Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis
Mr. Speaker, it is important that we clarify what this motion is about. I want the motion to be about, and I believe it is, addressing a longstanding gap in our history's policy development process, which is a way to recognize the contribution and the qualities of the Quebec people and a way to meet their longstanding grievances in terms of being a part of this country.
The motion does not explicitly suggest anything more than that. Why I worry is that the ink was barely dry on this motion when the Prime Minister of our country came out publicly talking about opening up the Constitution and dealing with spending powers.
We know from past discussions that the Conservatives are very anxious to put limits on federal spending powers so that they do not have responsibility in many other important areas, which in my view does a complete disservice to what this nation is all about. We have a national health care act. We have medicare. We have the Canada Health Act because we got over this jurisdictional haggling and wrangling and said, “This is a shared responsibility that involves both leadership from the federal government and spending powers from the federal government in an area that is largely a provincial jurisdiction”.
We need to make sure that we continue this part of our history. We need to do it in areas of education like never before, because in fact the federal share of education has dropped to less than 10% and we are struggling to find a way to make sure that all students have access to education. We need to do it in areas of child care and early childhood education. In fact, if we do not work together on the needs of children at a very young age, we are cutting off our nose to spite our face.
I know what the Conservative agenda generally is. I know what the Prime Minister said coming out of the discussion about national unity last Wednesday. I am worried. I want it to be clear that while we support this motion we in no way give any legitimacy or validity to a Conservative notion of decentralization or dismantling this country and eroding our nation-state.
Subtopic: The Québécois