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House of Commons Hansard #51 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was protect.

Topics

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister of Great Britain appears in the British House of Commons once a week.

I appear three or four times a week and take questions for half of question period every day. Sometimes a lot of them are repetitive coming from that corner, but I reply graciously.

TradeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. government will soon require that all commercial trade with the United States be subject to 24 hours of advance notice before crossing the border.

Canadian exporters say that this will hit both economies hard and is an impossibility for just in time operations, such as the big three auto makers that ship $100 million in components across the border each day.

Can the Prime Minister tell the House when he will be meeting with the President of the United States or discussing this matter directly with the President of the United States?

TradeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite may have heard of the smart border accord and the 30 point plan which is being implemented at the present time.

There are always discussions about new ideas and proposals to come forward, but I would say to the member that the 30 point plan is being implemented extremely well. We are working cooperatively with the Americans. We believe that cooperation programs, such as free and secure trade, which is facilitating commerce between our two countries in the interests of both countries, will succeed.

TradeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the fall of 2001 the Canadian Alliance and Canadian industry told the government to take a leadership role in addressing American security concerns.

The government's failure to do so endangers Canadian trade, Canadian industries and Canadian jobs. Because the government has failed to adequately address the security concerns of our neighbours, we are now faced with this 24 hour notification. The 30 point plan has failed to address the concerns of our American colleagues.

Is the government's relationship with the United States so bad that we cannot get an exemption from the 24 hour notification?

TradeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that the member opposite not engage in fearmongering nor should he assume that issues that are under discussion have been finalized. They have not.

We are working cooperatively with the Americans to ensure that our border is smarter, and that “secure-er”, but also ensuring that trade moves between our two countries because that is in the interests of both Canadians and Americans.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister for International Trade will be in the United States on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the softwood lumber crisis. However, we are extremely concerned about his contradictory statements regarding the possibility of an export tax

Will the minister very clearly confirm that Canada's position is still to seek a resolution before the international tribunals, and that there is no question of giving in to the Americans and imposing an export tax on Canadian lumber, as his recent statements unfortunately seem to suggest?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, discussions were being held all weekend in Washington. I will, in fact, be in Washington Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss numerous issues with the United States. The border situation and wheat will certainly be on the agenda. I also expect to talk about the softwood lumber issue.

In this regard, I have always said that our government's objective is very clear; it is to find a long term solution and ensure the free trade of softwood lumber, as there is with other goods.

Also, we have always felt that we have an excellent case before the tribunals. Of course, since this process takes a long time, we are continuing dialogue and negotiations at the same time to try to reach a more rapid resolution.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, we must let this case go all the way before the tribunals. The industry and the workers need help.

How can the minister justify the fact that phase two of his plan is still non-existent, despite the government's promises in this regard and despite the fact that the industry and workers are in great need of assistance to get through this trade war?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to clarify a little what the member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques asked me to do regarding this tax. I did not have the chance to do so during my first answer.

With regard to the export tax, I must say that this remedy will be taken only after consulting the industry and, of course, the provinces, as we are presently doing, but only within an agreement to transition to free trade. Our government has no intention of proposing this as either a remedy or as a means. There is still much work to be done in this matter.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, a border tax but not necessarily a border tax. The Minister for International Trade is unclear as to why he is going to Washington this week, has delivered an unclear position on softwood and is part of a government that regularly offends the U.S. administration.

Last week the minister said his trip was not about softwood. Two days later the minister reversed himself and said he was going to Washington for softwood meetings.

Quite simply, what is the minister's position? What is Canada's negotiating position? What is it?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I am going to Washington for two days. I will be speaking to the United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington. Does the member imagine that I would go to Washington without raising the softwood lumber issue? The United States is a country to which we export more than 80% of our exports. Do we think I will be talking about other files and other exports? Of course, because I want us to continue to do great business in the United States, so I will be going to Washington to promote Canada's interests, including those in softwood lumber.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Then why, Mr. Speaker, did the minister's office say that there definitely were not softwood meetings this week?

Canadian provincial and lumber stakeholders are in Washington talking to the U.S. Department of Commerce, all 200 of them. Some are there for self-preservation, some believe a quick deal is the answer and some, such as the $2 billion independent British Columbia lumber remanufacturers, are never invited.

Meanwhile, the minister has compromised free trade in lumber by hinting at this border tax. If the minister cannot come up with coherent leadership or positioning, why does the minister not just stay home?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I will be visiting Washington with a group of parliamentarians. I hope the official opposition will be part of that delegation tomorrow, because for two days we will be calling American congressmen's and senators' attention to Canadian interests and promoting them.

As for the remanufacturers, I am well aware of the difficulties that the remanufacturers are going through in the present dispute over softwood lumber, and I want them to know that they are very welcome in Washington at any time, that we consult with industries and we consult with the provinces, and the remanufacturers association's views are absolutely welcome if they want to join us in Washington any time.

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Gaudet Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, Americans are getting around the tariff rate quota that limits dairy product imports. In order to get around the 50% rule, American producers dilute their milk byproducts by adding sugar and this has contributed to Quebec farmers losing 3% of the market.

Will the Minister of Agriculture follow the dairy farmers' suggestions and decrease the 50% threshold, making it more difficult for foreign producers to dilute their products?

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the government has made it very clear to the dairy producers in Canada and to all supply management producers in Canada, and we have made it a very strong component of our initial negotiation position at the WTO, that marketing decisions will be made in Canada. In the dairy industry there are three pillars of that industry that are very important and necessary for the strength and the continuation of the supply management regime in Canada. We will work to maintain that as we always have, and we have demonstrated that we have been successful.

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Gaudet Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec dairy farmers already criticized the lax attitude by the government during the national Liberal caucus meeting in Chicoutimi last summer. The Minister of Agriculture promised them an inquiry and a report.

Six months later, can the minister tell us the results of his inquiry?

Dairy IndustryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the trade department and the agriculture department have been meeting with the industry. We put together a working group as a result of that meeting with the dairy industry in Chicoutimi this summer, and that working group will be reporting to the Minister for International Trade and me in the very near future with a number of recommendations. We will take it from there, in full consideration of every way in which we can continue to support the dairy industry as we have in the past.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

February 3rd, 2003 / 2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, on January 8 the justice minister said that KPMG was “contracted to...verify the adequacy” of the gun registry's “financial systems” and confirm “the validity of the Program's financial statements”.

The minister's comments seemed to leave little room for KPMG to find any mistakes with his billion dollar boondoggle. Will he please explain to Parliament how the consultants were able to find financial records that the Auditor General could not, or is this just an elaborate spin job?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, since the tabling of the Auditor General's report, we on this side of the House have been saying, first, that we believe in our policy and in gun control and in public safety, and as well, we have been talking about cost and efficiency, and transparency as well.

We have asked for these two reports. I am pleased to tell the House that after question period this afternoon, I will table the two reports, the one from KPMG and the one from Mr. Hession on the management.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, this is not a gun control issue. This is a government out of control issue.

The justice minister has been banking his future and the future of the billion dollar gun registry on two consultants' reports to help him answer questions he has not been able to answer for the last two months.

The Auditor General said the gun registry will not be fully implemented for three or four years. Is the minister prepared to tell us today how long it is going to take to fully implement the gun registry and how much is it really going to cost?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, actually the program is up and running, and of course it is running at low cost at the present time.

I know as well that the hon. member does not like it, but we have said that we like our policy. We like this policy because it is about public safety, and we will fix the problems. It is a policy that is highly supported by Canadians. We said that we wanted to be transparent and we wanted to fix the problem, so this afternoon, and it is another stage, we will table the two reports and after that we will come forward with a good plan of action for Canadians.

Canadian Space ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Liberal Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were all dismayed by the space shuttle Columbia disaster on the weekend. On behalf of all Canadians, allow me to offer our sincerest condolences to the families.

My question is for the industry minister. In this context, can the minister tell us what his intentions are for the future of the Canadian Space Program?

Canadian Space ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency, I am certain that all Canadians and my hon. colleagues join me in offering our sincerest condolences to the families and loved ones of the seven courageous members of the space shuttle Columbia crew.

For 40 years, Canada has worked closely with NASA in a true partnership.

I can tell the member and the House that Canada and its space agency are determined to continue the international effort in space exploration. I can also say we will work closely with NASA, assisting it to determine the cause of the tragedy, and we will fly again with the Americans. Eighty per cent--

Canadian Space ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Halifax.

IraqOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want clarity. They want the government to be an unapologetic voice for peace.

Why are these Liberals so afraid to differ from the Alliance? Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela and Lloyd Axworthy all are pleading for the voices of peace to prevail. Why is Canada refusing to be one of those voices?