Madam Speaker, allow me first to praise the work of the hon. member for Mississauga West on the subject of apprenticeship and training, because his efforts were motivated entirely by his interest in ensuring the preparation of qualified workers and an effective apprenticeship system established for industry workers and the economy of Canada.
Skilled workers are in demand. Canadian workers must be able to take advantage of these opportunities. We cannot ignore that. In addition, workers must have access to these jobs, regardless of where they are located in Canada.
The Government of Canada on the other hand has a responsibility to contribute to the supply and the mobility of skilled workers so that Canadians may play their part in a growing economy. This must not, however, prevent us from taking into account the political realities of our federal system.
Allow me to reiterate the remarks recently made by the Prime Minister in Berlin. He said that the Canadian model is based on the recognition of diversity, on a mix of cultures, on a partnership of people and government, and that the system creates a balance between individual freedoms and economic prosperity and shared risks and benefits.
This balance must not be forgotten in the consideration of this bill and more particularly in the search for a better way to achieve the objective of this bill, namely the ongoing training of Canadian workers.
This explains our discussions with our provincial and territorial counterparts and consultation of employers, union groups, educators and community organizations.
We are discussing with them ways of contributing to increasing the number of Canadians in apprenticeship or training programs.
In 1998, the government launched the Canadian opportunities strategy to give access to knowledge and skill training to a larger number of Canadians.
Moreover, in the October 1999 throne speech, the government pledged to establish a national plan on skills and learning for the 21st century.
In fact, our government pledged to ensure that skills development keeps pace with the evolving economy, to make it easier for Canadians to finance lifelong learning and to provide a single window of information to Canadians about skills requirements and training opportunities.
Our challenge is to determine the best way to help Canadians make a decision about the skills that will be useful to them.
The Government of Canada, along with the ministers responsible for the labour market in the provinces and territories, is looking for ways to help Canadians acquire skills.
We must help Canadians increase their literacy level, particularly those who could be left on the sidelines in the new economy.
But what is the best way to proceed? What are the specific needs of these people? How can we give them access to the tools that will allow them to fully participate in the economic and social life of our country?
Our partners' involvement is essential, since they have responsibilities relating to education, and since they set the rules governing trades and professions.
In many ways, Human Resources Development Canada is a catalyst in the area of manpower mobility.
The implementation, by July 1, 2001, of the chapter on manpower mobility in the Internal Trade Agreement is undoubtedly our primary concern with the provinces and territories. That agreement will promote the freer movement of persons, goods and services across Canada.
As regards manpower mobility—