Because of the way the system is set up, I will reply in English. I have been instructed to stick with the one language, so I apologize. I could reply in French if we had the different system.
In my view, you heard the Premier of Quebec asking the Canadian Armed Forces in the spring to stay through the month of September in long-term care homes. It was thanks to the Red Cross, which provided the backfill capacity, that the Canadian Armed Forces were able to go from one home to the next and turn it from red to green.
I think this co-operation with the Red Cross demonstrated that the premier was expecting things that were perhaps not appropriate to ask of federal military assets. It also worries me, in terms of civil-military relations, if we expand the role of the military.
The federal government needs to play a much more aggressive role in working with provinces on prevention and in making sure that federal transfers should not necessarily be tied to specific expenditures. I think we have a significant gap that the pandemic, the floods and the wildfires exposed between a coordinated investment in critical infrastructure. I think the long-term care issue demonstrated that we perhaps also need to change our understanding of critical infrastructure. Once a premier calls in the military, then whatever has failed effectively becomes a piece of critical infrastructure.
I think we need to separate those two debates. Fiscal equalization is a political problem that the provinces and the federal government need to sort out. Then there is an operational issue of immediate tactical and operational response, where a failure to coordinate effectively between the federal and the provincial governments on medium-term strategic planing resulted in this particular deployment.