Mr. Speaker, I know the members of the Bloc are very interested in the Canada-Quebec labour market agreement. The federal government and the Government of Quebec are interested in the labour market development agreement mechanism.
The Government of Quebec has submitted expenses under the Canada-Quebec labour market agreement for workplace based training for employed workers. This is the first formal request to use the employment insurance part II funds to help employers train employed people. Officials of both governments are having discussions aimed at clarifying admissible expenses for workplace training for employed workers.
We are committed to support eligible unemployed persons through employment insurance part II. Annual funding for Quebec has increased considerably since 1996. It was $427 million in 1996-97. In the last year it is almost $600 million. This is particularly notable when over the same period of time, unemployment rates have fallen substantially, from 11.9% in 1996 to 7.2% in June of this year, as has the province of Quebec social assistant client caseload.
In 2004-05 Quebec will again receive $596 million under employment insurance part II. Does the member not think we are debating the formation of a new streamlined department which will focus more effectively on the problems of the unemployed? Why is his party not supporting the development of a better mechanism to deliver funds of this magnitude?