It is up to Quebec City to decide the best way to modernize its infrastructure, with support from and by working with the municipalities in Quebec.
Allow me to reiterate that our work has always been accountable and honourable. That said, we have a duty to work together and ensure that our constituents can get the most out of every Parliament. Ever since the Bloc Québécois has been in the House, that motivation has made our party one of the most respected parties by Quebeckers. Over the years, we have even received praise and encouragement from the rest of Canada on our constructive work. Today, we are continuing in that vein with our tradition of promoting and defending Quebec's values and interests regardless of the circumstances. That is why we support, with reservations, the general scope of the Speech from the Throne.
That is also why we are asking to be heard and to join the government in a discussion with our parliamentarians in order to meet the needs of Quebeckers. We have always taken this approach because we represent Quebec. Our nation is our raison d'être. Our nation adopted a model more than 50 years ago when a tremendous group of people set out to make Quebeckers masters of their own house. This model is universally supported in Quebec. Under this model, no citizen is left behind.
We cherish a just and fair society. Modern Quebec is a society with a thirst for social justice and self-determination. However, the government in Ottawa always seems to stand in the way of the Quebec model. It has become increasingly obvious over the years that Quebec would be in a better position to develop its economy, environment, society and social programs if it alone could choose its priorities.
Earlier I mentioned that we unequivocally support the Prime Minister's efforts to engage in real nation-to-nation dialogue with our aboriginal peoples. This should set an example for the government's relations with the people of Quebec.
The Bloc Québécois is the standard-bearer for an ideal that is shared by millions of Quebeckers and that cannot be ignored.
Results: 1 - 11 of 11

Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data