Question Period: Federal-Provincial-Territorial Collaboration

By: The Hon. Diane Bellemare

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Parliament and the Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa

Hon. Diane Bellemare: My question is for the Government Representative, Senator Gold.

In several committees, including the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Commerce and the Economy, we often hear economic players complaining about the lack of leadership in Canada when it comes to defining clear and effective strategies to address the housing crisis, the health care crisis and the skilled labour shortage in strategic sectors such as construction, housing and digital technology. We know that these sectors fall under provincial or shared jurisdiction.

Could the federal government not show some leadership in this area to ensure better coordination? Can you tell me what the government is doing in terms of coordination to address these crises?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you. Our system is very diverse and encompasses many economic elements. As you so rightly observed, many of those elements are under either federal or provincial jurisdiction. Coordination is therefore crucial, and the federal government must play a role, a leadership role, to ensure that all the players, political or otherwise, at least talk to one another and try to coordinate their efforts.

That said, with respect to the housing crisis, the minister is actively encouraging his counterparts to do their part and the private sector to take advantage of government financial support.

There are lots of other examples I don’t have time to list. Thank you.

Senator Bellemare: The federal government has signed on to the Global Deal, an initiative of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the OECD. The Global Deal promotes social dialogue among trade unions, businesses and governments.

Can you tell us what concrete actions the government has taken in recent years to promote tripartite dialogue on skill development and employment insurance?

Senator Gold: I don’t have any details to share with you, but I do want to reiterate the importance of dialogue, not only with the provinces and territories, and not only with employers, but also with unions. You noted that, and the government recognizes it as well. It is crucial to our economy that all stakeholders be at the bargaining table.

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