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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

National RevenueOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, Don Drummond's report put the lie to that story we just heard from the revenue minister. The fact is that during the reign of the Liberals Canada pension plan taxes have gone through the roof, wiping out any of the good that was done by the tax cuts that the Liberals allegedly brought down.

The government said it had a surplus of $1.9 billion. It turned out to be $9.1 billion. We were right. The Liberals were wrong. When are we going to get tax relief for Canadians?

National RevenueOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has no choice but to wait until two weeks from today, at which time the budget will come down, but as I have said before, he seems to have forgotten the massive tax cut brought in by the Liberal government in the year 2000, the largest in Canadian history. It is evident that this government favours tax cuts, as our record demonstrates.

TradeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Belinda Stronach Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I find it absolutely shocking that the trade minister yesterday said he would not weep for Canadian jobs lost to cheap labour markets in China and India.

Essentially what the minister has said is that he does not care about the hard-working Canadian men and women who might lose their jobs because the government has not shown enough leadership to ensure that the jobs stay here in the first place. What is the minister going to do to keep jobs here in Canada and create new jobs here in Canada?

TradeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the way that we keep the high paying, value added jobs here in Canada is to be globally competitive. The hon. member opposite who just asked this question knows very well that setting up plants in other parts of the world can be part of a Canadian strategy to keep the best jobs here in Canada.

TradeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Belinda Stronach Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, for over a decade Canadian productivity has been lagging behind that of our major trading partners. Today Canadian companies are facing even greater challenges competing in this global marketplace, and the trade minister's response is, “Too bad, so sad”.

Rather than lecturing Canadian companies that are doing their best to compete globally, when will the government come forward with an industrial strategy that lowers taxes, attracts foreign investment, promotes skills training and upgrades transportation and border infrastructure?

TradeOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the government has invested $13 billion in science and technology over the last seven years. That is the fundamental way we are going to drive productivity and increase the competitiveness of the Canadian economy. We are dealing with border issues, we are dealing with infrastructure, and my hon. colleague is dealing with trade issues.

Clothing and Textile IndustriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we know the government ignored the motion that was passed to help the people of Mirabel whose land was expropriated. Yesterday, Parliament passed the Bloc Québécois motion calling on the federal government to substantially improve its aid package for the clothing and textile industries.

Can the government promise, for once, to respect the will of Parliament and do what is necessary to provide concrete help to the clothing and textile industry?

Clothing and Textile IndustriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the textile industry, like other industries in this country and elsewhere in the world, is going through a tremendous transformation. This government has reduced tariff inputs for the textile and apparel industry. We put an additional $50 million over five years into helping them to retool, to find new market niches and to put new capital and technology in place. We will have a competitive textile industry here in Canada.

Clothing and Textile IndustriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's comments show that in addition to the people of Mirabel, older workers, the unemployed, young people and women, the government, through its inaction, is now getting ready to abandon clothing and textile industry workers as well.

Does the Minister of Industry realize that in addition to all the fine speeches, solid intervention is urgently needed to help the clothing and textile industries and to prevent the loss of thousands of jobs?

Clothing and Textile IndustriesOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we are ahead of the Bloc on this issue. We announced this policy before Christmas. The policy is being implemented. We have extended the duty remission plan. We are ready to take applications to help companies to transform their capital and their plants, and their technology, so those workers can have good paying, secure jobs well into the future.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

February 9th, 2005 / 2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, most of the workers who are losing their jobs these days are older workers. Training programs do not respond to their needs. What they need is a program to make the transition between the end of their employment and retirement.

Instead of limiting its assistance to training alone, does the minister intend to set up a real assistance program for older workers to facilitate the transition toward retirement after they lose their job?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, we are very aware of this difficulty faced by older workers when they are laid off, especially after working for many years in a manufacturing sector, and have a hard time re-entering the labour force. That is why we have had and still have, in partnership with the provincial governments, projects to help us find the best way to assist these workers. These projects are available right now.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. The POWA is the responsibility of the federal government. An older worker who loses his job a few years before his retirement may not necessarily need training. POWA demonstrated its usefulness in 1995. To lose one's job a few years short of retirement is as hard on workers today as it was in 1995.

Does the minister believe that the POWA is no longer useful? If not, does she intend to revive it immediately?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, I intend to continue working with my provincial counterparts, who are also responsible for certain programs. We are not talking only about manpower training. We are also talking about active measures for these people. Some want to stay in the labour market; those need to be able to adjust to new realities. It is in that context that we are pursuing projects with the provinces.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, what Jean Chrétien and this Liberal Party have not figured out about sponsorship is that taking money from taxpayers and giving it to friends in the Liberal Party is not national unity. It is a national disgrace.

Montreal has lost the aquatic games and taxpayers are on the hook for $16 million with nothing to show for it, except lots of unanswered questions about how it was spent by the Prime Minister's fundraising friend Serge Savard.

When will the Liberals learn that supporting companies run by their friends is not the best way to attract important events to Canadian cities?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 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, Canada Economic Development did indeed have a contract with ISM. That contract was later renewed. Canada Economic Development bases its work not on the individuals who manage the business, but on the specific objectives of that business and the results achieved. We are now reviewing the results achieved by ISM and we will make a decision accordingly.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, Montrealers are sad and worried. The Liberals involved in the Internationaux du Sports de Montréal have vanished, like imposters.

Will the Minister of Transport order an inquiry on the use of the $16 million poured into Serge Savard's empty pool?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 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, Canada Economic Development only pays a company or an organization such as ISM when bills are submitted. This means that all the amounts paid met the terms of the contract signed.

In the case of ISM, the answer is very clear. The contract ended in December and we rejected a request to extend it. We are reviewing ISM's file. Should ISM submit a claim later on, our assessment will be based on our findings as to whether or not the objectives were achieved.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services is hiding behind WTO trade agreements as his excuse for selling off the Canadian flag. However, China is only an observer to the agreement on government procurement and, therefore, we are not bound by its terms when dealing with China.

Why does the minister still claim that he is bound by this agreement? Is it because he is too lazy to read the agreement? Maybe it is too complicated or maybe it has too many words.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his constructive, non-partisan question.

I would like to quote today from William Watson, an economist at McGill University, who said:

The public works minister followed with another sensible argument: We're a trading nation and if we want to sell our goods in other countries, we have to be open to buying theirs.

Further, Professor Watson said, “If we don't buy from the Chinese, the Chinese may not buy from us”. If every country adopted that attitude, where would we be? How much wheat could Canadians eat? How many Bombardier Challengers or Nortel switches or Chevy Impalas could we buy? Far fewer than we produce today.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, first the Prime Minister sells his flag to Barbados and now the public works minister has sold the Canadian flag to China. Of course, this is a minister whose own mother was once quoted as saying he would do anything to earn a little extra money.

Is it the policy of the Liberals or just this minister to sell off Canada to the lowest bidder?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, my dear--

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services has the floor. We do not need everyone to pretend he is his mother.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my dear, sweet, 76 year-old mother would be delighted to think that she was brought up here on the floor of the House of Commons. In fact, she is very proud that all her children worked very hard to better themselves and do whatever they could, even as little children, working hard to do their best to get ahead and to help this country get ahead.

Beyond that, I will tell him one thing I would not do to earn a little money. I would not have a staff member pretend he was me on a radio show while I was selling coffee in my coffee shop.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, could the government please update the House on the status of the search and rescue operation now underway in the Baltic Sea for Canadian Forces Leading Seaman Robert Leblanc?