House of Commons Hansard #109 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was employees.

Topics

Trade
Oral Question Period

June 2nd, 2003 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade.

With some of the most expensive prescriptions in the world, with chemical companies that are overturning bans on toxic chemicals, and with public services like medicare on the negotiating table, does the minister agree that free trade is Brian Mulroney's crown jewel, or is it a millstone around the neck of Canadian sovereignty and Canadian democracy?

Trade
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to see the revival of this issue in that corner of the House. It is interesting to see the left-wing party coming to the rescue of the new Conservative Party by questioning Mr. Mulroney's legacy in the House, however, what can I do?

Free trade with the United States has allowed this country to create 600,000 jobs last year in Canada. It has helped us eliminate the deficits we had and contribute to the surpluses that we are having. We will continue, on this side of the House, to improve on--

Trade
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver East.

Trade
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister might want to be a tad careful because when the Tories dumped Mr. Orchard, he might be coming after his party and his membership.

The WTO and the FTAA hearings are both coming up. We have seen how chapter 11 has overturned the Liberal's own stated policies. Surely the minister should know what Canadians already know, that we want out of NAFTA and out of any future deals.

Will the minister stand up and protect Canadian sovereignty and refuse to sign any new deals?

Trade
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, for a long time our government has accompanied every trade agreement that we have signed with Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico with labour and environment agreements.

We believe that, as a government, we should be promoting the benefits of the environment and labour, but we should ensure that the benefits of trade continue to benefit this nation.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is beyond dispute that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service destroyed tape recordings of intercepted telephone conversations of prime suspects in the 1985 Air India bombing case.

Why would CSIS, a government agency, destroy the very tapes crucial to the investigation? The question is compelling and it demands an answer. Will the Solicitor General order the public inquiry that the Prime Minister demanded when he was the opposition leader?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the destruction of the tapes, it has long been known that the tapes are usually destroyed within 30 days. This was a long running court case. On the specifics of this case, as I said earlier, I will not comment because the case is before the courts.

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Air India bombing left over 300 people dead, most of them Canadians. The families of these victims deserve to know if there was a cover up within our government. As opposition leader the Prime Minister promised a public inquiry into this bombing. He and the Solicitor General must deliver on that promise.

Will he commit today to uncover the cover up and ensure that the truth comes out about the worst mass murder in Canada's history?

Justice
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear. There is no cover up and this Solicitor General will not play politics with the issue, as I am seeing from that side of the House. I will not jeopardize this court case by getting into those kinds of tactics and commenting on the case while it is before the courts.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

The softwood lumber crisis continues to hit our regions very hard, and unfortunately the list is growing longer every day: 300 workers in Témiscamingue; 210 in the Beauce; 250 in the Gaspé; 300 in the Mauricie; 450 in Chibougamau; and 450 in Laterrière, in the Saguenay.

I ask the Liberal government whether the figures I have just listed—and which are only a part of the picture—are not enough to justify putting an emergency assistance plan into place to help these regions? What else does the government need?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Liberal

Claude Drouin Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, when the Americans decided to levy those taxes, we took concrete measures to help the industry. Some $110 million has been spent on economic diversification in these communities.

Announcements have already been made in this regard. For example, in the riding of the hon. member from the Bloc Quebecois who asked the question, 50 projects were submitted, of which 17 were accepted, for a total of $1.2 million. Investments of $5 million will be created. Many other projects are being studied. We will be making other announcements shortly, in order to support our communities.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, these regions and these people want to keep working in softwood lumber. They want to be able to earn a living in the lumber industry.

At the GDS mill, 250 jobs have been lost; at Gérard Crête, 300 jobs; at Tembec, 300 jobs; at Coop Laterrière, 450 jobs; at Cedrico, 250 jobs; and at Bowater, 350 jobs.

Do you think that these people want to be retrained for new careers? What they want is to keep the operations going with guaranteed loans. That is what they need.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby
B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, just as the hon. member, we too would want all these workers to be working in their jobs in the sawmills and other areas of the softwood lumber industry. That is why resolving the softwood lumber deal is the number one priority for the government.

The Minister for International Trade has done a tremendous job to make this a top priority for us to resolve because that is the way we will deal with it. Meanwhile, we have introduced a number of programs. Whether it be training, developing new markets, or the community adjustment of $110 million, we will continue those programs.

However, we want to monitor--

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Selkirk--Interlake.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, it has been 13 days since a single cow was detected with BSE. The Canadian economy has taken a $390 million hit so far. The tests on all the depopulated cattle will be completed this week. So far, all the tests have come back negative without another case of BSE.

My question is for the minister of agriculture. Has the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food received a commitment from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Veneman that once the tests are completed that the border will be opened immediately?