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Results: 1 - 15 of 1999
View Sylvie Bérubé Profile
BQ (QC)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-223, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (adequate knowledge of French in Quebec).
She said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce my first bill in the House of Commons, a bill seconded by the member for La Pointe-de-l'Île.
This bill amends the Citizenship Act to require that permanent residents who ordinarily reside in Quebec must have an adequate knowledge of French in order to obtain citizenship.
In Gilles Vigneault's masterfully chosen words, “The Francophonie is a vast, unbounded land, the realm of the French language. It exists within us. It is the invisible, spiritual, mental and emotional homeland within each one of you.”
I thank the House for its support.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-02-25 10:20
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-224, An Act to amend An Act to authorize the making of certain fiscal payments to provinces, and to authorize the entry into tax collection agreements with provinces.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to introduce in the House an act to amend An Act to authorize the making of certain fiscal payments to provinces, and to authorize the entry into tax collection agreements with provinces. I thank the member from Montarville for seconding my bill.
Tax season is approaching, and citizens and businesses in Quebec will have to file two income tax returns, with two different types of statements, two types of net income and two types of schedules. Everything needs to be done twice. Is it possible to simplify the lives of citizens and businesses by having them file a single income tax return? That is what we are proposing. It would be administered by Quebec, since Revenu Québec is present in every region and already manages the collection of GST and QST. Quebec finance minister Yves Séguin, a Liberal, was the one who first proposed this approach, which now has the support of every member of every party in the Quebec National Assembly.
This law would also enable Quebec to fight more effectively against the use of tax havens, since Ottawa is dragging its feet in that regard. We want to ensure we can protect and maintain all regional jobs.
We believe it is entirely possible to secure those jobs by reclassifying the public servants and putting them in other jobs that are currently understaffed.
The Research Institute on Self-Determination of Peoples and National Independence conducted a study. A single income tax return would save $425 million for individuals, businesses and the public administration. Can we stop making citizens, businesses and the public administration do everything twice? I am confident that we can.
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-02-25 10:21
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-225, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act and other Acts (application of provincial law).
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to introduce my first bill in the House. I am particularly excited about this bill because it builds on what motivates my commitment to politics, namely, the self-government of my nation. I am therefore honoured to introduce my bill on land use and development and environmental protection. Under this legislation, a number of existing laws would be subject to Quebec's laws going forward.
Let us keep in mind that the protection of Quebec's territory essentially falls under the laws and regulations of Quebec and its municipalities. While Quebec cannot force the federal government to obey its laws, the federal Parliament can set strict parameters on the Government of Quebec in the enforcement of its own legislation. We have the ability to regulate matters pertaining to the environment and the development of our territory. It is inconceivable to me that Quebec should have to defer to the federal government on these matters, because what happens within our borders should be decided by us.
View Luc Thériault Profile
BQ (QC)
View Luc Thériault Profile
2020-02-25 10:24
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-226, An Act to amend the Canadian Multiculturalism Act (non-application in Quebec).
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce a bill to amend the Canadian Multiculturalism Act to provide that it does not apply in Quebec. Canadian multiculturalism is a political ideology imposed on Quebec. All it has done is juxtapose a multitude of cultural solitudes and ghettoize difference.
The Quebec nation wants to design its own integration model. We are open to diversity and we want to create a harmonious coexistence based on shared values, especially when it comes to protection of the French language, separation of church and state and gender equality.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
View Alain Therrien Profile
2020-02-25 10:46
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from New Westminster—Burnaby.
Historically, the fathers of Canadian Confederation decided that health should be the responsibility of the provinces and Quebec. The government has since revealed a very obvious thirst for centralization. Last year, the federal government intruded further and further into areas of provincial authority by exploiting its spending authority. What is being proposed here is a blatant intrusion into Quebec's jurisdiction. The Quebec government has always been against this idea, so much so that it called for the right to opt out with compensation. That element is missing from my colleague's motion.
My question is very simple. Given that this falls under Quebec's jurisdiction, that you are spending money that should be made available to Quebeckers through the federal health transfers, and that you are spending that money according to your own inclinations, how do you think Quebeckers are going to take this?
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, much has been said about the NDP's Sherbrooke declaration, which calls for respect for Quebec's jurisdictions, an asymmetrical model and an automatic right to compensation. We do not oppose the essence of the proposal, but the first chance it gets, the NDP is proposing an intrusion into Quebec's jurisdiction. There is another way. What we are calling for, and what the provinces want, is for the federal government to restore health transfers. The provinces want 5.2%, and we want 6%. That would give the Government of Quebec and the provincial governments the flexibility to manage their health care programs. Otherwise, these kinds of proposals will disrupt health care management.
What are my colleague's thoughts on that?
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-02-25 11:25
Madam Speaker, the minister spoke about the importance of the middle class and how we need to support it. One way to support the middle class is to provide quality public services. The federal government's role in the health care sector is to ensure that these services have proper funding. However, successive governments in recent decades have made cut after cut to health care funding.
Can the minister tell us whether her government plans to get health care spending back on track?
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-02-25 12:00
Madam Speaker, I would like to share my time with my friend and colleague, the member for Lac-Saint-Jean.
The Bloc Québécois is a social democratic party. We feel strongly about redistributing wealth and ensuring equal opportunities for all. We fully support the principle of progressive taxation, and we believe it should be implemented to a greater degree. The idea is that the wealthiest contribute more to funding public services, which are universal and used by everyone.
On that note, it troubles us that the big Canadian banks are not taxed heavily enough. It is not like these companies could relocate to another country. They are in a protected market. Furthermore, I cannot overlook the fact that these multinational corporations and banks still have legal access to tax havens, which means they do not contribute as much to the public purse as they should. The rest of the population suffers, because they receive lower-quality services while paying more taxes and fees.
As everyone knows, we think quality health care is important. We believe that a person who falls ill has basic needs and is entitled to comprehensive care. Unfortunately, the current lack of funding means that many people do not have access to the care they need. That goes for prescription drugs and dental care too. In this day and age, it makes no sense that a person with dental problems would not be able to get the care they need and see a dentist. Dental problems can be very painful.
Today's motion is problematic. Dental care is an aspect of health care, and health care is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces and Quebec. Ottawa's role with respect to public services and health is to provide as much funding as possible, but Ottawa has not been doing that for quite some time. This problem goes all the way back to 1996, which, as it happens, was after the Quebec referendum.
Ottawa decided to deal with its debt problem by slashing transfers for health, social services and education, even though expenses are rising faster in those areas than anywhere else, as we can see from budgets tabled by Quebec and the provinces. Health and education costs go up year after year, but Ottawa is providing less and less money to cover those costs.
Originally, Ottawa promised to cover half of our health care spending. Ottawa was supposed to match every dollar spent by Quebec. This equality was completely wiped out at the end of the 1990s and the federal government has been retreating year after year ever since no matter who is in power in the House. Even though the total amount increases every year, the percentage of the federal government's contribution keeps decreasing. Quebec is now asking that Ottawa fund at least a quarter of health care spending. We are well below that and the percentage keeps going down every year.
In the last Parliament, the Liberal government pompously announced a plan to reinvest in health care. At the end of the day, it just cancelled the Conservatives' cuts and added a few crumbs, all while interfering in this jurisdiction. At the time, Quebec's health minister, Dr. Gaétan Barrette, even accused the Liberal government in Ottawa of engaging in predatory federalism. Coming from a Quebec Liberal minister, that is saying something.
There is a consensus on this in Quebec City. Every year, the Government of Quebec asks Ottawa to make an annual reinvestment of 6% to make up for lost ground and get the federal government's share to a quarter of health care spending. There is also a consensus among provincial governments who are all calling for an annual increase of 5.2% in federal spending on health. Between Quebec and the provinces, everyone agrees that it is important for the federal government to make up for lost ground.
On that, we have to take into account the aging population, since seniors require more health care, which is more expensive. At the other end of the spectrum, young people get more money for education, which only makes sense.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer has made several updates to his “Fiscal Sustainability Report 2018”. He noted that Ottawa is the one with the fiscal flexibility, and that the provinces have no more wiggle room. This is true to such an extent that, even if the government chose to incur massive debt and run up the debt, it would have the means of maintaining the net debt at its current level. Based on future projections, the Parliamentary Budget Officer expects that Ottawa will have completely reimbursed its debt, while the provinces will still be drowning in massive debts because funding needs in health and education are increasing, but Ottawa is contributing less and less. That is a big problem.
The motion we are debating here infringes on provincial jurisdiction. We are not opposed to the idea of funding dental care, but we believe that that decision is up to Quebec, which does not have the money to fund all general health care services. When it comes to pharmacare, Quebec has a system that works, even though it is far from perfect. Obviously, a dental program is also necessary, but we should not be discussing it here. Our role here is to decide to increase health care funding so that the provinces can move forward with their plans.
I would like to read out a brief passage on this subject. I will then ask the members a question.
This asymmetry vis-à-vis du Québec can be applied in real terms through opting out with compensation. The right to opt out applies where the federal government, on its own or with the agreement of the provinces, intervenes in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction (in particular health and social services, education, family policy, housing, municipal infrastructure, etc.). In such case, no conditions or standards should be applied to Québec without its consent, obtained after consultation and negotiation. The principle of opting out is very important, as it makes it possible to reconcile the exercise of federal spending power for provinces that want it with respect for Québec's constitutional jurisdiction.
As members may have guessed, I was reading a passage from the Sherbrooke declaration adopted in 2005 by the Quebec wing of the New Democratic Party of Canada. It is odd that after adopting those principles, the NDP is now moving a motion in Parliament that encroaches directly on provincial jurisdiction and does not mention that Quebec should automatically be allowed to opt out with full compensation if the federal government implements this measure.
Sadly, our party is no stranger to this treatment. If former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe were here today, he could remind us how many times motions like these, ones that encroached on areas of provincial jurisdiction, have been moved.
In closing, the Bloc Québécois is a social democratic party. We believe in quality public services, but the role of the House is to provide health funding. It is up to Quebec to decide how to invest that money, whether in emergency care, dental care or pharmacare. It is not up to the House to encroach on areas of provincial jurisdiction. That is why we will be voting against today's motion.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-02-25 12:10
Madam Speaker, what the Bloc understands is that this is yet another intrusion into provincial jurisdictions. If the member wanted to respect the Sherbrooke declaration, the motion should have stipulated that Quebec and the provinces would have the right to opt out with full compensation. Otherwise, what is the point of the declaration? Was it meant simply to grab votes in Quebec? Then, when it comes time to apply it, it is soon forgotten. Unfortunately, that seems to happen all too often.
Quebec's social and public services are more abundant and of higher quality than those found in the rest of Canada. We in the Bloc Québécois trust the National Assembly of Quebec to implement progressive policies that will ensure high-quality services for Quebeckers.
Any time Ottawa comes forward with a social service or progressive measure, Quebec has usually adopted it at least a generation earlier. That is the problem.
Health is underfunded, and the House of Commons is to blame. The House must first address health care funding.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-02-25 12:12
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. The member represents a magnificent area.
The Bloc Québécois does not support tax cuts for the wealthy. We are in favour of a progressive system.
In the last Parliament, the government cut taxes for the middle class. When we took a close look, it was clear that the people eligible for the maximum tax cut were those with annual incomes between $110,000 and $220,000. In my riding, there are not many people who earn that much. We would prefer to see measures that support those earning around $50,000 a year.
Here, we are discussing cutting taxes for those with incomes below $90,000. In my opinion, those earning more than $90,000 should contribute a proportionately higher amount of their income than a person who earns less than that.
However, the motion is not clear about how this will be implemented. Will those earning $90,000 be taxed incrementally more? Will the $90,000 represent a step increase? In that case it would be more profitable to earn $85,000 than $92,000 a year. Will the tax reduction kick in at $75,000?
We also need details about this.
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to table the document?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
View Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, I read the motion moved by my hon. colleague fromNew Westminster—Burnaby. I must confess to this honourable House that I was blown away by this motion.
For a moment, I felt like I was in Quebec’s National Assembly or a Canadian provincial legislature. It was so surreal that I asked my assistant to pinch me. I asked him if Québec Solidaire had just tabled a motion in the House of Commons. He replied that no, it was the NDP.
Under the circumstances, before I even go into what I think of how the motion is worded, I would like to remind the House that this is 2020. The fact that we are once again debating a motion that falls under provincial jurisdiction in Ottawa is incredibly sad. It shows a lack of respect for the legislators that should legitimately make those decisions based on their values and their resources. Perhaps you have heard the expression “a leopard cannot change its spots”. This is a perfect example of that concept.
In 2005, after spending 45 good years fighting for the centralization of legislative powers in Ottawa, the NDP adopted the famed Sherbrooke declaration, in which it claimed to recognize asymmetrical federalism and it intended to give Quebec the systematic right to opt out.
Today, five or six elections later, with one MP back home, they have written off Quebec and its legitimate right to legislate its own affairs.
The NDP and the member for New Westminster—Burnaby know perfectly well that health is not a federal jurisdiction. Nevertheless, they are still trying to impose social programs that Quebec and the Canadian provinces have the authority to bring in if they want.
No one here is against apple pie. I love apple pie. No one here is against pandas. We all love pandas. However, imposing dental care coverage through, I assume, the Canada Health Act, is nothing short of overriding the Constitution that allows us to be here—a Constitution that Quebec has never signed, by the way.
A few seconds ago, I chose the verb “assume”. That was not a coincidence and that brings me to my second point. This motion is so vague it feels like we are heading into murky waters.
The motion talks about wanting to implement dental coverage for families whose income is less than $90,000. The motion also says that benefits would be made available to individuals who earn less than $90,000 a year. With all due respect, the motion's wording is so vague that it almost contradicts itself. It does not take much imagination. One example that I am very familiar with is my own experience from around 15 years ago.
I was 23 years old. I had just had my best year in the film industry. I had been working in the industry for four years. I earned more than $90,000 that year. I bought myself a triplex with my sister. Then, my wife, Mylène, gave birth to our son Émile Duceppe, our first child. My wife was in school that year. The following year, in 2004, I earned about $30,000 because I was freelancing. I was a contract worker.
Since my wife was still in school and I had a mortgage to pay and we had a young boy to raise, if I had had any kind of dental problem, my previous year's income would have been used and I would not have been entitled to the dental coverage proposed today.
I am sorry, I lost my train of thought. Someone I know is here and that stressed me a little.
An hon. member: Is it me?
Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe: No, Madam Speaker, it is not my colleague.
We were not rich, but we were doing well. According to the NDP, I would not have been entitled to dental insurance. That is exactly why Quebec and the provinces are in the best position to develop social policy. The provinces manage those sorts of things. They are closer to the people and should be the ones to administer the program. They have a legislative scalpel and not a bazooka.
Once again, there is no respect for the true lawmakers in this area.
While the NDP wants to give orders to Quebec and the other provinces, the provinces are asking the government for just one thing, an annual increase of 5.2% in health transfers. The provinces are not asking to have another health care program rammed down their throats. They are simply asking for an annual increase of 5.2% in health transfers. This is not rocket science.
While health care systems across Canada are groaning under the burden of the aging population, the NDP is talking about dental care in the wrong legislature.
The Quebec National Assembly even unanimously adopted a motion calling on the federal government to do its fair share with regard to health care. This does not make any sense. While the Government of Quebec estimates that the health transfer deficit will be $13.7 billion by 2027, the NDP is insisting on talking about dental coverage without even knowing how it will be paid for.
The federal contribution to health was 23% in 2018. Today, it is 21% and, in 2027, it will be just barely over 20%. The federal government's real problem is not the details of the health care coverage. The problem is that the House is not contributing to the rising cost of health care. What is worse, the federal government has been gradually pulling back for decades, whatever its political stripe.
Right now, federal health transfers are going up by just 3% per year. Health care costs are going up more than that, so the provinces are essentially getting less money.
Health transfers should have no strings attached. Only Quebec can determine its own priorities. Health transfers must be sufficient to provide care for our people.
The worst thing about this motion is not just that Quebec does not want it, but that unions regard federal programs as interference. During the 2018 national consultation on implementing pharmacare, both the FTQ and the CSN emphasized the importance of taking Quebec's unique needs and independence into account.
I would like to quote from their brief, which summarizes the situation and is relevant here. I am sure this will be of interest to our NDP colleagues.
The federal government has consistently interfered with provincial jurisdiction over health ever since the early days of the welfare state. The Canada Health Act is an instrument of that interference because one of its objectives is to establish the conditions the provinces must meet to receive federal funds.
The brief then goes on to say the following:
...our two organisations [the FTQ and the CSN] cannot ignore the declining federal contribution to health care funding. Rather than negotiate a new health transfer agreement, as promised during the election campaign, the Liberal government opted to maintain the Conservative reforms, which limit transfer increases tied to GDP growth to 3% annually. Previously, those increases were capped at 6% annually.
Lastly, it also states:
To ensure the sustainability of Quebec's health system, the federal government must first increase its contribution to health care funding to an adequate level.
The issue of drug coverage is pretty much the same as dental care. The federal government cannot go shopping on behalf of the provinces when it is not paying its fair share for the current system. That is not how it works.
I will wrap up my comments, as I am sure my colleagues are eager to seriously debate this matter with me.
As the House devotes precious time to debating this proposal, can we at least agree to respect the sharing of legislative powers? That is why we were elected.
The Bloc wants to work collaboratively. We like that, and we proved it last week. However, when we are forced to work on somewhat vague and incongruous texts that are written almost deliberately to be rejected by certain parliamentary groups, it seems to me that our debates lose some of their relevance.
View Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, first of all, the motion does not provide enough detail to indicate how we would get that money.
Second, this is about areas of jurisdiction. The expression “areas of jurisdiction” includes the word “jurisdiction”. I think that is fabulous. This is Quebec's jurisdiction. What is unfortunate is that it would have been so easy for the NDP to indicate in the motion that Quebec would have the right to opt out with full compensation. It would not have been complicated to write. We were told earlier that that was a given. History tells us that it is not really a given. It would have been so simple to include it in the motion, and perhaps that would have facilitated discussions between our parties. Unfortunately, I sometimes get the impression that too much electioneering goes on in this place. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, our constituents pay the price.
View Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, we are in favour of having the wealthy make a greater contribution. It only makes sense. The Bloc Québécois is a social democratic party and we are progressive.
In answer to the second part of the question, I would say once again that this is a provincial jurisdiction. If I may add something, as my hon. colleague suggested, I would say that Quebec needs to be given the right to opt out with full compensation every time. It is as simple as that. Unfortunately, the Liberals have proven in the past that this is not their cup of tea. The cuts to health transfers came from the Liberals. It was Paul Martin who made the biggest cuts to health, and now the provinces are suffering the consequences. It hurts Quebec and Quebeckers.
This has been going on for years. This is an opportunity to increase these transfers. We are calling on all hon. members to work together to increase health transfers. That is what we want. Sadly, we have no lessons to learn from the governments that sat in the benches across the way, regardless of political stripe, because the Bloc Québécois is doing its job.
View Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, what a coincidence, I also know the people of Lac-Saint-Jean. That is my riding. The people of Lac-Saint-Jean like things to be clear. I am looking at the motion in front of me. I will not hold it up, because I am not allowed to. Nowhere in the motion does it say that Quebec would have the right to opt out with full compensation. It does not say that anywhere. They can say it all they want, but it is not written in the motion, and the motion is what we will be voting on. The people of Lac-Saint-Jean like things to be clear. I guarantee that they would agree with me.
Results: 1 - 15 of 1999 | Page: 1 of 134

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