Mr. Speaker, my predecessor at the Federal Office of Regional Development wrote on two or three occasions to the Government of Quebec precisely to conclude a harmonization agreement on intervention in regional development in the province.
Unfortunately, at the time, the two or three attempts were declined by the Government of Quebec, which was not interested in reaching a harmonization agreement. This was in the period before the referendum, and the provincial government certainly did not want to show that the federal system worked well.
What we did then was to set up a new program under which the Federal Office of Regional Development intervenes where it can do the most within its areas of jurisdiction.
We are now prepared to go ahead and discuss harmonization with the Province of Quebec, even if harmonization is a fact, because we were farsighted and wanted to look after the public's interest.