Mr. Speaker, the writer and philosopher Voltaire often said, “When you lie long enough, the lie becomes the truth.” At times we have the impression that this is the government's communications strategy with respect to federal spending power, a power that this government is presenting as a brand new item, a historic step forward.
However, if we carefully examine the details of what is said in the throne speech, it is not the same as what was in the social union agreement that the Government of Quebec rejected and that the National Assembly unanimously rejected in 1998.
The social union agreement provided for the right to withdraw with financial compensation from all programs in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction. The Speech from the Throne refers only to shared-cost programs. It just so happens that in recent years, for all practical purposes, there have been no new shared-cost programs.
Therefore, as political analyst Michel David said, it is a scam. We have been offered a prize that really does not exist, and we are a far cry from what was discussed in the Meech Lake accord and in the social union agreement.
Therefore, it is not a historic step forward that is being offered by this government since it is far less than what we had in the past and all opposed.
The question I would like to ask the minister, if he really is serious, is the following: What are these programs—