Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I must echo what others have said about Mr. Leef’s comments.
As you know, I have been a member of Parliament for a number of years. You yourself know, Mr. Chair, just how important issues like fishing are for us in the Atlantic region. We make our living from that resource. I have never heard Mr. MacAulay ask a question because he owns a plant that is losing money at the moment. It was not a personal question; he asked a question on behalf of the people in his riding who elected him.
When a bill is introduced and amendments are made, it is important for Canadians. In our democracy, we have a responsibility to ask questions. That is why we have committees and Parliament. So, I think that accusing someone by saying that the questions are personal is anti-democratic, although others may not feel the same way. Parliament’s role is not to allow a single political party to ask questions, take action or even introduce bills. Canada’s democracy gives us the right to ask these questions.
We have the right, Mr. Chair, to raise those questions. Every time someone comes in and attacks a question by another member, saying it's personal, it stops the action of democracy. We are here to debate those questions, debate those bills. The officials, when they are here, have a job to do, to clear up those questions that we have, to make sure that Canadians who have those same concerns have the answers too. I mean, we had to live, down home in the Atlantic area, the loss of codfish.
She used the example of tuna. I remember in Acadie—Bathurst that we had that fishery at one point in time. Those were probably some of the biggest fish we had. They're not really fish, tuna; they're like the other ones there, mammifères. But we had good fishing down home. I mean, when you're looking at tuna of over 1,200 pounds, that's big. And we lost all of that.
In terms of raising questions here, it's important to take the time. If we don't have time to debate, maybe we should just go home. But we still have democracy in our country, and we still have the right to debate bills and to be able to present them. At the end of the day, the government has the majority and they will make their decision, but Canadians have the right to be able to debate bills.
So on this, I have no choice: Mr. Leef's comments, to me, were not proper. To attack a member and say that it's personal.... It's not personal. It's our job.
I know that maybe the Conservative Party wants to take away our democracy, but they haven't succeeded yet. We're going to argue when it comes time to argue, and raise the right questions when it's time to raise those right questions. We will not take it, and we will not accept it, when people come in and do things as he's done.
I want to state my concern here, because it is important. Every bill we put in is the law in our country after that. We have to discuss it. We have to take everything apart, be able to discuss it together, and come in with a good law. We're here to support our Canadians. We're here to support our fishermen. We are here to support our communities.
A guy like my colleague, who comes from P.E.I., knows about the fishery. Ryan Cleary, a guy who comes from Newfoundland, knows the fishery. Lapointe, coming right from the Saint-Laurent, knows the fishery. Myself, I think I know the fishery too. I've been living it, with good lobster and all that good fish. We want to continue to do that fishing. It's good for our communities.