Mr. Gilles Caouette (Charlevoix):
Mr. Speaker, despite what my father may have said in his last speech, you will forgive me for not speaking to you in Ukranian. Unhappily, years have gone by and I have lost practice of this language.
Nevertheless, you will understand how excited I am to take the floor for the first time in this House, knowing the qualities and the competence of all my colleagues. One feels very small and nervous when one has to take the floor.
Mr. Speaker, like those who spoke before me, I wish to take advantage of the first opportunity to congratulate you as well as your deputies. I wish you had been beside me, like at the opening of the session, in order to benefit from your advice about Standing Orders and the procedures of this House. However, I know your fairness and I understand that, even from your chair, you will be able if not to advise me at least to show tolerance towards me and all the new members.
Mr. Speaker, given the very special circumstances which make me sit in this House during the same session and at the same time as my father, I wish to take advantage of this opportunity to thank him for all he has done for me. Without his efforts, both physical and intellectual, I should certainly not be here today to represent the people from Charlevoix. His determination, his work and his earnestness have been and continue to be a source of inspiration for all of us, especially for me. If a politician was able to defend and represent the essence of Canadian unity, I think he is the most outstanding example in Canada and that he still has a lot to teach, especially to the Progressive Conservative members.
I note with pleasure that, according to his habits, he can still criticize his opponents' actions, but unlike the other leaders of opposition parties, I must admit that his criticism is always followed by positive suggestions designed to improve situations. Therefore, I hope, Mr. Speaker, to be in a position to follow his example and that I will be given an opportunity to remain as deeply humane as he was.
Mr. Speaker, what strikes me particularly in the Speech from the Throne is the ease with which the party in office can write something and act in a thoroughly opposite way. Mention is made of equality of opportunities for all Canadians, of social justice. However, if ever one party acted dishonestly during the last election that party was indeed the Liberal party. At the very moment speeches mentioned justice, respect for the individual, respect for the law, mayors in parishes and provincial civil servants were being used to implement campaign patronage.
For instance, in La Malbaie, the social welfare cheques were delivered from door to door, on Sunday night, on the eve of the vote. And in Saint-Fereol, on voting day the mayor was driving the electors in his car, while providing liquor. Of course, I will admit that to vote Liberal, one has to be somewhat intoxicated, but this cannot be called justice.
Mr. Speaker, when people have money, they think they are allowed to do anything. They will even offer $50 per family to get votes. Then, on the opening of parliament,
equality of opportunities is being extolled. Mr. Speaker, I must confess that in the Speech from the Throne I should have like to see the government pledging itself to give up all electoral gangsterism and to promote once for all a sound and honest democracy. But, on the contrary, the election is hardly over that the defeated Liberal candidate travels through the constituency and tells the people, and I quote his words:
If you do not get on our bandwagon, your local initiative project will be rejected, and I will see to it personally.
Mr. Speaker, these things happen in Charlevoix. The guilty ones are the Liberals who are now promising equality for all. I must say that as far as honesty and respect for democracy are concerned, I have seen better.
Mr. Speaker, I would hope that the Speech from the Throne will not be, as usual, a screen of hypocrisy, but the indication of a new government orientation. Whatever is being said by some experts, I think there is always room for rehabilitation as long as the brain is not too badly affected.
Mr. Speaker, on the subject of the Speech from the Throne, I can detect the likelihood of a conference between Quebec and Ottawa as the government wishes to, and I quote:
-increase employment opportunities in Canada.
And the only genuine expert in the matter is in Quebec. I therefore hope that the federal experience will not end up as that of Quebec with "Bob the job".
However, I would like to point out to the government that in a society such as ours, it would be high time for the authorities to refrain from hoodwinking the people and admitting that we have reached cross-roads. Either automation is encouraged and administration is planned so as to enable the individuals to profit by the technique used as a substitute for work through additional social measures, or automation is restricted and the individuals remain enslaved to manual labour.
It is quite well to promise jobs, but it would be proper to recognize the human genius and consider the drastic change due to machinery. It rests with the government to make possible changes, but instead of thinking it delights in the electoral demagogy of irresponsible promises. They promise an expanding economy, but they deny to the citizens of a whole riding even the right to live. They talk about aid to tourism, while at Pointe-au-Pic, a port in my riding-a natural oasis for tourists-they refuse access to this place to tourists. They spend millions to create parks and they forget to develop natural tourist attractions on the shores of the St. Lawrence.
In order to get votes, at Riviere-du-Loup, they invest-or rather I should say that they sink-$12 million in a place where sardines are stranded, while on the other shore of the river, the mere fact of improving a wharf would facilitate the development of a sea port to accommodate the biggest ships, as well as smaller ones.
For the past 15 years, they abandon wharfs in Charlevoix. Some are cut in half, others are breaking down at the bottom, under the action of erosion and sink into the river, a situation that has been experienced for the past 15
years. But finally here we have the government undertaking in the Speech from the Throne to encourage tourism. So we hope that, contrary to his wont, the leader of the government will accept to visit the riding of Charlevoix to become aware of the already existing but undeveloped touristic possibilities and the amount of investment needed to make this area of the country profitable for the population which has now been reduced to asking for the designation of special area.
Mr. Speaker, reducing regional disparities, checking excessive urban development, those are reasons that lead me to suggest to the government that it become aware of the possibilities offered by the riding of Charlevoix so that it may keep its promises.
Now that they have put an end to the ferry service at Les Escoumins, which is unfair to forest producers, they are not sure whether they will provide the grants needed for the maintenance of the Forestville airport, thus depriving citizens of transportation in case of emergency. They let the sea invade the land in Portneuf because they would rather study erosion than prevent landslides by merely building a retaining wall. People like the inhabitants of Ile-aux-Coudres are left without emergency transportation service, because the authorities will not repair the piers so as to enable ships to dock along the island at night. Should an emergency arise, people are left to die because they are not important, or so it seems. Such was the attitude of the government in the past. Those are all examples, Mr. Speaker, of opportunities for the government to create jobs for people and to reduce regional disparities.
Mr. Speaker, the present state of mind of the minority government and the good will it demonstrated in the
The Address-Mr. G. Caouette
Speech from the Throne make me feel optimistic about the development of my riding but only the future will prove the seriousness of the government and its will to help the people, in particular those of Charlevoix.
In closing, I should like to remind my colleagues that, if before October 30 we were all candidates for a party, on the night of October 30 we were elected, by democratic process, members of a riding; but, and this I stress, once elected we not only represent those who voted for us but all Canadians. I trust that each one of us will remember, during the debates, when votes are taken, that parliament represents every single elector in each of our ridings.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the voters of the riding of Charlevoix for electing me and I hope to prove to them that they made the right decision by offering my services to each and every one, whether they vote for me or not. As member for Charlevoix I intend to serve all the people.
Topic: ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE