House of Commons Hansard #181 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was security.

Topics

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear on the ITC decision. There is absolutely nothing new here. With all the decisions of a protectionist nature that the Americans have been making for a year, they have only continued in exactly the same line. There is nothing new in the ITC decision, nothing we as a government did not expect. If anything, it is a bit better than what we expected because the American producers have been saying for years that they are being injured. The ITC is telling them now they are not being injured. There is only a threat of being--

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver Island North.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the only thing that is not new is the lack of urgency of the government.

Now more than ever, leadership with a sense of urgency is required. The danger is that others will rush in to fill a vacuum. This could lead to worse results than the last softwood quota agreement, which we kissed goodbye over a year ago.

Which minister is in charge, the senior minister from B.C., the industry minister, Eddie Goldenberg or who?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I can tell that the opposition is not very ready to change sides and become the government, because the opposition would realize then that in a government we work as a team. The Minister for International Trade does the negotiations with the United States and the Minister of Industry does his work as minister for industry. We had a very good discussion this morning about what he could do. The Minister of Human Resources Development has a number of programs and a number of tools. These are complementary actions by a government that knows where it is going.

I was in British Columbia on Monday. I went to a British Columbia summit on softwood lumber, hosted by Premier Campbell and we have been making very good--

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Laurier--Sainte-Marie.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, before the month is out, the United States will be imposing duties of 27% on our softwood lumber exports, a decision which will have a devastating impact on the industry. In Quebec alone, over 10,000 direct jobs are threatened, according to the Quebec Lumber Manufacturers' Association.

Will the Prime Minister finally admit that we must send a clear signal to the Americans of our intention to fight to the end against their unfair penalties, by immediately adopting a plan of assistance to help companies and workers hold on until the NAFTA and WTO panels rule in our favour?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, right now, I imagine that the duties will be implemented in May.

However, this morning's ruling says clearly that there is no injury to the U.S. industry; that there is a threat of injury, but no injury. This will give us an additional argument when we go before the WTO or NAFTA panel.

So, we have arguments and we also have the free trade treaty. As for the temporary measures, which the member—

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Laurier--Sainte-Marie.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is injury, but it is the Canadian and Quebec industry which is being hurt. That is the situation. And it will be months, if not years, before we have a ruling from the WTO or NAFTA panel.

Should the Prime Minister not call an emergency cabinet meeting to work out a plan of support for companies and workers as soon as possible, because people are going to lose their jobs, industries may go bankrupt, and regions will suffer?

It is up to the Prime Minister to say, “We are going to stand firm; we are going to take immediate action”.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

That is precisely what my ministers are doing right now. They are in touch with their colleagues in the provincial governments and with the industry to find temporary solutions to the problem with existing programs. There is no need to create new ones to deal with this problem.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the softwood lumber ruling is now known, and it will be very harmful to the industry and to workers in the regions affected. The government must act urgently to fulfill its responsibilities.

Could the Minister for International Trade, who said yesterday that there were certain means available to help out the softwood lumber industry, tell us what he plans to do? Whis is his plan?

He has been consulting since March 22. The Bloc Quebecois has put forward its plan and now it is his turn to talk.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, first of all, it is important to understand our position.

The ruling announced this morning by the U.S. International Trade Commission is one that we were expecting. We knew very well that it would be negative for Canada. It is as protectionist a ruling as all the others that have been brought down in the United States.

However, since it only recognizes a threat of injury to the U.S. industry and not an actual injury, it is a snub to the American producers.

Today, in the House, I am asking the International Trade Commission to release the bonds posted by producers—

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Joliette.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, this may be a snub in the eyes of American authorities, but it is Canadian companies that will have to pay the 27.2% duties.

Since the beginning of this crisis, the minister has stated that the Government of Quebec has been co-operating and that the Bloc Quebecois has also co-operated in the search for a solution.

I would therefore ask the minister to refrain from partisan politics and to act swiftly and decisively to save the industry and jobs in the forestry sector.

Does he not believe that this crisis warrants an emergency cabinet meeting to decide on an assistance plan?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I am completely astounded. This is the ninth question we have had on the softwood lumber issue since the beginning of oral question period, and not one opposition party has asked the Americans to release the $760 million they owe the Canadian industry.

We have worked with the opposition. The House must speak with one voice and demand our due, which is that the bonds must be released by the Americans because there has been no injury to their interests or their industry.