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House of Commons Hansard #109 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was employees.

Topics

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we recognized that there may be some significant impact on this trade dispute in the industry and amongst the workers. That is why we announced a $246 million program recognizing the potential impact there.

I want to convey to the hon. member that the employment insurance system is there and will be responsive to the needs of those workers who find themselves laid off. In addition, we are working at the community level through the agencies to build increasing opportunities in the communities that may be affected.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

That will be short-lived, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the chair of the Alberta softwood lumber trade council has called the government' s latest softwood lumber proposal to the United States a slap in the face to the industry. He says it ignored Alberta in favour of the input of a few CEO's who just happened to donate to the Liberal Party of Canada.

Why was the input of the broader interests of the lumber industry in western Canada ignored, while the input of a few select corporate donors becomes the official position of the Government of Canada? Will the government immediately withdraw this insulting proposal?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, let me first congratulate the new leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. I am pleased that he still has some interest in free trade after the deal he made on the weekend, and I thank him for it.

Atlantic Canada has been exempted from the countervailing duty and there is nothing in the proposal that went to the Americans last week that would in any way put this exemption into jeopardy. However, Atlantic Canada is suffering because of the anti-dumping duty which we are also trying to get rid of.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, of course we like free trade. We invented it, unlike the minister opposite.

The Minister for International Trade is ignoring the representatives of the softwood lumber industry but listening to the handful of CEOs who donated in excess of $30,000 to the Liberal Party. This proposal is jeopardizing our market share, our economic interests and the future of our fellow citizens.

Will the minister commit immediately to have the Government of Canada withdraw its latest proposal?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt in my mind that the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party used to be interested in free trade. My problem is that he is no longer interested, or less interested. That is our problem today.

As far as the softwood lumber issue is concerned, I can say that, for the past 20 years, the Atlantic region has been exempt from countervailing duties. This is an exemption we negotiated and it is something we are not interested in giving up. We also want the Atlantic provinces to be exempt from antidumping duties.

TradeOral Question Period

June 2nd, 2003 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade.

With some of the most expensive prescriptions in the world, with chemical companies that are overturning bans on toxic chemicals, and with public services like medicare on the negotiating table, does the minister agree that free trade is Brian Mulroney's crown jewel, or is it a millstone around the neck of Canadian sovereignty and Canadian democracy?

TradeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to see the revival of this issue in that corner of the House. It is interesting to see the left-wing party coming to the rescue of the new Conservative Party by questioning Mr. Mulroney's legacy in the House, however, what can I do?

Free trade with the United States has allowed this country to create 600,000 jobs last year in Canada. It has helped us eliminate the deficits we had and contribute to the surpluses that we are having. We will continue, on this side of the House, to improve on--

TradeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver East.

TradeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister might want to be a tad careful because when the Tories dumped Mr. Orchard, he might be coming after his party and his membership.

The WTO and the FTAA hearings are both coming up. We have seen how chapter 11 has overturned the Liberal's own stated policies. Surely the minister should know what Canadians already know, that we want out of NAFTA and out of any future deals.

Will the minister stand up and protect Canadian sovereignty and refuse to sign any new deals?

TradeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, for a long time our government has accompanied every trade agreement that we have signed with Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico with labour and environment agreements.

We believe that, as a government, we should be promoting the benefits of the environment and labour, but we should ensure that the benefits of trade continue to benefit this nation.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is beyond dispute that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service destroyed tape recordings of intercepted telephone conversations of prime suspects in the 1985 Air India bombing case.

Why would CSIS, a government agency, destroy the very tapes crucial to the investigation? The question is compelling and it demands an answer. Will the Solicitor General order the public inquiry that the Prime Minister demanded when he was the opposition leader?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the destruction of the tapes, it has long been known that the tapes are usually destroyed within 30 days. This was a long running court case. On the specifics of this case, as I said earlier, I will not comment because the case is before the courts.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Air India bombing left over 300 people dead, most of them Canadians. The families of these victims deserve to know if there was a cover up within our government. As opposition leader the Prime Minister promised a public inquiry into this bombing. He and the Solicitor General must deliver on that promise.

Will he commit today to uncover the cover up and ensure that the truth comes out about the worst mass murder in Canada's history?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear. There is no cover up and this Solicitor General will not play politics with the issue, as I am seeing from that side of the House. I will not jeopardize this court case by getting into those kinds of tactics and commenting on the case while it is before the courts.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

The softwood lumber crisis continues to hit our regions very hard, and unfortunately the list is growing longer every day: 300 workers in Témiscamingue; 210 in the Beauce; 250 in the Gaspé; 300 in the Mauricie; 450 in Chibougamau; and 450 in Laterrière, in the Saguenay.

I ask the Liberal government whether the figures I have just listed—and which are only a part of the picture—are not enough to justify putting an emergency assistance plan into place to help these regions? What else does the government need?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Liberal

Claude Drouin LiberalSecretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, when the Americans decided to levy those taxes, we took concrete measures to help the industry. Some $110 million has been spent on economic diversification in these communities.

Announcements have already been made in this regard. For example, in the riding of the hon. member from the Bloc Quebecois who asked the question, 50 projects were submitted, of which 17 were accepted, for a total of $1.2 million. Investments of $5 million will be created. Many other projects are being studied. We will be making other announcements shortly, in order to support our communities.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, these regions and these people want to keep working in softwood lumber. They want to be able to earn a living in the lumber industry.

At the GDS mill, 250 jobs have been lost; at Gérard Crête, 300 jobs; at Tembec, 300 jobs; at Coop Laterrière, 450 jobs; at Cedrico, 250 jobs; and at Bowater, 350 jobs.

Do you think that these people want to be retrained for new careers? What they want is to keep the operations going with guaranteed loans. That is what they need.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, just as the hon. member, we too would want all these workers to be working in their jobs in the sawmills and other areas of the softwood lumber industry. That is why resolving the softwood lumber deal is the number one priority for the government.

The Minister for International Trade has done a tremendous job to make this a top priority for us to resolve because that is the way we will deal with it. Meanwhile, we have introduced a number of programs. Whether it be training, developing new markets, or the community adjustment of $110 million, we will continue those programs.

However, we want to monitor--

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Selkirk--Interlake.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Canadian Alliance Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, it has been 13 days since a single cow was detected with BSE. The Canadian economy has taken a $390 million hit so far. The tests on all the depopulated cattle will be completed this week. So far, all the tests have come back negative without another case of BSE.

My question is for the minister of agriculture. Has the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food received a commitment from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Veneman that once the tests are completed that the border will be opened immediately?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I have had a number of discussions with the U.S. secretary of agriculture. Like us, the Americans are waiting for the results of the final tests. Hopefully they will continue to be negative. We have no reason to believe that they will not.

I can assure the hon. member that we have already talked about the types of steps and how quickly we can open the border. However, first of all, we need to have the science so that we can demonstrate that not only to the United States but to everyone else in the world. We look forward to getting that very soon.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Canadian Alliance Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is heartening that at least this minister remembers conversations he had with the U.S. unlike the Prime Minister.

If an immediate full opening of the border does not occur by the first of next week, this BSE issue will become a full blown national economic crisis. One option available could be a partial reopening of the border to Canadian boxed beef from animals less than two years of age.

Is the minister negotiating a partial reopening of the U.S. border to this beef?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, based on the comments I made in the previous answer to the hon. member, yes, we are.

We are having discussions about the possibility of opening the border for such things as veal, which is young beef, and for young animals both carcass and live. However we need the science before we can do that. Again, we hope that the science continues to show what appears to be the case so far which is that this was one isolated animal that did not get into the food chain.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, in 1995, the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard, then Minister of Finance, implemented an additional tax of 1.5¢ per litre of gasoline to fight the deficit. However, this tax has not been needed for several years now, but it is still being maintained by the federal government.

How can the taxpayers not feel wronged by a government that acts in such a way and keeps a tax that is no longer needed?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this question has been discussed many times. Taxes have been reduced by $100 billion since last year. We have cut personal and corporate income taxes, as well as payroll taxes. So, the hon. member should recognize that, with this $100 billion amount, all taxes have been cut.