Hon. Warren Allmand (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Lib.)
Madam Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce in Montreal and a fifth generation Montrealer who loves his city, loves his province and his country, I take this debate very seriously.
The separatists in all their forms, whether sovereignists or Parti Quebecois or Bloc Quebecois or Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste, continue to bury their heads in the sand. They refuse to face the
reality that their policies are seriously hurting the economy of Montreal. They are hurting the recovery of Montreal as one of the world's great cities.
They refuse to recognize that their policies to hold continual referendums, to make statements with respect to exclusivity as to who is really a Quebecois, and from time to time their extreme language policies are scaring away jobs and new investment. Obviously not all investment; there is investment in Montreal, but there could be much more without these negative policies which I have just referred to.
It is true that Montreal suffers the same problems as all other smokestack industrial cities, the old industrial cities: the need to convert to the new economy, the need to convert to high technology and to globalization. We can debate on another occasion the effectiveness of these policies by the government to help all Canadian industrial and commercial cities that are faced with those same challenges.
In addition to suffering the same difficulties as other North American cities and cities in Europe that are trying to adapt to the new economy, Montreal is hit with the additional burden of continual referendums, extreme nationalism and extreme language policies.
The Parti Quebecois and the Bloc Quebecois talk about democracy and self-determination and the respect for democracy and self-determination, but they refuse to recognize the results of two referendums which have already been held. Their policy seems to be to continue to have referendums until they win one, no matter what kind of question and no matter by what margin. They refuse to recognize the rule of law. They say that they will not recognize decisions of the supreme court with respect to the universal declaration of independence issues.
Do such policies encourage employers to come and stay in Montreal? I would think not. Consider their statements as to who is and who is not a Quebecois. One day we hear them speak of the Quebecois in a very exclusive fashion, as if only those who are descendants of vieille souche Quebecois are really Quebecois, which results in two types of citizenship in Quebec.
On another day, in a more reflective mood they will say that I am included, the Blacks are included, the Indians are included, everyone else is included. But then we had statements in this House by one member of the Bloc Quebecois who suggested seriously that only those who fit his definition of Quebecois should have the right to vote in the referendum. By that he meant the descendants of the vieille souche Quebecois.
I hear this again. I hear "nous Québécois avons besoin de notre état". When they say "nous Quebecois" they do not include me and many of my electors in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. They are speaking of an exclusive ethnic type of nationalism. I ask again: Does this sort of policy encourage employers to come and stay in Montreal?
In the same vein, we had the statements by the former premier of Quebec, Mr. Parizeau and the minister of finance, Mr. Landry, which attacked the ethnic minorities in Quebec for their votes in the referendum and the interpretation of the poll results. These were statements which terribly upset the ethnic minorities in Quebec. There were recent statements which were even more extreme from Mr. Villeneuve who attacked the Jewish community in Quebec and said that they would get theirs once independence was brought about.
Do these kinds of statements encourage employers to come to Montreal: extremism in language policy; proposals to bring back the language police, which has even been attacked by part of the sovereignist community in Quebec and by the trade unions. However, there is still a proposal to bring back the language police and other extreme language policies. There is the recent situation at the hospital in Sherbrooke. The hospital put up bilingual signs to assist the elderly anglophone community of the eastern townships who must go to the Sherbrooke hospital and instructions came from Quebec City to take down the English signs even though they were in a secondary position.
There have been attacks on Mr. Galganov. In the first place, all he was doing was asking major businesses on the West Island of Montreal to respect the Quebec language laws and simply put up English language signs in accordance with the law of Quebec, which is English in a secondary position and in smaller letters. He was asking the stores to do that because their signs were only in French and yet he was attacked.
Does extremism in language policy encourage other Canadians, Americans, Europeans and Asians to invest and stay in Montreal?
I want to make clear that I fully support policies, and have for years, to assure and promote the French language and culture in Quebec and have it flourish. The federal government has done that for years and continues to do so. It has done it through Radio-Canada, CBC, the Canada Council, the CRTC, Telefilm Canada and assistance to theatres, museums, libraries and research.
It is without a doubt that Quebec, French Canada in general, is now the second strongest French culture in the world after France. Nobody can rival Quebec or French Canada. It is strong in writing, theatre, music and academia. It is very strong and has done that within the federal system. These extreme policies that I referred to are not necessary. All they are doing is hurting the economy, the jobs and the people of Quebec.
The purport of the resolution states that Montreal and Quebec are not getting their fair share. With respect to federal transfers to Quebec, in 1996-97, this fiscal year, while Quebec has 25 per cent
of the population of Canada, 31 per cent of the money transferred from the federal government to the provinces goes to Quebec. I support that because I think that is a fair share. It amounts to $11.1 billion. It has been approximately at that level for the last six years.
Yesterday there were questions in the House to the Prime Minister with respect to the granting of contracts in Quebec, saying that Quebec was not getting its fair share. The Prime Minister answered correctly that, first of all, we grant contracts on a tender basis and give out contracts to companies and professionals who apply for different jobs on a tender basis.
However, it is a question of the chicken and the egg. Quebec does not have the same number of entrepreneurs and professionals that it did when I first started in politics here in the 1960s. A lot have left. A lot have not come who would have come. A lot of former Montreal businessmen in Montreal head offices are now in Toronto, Calgary and elsewhere because of the extreme policies of the PQ governments with respect to these matters. They scared away firms that would have been there to bid on these contracts and probably get them for the Quebec people.
With respect to the assistance to industry, I was present this week when the Prime Minister announced the repayable loan of $87 million to Bombardier to develop a new aircraft. The federal government has been very supportive of the aircraft industry in Quebec. I will list them off. There was a contribution by Industry Canada of $940,000 to Matériaux techniques Côté; a contribution of $825,000 to École Polytechnique chaire industrielle; $5 million to Institut de recherche en biotechnologie; $1.7 million to Mallinckrodt Medical Inc. It goes on and on. Bell Helicopter received $8 million. Aliments Delisle received $1.5 million. Galderma received $1.6 million.
With respect to the infrastructure program which has just taken place over the last two years, the region of Montreal received 400 projects, of which the federal government contributed $236 million for 12,000 employees.
I see that my time is up. I simply want to say that if the Parti Quebecois and the Bloc Quebecois really want to help with jobs in the economy in Montreal, they should forget about referendums and the extremism of their nationalistic policy, co-operate, take up the offer of the Prime Minister and together we will create jobs and develop Montreal as it used to be.
Topic: Government Orders