That is the first time my good friend is of my opinion. The hon. Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources -and this is going to please him-in a well prepared speech, but one which echoed the feelings of his centralizing masters, has held that the proposal put forward by the hon. Leader of the Opposition, with a view to the convening of a federal-provincial conference before the end of May, was no immediate solution to this problem.
And yet, instead of playing the mathematician, in order to convince his colleagues of the cabinet that he was fit to manage the portfolio of finance, he could have suggested that which, in his opinion, could have solved the problem immediately and definitely. He did not do so, because he was afraid, no doubt, to spoil his chances with the government of which he is a member and which has no intention to try to solve the constitutional imbroglio.
In my humble opinion, there is but one immediate solution to the problem which requires Quebec taxpayers to pay a double tax:
1. A return by the federal authorities to logic and common sense which they have lost through too long a reign at the helm of the state.
2. The immediate and full respect for the Canadian constitution which guarantees unequivocally the rights of the provinces, thereby preventing a centralization nefarious to a sound democracy.
3. The will, on the part of the federal government, to stop considering Quebec as an illegitimate child within confederation.
Can we still continue to treat with contempt the numerous requests made by every important public body, such as municipal councils, chambers of commerce, as well as countless associations or organizations without any political character, that are asking for fair play for the people of Quebec and are also urging the government to come back to the great principles upon which the Canadian constitution is based. Could anybody remain
indifferent when faced with the legitimate grievances of a whole people? It is up to the right hon. Prime Minister to answer that!
It is unfortunate that we did not hear more speeches on this issue by Liberal members from Quebec.
Subtopic: ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE