House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what my Liberal colleague seems to think, it is important to say that this government has accomplished in six months what the previous Liberal government was unable to accomplish in four years.

We have settled the softwood lumber dispute, and we have put more than $5 billion Canadian back into industry pockets. That is why we are asking Parliament to support us, to support older workers and to support the softwood lumber industry by voting in favour of the agreement.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, jobs are being lost throughout Quebec: in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, in Abitibi, in northern Quebec and on the North Shore.

It is a catastrophe when half the workers in small cities and towns are losing their jobs because of the forestry crisis.

The Conservative minority government has denied that this problem even exists until now. It has dragged its feet for nine months.

What does the Prime Minister intend to do to help these towns, to help these families and to help these workers? Why has he done nothing up to now?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised to hear my colleague talk about foot dragging on this issue.

Thirteen long years of corrupt Liberal government meant that the softwood lumber problem remained unresolved. In just six months, we have resolved it. We are bringing back the money, we are bringing back stability and a profitable future for the people in the softwood lumber industry.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the forestry industry has been weakened by the softwood lumber dispute and it is going through an unprecedented crisis. Since April 2005, some 9,000 jobs have been lost in Quebec and it is only now that the Prime Minister is acknowledging that the Canada-United States agreement is inadequate when it comes to helping the forestry workers and companies. Unfortunately, he still refuses to say what form any supplementary help will take or when it will come.

When will the Prime Minister finally take action? The Bloc Québécois proposed a concrete plan. Will he use it as a model for immediately helping the entire forestry industry?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the softwood lumber agreement is necessary for the future of this industry. It is not sufficient and that is why, in our budget, we have funding for the older workers and for the forestry industry. We intend to announce our plans in these areas very soon.

Nonetheless, this agreement is essential. The leader of the Bloc Québécois should tell that to the leader of the Parti Québécois.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc proposed an assistance plan for older workers. A vote will be held on this issue this evening for every worker in every sector from every region in Quebec. This is what the unions and the Fédération de l'Âge d'Or du Québec are calling for, not a plan limited to a few regions and one or two sectors for just a year.

Will the Prime Minister understand that people older than 55 with 30 years of seniority cannot leave the softwood lumber industry to be retrained in computer science? Can he realize that? We are not talking about a bunch of old, worn-out rakes. These people need assistance immediately in order to live a decent life. Could the Prime Minister respond?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is important and we understand the demands the forestry industry is making and we are taking action.

Allow me to remind the leader of the Bloc Québécois that in our last budget we took action. We made a promise to have an older workers assistance program. It is a promise of the new government and we will keep it, just like the other promises. We will take action. That is exactly what the Bloc Québécois cannot do. The Bloc Québécois cannot take action because it is perpetually in opposition.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what his two colleagues just said, the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec said that the government could not do anything to help the forest industry.

Can the minister really not think of a single thing the government could do? The Bloc Québécois introduced no fewer than 10 measures: fiscal measures and new market development measures, as well as older worker assistance measures and a program to go along with them. All of these measures are appropriate. How can he say that the government's hands are tied when these solutions exist? All it lacks is the will to do something.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we have resolved the softwood lumber dispute, which the Liberals failed to do in their 13 years of corrupt government and which the members of the Bloc Québécois will never be able to do. Members of the Bloc Québécois are in opposition and will always be in opposition. We are aware of workers' needs and will act to meet those needs. That is why we are asking for the opposition parties' support so we can act to help these workers as quickly as possible.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not all the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec said. Referring to Richard Desjardins, who sings about forestry issues, he wondered when a singer would stand up to defend the unemployed.

The question is not when will a singer sing about the unemployed, but when will we have a government that cares enough to do something for the unemployed?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of the Economic Development Agency for the Regions of Quebec, I had another opportunity to go to Abitibi last week. Fifteen of the nineteen sawmills in the region are closed. In Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, nearly 1,400 jobs have been lost in the sector, including—

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please.

It is impossible to hear the minister, who has the floor. He was given the floor to answer the question. We have to be able to hear his response.

The Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Jonquière—Alma, QC

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

When environmental standards are negotiated, it is important to ensure that the industry will be able to absorb the changes being introduced. Doing this jointly prevents companies from closing.

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

October 16th, 2006 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently Mayor Bradley of Sarnia added his name to the chorus of Canadians who are concerned about the U.S. coast guard firing live ammunition into the Great Lakes. This is on top of the fact that the vessels of the coast guard have very powerful machine guns on them now.

Will the Prime Minister tell us how firing live ammunition into the Great Lakes where Canadians live, work and play is making them any safer?

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, it was actually in 2003 that the previous government affirmed a treaty that had been in place since 1817 and permitted this type of exercise. It is currently under review. There has been a suspension of all activities of live fire exercises until November. There will be a public consultation. Canada has made its views known to the United States. Clearly, we will follow these consultations in the United States to make those views further known on the environmental side and the security side to see that we get a proper resolution.