House of Commons Hansard #28 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the softwood lumber agreement with the United States prohibits direct subsidies to businesses. That is why this matter is already before the courts. Naturally, we are required to defend the actions of certain governments. However, this government is determined to help this industry without jeopardizing our agreement with the United States and our access to the American market.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is telling us that loan guarantees are subsidies. Yet, that is how EDC operates. That is what it gives to the auto industry. He is contradicting the lawyers who work for him, the Government of Canada lawyers before the LCIA tribunal.

Does he realize that he is weakening Canada's case and kowtowing to the Americans? It is shameful conduct by our Prime Minister.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the auto industry's situation is completely different. We are currently subsidizing this industry in cooperation with the United States government.

We have an agreement that prohibits such measures, in the case of the forestry industry, to guarantee our access to the American market. Before the budget was tabled, I had discussions with this industry and it clearly asked us not to jeopardize its access to the American market.

We are helping this industry without putting it at risk. That is this government's duty.

Government Expenditures
Oral Questions

March 11th, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government's new website is a carbon copy of the first report submitted yesterday by the Minister of Finance. It does not provide any information about how the Conservatives plan to spend their proposed $3 billion special fund. If the money is not spent before June 30, it will be frozen and returned to the consolidated fund. The government must therefore know exactly how it plans to spend the money.

Why not release a list right now on that same website of which departments and programs are to benefit from the special fund?

Government Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the government has indicated how that money will be spent. It is set out in our economic action plan. There are clear criteria by which that expenditure will be governed. Treasury Board will be reviewing those expenditures. We hope to move that money out of the door after April 1, if the budget passes. I would urge the Liberal senators to get that budget passed.

Government Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government says that the money in the special fund is to be spent on initiatives announced in the budget and on increasing other expenditures.

Rather than put his head in the sand as he did yesterday when he delivered his rose-coloured glasses speech on the economic crisis, why does the Prime Minister not use this opportunity to announce that some of the $3 billion will be used to provide real support to the forestry sector in the form of loans and loan guarantees, as EDC's president suggested yesterday?

Government Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the specific vote 35, $3 billion are to be spent on the specific programs or projects that are set out in the economic action plan. It is a broad range of projects and programs on which the money can be spent.

There is also the building Canada fund and other funds to which we will have access once the Liberal senators decide to pass that budget. We would urge them to pass it because Canadians are depending upon that money to stimulate our economy.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister tried to put rose-coloured glasses on the nation, the same rose-coloured glasses that he wanted everyone to wear during the election and the same ones he wore during the economic update in November. The Prime Minister has overseen the loss of close to 300,000 jobs since the election.

Is he now ready to take off those rose-coloured glasses?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, I clearly stated yesterday that Canada is part of the global recession. This recession will continue until the Americans can gain control of the problems in their financial sector.

At the same time, the International Monetary Fund said today that Canada is in a better position than many other countries to combat fiscal turbulence and the global recession and that Canada has solid management of its macroeconomic policies, meaning that the country was healthy as it entered the recession. We, too, have our strengths.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Brampton, the Prime Minister was accusing the opposition of holding up the estimates, but under Standing Order 81, as he should know, it is the government that brings forward the date for the vote on the estimates. What date did it choose? It chose March 24.

Either the Prime Minister does not understand the rules of the House and of his own government, or he was misleading Canadians yesterday. Which is it?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the real question is whether the NDP is interested in helping Canadian workers and families or simply in playing political games.

The leader of the NDP made it clear from the day of the election on that he had no intention of supporting the government or its budget no matter what was in it. For that reason, he did not read it and is now voting against all kinds of benefits that workers and families want. He should take off his blinders and start to be a little more positive for a change.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister really cared about the unemployed, he would put in place the four part NDP plan to fix employment insurance that passed the House with a majority of votes yesterday. However, we know he will not respect the will of the House.

Yesterday, he was using some pretty selective stats on GDP to paint his rosy picture of the economy, but the government's own finance department says that gross domestic income provides the best measure and is a more relevant indicator of change in the well-being of Canadians than GDP. Guess what? The Parliamentary Budget Officer's report today showed that when it comes to GDI, Canada is doing ten times worse than the United States.

When will the government do something about the shrinking incomes of the middle class?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP talks about employment insurance. He had demanded before the budget that the government add two extra weeks of benefits to employment insurance. In the budget, the government added five extra weeks. However, since the leader of the NDP had already decided he would vote against it no matter what, he voted against more than what he was asking for.

That just tells us how, under his leadership, the NDP has gone from a party that used to stand for something to a party that simply opposes everything.

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. Congress is preparing to spend billions of dollars on new water and sewage projects. John Hayward runs a small pump-making firm in Halton Hills. He says that the buy American provisions will prevent him from getting U.S. contracts, forcing him to cut more than 10% of his workforce and to move jobs to the U.S.

Why is the Prime Minister claiming victory on the buy American file when U.S. protectionism threatens to kill thousands of Canadian jobs, just like these ones in Halton Hills?

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as we all know and as my colleague across the way knows very well, the free trade agreement between Canada and the United States has produced tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars worth of trade.

Even within an agreement like that, there will be times when an American company may legitimately get a contract in Canada. However, even more important for us, there are many times when Canadian companies get contracts in the United States.

We will be monitoring all of these to ensure the Americans play by the rules all the way.