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House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Gm Plant In BoisbriandOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, like the rest of Canada, Quebec has to compete internationally, and we need to be proactive when it comes to saving jobs.

Bernard Landry was proactive. He sought a way of saving the plant. It would be nice to be able to say the same of the minister.

I would like to ask the following question: why is he so hot to set up a lottery to save hockey clubs in Ontario, while the situation in Quebec is of no importance? We just have to wait.

Gm Plant In BoisbriandOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely false, because we, the Government of Canada, are the ones who tried to help GM find solutions for Boisbriand.

He does not understand that the problem is not a financial one. It is not a problem that could be solved with a donation from the taxpayers to a highly profitable company. It is a matter of finding a model, a future for a project.

Why has GM invested money in Ontario without getting any federal funds, as have other automobile manufacturers? Why?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. The federal government's response to the farm income crisis has been a disaster. For Saskatchewan and Manitoba farmers AIDA has been a disaster. Less than half of those needing help qualify, and for those who do the payments are too low.

Most provincial ministers of agriculture are in Ottawa today. Will the Prime Minister take this opportunity to admit that AIDA has been a disaster and announce a plan that will work for prairie farmers?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I met with the ministers of agriculture from two western provinces today. I reminded them of the money that has been put into the AIDA program.

I remind the hon. member and the House that for Saskatchewan alone, for example, the AIDA program has already put over $70 million into Saskatchewan. NISA withdrawals are $110 million. We made changes to crop insurance. We made changes to the NISA program. We made changes to the AIDA program and we continue to look for all the resources we possibly can.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, first the Prime Minister refused to visit the flooded farm communities. Then his throne speech was silent on the farm crisis. Now the Prime Minister ducks the question.

What is the Prime Minister's message to prairie farmers? Is it why should I care about your farm crisis? I think we heard that from a previous Liberal prime minister as well.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am following the situation very closely. I talked with the premiers of Manitoba and Saskatchewan many times. However, it is a problem that is being dealt with very effectively at this time by the minister of agriculture, who has the authority to speak on behalf of the government. That is why we are working with the ministers. It is the crisis that is a problem.

We put money in last year, $900 million. That is still available for farmers to meet this crisis. Long before the leader of the party was aware of the problem money was already on the table to solve the crisis.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans stated in the House “We have a solution in place and we have a plan”. He was referring to the fishery. While he was saying that, the aboriginal leaders were meeting in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Last night when I informed the minister that the chiefs had decided to shut down the moratorium, he stated that he had not been contacted by the chiefs.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Given that the chiefs have now stated that they have no trust in the minister of fisheries, will the Prime Minister personally accept responsibility for this situation and step in immediately to resolve it?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, it is important to look at the facts. The moratorium was on a voluntary basis by the chiefs. What has happened now is they have said that they will leave it up to the individual chiefs.

I talked to Chief Sark today from Lennox Island and he said he would continue with the moratorium. It is left up to the individual chiefs to decide on their own. We have a plan for the short term and the long term. It is working and I will continue with it.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, last week when the minister of fisheries went to Halifax to try to negotiate a settlement for the crisis in the fishery, the minister could not get an agreement. In fact the agreement came from the chiefs themselves.

Today, because of the actions of the minister's department, the voluntary moratorium which restored peace to our communities back east has now collapsed. Native leaders now say they simply cannot trust the minister, and that was their quote.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister understand that the number one barrier to a negotiated solution to this issue is his own minister? I am begging the Prime Minister to step into this situation and deal with it.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, we should make sure we understand the facts. I was in Atlantic Canada. I met with the commercial fishermen. I met with the aboriginal community. I met with the processors. I was there to listen to them, to make sure we had a dialogue.

As a result of the discussions the chiefs decided on their own that they wanted to have a voluntary moratorium. It is always hard to get 35 chiefs to agree to a unanimous decision. They have decided now that they will leave it up to individual chiefs. Some chiefs will continue with it. In fact the vast majority of chiefs will not be fishing; they will be continuing on the moratorium.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Reform Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, with all the agriculture minister says that he has done for farmers, why are thousands of dirt poor farmers still getting nothing, no cash?

To date the government has done nothing to address the crisis in any serious way. AIDA does not work and there is no replacement in sight. Families are losing their farms right now, not tomorrow, and the government sits idly by. Why is the Prime Minister allowing our farmers to head into winter with no hope and no cash?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I find these comments very interesting, coming from an hon. member who stood in the public a year ago and said farmers should stop their crying.

The government knew that farmers needed help. We have put $900 million there. We have made changes to the net income stabilization program that enabled the withdrawal of more than $120 million in that program. We have made changes to the crop insurance program and all those things. We are continuing to look at it, work with the industry and work with the safety net advisory committee. We are not the party. They are the party that was going to take $640 million—

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Reform Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the agriculture minister is a liar. I did not say—

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Withdraw, withdraw.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

I ask the hon. member to please withdraw that statement.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Reform Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Yes. I recognize, Mr. Speaker, that is not an appropriate statement.

Gm Plant In BoisbriandOral Question Period

October 14th, 1999 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, whatever the Minister of Industry may say or do, he is not helping matters with his attitude and his remarks.

My question is for the Minister of Industry. Given his attitude, are we not totally justified in asking whether he does not intend to sacrifice the Boisbriand plant in favour of plants in Ontario, his home province?

Gm Plant In BoisbriandOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, that question is totally strange, because, as I said, we worked with GM to save jobs at Boisbriand. In fact, another car model needs to be found for manufacture at Boisbriand.

I told him that significant investments have been made in the Canadian automobile industry in the past five or six years. There has never been a need for the federal government to invest because we are very competitive.

At Boisbriand, the employees are top quality and highly trained and could compete with—

Gm Plant In BoisbriandOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The member for Témiscamingue.

Gm Plant In BoisbriandOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, in its throne speech, the government mentions partnership a lot. We did not think there would be an example so soon. I would like the Prime Minister to say whether he does not consider the example and the attitude of his minister with regard Boisbriand do not reveal the essence of the word partnership. Is that what partnership means?

Gm Plant In BoisbriandOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister has handled this matter very well. As he explained earlier, he even organized and invited the authorities in Quebec to meet the president of GM in the States to make sure that, once the model they are currently making in Boisbriand disappears in a few years, the company will develop a new model.

He did a very good job, but, as he has said, the problem right now is that major changes are being made in the whole of the GM organization throughout North America, and Boisbriand is in competition with the others. Investments have been made in Canada, and at no time in the automobile industry in recent years have we—

Gm Plant In BoisbriandOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. leader of the Reform Party.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government's response to the western farm crisis is an absolute insult to western Canada. The realized net income for all farmers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan collectively will be down by 98% for the four year average. Does the Prime Minister understand that 98% means down from $916 million a year to $16 million?

The government's response to date has been pathetic: an aid program that does not work, an income stabilization program that does not work, and no high level attack on the European subsidies which are at the root of the problem.

When will the Prime Minister take some personal interest and show some personal leadership—

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The Right Hon. Prime Minister.