Mr. Speaker, the agreement concluded between the Prime Minister and B.C. Premier Clark on March 6 ended some serious conflicts, notably the provincial government's three-month residency requirement on out of province people seeking welfare benefits in B.C. and the adverse differential treatment in federal transfer payments to B.C. to cover costs of integration of immigrants into community life.
The agreement is groundbreaking. First, it recognizes that most problems today need all levels of government, federal, provincial and municipal, to work together for their rational solution. It is not possible to continue outmoded confrontational federalism with separate, watertight compartments of sovereign power, federal or provincial, and no possibility for decision making in partnership.
Second, while the Constitution Act of 1982 may have erected major legal barriers against future amendments, constitutions can change by developing custom convention through intergovernmental accommodations and administrative adjustments based on ordinary common sense and reciprocal give and take.
This is the new, pragmatic co-operative federalism.