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House of Commons Hansard #41 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, let me tell the Deputy Prime Minister that people may be fed up, but the person responsible for this is the Prime Minister, who refuses to testify at a public inquiry and to table all the relevant documents.

Today, he is being judged by the public and 85% of those who have been polled want us to get to the bottom of this.

Did the Prime Minister think he would get away with it because he is both judge and jury in this matter?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is displaying a total lack of trust in his House leader who said “Table the bill of sale and we will stop asking questions”. He should settle this issue with his House leader.

The ethics counsellor looked into the matter, as did the RCMP, and no conflict of interest was uncovered, because there is no conflict of interest.

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is no secret that U.S. softwood lumber producers have just filed a multibillion dollar—

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. Perhaps there will be more general rejoicing at the end of the question. We would like to hear it.

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

They are relieved, Mr. Speaker, that for one second there has been a pause on Shawinigan, but it will continue just seconds from now.

This multibillion dollar countervailing duty against Canadian softwood producers is no secret. It is no secret that it has arrived and it is no secret that it was coming.

For weeks the Minister for International Trade has been talking about appointing a special envoy to try to do something to avoid this terrible situation that has hit the industry now. When will the minister announce the special envoy?

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I thank the opposition leader for a question that really does interest all Canadians. This is a very important day for Canadians.

We are quite concerned with the wrong allegations that the Americans are tabling again. The Canadian industry is quite able to fight these wrong allegations. The idea of an envoy, which the Prime Minister raised with President Bush, I raised with Mr. Zoellick. It is still a concept on which we are working hard and I hope very much that the Americans will take it up as well.

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the minister has indicated that the president seems to be open. When I talked with Vice-President Cheney he was open. This is our appointment. Why are we waiting for the Americans?

When will the minister bring together the softwood industry within this country and get them to agree on the envoy? This is our problem. We need to go after this. We do not wait for the Americans to appoint an envoy for us.

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, we are discussing the mandate right now. I have already agreed with Mr. Zoellick that at the end of the week in Buenos Aires we will be discussing the mandate. We are already working on the Canadian front. It is an idea that we have been promoting. We will be appointing a co-ordinator for the Canadian industry, as we have in the last few months, and we will negotiate a mandate with the United States that will make sure that these two individuals really have something to contribute to the long term solutions of this very important file.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, parliament finds itself in the paradoxical situation of the Prime Minister being both judge and defendant in his own case. He is the one who must admit that he placed himself in a conflict of interest, and he is the one who must agree to an independent inquiry. In addition, under the 1999 contract, the Prime Minister himself will have to pay the costs of his associates' lawyers in the event of an inquiry into this affair.

Is the Prime Minister not very clearly caught up in two conflicts of interest, rather than one, in the Auberge Grand-Mère affair?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's allegations are inaccurate. She has made two allegations and I say that she is wrong.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, in light of the documents released and the statements made in this affair, do the Prime Minister's personal interests not stand square in the way of his ability to satisfactorily perform his duties as Prime Minister?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker. The response is a categorical no. He is doing a good job for all Canadians and recent polls bear this out.

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

April 2nd, 2001 / 2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Canadian Alliance Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, just over an hour ago the United States administration proceeded to impose billions of dollars in countervail duties against our forest industry. American lumber producers are asking for as much as $4 billion to be levelled against the Canadian industry. Our government has had five years to prepare for this day.

Is the government prepared to tell the Americans that our co-operation with respect to energy and on a pipeline from Alaska to the lower 48th state depends on a positive resolution of the softwood lumber issue?

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, let me react to the ridiculously high allocations that the Americans have just, as the member said, imposed. They are talking now about an allocation of 39.5% on subsidies and 28% to 36% on anti-dumping. We believe that these allocations are absolutely wrong and far too high. We are not subsidizing our industry and this government will act in a very responsible way. We will not hold our energy industry hostage to—

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Canadian Alliance Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government's response is not acceptable. The Americans are speaking louder on our behalf than our own government.

Republican congressman, Jim Colby of Arizona, recently stated “Canada shouldn't cave on this. They should stand up and fight this”. Even Tom Stephens of Arkansas, the former president of MacMillan Bloedel, said “I would remind U.S. policy makers that without Canada's energy, they had better learn to speak Arabic and read by candlelight”.

Why is the minister not prepared to be equally as tough and blunt as the Americans seem to be and stand up for our own people?

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, maybe the Alliance, in its position, would like to link these files but that is not the way we do it. We will stand tough on the softwood lumber issue. We will make extreme demands for our rights. We want free trade, demand free trade and deserve free trade. We will be very tough with the Americans in fighting the wrong allocations that they are making but we will not link this to other industries.

Financial Information StrategyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 1995, as part of its overall strategy to improve accountability and improve fiscal management and transparency, the Government of Canada undertook to launch what we call a financial information strategy. It set the date at the time to be April 1, 2001.

My question is for the President of the Treasury Board. Has the government fulfilled its commitment in implementing a financial information strategy.

Financial Information StrategyOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce the successful implementation of the financial information strategy in all the departments and agencies on April 1, 2001.

Let me take this opportunity to thank the members of the Standing Committee of Public Accounts and the auditor general for their support on the FIS, which we have to realize is the biggest change in accountability and financial reporting to parliament since Confederation. The information that it will generate will permit all Canadians and parliamentarians to know more about the results of the programs and related costs.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, over the weekend the European Union took the position that it was going to ratify the Kyoto protocol. Over the same weekend the Minister of the Environment was in Montreal and was wishy-washy on the issue.

Could we have a position from the government? Will it ratify Kyoto in 2002 as scheduled, or not?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has always taken the position that it will make its own decision with respect to ratification. When we believe that the time is right to do so, that timing and that decision will be driven by considerations which are Canadian made. We will not be driven by decisions in other capitals, whether that is Washington or anywhere else.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Minister of Natural Resources could take some instructions from the Minister for International Trade and get tough with the Americans, condemn them for their position and ratify the treaty. The Caribbean countries have all indicated that they will do it. Will the government show some courage and follow suit?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, obviously in the last number of days the international negotiations with respect to Kyoto have run into difficulty because of the position taken by the United States and because of some of the intransigence shown by other parties, including those in Europe.

The Canadian point of view is that we need to work very hard in the international community, not to showboat or to grandstand but to get an agreement on climate change that will truly work for us and for the world.

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, on Friday softwood mills across Atlantic Canada were flooded with a seven page fax from the Minister for International Trade outlining the new export monitoring rules they must follow starting the very next working day.

The minister had five years' warning that this was coming. Why did he wait until the very last day to saddle the industry with these new surprise rules and no time to comply, or is this just a prelude to an export tax?