Mr. Speaker, the opposition says that there was an agreement. In my opinion, any agreement requires the consent of both parties. We found no evidence that the former government gave its consent. We recently asked Mr. Mulroney. We asked Privy Council officials and others who worked with these former first ministers, and they told us that there never was a commitment.
I went one step further: I called Mr. Mulroney himself. I talked to him on the telephone and he told me that he would confirm his position in writing. Once we know his position, we will take action. If he made promises to Mr. Bourassa, I will be very happy to honour them. If he did not make promises at the time and personally refused to pay when he was leading the government, I am not responsible for the actions of another government that did not want to pay. I was not involved in this matter.
I would like to say to the opposition that Alberta and British Columbia also wanted to hold provincial referendums but, under the circumstances, they preferred, to avoid the costs involved and to be sure they would get paid, to have the referendum held under federal legislation.