Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act

An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the States of the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), the Agreement on Agriculture between Canada and the Republic of Iceland, the Agreement on Agriculture between Canada and the Kingdom of Norway and the Agreement on Agriculture between Canada and the Swiss Confederation

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in December 2009.

This bill was previously introduced in the 40th Parliament, 1st Session.

Sponsor

Stockwell Day  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment implements the Free Trade Agreement and the bilateral agreements between Canada and the Republic of Iceland, the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Kingdom of Norway and the Swiss Confederation signed at Davos on January 26, 2008.

The general provisions of the enactment specify that no recourse may be taken on the basis of the provisions of Part 1 of the enactment or any order made under that Part, or the provisions of the Free Trade Agreement or the bilateral agreements themselves, without the consent of the Attorney General for Canada.

Part 1 of the enactment approves the Free Trade Agreement and the bilateral agreements and provides for the payment by Canada of its share of the expenditures associated with the operation of the institutional aspects of the Free Trade Agreement and the power of the Governor in Council to make orders for carrying out the provisions of the enactment.

Part 2 of the enactment amends existing laws in order to bring them into conformity with Canada’s obligations under the Free Trade Agreement and the bilateral agreements.

Part 3 of the enactment provides for its coming into force.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

  • March 30, 2009 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
  • March 30, 2009 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “Bill C-2, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the States of the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), the Agreement on Agriculture between Canada and the Republic of Iceland, the Agreement on Agriculture between Canada and the Kingdom of Norway and the Agreement on Agriculture between Canada and the Swiss Confederation, be not now read a third time but be referred back to the Standing Committee on International Trade for the purpose of reconsidering clause 33 with a view to re-examining the phase out of shipbuilding protections”.
  • March 12, 2009 Passed That Bill C-2, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the States of the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), the Agreement on Agriculture between Canada and the Republic of Iceland, the Agreement on Agriculture between Canada and the Kingdom of Norway and the Agreement on Agriculture between Canada and the Swiss Confederation, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
  • March 12, 2009 Failed That Bill C-2 be amended by deleting Clause 33.
  • Feb. 5, 2009 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on International Trade.

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

March 30th, 2009 / 12:05 p.m.
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NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to congratulate my friend and colleague, the member for Burnaby—New Westminster, on all the hard work he has done on this issue.

At first blush, when we talk about a free-trade agreement with countries like Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, many Canadians might be a bit confused and wonder how we could have a problem with it. In fact, the countries I just named are very close to us historically and in many other respects. My colleague said as much, and another colleague from Halifax was able to prove it: Bill C-2 will destroy Canada's shipbuilding industry. Although I congratulate my colleague from Burnaby—New Westminster, I also want to thank the people across Canada, from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, including the people from the Lévis shipyards. In fact, these shipyards are still known as the Lauzon yards, even though the City of Lauzon amalgamated with Lévis quite some time ago.

It is sad to see how the Conservative government is incapable of paying attention to detail in its work. It is as though once something fits with its ideology, the government refuses to believe that there could be any problem. In fact, this bill poses a major problem, even though other members who will vote for it to support the Conservatives said there were good things in it. Obviously, every time we can look at expanding certain sectors, some good will come of it. But we are able to walk and chew gum at the same time and we are able to negotiate an agreement with these countries without compromising a vital Canadian industry. And that is what we must do.

The Americans have never had any qualms about this. In the United States, ships had to be built there in order to access domestic waters. Some would call this protectionism, but the Americans think it is only normal, and this is part of what is protected every time the Americans sign an agreement in this matter. How is that Canada is the only country incapable of including a similar provision to protect itself, in light of the evidence that Norway in particular will take the lion's share, while we lose thousands of jobs in a sector that could be strategically important in the very short term?

It is an honour for me to speak to Bill C-2. I congratulate my colleague, the member for Parliament for Burnaby—New Westminster, for the titanic job he has done on this, and there is no pun on the word “titanic” as we talk about shipbuilding.

As people hear us speak on this issue today, they will be as surprised as we were that the Conservatives were unable to listen to the voices of the men and women who work in shipbuilding across our great country. Canada is the only country in the world that people can talk about stretching from coast to coast to coast because it borders on three oceans, the Arctic, the Pacific and the Atlantic. Shipping and shipbuilding have been integral in building our country.

We realize that shipbuilding industry in Canada, from British Columbia all the way to Nova Scotia, passing by Lévis-Lauzon, where the Davie shipbuilding operation is located and recently bought by some Norwegians, is in a great deal of trouble. That is why it is so disappointing and surprising that the government would be selling out our industry in that regard.

It is often heard, when we deal with trade issues, that some parts of the bill will be good, particular when one rhymes off the list of countries involved. In fact, it can raise eyebrows when we say that we find offence with the treaty with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. However, the government is throwing out a very important industry. It will be killing our shipbuilding industry if this agreement goes forward, notably to the profit of Norway, which has become a powerhouse in this field. This is most disturbing.

We know Conservative ideology. The argument of the Conservatives is any trade agreement is good in and of itself and we do not have to look at the details. However, that is precisely what we are called upon to do in the House. We are here to look at details, see how things will affect Canadians, go forward when they meet a certain number of criteria, including the fact that it will not take away Canadian jobs, and hold back when it will produce an undesired result such as the one I just described. However, they are not doing that. They are pushing it forward full throttle.

In this case, it is even more disappointing to hear that the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of this agreement. When we know how many jobs are involved with a shipbuilding concern like Davie in Lauzon, I have a great deal of difficulty understanding why the Bloc Québécois supports the bill.

We know how many jobs are at risk and will be lost if we sign this agreement, including those at the Davie shipyards in Lauzon-Lévis. I simply cannot understand why the Bloc Québécois members are supporting this.

I listened carefully to their arguments. They claim that there are other areas of activity, particularly the pharmaceutical industry, that could benefit from a levelling of agreements with a country like Switzerland. I have no problem with that. It is probably true. However, when such an agreement is reached, we must look at the overall picture and judge accordingly. There is no overriding reason why we should destroy the shipbuilding industry and Quebec's shipyards. I just mentioned the Davie shipyard in Lauzon, but there is also the very active Ocean Group Inc., which is located just a little further downstream from Quebec City on the north shore. There is no reason we should destroy this industry in Quebec. Those who vote in favour of this agreement with the European Free Trade Association will have a lot of explaining to do later on.

It is not unusual that the Liberals would vote for it. Over the past three years—this is the Conservatives' fourth year in power—their bootlicking has defied imagination. There is not one subject on which the Liberal Party has taken a stand. It does not have principles. It does not believe in anything, except for its own opportunism.

Therefore, that the Liberals would sell out again and vote for the EFTA agreement does not surprise us in the least. They have supported the Conservative government at least 70 times. We are becoming increasingly used to their conduct. At present, they have a right-leaning leader. He is a man who used the prestige of his position at Harvard University to support the war in Iraq. In some of his writings, he attempts to justify the use of torture on human beings.

We will see what the Liberals do with the gun registry. Probably the same thing they did to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, an important Canadian law that had been around for about 100 years. They supported the Conservatives, who scrapped it, and they also voted with the Conservatives to eliminate the right of women to receive equal pay for work of equal value.

That is the sad reality of just a few months with their new leader, a rightist who has shifted to the right. He should at least be identified and named so that the public clearly knows that the party whose name sounds like the word liberty, the Liberal Party, has become a weak version of the Conservative Party with its right-leaning leader.

Therefore, we are not surprised to see the Liberals rising to vote with the Conservatives time after time. What is surprising and disappointing this time is that, despite the arguments they made, the Bloc Québécois is voting with the Conservatives to impose this new agreement on Quebec and Canada that will destroy our marine industry and crush workers across Canada in this crucial sector.

In closing, I would like to thank and acknowledge the courage of all the men and women who wrote to us asking that we keep our resolve and fight this bill. We will continue to support the workers, to condemn the shift to the right by the Liberals who systematically support the Conservatives, and to lament the fact that, this time, the Bloc Québécois is throwing in its lot with the Conservatives to the detriment of the workers in Quebec and Canada.

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

March 30th, 2009 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Bill Siksay Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for adding to the speeches we have made in this corner of the House on this important international agreement. As he pointed out at the beginning of his speech, it is hard to imagine that we would not want to have a treaty with countries like Norway, Switzerland and Iceland and that there are many reasons why we share things in common. I think many Canadians celebrated the rise to power recently of the first openly lesbian prime minister in the world, the head of Iceland. This is an indication of the kinds of values we share with the people of Iceland when it comes to the full equality of gay and lesbian citizens.

These are the kinds of countries we want to do business. However, the carve-out for our shipbuilding industry is not part of this agreement. Other countries that have negotiated with these countries have managed to negotiate a carve-out. In my riding of Burnaby—Douglas, British Columbia, many people at one time made their living in the shipbuilding industry, which was largely based in North Vancouver. We have seen it dwindle away as Canadian ships and Canadian ferries are built overseas. This agreement will only lead to a further decline in the shipbuilding industry in British Columbia.

Could the member comment further about the kinds of countries that we want to have agreements with and why, when there is a concern about a particular industry, Canada would not have sought a carve-out of the industry from this kind of agreement?

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

March 30th, 2009 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is no surprise to us that the Conservatives would continue to support every possible trade deal, no matter what is in it and no matter how much it hurts Canada. Part of their ideology is that trade, in and of itself, is a good thing so they can sign any deal.

To answer the question of my colleague, I would give the example of the Colombia trade deal that has been put in place now. When it caused a great deal of reaction among thinking people who looked at the human rights record of the current government there, it was changed so the current government, which has killed many trade unionists, would be obliged to pay a fine when a trade unionist was killed. That was the Conservatives' way of leavening the proposed agreement with Colombia.

It does not surprise members, I am sure, to learn that the New Democratic Party is strongly opposed to that agreement. I suspect that since the Conservatives are for it, it will mean the Liberals are for it. The Liberals are for whatever the Conservatives are for because they are cut from the same cloth. On this end, we will continue to look at issues that involve protecting Canadian jobs. That does not mean protectionism, but if Americans are capable of protecting their shipbuilding industry, if there can be carve-outs in these agreements, why is it not possible for Canada to do the same thing?

Why is it necessary for us to adopt an agreement with the European Free Trade Association that will undermine the Canadian shipbuilding industry, indeed will kill the Canadian shipbuilding industry, and will hurt workers from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, including an important shipbuilding operation in Lévis-Lauzon, Quebec?

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

March 30th, 2009 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, contained in letters from workers in Lévis and other places across Canada are some heartfelt concerns. The thing that strikes me is they are appealing to us to appeal to the Liberals because they do not want to wind up on EI, which the Liberals gutted in 1995. The Liberals set in place the rules that have excluded people from EI today. This is a huge irony.

Has the member seen some of these heartbreaking letters?

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

March 30th, 2009 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is important to remember that at the end of the day, every time we talk about a lost job, we talk about a family. We are talking about individuals who are having a tough time.

We are also forgetting that in killing the shipbuilding industry, the Conservative-Liberal alliance party, and people can work out the acronym, is ensuring that the steel industry, in places such as Hamilton in particular, will have few places to sell its steel. It is a connectedness in the economy that the Conservatives have never been able to understand.

Yes, I have looked at those moving letters from men and women who work in those jobs and who simply do not understand how their government, with the culpable complicity of the Liberals, is selling them down the river. Why are we so incapable in the House of doing the same thing that has been done in other countries that have signed similar agreements, which is to carve out the section that will protect this key industry?

My colleagues from British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and I am from Quebec, have worked very hard to try and preserve the industry, to avoid the error of this trade agreement. We have stood and spoken to the issue any number of times.

Unfortunately the NDP, for the time being, does not have the plurality of votes in the House that it would require to block this mistake, and it will go to go through again. The Conservatives have an ideology and the Liberals believe nothing. The Liberals will vote with the Conservatives because they do not believe in anything.

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

March 30th, 2009 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, in terms of direct employment, shipyards across Canada still employ several thousand people. If we sign this agreement, all of those jobs will be in danger because Norway will be able to take over the lion's share of our market. Except for some minor repair work, this will be the end of Canada's shipbuilding industry. We have been building ships here for 400 years, but this agreement could ring the death knell of a major industry that provides direct employment to thousands of people.

Some people tend to forget what is going on for my colleague from Hamilton, where they make steel. One of the basic ingredients in stainless steel is nickel, which is produced in the region represented by the member who just spoke, the name of his riding being a clear indication.

Jobs in mines and the steel industry could be lost if this agreement is signed. That is why these tragic job losses will reach much farther than jobs in the marine sector. Job losses will also affect the resource sector—mines—the processing sector—manufacturing—and, of course, all related services.

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

March 23rd, 2009 / noon
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NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, again I rise in the continuation of the debate on Bill C-2.

What my colleague from New Westminster has asked for, and he has asked for it very eloquently and quite intelligently, is exactly what the United States has done.

We are about to sign on to an EFTA deal and it may have serious ramifications for a major industry in our country, namely shipbuilding.

Over the past few weeks, we have received hundreds and hundreds of letters from shipyard workers who are very concerned about their future and the future of their families in the five major yards as well as in the other smaller yards across the country. They are asking the government, quite clearly, why it would sign a trade deal that may affect this very important and vital industry.

The NDP has absolutely nothing against trade deals as long as they are fair and equitable on both sides. We saw what happened with NAFTA and the free trade concerns. We saw our wages and other things go down. We were promised that Mexican considerations would go up. It simply has not worked.

We saw what happened with the softwood lumber deal. We left a billion dollars of our companies' money in the United States. Many mills across the country have shut down and thousands of people have been laid off in the forestry industry.

We are all concerned about the shipbuilding aspects. Lately the government has spent literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in meetings with experts across the country on what is the best way to stimulate the economy and get the machines going and people working again so as to give them a sense of optimism and confidence once again.

We have said to the present government, and to the previous government as well, that one industry it can look at in a very positive and fiscally responsible manner is the shipbuilding industry. We said before that we had $22 billion worth of work on the books right now. Spread over a 20 years period, that can keep the five major yards singing for a long time and employ thousands of people at very decent salaries so they in turn can pay their taxes, look after their families and live in these communities. We have major yards in Victoria, Welland, Lévis, Halifax and Marystown, plus smaller yards across the country.

We honestly believe this industry has a bright future and those Canadian workers and Canadian companies deserve that opportunity.

I have said this before and I will say it once again. I know this sounds very much like a social democratic ideal, but imagine using Canadian taxpayer money to hire Canadian workers to build Canadian ships with Canadian companies in Canadian yards? Call me a rabid communist, and I really do not care, but what a novel idea to use taxpayer dollars to hire our neighbours to build Canadian vessels that our Coast Guard, ferry fleets, laker fleets and our military desperately require.

We could not help but notice that the recent budget the government announced $175 million for hovercrafts and small boats, but the request was for $22 billion, not $175 million, spread over 20 years.

It is also quite ironic that the government brags about an investment of $300 million in the aerospace industry and look what happened; a $1.5 billion contract out of Quebec to build airplanes. That is a good investment. We want the exact came attitude applied to the shipbuilding industry. The 2001 report, “Breaking Through”, done by labour and business, has five serious recommendations that would move this industry forward.

If we go ahead and sign this EFTA deal, it may have serious ramifications for our shipbuilding industry. It is not only EFTA about which my colleagues in the NDP are very worried. What happens when the next trade deal with Korea comes up? Korea has already said that it wants auto and shipbuilding in those deals.

If our largest trading partner, the United States, with which we have 80% of our trade, in every single FTA that it has ever signed since 1924 excludes shipbuilding and marine services from the table, then why does Canada not do the same?

Why can we not protect this very vital industry, just like China, Korea, the United States, Norway, Italy, Britain, Holland and all other major countries in the world have done for their industries? Why is it that every time we go to the table, we give up these industries for other concerns? That has to stop and it has to stop now.

My colleague from Burnaby—New Westminster has done an absolutely fabulous job in pointing out the errors of the softwood lumber deal. He was absolutely correct. Now he is pointing it out with the EFTA deal as well as the shipbuilders and the shipyard workers.

These individuals deserve to have the opportunity to build Canadian ships in Canadian yards, using Canadian taxpayers money to do so. We do not like to see this industry, or any other industry of that nature, given up to those who say, as John Manley said in 2003, that shipbuilding is a sunset industry. We simply do not believe that for one second. We honestly believe this is a sunrise industry, an industry that has a bright future in our country. That is why we ask the government to do exactly what the United States has done: carve this out of the EFTA deal, sign the free trade deal, but then carry on and allow our shipbuilding to grow and prosper.

Norway has said very clearly that it will pull out of EFTA if shipbuilding is not on the table. Why is it so important to Norway to have shipbuilding on the table? For over 30 years, although it does not do it now, Norway heavily subsidized that industry to the point where it got it absolutely right. Even with a 15 year decline in the import tariff, Norway knows very well it can do much damage to our industry, and it is not just Norway, but is Korea as well. What other trade deals down the road will not only put this industry at risk, but other industries as well?

One more time we ask the government, the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois to support my colleague's motion to get this carved out from the EFTA deal. We should sign the EFTA deal after that and work on shipbuilding to ensure it has a bright and positive future for Canadians.

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

March 23rd, 2009 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Tony Martin Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Nova Scotia for his passionate defence of our shipbuilding industry.

Before the North American Free Trade Agreement, 1,200 people lived in the little town of Wawa, where I lived back in the sixties, and pulled ore out of the ground, out of which they burned the sulphur and shipped it down to Sault Ste. Marie where 12,000 people turned that into steel.

I was in Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1987 visiting the shipyards. I noticed large piles of steel waiting to be used in the ships that were being fixed and built there at that time. They were all stamped “Algoma Steel”, which made me feel good? Here was a Canadian industry, from beginning to end, that was providing good paying jobs for Canadian citizens and opportunities for Canadian businesses to make money. Our economy was rolling at that time.

Why is that not happening any more? The mines in Wawa are shut down. Essar Steel Algoma, formerly Algoma Steel, in Sault Ste. Marie employs between 3,000 and 4,000 people. They are losing their jobs in this difficult recession, as we speak. The shipyards in Saint John, I understand, are shut down completely. Why did that happen?

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

March 23rd, 2009 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from the Soo has hit the nail on the head. It is not only the shipbuilders building the ships, those raw materials also come from Canada.

There is a trickle down effect, from the guys and the girls who mine the ore to the Essar plant that makes the steel and then ships the steel to the yards, which build the ships. It is a great circle of continuity of employment, using the natural resources of Canada and using various Canadian companies, not just in the shipyards, but in cities like the Soo, which my hon. colleague represents so well. He is absolutely bang on.

The roll around effect of jobs and the escalation of jobs throughout this is tremendous. It is not just in what we call the muscle industries, the mining and steel-making, it is also in the high tech industries that build the computer and the navigation systems that are required on-board. A tremendous amount of Canadians have an opportunity to gain that employment.

We are not only fighting for shipyard workers. We are fighting for all the industries that are attached to building these ships in Canada as well. That is why it is so vital to preserve and protect this industry. That is why we ask for the carve out so the hon. member's families in the Soo can also have long careers in the jobs that they enjoy so well.

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

March 23rd, 2009 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Ron Cannan Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member across the way for his passionate comments with regard to this very important European free trade agreement. As a member of the committee, I am very excited about the House having this opportunity to support this agreement. It will give Canada the opportunity to get its foot in the door and to expand into the other 27 member countries of the European Union. This issue has been discussed at great length. A variety of witnesses have come forward. They agree that this is in the best interests of all of Canada.

To clarify a comment by the member opposite, he talked about the aspect that $22 billion was the request in the budget for the shipbuilding industry. Actually, the government is anticipating $43 billion over the next 30 years. There is ample opportunity for the shipbuilding industry to flourish in this country.

The member opposite talked about supporting free trade agreements. I would like him to let me know which free trade agreement the NDP would support, because to date the NDP has not shown any indication.

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

March 23rd, 2009 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, we in the NDP support free trade deals as long as they are fair, protect the environment and respect the rights of workers and their families. Then there would be no problem and we would support them.

My hon. colleague, who is from the very beautiful riding of Kelowna—Lake Country, by the way, brought up a very good point. I mentioned the figure of $22 billion, but the potential for shipbuilding is $40 billion to $60 billion down the road. However, if we keep negotiating these types of deals with EFTA, the EU and then Korea, an awful lot of that work could end up in the hands of foreign countries.

There may come a day very soon when we may lose the capability of building the ships in this country because some of the yards may have to shrink their operations or shut down completely. My hon. colleague mentioned the Saint John yard. We put millions of dollars into the yard in Saint John, New Brunswick. We built the frigates and then we gave them $55 million to shut the yard down. That made no economic sense whatsoever. It may end up happening again if we are not smart and make sure that shipbuilding is carved out of the EFTA.

It is not just EFTA; it is the European trade talks which are coming up, the Korean talks and everything else. If the United States recognizes the importance of this industry, then so should Canada.

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

March 23rd, 2009 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague is aware of the Navistar case. The government is procuring trucks. It is a project worth a couple of hundred million dollars. Our country has decided to send this work to Texas, but we have a perfectly good facility in Chatham, Ontario that could produce those vehicles. That facility is going to close eventually. Ironically, it has been rescued in the past and has been successful. We understand the United States is going to purchase its trucks from the Texas plant. We accept that, but why can we not do the same thing in our country? The retooling would be around $800,000, but the employment insurance for the laid-off workers is estimated at $17 million to $19 million. It makes no sense whatsoever. I would like my colleague to comment on that.

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

March 23rd, 2009 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from Windsor West has brought up a very good point on how ridiculous the government can be when it is penny-wise and pound foolish. It is simply not true that money is saved by having those trucks built in Texas. It is simply not true. The reverse is exactly what happens.

One can imagine that if those folks in Chatham were working right now on those trucks, 40 cents of every dollar would go right back into municipal, provincial and federal revenues in terms of taxation. Imagine the pride those people would feel in building something for our military and making sure they did the very best job they could. Imagine using Canadian taxpayers' money to hire workers in Chatham to build trucks for our Canadian military. My god, I do not know where that idea came from, but it is a hell of an idea. We should do it.

Shame on the government for allowing that contract to go to the United States. It is just as shameful as the Minister of National Defence allowing a contract for knives to be made in China. They could have been made in his own riding of Central Nova. The knives from China are inferior. It does not save any money. A lot of workers in the defence minister's own riding lost the ability to create something for our Canadian military. Where is the support of the troops in that one?

My hon. colleague is absolutely correct and I thank him for raising an important point.

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
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March 23rd, 2009 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore has been the foremost advocate for the shipbuilding industry and shipyard workers across the country.

I would like the hon. member to comment on the hundreds of letters, particularly from Liberal ridings in Nova Scotia, that have been pouring in to members' offices. The Liberal members say they will not support their constituents and those people who are calling for a carve out. Why does the hon. member think the Liberals are abandoning shipyard workers and the shipbuilding industry?

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
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March 23rd, 2009 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, in 2003 John Manley, in responding to a question in the House, said that he believed the shipbuilding industry was a sunset industry.

We know the Conservatives are not for it, but we are really shocked that the Liberals and the Bloc will not support this initiative. We hope that when the next vote comes around, the Liberals and Bloc will rethink their position and will represent their constituents in this House and preserve and protect those jobs for now and the future.