Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie (Joliette, BQ)
You cannot imagine how pleased I am to speak to my own amendments to Bill C-29, Madam Speaker. In fact, the motion moved by the government repeats word-for-word the amendments that the Bloc Québécois presented to the finance committee. It is exactly the same as the amendments that we presented at report stage.
I am proud. I am proud of our work and of our people, who came together and mobilized. The experts, consumer advocates, the National Assembly, reporters, everyone stepped up. Today, we see that it is worth it to not give up. It is not always easy to swim against the current. However, in the end, standing firm pays off.
Speaking about standing firm, I would like to add that some members must not feel very proud today. I am referring to the 40 Liberal Quebec members who voted for Bill C-29 at second reading, who voted against our amendments not once but twice, in committee and in the House. They were the ones who always said that our criticisms were unfounded, that Bill C-29 was excellent, and that our amendments were ridiculous. No, those 40 MPs must not be proud.
Members have probably seen old RCA records, with the dog sitting next to a gramophone. That dog's name was Victor, and he was sitting there because he was listening to his master's voice. That is similar to what we have seen throughout the saga of Bill C-29: members from Quebec listening to their master's voice. Well, it looks like their master has abandoned them and even decided to support amendments made by the Bloc Québécois. Way to go Victor!
I will concede that this is not the first time Liberal members from Quebec are being pushed aside in favour of their Toronto master. Here is a quote from someone in my riding of Joliette. I challenge members to guess who it is. That little guy from Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez said:
Much more fundamental questions are raised by these events: Who should the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada listen to on decisions that strictly affect Quebec? Should he follow [Quebeckers] or his Toronto advisers who know nothing about the social and political realities of Quebec?
That little guy from Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez knew what he was talking about, and for good reason: he is former Quebec lieutenant for the Liberal Party and current mayor of Montreal Denis Coderre. Way to go Denis!
I may be proud, but I am not trying to gloat. In Canada, the battle is never truly won for Quebec. The Minister of Finance has already announced that there will be another episode of this bad TV series next year. He wants to come back with a bill that is not quite as flawed. He said that he wants to enhance the federal consumer protection framework and that, once he has done his homework, he is going to come back and try once again to put banks above Quebec's laws, which the banks hate. I wish him luck because it will not be easy.
In order to propose a bill that provides the same kind of protection that Quebeckers now enjoy, the government would have to draft nothing less than a federal version of the Civil Code. Here is another problem: either the future bill will not protect anyone because contract law does not fall under federal jurisdiction or it will be unconstitutional because contract law does not fall under federal jurisdiction. In short, the bill will either be ineffective or unconstitutional. That is quite the dilemma, and I say to him, “Good luck, Charlie Brown”.
The new year promises to be a busy one, and we are going to remain vigilant. For now, I will smile and thank everyone who took action against the rich bankers and their co-conspirators and sided with ordinary Canadians. I thank them and congratulate them.
I would like to wish everyone here a happy holiday season.
Madam Speaker, I greatly appreciate your best wishes for the holidays and the new year. I would also like to wish all members of the House, all employees, and their families and loved ones a merry Christmas and all the best in 2017. Madam Speaker, I would also like to wish you a merry Christmas.
Subtopic: Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 2