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House of Commons Hansard #55 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

Equalization ProgramOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy, NB

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday the Minister of National Revenue referred to a province receiving equalization payments as being “mired in the world of have not clamouring for subsidies”.

As Minister of National Revenue, his remarks were totally inappropriate and degrading. Canadians in so-called have not provinces work just as hard as anyone and positive attitudes can be found in any part of Canada. The minister's remarks were insulting and divisive and I call on him to apologize in the House.

Equalization ProgramOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker--

Equalization ProgramOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Equalization ProgramOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The Minister of Finance has risen and the Chair recognized the minister. I know members may not want to hear what the minister has to say, but he is rising to answer and we have to hear the answer. The hon. Minister of Finance has the floor.

Equalization ProgramOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, Saskatchewan is happily now emerging from a very difficult decade. Equalization has been there to help with several billions of dollars over the course of the last number of years, including $710 million extra this past year.

One of the biggest challenges Saskatchewan has had to deal with, unfortunately, is the legacy of debt inherited from a previous era, but notwithstanding that sad legacy, Saskatchewan has graduated to become one of Canada's most successful provinces.

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, the snow crab fishery in Cape Breton and eastern Nova Scotia has emerged as the economic engine which drives the economy of many coastal communities. Both the permanent and temporary snow crab fleets in CFA 23 and CFA 24 are waiting anxiously for a report from the independent panel on resource management on a crab sharing plan.

Could the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans tell the House how those talks are progressing and when the fishermen can expect some answers?

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I agree with my hon. colleague about the importance of the fishery to his region. There has been some debate about how we should reallocate or re-establish the allocation formula for snow crab in that area. That is why I appointed an independent panel to provide me with advice on resolving these issues. I am looking forward to receiving that report in the near future.

Canada Labour CodeOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Wal-Mart's closure of its first unionized store is being characterized as economic terrorism, a blatant attempt to smash organizing activities across the country.

Wal-Mart has forced manufacturers to relocate overseas at the cost of thousands of Canadian jobs and now it has sent a message to its 70,000 Canadian workers telling them that they do not have the right to organize, they do not have the right to collective bargaining, and they do not have the right to decent wages or hours of work.

What is the government going to do to protect Canadian workers from corporate bullies like Wal-Mart?

Canada Labour CodeOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

London North Centre Ontario

Liberal

Joe Fontana LiberalMinister of Labour and Housing

First of all, Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the hon. member would want to clarify and make clear that this is a provincial jurisdiction and not a federal jurisdiction. Second, though, it is this government that truly believes, under part I of the Canada Labour Code, in collective bargaining. We believe that both workers and employers have an opportunity and obligation to build the best economy, to be fair and equitable to each other and to build a Canadian society that we can all be proud of.

Canada Labour CodeOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, those words do not do us an awful lot of good after the first comment of “it's not my responsibility”.

The fact of the matter is that Wal-Mart is an international corporation. This is affecting Canadians right across the country. In Saskatchewan, for instance, right now Wal-Mart is challenging the laws that protect workers' rights during an organizing drive. This is a constitutional matter in Saskatchewan.

What is the minister going to do to stand up for those workers in Saskatchewan who have a right to have their constitutional rights protected?

Canada Labour CodeOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

London North Centre Ontario

Liberal

Joe Fontana LiberalMinister of Labour and Housing

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the hon. member knows, because he used to be in the legislature himself, that this is a federation and we do have shared jurisdiction. In fact, federal jurisdiction is telecommunications, transportation and air, but with regard to retail business throughout the country, it is provincial jurisdiction that matters. Therefore, he should lobby the labour ministers in those provincial jurisdictions, as I will try to do, to make sure that employers protect employees' rights across this country.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Anders Conservative Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, in just five short days the Kyoto protocol will come into effect. To meet the requirements, Canada will be forced to either slash and burn our economy or pay off foreign countries. The government's only plan so far has been to hire a comic. That is funny because the Liberal plan is a bad joke.

Even government bureaucrats are telling us that we are going to be significantly short of the Kyoto targets. Will the minister tell us if the Kyoto plan is to bankrupt Canadian industry or force a taxpayer revolt?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

To the contrary, Mr. Speaker, I think the Kyoto protocol and what we need to do in order to do our share for this planet in order to decrease greenhouse gas emissions is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen our economy, to modernize, to use better technology and to have less waste in Canada. What is a bad joke is the question from my hon. colleague.

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would like to resume the conversation I have been having over the last week or so with the Minister of Natural Resources concerning the cleanup of abandoned uranium mines in northern Saskatchewan, although I must admit it has not been much of a conversation because I have been asking all the questions but the minister has not provided any answers.

The province of Saskatchewan has committed to its share of funding for this cleanup project, but the government and the minister, while they have made many promises, have made absolutely no commitments. Will the minister commit today to the funding of this project or is this just another case of empty promises?

Natural ResourcesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the question is completely unfair. The minister is working very hard on the file. In the last budget we invested $3.5 billion to address contaminated sites.

What is very deplorable is that although the member asks the question, when the finance critic of his party requested what that party needed for this budget, he did not say a word about contaminated sites, not a word about the environment, not a word about national parks, not a word about clean air, and not a word about clean water. Those members do not give a damn.

Canada Labour CodeOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Manitoba NDP government is planning to proceed with a plan to force every worker on the Red River floodway expansion to unionize, despite the fact that 95% of Manitoba's construction companies are not unionized. This seems to be a clear attempt to help union boss buddies do by the back door what they have not been able to do by the front door.

Given the fact that the federal government is a fifty-fifty partner in this, I give it the opportunity today to make it clear that it opposes the forced unionization of Manitoba construction workers.

Canada Labour CodeOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the hyperbole and energy in the member's question perhaps overstate the case a bit. There is the provincial government, along with the federal government, and there has been a corporation set up to manage this.

We have expressed our concerns about activities that might increase the costs or delay the build. We want this necessary infrastructure built as quickly as it reasonably can be. I have been in conversations with the premier of the province. There are arbitrators in place. There will be a solution to this.

Canada Labour CodeOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is not the Liberal Party's business if workers in Manitoba choose to unionize. It is not the NDP's business if workers in Manitoba choose to unionize. It is the workers' right to decide how they organize.

This $2.5 million to $5 million mistake in dogmatic direction provided by these two parties is a ridiculous waste of taxpayers' money. I recognize that the minister may be a busy man, but is he too busy to stand up for the workers of Manitoba? Is he too busy to stand up for the taxpayers of Canada?

Canada Labour CodeOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the use of labour agreements in some form or another is common in large projects. They have been used many times. They respect the rights of non-unionized employers as well as unionized employers. The premier of the province is aware of this. We are negotiating on these very processes and I am sure we will reach a conclusion that respects the rights of everyone involved.

Tobacco FarmingOral Question Period

February 11th, 2005 / 11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, several weeks before the election call, the government announced $70 million in financial aid for tobacco producers in Ontario and Quebec hit by plummeting demand. Seven months after the election, tobacco producers in Quebec still do not know the terms of this aid package.

What explanation can the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food give for such an unreasonably long delay?

Tobacco FarmingOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Rural Development)

Mr. Speaker, it is not very hard to explain. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, in discussions and through the department with industry, wants to do the right thing by producers and that is what we are trying to do: to continue to hold those kinds of discussions and at the end of the day meet our obligations and protect the needs of producers.

Tobacco FarmingOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to staff at the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food, aid for Quebec is being blocked by a dispute in Ontario.

Given that the situation in Quebec is urgent, that the number of tobacco producers has dropped from 55 to 17 in two years and that they need help to switch to alternate crops, will the minister take action and immediately implement a compensation package for Quebec tobacco producers, who are almost all located in the Lanaudière region?

Tobacco FarmingOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Rural Development)

Again, Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada takes into account the interests of all producers in the country, including those in the province of Quebec as well as those in Ontario. The bottom line at the end of the day is that we want to do the right thing for producers in terms of protecting their interests into the future for their efforts they have put into that industry.

Canadian National RailwayOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour and Housing. The employees of CN and the Teamsters rail union are in a legal strike position.

The Canada Labour Code requires the parties to have an agreement in place to specify the supply of services during the strike to prevent an immediate and serious danger to the safety and health of the public. The agreement the parties have fails to do so. The minister has applied to Industrial Relations Board to set the services.

What services is the minister requesting be provided during the strike and how will this impact on the economic interests of farmers, grain companies and other businesses?

Canadian National RailwayOral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

London North Centre Ontario

Liberal

Joe Fontana LiberalMinister of Labour and Housing

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member has just mentioned, I referred the issue of the maintenance of service to the CIRB and in due course it will make that decision.

I should also point out to the hon. member and the House that CN and the employees are at the mediation table. They have taken up the offer and therefore they are in mediation. We hope those mediation services are positive and fruitful and that we can come to an agreement with regard to both parties.