Mr. Speaker, today, June 23, and tomorrow, Quebeckers will gather to celebrate. I invite everyone to proudly celebrate our national holiday. The large celebrations in Quebec City and Montreal will be held tonight.
In my riding, we will be celebrating this evening in Joliette, Saint-Charles-Borromée, Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, Rawdon, Crabtree, Saint-Michel-des-Saints and Sainte-Marcelline.
After two years of the pandemic, this national holiday is a very good occasion to get back to proudly celebrating together our love for Quebec and for our national language.
The 188th celebration will bring people together and inspire them. This year's theme is “One Language, a Thousand Accents”, which refers to the immense richness that our beautiful language contributes to Quebec culture and identity. Quebec society is vibrant, innovative and open to the future. We want our nation to develop in French. In that regard, I want to quote Michel Tremblay from today's edition of the Journal de Montréal:
I looked for a new argument to warn against the danger to the French language in Quebec. It seemed to me that everything had already been said and repeated. Then I remembered the last verses of Émile Nelligan's Vaisseau d’or: What has my heart become, thus set adrift at sea? Alas, that ship has sunk in an abyss of dreams! We must not let the French language sink in an abyss of dreams; we must make it flourish, we must make it prevail.
I would also like to take a moment to quote Gilles Vigneault, who was also published in the Journal de Montréal:
Language is like a country, both nomadic and sedentary!
Words, like its inhabitants, travel around the world.
If you recognize them, if these are your words,
They are your passport; this is your country!
Everyone's country is a strange thing
That sleeps through the long winter, like a rose in the garden, only to wake up in the spring, after I'd nearly forgotten about it
Creating a garden that is both numerous and singular
It is, simultaneously: house, garden, ship,
The ocean, the fountain and the tree and the paper.
No sooner had these words come off the pen
Than I heard the wind. A tacking sail
Is inviting me to prepare for a long journey...
What do words offer to the entire planet,
In space and time, where borders don't matter...
Should we leave at night or at daybreak?
The smallest window becomes a mirror in the dead of night
And reflects back to me the words I need to know myself.
At dawn...we have to believe someone is waiting for us, somewhere. Lutetia, Athens, Rome...are they part of my history?
The word LANGUAGE, immense and deep territory, will tell me where I come from, where I'm going...so I'm off!
Before I quoted those two giants, a few moments ago I said “we will be celebrating” in my riding. However, I probably cannot include myself in that “we”, because we here in the House are likely to be sitting late again tonight.
The thing is, in Quebec, local, national and federal elected representatives usually attend the celebrations. It is a perfect opportunity to meet the people we represent. I will not be able to do that this year. We will not be able to do it after two years of a pandemic. We asked the government to wrap things up earlier this afternoon by adopting the Friday schedule, but it refused. The Leader of the Government had zero interest in accommodating our request. Why? Because we have to debate this motion.
The government wants to extend the hybrid Parliament by a year. It seems to think this is a pressing issue that we cannot just discuss when we come back at the end of the summer. This government and its leader stubbornly opted to prevent Quebec members from celebrating our national holiday with our constituents. That speaks volumes about the Liberals' respect for Quebec. That is how Canada recognizes the Quebec nation. We will remember this.
Throughout the spring, the government has been ramping up the number of gag orders to get bills passed quickly. The House did not have to sit late tonight. However, the government and its leader do not care about my nation. I think it is best to describe this government with bird names, which is about all it deserves: mockingbird, cuckoo, woodcock, dodo, cuckold, chicken, tufted tit-tyrant, little bustard, horned screamer, smew, turkey and vulture. I will stop there, even though it is deserving of more.
Their insensitivity is not unrelated to the fact that this session has been marked by a clash of values between the federal government and Quebec, as well as by the ineptitude of a Liberal party that is struggling to keep the government functioning at the most basic level. The Prime Minister has made it official: He intends to attack Quebec's Bill 21 on state secularism, as well as Quebec's Bill 96 on the protection of French.
He introduced a bill on official languages that does not protect French in Quebec but instead protects the right to anglicize federal workplaces. He condoned reducing the political weight of the Quebec nation in the Parliament of Canada.
This government embodies the clash between the values of Canada and Quebec on every issue. We in the Bloc Québécois will continue our work, which is now more essential than ever, to defend and promote Quebec's interests.
This session made it clear just how incompetent the federal government is. If governing means looking ahead, the passport crisis paints a picture of a worn-out government caucus that is struggling to provide even basic services to Quebeckers.
The number of Liberal ministers who have been in the hot seat at the end of this session because of embarrassing mistakes is worrisome. This government is incapable of being proactive. It would rather make grand gestures in front of the camera than ensure the sound day-to day management of the country's affairs.
What is more, the Liberals seem to have knowingly lied to Quebeckers and Canadians about the greenhouse gas reduction targets and invoking the Emergencies Act at the request of police.
We asked for more powers for Quebec in the area of immigration from an unwilling government.
We noted the resistance of federal parties to state secularism when we proposed abolishing the prayer in the House.
We raised the debate about ideological criteria being imposed on funding for scientific research, which the government refused to consider.
The Bloc Québécois voiced the concerns of Quebeckers on gun violence, in particular by introducing Bill C‑279 to create a list of criminal organizations when faced with a federal government that has a lax approach to gun trafficking and organized crime.
We also advocated for the environment in a Canadian Parliament that, in the midst of the climate crisis, supports the Bay du Nord oil project.
We also continued to fight for increased funding for health care and the abolition of two classes of seniors by increasing old age security for people aged 65 and over.
If the Liberals wanted to convince Quebeckers that they have everything to gain by looking after all their public matters themselves, they would not go about it any other way. They used the artificial majority they gained with the NDP's support to oppose Quebec. Quebeckers have taken note. We will remember.