Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, CPC)
Mr. Speaker, in their discussions today, I noticed that a number of hon. members have been very careful to emphasize what they believe this motion is not about. I think that is a good thing to do when we deal with a motion that is as laconic in its language as this one is. It is necessary to make sure that no one understands us as having supported something for reasons that were in fact invalid and therefore imputes meanings to this motion that are not actually there.
I thought, therefore, that it was good and very valuable to hear the hon. member just a moment ago speaking about the things that she does not want to be understood as supporting when she votes for this motion. She is concerned about the government having an agenda to do a number of things to roll back the federal government's role in Canadian life.
I want to assure the hon. member that such is not the case. I think that is to some degree self-evident from the nature of the way in which this motion came forward after the Bloc Québécois had proposed another motion. This motion was introduced after that time.
I also want to be clear in indicating that my own support for this motion is based upon understanding it to have limited implications, on understanding it to be a reflection of a sociological fact and not to be understood as, for example, indicating that we are or I am supportive of some form of asymmetrical federalism, or for greater powers for one part of the country over another, or for having the kinds of implications that the distinct society clause had when it was introduced.
Some people here supported the distinct society clause back in the early 1990s. Others of us did not and campaigned against it. The distinct society clause had the implication that, among other things, the charter of rights would be interpreted in light of the fact that Quebec is a distinct society.
This motion, as I understand it, has no such meaning. The charter of rights and the Constitution apply equally. The equal status of the Canadian provinces is not changed. That is my understanding. My question for the hon. member is this: is this narrow reading of the motion also her understanding?
Subtopic: The Québécois