An Act to amend the Special Import Measures Act (domestic prices)

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in September 2008.

This bill was previously introduced in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session.

Sponsor

Diane Bourgeois  Bloc

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Not active, as of March 2, 2007
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment sets out the conditions required for deeming whether domestic prices in a country are substantially determined by the government of that country and there is sufficient reason to believe that they are not substantially the same as they would be if they were determined in a competitive market.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Dec. 12, 2007 Failed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on International Trade.

Economic and Fiscal StatementGovernment Orders

December 2nd, 2008 / 3:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, to begin, I want to thank my colleague, the member for Sherbrooke, for the opportunity to join the debate and to take 10 minutes to express my views on this economic statement. Before doing that, since this is the first time that I have spoken officially in the House in this session, I would like to thank the voters of Terrebonne—Blainville who, for the fourth time, have given me their confidence. I thank the voters, the volunteers and my own staff who helped me to a great victory. I will not hide the fact that all the members of that devoted group are ready to start again tomorrow, if necessary.

One would have expected, after an election fought over the economy, that the economic statement would be filled with figures. You will remember that we were thrown into an election campaign because this Prime Minister and this government said it was time to talk about the economy. Regretfully, we have been given an economic statement that resembles nothing so much as more laissez faire. It is an ideological statement that shows no signs of compassion towards the people and the companies having trouble getting through this crisis, because this is now a global economic crisis.

We know that all the countries around us—even the European countries—have injected billions of dollars to support their economies and to help people get through this crisis. The European Union has injected $200 billion and the United States has injected $800 billion. We believe that if our government had not been so disconnected, if it had shown the compassion it should have for the people who do not receive the same salaries as we do, and who do not live in the same conditions, possibly this government could have injected some money and introduced economic measures to help the people of this country.

As the head of the Bank of Canada said, we could even go into a temporary deficit that could be repaid over a period of time. But this government does not want to hear about deficits, anything but that. We know that, in economic terms, when we are faced with a crisis we must expect a little deficit that can be offset later.

Instead of stimulating the economy and providing some breathing room for the country, this government chose to strangle it. Most appalling of all, instead of the economic measures one might expect in an economic statement, what we received was a big slap in the face; a real blow. It is as though there were only some sectors that needed to be knocked down, instead of helping the country in general.

Those blows, that slap in the face, have led to the formation of the present coalition. The Conservative leader, and this government, decided to abandon our businesses and our people. All countries agree: when there is a full economic crisis, in principle, we should be creating jobs. We could have people working to build houses for those who need them. We could, perhaps, put people to work developing transportation and transportation infrastructures. Unfortunately, that is not what happened. Nothing was announced.

The Bloc Québécois has already put forward proposals. We put forward a whole series of measures but those measures were not listened to and not taken into consideration. They could have suspended the compulsory repayment to the home buyers’ plan for a year.

We are all familiar with these young couples who are in trouble. They were told they could use virtual RRSPs as their down payment on a house. Not only must they pay their mortgage, but they must also pay for their virtual RRSPs—which do not exist and were loaned to them—and their taxes. Both spouses must work, and they feel economically and socially suffocated. That is also difficult. No one ever thought of giving these people a little breathing room.

They could have done that by giving people jobs, by creating a fund that provides money for home renovations that will improve energy efficiency. In my riding, people tend to heat their homes with oil. I have an older house and heat with oil. Why? I could not heat it with electricity because it would cost more. The house is not insulated for electric heat. I for one would have liked to see an eco-energy program.

The equalization formula could have been fully respected. It was a brutal slap in the face to Quebeckers when they were told they were being denied the equalization surplus. The guaranteed income supplement for our seniors could have simply been increased gradually. Their old age pensions increased by about $2 a month, sometimes only $1.09. That is barely enough to buy a cup of coffee. Also, seniors who were eligible for, but cheated out of, the guaranteed income supplement could have been gradually reimbursed.

They could have expanded access to employment insurance and eliminated the waiting period. They could have provided more support for people who work in agriculture. They could also have extended the ecoAUTO rebate program that suddenly disappeared. These were good programs. Unfortunately, they are not being given any consideration. Those programs could have helped ordinary people. But ordinary people are not important to these people. What is important to the government opposite is industry. But there again, they have not helped it. They have not created loan guarantee programs that would have provided cash to invest, for example. Last week, two companies in my riding closed down for lack of cash flow. The cuts to the technology partnerships program could have been stopped. They could have given them a shared risk program.

They could quite simply have modernized Canada's outdated antidumping laws and brought them up to the same level as what other countries in the European Union have. In fact, I introduced a bill to that effect, Bill C-411. They did not do it. They can also, as the Bloc said, even use government procurement as a lever for economic development. How many of our businesses would be happy to help Public Works and Government Services Canada, but are not allowed to because PWGSC buys from American subsidiaries? They could have implemented specific policies for the industrial sectors that are facing special challenges, such as traditional industries.

They could have done a lot of things, but no, what we got from this government was a slap in the face. That is not what an economic statement is. Unfortunately, the present government is the author of its own misfortune. We who believed when they talked about action, and compromise, and openness, at the time, we have, in a sense, been had. The public has been had, because it was not expecting this kind of economic statement, not remotely. We get email after email from people who are disappointed, even anglophones in the western provinces.

This statement is clearly devoid of any compassion for the people of Quebec. We will therefore quite obviously be voting against it.

January 30th, 2008 / 4:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Chair, it isn't that I want to speed things up. I was considering all of the comments that were made. I was coming to this point. This is precisely why I referred to Bill C-411.

In that bill, we were calling for measures to be implemented to make it possible to clearly identify occasions when other countries were engaged in dumping. Our words may have been misinterpreted: people may have thought that overall it was about protectionist measures against China. But we specified that we simply wanted to adopt measures that would be up to the same standard as what the United States and the European Union have on antidumping rules. We were not talking about unhealthy protectionism in this case; this is in fact an accepted practice.

In their trade with other countries, the United States and the European Union apply antidumping criteria to certain products, and when those products do not meet the criteria, they charge duty. This kind of process would help our businesses, at least indirectly. We do have to play on the same field as our competitors if we want to be competitive at a certain level, at least when it comes to establishing prices. There must not be exploitation, on either side, and of course the WTO guidelines must be respected.

In other words, we do not want to see the government taking measures that directly contravene the WTO guidelines. We do not want it to be described as protectionist. Even though our neighbour is particularly protectionist and does everything possible to protect its market, we do not want to act that way.

If you need any clarification, I will be happy to provide it.

January 30th, 2008 / 4:05 p.m.
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Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

To begin with, Mr. Chair, I will say that the recommendations made in this motion do not contravene the WTO rules in any way. That is why we can add the words "consistent with WTO guidelines" without a problem. That goes without saying. We are a member of the WTO and we certainly intend to act in a way that is consistent with its guidelines. While we may not like some of them, I hope that one day we will be able to assert ourselves at the WTO and get things changed. There are some guidelines that really should be changed.

To answer what Mr. Maloney seemed to be asking before, I will say that these are the terms, in my opinion. If it is not inconsistent with the agreements made with other countries, and it does not automatically contravene the WTO guidelines, there are several ways of providing assistance that we could more or less describe as indirect. For example, the government cut taxes, and automatically it was said that this was direct assistance to the forestry and manufacturing companies. I am not talking about money.

Mr. Miller is correct: there are other reasons why the manufacturing and forestry sectors are having problems, for example the value of the dollar, equipment and the need for technology. Money could be made available to companies for those purposes without contravening the WTO guidelines. That is possible. You all know it. We are also talking about bringing trade laws up to the standard of the United States and the European Union.

I am going to refer — and my colleague may go into this topic further — to Bill C-411. We have never understood why some people opposed it. Perhaps it was misinterpreted.

Special Import Measures ActPrivate Members' Business

December 12th, 2007 / 5:55 p.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading of Bill C-411, under private members' business.

The House resumed from December 6 consideration of the motion that Bill C-411, An Act to amend the Special Import Measures Act (domestic prices), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Bill C-411Statements By Members

December 12th, 2007 / 2:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, today members will vote on Bill C-411 on anti-dumping, at second reading. The Bloc Québécois is seeking the support of all members in order to help the Quebec manufacturing sector.

This bill will give the Canada Border Services Agency the tools needed to determine whether or not emerging countries are dumping goods. It provides for anti-dumping measures similar to those adopted by the European Union and the United States. I hope that this bill will pass the second reading stage and be sent to the Standing Committee on International Trade.

Our businesses will no longer be required to submit to incomplete investigations that do not protect them from dumping. Time is of the essence: 84,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Quebec since the Conservatives came to power. Passage of Bill C-411 is the opportunity to breathe new life into Quebec industries.

Special Import Measures ActPrivate Members' Business

December 6th, 2007 / 6:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Fleetwood—Port Kells to take part in today's debate on Bill C-411. It gives me great pleasure to be responding on behalf of the Minister of International Trade and specifically to support the comments of my colleague regarding the proposed amendment to Canada's trade remedy legislation.

The bill, introduced by the hon. member for Terrebonne—Blainville, raises issues that are at the heart of any discussion of Canada's competitiveness in the ever changing global economy. The Government of Canada is well aware of the opportunities and the challenges that international development presents for Canadian trade and investment interests.

I welcome this opportunity to discuss the government's approach and plans in this regard. Let me start with a few words regarding the international framework that underpins Canada's international commercial relations in general and specifically Canada's anti-dumping regime.

The World Trade Organization provides the rules that govern trade relations among the organization's 150 members. The membership includes Canada, plus all of our most significant trading partners.

The WTO framework consists of a series of agreements that are specific to particular areas of international trade policy. The agreement pertinent to today's debate is the agreement governing anti-dumping measures. While the WTO aims at equal treatment and a smooth flow of trade among its members, it also permits certain exceptions. Anti-dumping measures are one of these exceptions.

For those who are watching this debate, dumping occurs when a company exports a product at a price that is lower than the price it normally charges in its home market. The WTO rules spell out the circumstances in which a member may take measures against dump imports from another WTO member and the procedure for applying such measures.

Canada has implemented our rights and obligations under this agreement by means of Canada's Special Import Measures Act. This act falls under the Minister of Finance and its implementation falls under the Canada Border Services Agency and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.

I observe that Canada's anti-dumping framework involves a transparent, quasi-judicial process for the review of complaints by Canadian companies regarding dumping by foreign competitors. The process provides for a balanced and impartial review of the legitimate concerns of domestic industries in Canada and the evidence provided by foreign suppliers and their Canadian customers.

In announcing the introduction of this bill, the hon. member indicated that goods from China are a target of the proposal. Allow me to speak for a few moments about Canada's trade with China.

China is Canada's fourth largest export market and our second largest trading partner. Last year, our bilateral trade totalled over $40 billion. In Canada's case, this meant $7.7 billion in exports of goods alone. These indicators point to a strong and growing trade relationship with China, with tremendous benefits for both sides. One need only observe the accomplishments for Canadian firms in China, for example, in the engineering, financial, transportation and communication sectors, to see how strongly Canadian firms can compete in the dynamic Chinese market.

This is just part of the picture. There is another message that the statistics tell, the fact that imports from China are over four times our exports to China. Canadian consumers benefit from such imports in terms of price and choice.

We have also heard the concerns of certain Canadian producers regarding the growth in imports from China. Some of these complaints allege that these imports are being dumped in the Canadian market or that they benefit from subsidy programs in China.

Canada has 11 anti-dumping measures in place regarding imports from China. In three cases where the products were found to be subsidized, the goods are also subject to countervail measures. These actions demonstrate that Canada's trade remedy system is working.

Canadian firms have made use of the system by formally registering complaints regarding certain imports from China. Trade remedy measures have been applied to these imports where such measures were found by Canadian investigators to be warranted.

While it is useful to remind ourselves of Canada's current trade remedy actions against imports from China, the trade remedy system is not the mechanism we should be looking to in terms of addressing the broader issue of Canada's competitiveness in China and other key markets.

The government monitors our trading partners to ensure that they are living up to their WTO commitments. This includes China. In most cases China has implemented the commitments it took on when it joined the WTO in 2001.

There are exceptions however. Last year Canada filed a challenge against China at the WTO regarding China's tariff treatment of imported auto parts.

Canada has a strong interest in the auto parts sector. Last year Canadian manufacturers supplied over $370 million in auto parts to China's growing auto sector.

Furthermore, the government has recently decided to join other WTO members in formal WTO consultations with China. These are consultations that focus on China's enforcement of intellectual property rights and on certain Chinese subsidy programs.

The consultations will provide opportunities for Canada to relay the concerns of Canadian stakeholders to Chinese authorities and to assess China's latest steps in both areas to bring its regime into compliance with its WTO obligations.

Consultation are the first step in the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism. If consultations do not succeed in resolving the matter under discussion, Canada, like other WTO members, has the option of requesting a WTO panel to adjudicate the issue.

Canada's new government recognizes that many Canadian manufacturers are facing intensified competition and are adjusting to fast-changing global realities.

The government has recognized that Canada needs a more competitive business climate and is committed to government policies that encourage investment and job creation.

The Minister of Finance's economic statement last fall presented a road map of policy directions, “Advantage Canada”.

“Advantage Canada” includes a plan, the government's global commerce strategy, to more aggressively engage the world beyond our borders. For instance, the government is committed to reinvigorating our trade policy while we continue to work toward a meaningful result in the Doha round of multilateral negotiations.

We are also committed to stepping up the negotiation of bilateral trade agreements, ranging from free trade agreements to improved relations and investment accords.

In the case of China a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement is a priority. In today's global market, investment drives trade and investment is the essential catalyst for technology transfer and the development of supply chain links.

We therefore see significant benefits for Canada from an investment agreement with China. As well, our plan is about showing the world that Canada is moving up the value chain.

We are getting the message out that Canada is a leader in science and technology, and a great place to anchor North American commercial platforms, particularly where science, technology and innovation links are key. The government's strategy is also about stepping up our presence on the ground in key--

Special Import Measures ActPrivate Members' Business

December 6th, 2007 / 6:15 p.m.
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Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to Bill C-411, even though I am somewhat less pleased now that I have heard what the Liberals have to say. They think that the Canadian International Trade Tribunal can resolve all disputes. But how many of the tribunal's decisions has Ottawa respected since it was created? None. They should not be telling us that there are measures in place to ensure that the Canadian International Trade Tribunal's decisions are respected because Ottawa has not honoured a single one of the tribunal's decisions. The argument does not hold water; it does not make sense.

Where did Bill C-411 come from? The answer is easy: it came from the manufacturing sector's report. The report submitted by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology was unanimous. I will read the 10th recommendation from the report, a report that the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP all supported:

That the Government of Canada conduct an internal review of Canadian anti-dumping, countervail and safeguard policies, practices and their application to ensure that Canada's trade remedy laws and practices remain current and effective. This review would also include comparisons with other World Trade Organization members such as the European Union and the United States.

I did not write that text. The manufacturing sector did. We spent a year talking to representatives from industry, the manufacturing sector and unions. We included this recommendation in the report. I did not make this up. The report was unanimous.

As for making comparisons with the WTO, the European Union and the United States, the work has been done. We studied the issue because the Conservatives demonstrated zero political will to help the manufacturing sector. I thought the Liberals might understand because they have been asking the Conservatives to help the manufacturing sector. However, when it is time to walk the walk, they refuse to get up from their chairs. In contrast, the members of the Bloc Québécois are standing up for manufacturers.

I would like to read five criteria, which were not just pulled out of a hat. The United States and the European Union follow these criteria. The first is as follows:

Prices, costs and inputs have to be determined by supply and demand.

This is not the case in China, where things do not work based on supply and demand, but are determined by the president. Maximum salary levels, for example, would not be a production cost determined by the laws of the market. That is the first criterion.

The second and third criteria are as follows:

Firms have to have one clear set of basic accounting records, independently audited in line with international standards.

The production costs and financial situation of firms must not be subject to significant distortions carried over from previous non-market economy systems.

This could involve, for example, cheap privatizations. The fourth criterion states:

Firms are subject to bankruptcy and property laws.

They are therefore subject to these laws which provide legal security and stability for their daily operations. These types of companies are essentially unseizable, because bankruptcy laws are inadequate and cannot be enforced. So, these companies can operate indefinitely without paying their debts, which obviously cuts down on operating costs.

The final criterion reads as follows:

Exchange rate conversions must be carried out at market rates.

This includes a floating exchange rate determined for each transaction by the balance between supply and demand on the foreign exchange market.

This bill would specify the conditions for determining whether a country meets the economic definition of market during the assessment of the normal value of goods that are part of an antidumping investigation.

The United States and the European Union have these five criteria. Why is Canada going its own way? For us, it is no big deal to let all sorts of items and products into Canada. We will welcome them with open arms, even if companies close. That is what we are doing. We are lax. We are doing absolutely nothing.

While other countries have a certain number of criteria, we are acting like a second class country. To Canadians, it is not important that we protect ourselves. It is much more important to protect others. We are going to let others profit at our expense, like good Canadians.

And on it goes. What is happening in my region today? Productions Ranger is restructuring. The story is in today's paper. The Ranger family has had to close five sewing plants, four they operated in Beauce, the riding of the former Minister of Industry, coincidentally, and one in Montreal, where 200 jobs have been cut.

Company representative Yvon Ranger said this:

We can compete against companies in Quebec or Canada, but we cannot compete against China. The major store chains buy almost nothing from Canada now. Everything is made in China.

This happened today. Five more plants have closed. Why? Because we are not doing anything. We are not doing anything because we do not have five criteria for analyzing another country's market economy. There is nothing complicated about this. It is not hard to have five criteria. But they still do not understand anything. I wish someone would explain to me why we cannot adopt these rules when other countries have adopted them.

Once again, the Bloc Québécois is looking for the support of all the members of this House to help the manufacturing sector. However, I believe that the Bloc Québécois and the NDP will be the only parties to support manufacturers. We are going to listen again to the Liberals ask the Conservatives to help the manufacturing sector.

This will be the second chance we have given them. The first chance we gave them was when we introduced a motion two weeks ago to save the manufacturing sector. But they stayed seated when it came time to vote.

We want to save the manufacturing sector. It would not cost a thing—not one dollar. We do not even need royal assent. We do not need anything. The only thing we need is votes to truly save the manufacturing sector in Quebec and Canada. Nonetheless, if people do not want to save it, then we will just have our simple little criteria that we can do nothing with.

In addition to doing nothing, we are told that the Canadian International Trade Tribunal is going fix everything. I said this earlier and I will have to say it again. Ottawa has never given its approval to any ruling by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal. Never. Now they would have us believe that this tribunal is going to fix everything. It is the Minister of Finance who decides whether or not the Canadian International Trade Tribunal ruling will be applied. Give me a break.

Let us provide the people who control border services with the tools to investigate properly. This is currently not possible.

Do hon. members know what Canada's criterion is? I will tell them. The agency uses just one criterion in every individual case of dumping. Canada determines whether China should be considered a market economy based on the following—and there is just one—criterion: domestic prices in a country are substantially determined by the government of that country and there is sufficient reason to believe that they are not substantially the same as they would be if they were determined in a competitive market.

That is our criterion. As such, in the recent dumping case, the agency determined every time that the Chinese government was not setting the prices. Of course not, it was the companies that set the prices, but they are subsidized.

What is our criterion? Did the government set the price? If not, these companies can import their products here. That is why the other countries have five criteria. It is not hard to figure out. When these five criteria are met, there is no dumping.

In closing, this bill could provide the Canada Border Services Agency with the necessary tools for determining whether emerging countries are practising dumping. Our businesses would be better protected instead of having to abide by inadequate investigations that are unable to protect them from dumping.

Time is of the essence. Some 68,000 jobs have already been lost in Quebec since the Conservatives came into power. As I was saying earlier, and I will say it again, this bill presents the same criteria used by the European Union and the United States.

Special Import Measures ActPrivate Members' Business

December 6th, 2007 / 6:05 p.m.
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NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-411. I will begin by saying that we, the NDP members of the House, will be supporting the bill when it comes to a vote.

My community of Hamilton has long been one of the central manufacturing areas for all of Canada. For generations, men and women from my riding of Hamilton East—Stoney Creek have filled the plants of Hamilton, working hard to keep Hamilton's industrial engine turning. Lately, far too many of those hard-working Canadians have been put out of work. It is not just a Hamilton trend, but that trend plays across every province of Canada in all core manufacturing areas, with the greatest damage happening in Quebec, Ontario and B.C.

Clearly, the manufacturing sector must not be ignored any longer. Measures such as those contained in Bill C-411 are needed now to help prevent the further dumping of cheap foreign goods into Canada and the loss of manufacturing jobs that will absolutely follow.

As well, it is vitally important to the well-being of our country that Canadians start to buy Canadian. Cross-border shopping feels like an adventure to some, but I would ask Canadians to pause and take a moment to take into account the effect it has on their economy and their neighbours' livelihoods.

Not all is lost, though, because these days I am hearing more and more constituents of Hamilton East—Stoney Creek talk about buying Canadian to save Canadian jobs. Sadly, this has not begun to happen because of the leadership of the Conservative government. No, it is mainly as a result of a growing understanding of the impact that cross-border shopping has been having on our economy.

As well, everyone who is watching the media will know that the fear of toxins coming into North America imported from other countries, particularly from China, has begun to spur a buy Canadian attitude, so in a roundabout way, the common sense of Canadians is beginning to take hold and they are fighting back. We could use more of their common sense in this place. Then the members just might stop performing for the cameras and start performing for Canadians.

One point I want to be clear on, which will come as no surprise to government members, is that the NDP looks at the marketplace much differently than other political parties do. For instance, we do not believe health care should be a part of the open market, or we will wind up like the U.S. spending double per capita on health care than we do now in Canada and getting worse results.

On the other hand, we also believe that there are areas that need to be protected by the public sector. There is a role as well for the private sector to play here too. We believe that Canada must have market based definitions to protect Canadian jobs from foreign dumping.

The steel industry in Hamilton is a case in which the steel companies are very much at the mercy of foreign companies which dump their excess inferior steel into our market, undercutting our very best steel producers.

Going back to the broader manufacturing crisis, an example of the failings of both the Liberal and Conservative governments over the past five years is how they stood by and watched over 50,000 textile and clothing jobs simply disappear. After listening to the Conservatives during this particular debate and others when they so glibly shout out “a promise made, a promise kept”, today that rings hollow in the face of the deepening crisis and job loss in the manufacturing sector.

The record shows that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade while in opposition said:

A Conservative government would stand up for Canadian workers and work proactively through international trade policies to ensure Canada competes on a level playing field.

Fine words, but the Conservatives simply have not got the job done on this file.

Today we have literally thousands of workers from Hamilton's manufacturing plants waiting for their federal government to do something, anything, to protect their jobs. The only standing up for Canadian workers that the current government has done to date, and the last government for that matter, is to stand up and wave goodbye to the jobs.

If I am starting to sound a little angry, it is because I am. In point of fact, Hamilton lost 11,000 jobs just in the last year. Between 2002 and 2007, close to 300,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost across the country. Then people wonder why poverty is on the rise. That is 300,000 breadwinners who have gone from well paying jobs to where?

I will wait for it, because of all its best lines about growth and the McJobs that the government will claim to have created with its policies. If we look around, older workers, and so many in manufacturing are older workers, get retrained and then they are handed a spatula and turned loose.

Canadian families are struggling. They have to do more and more with so much less money. The value of their earnings has dropped significantly and they have watched their buying power lose ground since 1989. Remember 1989, that was the year of the free trade agreement. It was free all right. It freed many Canadians of their jobs.

For close to 20 years, I have watched my friends and my neighbours lose their jobs, lose their homes and lose hope while they waited for the real intervention from their federal government to protect them. They cannot wait any longer. The government has a responsibility to act now. Stop the spin, stop the BS and put together a real and comprehensive manufacturing strategy, a strategy devoid of partisanship. Come together with business and labour and the best economic strategists in the country and do it now.

Special Import Measures ActPrivate Members' Business

December 6th, 2007 / 5:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-411, An Act to amend the Special Import Measures Act (domestic prices). The summary of the bill states:

This enactment sets out the conditions required for deeming whether domestic prices in a country are substantially determined by the government of that country and there is sufficient reason to believe that they are not substantially the same as they would be if they were determined in a competitive market.

I understand the concerns and issues, and I understand the spirit of the bill. It essentially targets two specific areas. One is dumping practices, which I will talk about, and the other is the pressure on our domestic market. I would say that the manufacturing, forestry, and textile sectors would be the relevant sectors that feel competition from imports, especially when it comes to our dumping practices.

Dumping is an anti-competitive practice that undermines domestic production. Dumping is the sale of a product for export at less than its normal value.

Artificial price reduction is illegal under the World Trade Organization rules because it harms producers in the export market. This strategy also harms exporters of similar products in third countries because they are unable to compete with artificially cheap exports from the dumping country.

If Canada can show that a foreign exporter is dumping products on its market and that these imports could harm Canadian producers, it is entitled to impose anti-dumping measures, such as charging an import duty to raise the price of a certain product to better reflect its actual value in accordance with WTO law.

As I indicated, that is definitely a legitimate concern and something that we need to address. I will allude to some of the concerns I have about this bill specifically around dumping practices. There are other concerns, as I mentioned earlier on, in the manufacturing sector and the forestry sector.

The manufacturing sector alone represents 18% of economic activity in Canada and its contribution to wealth creation is even greater. Since December 2002 until November, statistics indicate that over 210,000 jobs have been lost in manufacturing alone. This is enormous pressure on our manufacturing sector and it needs to be addressed.

What bothers me profoundly is that the current government is aggressively pursuing trade negotiations with the South Koreans and is putting in place a trade deal that would effectively further compound job losses in the manufacturing sector. I cannot understand why the government would pursue such an initiative. It wants to, in effect, create jobs in lower value-added areas that pay less and have less benefits. We would lose our high value-added Canadian jobs. This really concerns me.

There are other issues with respect to South Korea regarding non-tariff barriers that need to be addressed in that trade agreement that have not been addressed thus far by the minister. We have not had proper debate or discussion on that. We are working thoroughly in committee to address these concerns and hopefully that will shed some light on these important issues.

Most important, this is about families. When a person loses a job, it compromises his or her family's position. It is a loss of income. It also has a direct impact on the community. This has to be addressed as well. Not only have we lost those jobs but we are fundamentally shifting the landscape of our country with respect to the economic outlook going forward.

The other sector that is obviously under a tremendous amount of pressure is the forestry sector. Not too long ago the government signed a flawed deal, one that is referred to as the softwood sell-out, a title which I think is appropriate. This deal has questioned our sovereignty when it comes to forestry policies. By signing this deal we left $1 billion on the table, a substantial amount of money. It was a broken promise by the government. The government committed to collect the full amount of the tariffs, but it only collected 80¢ to the dollar, leaving $1 billion on the table. The government threw all our WTO and NAFTA rulings right out the door to settle for a deal that puts on quotas, and charges higher tariff rates to our industry.

Every day in the business section of the newspapers we read about forestry companies closing, mills closing and people losing jobs. This is not simply a matter of jobs. It affects families and communities. It has a ripple effect across our country and our economy. Not only is there concern about particular job loss, but many of these jobs, specifically if we consider the auto sector, have seven to eight spinoff jobs that are lost as well because they are directly correlated with that initial job.

There are thousands of jobs being lost in manufacturing and forestry. I can understand the intent of this private member's bill is to make sure that our economy avoids dumping practices and also avoids the unfair pressure on our manufacturing sector, the forestry sector and the textile sector and other important key industries in our economy.

I indicated before that I do have some reservations and concerns about this particular bill. The bill seeks to codify the conditions used to determine if an export monopoly exists in a given country. It does this by outlining five conditions which, if any of them were not met, would automatically result in a country being deemed to have an export monopoly.

This bill is redundant and seeks to tell the president of the Canada Border Services Agency how to do his job. The president of the CBSA is the one who currently makes this determination.

In my opinion, the categories are broad and could conceivably result in almost any country being designated as having an export monopoly. This includes the United States and the European Union which the CBSA already relies on to determine “normal market practices”. This again impairs the ability of the CBSA and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal to do their jobs.

These are legitimate concerns that our party has. The concerns that this bill wants to address can be dealt with through a variety of mechanisms, including the existing trade agreements, as well as trade tribunals. These issues are better addressed during trade negotiations.

The Liberal Party has always advocated for trade agreements which seek a fair balance, free and fair trade. We have done so and have demonstrated this in our discussions on the South Korea free trade negotiations.

The Liberal Party is a party of free trade. We have a long history of promoting free and fair trade. If we look at our trade negotiations with South Korea, our concern generally has revolved around market access. We want to make sure that Canadian products have a level playing field when being sold in South Korea. We do not want South Korean products to come into our market and our companies and our hard-working Canadians have difficulty selling our products into the South Korean market. This is a legitimate concern that we have. This is the concern that is being addressed.

As I said in my remarks, that there were some concerns that we had around Bill C-411. I have addressed our concerns about the bill. I will again remind the members who are listening that we have reservations and concerns.

We have said that the bill seeks to codify the conditions used to determine if any export monopoly exists in a given country. It does this by outlining five conditions that if were not met would automatically result in a country being deemed to have an export monopoly.

Our party has expressed its concerns about this bill. We understand the spirit and the intent of the bill. We understand the pressures that are currently being felt in our economy from dumping practices. We have alluded to and explained the process around the dumping practices. There is a system in place to address this.

We feel that this bill is too simple. It does not have the wording and the mechanism in place to properly address the concerns that have been raised by some members.

As I have said before, the Liberal Party understands the concerns. We feel that those concerns can be addressed in trade agreements and through trade tribunals. That is something that the Liberal Party has supported as a party of free and fair trade. We look forward to further discussions on this bill.

The House resumed from October 18 consideration of the motion that Bill C-411, An Act to amend the Special Import Measures Act (domestic prices), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

December 5th, 2007 / 4:50 p.m.
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Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

You said earlier that political parties should work together. We worked for a full year with all players in the manufacturing sector in order to develop a plan with 22 recommendations—right here in this report.

The parliamentary secretary referred earlier to a list of measures taken. However, out of the 22 recommendations proposed by the sector, only one has been implemented, and only half way at that.

You talk about partisanship. We are indeed partisan. We behave in a partisan fashion, obviously. However, we are here to help your sector, the manufacturing industry, and to implement these 22 recommendations. This is what we want to do. If this is partisanship, we are indeed partisans, but of your sector.

We want to give another chance to this government and to these political parties through a new bill. I am giving you notice. It is Bill C-411 which is at second reading stage.

We often hear manufacturers say that there is dumping of imports from China, that our markets are inundated by an avalanche of goods and that they are unable to compete.

This bill will ensure that imports from China will be subjected to five evaluation criteria. These are the same five criteria used by the European Union and the United States. Since these two jurisdictions find these five criteria useful, Canada should adopt them also. We should use the same five evaluation criteria regardless of the country of origin. Presently we have only one and we are not even able to determine if there is a market economy in China or in other countries. We do not have enough criteria.

Are you hearing from people in your sector that imports from China are in direct conflict with products of your manufacturing industry?

Bill C-411Statements By Members

December 5th, 2007 / 2:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow will be a critical day for businesses. Indeed, this will be the second hour of debate on Bill C-411, which I introduced in this House, on March 2.

This legislation is very important, because it provides, at last, anti-dumping measures that are in compliance with those recognized internationally, and that will allow businesses to protect themselves against the flood of subsidized imports, particularly from so-called “emerging” economies.

All the parties will have the opportunity to support businesses by voting in favour of a better imports control system. The Bloc Québécois feels that it is urgent to put in place means to help our businesses, which must deal with a strong dollar and face unfair trade practices.

Tomorrow, we will see which federalist parties defend, like the Bloc Québécois, jobs in Quebec.

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

November 30th, 2007 / 10:45 a.m.
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Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the rising Canadian dollar and competition from Asia is having an impact on our manufacturing industry. Next week, we will debate Bill C-411. I therefore invite the Liberals to vote in favour of this bill, so it may reach second reading in the House of Commons.

Bill C-411 would establish new criteria to better protect our businesses from competition from Asia. It defines five criteria that would allow customs officers to better protect Canadian and Quebec businesses from Asian competition. I would be surprised to see the Conservative government vote in favour of this bill, because it prefers completely open markets and it has no concerns. It wants a wide open market.

We find it surprising that supply management is still around under this government. It is not in this government's philosophy. It wants free trade for free trade.

The Standing Committee on International Trade has no statistics that would tell it, for example, if it would be advantageous for Quebec businesses to do business under a free trade agreement between Canada and Korea. What are the advantages of such an agreement for the Government of Quebec and the rest of Canada? This is the case in all sectors. More in-depth studies really need to be conducted.

Once again, I invite Liberal members to vote in favour of Bill C-411, which will protect—

Opposition Motion—Manufacturing and ForestryBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

November 13th, 2007 / 5 p.m.
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Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on a matter that is of great importance for Quebec and for my riding of Berthier—Maskinongé. I refer to the crises being experienced in all regions of Quebec in the forestry and manufacturing sectors, as well as the precarious situation in which thousands of workers have been thrust as a result.

The motion we introduced today calls upon the Conservative government to establish a series of measures to help the manufacturing and forestry sectors hard hit by the rising dollar and increased competition from new emerging countries, which are, as we know, capable of very low-cost mass production.

Our motion proposes concrete measures aimed at supporting businesses, such as loans to update production facilities, heavy investments, or tax measures to support innovation, research and development.

The Bloc Québécois also calls for a review of the trade laws to better protect our companies against unfair competition, dumping in particular, by bringing Canadian legislation more in line with that of other developed countries.

This is, moreover, what the Bloc Québécois is also proposing in its Bill C-411, soon to be debated in the House.

We are also calling upon the government to provide better financial support to the workers unfortunately affected by this crisis in the manufacturing sector. As a number of my colleagues have already pointed out today, this motion by the hon. member for Trois-Rivières has become necessary because this government has demonstrated, in its recent throne speech and its economic statement, its indifference to the difficult situation of all the men and women working in the manufacturing and forest industries and also the communities dependent on those industries.

In both cases, the Conservatives have demonstrated once again their total disdain for the lot of these thousands of workers who have been so greatly affected. This attitude appears all the more disdainful when we realize that the federal government has huge financial means with which to provide them with assistance. One need only think of the surplus it has amassed.

I am, however, not really surprised by the attitude of this government, which is being true to form. Once again, the Conservatives are choosing to do nothing to help the manufacturing and forestry sectors when they are in such crying need of help.

One must, however, acknowledge its consistency. When this government does decide to act, it tries to help its beloved petroleum industry based in western Canada, by reducing taxes. These companies, with their already huge profits, will be entitled to another hand up by this Conservative government.

However, tax reductions will be of no help to companies in the forestry and manufacturing sector because they are not turning a profit as a result of the crisis they are experiencing, a crisis brought on mainly by the policies of this laissez-faire government.

When the ministers responsible for the economic development of Quebec and for transportation babble on about how tax cuts will help these vulnerable sectors, they are demonstrating that they are actually unable to defend the interests of Quebeckers. Only the Bloc Québécois defends the interests of Quebec, as shown by this motion today.

Tax cuts benefit those who make profits. That is logical. We do not need lengthy economic studies to understand that when you record a loss, you do not pay taxes. Thus, many of the industries that are in trouble will not benefit from the measures announced by this government.

As pointed out today, Baronet, a furniture manufacturer in Sainte-Marie in Beauce—in the riding of one of our Conservative colleagues—announced last Friday that it was permanently shutting down its operations, resulting in the loss of 150 jobs, after attempting to restructure and get back on track for the past two years.

A Conservative member was elected in this riding. But to no avail.

Did tax cuts help this company? I do not believe so. This company was not turning a profit. I am convinced that the type of assistance we are proposing could have helped this company and its employees. By lowering taxes, the Conservatives have chosen to give their oil friends a generous gift just in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, a great number of Quebec workers will experience hard times this Christmas because of job losses in the forestry and manufacturing sectors. In my riding, and throughout Quebec, people have lost their jobs.

It is rather disappointing to note that this government refuses to help these companies in trouble and the workers that depend on them. I would add that it is especially shocking to note that the Conservative members from Quebec are going along with the irresponsible decisions of this government. It is shocking because the lack of action by the Conservatives is jeopardizing important sectors of the Quebec economy.

Let us look at the jobs lost in Quebec's manufacturing sector alone. Some 135,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Quebec—the equivalent of one worker in five—since December 31, 2002, including 65,000 since the Conservatives came to power. This precious government, which currently does not see any economic problems in Quebec or Canada, achieved these results at the economic level. Quebec accounted roughly for half the 275,000 jobs lost in Canada during that period. Quebeckers will remember. While the manufacturing sector represented 17.4% of the jobs in Quebec in 2004, it represented just 15% of the jobs in July 2007.

In my riding of Berthier—Maskinongé, which I have the honour of representing, there is a very significant manufacturing sector and that is the furniture sector. This industry plays an important role in Quebec's economy and has proven in the past to be able to respond to the new challenges of international competition. Now, in light of the new trade reality, this industry needs government support to help adjust. Let us not forget that this furniture industry saw a 22% cut in its labour force. It currently generates roughly 24,000 jobs compared to 25,000 jobs in 2005, 29,000 in 2002, and 30,500 in 2000. This is quite dramatic. We have to do something about this. The government has to take action to help these companies.

I have spoken about this a number of times in this House. In December 2006, I tabled a notice of motion calling on the federal government to implement an aid package to support the furniture industry as it adjusts to the rising Canadian dollar. I also asked for support to help the industry cope with fierce competition from emerging countries, a competition whereby Chinese imports have increased eight-fold, furniture imports six-fold, and bicycle imports five-fold. Unfortunately, the federal government chose not to present any aid package or research support program to help this industry adapt.

We all remember when the Canadian International Trade Tribunal declared that the Quebec bicycle industry was on the brink of being wiped out by Chinese imports. It concluded that the only thing that might limit the impact was the establishment of safeguards. The furniture industry even took an initiative in that regard. However, it backed off knowing that, despite favourable recommendations from the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, the government would not apply them.

For the future of jobs in these sectors and of the communities that depend on them, I ask all members, especially Conservative members from Quebec, who are sensitive to matters involving Quebec, to support the motion of the member for Trois-Rivières.