House of Commons Hansard #126 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was land.

Topics

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

September 27th, 2005 / 2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the U.S. border was closed to Canadian beef, this government dithered about before appealing the U.S. government's decision. Now no less than six states are trying to reverse the decision and close their borders again.

As usual, this government is saying nothing and doing nothing. Why is the Prime Minister refusing to support our farmers and other workers in the natural resources sector?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is simply wrong in her facts. The issue was resolved in the appeals court. The Government of Canada had its amicus brief in the appeals court. The Conservative Party did not.

The Government of Canada, this party, was there defending Canadian producers; that party was not.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, three months ago the Liberal government rolled the dice in a crap shoot. It gambled the future of Canada's livestock producers on one appeal court in Seattle, with no plan B if things went wrong. Now forces are trying to make things go very wrong.

If that happens, thankfully, Conservative parliamentarians will be in Montana to stand up for Canadian producers, and shamefully, the Liberal government will not. Is that because the government is indifferent to agriculture, or incompetent, or both?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the hon. member pointed out that under the leadership of this government, of this party, of this Prime Minister, the border was reopened.

Also, as they were trying to rebook their flights to Montana, the federal minister along with the 10 provincial ministers were meeting in Alberta and did in fact develop a contingency plan, which we hope will not be necessary.

Income Trusts
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the finance minister cancelled advance tax rulings on income trusts last week, he devastated the retirement nest eggs of millions of Canadians. Here is what one of them wrote me and said, “I'm near retirement and thanks to Income Trusts I can finally see that I'll be able to retire in dignity. I do not want to be a Wal-Mart greeter. Now the Finance Minister wants to take that away from us working class retirees by screwing up Income Trusts”.

Why is the minister bullying investors and seniors who, in their own words, just want to retire in dignity?

Income Trusts
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we can all review our correspondence and see views on different sides of different issues. I can assure the hon. gentleman that the representations currently being made to the Department of Finance are running about 75% in favour of the position that the government has taken.

The fact of the matter is this is an important public policy question. It has to do with revenue to all governments, including the provinces. It has to do with fairness in the business system of this country, and it has to do with productivity and growth for the future. We would like to get the policy right for the long term and we think it is important to consult with Canadians to ensure that happens.

Income Trusts
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is the difference between us and them. The Liberals care about revenue for government when they are running multi-billion dollar surpluses. We care about the dignity of seniors and investors.

Another investor wrote me to point out that the minister destroyed 15% of the value of his investment portfolio with his thumb-sucking musings about income trusts the other week. How will the minister make that up to that person and the millions of others he devastated with his remarks last week?

Income Trusts
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, perhaps, like some of the folks that the hon. gentleman is referring to, his own hysteria and hyperbole are contributing to the problem.

It is important to have a rational discussion about the future of business organization in this country, including fairness among all the ways in which businesses can be organized, and to ensure that we are contributing to growth and productivity in the future and not locked into the past. We want to have that dialogue. We want to have a policy that builds for the future of all Canadians.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the softwood lumber dispute is nowhere near resolution, judging by the attitude of the U.S. industry, which, unhappy with the decisions, is disputing the very legitimacy of NAFTA.

Day after day for three years, the Bloc Québécois has been asking the government to provide concrete help to the softwood lumber industry, namely by providing loan guarantees.

Does the Minister of International Trade not feel the time has come to give the softwood lumber industry some concrete help? Does he intend to provide the loan guarantees the industry is looking for?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for this very important question. Softwood lumber and the softwood lumber industry are very important to our country. Furthermore, the Americans absolutely must respect NAFTA conditions.

That being said, our attitude in the past has illustrated our willingness to work with and support the communities, the workers and the industry. We have already given them over $300,000. We have supported the industries with a $20 million subsidy. We are continuing to help them.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the figure the hon. member is referring to dates back to 2003. That $20 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the expenses the industry has incurred and will continue to incur to defend itself in the American courts. This is no laughing matter. It is very clear that the American strategy is to buy time in order to kill the industry so that when the issue is resolved there will be no players left.

Does the minister realize that one way to help the softwood lumber industry get through this crisis and recover the tariffs the U.S. authorities illegally imposed is to give the industry loan guarantees, period?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the best way to help the softwood lumber industry is to end this dispute. We are taking every possible step at this time, including litigation in the U.S. courts and at the WTO. We will continue our efforts in Washington to promote the interests of this industry. The Americans must respect NAFTA.

Technology Partnerships Canada
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, under section 6.5 of all Technology Partnerships Canada agreements, it is expressly forbidden to pay lobbyists contingency fees for successfully securing a TPC grant. Despite this, former Liberal cabinet minister David Dingwall was reported to have received $350,000 from a company in exchange for securing a technology partnerships grant.

Will the Minister of Industry simply confirm that David Dingwall did in fact receive the bonus for securing a TPC grant for his client and if so, exactly how much was he paid?

Technology Partnerships Canada
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway
B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt about it that under the technology partnerships program the government has contractual relationships with companies and those companies have an obligation to abide by the terms and conditions.

One of the terms and conditions, as the hon. member said, is that individuals cannot have an unregistered lobbyist and if they have a lobbyist, they cannot be paid a success fee or a contingency fee.

We have found examples of that and we are moving to correct them with zero tolerance. The relationship between the companies and their lobbyists is one that they are working on and until we have very specific information that we should act on, we will just continue to deal with--

Technology Partnerships Canada
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton—Leduc.