September 29, 2005 (38th Parliament, 1st Session)


Stéphane Bergeron

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to thank you because you are being very lenient about time.
Naturally, I want to thank the hon. member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell and tell him that the feelings are mutual. It was a great pleasure to work with him when he was the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and I was the chief whip of the Bloc Québécois. We had to work quite closely together. Generally speaking, even though there were moments of intense disagreement between our two political parties, people always approached each other in a cordial and civilized manner. This allowed us, despite our disagreements, to maintain, at least until the most recent election, some decorum in this House, a decorum the public most certainly could be proud of. Decorum has probably diminished over the past few months and with good reason.
That said, I think my colleague from Glengarry—Prescott—Russell is quite right to stress the importance of the work of volunteers. We all know certain democracies—no need to look far—where money is the driving force and large numbers of handsomely paid employees run election campaigns. In Canada and Quebec, there is a spending ceiling and rules on political party funding, and we cannot afford highly paid staff for an election campaign. What we have are people who offer their services and give their time and energy because they believe in the cause, because they believe in their political party and because they believe in the person representing their political party.
In closing, I think I could not agree more with my colleague in saying that the true heroes of democracy in Canada and Quebec are those who give freely of their time to causes they believe in.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Wage Earner Protection Program Act
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