Mr. Speaker, I did not expect to be the next one to speak. I will nonetheless try to elaborate on the global picture of our financial situation. I think the Minister of Finance has already explained how critical it is. And not only must we suffer these difficult times, we must also suffer cynicism on the part of the opposition.
When I hear members of the opposition say that the only way out is independence or sovereignty, I believe the vast majority of Quebecers do not agree with that option which will not generate any advantage or improve the economic issues of common concern to all Quebecers.
I would like to speak mainly of the pre-budget consultation which will soon be underway. I believe we are about to have a new economic framework.
It is important to remember that our government has limited revenues, and that problem is experienced by the federal government, by the provinces and by countries all over the world, especially western countries. Our government has limited possibilities for direct investment. They cannot solve all the problems and we should not expect them to do so.
I believe the purpose of governmental action is to encourage partnerships. At the federal level, we are quite prepared to work in co-operation with provinces, municipalities and businesses. I think it is very important and, as the member from the other side said so well, what people want is a spirit of co-operation.
One of the strong points of Canadian federalism has always been, for 125 years, the ability to find common grounds, to find ways of reaching sectoral agreements. Of course there are areas under the federal jurisdiction and others under the Quebec jurisdiction, but we often have to work together. Instead of splitting up and thinking that Quebec will be better off once it is on its own in a North American context, I doubt very much that Quebecers will agree with such a scenario or, for that matter, the proposal of Mr. Parizeau and, of course, the Leader of the Opposition.
We were talking about the need to control the debt. I think that has a lot to do with productivity in Canada. We have to review not only our policies and how we manage the government, but also how we help the small and medium businesses to revitalize the Canadian economy.
With that as a background, we are looking for some reductions, of course, but that does not necessarily mean that we do not want to reconsider our objectives. The government global strategy is job creation. By creating jobs, we encourage people to pay taxes, to participate in the economy and that is the only way out for us.
When we talk about program review, we always talk about the social security reform. I think it is important to recognize that after 50 years, we have to review that program. We have to reconsider it to allow the federal government to carry on the way it should and revitalize the economy of our country.
When you take a look at the reform, I think the government and all the social and economic stakeholders, from Quebec or other parts of Canada, worry about the emergency of finding new niches, new opportunities for the Canadian industry. We were certainly able to deal-