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House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the question was: Why did it take so long?

All these delays are enormously costly. Meat packers, cattle feeder operations, everybody is suffering deep losses right now. The minister has said that he has approached cabinet for a compensation package. Producers and feeders have to know whether compensation is coming and, if it is, in what form.

When will the minister release the details of his mad cow compensation package? When will we hear it?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, as has already been stated by the Minister of Transport, cabinet and the government are discussing it. We are also discussing it with the industry and with provincial governments.

I will repeat that the best compensation is an open border. We are concentrating on that, but we are not ignoring the other aspects of the seriousness of this to the industry.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, while softwood lumber companies are announcing layoffs and a slowdown of their activities, the secretary of state for regional development is selling his program for economic diversification. Workers in the softwood lumber sector do not want to change sectors, as the minister is proposing. They want to get their jobs back, that is all.

Four hundred and fifty forestry workers from the Coopérative forestière de Laterrière in my riding lost their jobs and want to get them back.

Does the minister not understand that what the cooperative needs, more than anything else, is a loan guarantee to allow it to resume its activities and rehire its workers?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there was a statement, a bit earlier, that we wanted to let the industry die. That is just about the most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard here in the House. The role of the government is to defend people and to support them, and that is what we are doing, but we do not wish to harm the industry. We want people to stay in their chosen field.

However, the Americans are maintaining the status quo on this and feel that we are subsidizing the industry, which is not the case. Meanwhile, we are trying to come up with measures to diversify the economy in the regions. That is what we are doing.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the secretary of state's measures to promote economic diversification do nothing to help the 450 workers at Laterrière right now. Retraining them for another sector is fine and dandy, but what they need if they want to get their old jobs back is a loan guarantee for the cooperative.

Why is this government, which is so out of touch with reality, stubbornly refusing a solution that costs so little, yet is so right and obvious?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, this was one of the options that was looked at in phase one, which we announced at the time. It is on the table. We never removed it from the table. However we have to make sure we look at all the factors that are out there.

It is something the government has reviewed but no final decision has been made on it. It is still on the table. As part of phase two, if we do not get an agreement there is no doubt we will have to look at options, such as the hon. member has put forward.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, once again the government is sending Canadian Forces into danger without proper equipment.

The Canadian Forces is scrambling to buy basic equipment like proper assault rifles, like laser sights, like night vision goggles. The military has sped up the orders for the equipment by six months but it still will not receive them in time for its mission in Afghanistan.

Why does the government not learn from its past mistakes and ensure our troops are fully equipped before it sends them into danger?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it is nice to see the hon. member back in the House after a bit of an absence and to be subjected once again to his unique style of questioning.

On the issue, I have made it abundantly clear to the military some months ago that given the danger and security of this mission, no effort was to be spared and no money was to be spared to ensure that our troops were equipped with equipment to maximize their safety, including the use of unmanned aerial vehicles on time in the field. It is on target to do so.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, what the minister is saying in fact is quite different from what the outgoing head of the army says. He says that our military personnel are overstretched and that they cannot continue at the current level of commitment. The new head of the army says that our forces are desperately short of soldiers.

Yet the minister says he will not increase the number of military personnel, even as his government asks for troops in the Congo and in the Israeli-Palestinian region.

Why will the government not listen to the most senior military officers and take on more troops and fewer missions?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has conveniently changed the subject. Overstretched is not the same as under equipped.

Yes, as I have said many times in the House, the military is overstretched and we are addressing that issue. However the topic of his first question was whether it was appropriately equipped.

Given that Afghanistan is a dangerous and volatile place, it is our top priority to ensure that our troops have all the equipment on time that is needed to maximize their safety in the field. We are absolutely on course to that end.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Finance confirmed that he had maintained the tax of 1.5¢ per litre of gasoline to fight the deficit, but that he had implemented other income tax cuts.

Can the minister see that his budget decisions are very unfair from a fiscal point of view, since taxi drivers and truckers are paying more than their fair share of the anti-deficit tax he has chosen to maintain, even though their incomes are too low for them to benefit from income tax cuts?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vaughan—King—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, there is actually nothing unfair about a tax that goes into general revenues which helps us with health care and with infrastructure. It also helps us to create the type of environment that has resulted in the creation of over 660,000 jobs from January 1, 2002. It is a leading G7 performance.

I am sure that is good news for the country of Canada. It might not be good news for him.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, that does not make this tax any more just.

How can the minister explain his decision to maintain the anti-deficit tax of 1.5¢ per litre of gasoline, even though this penalizes the regions and the consumers very heavily, because it adds to the cost of transportation and thereby increases the price of all goods in a region?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Vaughan—King—Aurora Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, what is unfair is the hon. member's question, trying to say that somehow the tax itself is unfair.

Really there is nothing wrong. Actually the type of economic plan we have created for Canadians has been one that has created a stellar performance across the world. People are talking about how Canada has been able to reduce taxes, liberate its market, create the type of innovative economy that speaks to being number one.

We will try to do better than number one.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have just passed the 40th anniversary of the first delivery of the Sea King helicopters. That same year President Kennedy was shot, the Beatles released their first album, our present Prime Minister was elected to Parliament for his first time and I turned 11.

We have all aged since then, some less gracefully than others, that is for sure. After 10 years of promised replacements that never show, our troops are still flying those same Sea King helicopters from 1963.

How much longer does this Prime Minister intend to keep the procurement of new choppers up in the air?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, my colleague the Minister of Public Works and I have stated many times that it is a top priority for us to get the new helicopter as quickly as possible.

We have already moved to rebundle the contract which everybody agrees will result in a faster delivery. We are now working very closely with the military to ensure that once it gets the helicopters there is a minimum delay before they are usable.

We are also in discussion with industry, all to the same end, to get that new helicopter as fast as possible.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

That is glacial speed, Mr. Speaker. He talked about overstretched and under equipped. I do have to agree with him there, that is for sure.

It is the 40th anniversary of the Sea Kings but our troops certainly are not breaking out any party hats. The Prime Minister cancelled the replacement contract 10 years ago, and he has waffled on new procurements since a long time. When it comes to making his decision, he is either unwilling or incapable.

Why will the government and the Prime Minister not just admit that he is leaving this whole mess to the next prime minister?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I think I have already answered the question about speed of delivery, that we are working on all cylinders to get that new helicopter as fast as we possibly can. I think that was my answer to the hon. member's first question. It is also my answer to her second question.

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, last December the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans announced a new approach to the environmental regulation of placer gold mining in the Yukon.

The announcement will seriously affect a very important industry in my riding. While all Yukoners want to continue protecting the environment, many have voiced their fears that DFO is destroying this historically important industry.

Since the decision, the minister has shown leadership by collaborating with Yukoners to discuss making changes to the proposed new regime to allow placer mining and the Yukon economy to have a healthy future.

Could the minister update the House about the progress being made to help placer mining in the Yukon?

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member for Yukon, as well as Senator Christensen, for their great work on behalf of all Yukoners.

Since my announcement last December, important discussions have been taking place with the people most affected. Last week my department along with the Yukon government, the Council of Yukon First Nations and the Klondike Placer Miners' Association agreed to work together to develop a new regime that protects fish and fish habitat while allowing for a viable placer mining industry.

With this goal in mind, representatives of these groups have agreed to an implementation steering committee to develop--

Fisheries and OceansOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Cumberland--Colchester.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans told the Halifax Herald that quotas for softwood lumber were all right under certain circumstances.

It is strange because on May 29 the very same minister received a letter from the Maritime Lumber Bureau that said that it was excluded from quota and that it must again be excluded from any attempt to allocate quota.

The Premier of Nova Scotia has said, no quotas. The industry says, no quotas.

Did the Minister for International Trade agree with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans when he went against the entire province of Nova Scotia and said that it was okay to drag Atlantic Canada into the quota regime?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, we have worked very hard as a united country in the last two and a half years, and I want to thank all of those from all the provinces and all the regions in the country who have stood together to ensure that we can resolve this on a long term basis.

It continues to be our intention to resolve the problems, including the one that we are having in Atlantic Canada. There have been anti-dumping duties charged against Atlantic Canada which we have found to be punitive and which the Maritime Bureau has also asked us to work on its behalf and help remove these anti-dumping tariffs.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, if we are such a united country and have such a united front, why do the Premiers of Newfoundland, New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Nova Scotia write to the minister and say, no quotas? Why has the Alberta softwood trade council said, no quotas? Why does the British Columbia forestry minister now say, no quotas, that they reject this proposal?

If six provinces are demanding that this proposal be withdrawn, why is the government trying to ram this deal down everybody throats, and why the attack on Atlantic Canada?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, this proposal has been conveyed to the United States after consultations. This is not a proposal we are absolutely trying to ram down the throat of anyone.

It is our duty to continue to maintain a healthy dialogue with the Americans. Those people over there would be the first ones to reproach us for not trying harder to bring the Americans back to the negotiating table. This is what we are trying to do.