Mr. Mark Assad (Gatineau-La Lievre):
Madam Speaker, the effects of unemployment are becoming increasingly widespread from year to year. The higher unemployment rate experienced by regions like Chicou-timi-Jonquiere, which at 16 per cent has the highest rate in Quebec, followed by Trois-Rivieres, Montreal and Sherbrooke, confirms the failure of the policies of the Conservative government that will not recognize the destructive impact of the free trade agreement it negotiated.
Although media reports mentioned a recovery in the manufacturing sector, we see that in Quebec, unemployment continues to rise in this sector. The lack of programs to help industries through the transition during the past four years is a sign of the weakness of this government. The negative impact of free trade, combined with a lack of training in technological skills and the increased tax burden on the middle class, have not only further weakened the Canadian economy but also led to the creation of an underground economy, unfortunately.