Mr. Speaker, last December the provincial premiers and myself reached an amicable agreement to work together. I invited them to come with me. Several of them said: "We would like to, but we cannot". Some of them called me to ask if they could send a representative and I told them they could not, because it had been agreed that the heads of each of these governments would be attending. So, I was not seeking confrontation. It is a Canadian delegation; the premiers have been invited and those who can are coming, and those who cannot are not.
I have been accused of provoking the provincial government, and yet the Minister of Finance, for example, is looking for ways to replace the GST and is seeking the co-operation of the provinces. But the government of Quebec has already said that it will not take part. When the Minister of Natural Resources, at the request of members of the Bloc Quebecois, attempts to do something for Canada's forestry development program, the Quebec Minister of Forestry refuses to attend the forestry ministers' conference in New Brunswick. Yet some very nice people show a willingness to work with the federal government. Last week, the premier of Quebec said that his sole objective in the months to come was to derail the federal machine.