House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was khadr.

Topics

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, clearly the Washington lobbyist disguised as a minister has not answered the question, any more than the Prime Minister has.

The truth is that the Prime Minister has an ideological mental block as far as economic policies for Quebec businesses are concerned. We are seeing a return to the old Reform roots. Back in its day, for ideological reasons, the Reform Party leaked information to Embraer, in order to harm Bombardier before the WTO. It was the Reform Party that did that.

Does the Prime Minister intend, out of ideological pig-headedness, to reserve that same fate for the Quebec forestry industry? Let him stand up and answer the question on loan guarantees.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, day after day the leader of the Bloc Québécois gets up in the House and focuses on something that is going on in the courtroom. There are two cases in which the question of loan guarantees is being taken up.

He can spend his time hanging around the courtrooms and hanging around the lawyers, but we are out there on the street and in the forestry industry with those companies that are needing help.

Through EDC, for instance, there is credit insurance available. There are financing agreements available. There are bond provisions through our various ministries and itemized in the budget. There is a wide range of programs for forestry companies and for workers.

We are there helping the workers. Those members should get out of the courtroom and help us in reaching the workers.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the forestry industry is asking for loan guarantees because liquidity is dangerously low. This morning, at the Subcommittee on Canadian Industrial Sectors, all Quebec forestry representatives indicated that loan guarantees are legal under the softwood lumber agreement and important to their survival.

Instead of sticking to their ideology, will the Conservatives respond to the alarm sounded by the forestry industry and finally provide loan guarantees?

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to receive a letter from my counterpart this morning because I invited him yesterday to meet with our representatives from Export Development Canada.

He said that he wanted to meet with them to learn about and have a greater understanding of programs available to the forestry industry. We will be meeting with him.

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

By giving credence to the protectionism of the U.S. forestry industry, the Minister for Economic Development is contradicting the position taken by Canadian lawyers at the London Court.

Does the chief lobbyist for the U.S. in this House realize that by refusing to provide loan guarantees he is killing the forestry industry in Quebec regions, not just his but mine as well?

Forestry Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc continues to mislead the public and forestry workers. Nothing is happening in London.

If the Bloc members cannot even get the details right about where these deliberations are taking place and they do not even know in what city they are taking place, how can we trust them on any other information they are putting out there?

EDC is there with provisions for financing, for bonds, for credit insurance. We have programs for workers. We have work share programs. We are helping the workers. The Bloc should forget about the lawyers and start helping the workers.

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, first let me add the words of condolence of our members to the families who are watching the unfolding terrible events as a result of the helicopter crash.

Yesterday Canadian auto workers took action to save jobs at General Motors. It was bold action. On the same day the president of Chrysler told a committee that 9,000 auto workers at Chrysler could be thrown out of work and those families could be facing unemployment.

The workers took bold and strong action. It is time that the federal government showed the same courage. When is the Prime Minister going to take action to protect auto jobs and create the green jobs of the future?

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the leader of the NDP knows well, we are in discussions with the automobile manufacturers. We are doing that in collaboration with the government of Ontario and also with the government of the United States. We are looking at various forms of possible assistance, provided of course, that that assistance will be part of a broad plan that involves sacrifices by all stakeholders to ensure that these companies will be viable in the long term. That is the basis, and the only basis, on which we will make taxpayer contributions. Obviously, those discussions continue.

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to the industry minister, the Canadian auto industry is in, as he called it, an “existential crisis”. We do not need some kind of pop psychology here. What we need is a strategy for the creation of the green auto production of the future. We tabled such a plan five years ago.

When is the federal government going to get moving on this? Does the Prime Minister recognize that the lack of action could result in the absolute collapse of the Canadian auto industry? Does he intend to do anything about that at all?

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, to be serious, the plan for the long-term viability of these companies does have to be developed by these companies. That is why we are in discussion with the companies, why other governments are working with us and why we are working, provided we have the plans that will ensure viability, to put in place the necessary supports.

However, it is not going to be done on some report on the back of an envelope from the NDP. This is a serious economic problem. This government is engaged in it and obviously we are working to achieve a successful conclusion in collaboration with our provincial and American counterparts.

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is saying to people that he is going to take care of the banks, but when it comes to the auto sector and auto workers, they are on their own. That is essentially his message.

According to the Minister of Industry, the future of our auto sector is in the hands of American consumers. That is not leadership. The Prime Minister should be showing leadership.

Is the agreement between GM and CAW acceptable or not?

Will the Prime Minister hold an auto summit and get everyone together in the same place at the same time so that we can find a solution to this crisis? Yes or no?

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for months we have been in talks with our partners in the United States and Ontario to develop and to receive a long-term development plan from these companies. That will be the basis of any and all assistance offered by the federal government.

I do have to take some quarrel with what the leader of the NDP says. The Government of Canada has not bailed out banks. That is one of the things that makes this country different from just about every other country in the world.

Rural Regions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, even before the start of the current economic crisis, a number of regions in Quebec were facing major rural exodus problems. In a number of regions, the closures of sawmills, paper mills and manufacturing companies, which had not received any support, further limit opportunities for young people outside the major centres.

What future do the Conservatives foresee for rural regions?

Rural Regions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, the department it is my pleasure to head will continue to support the regions in Quebec through a series of programs that we will announce by March 31. Some $1 billion will be distributed countrywide, and, of that, over $200 million will go to the regions of Quebec for economic diversification. We are very concerned by what is happening in the forestry industry, as we have already said. It is a market issue, unfortunately. Our products are selling less than before. We must be ready for the recovery, and that is what we are doing with all the regions in Quebec.

Rural Regions
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the rural exodus is a vicious circle. The lack of opportunities causes many of our young people to leave their region to try their luck in the city. Labour is in shorter and shorter supply, and businesses locate where it is available, which in turn further limits opportunities in the regions, and the cycle continues.

What do the Conservatives intend to do to put an end to this vicious circle?