House of Commons Hansard #144 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was columbia.

Topics

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, as you undoubtedly know by now, at every opportunity this fall I have been rising on the same issue.

These citizens of our country, mostly from Port Colborne but also from Welland, Markham and St. Catharines in Ontario, from Laval, Quebec and Victoria, British Columbia, wish to draw to the attention of the House that each year roughly 2,000 children are adopted from foreign countries and brought to Canada and yet, unlike other nations, specifically the United States of America and Great Britain, these children are not granted automatic citizenship.

Therefore the petitioners call upon Parliament to immediately enact legislation to grant automatic citizenship to minors adopted from other countries by Canadian citizens with this citizenship being immediately granted upon finalization of the adoption.

It is the last day of October and fall is marching on. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration made this commitment to these people and the citizenry of our country and I hope he will fulfill that promise as quickly as possible.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's South, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition on behalf of a number of residents of New Brunswick and other parts of the country urging the government to assert its sovereign rights and declare no right of passage for liquid natural gas tankers through Head Harbour Passage. Many of these signatures are those of fishermen who are very concerned about the future of the resource in their area.

Questions passed as orders for returns
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if Question No. 175 could be made an order for return, the return would be tabled immediately.

Questions passed as orders for returns
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions passed as orders for returns
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 175
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Chatters Westlock—St. Paul, AB

With regard to Nav Canada, has this organization received any funding from the government during or since its creation in 1996 and, if so, what were the full details of the funding?

(Return tabled)

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have a number of questions on the order paper in regard to the LNG project that we are hoping to stop in New Brunswick, which would mean the stoppage of LNG tankers through internal Canadian waters destined for U.S. LNG terminals.

Just as a reference, the parliamentary secretary's father was one of those responsible for stopping oil tankers in the early 1970s and we appreciate that. I know the parliamentary secretary is concerned about this file but I do have a number of technical questions on the order paper. His argument will be that they have not been on there a long time because the government has answered some of them, but some of the answers to these questions are critical to this file. The timing on this is very important. I hope the parliamentary secretary would address that need for speediness.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, I will pass on the compliments by the hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest to my father. I am sure he will be happy to receive that positive news.

I can assure the member that the government always takes the questions on the Order Paper very seriously. I understand the urgency of this matter and I will make every effort to ensure that those questions are answered, not only thoroughly, as all questions are, but in a very speedy manner.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-68, An Act to support development of Canada's Pacific Gateway, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Pacific Gateway Act
Government Orders

October 31st, 2005 / 3:20 p.m.

Richmond
B.C.

Liberal

Raymond Chan Minister of State (Multiculturalism)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to address the House as we debate Bill C-68, an act to support the development of Canada's Pacific gateway.

As the member of Parliament for Richmond, I am particularly delighted to speak in favour of the bill. When we talk about a Pacific gateway initiative, there is no city better situated than Richmond. With both the Fraser Port and the Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, we are at the forefront of any large trade initiatives with Asia-Pacific. Indeed, this announcement today means more investment in Richmond, more business for Richmond and more high paying jobs for our community over the long term.

The Governments of Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are collaborating on Canada's Pacific gateway strategy and building on B.C.'s strategic advantages to strengthen western economic prosperity in ways that will benefit all of Canada.

Canada's western provinces represent about 30% of Canada's geographic area, roughly 30% of Canada's population, about 30% of our labour force and a little over 32% of Canada's GDP. The west is therefore a major contributor to this country's prosperity and its future.

A 21st century economy is an economy open to the world. Canada's goods, services, capital, knowledge and people must be able to reach international markets and Canada's west coast is our door to markets located in Asia.

A fundamental shift is taking place in the global economy. With Asia occupying an increasingly central role in global commerce, it is a region vital to Canada's future prosperity. Canada's west coast, because of its location, is the ideal North American gateway for trans-Pacific commerce, trade, transportation and cultural linkages.

For a trade dependent country like Canada, it is not good enough to be among the most competitive economies in the world. We have to be among the best.

In May 2005, western premiers identified several top priorities essential to maintaining and improving the competitive position of the west and Canada in international trade markets. These priorities include transportation infrastructure, trade training and post-secondary education. The western premiers agree that British Columbia will lead the development of a comprehensive strategy that will deal with road, rail, marine ports, air and strategically placed inland container ports.

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring Canada's west coast becomes a major opportunity gateway for trans-Pacific trade, investment and tourism.

When the Prime Minister visited China in January 2005, he noted that for Chinese businesses, the closest North American city with a deep water port and a major international airport is Vancouver, British Columbia.

The federal and provincial governments will continue to work together to increase the competitiveness of B.C. ports. Considerable investment has already been made. For example, the Department of Western Economic Diversification Canada is assisting container expansion in B.C. by investing in the expansion of the Ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.

Improved port competitiveness is a key long term initiative that will move the gateway concept forward, creating new jobs and economic spinoffs for all of Canada. Some $60 million in joint federal-provincial support have already been spent to establish a new container port on B.C.'s north coast at Prince Rupert, North America's closest port to Asia. Goods arriving at Prince Rupert will be able to reach the centre of the continent quicker than through ports at Seattle or Los Angeles.

Western provinces are putting together a multi-province strategy that will ensure gateway access and competitive benefits will reach much deeper into the Canadian heartland. There are already more than enough goods coming from Asia to use the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert to full capacity. The transportation linkages that flow from the Pacific gateway provide a significant advantage for other businesses, sectors and developments across the entire economy.

Western priorities include a growing emphasis on international trade, investment, business competitiveness and tourism. The dynamic growth of the economies of China, India, South Korea and other Asia-Pacific countries represent significant opportunities for western Canadian small businesses and large companies. The Government of Canada is collaborating with the western provinces on Canada's Pacific gateway strategy to strengthen the west's cultural and business ties with Asia and to establish the region as Canada's natural Pacific gateway.

Western Economic Diversification Canada works with a broad range of public and private sector partners in western Canada to strengthen the region's competitiveness in international commerce. It promotes new investment in western Canada and supports activities designed to increase the presence of western businesses in domestic and global markets. Western provinces must continue to strengthen trade with rising economic superpowers such as India and China, especially with lingering trade disputes in the U.S. over softwood lumber exports and mad cow.

Every region of the country stands to benefit. Strengthened trade, transportation, and investment links will preserve and strengthen the country's economic prosperity, protecting a continued high quality of life for all Canadians and improving opportunities for Canadian business.

The collaborative strategy of a dynamic Canada Pacific gateway will integrate the elements of international commerce, infrastructure, transportation and border management, innovation, immigration and skills development, and Canada's multicultural connections.

Canada is as much a Pacific nation as it is an Atlantic nation. As the west becomes Canada's gateway to the Asia-Pacific, Asia will look to British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as its gateway to North America.

Economic growth in Asia means increased demand for our products and services. Asia sees Canada as a limitless source of natural resources. Its rapidly expanding economy will need Canadian metals, minerals, grains and wood products.

Western Canada's natural resource exports to Asia have grown even faster than its imports. China's escalating purchases of our raw materials were a large part of the reason our dollar rose in recent years from 63¢ to 85¢.

Oil hungry Asian economies will provide Canadian energy producers with an attractive market alternative to the United States. From a western Canada perspective, there are tremendous opportunities for energy firms to expand trade and investment with Asia-Pacific nations.

Through joint ventures, direct investment, technology transfers and other means, the west can help develop Asian economies to achieve their social, economic and environmental goals and at the same time, create jobs and prosperity in Canada.

Canada's gateway strategy will promote B.C. and the west as an attractive market for Asia-Pacific trade and investment, products, services, expertise and as a tourist destination. It will also promote Canada's credentials as an Asia-Pacific nation and give us a higher level of global leadership, innovation, immigration, skills recognition and learning.

Canada's west coast, with its strategic location on the Pacific, is the ideal North American gateway for trans-Pacific commerce, trade, transportation and cultural linkages. This is an enormous competitive advantage for the entire B.C. economy now and into the future, and provides a competitive advantage for the west that benefits all of Canada.

A truly competitive Pacific transportation gateway involves a strong transportation infrastructure and more will be done as we seek to nurture and enhance this trade connection between Canada and Asia. The public and private sectors in Canada are already investing about $2 billion in highway, rail, port and border infrastructures in B.C. to ensure that goods move more efficiently there and across western Canada.

There is more to our interest in Asia-Pacific than simple economics. Canada, and in particular the city of Vancouver, has deep cultural ties to the region. Vancouver offers enterprises and knowledge-driven organizations with culturally diverse employees, many of whom have strong cultural and business links to Asia.

There are close to three million Canadians of Asian origin, many of them going back several generations. In Vancouver alone, there are close to 690,000 people of Asian origin. Canadian diversity, one of our key assets, gives us unique cultural links to Asia-Pacific, as well as powerful entrepreneurial, trade, financial and industrial ties.

Today, western Canada, and British Columbia in particular, is a bridgehead to Asia-Pacific investment, trade and tourism. This major initiative of the Government of Canada combines the goal of global competitiveness with the achievement of a sustainable future for all Canadians. Building a Pacific gateway means a stronger B.C., a stronger west and a stronger Canada.

Pacific Gateway Act
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I recognize this member who in a former Parliament was involved as the secretary of state for Asia-Pacific. He understands that area; I acknowledge that. However, I must ask, why has it taken so long?

Why, when this Liberal government has been in power for the last 12 or 13 years, has it taken so long? Why have the Liberals only now finally got around to a half measure? I just do not understand.

Where is the emphasis on British Columbia? It is not only for the people of British Columbia; it is for the whole nation of Canada. We indeed are, as described in the member's speech, in British Columbia, the gateway to Asia-Pacific. To this point, in spite of the fact that he had a significant role, in Asia-Pacific, in representing Canada, in the Chrétien government, nothing ever happened. This Prime Minister has now finally come forward with this measure, which is a measure that our party certainly is going to support. I would not say it is too little too late, but I would say it is too little. Why has it taken so long?

Pacific Gateway Act
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Chan Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, indeed, since 1994 the Liberal government has appointed me as the minister, the Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, to develop our connection, our business opportunities, and our cultural links in the Asia-Pacific region. Before that, under the Conservative government, there was no focus on the Asia-Pacific. We were focused so much on Europe.

I visited some of the countries in the Asia-Pacific region like India, Pakistan, Malaysia, the Philippines back in 1994. I was the first federal minister who ever visited those countries in eight or ten years. It was amazing how the Conservative government ignored that region.

During that time we organized trade missions, particularly the team Canada missions, to bring our businesses to develop ties with that region. We went pretty well throughout the different regions of Asia-Pacific to build those links. As a result of that, we are bringing in many businesses, trade and other opportunities into Canada. It builds up the demand of our infrastructure in the Pacific region.

That is why the port facilities and transportation infrastructure in B.C. and other parts of western Canada are so congested now with traffic. That is why this gateway strategy is timely. We have to ensure that in order to meet the challenge, we have to develop this strategy, open up the northern transportation corridor to allow B.C. and the west to fully develop our capacity as the gateway to the Pacific.