We were not consulted by Minister Flaherty, but the FTQ was and it passed along information to us. Some pre-budget consultations were held. Minister Flaherty came to Montreal in early January and with him were some of Quebec's most important business leaders. An advisor to a union executive was present. I believe he was the only union representative on hand.
Minister Flaherty unveiled his tax reduction proposal and other measures. Overall, the business leaders told him that they had never asked for theses measures, that this was not what they wanted. The FTQ stressed the employment insurance program and the need to enhance and improve access to benefits. Many of the business leaders in attendance supported the union's proposals. Of course, our association was not consulted. If we had been consulted, we too would have stressed the point that we are making here today about access to employment insurance.
You were wondering if we felt that our hands were tied somewhat because of this minority government that enjoys what amounts to a veto right, in light of the royal assent provision. Indeed, the opposition, even if it forms a majority, can push bills through to third reading stage, as we have often seen happen, only to have them suddenly fall by the wayside because of a minority government's veto right.
Let me get sidetracked for a moment and speak to Mr. Mulcair. We have gone public with our position and signed articles and letters which have been printed in the newspapers, under the caption “Bring Back The Conservatives In Opposition“. Our position is fairly clear.
You are responsible, consenting adults. I'll leave it up to you to play the parliamentary game, if you must. And, I am not using the word “game“ negatively here.
One thing is clear, and that is our goal to restore the employment insurance system. To accomplish this feat, we need a majority government. Whether the government is defeated now or later, we need to focus our attention and energy every day on these timely social issues.