House of Commons Hansard #46 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was border.

Topics

Income Trusts
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 and as certified by the clerk of petitions, I want to present another income trust broken promise petition sent to me by Mr. Brad Grant, who remembers the Prime Minister boasting about his apparent commitment to accountability when he said, “There is no greater fraud than a promise not kept”.

The petitioners want to remind the Prime Minister that he promised never to tax income trusts, but he broke that promise by imposing a 31.5% punitive tax which permanently wiped out over $25 billion of the hard-earned retirement savings of over 2 million Canadians, particularly seniors.

The petitioners call upon the government first, to admit that the decision to tax income trusts was based on flawed methodology and incorrect assumptions, as was demonstrated at the finance committee hearings; second, to apologize to those who were unfairly harmed by this broken promise; and finally, to repeal the punitive 31.5% tax on income trusts.

Pesticides
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to table today. One is for more than 200 people from across Alberta, from Vegreville to Pincher Creek, Calgary to Lloydminster, Spruce Grove to Fort Saskatchewan. They are calling on the government to ban non-essential pesticides across Canada. They are concerned with the health impacts of non-essential pesticides.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, my second petition is from more than 100 people from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and British Columbia. In this petition, they are calling on the government to not support the Canada-Colombia trade deal.

They are extremely concerned with the violation of human rights, and the violation of environmental and social rights in that country. They say that we should not proceed with such trade agreements until they truly reflect the principles of fair trade, including environment, social justice and human rights.

Sri Lanka
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are understandably very concerned about the war taking place in Sri Lanka. Canadians would like the Conservative government to do something to actually intervene and get the attention of the Sri Lankan government to have a ceasefire.

This petition calls on the Conservative government to do something to help in peaceful negotiations: oppose economic sanctions, withdraw the high commissioner, raise this matter in some manner by ensuring it gets raised at the UN Security Council, and isolate Sri Lanka by having it removed from the Commonwealth of Nations. The petitioners are asking that something be done to get the attention of the Sri Lankan government in order to stop the fighting so that innocent people are no longer losing their lives.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if Question No. 84 could be made an order for return, this return would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is it the pleasure of the House that Question No. 84 be made an order for return?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 84
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

With regard to the employment insurance program: (a) what written advice have the departments obtained from and given to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development on (i) reducing the two week waiting period for employment insurance, (ii) reducing or changing qualifying hours to a uniform national standard; and (b) what are the monthly statistical breakdown for waiting periods (times) for processing employment claims for the years 2006, 2007 and 2008?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion--Canada-United States Border
Business of Supply
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to this opposition day motion introduced by my colleague and friend from Ajax—Pickering. I will be splitting my time with the member for Vancouver Centre.

As the member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, I am well aware of the economic reality of trade between our two countries, because we are a three-hour drive from the border with Maine. Every day, thousands of travellers from New Brunswick cross that border.

My riding is the nerve centre of highway traffic in eastern Canada. Nearly all the trucks loaded with goods from Atlantic Canada pass through Moncton on their way to the United States or Quebec. Ninety per cent of our province's exports are headed for the American market, and half of those to New England.

Annual wood pulp production in New Brunswick is estimated at more than $1.5 billion. Most of this is exported to the United States. Commercial fishing is an important industry in the province. The value of fish and seafood exports reached nearly $800 million in 2003. Once again, the bulk of these exports went to the United States.

We have major projects getting under way in New Brunswick. For example, the second Irving Oil refinery is a project estimated at $7 billion. Nearly all of its production will be exported to the United States. The connections between New Brunswick, eastern Canada, the rest of Canada and the American market are very important to us, as Canadians, Maritimers and New Brunswickers.

There are mutual economic benefits to be had, and the way to get those benefits is to open our borders to trade. That holds true for all the provinces in Canada that share a border with the United States.

The success of our future lies in the lessons of our past. Canada-U.S. relations span two centuries and have not only survived but have grown out of war, external influence, conflict, partnership, protectionism and differing and like-minded opinions. Canada-U.S. relations are key to the success of both nations, both in the past and moving forward in the future.

There is quite a past between Atlantic Canada and northeastern United States.

I want to quote from an historical text that outlines the role of Canadians in establishing a Canadian presence in the United States. It reads:

A study made by the United States Bureau of the Census of data collected in 1910 showed that the percentage of Canadian residents exceeded that of the [Caucasian] population of the United States in the professions, in the upper ranks of labour and the services, and in the servant classes - a range which would include the President of Cornell University, the systematically recruited Canadian-trained nurses all over the United States, the French Canadian from the New England mill town, and the Maritime girl in the Boston basement kitchen.

The Maritime girl in the Boston basement kitchen was my grandmother, Elizabeth Carey Murphy.

Towns like Leominster and Waltham were replete with French Canadian mill workers from Quebec and acadiens et acadiennes du Nouveau-Brunswick et des maritimes.

We had such strong economic and cultural social relations with the United States. This is no different from any other region. In the western provinces, their relations with the United States to the south were just as strong as they were in Ontario in Quebec and so on.

We have been through much, as countries and as neighbours, and great leaders of the past have been able to build upon the issues that have divided us and nurture the ones that have brought us together.

Not surprisingly, the history of it all starts with John A. Macdonald who, after winning an 1891 election on issues of free trade, said that he was, famously:

A British subject I was born—a British subject I will die. With my utmost effort, with my latest breath, will I oppose the ‘veiled treason’ which attempts by sordid means and mercenary proffers to lure our people from their allegiance. .

A hundred or so years passed and the rest of the century went by. We became closer as neighbours and as friends, to the point where, in the 1960s, United States president, John F. Kennedy, said, famously:

Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder.

President Johnson, in 1967, building on those comments, said:

We of the United States consider ourselves blessed. We have much to give thanks for. But the gift of providence we cherish most is that we were given as our neighbors on this wonderful continent the people and the nation of Canada.

Even President Nixon, in 1972, heralded and applauded the unique nature of the Canadian identity when he said:

It is time for us to recognize...that we have separate identities, that we have significant differences, and that nobody's interests are furthered when these realities are obscured.

This brings us to the modern times where relations between Canada and the United States, certainly having spanned both centuries and marked by a common British colonial heritage and conflicts in the early years of the United States and the eventual development of the great relationship that we have, have developed into a very profound international trade relationship, evidenced first by NAFTA and subsequent agreements that we have entered into.

With such a massive trading relationship, naturally trade disputes are inevitable. We have always worked through these trade disputes because of our history, our commitment and our belief that together we are stronger for all those living in our two great countries.

According to a 2003 study commissioned by the Canadian embassy in the United States, based on 2001 data, Canada-U.S. trade supported 5.2 million U.S. jobs.

If the relationship is important to us, and we know it is, it is vital as well to the United States. Our relationship with the United States is the envy of the world. Need I say more than that President Obama chose to come to Canada on his first international visit after being elected?

This brings us to the point today. The Conservative government, almost in ignorance of all that I have said about the history that binds us, has failed to remember the lessons of history. It has failed to remember that this is not a partisan issue, Democrat-Republican or Conservative-Liberal. Certain presidents have gotten along with certain prime ministers.

And they have done so regardless of their political affiliations.

The two centuries of relationship-building that could be used to better articulate the importance of Canada to the United States has not been used by the government. It brings us to the predicament we are in. Some comments that have been made by a high-ranking United States official have damaged Canada's image. What will the government do about it?

I have an article that reads:

Where Canada is cautiously edging toward the European “perimeter” approach, the United States is retreating from prudent risk management and toward the largely illusory safety of walls, guns and dogs.

We do not want that to be the case. We want the government to fight for the strong historical ties that we have had and to fight for what is a very strong and nurturing relationship into the future. However, that must be fought for. It is not good enough to say that those were off-the-cuff comments, that we will let them go and that we will go down when they invite us next. It must be stronger and more focused. The government needs to understand that there is an appetite for those kinds of comments in parts of the United States.

Unfortunately, underestimating the popularity of the comments would be a dangerous mistake for Canada. It is one step from trade protectionism to border checks for tourists. What is coming this summer will be felt in every part of Canada. The government should do something now to improve the image of Canada, which, up until the Conservative government was elected, was very well thought of in the rest of this continent.

Opposition Motion--Canada-United States Border
Business of Supply
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about something that I found very distressing and that was the minister's response today in question period. Instead of using the kind of language he was talking about in tackling this head on, we see a return to these politics of fear. The minister said that Canadians needed to be worried and afraid and that this was a real and present threat, and yet we are trying to talk about a trading relationship between Canada and the United States and the fact that we have people in the U.S. administration who are propagating all kinds of myths.

Does it not make it even worse when our own government stands and talks about the reasons that people should be fearful, particularly when the last incident at the Canada-U.S. border was 10 years ago? Canadian officials did their job. They apprehended that individual and the individual faced justice.