Mr. Martin Cauchon (Outremont, Lib.)
Madam Speaker, I want to thank you for giving me a few minutes to reply and maybe put a question to the member opposite. While listening not only to that member of the official opposition but to all the members of the official opposition today, I kept wondering if we were living in the same world. I must tell you that, sometimes, I think I am dreaming.
Today, these people are really speaking against Quebec's interests. They claim they want to protect the interests of the province of Quebec, but in fact they are trying to fool the people in Quebec, who are mature enough not to fall into the totally partisan trap the Bloc Quebecois has set.
The official opposition is asking the federal government to act irresponsibly, but this could have serious consequences at the political level. As the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs said clearly this morning in the House, he has to manage the public funds, a good part of which comes from Quebec taxpayers. As a Quebecer, I am entitled to expect governments to efficiently manage public funds and also to maximize their benefits and manage them in the best interests of the population.
This is exactly what the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is doing. He oversees the sound and responsible management of the public funds in the best interests of the Canadian population and also, needless to say, in the best interests of the people of Quebec. The minister told us this morning that he did everything he could. He helped Quebec as much as he could by providing advance funds. Basically what I would like to ask the member of the official opposition is this: From what I understand in the motion before the House, would he rather see the federal government act irresponsibly and foolishly and waste the taxpayers' money? I do not think that would be in the best interests of the province of Quebec.
When we look a little more closely at this motion tabled by the Bloc Quebecois, we find once again, and it could not be any clearer, that the members of this party are not defending the interests of the people of Quebec in general, but that they are-and I will have the opportunity to come back to this later today-putting forward their own agenda, which is the separation of Quebec.
I believe that the situation or the problem is clear: we have a responsible government versus people whose aim is complete negligence. When we look at the situation, and I am a Quebecer, the answer is clear. It is obvious that I support the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs whose aim is, first and foremost, sound management of the taxpayers' money.