Toronto, June 18, 1998 -- Federal, provincial, and territorial Ministers* met today and discussed progress on negotiations for a framework agreement for Canada's social union. The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Bernhard Wiens, Minister of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs of Saskatchewan, and the Honourable Anne McLellan, Minister of Justice of Canada. The negotiations were initiated by First Ministers at their meeting in Ottawa in December 1997.
Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work together in a spirit of partnership and collaboration and expressed their deep disappointment over media reports that mischaracterize the intent of these discussions.
Ministers reiterated their intention to continue to work together to strengthen Canada's social union. Canadians have said that they want governments to work together to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federation, especially in the delivery of social programs. Ministers said that their intent, through these negotiations, is to make social programs work better for all Canadians while respecting constitutional jurisdictions and powers. To achieve this goal, they seek to work together to renew social programs, improve accountability to the public for public spending, and ensure that programs are efficient, effective, and adequately and predictably funded in the long term.
The federal, provincial, and territorial Ministers instructed their officials to continue working on all items, with a view to making further progress as soon as possible.
For further information, please contact:
Office of Minister McLellan
Saskatchewan Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs
* Quebec has reaffirmed its historical position on the federal spending power based on an opting-out ability with financial compensation.