House of Commons Hansard #156 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was americans.

Topics

Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Madam Speaker, there could be all sorts of reasons for disputing free trade agreements in a country where 45% of its gross domestic product depends on trade. That to me is kind of an ostrich attitude.

The hon. member should understand negotiations. Negotiating means we continually pursue how we move within the box and how we look at resolution mechanisms. That is what we are doing.

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Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Madam Speaker, we have here today a very serious situation. In the province where my riding is located alone, approximately 20,000 people have lost their jobs, their living, their salary and their hope. This is unfortunate, and it is very serious.

Once again, as we have already heard a number of times in the House, I want to speak to the inaction of the government on this important issue.

It is incredible to think that in one province alone, the province in which I have my constituency, 20,000 people have lost their jobs. Think of that number which is said so easily in some sectors of the south, but 20,000 people have lost their jobs.

Madam Speaker, although I cannot push you for agreement, but I think you would agree that if in the Prime Minister's riding, even 20 people were out of work in Shawinigan, there would be a rapid accumulation of contracts for golf courses, hotels, or who knows what. However, 20,000 people in British Columbia have lost their jobs.

This is also the case for many people in the province of Quebec.

I want to speak to the inaction of the government on this issue.

My colleagues have eloquently pointed out time and time again in the preceding few years that when this agreement came to an end, Canadian industry would face these countervails. Time and time again it was raised and time and time again we were assured it was not a problem. It was whistling in the dark. That do not worry, be happy attitude which prevails with the government blinded it to the effects that would be felt in our country by its lack of diligence on this file.

When I and some of my colleagues met in Washington with Vice-President Cheney, it was obvious there had not been an aggressive case made by the government on this issue. When I met with the senator who prepared the petition which went to the president of the United States to get agreement in the White House on the countervails, it was obvious that the senator and others had not been presented with a vigorous case from the government on this issue.

We have seen this with the government on everything, that it is not a problem, what are we getting worried about, that it is not that serious. We have seen the same reflection from the Prime Minister on other issues. He went to Russia and said that Saddam Hussein is not that bad a guy. He went to Australia and said that Mugabe is not that bad a guy, it is not that bad a problem. For months when we talked about this issue he said that it is not that bad an issue and not to worry about it. It is terrible the way the government has mismanaged this file.

In Okanagan--Coquihalla a number of people have been thrown out of work. In the neighbouring ridings, in Okanagan--Shuswap and others, a number of people have been thrown out of work. I would not like to think that this is the case but the evidence seems very strong that the federal government reacts only if it is a case that affects constituencies of its members. If the constituency does not fly that flag, it does not seem to get the action. There is case after case of where we saw action on behalf of the federal government if it affected Liberal constituencies. However, when entire provinces are affected very negatively, we see inaction.

In the House at one point when discussing this file we were informed by the minister and the junior minister that the Byrd amendment in the United States was nothing to worry about and that it was over with, it was off the charts. We thought that good work had been performed by the federal government. Then we found out that the amendment which would not require the industry south of the border to repay the fines was in fact still in place.

We have seen inaction. We have seen incompetence. Now all we hear from the Liberal members opposite is raging, trying to cover the fact that this file has been horrendously mismanaged. This is an issue of free and fair trade. It is an issue which requires a binding resolution process on both sides. It is an issue that belongs at the level of the Prime Minister. Finally the Prime Minister has indicated he will talk seriously about this with the president.

The Americans are our friends and neighbours. However, on this issue we have to be tough. We just heard from a Liberal member who said that it was I who was linking energy and other issues. I do not know how many times in the last few days we have heard the Prime Minister reflect about energy and other products that are free and fair trade and that if the United States wants these looked at, it will have to consider the issue on softwood lumber.

On this side of the House we as the official opposition have always maintained that a relationship is built on a number of issues, a number of facets, whether it is a relationship between two people or a relationship between two nations. There are a number of issues at stake in our relationship with the United States. This is clearly one of them.

We need action. We need this issue settled. We do not need the Prime Minister to come back empty-handed from his visit to the White House. Some 20,000 people in British Columbia cannot wait. Tens of thousands of people in the rest of the country cannot wait any longer.

We need to see action. More than that, we need to see a change of attitude by the federal Liberal government and a change of the arrogance which says all these issues, some of which I articulated today, are not serious. This is serious business. It is the business of the nation. We expect to see appropriate action and a quick resolution to the issue.

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Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Brampton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I followed the hon. member's comments about softwood lumber. On February 26 the premier of B.C. organized a conference attended by at least 20 members of parliament and senators, almost all the MLAs in B.C., and representatives of 50 municipalities and first nations. One of the subjects they discussed was softwood lumber. The hon. member was not at the meeting. Could he comment on why he was not at the meeting to defend the citizens of B.C. and softwood lumber?

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Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Madam Speaker, maybe the hon. member can tell the House where the entire government was for three years when we raised the issue here. It was nowhere. Maybe he can tell us where he was when my colleague was leading the file.

Where was the government when we were in British Columbia as far back as last summer to meet with people who were thrown out of work? Where was the government when we were at a joint meeting with the head of the union who agreed with the Canadian Alliance on the file? Where was the government when we were meeting with businesses that were thrown out of work? Where was the government when we were meeting with men, women and children? Where was the hon. member when we were at all those meetings? Where was the government on the file for three years? The hon. member should answer that question.

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Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

London—Fanshawe
Ontario

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, we have just seen clearly why the hon. member cannot get the support of his own caucus for his leadership run. He practices the worst politics of division and regionalism. Does he not understand that jobs are at stake in northern Ontario, the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and the Prime Minister's riding? His vision is limited to a few people in western Canada.

I will ask the member a specific question. When he was leader of his party, and quite frankly I hope with his performance today he will be back, why did he go weeks without appointing a trade critic on the file? That is the truth. We demand an answer.

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Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Could we keep the tone of the House at a certain level please. It is very hard for the Speaker to hear the questions and the answers.

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Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Madam Speaker, this is a clear demonstration that when government members totally lose an argument they go ballistic, start shrieking and stay away from the facts. My colleague from Vancouver Island North has been on the file consistently. We will send to the hon. member Hansard citations of how many times in the last three years official opposition members have stood in the House and addressed the file.

Why was the hon. member not listening moments ago when I talked about not only British Columbia but the thousands of people out of work in Quebec? I was in Quebec three weeks ago in places like Chicoutimi talking to people affected by the file. It appears the hon. member has accepted the performance standard of his Prime Minister. He does not listen. He does not care. He does not stick to the facts.

Madam Speaker, I may not have indicated it earlier but I will be sharing my time with the member for Saanich--Gulf Islands. He will be addressing the issue as well.

The government and its failed red books have talked about jobs, jobs, jobs. When tens of thousands of Canadians were thrown out of work as the deadline was drawing near, where was the Prime Minister? He was in Russia. There is nothing wrong with pursuing trade with Russia. However we do more trade with the United States in a day than with Russia in a year.

The government has not been on the file. We have the citations to prove it. I have been at the meetings. The hon. member does not listen and does not care.

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Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, ON

Madam Speaker, just very quickly, the member might not have been in the House because he does not seem to realize that a motion was passed for unanimous agreement. We all agree with the motion. That is because everyone in the House on both sides, including urban MPs like myself and the member from Mississauga who spoke, were all concerned about this. We agree because we passionately feel this must be repaired. This did not become a partisan debate until the member rose.

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Government Orders

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Madam Speaker, it was quite partisan. I was sitting here listening to totally erroneous quotes being attributed not just to me but to other members. It was very partisan.

With tens of thousands of Canadians thrown out of work because of federal Liberal inaction on the file we finally got agreement that it is a free trade issue. After years of faithful work by members of the official opposition in bringing the issue forward we finally got agreement that it is a free trade issue.

The lack of action by the federal government to this point has been very partisan. It has hurt tens of thousands of Canadians in Quebec, western Canada and the Maritimes although there have been certain exemptions depending on the province. Government members should not get upset--

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Government Orders

2 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Statements by members, the hon. member for Frontenac--Mégantic.

Guaranteed Income Supplement
Statements by Members

March 14th, 2002 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Gérard Binet Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, as part of its responsible approach to guaranteed income supplement, the Department of Human Resources Development has embarked upon a number of initiatives to inform those who are entitled to this comprehensive pension program.

Even though the Bloc Quebecois supports the recommendations of the committee that reviewed the guaranteed income supplement, the reactionary nature of Bloc Quebecois members pushes them to use their own operating budget to give information that has already been provided by my office or by HRDC, which, incidentally, has done an exceptional job.

The hon. member for Lotbinière—L'Érable has launched a biased and incomplete information campaign in my riding on this program. Is he trying to justify his salary by redefining the boundaries of his riding?

I am disappointed by his attitude. I think he was ordered to do that by his leader, who is using every possible avenue, even if it means being unethical, to justify his presence in Ottawa.

Softwood Lumber
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to report that today at 1.30 p.m. all parties joined together in a non-partisan, unanimous vote to support the Canadian Alliance motion in favour of free trade in lumber. Given that the Prime Minister is still in Washington meeting with President Bush this is very timely coming from the House. I will repeat the motion. It reads:

That...the principles and provisions of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, FTA, and the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, including their dispute resolution mechanisms, should be fully applied to trade in softwood lumber, and it urges the government not to accept any negotiated settlement of the current softwood lumber dispute outside of the FTA and the NAFTA unless it guarantees free and unfettered access to the U.S. market, and includes dispute resolution mechanisms capable of overriding domestic trade measures to resolve future disputes.

I thank all hon. members who spoke to the issue this morning.

York University
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Madam Speaker, York University is one of Canada's leading research institutes and I am pleased to rise today to announce the opening of an exciting new computer sciences building on its campus in my riding.

The state of the art building demonstrates the growing interest in pure and applied science at York University and solidifies the key role in the development of scientific expertise. It also sets a high standard for energy efficient green buildings designed for cold climates. Because of unique building materials utilized in the construction as well as special methods for harnessing solar power, natural heat from the earth and lots of natural light and fresh air, the facility will use two-thirds less energy for heating and cooling. The building is an example of green technology at its best.

I am proud that the faculty and students at York University play such a large and integral role in the advancement of science in Canada. I ask members to please join me in congratulating York University for leading the way in innovative architectural and environmental design.

2002 Winter Paralympic Games
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judi Longfield Whitby—Ajax, ON

Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to stand today to acknowledge the accomplishment of Brian McKeever of Calgary, Alberta, one of Canada's outstanding paralympians.

On March 12 Mr. McKeever along with his guide and brother Robin McKeever brought home a gold medal Monday in the Men's Cross-Country Middle Distance (10 km) event. At 22 years old Brian has also had excellent results at the able bodied Canadian Cross Country Championships in 2001 where he had two 4th place finishes in the sprint and 15 km freestyle events. This is not the first experience for his brother Robin who also participated in the Olympics at Nagano in 1998.

Also on March 12, making her country proud, Shauna Maria Whyte of Hinton, Alberta placed 6th in the Women's Cross-Country Middle Distance (5 km) event at her second Paralympic Games.

At his second Paralympic Games Scott Patterson of British Columbia won his first Paralympic medal. Scott won the bronze yesterday in the Men's Giant Slalom with a combined time of 2:25:25 on a very difficult course. At 40, Scott is still considered one of the--

2002 Winter Paralympic Games
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Fredericton.