Mr. Speaker, on the eve of the meeting in Calgary to discuss the social union framework, Ottawa's unilateral decisions were providing fodder for sovereignists' claims that Canada was inflexible.
In order to avoid duplication, the NDP is proposing a model of open federalism based on shared decision-making.
Shared decision-making would allow the federal government and the provinces to establish pan-Canadian standards jointly, while giving the provinces the authority to develop and administer shared cost social programs.
Because of the unique challenges it faces, however, Quebec must be free to decide whether or not it will participate in shared cost programs. To that end, Quebec must have the right to opt out with full compensation.
Instead of the confrontation of the Liberals, and the separation of the sovereignists, the New Democratic Party is proposing a constructive solution for a united Canada, a solution based on openmindedness.