House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was care.

Topics

Federal Accountability Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Federal Accountability Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

The question is on the subamendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the subamendment?

Federal Accountability Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Federal Accountability Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

All those in favour of the subamendment will please say yea.

Federal Accountability Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Federal Accountability Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

All those opposed will please say nay.

Federal Accountability Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Federal Accountability Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

The vote stands deferred.

Speaker's Ruling
Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

There are 95 motions in amendment standing on the notice paper for the report stage of Bill C-24. Motions Nos. 1 to 3, 5, 9, 10, 12, 20, 21, 23, 24, 26, 27, 29, 35, 36, 46, 53, 74, 79, 82 and 95 will not be selected by the Chair as they could have been presented in committee.

Motion Nos. 30 to 34, 37 to 45, 47 to 52, 54 to 73, 76, 78, 80, 81 and 85 to 93 will not be selected by the Chair as they were defeated in committee.

Motion No. 11 proposes to amend clause 12. The Chair has been informed that an error was found in the report to the House on Bill C-24. This situation resulted in the tabling of a motion at report stage. The error in question has to do with an amendment to an amendment that was rejected in committee on a recorded division. The report to the House indicates, in error, that the amendment to the amendment was adopted. Accordingly, the Chair thanks the hon. member for Gatineau for tabling a motion at report stage in order to correct the report, but this was not necessary. I will ask that the bill be reprinted after third reading in order to add the following amendment to clause 12:

That Bill C-24, in clause 12, be amended by replacing, in the English version, line 36, on page 7, with the following:

“incurred in the placement aboard the convey--”

Accordingly, Motion No. 11 will not be selected by the Chair.

All remaining motions have been examined and the Chair is satisfied that they meet the guidelines expressed in the note to Standing Order 76.1(5) regarding the selection of motions in amendment at report stage.

There are a large number of motions which have not been selected for report stage, either because they were identical to motions defeated in committee or because they could have been presented in committee.

The Chair feels that it may be appropriate to take a moment to review the selection criteria for report stage.

On March 21, 2001, the Speaker made a statement on the selection criteria for motions at report stage as follows:

First, past selection practices...will continue to apply. For example, motions and amendments that were presented in committee will not be selected, nor will motions ruled out of order in committee. Motions defeated in committee will only be selected if the Speaker judges them to be of exceptional significance.

Second, regarding the new guidelines, I will apply the tests of repetition, frivolity, vexatiousness and unnecessary prolongation of report stage proceedings insofar as it is possible to do so in the particular circumstances with which the Chair is faced. ... I also intend to apply those criteria in the original note.... Specifically, motions in amendment that could have been presented in committee will not be selected.

Consequently, the Chair selects motions which further amend an amendment adopted by a committee, motions which make consequential changes based on an amendment adopted by a committee and motions which delete a clause.

Aside from this, the Chair is loath to select motions unless a member makes a compelling argument for selection based on the exceptional significance of the amendment.

The Chair cannot predict every possible scenario, but it reminds hon. members that every bill is carefully examined in order to preserve the delicate balance between protecting the rights of the minority and the ability of the majority to exercise the right to vote.

Therefore, the motions will be grouped for debate as follows: Group No. 1 will include Motions Nos. 4, 25, 77, 83, 84 and 94. Group No. 2 will include Motions Nos. 6 to 8, 13 to 19, 22, 28 and 75.

The voting patterns for the motions within each group are available at the table. The Chair will remind the House of each pattern at the time of voting.

I shall now propose Motions Nos. 4, 25, 77, 83, 84 and 94 in Group No. 1 to the House.

Motions in amendment
Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

moved:

Motion No. 4

— That Bill C-24 be amended by deleting Clause 8.

Motion No. 25

— That Bill C-24 be amended by deleting Clause 39.

Motion No. 77

— That Bill C-24, in Clause 100, be amended by replacing line 3 on page 87 with the following:

(a) specifying any requirements or conditions that, in the opinion of the Government of Canada, should be met in order for a person to be certified as an independent remanufacturer;”

Motion No. 83

— That Bill C-24, in Clause 107, be amended by replacing lines 37 and 38 on page 89 with the following:

“which it is made but no earlier than November 1, 2006.”

Motion No. 84

— That Bill C-24, in Clause 108, be amended by replacing line 5 on page 90 with the following:

“earlier than November 1, 2006.”

Motion No. 94

— That Bill C-24, in Clause 126, be amended by replacing line 4 on page 100 with the following:

“have come into force on November 1, 2006.”

He said: Mr. Speaker, I stand to address this first group of motions to amend this badly botched Bill C-24. It is important to give some initial information to the public at large who are watching us today just how badly this bill has been treated. It was badly botched from the start. The negotiations were badly botched. As one person in the softwood industry notably said, Canada capitulated on everything. Subsequent to that there were further capitulations over the course of the summer. Now we have Bill C-24.

As the New Democratic Party members have been paying the most attention to this bill, we can say that the bill itself is badly flawed, badly botched. However, unbelievably the majority of the Standing Committee on International Trade, the Bloc, Conservative and Liberal members, refused to hear from witnesses across the country from coast to coast to coast who wanted to testify on this badly botched bill.

Unbelievably we heard from only two witnesses and they raised the issue about the poor drafting of the bill and some of the perverse impacts of this horrible legislation. Yet the committee just ramrodded through this legislation. In fact, half of the bill was not even considered in committee. There was no debate whatsoever on amendments. In fact, many of the amendments that were rejected were not even considered by the committee because the committee did not want to do its due diligence on the bill. We are now at report stage and amendments are being brought forward. What do these amendments do?

In the first group of amendments we are endeavouring to repair the incredible botch job that was done by the government on Bill C-24. One of the two witnesses who were allowed to testify before the Conservatives and Liberals shut down any testimony testified to the fact that there is this perverse double taxation in the bill itself. Because the government was not able to do its homework properly, we end up taxing twice any company that actually goes through the EDC formula. Unbelievably, that means that the companies that go through the Export Development Corporation are the ones in a sad, sad position with their cashflow and they actually do not get back 80¢ on the dollar. They get back 67¢ because the government in botching the drafting of this bill has taxed them twice. It is unbelievable.

Now that the government with the support of its Liberal allies has botched the bill, we are endeavouring to give an opportunity to those companies to go back to the minister and get refunds on the money that they should not have paid in the first place. That is why I moved Motion No. 25. We are essentially saying that since the bill does not allow those companies to come back except under the very strict provisions of the Financial Administration Act, those companies should have the opportunity to get back the money they should not have paid in the first place.

The reason most companies have rejected the government's plan, the reason that less than 50% of companies signed on to this strange, bizarre Export Development Corporation punitive tax, double taxation as we know, is no secret. The reason is the ruling on October 13 where the Court of International Trade in the United States said that Canada is entitled to get back every single penny. We do not have to go through this sellout. We do not have to go through the lost jobs, 4,000 to date since this badly botched deal was put in place provisionally, 4,000 jobs including many in my community.

We have a badly botched sellout. We have a badly botched deal. We have a committee that was out of control refusing to do its due diligence on the actual provisions of the bill. Far be it from the NDP to have to approve the bill because we disagree with the sellout in principle, but the committee did not do its due diligence. It is completely irresponsible. That means to softwood communities across the country we are now dealing with a deeply flawed bill.

There were virtually no witnesses, no due diligence and now double taxation. As usual, the NDP is having to be the effective opposition. We are saying to wait, that this bill is even bad from a Conservative point of view. Is there not one Conservative willing to stand and say, “I am sorry, we screwed up. We are going to try to correct the most egregious errors in this deal”? No.

Let us look at another element that we are trying to adjust. A committee that is out of control has adopted definitions for tenure that the United States pushed and on which the Conservative government just capitulated. They directly affect the B.C. timber sales program. It is unbelievable. Now tenure is defined the way the United States defines tenure. It means that the timber sales program which is designed with a sealed bid process is now defined as having tenure, which means the United States under anti-circumvention can raise the B.C. timber sales program that was directly put in place to try to get around those punitive illegal measures of the United States. It is unbelievable.

Motions in amendment
Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

An hon. member

The more we learn.

Motions in amendment
Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

As my colleague from Winnipeg Centre has just pointed out, the more we learn about this deal, the more we realize this House is failing in its responsibility to softwood communities across the country. It is failing utterly and completely.

There are double taxation provisions and no provision to allow those companies to go back and push for the kind of justice they should be seeing. Clause 39 has to be deleted.

We are looking through these various motions, Mr. Speaker, that you have regrouped, I would say somewhat hastily. I would disagree with the provisions that you put forward.

The other aspect we touch on in Motions Nos. 83 and 84 is the fact that we have a deal that was put into place, badly botched from the beginning, that forced companies to pay a double tax at the border. When this was hastily and shoddily thrown together on October 11, the illegal American tariffs were still in place. It went from a 10.8% tariff to an additional 15% tariff that companies had to pay. They have to pay this and the government has no idea for how long. There were no witnesses allowed, but when we questioned officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, they had no idea when the illegal American tariffs had been taken off. We stepped forward and asked very clearly, why would we put into place provisions of this agreement when illegal American tariffs were still in place? Why would we pay 15% on top of 10.8%? We have said in these motions very clearly that the putting into effect of this agreement has to be November 1.

There was absolute chaos at the border. We have seen absolute chaos in the months since this was provisionally put into effect. There are 4,000 lost jobs, nearly 300 in my community. There will be other members of the New Democratic Party, the only party that is standing up for Canadians on this issue, who will be stepping forward and talking about job losses in their communities as well. There has been utter chaos at the border and companies are paying a double tax. They are paying the 10.8% and an additional 15% on top of that. We have said that the date has to be November 1.

For goodness' sake, 4,000 jobs have been lost because of the incompetence of the federal government, because of its complete lack of understanding of softwood in British Columbia and in other parts of western Canada. Those jobs have been lost. The government, even if it insists on ramming through this deal with the support of the Liberals, has to stand up and realize it made an egregious error. It screwed up. It implemented the deal hastily. To save face for our intellectually malnourished Minister of International Trade we had to rush this job. Because we rushed this job, the government screwed up and companies have had to pay twice.

It makes sense that we make adjustments to the bill, a bill with which we disagree profoundly, but we are trying to save the government from itself, so that the provisions of the deal take effect November 1. There need to be provisions for the companies where double taxation took place at the border, where companies paid the Americans these forced export taxes of an additional 15%.

Bill C-24 is horrible for the softwood companies and the 4,000 families whose breadwinners have lost their jobs. They can attest to that already with four weeks of absolute collapse of the softwood sector because of the incompetence of the government. If the government is absolutely set on ramming this bill through with the support of the Liberals, at least the government should make some provisions for the disastrous situation it has set up.

Disaster is not too strong a word when we are talking about 4,000 lost jobs. We are talking about raw log exports being stimulated now because, as we were told this summer when we saw the softwood agreement coming, this is a recipe for raw logs from Canada creating American jobs. Setting up the 15% export tax, self-imposed, when we won in the Court of International Trade on October 13 is absolutely absurd.

Now we have a bill that is even worse than the sellout, a bill on which the homework was not done, the due diligence was not done. The Standing Committee on International Trade completely failed Canadians. The ministry completely failed Canadians. The minister who has failed his constituents has now broadened his reach. He has betrayed everybody.

We have a situation where the implementation of the softwood agreement is being imposed at the same time as the illegal American tariffs are still being imposed. It is absolutely senseless and absurd.

In this corner of the House there is one political party that Canadians know will stand up for them and will stand up for softwood communities. My colleague from Timmins—James Bay and I went to Thunder Bay. We talked to softwood workers there. They told us how badly they feel about this. They have seen mill closures in northwestern Ontario.

I was in northern Manitoba a week and a half ago where there have been layoffs and shutdowns because of this badly botched softwood sellout. In northern Saskatchewan, in Alberta, in British Columbia there will be public meetings coming up and we will be going into Conservative ridings. This has been a badly botched deal. It is a badly flawed bill. The government and members in all four corners of the House have to make some adjustments to it so that the most egregious impacts are not continued to be felt across the country.

Motions in amendment
Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with the news from back home that Tembec in Timmins is gone. One of the fundamental mills in our region has gone out of business. Smooth Rock Falls is down. Opasatika is down. Red Rock is down. Ignace is down. Kenora is gone. Dryden is gone. Across the line from us in Quebec, Malartic is down. Grand Remous is down. Béarn is down.

I have spoken to workers in so many of those communities. They understand very clearly that there is a fundamental disinterest on the part of the government about the future not just of their industry, not just of their jobs, but of their communities. That is very clear.

What was very confusing to some of the people I spoke to, particularly along the Highway 17 corridor into northwestern Ontario, is why the Liberal Party has worked with the Conservatives to force through these amendments to cut down debate in committee to 60 seconds so that the effects of this would not be reviewed. Why was it that the Liberal members in committee worked with the Conservatives to ensure there would be no public hearings?

When we got to Thunder Bay everybody knew that Thunder Bay was going to be one of the main areas where we would have committee hearings. Lo and behold there were two Liberal members in that community who broke ranks with the rest of northern Ontario. They were standing proud for the bill and standing proud for this sellout. I was wondering at the time whether the Liberal Party was trying to stop hearings in northern Ontario to save the embarrassment of their own members who signed on to this bill.

The hon. member has been in Thunder Bay as well. He has spoken to the workers. Does he think perhaps that the Liberals are going along with the Conservatives in order to try to protect ridings in northwestern Ontario where members have sold out their own workers and sold out their own communities?

Motions in amendment
Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Timmins—James Bay is absolutely right. He has been one of the most vocal people in standing up for northern Ontario. He has been a champion of northern Ontario, as has the member for Sault Ste. Marie. We have two members in the House who have been standing up for northern Ontario jobs.

The reality, as the member for Timmins—James Bay has just pointed out, is that we are hemorrhaging jobs in northern Ontario because of this badly botched softwood sellout. We are hemorrhaging, with closures and layoffs right across northwestern Ontario. We saw it in Thunder Bay, but we are seeing it right across northern Ontario.

The Liberals, who have been saying that somehow they are opposed to this, have been working with the Conservatives and pushing this along. I do not know how a single Liberal member from northern Ontario can stand up and say that the Liberals have been fighting the good fight after what happened at the Standing Committee on International Trade, when the Liberals did the Conservatives' dirty work to push this bill through.

The reality is that we are in the House now debating Bill C-24 in its badly botched form because of the Liberal Party, because of those Liberal members. They are the ones who pushed this through. They are the ones who said no, they did not care about softwood, that was just for the TV cameras. Now we are in the situation where we have a badly flawed bill that does not even do what the Conservatives said it was going to do because they screwed up the definitions and badly botched the drafting. Now we have a situation where northern Ontario is going to pay the price for having Liberals who are refusing to stand up for that region.

Not only are we seeing this in northern Ontario, but we are seeing it right across the country. We are seeing lost jobs everywhere, from B.C. right through to northern Quebec, and those lost jobs are a direct result of this badly botched softwood sellout.