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House of Commons Hansard #141 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industry.

Topics

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of International Trade was not very clear in his response to the Bloc Québécois' questions on Canada's softwood lumber strategy. He said there was no question of negotiating what had already been determined in the NAFTA tribunal ruling, but he also said that a long term and durable agreement had to be negotiated.

Can the Prime Minister confirm to us that the long term agreement he referred to merely means a total return to free trade for softwood lumber?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the Minister of International Trade is absolutely correct in saying we have no intention whatsoever of negotiating what we have already won. We will keep what we have gained.

As for the negotiations on other NAFTA-related matters, we will certainly be insisting on fair and equitable free trade.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Trade was not talking about other matters, but about softwood lumber. If they want a total return to free trade, we need to point out that the federal government has been pressuring the provinces and the industry for the past two years to agree to a watered-down agreement, one that has been turned down by both the provinces and the industry.

Are we to understand that the long term agreement the Prime Minister refers to will not jeopardize the NAFTA rulings in any way?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. leader of the party opposite is making a fundamental mistake. We have never pressured any province whatsoever to negotiate a watered-down agreement.

Moreover, it is the Government of Canada that has insisted from the start, and continues to insist, that the Americans accept the victories we have won. We have no intention whatsoever of reaching some meaningless agreement just because someone does not accept the dispute resolution mechanisms.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, in connection with the unjustified duties paid by softwood lumber exporters, yesterday in the House the Deputy Prime Minister divided Canada's claim in two parts: first, $3.5 billion on which a final ruling has already been made, and another $1.5 billion on which a final ruling is apparently yet to come.

Why would the federal government divide the total amount in two when a ruling by NAFTA's highest tribunal on August 10 confirmed that the U.S. softwood lumber industry has not been adversely affected, thereby presumably freeing up the $5 billion being unfairly retained at the U.S. border?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what the Deputy Prime Minister said is that we insist that the Americans accept and recognize NAFTA rules. She described them. We continue to insist that the Americans accept the NAFTA rules and deadline as negotiated 15 years ago.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the question was asked in order to find out why we are now talking about $3.5 billion and not the total amount of $5 billion.

How can the federal government justify its desire to negotiate on softwood lumber with our American neighbours again—this has been said many times—when there was a ruling, I will remind you, on August 10?

Will the government admit that court rulings are not negotiated, they are implemented?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and all of us have always said that NAFTA should be respected and that all the deposits should be given back to Canadians.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

He has already spoken with President Bush and Secretary of State Rice. However, the softwood lumber issue has in no way been resolved. His empty words have not been heard, and the industry is still waiting for assistance that is not forthcoming. The Prime Minister said that we have already won. What have we won? President Bush still has the $5 billion.

It is time to set a deadline. Does the Prime Minister not agree?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, obviously, we have won this dispute. That is why we will do our utmost to ensure that the NAFTA provisions are enforced; we will also continue to bring this dispute before American tribunals; and we will also begin to take retaliatory measures.

We have already made representations to the President and other members of Congress. That is why we are seeking other markets for our softwood lumber.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, everybody in the House agrees that the $5 billion should be returned to Canada, but the problem is that the Bush administration is not listening. It does not respect NAFTA.

The Prime Minister calls it a win, yet the funds remain in the United States and the charges continue to apply. The communities and the individuals in this country are still hurting. How this can be described as a win is completely and utterly beyond me and most Canadians.

Is the Prime Minister now willing to admit that his empty words are not getting the respect, that he is simply being chided and scolded for his language, and it is time to--

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of International Trade.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, first, it is true that we won at the ECC, the highest panel in the NAFTA. Second, it is true that the United States has not returned the duties and has refused to do so. This is the reason we are taking action before the U.S. court of international trade. We invite all members of the House to join with us in saying that the NAFTA must be respected.

Border SecurityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, in Canada it is more guns and more danger these days, yet border officials continue to work alone and unarmed. RCMP border policing has been cut back by closing detachments, first in Quebec and now in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Customs Canada figures now show that in the last 10 years, while the government increased head office personnel by a whopping 100%, it dedicated a measly 11% to border and regional offices. It is unbelievable.

How can the government justify starving the regions of resources, then hypocritically blaming the Americans and hanging border officials out to dry?

Border SecurityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we have increased funding dramatically for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The RCMP in fact works as part of the integrated border enforcement teams, working with agencies at all levels on this side of the border and with its counterparts in the United States. In fact, that program is being evaluated right now, but so far has proven to be one of the most remarkable shared law enforcement border incentives that we have taken up in decades.

The CBSA is a new agency with new personnel and new resources, all committed to--

Border SecurityOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Langley.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Sumas Energy 2 is a huge polluting power plant that the U.S. wants to build beside the Canada-U.S. border. It is equivalent to 336,000 vehicles idling 24 hours a day.

All local governments, the province of B.C. and the Conservative Party have continually fought against SE2 but not the Liberal government.

The Prime Minister did not stand up to the U.S. on BSE. He dithered on softwood lumber. He dithered on Devils Lake. He is now dithering on LNG tankers.

When will the Prime Minister finally stand up to the U.S. and say no to SE2?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows very well how much the government has worked on this issue. I have spoken with him often about it. He knows it is a very delicate issue. We are tackling it in a very reasonable way, as we have done on Devils Lake. It is very unfair that he would say that because his party has never cared about this issue. It has never said anything about it. The Government of Canada addressed this issue again with Madam Rice. We will find a solution in both cases.

David DingwallOral Questions

October 25th, 2005 / 2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, the David Dingwall severance fan club has only one remaining member and it seems to be the revenue minister. The question is why. He knows there is no case to make for severance to be paid. He knows Dingwall exempted himself from the spending rules. He seems to agree that Liberals are still entitled to their entitlements.

Mr. Dingwall and the minister disagree on one thing. Mr. Dingwall testified that he spoke to the revenue minister about his entitlements. The minister has denied it in the House.

Is the minister calling David Dingwall a liar?

David DingwallOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Dingwall indicated that it would be best for the Mint for him to resign and I did not agree.

On the question of his legal obligations, I said that this was a matter for the Privy Council Office. This is in the hands of the lawyers. It is a matter for the lawyers to determine subject to the Prime Minister's direction that they pay the legal minimum.

David DingwallOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

They are not responsible for the truth, the lawyers are, Mr. Speaker.

The government has still failed to provide the governmentoperations committee with all of David Dingwall's receipts, and yet the whitewash Dingwall audit is due out tomorrow. One cannot audit expenses if one does not have receipts. The government has made about a zillion promises to Canadians that it would clean things up, but it has failed to take action. We all know that promises and press conferences do not stop corruption. Transparency does.

I would like to give the minister the opportunity to assure Canadians. Will he now assure Canadians that he will provide the public with evidence of all of David Dingwall's expenditures tomorrow?

David DingwallOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House and Canadians that the audit performed by PricewaterhouseCoopers will be released tomorrow morning. All those in the House and across the country who are interested can observe it on the Mint's website.

The Mint has been subject to audit not only by PricewaterhouseCoopers, but also by the Auditor General. I am not sure that a third audit by the hon. member opposite would add much to the professionalism of those two entities.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the American strategy on softwood lumber is to prolong the dispute by taking every possible legal recourse. In the meantime, our industry is struggling, since the $5 billion that it paid in duties is sitting in a trust fund in the United States.

Why is the minister continuing to refuse to grant loan guarantees to these companies, which would prove that the Canadian government means business with regard to this trade dispute? That is what is missing from the Canadian position.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, despite the rhetoric from the other side of the House, Canada is in a better position today to finally resolve this decades long dispute than we have ever been in our history. In terms of helping the softwood lumber industry, loan guarantees are one option, but there are other options. We are looking at our options. We will pick the best option in terms of the softwood lumber industry in Canada.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, in fact, loan guarantees are acceptable under the WTO and within the NAFTA framework, contrary to what some of these ministers are implying.

Why is the government not using this measure for the softwood lumber industry, since there are no legal restrictions preventing it from doing so and since this measure would cost the government very little? We have run out of time.