House of Commons Hansard #51 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister for International Trade will be in the United States on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the softwood lumber crisis. However, we are extremely concerned about his contradictory statements regarding the possibility of an export tax

Will the minister very clearly confirm that Canada's position is still to seek a resolution before the international tribunals, and that there is no question of giving in to the Americans and imposing an export tax on Canadian lumber, as his recent statements unfortunately seem to suggest?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, discussions were being held all weekend in Washington. I will, in fact, be in Washington Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss numerous issues with the United States. The border situation and wheat will certainly be on the agenda. I also expect to talk about the softwood lumber issue.

In this regard, I have always said that our government's objective is very clear; it is to find a long term solution and ensure the free trade of softwood lumber, as there is with other goods.

Also, we have always felt that we have an excellent case before the tribunals. Of course, since this process takes a long time, we are continuing dialogue and negotiations at the same time to try to reach a more rapid resolution.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, we must let this case go all the way before the tribunals. The industry and the workers need help.

How can the minister justify the fact that phase two of his plan is still non-existent, despite the government's promises in this regard and despite the fact that the industry and workers are in great need of assistance to get through this trade war?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to clarify a little what the member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques asked me to do regarding this tax. I did not have the chance to do so during my first answer.

With regard to the export tax, I must say that this remedy will be taken only after consulting the industry and, of course, the provinces, as we are presently doing, but only within an agreement to transition to free trade. Our government has no intention of proposing this as either a remedy or as a means. There is still much work to be done in this matter.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, a border tax but not necessarily a border tax. The Minister for International Trade is unclear as to why he is going to Washington this week, has delivered an unclear position on softwood and is part of a government that regularly offends the U.S. administration.

Last week the minister said his trip was not about softwood. Two days later the minister reversed himself and said he was going to Washington for softwood meetings.

Quite simply, what is the minister's position? What is Canada's negotiating position? What is it?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I am going to Washington for two days. I will be speaking to the United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington. Does the member imagine that I would go to Washington without raising the softwood lumber issue? The United States is a country to which we export more than 80% of our exports. Do we think I will be talking about other files and other exports? Of course, because I want us to continue to do great business in the United States, so I will be going to Washington to promote Canada's interests, including those in softwood lumber.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Then why, Mr. Speaker, did the minister's office say that there definitely were not softwood meetings this week?

Canadian provincial and lumber stakeholders are in Washington talking to the U.S. Department of Commerce, all 200 of them. Some are there for self-preservation, some believe a quick deal is the answer and some, such as the $2 billion independent British Columbia lumber remanufacturers, are never invited.

Meanwhile, the minister has compromised free trade in lumber by hinting at this border tax. If the minister cannot come up with coherent leadership or positioning, why does the minister not just stay home?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I will be visiting Washington with a group of parliamentarians. I hope the official opposition will be part of that delegation tomorrow, because for two days we will be calling American congressmen's and senators' attention to Canadian interests and promoting them.

As for the remanufacturers, I am well aware of the difficulties that the remanufacturers are going through in the present dispute over softwood lumber, and I want them to know that they are very welcome in Washington at any time, that we consult with industries and we consult with the provinces, and the remanufacturers association's views are absolutely welcome if they want to join us in Washington any time.

Dairy Industry
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Gaudet Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, Americans are getting around the tariff rate quota that limits dairy product imports. In order to get around the 50% rule, American producers dilute their milk byproducts by adding sugar and this has contributed to Quebec farmers losing 3% of the market.

Will the Minister of Agriculture follow the dairy farmers' suggestions and decrease the 50% threshold, making it more difficult for foreign producers to dilute their products?

Dairy Industry
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the government has made it very clear to the dairy producers in Canada and to all supply management producers in Canada, and we have made it a very strong component of our initial negotiation position at the WTO, that marketing decisions will be made in Canada. In the dairy industry there are three pillars of that industry that are very important and necessary for the strength and the continuation of the supply management regime in Canada. We will work to maintain that as we always have, and we have demonstrated that we have been successful.

Dairy Industry
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Gaudet Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec dairy farmers already criticized the lax attitude by the government during the national Liberal caucus meeting in Chicoutimi last summer. The Minister of Agriculture promised them an inquiry and a report.

Six months later, can the minister tell us the results of his inquiry?

Dairy Industry
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the trade department and the agriculture department have been meeting with the industry. We put together a working group as a result of that meeting with the dairy industry in Chicoutimi this summer, and that working group will be reporting to the Minister for International Trade and me in the very near future with a number of recommendations. We will take it from there, in full consideration of every way in which we can continue to support the dairy industry as we have in the past.

Firearms Registry
Oral Question Period

February 3rd, 2003 / 2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, on January 8 the justice minister said that KPMG was “contracted to...verify the adequacy” of the gun registry's “financial systems” and confirm “the validity of the Program's financial statements”.

The minister's comments seemed to leave little room for KPMG to find any mistakes with his billion dollar boondoggle. Will he please explain to Parliament how the consultants were able to find financial records that the Auditor General could not, or is this just an elaborate spin job?

Firearms Registry
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, since the tabling of the Auditor General's report, we on this side of the House have been saying, first, that we believe in our policy and in gun control and in public safety, and as well, we have been talking about cost and efficiency, and transparency as well.

We have asked for these two reports. I am pleased to tell the House that after question period this afternoon, I will table the two reports, the one from KPMG and the one from Mr. Hession on the management.

Firearms Registry
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, this is not a gun control issue. This is a government out of control issue.

The justice minister has been banking his future and the future of the billion dollar gun registry on two consultants' reports to help him answer questions he has not been able to answer for the last two months.

The Auditor General said the gun registry will not be fully implemented for three or four years. Is the minister prepared to tell us today how long it is going to take to fully implement the gun registry and how much is it really going to cost?