House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, two and a half years ago, we adopted a strategy supported by all governments in Canada, including the present and past governments of Quebec. We are determined to pursue our disputes with the Americans before the courts. We know very well that we are going to win and are already starting to do.

That said, I have also assumed the responsibility of opening up a dialogue with the Americans in order to try to find a long-term resolution to the matter at the same time. This is what led to the interpretation bulletins—

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, because of the government's inaction, the industries are showing signs of weakness in response to the difficult situation with which they are confronted.

Will the minister admit that, if the industries concerned are beginning to show signs of weakness at present, this is because the government has left them to their own devices to cope with the countervailing duties and because, while he was involved in drafting negotiating strategies, his colleagues refused to take action?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby
B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, we have been working with the industry. In fact, we have been consulting with the industry. I have met with the industry many times as has my colleague, the Minister for International Trade.

We are working closely with the industry to see what support we can provide them. The $15 million, which I outlined earlier, is as a result of the industry representatives. We have been responding and we will be monitoring the situation. If more needs to be done as a government we will need to consider that.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. market has been closed to Canadian cattle exports now for two weeks. The industry is losing $11 million a day.

When we add up the cost to workers on the farm, in the processing plants or driving the trucks that carry the beef across the border, that total rises to a staggering amount of over $420 million.

Could the acting Prime Minister tell the House why he is against providing much needed financial assistance to the literally thousands of Canadians whose livelihoods are at stake?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, obviously the situation is very dire for the industry. The government certainly sympathizes with all those affected, and the Minister of Agriculture has made those views well known.

We are assessing the situation. We are certainly mindful of the damage that is being done and we do not preclude any action.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am sure those sympathies are appreciated but it has come to light that an influential U.S. cattlemen's association has written to American politicians urging that the American government extend its ban on Canadian beef for up to seven years. This would have a devastating impact on the Canadian economy.

If the government can afford to waste billions of dollars on a useless long gun registry, contract cancellations and massive government mismanagement, why can it not heed the advice of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association and compensate Canadian farmers for their losses as a result?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, we are working very closely with the Canadian Cattlemen's Association and all those involved in the beef value chain. I met with the beef roundtable.

The hon. member needs to know that the best compensation for our industry is an open border between Canada and the United States, and that is our primary concern.

The government recognizes the situation fully and we will be there with and for our industry in every way we possibly can in order to help all of us and our economy get through this issue.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

June 3rd, 2003 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, there is another important aspect to this story, and that is that 1,000 packing plant workers have been laid off.

Recently the government agreed that workers quarantined as a result of SARS were immediately eligible for EI benefits. However packing plant workers have been laid off as a result of another quarantine, this one affecting beef cattle. Provincial governments and even employers are calling for the waiting period to be waived immediately.

Since the government does not put one red cent into the EI fund but simply creams off the annual surplus, when will it waive the waiting period for employees in the beef industry?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, as the Ministers of Agriculture and Transport have said, the government understands the seriousness of the circumstances.

We certainly want to ensure that the border is opened as quickly as possible. However, in the interim, I want the hon. member to know that the employment insurance is there and that officials are working proactively to assist those who are laid off to ensure that they get their income supports as quickly as possible, but also to discuss the opportunities that are there through work sharing.

The hon. member makes reference to the waiving of the two week waiting period. Indeed he is correct, it was done for health measures. It was done for those who are in quarantine to stop the spread of a communicable disease. This waiving--

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver East.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, if EI is covering so much why are so many people hurting?

The Liberals are bungling softwood lumber just like they bungled SARS and mad cow. Whether it is the Atlantic Canada exemption or forest jobs from B.C. to Quebec, thousands of jobs are on the line.

Before the Liberals bungle this again, will the minister commit to sitting down with affected communities, workers and companies from across Canada so he can get input from the people who know what they are doing?

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby
B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, we are not sure what the question was there. There were about six questions and they were not directed toward any minister.

If the questions were directed toward softwood lumber, I can assure the hon. member that we are watching the situation closely. We have already announced $350 million.

If the hon. member is talking about employment figures, the government has created more jobs than any other government in decades. She should keep that in mind when she asks the question.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have word today that another herd has been quarantined to further guarantee that mad cow disease has been held in check. Unfortunately, quarantining a herd at this late date cannot help but set back attempts to reopen the Canada-U.S. border.

Why is it taking so long to identify and quarantine herds that have been in contact with the one and only animal to test positive for mad cow?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I believe it was explained in the technical briefing by officials at 1 o'clock today. The information just came to us that there had been co-mingling between one herd that had already been quarantined. That information just came forward. In order to complete the science and consider the necessary testing, that had to happen.