House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industry.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and Forestry
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister released the national science and technology in Waterloo last May, which is a hotbed for innovation. Mobilizing science and technology to Canada's advantage, our S and T strategy is designed to boost private sector investment in research and development and enrolment in university science and the engineering programs.

Our strategy is designed to promote world-class excellence, focus on priorities and encourage partnerships, including collaborations involving the business, academic and public sectors. It focuses on four areas that are important to Canadian manufacturers: natural resources, the environment, health and information technology.

The government will foster a competitive and dynamic business environment, pursue public-private research and commercialization partnerships and increase the impact of federal business R and D assistance programs. We are forging ahead to deliver on these commitments.

To address another of the unanimous targeted tax recommendations from the industry committee's report, supported by the Bloc, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of National Revenue recently launched consultations on how to make the scientific research and experimental development, or the SR and ED tax credit program, more effective for Canadian business, including manufacturers.

The SR and ED tax credit is one of the most generous programs of its type in the world. Yet manufacturers are not taking full advantage of it. We will fix that as we strive to improve the program to make it more relevant and more accessible to businesses, including manufacturers.

Again, this is another example of how the Bloc can only recommend, but in the end, it has no place to deliver real results for Quebec.

The Conservative government did not stop there. Just four weeks ago the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Finance announced $105 million to seven centres of excellence, focused on priority issues of research and commercialization for Canada. This funding will help Canada achieve world-class success in strategic areas of scientific opportunity and competitive advantage. I have no doubt that much of the work in these centres will benefit manufacturers.

Progressive steps the Conservative government has made keep going.

On October 18, the Minister of Industry announced the appointment of 17 members to the new Science, Technology and Innovation Council. This council will play a vital role in providing science and technology advice on issues identified by government, which are critical to Canada's economic development and well-being. A number of these members have worked in Canada's manufacturing sector and they understand manufacturers' needs.

I would like to boast of one private-public success story. The Minister of Industry recently visited the Canadian Space Agency David Florida Laboratory to view the next generation commercial satellite, RADARSAT-2. This state of the art technology demonstrates what investment in science and technology can produce. It is a product of the unique public-private sector partnerships and is manufactured right here in Canada. It is a testimony of what can be made here in Canada and in a high tech manufacturing environment by highly skilled Canadians.

The government has set out the kind of measures and initiatives that allow manufacturers to adapt and innovate, again, measures the Bloc will never be able to deliver.

Finally, to create an infrastructure advantage, the Conservative government is intent on supporting a climate of success for manufacturers by investing in critical infrastructure across Canada.

Recently, on November 6, the Prime Minister, Premier Gordon Campbell and the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities signed a historic Canada-B.C. agreement to launch “Building Canada”. Building Canada is a historic $33 billion infrastructure plan that will build a stronger, safer and better Canada. Building Canada will provide more funding over a longer period of time, from 2007 to 2014, than any previous federal infrastructure initiative. This plan includes investment of $1 billion for the Asia-Pacific gateway and corridor initiative and of $2.1 billion for the gateways and border crossings fund, which will help improve the flow of goods between Canada and the rest of the world, essential for our manufacturers and our exporters.

A part of this announcement included $400 million for the construction of the Windsor-Detroit crossing and access road, which was another recommendation by the industry committee.

As more and more of our manufacturers are integrated across local, national and global supply chains, they depend on reliable, secure and strong infrastructure.

Unlike the members of the Bloc Québécois, who will always be relegated to the position of benchwarmer who play politics with one of the most crucial components of Canada's economy and will never deliver results for Quebec's manufacturers, the Conservative government has delivered and will continue to deliver real results for manufacturers and workers. We will continue to work with industry, ensuring that we are setting the right climate for Canadian manufacturers to thrive in the global economy, thereby securing good high paying jobs for Canadians and Quebeckers.

The government has provided the support that Canadians expect, and we are delivering for our communities and our commitments. We are addressing the major challenges that manufacturers and their workers are facing head-on and we will continue to demonstrate real leadership for all Canadians.

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and Forestry
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Valley Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for those comments, although it is quite galling he takes credit for a lot of past excesses from former governments. He talks about paying down the debt. I remind him that the debt was created by a former prime minister named Mulroney, who almost bankrupt Canada at the time. We have tried to pay that down. Thanks to legislation, the Conservatives have money left over from good governments previous to them to pay it down.

With all the rhetoric and all the talk about how good the Conservatives are doing, what is the hon. member going to do for families in northern Ontario, families that no longer have jobs because of the crisis in the forestry sector? Could he tell me what they are going to do for Christmas when they do not work. They provide tax cuts. They do not have jobs to pay taxes. Could you tell me what you will do today for those families in northern Ontario and across Canada that no longer have jobs in forestry related businesses because of issues you have done?

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and Forestry
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

The hon. member for Kenora should know that when addressing the House through the Speaker it should be in the third person not in the second person.

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and Forestry
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's first thoughts are with families that lose their jobs. That is why it is so important we make a climate for businesses and for our manufacturers. That is why we are so pleased to say we are at the lowest unemployment rate in over 33 years.

I think it is quite rich that the member brings about his bragging rights about the previous government . The truth is if the Liberals did anything right, we would not be in the position we are in today.

He talked about the previous debt. It was started by a Liberal government many years before. His government had the opportunity to do things for over 13 years, but what did it do? It did absolutely nothing. It was up to this government, which took immediate action on the softwood lumber disagreement. Within a short period of months, 13 months, we delivered and we returned over $5 billion worth of taxation taken from Canadian companies. We allowed guaranteed access to the American market, which is our largest market.

What did the Liberals do for 13 years? They did absolutely nothing. That is the difference between the previous government and this government. We are a government of action and we will work maintain our leading edge in the world.

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and Forestry
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, on one hand, hearing people criticizing the Bloc Québécois always makes me laugh, but democracy has spoken also in Quebec.

On the other hand, in the riding of Oshawa, GM manufactures pick-up trucks called Sierra and Silverado. Given that income tax and GST cuts, I want to know what answer this wonderful government will give to the 1,000 workers who will lose their jobs by Christmas in the member's riding. What excuse will they be able to give them?

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and Forestry
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, again, I do not take advice from that Bloc member for anything with regard to my constituents.

I feel bad and the government feels bad when there is a reorganization of manufacturing. In Oshawa, while there is a 1,200 worker layoff at the truck plant, I remind her that there is actually a 14.1% increase in truck sales in Canada.

The difficulty we have is the Canadian government can do what it needs to for the Canadian economy. We cannot worry about other economies. Much of the problems in manufacturing right now are due to the problems in the American economy. The U.S. economy is struggling right now while ours remains strong.

As I said, we have record unemployment rates. We are paying down debt. We have just lowered taxation to the lowest that will be in the G-7. The purpose of that is, and what the Bloc does not understand because the Bloc only wants to raise taxes, Canada is a global player and we are trying to compete with global companies to attract business to our country. By continuing to raise taxes, as members of the Bloc Québécois would like to do to pay for some of their radical programs, it will push manufacturers away. The reason we have the lowest unemployment rate now is because the government is doing the right things for Quebeckers and the right things for all Canadians.

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and Forestry
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member for Oshawa did not talk about the feebate program. Right now, as his constituents are being laid off, their tax dollars are being paid into a feebate program that is sending money to South Korea, Japan and other parts of the world. His constituents are subsidizing auto jobs, which are taking jobs away from Canadians, and he has done nothing to stop it.

The member has also not addressed the fact that we still do not have a TPC program for the automotive industry. Quebec and Ontario have one for the aerospace industry, but nothing for the automotive industry.

My last point is really interesting when we hear the rhetoric that has come out of the member's speech. He mentioned that 21 out of 22 recommendations from the industry committee have been taken care of. I sat on that committee. He said the number one recommendation had been fulfilled, but it was not. It is fraud to suggest that it has happened. The recommendation was quite specific. It was for a five year capital cost reduction allowance plus a review for another five years. That is very important when it comes to the third, fourth and fifth year of investment.

How can that member get up in this chamber in front of his constituents and say that was delivered when it was not?

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and Forestry
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious the member for Windsor West is very angry, and I can understand why he is angry.

He was on the industry committee. That committee provided a report containing 22 unanimous recommendations. Guess what. The member's leader made him vote against them in the last budget. I would be upset too if I had no credibility with my constituents.

Let me talk about the capital cost allowance. We addressed that. As the Minister of Finance has stated quite clearly, there is room in the future to address these things even further.

The member is not addressing the fact that we have just spent $33 billion on our infrastructure program, which includes $400 million for the Windsor-Detroit border right in his own constituency. What did that NDP member do? He voted against that. He voted against $500 million for labour retraining that would help the people laid off in his constituency. He voted against the creation of an older workers' program. He voted against our science and technology strategy. I have been to Windsor to see the record investments that we have made in research and development. The member voted against that too.

There is no credibility coming from the NDP members. They are like the Bloc. They can strategize about anything, but we are the government that is actually taking action on these things.

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and Forestry
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I continue to read the motion in front of us today. Part of it reads:

--specifically including a program to support businesses that wish to update their production facilities, a series of investments and tax measures to support research and development...a review of the trade laws to better protect our companies against unfair competition--

My question to the parliamentary secretary is this. Is this not exactly what we are doing? Why is the Bloc Québécois trying to bring this forward? Those members should be celebrating and thanking the government for moving on these items instead of saying that we are not doing anything when we are actually doing something. Could the parliamentary secretary comment on that item?

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and Forestry
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Burlington for all his good work with the manufacturing sector.

What he said in his comment is exactly true. We are already addressing the things in the Bloc's motion. This is the tragedy for Quebec right now. The Bloc Québécois does not do its homework. Those members have no ability to deliver anything for Quebec. Even when they have the opportunity to criticize, they are criticizing things that we have already done. This just further shows the irrelevance of the people of Quebec to the Bloc Québécois.

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and Forestry
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

The member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques. We only have one minute for the question and answer.

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and Forestry
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Independent

Louise Thibault Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief, because I only have one comment to make. It will not be necessary to respond, but I want to make my comment.

The reason why I have no question is that it would only serve to drag us into real pompous rhetoric.

First, all the people here in this House were elected legitimately. There are no first-class or second-class members of Parliament.

Second, a government member should have the intellectual rigour not to twist the facts by telling us about the absolutely extraordinary employment rate in Canada, when some people in the regions have problems and, because of this crisis, are in an extremely precarious situation. Consequently, let us at least respect the fact that these people are suffering.

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and Forestry
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

The hon. member ran out the clock, but I will allow a short moment to respond.

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and Forestry
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and perhaps I could reply with a comment. All members here are duly elected. When people vote in a member, they expect the member to do his or her homework and to best represent his or her constituents.

As I said, and as the hon. member for Burlington pointed out, we are already taking action on the things that the Bloc has mentioned.

What I would like to do is say that we--

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and Forestry
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Gatineau.