House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cuts.

Topics

Automotive Industry
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Automotive Industry
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. I wish to advise hon. members, in case some have forgotten, the Canadian Medical Association is on the Hill today. It is offering services to members to assist them in maintaining their health. Although I am only responsible for rights and privileges, I can, of course, urge hon. members to care for their health. In room 602 upstairs, members are able to go between now and 5 o`clock.

Members can have a free assessment of their risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It is not necessary to make an appointment. Members are free to go anytime until 5 o'clock today.

I would urge all hon. members, particularly after question period, if they are feeling unwell, to head upstairs and get a checkup.

Oral questions, the hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we asked the Minister of Industry three simple questions about whether Conservatives did their jobs to protect Canadian auto-workers and Canadian taxpayers, and the answers were as follows: no secure credit facility right now, no corporate assets backing up our loans, and no warranty guarantees for Canadian consumers.

Is this the government's position? Because if it is, it is not doing its job.

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, what I indicated yesterday was that we are, of course, working with these two auto companies as before. There has not been any money flowed to General Motors, and there are strict conditions before that happens.

Should the company's restructuring plants not be certified, or should that company go into CCAA or chapter 11, we can convert those loans to debt financing, which are either callable or they have higher security, so that is the answer to the hon. member's question.

When will he do his job as Leader of the Opposition and not say one thing in British Columbia and say another thing in the House of Commons?

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I make a habit of saying the same thing right across the country and the hon. member knows that.

Canadians are not buying cars and I did not get an answer to the question about protecting warranties for Canadian cars. I did not get an answer to the question about access to the credit facility, promised in December, not to be delivered in May. Why?

When will the government start doing its job, which is to protect Canadian taxpayers and Canadian auto-workers?

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, what I did say yesterday was that when we get some details of what the Obama administration has planned for warranties, we are willing to look at that. We are extending credit through the secure credit facility. That will help auto parts makers.

Indeed, as I have said before, we have made loans available. GM has not asked for those loans. There are strict conditions attached to those loans and we will continue to apply those conditions.

When the hon. member stands up and says he is being consistent, I would like to ask the hon. member how consistent he is on the carbon tax, which he pushed on the previous leader of the Liberal Party and now tries to distance himself--

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. Leader of the Opposition. Order, please.

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the answers amount to saying, “Always a follower; never a leader”.

GM Canada unveiled its restructuring plan in February. This government waited until yesterday to reject it.

Why did it make GM and its employees wait so long for such a disappointing response? Why are they going to have to wait so much longer in anguish and uncertainty?

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, the restructuring plans submitted by GM and Chrysler are not acceptable now. Perhaps later there will be an action plan we can find acceptable.

It is very interesting. The hon. member says things in different parts of the country that he thinks will be acceptable to them. He does not understand that we have 24-hour-a-day news channels today. We hear those things and we wonder when he is going to be consistent. Because if he wants to be prime minister, he has to be consistent.

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I asked whether the government required collateral from GM Canada in the event of a loan.

Incredibly, the minister answered that no loans had been made to date, as if that were enough.

Yet several months ago his government agreed to lend the automotive sector $2.7 billion.

I repeat my question: do the Conservatives require that GM Canada put up any assets as collateral for loans, and if so, what is that collateral?

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, we have not made any loans to GM to date. If there are restructuring plans that are not certified and if we do make loans under those circumstances, those loans will be repayable.

I have also said that, in the case of a chapter 11 CCAA situation, then of course we would be able to roll over any potential loans to a DIP financing situation and we would have higher security. That is the answer to the question. I have been consistent all along. I certainly encourage the hon. member to convince his leader to be consistent as well.

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the industry minister said that the U.S. president had “some new ideas on the auto industry that he's willing to look at”.

If the minister were truly at the table with the U.S., he would know these are not new ideas. Clearly, he is not there.

While President Obama is considering structured bankruptcy, with support for consumer confidence through warranty guarantees, the appointment of an auto reform director and decisive leadership, the Conservatives are doing nothing to support consumer confidence.

Why is the minister hiding in a shroud of ambiguity while our industry struggles for life?

Automotive Industry
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the ex-auto critic for the Liberal Party should know that we are working very closely with the United States government and we have been from the very beginning, and that is because it is an integrated car industry, which the hon. members on the other side seem to have forgotten.

Yesterday, President Obama credited Canadians with being part of the solution and credited us with working together with them. It would be something that even the leader of the official opposition, the leader of the Liberal Party, must be very jealous of.

Goods and Services Tax
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is really sad to see the Prime Minister sending out one of his token Quebeckers when he cannot answer our questions himself. When it came to loan guarantees, for example, it was the Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec) who answered our questions. For the harmonization of the GST, it was the Minister of Public Works and Government Services who answered our questions yesterday.

I want to ask the one who is really responsible for the GST harmonization file to rise and answer us once and for all. Can he give us one good reason why he is willing to compensate Ontario but refuses to do so for Quebec?