Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Thank you for being here and for making your presentations.
If I may, Mr. Chair, I will begin with a comment to the committee.
I think it is significant that we have four witnesses today who are here to talk about health. In Quebec, health remains a priority in opinion polls and when we meet with people; it is very important. Clearly, the federal government is active in certain sectors. Mention has been made of statistics, especially on the needs of Inuit and first nations.
In terms of research, the federal government has a role to play. However, the main part of the federal government's role is to fund the health sector. Unfortunately, over the past few decades, we have seen a systematic erosion take place. In the beginning, the federal government was supposed to fund half of the health care expenditures, but we have noted an erosion year after year. The situation is such that Quebec's Minister of Health for the latest Liberal government, during the last agreement a few years ago, accused the federal Liberal government of predatory federalism. That is not insignificant.
There are figures from the parliamentary budget officer. He reminds us, in every study on the issue, that the fiscal room to manoeuvre remains in Ottawa and that, within a few years, the provinces could topple under the debt, especially because of the increase in health funding, and that it is important to take into account the aging population in that funding.
That said, Mr. Chair, I would like to put two questions to Mr. Viau.
The first question is about COP21, the Paris agreements. The government stated it wanted to respect those agreements. Do you think it would be useful for this Parliament to introduce a law forcing the government to honour those agreements?
I will ask my second question right away. You talked about the importance of supporting our farmers in terms of environmental measures. I would like you to tell me more about that.