House of Commons Hansard #105 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was edc.

Topics

Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

October 30th, 2001 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Vancouver Sun reported today that the Government of Canada will be providing up to $5.3 million to encourage Canadian lumber exports to China.

Could the Minister of Natural Resources tell the House why the government is focusing on China and how this money will be spent?

Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the Vancouver Sun may have jumped the gun a bit but the information is essentially accurate.

This Canada-China wood products initiative will help Canada take advantage of emerging markets in China and lessen our dependence upon American markets. All regions of the country will benefit from this initiative, with expected participation from several wood products associations across the country. The momentum toward this was substantially assisted last week by the Prime Minister's visit to Shanghai.

The money will be used for promotional activities, market studies, technical work on codes and standards, and worker training. It will be delivered by Natural Resources Canada in co-operation with the distinguished minister for--

Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Regina--Qu'Appelle.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

Interest rates in this country are now at a 40 year low but the spread between interest rates and credit card rates is at a 24 year high. Canadians are now paying about 18% on credit cards, despite a falling bank rate and a falling prime rate.

When the minister asked his buddies at the big banks in this country for permission to bring in a fall budget, did he also ask them to bring down their outrageously high interest rates on credit cards?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that when the bank moves one wants to see all interest rates come down, which is why mortgage rates are virtually at an all time low.

The Bank of Canada was able to act in this way because of the elimination of the deficit, because of the pay down of $35 billion in debt and because of the significant tax cuts brought in by the government.

There is tremendous confidence among central bankers as to the governance of this country by the government and it is reflected in the drop in interest rates.

Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government's inaction is devastating our forest industry. Now the U.S. is expected to add a second softwood lumber tariff to the one that has already caused thousands of layoffs in Canada.

Does the minister know whether the U.S. plans to increase the tariff by as high as 40%? Should this happen, will the government commit today to an income support program for forest industry workers affected by job losses?

Will the government finally stand up to the U.S. and ensure the well-being of our forest industry?

Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

London—Fanshawe
Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, the question is hypothetical. We will get the formal notice of the decision tomorrow.

In the meantime, the government will continue to do what it has been doing very aggressively for months, and that is to proceed on our two track policy, availing ourselves of our legal avenue at the WTO. We filed for a WTO panel on October 25. Meanwhile, a series of aggressive discussions are ongoing with full federal and provincial participation.

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, an official from the solicitor general's office was quoted this morning as saying that a request by customs and immigration officers and park wardens to carry sidearms is “a compensation issue wrapped up as a safety issue because these workers can't find any other ways to get more money”.

The RCMP and CSIS are currently overextended during this time of heightened national security.

Will the solicitor general agree to arming these federal employees who are already responsible for border security?

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, we all know that, with regard to the customs organization, of course the safety and security of our employees is very important indeed. We have been discussing that question, which has been raised on numerous occasions by the union. Lately, I also met with the president of the union to discuss that. In my mind there is no question that the customs officers will be receiving sidearms.

Notwithstanding that fact, I would like to tell the House that there is a risk assessment analysis taking place at the present time. However, as far as I am concerned, with the risk assessment I have seen, there is no question we will give sidearms to the customs officers.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, with the peacekeeping commitment we have made in Bosnia and around the world, our Canadian forces are stretched to the limit. This being the case, we may require our reservists to serve and provide backing for our forces. It is projected that up to one half of our reservists may not even report for duty if called. Why? Because we do not provide them with job protection like other countries do.

When will the Minister of Defence and the government take action to provide our reservists with job protection when they are called for duty?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, our reservists would only be asked to report on a voluntary basis and of course they would have to consider their job situation when doing that. I must however point out that the Canadian forces liaison council has signed up thousands of businesses in the country to assist in giving reservists the time off that they need.

Furthermore, the hon. member should remember that back during the ice storm some 15,000 Canadian forces personnel, most of them reservists, were made available and helped Canadians in that disaster.

Anti-Terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the anti-terrorism legislation defines a terrorist act as an act committed for a political, religious or ideological purpose. Yesterday the fisheries minister voiced his concern that the anti-terrorism bill could unfairly target minorities. Canadians share his concern.

Will the Minister of Justice advise why these groups are being singled out?

Anti-Terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, time and time again I have made it plain that these groups are not being singled out.

Let me also clarify that there is no disagreement between the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and myself. We both agree that what is important here is to hear from both the House of Commons committee and the Senate committee, and I look forward to that advice and those recommendations.

Anti-Terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the political or religious motivation behind the explosion of a terrorist bomb is irrelevant. However, the minister chooses to target religious or political groups in the definition of terrorist act.

Will the minister show respect for the religious and political beliefs of Canadians by removing this offensive phrase from the legislation?

Anti-Terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before and I will say again very clearly, what we are targeting is terrorist activity regardless of by whom it is committed. We are targeting terrorist entities.