Gabriel STE-MARIE

STE-MARIE, Gabriel

Parliamentary Career

October 19, 2015 -
BQ
  Joliette (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 71)


June 4, 2019

Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie

Mr. Speaker, at my daughter's school there is a big banner saying “zero tolerance for bullying”. The previous Conservative member who spoke accused the Liberals of bullying, and now the member for Victoriaville is hurling epithets and questions at me. There should be zero tolerance for bullying here too. We have a right to speak without being interrupted.

To get back to what I was saying, that is not what we need in Quebec. We have already started to go green. GHG emissions per capita are two and a half times lower in Quebec than in the rest of Canada. A policy for the 21st century is to make polluting expensive and avoiding pollution profitable.

I can already hear the Liberals saying that they created the carbon tax, so let us talk about it. The government imposes a tax, then gives the money back to those who paid it. It is a circle that does not result in any real transfer of wealth from polluters to the good guys. It does not make it profitable to go green. It will not result in a true green shift. It does not entitle anyone to make green speeches. It is merely an image, just like the government has been since it was elected: an image, no more, no less, but definitely no more.

Let us move on. In the lead-up to the budget, the Bloc québécois reached out to Quebeckers, and what we consistently heard was that their main priorities are health and education. There is nothing about that in the budget. Health transfers have been capped at 3% for two years, and yet, health costs in Quebec have risen by 5.2%. You do not need a Nobel prize in mathematics to see that there is a problem. The healthcare system is stretched to its limit, and wait times are getting longer. Something has to give, and everyone knows it.

Everything I have just said about the healthcare system also applies to education. Teachers are as burnt out as nurses. It is the same problem, except that, in this case, transfers were capped at 3% 15 years ago. Health and education are Quebeckers’ two main priorities. There is nothing about that in Bill C-97. The government decided to gradually move away from Quebecker’s priorities. That is abundantly clear in Bill C-97.

Now, let us look at the measures the government has taken to stimulate the economy. Its primary measure involves infrastructure. In and of itself, that is a good thing, but the methods used are another story. By multiplying specific programs, each one with very strict criteria, Ottawa has ruined everything. Federal requirements have caused a tug of war with Quebec and will paralyze the entire process. The result is striking: the money is starting to trickle down just before the election. We had to wait a long time. In the first two years of its term, the government spent $100 per Quebecker and $700 for each Canadian outside Quebec.

We know the federal government is building precious little infrastructure. It owns barely 2% of all public infrastructure, while the provinces and municipalities own 98%. Through federal transfers, the government is financing infrastructure that does not belong to it, that is not within its jurisdiction and that it does not have the means to prioritize intelligently. The government had good intentions, but the whole undertaking has been a monumental failure on the ground.

The money is not flowing. The federal criteria are too rigid and do not meet communities' needs. During the last election campaign, the Liberals promised to transfer blocks of infrastructure funding. They promised to mind their own business and do their job. That is yet another broken promise, and Quebec is paying the price.

As I said, my leader and I have been travelling around a lot listening to Quebeckers. People do not realize how future-focused Quebec is. Quebeckers are creative and innovative. Yesterday's tinkerers are now developing video games, designing new aircraft and working on artificial intelligence. Year after year, Quebec accounts for between 40% and 45% of Canada's tech exports, even though its share of Canada's economy is only half that much.

In metropolitan areas across Quebec, there are at least 5,000 technology startups. I think of it as Silicon Valley North. What is in Bill C-97 for technology? An aerospace policy? No. Patient capital to let our technology start-ups develop here in Canada rather than being bought out by U.S. web giants? Not that either.

However, there is some venture capital to help out the rest of Canada. That is how it is in all areas. When Quebec succeeds, Ottawa is not there. Take supply management, for example. Our regional agriculture lends itself well to local distribution. That is the future. Instead of helping, the government is hurting agriculture. It has signed three trade agreements with three breaches, and not a single penny has been paid to farmers.

We scoured Bill C-97 for the compensation, but it is not there. Our producers were taken for a ride. They will get nothing before the election. That is also the case for Davie. Does Bill C-97 announce a review of its horrible naval strategy? The answer is obviously no.

The same goes for the fight against tax havens. These loopholes allow banks and multi-millionaires to get out of paying taxes. The government needs to act fast, but instead, it has legalized three new tax havens. In my private member's bill, I proposed a working solution to close the loopholes, but, of course, all the Liberals but one voted it down. Like the sheriff of Nottingham, they would rather defend fat cats than low-income workers. The Conservatives also voted against my bill, but at least they were being true to type. Unlike the Liberals, they do not try to dress up as Robin Hood.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1
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May 31, 2019

Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie (Joliette, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the same thing happens every year. Summer comes and farmers do not get the temporary foreign workers they need because Ottawa is unable to process the applications in time. The answer is always the same. We are told that there is a very high volume of applications and that our call is very important.

Are they not aware that there is a labour shortage? The number of applications will continue to rise, and crops will not wait until the workers arrive to start growing.

The parliamentary secretary told us that there are more resources, but we are not seeing a difference. A permanent solution is needed.

What will the government do today to make sure that these workers arrive in Canada on time this summer and next?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Employment
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May 8, 2019

Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie (Joliette, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the government announced $3.9 billion in compensation for supply-managed farmers in the budget. However, there is no mention of that money in the budget's financial tables, schedules or votes. There is no line item for the compensation and no program for that purpose. None of the departmental budgets make any mention of this compensation.

If there is money to compensate our farmers, can the Minister of Finance tell us exactly where to find it, how much there is and, most importantly, how we can approve that amount in the House before the election?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Agriculture and Agri-food
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May 7, 2019

Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie (Joliette, BQ)

Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague on his speech advocating for the environment and against pipelines. Could he tell us what led to the change in his party's position in that area?

During the last election campaign, that party's position was more ambiguous. When NDP members were speaking English, they were often pro-pipeline, but in French, it was the opposite. This led the member for Berthier—Maskinongé to say that, on the contrary, they were neither for nor against energy east. Then their position changed. Some people even said that Thomas Mulcair lost the leadership because he was not pro-oil enough.

I would like to know what led my colleague's party to change its position.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
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May 7, 2019

Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie (Joliette, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, my colleague just said that the government intends to comply with the Paris Agreement adopted by COP 21.

Since the last election, oil sands development has increased by 24%, and the investments that have been announced show that it will continue to grow by 8% a year. A year ago, the government announced $19 billion in aid for pipelines and oil production.

I would like to ask the member if this is part of the government's strategy for meeting the climate targets set by COP 21.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
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