House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Oxford
Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we do know that there is a cost to protecting Canadians and we do know there is an interest in victims who have criminal acts perpetrated against them. We also know that my hon. friend opposite is more concerned about the morale of the prisoners in the prison system than he is about the people who work there. That cost, we know, is borne by Canadians and we know that they are willing to pay it.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

What a shock, Mr. Speaker. The Conservatives are attacking me personally and it is because they are losing the argument. They do not have the facts.

The reality is that after looking to the founders of the super prison system, somebody like Newt Gingrich, who now says this idea is too extreme and too right wing, who exactly are they listening to?

Anywhere this has been tried, it has been a complete and total failure. Let us try a simple question and see if the member can answer it. Name one jurisdiction, any one, anywhere in the world, where this stuff has been tried and worked? I can say that anywhere I have looked, it has been a complete disaster.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Oxford
Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

With all due respect, Mr. Speaker, I do not think I would insult any of our neighbours or allies around the world.

We have been to other countries, and the member opposite was part of the committee that went to Norway. We heard about recidivism. We heard about people going back to prison up to 30 times. I do not think the member's approach would work.

At the same time, we have a made in Canada approach that will work, that Canadians understand, and one that Canadians are asking us for and supporting.

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is meeting today with President Obama to negotiate a common security perimeter and establish a working group to prepare a joint plan of action within 120 days.

How can the Conservative government explain that, with such a short deadline, neither Canadians nor parliamentarians have had any information and there has been no debate in this House about this very important matter?

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, It is very important for us to have good relations with our neighbouring countries. We also know that a great deal of goods are moved from one country to the other across our respective borders. Daily trade between our two countries is in the order of $1.6 billion.

In this context, the issue of the security of our respective borders is also important, and we will continue to work with the U.S. government on this matter.

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, a security perimeter is desirable and has been proposed by the Bloc in the past. However, security, trade and fundamental freedoms must be balanced. Canada has postponed today's meeting twice because the Canadian authorities believed that Americans were asking for too much information, especially with respect to Canadian travellers.

Does the government realize that this issue is of such importance that it requires transparency and public debate before any decision is made?

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, border security—the security of Americans and Canadians—requires both countries to adopt stable measures to ensure that we fight terrorism and protect our border on both sides.

This is the context for our discussions with the U.S. government. We wish to come up with tangible and positive solutions for both countries, solutions that will cause the least amount of disruption for Canadians and Americans and ensure the continuous flow of goods across our border, without requiring a visa to enter the United States.

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Compton—Stanstead, QC

The Minister of Public Safety said, "If we are going to enjoy the economic relationship we have now with the Americans, security is an issue that we must address.” That is exactly what we have been trying to make him understand for months, while this government has been planning to close a number of border crossings in the Eastern Townships and Montérégie or reduce services there.

Will the government abandon its plan to reduce border services and thereby ensure security and the free flow of goods and people at the border?

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Oxford
Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Border Services Agency continually reviews all of the border crossings. It is important to Canadians that we have a good flow of travellers and goods back and forth across the border. However, the agency has to do it in a realistic fashion, so it continues to review the border crossings we have, and it continues to adjust that system.

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not only Quebeckers who are unhappy about the reduction in services at the border crossings. I have here a copy of a letter from Mr. Bill Owens, an American congressman who sits on the Committee on Homeland Security. He is asking President Obama to intervene to keep the border open and to ask the Canadian government to abandon its plan to reduce border services.

When will this government abandon its plan, which is negatively affecting the economic development of our regions?

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Oxford
Ontario

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we continue to review the border crossings of this country. We know it is important that trade and commerce flow across the border and we also know that it is important that people cross the border. We also need to do it in a manner that is forthright and that Canadians understand.

CBSA continues to review those border crossings to make the most efficient use of its personnel and the resources it has available.

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's conduct has undermined Canadians' confidence in his negotiations with the United States. He has not informed Canadians about what he is up to and he has not consulted the House. Our trade, our industry and our border communities are all at stake. The government cannot be trusted to negotiate deals behind closed doors.

When is the government going to consult Canadians? When is it going to bring that deal before the House?

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let me say very directly to my friend from Ottawa Centre, one thing that he and the New Democratic Party can count on is that the Prime Minister will always put the interests and the well-being of Canada first in his discussions.

Since we took office, we have focused on creating jobs, creating hope, creating opportunity. That involves more open and more secure trade. That means keeping our shared border open to trade and investments and closed to security and terrorist threats. This is tremendously important, whether it is for the forestry worker or for the auto worker. We are going to continue to work hard to ensure that we have more trade, more opportunity. We have to build on the great success that we enjoy with trade today.

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, all we are asking for on this side is a little democracy.

The Conservatives say they will defend Canada's interests, but the only interests they seem willing to defend right now are the interests of big polluters and their profit margins.

Reports today in the media reveal that the Prime Minister's main objective in Washington is to lobby for the oil sands. He is risking our jobs, our resources, our border communities and our privacy.

Who is left to defend Canada when the Prime Minister refuses to?

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think the Prime Minister will build on the excellent relationship that this government has with the Obama administration. We will work hard to ensure markets for Canadian products, whether they be automobiles, whether they be forest products, whether they be our natural resources. It means more jobs. It means more opportunities. It means more hope.

We are pleased with the 460,000 net new jobs that have been created. Today's numbers show almost 70,000 net new jobs. That is good news, but it is not enough. We need more. That is why the Prime Minister is fighting for Canadian workers, is fighting for the Canadian economy. We will get even more results to build on the great successes this finance minister has delivered for Canada.