This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industries.

Topics

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his kind words about my riding. Yes, I am proud of my riding and it is true that there are problems for people when factories close, especially when they are concentrated in the textile industry. On the other hand, the riding of Drummond is enjoying economic growth and has developed other manufacturing niches. In fact, if we had remained solely a textile producer, we would be a riding of ghost towns today.

We may remember that in the early 1950s, it was the textile industry that fed Drummond. Aside from the rural towns, the entire industrial sector of the city of Drummondville was concentrated in the textile and garment industry. We know that. Fortunately, there was a political will and people who took charge to develop something other than textile industries. If they had not done that, we would not be, at present, the economic engine of Quebec.

There is something sad about the closing of these industries in the context of globalization. The government could have taken specific action to protect products made here. The distinction has to be made between the textile industry and the garment industry.

With respect to free trade in clothing, for example, we certainly agree with that. However, we can also talk about manufacturing products domestically. I can mention Denim Swift. It is a company that was purchased by Americans and was operating very well. We invested in research and development so that they could create a yarn to make stretch denim, which was very competitive on the market. All the experts from the Canadian industry department and those from Investissement Québec recognized that the product we were producing was in a very competitive market.

What happened was that, since the American plant was no longer competitive, they came to get our expertise and take it away. The government did not see that one coming.

Of course, once again, there were over 600 jobs lost. Among these workers there were some who had worked there for 35 or 40 years. The factory was part of the region's heritage. Some people had worked there from generation to generation. There even were some couples. Today, even in a competitive market, they are having trouble finding work. They do not have the education or technical expertise they need.

When we reach a certain age, it is very difficult to go back to school. Therefore, these individuals are currently forced to live off welfare, even though they have worked and contributed to the employment insurance fund all their lives. That is hard to accept.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalMinister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister responsible for the Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, it is with both great sadness and great enthusiasm that I rise today to speak on this motion. I am sad because this is indeed a problem, in the textile industry in particular, affecting families which bear the brunt of decisions that were or ought to have been made. All this resulted in these people experiencing the tragedy of unemployment, with everything this entails in personal, family and human terms.That is on the sad side.

The brighter side has to do with the messages of hope that we can hear, much more generally, where textile and economic diversification is concerned, particularly in Quebec.

I would like, if I may, to review briefly actions taken by representatives of my government, not only in macroeconomic terms, but also in terms of my department in particular, Canada Economic Development, both under my predecessors and under myself.

There is an economist by the name of Denis Audet who works for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD. This is not an organization that lacks credibility; it is actually a world renowned organization. So, this economist with the OECD wrote that the future of the textile industry in Canada can be considered positively. Despite the fact that textile export quotas were lifted, the companies that adjusted are the ones most likely to succeed.

The textile and apparel industries in Canada, their products and the people who started them do have a long established tradition of innovation, creativity and commercial success.

Many businesses in that industry are indeed successful. On Monday, the CEO for Quebec of the international association representing industrial textile manufacturers praised Richard Bouthillier, of Les Chapiteaux du monde in Baie-Saint-Paul, among others. Mr. Bouthillier's initiative was described as visionary and bold. Mr. Bouthillier was reported as having developed the market for vinyl festival tents. Today, such structures are available from every rental company in Quebec.

Of course we live in an ever-changing world. I strongly believe that we have to face reality and not bury our heads in the sand. The competition that surfaces everywhere makes it more and more difficult for us to compete against some foreign producers in the area of mass production.

This brings me back to the speech I made in the House when Bill C-9, which is now before the committee, was introduced. It is obvious that if we want to overcome those challenges, we cannot stick to old solutions. We have to look forward, to promote innovation and productivity and to diversify the economies to make the regions less dependant on one or two economic development sources.

Not only do we see the changes happening, but we also see them multiply at an accelerated rate.

First of all, we have to realize that this problem is not due to one business executive, one employee or one government, be it provincial, municipal or other. It is really a joint problem, a societal problem. We all have a role to play to make three important things happen. Firs, it is very important that we do not bury our heads in the sand and that we recognize the changes that are under way. Second, we have to think, not about the deficit that this entails, but about the development opportunities that all of this can bring. Finally, we have to explore the best ways to adapt to these new realities.

Of course textile companies are no exceptions. If they want to carry on, the Canadian apparel and textile industries have to specialize and modernize their operations. I repeat that the solutions lie mainly in the research and development of exclusive products adapted to a target clientele. The focus must be on quick service and advanced equipment.

The Canadian government has taken a variety of measures to help the textile companies. I will of course talk about the measures that are directly related to the apparel and textile industries in general.

In June 2003, recognizing increasing competition worldwide, the Government of Canada introduced the Canadian Apparel and Textile Industries Program. Insiders called it CATIP. Those who used the program knew it by that name. CATIP was replaced by another program.

What was the purpose of this $33 million program? It was to promote and facilitate partnership with the industry to make it more innovative and better equipped for entering new markets. If I may, I would like to say a few words about this program before moving on to the programs that followed CATIP.

I think it is somewhat regrettable that my colleague from Drummond—although I can understand where she is coming from because she does represent an affected region—is so quick to blame the federal government as though it were responsible for every problem in the world. I think that approach is too simple. It may not be surprising, but it is too simple. It oversimplifies a problem that is far more complex than that.

Allow me to list a few accomplishments that CATIP made possible. Again, CATIP was the $33 million Canadian Apparel and Textile Industries Program adopted in June 2003 and used throughout Canada.

As for Quebec alone, in other words the portion of this fund that was allocated to Quebec, the Government of Canada invested almost $9.5 million. However, it is interesting to note that this $9.5 million investment produced other investments, beyond that of the federal government, to the tune of $28 million.

I want to be clear about these figures because I believe it is not rhetoric that matters, but facts and figures. This $9.5 million investment by the Government of Canada, which translated into overall investments of $28 million, maintained 12,000 jobs and created 436 others in the textile industry.

When I am told that there is no future for the textile industry in Quebec, I say “Wait a minute. Are we all living on the same planet?” Are there problems? Yes. Are market conditions changing? Yes. Is there a need for economic diversification? Yes. However, do not come and tell me that there is no future for the textile industry in Quebec. That is not true. There is a future, provided we know which product to choose, how to produce it, how to improve productivity, how to find market niches and how to support diversification initiatives.

Of course, some might say that it is fine, but that these are figures. We can easily get carried away with figures, but it is not easy for people watching on television to have a good grasp of these figures. I myself have a hard time doing it. We may be members of Parliament and ministers, but we are consumers first and foremost. We are used to working with hundreds or even thousands of dollars sometimes, but here we are dealing with millions of dollars. So, it is complicated.

Instead of mentioning numbers, let me give some concrete success stories. Those who work for these employers will know that I am referring to them and that I am proud to do so.

First, Régitex, in Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, is a company specializing in the manufacturing of high tech threads for industrial products, clothing and furniture. It used to be a small business. Let us keep in mind that the Government of Canada cannot do everything. We can provide support, but the initiative must really come from the industry, from companies, from leaders with a vision. Today, thanks not only to the support of the Government of Canada, but to the concerted efforts of all these stakeholders, there are 140 people working at Régitex, in Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce.

Here is another example: the Children's Apparel Manufacturers' Association in Montreal set up an on-line credit bureau. Why? To have up to date information on most North-American retailers. What does this mean? It means that this credit bureau provides credit reports and helps assess the risk of a sale for businesses that make products here and want to sell them in the United States. This is a success story.

Let us take another example: Chemises Empire Ltée in Louiseville. It is a modern business, and yet with a time-honoured tradition of excellence. It specializes in the design and manufacture of first-class uniforms for police forces, schools and dozens of organizations everywhere in Canada. That business is a success story, and a spectacular one.

Another example, Confections Alizée plein air inc. in Sainte-Aurélie. As you can see, I am extremely eclectic, I move from one region of Quebec to the other. The managers of that business have combined their love of the outdoors with their design talent. With the help of their employees, in 2003, they have succeeded in creating, or at least developing, an extremely prosperous business. The most tangible proof of their success is the fact that the plan doubled in size.

There is a future for textile, but we must encourage productivity, innovation, market targeting, exports, and marketing. That is what we want to do. We cannot create jobs out of nowhere, but we can encourage job creation, including in the textile industry, and that is what we are doing.

Let me remind you that, in each case, we are dealing with projects or examples that came about after the implementation of a program in 2003. I have not yet had a chance to mention the programs that were put in place subsequently and that considerably improve the 2003 program.

Let me give the House another example, the Groupe CTT/SAGEOS in Saint-Hyacinthe. I am concerned about the Montérégie area, since it is getting pretty close to home. That business works at improving productivity in the Canadian geotextile industry. Why? Because we want to focus on an extremely specialized niche, develop a very specific expertise so that we can become competitive, we can perform and we can sell.

I could also tell you about the Canadian Apparel Federation because one of the problems experienced by small businesses is that they may not have all the necessary networks to develop their markets. Therefore, we must not only work with the businesses themselves, but also with organizations that will be able to provides services to a number of small businesses that would not be affordable to each of them separately. That is what we are doing with the department.

The Canadian Apparel Federation is trying to fill a gap in the efficient promotion of products manufactured by those small businesses by creating a gateway to the industry and a virtual commercial infrastructure.

That was the 2003 Canadian Apparel and Textile Industries Program, a new program that has been improved on at least two occasions and is now CANtex.

In February 2004, in response to the recommendations of a joint government-industry task force, the then Minister of Industry, who was incidentally at the same time the Minister responsible for the Canada Economic Development Agency prior to me, announced new measures aimed specifically at enhancing the international competitiveness of the Canadian apparel and textile industries.

I must apologize to the people affected by this debate, and I know that many are following it because they are affected deeply and directly by the situation. I must, however, cite some figures though I know they are hard to handle and hard to see in concrete terms. They are necessary, however, if only for the sake of integrity in connection with the program and the action taken.

In February 2004, $53.4 million were earmarked by this program, $26.7 million of those for CANtex, a Canadian three-fold initiative focussed on textile production efficiency. There was also an equivalent amount, that is another $26.7 million, for reducing the tariffs on imported textiles used by the Canadian apparel industry. In all, then, $53.4 million.

I have already mentioned the successive improvements, and here is one more. This past December 14, the ministers of finance and of industry announced a number of measures intended to help these same industries be more competitive on the world market. Of course, there is rapid change in those markets and the adaptation has to be rapid as well. This is one of the strengths we need if we are to succeed.

The assistance via this measure of December 14 doubled that announced last February. Naturally an economic structure cannot be totally remade. By that I mean taking into account the major changes that are bringing pressure to bear on the industry, redistributing everything, encouraging innovation, doing R and D and finding outlets.

This cannot be done by snapping our fingers. It is sad, but it takes time. I wish I had a magic wand that I could shake and, poof, all the workers who have lost their job in the textile industry, be it in Huntingdon, Drummondville or elsewhere in the province or the country, would get it back. Unfortunately, I do not have such a wand and neither does anyone else. We must show integrity, and we have work to do.

The fact that we do not have a solution producing results as fast as we all would like in no way means that we have to give up. On the contrary, we have work to do. We must not get mired in political rhetoric. We must work together.

As members know, with regard to Quebec, the implementation of the CANtex program was entrusted to the department I have the honour of heading, the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec. We are not waiting for a crisis to properly introduce CANtex to all the companies in the province that might be interested by this program. Instead, we are advising all those who play a large or small role in the economy through textiles or apparel that we have money on the table to help them prepare for the future, remain ahead of the game and succeed.

What did we do to achieve this? In December, in collaboration with Industry Canada and a great many partners, we held five information sessions not only for companies, but also for the organizations supporting them. In total, over one hundred companies and regional organizations met with us during these sessions.

I truly want to rise above partisan lines to tell all of these people that we are really doing the maximum. And if this is still not enough, we will do even more than that. However, there is no magic solution. Those who claim there was one have interests that have nothing to do with the reality.

I want to talk briefly about Huntingdon. We know what the problems in this case are: the companies were sold, they moved; ultimately, it is a complex situation. The mayor is fighting and making an enormous effort to save his municipality. A buyback program is underway. Some needs have come to light, in particular the purchase of one of the mills by the municipality. As members know, the way to proceed in this case could come from the area of infrastructures. As members also know, all requests relating to infrastructures come from the local authorities and first go to Quebec for analysis. Once Quebec has given its authorization, we get the file and then we can decide accordingly.

I wish to make a formal statement to the people of Huntingdon that I am prepared to receive Quebec's project, in my capacity as the minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec. I want to look into it.

I do not have the time here to go into detail on what we did in connection with Huntingdon, nor do I want to get involved in a propaganda exercise. That is not what I am interested in. We have, however, worked really hard on this. The minister before me launched a series of consultations a few months ago, long before I appeared on the scene. I have taken over from her, and I am doing my best though hers is a hard act to follow.

Economic diversification is important because the textile industry cannot be enough on its own. We cannot settle for single-industry sectors in our cities and towns and hope they will prosper. Diversification is necessary.

I hope that the questions to follow will give me an opportunity to develop that aspect further. I am giving you examples that have nothing to do with the textile industry, but have depressed us equally, because we thought things would never be right again, that the regions would close down, and that would be the end of it. Asbestos is one example of that. At the time, there were 4,000 people, or 20% of the work force, working in the mines. Today there are 1,800 businesses not involved in mining, and of those close to 200 provide 3,500 jobs in the manufacturing sector. Diversification is off to a good start. It is working, although there is still a lot to be done.

I could mention Bas-Saint-Laurent, the Saguenay, the Gaspé, where they are developing wind generators, research centres and diversification involving quartz.

The work of diversification is both essential and fundamental. I want to have the support of all members of the House to continue the work we have begun.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the minister. Obviously, he talked about all the measures we are proposing, and the objectives we have outlined. But there is one question he did not answer and I think it is extremely important. The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development is here, as well, and perhaps she should also listen.

In most of these industries there are working men and women who are near the end of their careers, so to speak, and find themselves with nothing. It is very hard for them. A number of these people do not have the background necessary to get retrained quickly. What do we do with these people? Do we give them employment insurance of X weeks and after that they get welfare? That is the question.

If someone is 59 years old and did not even finish high school, how in the world is that person going to get a new job? What is being offered is one pilot project or another. It is also being done in the Gaspé, for those caught in the fisheries crisis, for example. The minister is aware of this. They have created what they call pilot projects and they get people working. Those people are asked to paint cemetery fences. Let us be serious; at some time something has to be made available to these people.

We are proposing the reinstatement of the program to assist older workers, as it already existed, to enable these people to earn a decent income that is more than and different from income security. I would like to hear what the minister says about this.

When an industry closes its doors, as industries have done in Huntingdon and elsewhere, and there are people who are not successfully placed within one or two years, what do we do with them? Do they go on welfare or do we offer them an assistance program such as the one that once existed and that we want to bring back?

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jacques Saada Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question is very relevant. I believe that, indeed, we have a duty to care about what happens in this type of situations, where people who do not necessarily have very extensive training, or who have reached an age when it may be harder to retrain, are affected.

The hon. member will understand of course that, as Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada, it is not for me to provide a very detailed answer to this question. However, what I can say, because I know that, because we discussed it together, is that my colleague, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development is just as receptive as I am regarding this issue.

I will not get into the details of the pilot projects that were extended at the time. However, I think that the question put by the hon. member is relevant, but the reply will have to wait until the whole review process being conducted by the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development is completed.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the minister's comments. Indeed, the ideas are there, but so is the inadequacy of the means used.

Recently, I talked to people from the clothing and textile industries. They told me about CANtex, the most recent initiative proposed by the government.

In terms of the money invested, they told me that the program was much too cumbersome to operate smoothly. These people need time to diversify. They often cannot make several investments at once. They must do them in sequence.

This has the effect of dragging the transition or modernization period, and we are told that, for all intents and purposes, this program is inadequate. We are talking about $50 million over five years. So, we are looking at what this could mean for Quebec. It is a company from my region which says that this amount is insufficient and that the program is too cumbersome.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jacques Saada Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, my answer is twofold. The first element of my answer is very interesting because I also hear that the program offers a very interesting and important flexibility. Now, if my colleague says that the program is cumbersome, I would like him to give concrete examples of this. If I can fix things, I will gladly do so within reasonable limits.

But with respect to the sums allocated to this by the Economic Development Agency of Canada, we definitely focus on what is, I believe, the most promising approach. We do not invest massively in funds or envelops but we work on a project by project basis. In other words, each project is analyzed; it may be promising, fulfill promises and help dreams come through. We try to support those specific projects.

Before saying that there are not enough funds or resources, could the member across the way name a project which has been turned down in this context? I would like to be shown in what resources are inadequate. I repeat, projects which are submitted to us are analyzed and I must say, not from my own perspective—because, of course, I am biased, my officials are excellent—, but according to the people who are on the ground that in the 14 regions where we are present, where Economic Development Canada is present, mayors, municipal actors, the industry, community organizations, all commend the work done by our civil servants throughout the province.

If there were such a problem, I would know at once. The fact is that is not the kind of feedback I receive. So, if there is a specific problem in terms of the applicability of the program, there may not be a solution, or maybe there will be one. However, in order to know what is going on, I must be told. So, if my colleague as something concrete and specific—not something of a general nature—to apprise me of on this file, or if the company can write to me explaining the problems it is concretely facing in relation to the CANtex program, I will be pleased to look at that.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Ahuntsic Québec

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Social Development (Social Economy)

Mr. Speaker, my question is along the lines of what has already been stated by the minister.

The minister has been working hard in order to ensure that there is regional development not just for this industry but for other industries also.

For the record, I have had a lot of association with the textile and apparel industry over the course of the many years I have been in the House. I can say that both sides, but especially the apparel side, were very satisfied with the announcement the government made in December. I have heard no criticism about it. In fact, the president of the Canadian Apparel Federation applauded the government's initiative and said that the proper measures were put in place to ensure that the industry has a future.

The government continues to work with the industry on the textile side. We have to look at researching new fibres. Canada has always been at the leading edge of helping industries become future industries. We cannot change the past with respect to lost jobs, but as the minister put on the record today, we have to look to the future and see what tools we can provide the industry. There are high tech industries in Quebec that are doing research into new fibres.

The minister gave some great examples earlier. I would like the minister to give us a few more examples of some of the initiatives that were taken in order to assist the industry. I would also like him to give us a few examples of initiatives that were taken in terms of the councils the government is working with.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jacques Saada Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, my memory being what it is, I cannot remember all the details of every single file in the entire province. However, one thing is certain, in my presentation, I was very careful to give a few examples illustrating how some businesses have understood the need to find the appropriate niche, develop their marketing, improve their productivity and invest in equipment that will enable them both to manufacture leading-edge products and, actually, do it in a more competitive way. I gave examples of that.

There is a message I would like to convey to my colleagues opposite, those in the Bloc Québécois in particular. I do it in all simplicity. In the textiles area we have the perfect example of an Industry Canada program delivered by Canada Economic Development. Bill C-9, dealing with the independence of CED from Industry, allows us, actually, to continue this influx of Industry Canada funds and programs in the regions of Quebec. However the Bloc Québécois refuses to support Bill C-9, arguing that all the money must go to Quebec and be managed by the province. If we go down that route, Quebec will no longer benefit from Industry programs. It will be over. Can one explain to me the consistency of the Bloc's point of view in this regard?

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Boulianne Bloc Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, first, I want to say that I will share my time with my friend and colleague, the member for Sherbrooke.

I am very pleased to have heard the minister and to have mentioned the region de l'Amiante. It is true that the region de l'Amiante has developed, but it is mainly thanks to the imagination and ingenuity of citizens and organizations that decided to take their destiny into their own hands, because there were problems.

On this Bloc Québécois opposition day, I find it essential to take part in today's debate on an extremely important issue, the textile and clothing industry. The riding of Mégantic—L'Érable, which I represent, is not exempt from the many difficulties of the textile and clothing industry. We talked about this throughout the day. These difficulties are due mainly to the negligence of the Liberal government. Despite what the minister says, this government made numerous promises during the election campaign, without ever taking the trouble to fulfill them. This is its usual and normal way of doing things.

As for the hundreds of jobs lost, it is a tragedy in my riding, especially in the region of L'Amiante and L'Érable. The minister talked about the Beauce region earlier, but he did not talk about East Broughton, where the factory has closed. Hundreds of jobs are threatened because the government, among others, did not listen to the demands of business people and especially to the pressure of the Bloc Québécois to put transition measures in place.

Everyone was convinced that this was the solution, except the government. What is most shocking is that the federal government knew what was coming, as everyone knew, and did nothing. Today, it is trying to fix the mess. Once again, I repeat that this caused factory closings across Quebec.

In my riding, there are textile plants in Disraeli, Thetford, East Broughton and Saint-Méthode. In every plant the workers feel uneasy and are facing difficulties. Of course, we have talked about the programs. However, these programs are not adequate for the textile industry, and they are not enough. Eventually, the programs run out of money, or they have a $100,000 cap, or they are designed in such a way that a little money is spread here and there, which does not help the companies much. Consequently, the problems are not fixed and the job losses are massive.

The Liberal federal government did not find any solution because it did not look for one when the time was right. The government acted when disaster struck and for strictly political reasons, to try and rake in the votes. Unlike the government, the Bloc Québécois proposes solutions to the crisis facing the textile and apparel industries. I had the chance of welcoming my leader, the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, in the Amiante region. He toured the textile plants. He knows what he is talking about. He made important suggestions at a time when something could have been salvaged from the wreckage. Indeed, we could have maintained jobs and saved entire plants in Quebec. However, nobody listened. Nobody listened to the recommendations and the requests made by the Bloc Québécois. And now, the industry is in dire straits.

We mentioned earlier the $50 million investment. This morning, we could read the following in La Presse : “Canadian textile industry evicted from US market.” Mr. Harvey Penner from the Canadian Textiles Institute said that this $50 million investment absolutely does not match the needs of the industry and that a Plan B would be required. The government can keep on throwing figures around, that will not solve anything.

The Bloc Québécois has made several recommendations to resolve the problems. In my opinion, it is important to consider them. First, we talk about the use of safeguards provided for in international agreements. International competition is a problem. Tariffs must be maintained on imported clothing. That is one way the government can protect local producers, at least until they adapt to international competition. Again, the current competition is not domestic, but comes from China, India and globalization. Imposing quotas on Chinese imports, for example, would prevent the Canadian market from being inundated with highly competitive Chinese products. This is one measure that can easily be turned into reality. Another solution, we see this often, is simply to implement measures to encourage the use of Quebec--and Canadian--made textiles.

Many more measures could be added to the list. First, we must allow the duty-free entry of clothing made abroad from textiles of Canadian origin thereby assuring local textile producers an additional market outlet for their products, which is important.

In the same vein, we must also create an additional market outlet for Canadian textiles by including raw materials in the definition of local content. It is important. This is the current practice in some countries and we should apply it here as well. Also, we must negotiate Canada's entry in agreements reached between the United States and Latin America. We have to start negotiating instead of settling for rules that penalize Canadian or Quebec markets. Otherwise, problems will arise.

Again, in terms of measures for encouragement, we could also adopt a buy local policy for uniforms and clothing. In our regions, the chambers of commerce often promote buying locally. This measure could be applied nationally.

There is a third item my colleague from Drummond talked about earlier and that is the relocation of industries, which is a major problem. We have to strike a balance between the environment and workers' rights in order to avoid an exodus of companies. Canada should perhaps improve its negotiating position with foreign countries.

Another major solution, which my colleagues spoke about, would be to allocate funds to assist workers where companies close down. I spoke earlier of East Broughton, in my riding, where some 50 workers in their mid-fifties are getting no assistance because POWA has been abolished. Assistance to workers who have lost their job is therefore a necessity. I admit that there is no magic solution and that some companies will inevitably close down. Consequently, middle age employees must be able to re-enter the workforce. In the meantime, they need the financial assistance of a program like POWA as they move from employment insurance to retirement. We have yet to see on the part of this government a firm will to establish such a program or to resume funding for POWA.

On the other hand, some people wish to retrain. Thus the importance of establishing a training program for workers. This comes under Quebec's jurisdiction, but the federal government can act and finance this kind of initiative through employment insurance.

We are identifying the problem and trying to save the industry and the plants with programs adapted to their needs. That way, workers who can re-enter the workforce will do so through training, while those of a certain age who cannot retrain will be allowed to retire and benefit from a generous financial assistance program.

Those are the four priorities to deal with in order to solve or improve the situation. There is also a fifth recommendation, which is inescapable; it deals with research and development. In that regard, we must establish an assistance and modernization program for the clothing and textile industries, in order to promote research and development.

Those are basically the measures we could take to develop those industries. I also wish to invite members of the House to support the motion of the Bloc Quebecois, which underlines the inadequacy of the assistance plan to the clothing and textile industries which was announced, if we really want to do positive things in that area.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Discussions have been held among all the parties and I believe you will find unanimous consent to several motions.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose these motions?

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on Canadian Airports System, Trucking Issues, Port Security, seven members of the Standing Committee on Transport be authorized to travel to Halifax, Saint John, Montreal and Toronto from January 30 to March 31, 2005, and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on the Study on the Canadian Feature Film Industry, 12 members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage be authorized to travel to Vancouver, BC during March 9-11, 2005 and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on the Study of the Canadian Feature Film Industry, 12 members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage be authorized to travel to Toronto, ON during April 12-14, 2005 and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on the Study of the Canadian Feature Film Industry, 12 members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage be authorized to travel to Montreal, QC during April 19-21, 2005 and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on the Study of the Canadian Feature Film Industry, 12 members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage be authorized to travel to Halifax, NS during May 17-19, 2005 and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on Fiscal Imbalance, five members of the Subcommittee on Fiscal Imbalance of the Standing Committee on Finance be authorized to travel to Halifax, NS on February 17 and 18, 2005 and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on Fiscal Imbalance, five members of the Subcommittee on Fiscal Imbalance of the Standing Committee on Finance be authorized to travel to Edmonton, Alberta on March 6 and 7, 2005 and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on Fiscal Imbalance, five members of the Subcommittee on Fiscal Imbalance of the Standing Committee on Finance be authorized to travel to Toronto, ON on March 10 and 11, 2005 and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on Fiscal Imbalance, five members of the Subcommittee on the Fiscal Imbalance of the Standing Committee on Finance be authorized to travel to Regina, Saskatchewan from March 20 and 21, 2005 and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee

(Motion agreed to)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on Fiscal Imbalance, five members of the Subcommittee on Fiscal Imbalance of the Standing Committee on Finance be authorized to travel to Winnipeg, Manitoba on April 3 and 4, 2005 and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on Fiscal Imbalance, 5 members of the Subcommittee on Fiscal Imbalance of the Standing Committee on Finance be authorized to travel to Quebec City, Quebec on April 10 and 11, 2005, and that the necessary staff do accompany the Committee.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on Fiscal Imbalance, five members of the Subcommittee on Fiscal Imbalance of the Standing Committee on Finance be authorized to travel to Victoria, B.C. on April 17 and 18, 2005 and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on Electoral Reform, seven members of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House affairs be authorized to travel to Edinburgh (UK), London (UK) and Berlin (Germany) from March 26 to April 2, 2005 and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

(Motion agreed to)