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House of Commons Hansard #35 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.

Topics

Huguette PlourdeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the dedication of someone who is very involved in my riding of Madawaska—Restigouche.

Recently, Huguette Plourde of Saint-Léonard received the Racine provincial and regional award as intervener of the year in the field of cultural development.

The Racine award in the intervener of the year category is awarded to professionals or volunteers from a member organization who stand out for their exceptional dedication to cultural development within their community. The recipient of the provincial title of intervener of the year is selected from among the recipients from each region.

Huguette Plourde is actively involved in the Association culturelle du Haut-Saint-Jean and works tirelessly to promote cultural development.

Obviously, any individual who is as involved as Ms. Plourde plays a key role in the development of our communities and deserves our most heartfelt congratulations and our support.

This is why I wanted to acknowledge in this House today the valiant efforts of Huguette Plourde.

Tommy DouglasStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Ed Broadbent NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are few human beings whose particular mix in qualities make us all stand and say “This is greatness”. Such was the incredible Tommy Douglas.

First for the people of Saskatchewan, then for all Canadians, he brought to public life integrity, courage, humour and most of all, to use a phrase appropriate to his generation, a passionate commitment to the common man.

More than any other he led in transforming a nation. Tommy showed how political power in a democracy should be used, not to keep the people down but to raise them up. His political firsts were many, among them: workers' rights, pensions, and of course health care as a right of citizenship.

As premier and then here as leader of the New Democratic Party, his respect for the dignity of others brought him the affection of his political opponents. It earned him the admiration of all Canadians. Last night, on the CBC, a grateful nation paid homage to his greatness.

Canada-U.S. RelationsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the people of Essex extend a warm welcome to George Bush, President of our friend and greatest trading partner, the United States. We look for solutions to problems at the Essex-Windsor border, the busiest crossing in the world with $1 million per minute of trade.

This Liberal government has mismanaged our critical trade relationship, jeopardizing Canadian jobs with anti-American insults, lax marijuana laws and a Prime Minister who has failed to build border infrastructure and get our borders opened to Canadian exports.

The people of Essex have paid a steep price as a result: major seed contracts, lost; suppliers to local businesses, lost; auto jobs, lost; and major investments in our region, lost. The Prime Minister must seize upon the visit of President Bush to make amends and set a new course for healthy relations with the U.S.

If he will not, then let him step aside and a Conservative government will do it for him.

Visit of U.S. PresidentStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, we welcome U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife to Ottawa and wish him a successful term of office following his re-election.

Winning freedom and building peace represent the essence of humanity. The people of Quebec denounce and strongly condemn terrorism as well as attacks on human rights in any form, but we are also firmly opposed to the unnecessary use of weapons and the militarization of space.

We hope that the President's visit will pave the way for the resolution of the Canada-U.S. disputes concerning softwood lumber and the mad cow crisis, among others. Tens of thousands of families across Quebec and Canada are suffering and paying the price for these disputes every day.

The American people are our neighbours as well as our natural allies, and the people of Quebec reiterate their friendship for them.

Canada-U.S. RelationsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Myron Thompson Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, today is a great day in the relationship between two good friends, the United States and Canada.

Although Mr. Bush may encounter many protesters today, I am confident that he realizes they do not represent the views of all Canadians. I also hope that the protesters understand that our democracy allows them the freedom to protest. Before the U.S. coalition brought democracy to countries such as Afghanistan, a protest like this would have never been tolerated there.

I know the President understands that democracy often comes at a cost and is paid for by the members of our military. My family is extremely proud of my youngest son, Dennis, who is currently serving in the U.S. Army and has just recently returned from Iraq.

I stand with many Canadian military parents who have children serving in the Canadian, U.S., Australian and British militaries. I want them to know I share in their sacrifice and support them 100%.

Sikh CommunityStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Carr Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in this House to convey my heartfelt greetings and good wishes to the members of the Sikh community on the auspicious occasion of Gurpurab, which the community celebrated this past weekend across Canada. It marks the celebration of Guru Nanak Dev Ji's birthday. He was the founder of the Sikh religion and one of the greatest spiritual teachers known to humanity.

He preached that all religions were a different path leading to the same destination and therefore deserved the respect of all. His message reached all sectors of society and thus became the foundation upon which Sikhdom developed. The teaching of the guru served as an inspiration not only to Sikhs but to all humankind.

This historic event in the Sikh religion draws families and friends together in a spirit of goodwill, peace and preserving our community's legacy of cultural diversity upon which Canada is founded.

I ask the Sikh community across Canada to please accept my best wishes along with those of my parliamentary colleagues for a most meaningful celebration.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, Thomas Axworthy, former aide to former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, says that “while Americans continue to like us, they no longer respect us”.

Among other things, Canada shares with the United States the defence of North America and a commitment to fight terrorism. Yet Mr. Axworthy notes that the government's under-spending on the military has now reached a crisis level and that within five years we will have no usable armed forces left.

How does the government expect Canada to positively influence our American neighbours when we continually fail to pull our weight in continental and world affairs?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I can only wish that the hon. member and all hon. members had been in the room with us just a couple of hours ago with President Bush. He looked across the table and said to me, when we were talking about the defence of North America and what we were doing around the world, “Your troops are among the most admired in the world. Our generals admire them. We work with them. We absolutely want more of you”.

They do not want that sort of rhetoric. They want more real assets, not words.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, no one is disputing that, least of all the Conservative Party of Canada. We have to support our armed forces.

The American border has been closed now to Canadian cattle for over 18 months. Farmers are desperate. The best assurance program that the government can give would be to announce a firm date when the border will be open.

On Sunday the Minister of Foreign Affairs told us that President Bush would be proposing a timetable with clear commitments to open the border. Later, the minister's aides tried to retract that commitment.

Could the Prime Minister affirm whether there is in fact a fixed timetable to reopen the Canadian border so that cattle can get in to the United States?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, there was no retraction. The reality is that a week ago the Americans announced that the rule had moved from the USDA to the OMB. The OMB process is one that has a time-specific timeline on it of 90 days. It is that clock that has begun to run. We were pleased to see that particular progress. I was pleased to hear the President today make a commitment to move that process along as expeditiously as possible.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, in spite of the WTO and NAFTA decisions in our favour on the softwood issue, the Liberal government has failed to get the borders reopened. John Manley said that a good relationship is essential in order to resolve disputes.

Did the Prime Minister succeed in convincing Mr. Bush to put an end to protectionism?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, let me reassure the hon. member that the Prime Minister and the President had a very good set of meetings this morning. I was honoured to be present at two of those meetings.

Let me reassure the hon. member that this is in fact a very positive relationship. It is a strong relationship. Each of us as ministers works with our counterparts to deliver on our shared objectives. Let me reassure the hon. member that the Canada-U.S. relationship is not only unique, it is strong, and we are proud of our relationship with our friends.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Belinda Stronach Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of International Trade. Yesterday at the standing committee the Minister of Foreign Affairs suggested that he did not need face time in Washington to build that critical relationship. He actually suggested that some dinners at international meetings, some telephone calls and BlackBerry messages would suffice.

The BSE border closure has cost Canadian industries $5 billion, and almost $4 billion in softwood money lies threatened by the Byrd amendment. Obviously BlackBerry messages are not good enough. Beyond the President's visit today, what are the minister's plans to build a more productive political relationship with the U.S.?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the Prime Minister announced on April 29 that we would open an advocacy secretariat in Washington. That secretariat is now open.

Second, we have the enhanced representation initiative of the Government of Canada. We have opened seven new consulates in the United States and have upgraded two in status. I attended at the Miami opening two weeks ago. In addition, we have appointed 20 honorary consuls. We take this relationship very seriously.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Belinda Stronach Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. President is making his first official visit to Canada only after four years in office. This is nothing for the government to crow about.

On the Byrd amendment, consulting Canadian business will not help to repeal it. Had the Liberal government implemented a high level political strategy for the U.S. a long time ago, we might not even be facing Byrd.

The European Union and six other countries are in the same boat with us on Byrd. Could the Minister of International Trade tell Canadian softwood producers why he is not taking the lead in organizing ministers from these other like-minded countries to push as a group for the repeal of Byrd?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, we have of course been in very close touch with the 10 other members of the WTO that have taken action against the United States in terms of Byrd.

It is absolutely essential that the United States respect its international trade obligations under the WTO and repeal the Byrd amendment. We will continue to make that our preferred route as opposed to retaliation.

If it does not, however, we will be forced to retaliate and shall.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Question Period

November 30th, 2004 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the mad cow crisis has been with us for 18 months now. The producers of Quebec are desperate because the federal measures do not meet their needs, and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has only just realized that there is a specific problem with cull cattle. It is about time.

Since the border will be opening up only in six months at best, does the minister realize that, if Quebec producers are going to survive, special federal assistance is needed right now to deal with the specific problems of cull?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

First of all, Mr. Speaker, this minister realized the issue with Quebec producers long before it came to the attention of the hon. member.

If the hon. member had been following this particular issue, he would have seen the $366 million under business risk management that has flowed to the Province of Quebec. If the member had been following the situation, he would have realized that the BSE repositioning package of September 10 is providing assistance to Quebec producers. We will continue to work with Quebec producers to help them with the current situation.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were told a few months ago that the plan was perfect. Now they are looking for another because they realized that it was not.

Assuming the minister was right in telling us that he was aware of the problem long before we were, I have one very simple question for him. If he knew for so long, why did he do nothing?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Yes, Mr. Speaker, $366 million, and that is doing nothing according to the Bloc, because they are in opposition and always will be in opposition.

On this side we have made real investments with real dollars to assist Quebec producers through this situation. We have not depended on empty rhetoric. We have depended on real programs that are flowing to Quebec producers this very day.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Denise Poirier-Rivard Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Michael McCain, a leader in the food industry, recently declared with reference to the mad cow crisis that it was high time the Canadian government took a leadership role and set up regional zones with the full cooperation and support of the industry.

Will the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food admit that if animal health monitoring practices had been regionalized, as we have been asking for a very long time, Quebec's farmers would not have had to sustain huge losses because of one solitary case of mad cow in Alberta?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the idea of utilizing regional zones in certain commodities and with certain livestock may make some sense, but clearly when we see the reaction from our trading partners in respect of BSE there is little doubt that the impact would have been felt nationally.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Denise Poirier-Rivard Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has suggested that the American border will open to Canadian beef gradually over a six month period.

Does the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food understand that the farmers of Quebec cannot sustain financial losses for yet another six long months, and that he must, urgently, announce a special aid package for cull cattle?

The farmers are calling out for help and they need it right now.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, as was mentioned in a previous question, the fact that the rule change moved into the OMB and began a clock that is counting down from 90 days, and now is somewhere in the order of 82 or 83 days, is progress.

The hon. member has put forward some very constructive and concise questions in respect of dealing with Quebec producers. There are particular issues in that respect. We have been engaged in conversations with the industry and with the Government of Quebec. In addition to all of the assistance we have provided in the past, we will continue to work with them.

Textile and Clothing IndustryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

Thousands of jobs in Canada's garment industry are at risk right now because the minister has not signed off on an extension of the duty remissions for imported fabrics. All it takes is the stroke of a pen and thousands of jobs could be protected right now. We will provide him with the pen if he will sign today. This would protect jobs in Winnipeg, in Vancouver, in Toronto, in Montreal, all across the country.

Why will the minister not act? Will he tell us today that he will sign off on this extension?