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House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was deal.

Topics

Federal Accountability ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Federal Accountability ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The question is on the subamendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the subamendment?

Federal Accountability ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Federal Accountability ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those in favour of the subamendment will please say yea.

Federal Accountability ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Federal Accountability ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those opposed will please say nay.

Federal Accountability ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Federal Accountability ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

The vote stands deferred.

Speaker's RulingSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

There are 95 motions in amendment standing on the notice paper for the report stage of Bill C-24. Motions Nos. 1 to 3, 5, 9, 10, 12, 20, 21, 23, 24, 26, 27, 29, 35, 36, 46, 53, 74, 79, 82 and 95 will not be selected by the Chair as they could have been presented in committee.

Motion Nos. 30 to 34, 37 to 45, 47 to 52, 54 to 73, 76, 78, 80, 81 and 85 to 93 will not be selected by the Chair as they were defeated in committee.

Motion No. 11 proposes to amend clause 12. The Chair has been informed that an error was found in the report to the House on Bill C-24. This situation resulted in the tabling of a motion at report stage. The error in question has to do with an amendment to an amendment that was rejected in committee on a recorded division. The report to the House indicates, in error, that the amendment to the amendment was adopted. Accordingly, the Chair thanks the hon. member for Gatineau for tabling a motion at report stage in order to correct the report, but this was not necessary. I will ask that the bill be reprinted after third reading in order to add the following amendment to clause 12:

That Bill C-24, in clause 12, be amended by replacing, in the English version, line 36, on page 7, with the following:

“incurred in the placement aboard the convey--”

Accordingly, Motion No. 11 will not be selected by the Chair.

All remaining motions have been examined and the Chair is satisfied that they meet the guidelines expressed in the note to Standing Order 76.1(5) regarding the selection of motions in amendment at report stage.

There are a large number of motions which have not been selected for report stage, either because they were identical to motions defeated in committee or because they could have been presented in committee.

The Chair feels that it may be appropriate to take a moment to review the selection criteria for report stage.

On March 21, 2001, the Speaker made a statement on the selection criteria for motions at report stage as follows:

First, past selection practices...will continue to apply. For example, motions and amendments that were presented in committee will not be selected, nor will motions ruled out of order in committee. Motions defeated in committee will only be selected if the Speaker judges them to be of exceptional significance.

Second, regarding the new guidelines, I will apply the tests of repetition, frivolity, vexatiousness and unnecessary prolongation of report stage proceedings insofar as it is possible to do so in the particular circumstances with which the Chair is faced. ... I also intend to apply those criteria in the original note.... Specifically, motions in amendment that could have been presented in committee will not be selected.

Consequently, the Chair selects motions which further amend an amendment adopted by a committee, motions which make consequential changes based on an amendment adopted by a committee and motions which delete a clause.

Aside from this, the Chair is loath to select motions unless a member makes a compelling argument for selection based on the exceptional significance of the amendment.

The Chair cannot predict every possible scenario, but it reminds hon. members that every bill is carefully examined in order to preserve the delicate balance between protecting the rights of the minority and the ability of the majority to exercise the right to vote.

Therefore, the motions will be grouped for debate as follows: Group No. 1 will include Motions Nos. 4, 25, 77, 83, 84 and 94. Group No. 2 will include Motions Nos. 6 to 8, 13 to 19, 22, 28 and 75.

The voting patterns for the motions within each group are available at the table. The Chair will remind the House of each pattern at the time of voting.

I shall now propose Motions Nos. 4, 25, 77, 83, 84 and 94 in Group No. 1 to the House.

Motions in amendmentSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

moved:

Motion No. 4

— That Bill C-24 be amended by deleting Clause 8.

Motion No. 25

— That Bill C-24 be amended by deleting Clause 39.

Motion No. 77

— That Bill C-24, in Clause 100, be amended by replacing line 3 on page 87 with the following:

(a) specifying any requirements or conditions that, in the opinion of the Government of Canada, should be met in order for a person to be certified as an independent remanufacturer;”

Motion No. 83

— That Bill C-24, in Clause 107, be amended by replacing lines 37 and 38 on page 89 with the following:

“which it is made but no earlier than November 1, 2006.”

Motion No. 84

— That Bill C-24, in Clause 108, be amended by replacing line 5 on page 90 with the following:

“earlier than November 1, 2006.”

Motion No. 94

— That Bill C-24, in Clause 126, be amended by replacing line 4 on page 100 with the following:

“have come into force on November 1, 2006.”

He said: Mr. Speaker, I stand to address this first group of motions to amend this badly botched Bill C-24. It is important to give some initial information to the public at large who are watching us today just how badly this bill has been treated. It was badly botched from the start. The negotiations were badly botched. As one person in the softwood industry notably said, Canada capitulated on everything. Subsequent to that there were further capitulations over the course of the summer. Now we have Bill C-24.

As the New Democratic Party members have been paying the most attention to this bill, we can say that the bill itself is badly flawed, badly botched. However, unbelievably the majority of the Standing Committee on International Trade, the Bloc, Conservative and Liberal members, refused to hear from witnesses across the country from coast to coast to coast who wanted to testify on this badly botched bill.

Unbelievably we heard from only two witnesses and they raised the issue about the poor drafting of the bill and some of the perverse impacts of this horrible legislation. Yet the committee just ramrodded through this legislation. In fact, half of the bill was not even considered in committee. There was no debate whatsoever on amendments. In fact, many of the amendments that were rejected were not even considered by the committee because the committee did not want to do its due diligence on the bill. We are now at report stage and amendments are being brought forward. What do these amendments do?

In the first group of amendments we are endeavouring to repair the incredible botch job that was done by the government on Bill C-24. One of the two witnesses who were allowed to testify before the Conservatives and Liberals shut down any testimony testified to the fact that there is this perverse double taxation in the bill itself. Because the government was not able to do its homework properly, we end up taxing twice any company that actually goes through the EDC formula. Unbelievably, that means that the companies that go through the Export Development Corporation are the ones in a sad, sad position with their cashflow and they actually do not get back 80¢ on the dollar. They get back 67¢ because the government in botching the drafting of this bill has taxed them twice. It is unbelievable.

Now that the government with the support of its Liberal allies has botched the bill, we are endeavouring to give an opportunity to those companies to go back to the minister and get refunds on the money that they should not have paid in the first place. That is why I moved Motion No. 25. We are essentially saying that since the bill does not allow those companies to come back except under the very strict provisions of the Financial Administration Act, those companies should have the opportunity to get back the money they should not have paid in the first place.

The reason most companies have rejected the government's plan, the reason that less than 50% of companies signed on to this strange, bizarre Export Development Corporation punitive tax, double taxation as we know, is no secret. The reason is the ruling on October 13 where the Court of International Trade in the United States said that Canada is entitled to get back every single penny. We do not have to go through this sellout. We do not have to go through the lost jobs, 4,000 to date since this badly botched deal was put in place provisionally, 4,000 jobs including many in my community.

We have a badly botched sellout. We have a badly botched deal. We have a committee that was out of control refusing to do its due diligence on the actual provisions of the bill. Far be it from the NDP to have to approve the bill because we disagree with the sellout in principle, but the committee did not do its due diligence. It is completely irresponsible. That means to softwood communities across the country we are now dealing with a deeply flawed bill.

There were virtually no witnesses, no due diligence and now double taxation. As usual, the NDP is having to be the effective opposition. We are saying to wait, that this bill is even bad from a Conservative point of view. Is there not one Conservative willing to stand and say, “I am sorry, we screwed up. We are going to try to correct the most egregious errors in this deal”? No.

Let us look at another element that we are trying to adjust. A committee that is out of control has adopted definitions for tenure that the United States pushed and on which the Conservative government just capitulated. They directly affect the B.C. timber sales program. It is unbelievable. Now tenure is defined the way the United States defines tenure. It means that the timber sales program which is designed with a sealed bid process is now defined as having tenure, which means the United States under anti-circumvention can raise the B.C. timber sales program that was directly put in place to try to get around those punitive illegal measures of the United States. It is unbelievable.

Motions in amendmentSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

An hon. member

The more we learn.

Motions in amendmentSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

As my colleague from Winnipeg Centre has just pointed out, the more we learn about this deal, the more we realize this House is failing in its responsibility to softwood communities across the country. It is failing utterly and completely.

There are double taxation provisions and no provision to allow those companies to go back and push for the kind of justice they should be seeing. Clause 39 has to be deleted.

We are looking through these various motions, Mr. Speaker, that you have regrouped, I would say somewhat hastily. I would disagree with the provisions that you put forward.

The other aspect we touch on in Motions Nos. 83 and 84 is the fact that we have a deal that was put into place, badly botched from the beginning, that forced companies to pay a double tax at the border. When this was hastily and shoddily thrown together on October 11, the illegal American tariffs were still in place. It went from a 10.8% tariff to an additional 15% tariff that companies had to pay. They have to pay this and the government has no idea for how long. There were no witnesses allowed, but when we questioned officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, they had no idea when the illegal American tariffs had been taken off. We stepped forward and asked very clearly, why would we put into place provisions of this agreement when illegal American tariffs were still in place? Why would we pay 15% on top of 10.8%? We have said in these motions very clearly that the putting into effect of this agreement has to be November 1.

There was absolute chaos at the border. We have seen absolute chaos in the months since this was provisionally put into effect. There are 4,000 lost jobs, nearly 300 in my community. There will be other members of the New Democratic Party, the only party that is standing up for Canadians on this issue, who will be stepping forward and talking about job losses in their communities as well. There has been utter chaos at the border and companies are paying a double tax. They are paying the 10.8% and an additional 15% on top of that. We have said that the date has to be November 1.

For goodness' sake, 4,000 jobs have been lost because of the incompetence of the federal government, because of its complete lack of understanding of softwood in British Columbia and in other parts of western Canada. Those jobs have been lost. The government, even if it insists on ramming through this deal with the support of the Liberals, has to stand up and realize it made an egregious error. It screwed up. It implemented the deal hastily. To save face for our intellectually malnourished Minister of International Trade we had to rush this job. Because we rushed this job, the government screwed up and companies have had to pay twice.

It makes sense that we make adjustments to the bill, a bill with which we disagree profoundly, but we are trying to save the government from itself, so that the provisions of the deal take effect November 1. There need to be provisions for the companies where double taxation took place at the border, where companies paid the Americans these forced export taxes of an additional 15%.

Bill C-24 is horrible for the softwood companies and the 4,000 families whose breadwinners have lost their jobs. They can attest to that already with four weeks of absolute collapse of the softwood sector because of the incompetence of the government. If the government is absolutely set on ramming this bill through with the support of the Liberals, at least the government should make some provisions for the disastrous situation it has set up.

Disaster is not too strong a word when we are talking about 4,000 lost jobs. We are talking about raw log exports being stimulated now because, as we were told this summer when we saw the softwood agreement coming, this is a recipe for raw logs from Canada creating American jobs. Setting up the 15% export tax, self-imposed, when we won in the Court of International Trade on October 13 is absolutely absurd.

Now we have a bill that is even worse than the sellout, a bill on which the homework was not done, the due diligence was not done. The Standing Committee on International Trade completely failed Canadians. The ministry completely failed Canadians. The minister who has failed his constituents has now broadened his reach. He has betrayed everybody.

We have a situation where the implementation of the softwood agreement is being imposed at the same time as the illegal American tariffs are still being imposed. It is absolutely senseless and absurd.

In this corner of the House there is one political party that Canadians know will stand up for them and will stand up for softwood communities. My colleague from Timmins—James Bay and I went to Thunder Bay. We talked to softwood workers there. They told us how badly they feel about this. They have seen mill closures in northwestern Ontario.

I was in northern Manitoba a week and a half ago where there have been layoffs and shutdowns because of this badly botched softwood sellout. In northern Saskatchewan, in Alberta, in British Columbia there will be public meetings coming up and we will be going into Conservative ridings. This has been a badly botched deal. It is a badly flawed bill. The government and members in all four corners of the House have to make some adjustments to it so that the most egregious impacts are not continued to be felt across the country.

Motions in amendmentSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with the news from back home that Tembec in Timmins is gone. One of the fundamental mills in our region has gone out of business. Smooth Rock Falls is down. Opasatika is down. Red Rock is down. Ignace is down. Kenora is gone. Dryden is gone. Across the line from us in Quebec, Malartic is down. Grand Remous is down. Béarn is down.

I have spoken to workers in so many of those communities. They understand very clearly that there is a fundamental disinterest on the part of the government about the future not just of their industry, not just of their jobs, but of their communities. That is very clear.

What was very confusing to some of the people I spoke to, particularly along the Highway 17 corridor into northwestern Ontario, is why the Liberal Party has worked with the Conservatives to force through these amendments to cut down debate in committee to 60 seconds so that the effects of this would not be reviewed. Why was it that the Liberal members in committee worked with the Conservatives to ensure there would be no public hearings?

When we got to Thunder Bay everybody knew that Thunder Bay was going to be one of the main areas where we would have committee hearings. Lo and behold there were two Liberal members in that community who broke ranks with the rest of northern Ontario. They were standing proud for the bill and standing proud for this sellout. I was wondering at the time whether the Liberal Party was trying to stop hearings in northern Ontario to save the embarrassment of their own members who signed on to this bill.

The hon. member has been in Thunder Bay as well. He has spoken to the workers. Does he think perhaps that the Liberals are going along with the Conservatives in order to try to protect ridings in northwestern Ontario where members have sold out their own workers and sold out their own communities?

Motions in amendmentSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Timmins—James Bay is absolutely right. He has been one of the most vocal people in standing up for northern Ontario. He has been a champion of northern Ontario, as has the member for Sault Ste. Marie. We have two members in the House who have been standing up for northern Ontario jobs.

The reality, as the member for Timmins—James Bay has just pointed out, is that we are hemorrhaging jobs in northern Ontario because of this badly botched softwood sellout. We are hemorrhaging, with closures and layoffs right across northwestern Ontario. We saw it in Thunder Bay, but we are seeing it right across northern Ontario.

The Liberals, who have been saying that somehow they are opposed to this, have been working with the Conservatives and pushing this along. I do not know how a single Liberal member from northern Ontario can stand up and say that the Liberals have been fighting the good fight after what happened at the Standing Committee on International Trade, when the Liberals did the Conservatives' dirty work to push this bill through.

The reality is that we are in the House now debating Bill C-24 in its badly botched form because of the Liberal Party, because of those Liberal members. They are the ones who pushed this through. They are the ones who said no, they did not care about softwood, that was just for the TV cameras. Now we are in the situation where we have a badly flawed bill that does not even do what the Conservatives said it was going to do because they screwed up the definitions and badly botched the drafting. Now we have a situation where northern Ontario is going to pay the price for having Liberals who are refusing to stand up for that region.

Not only are we seeing this in northern Ontario, but we are seeing it right across the country. We are seeing lost jobs everywhere, from B.C. right through to northern Quebec, and those lost jobs are a direct result of this badly botched softwood sellout.

Motions in amendmentSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have one specific question for my colleague. It stems from a previous speech that he made on this subject in the same context of saying that the Liberals are doing the Tories' dirty work in committee.

Is it not true that Canada is in effect doing the Americans' dirty work in their long known animosity toward the softwood industry in Canada? Is it not true that some of the money left on the table will in fact be used against the best interests of Canadians by our American enemies in this trade issue?

Motions in amendmentSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question. In fact, it is the case and, even worse in Bill C-24, what we are adopting and what the Liberals and Conservatives are trying to foist on the House, with the support of the Bloc Québécois, is a bill that provides American definitions of virtually everything, including definitions of tenure and of related and unrelated people. All of those issues now go to the American coalition and it now has in place definitions that the Americans will be able to use against us.

Even better, thanks to the Conservatives' generosity and with the support of the Liberals, they now have half a billion dollars--

Motions in amendmentSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Nanaimo—Alberni.

Motions in amendmentSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Conservative Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I see that the NDP members are patting themselves on the back in their mutual admiration society down there, but some of the propaganda they put forward I think is reprehensible.

They claim that only 50% of the companies actually support this agreement when in fact we know more than 90% of the industry supports the agreement and signed on to the deal.

They claim that the recent ruling on October 13 of the Court of International Trade in the United States would have brought back all the money, as if that were the last court ruling there would have been. Those members ought to know how many court rulings, filings and counter-filings there have been on this file.

It is misleading to the public to suggest that this would not have been appealed. We know that the U.S. industry said it immediately would have appealed that decision and thus tied us up for several more years of punishing duties. This government has taken action.

I also think it is reprehensible for the member to imply that these 4,000 lost jobs are the responsibility of this government. I was elected in the year 2000. The former softwood lumber agreement expired in 2001. It was the previous administration that sat on this for so many years that it resulted in punishing job losses in my riding, as well as the member's, and in other coastal communities and indeed across Canada, while the previous government dithered and failed to take action.

This government, as soon as we took office, did take action. We took action quickly. We made it a priority. The Prime Minister immediately appointed the new ambassador to the United States, Michael Wilson, as our representative, and we made this a high priority file. It got high level meetings, including that between the Prime Minister and the president of the United States, and that got things moving, with teams mobilized on both sides of the border to resolve this issue.

The result of that agreement is that on July 1 we initialed a legal text. By September 12, the Minister of International Trade and U.S. trade representative Susan Schwab had signed an agreement. On September 18, a notice of ways and means was tabled in this House which we are still debating today, with amendments, as we move forward in this process.

The highlights of the agreement include: the revocation of the punishing U.S. countervailing and anti-dumping duties; the return of over $4.4 billion in duties collected by the U.S. since 2002; the safeguarding of the provinces' ability to manage their forest resources; a provision ensuring that revenues from the border measures will stay in Canada; and a range of initiatives to enhance binational cooperation and the development of the North American lumber industry.

By October 30, the first cheques were already going back to our cash-strapped industry, with $950 million being returned to Canadian forestry companies, about half of that to our British Columbia companies, including coastal companies that have been suffering very much as a consequence of those punishing duties.

I want to address an issue that is a big concern for coastal communities, particularly in my riding, and that is the issue of log exports. It is an issue of great concern to coastal communities, particularly on Vancouver Island, and particularly the two central ridings of Nanaimo—Alberni, my own, and the one south of us, Nanaimo—Cowichan.

I am glad to say that there is a review team looking at this issue of log exports. It involves a couple of high profile people with extensive experience. Bill Dumont is the former chief forester at Western Forest Products, a man well respected in the industry, and Don Wright is a former deputy forests minister who is also very well respected in the industry. Mr. Dumont is a Vancouver Island resident with 35 years of forestry experience who served as chief forester for Western Forest Products, where he earned a reputation for sustainable forest management, consultation, and working with first nations, and he is an award winner.

I am glad to say that consultations are under way. I am looking forward to action being taken. We have the possibility, through clause 17 in this bill, of dealing with the log export issue. There is room to deal with this issue. I want to take a moment to explain why the log issue is of concern to mid-Island areas.

As members know in regard to the private lands issue, when we are talking about log exports we have public lands and private lands. About 5.7% of the B.C. land mass is private forest lands, but more than half of that is actually on Vancouver Island, and most of it is in two ridings right in the central Island area. That is because of something that goes all the way back to Confederation: the E & N land grants. More than 139 years ago, that land was committed to building a railroad and the resources attached to it were given to the railroad company. Because of that, we have extraordinarily large masses of terrain that are private lands at present.

I am disappointed that, following the collapse of the agreement of 2001, neither the federal nor the provincial government had the courage to deal with the log export issue. The federal government was responsible for private lands and the provincial government was responsible for public lands. Neither government, the former Liberal government or the newly elected provincial government, had the courage to deal with the log export issue, which had the consequence of having a tariff wall on our finished log softwood lumber products while our logs were being exported without any restriction at all at that time.

It seems to me that a tariff should have been imposed while that dispute was under way. That did not happen. As a consequence, we saw a huge increase in coastal log exports during the time of this dispute.

Tremendous realignment has also been taking place in the forest industry and that is affecting the log export issue. Forest giant Weyerhaeuser conveniently owned mills on both sides of the border. It is a huge company with about $16 billion in assets and is bigger than our four largest forest companies combined. Before Weyerhaeuser sold to a Canadian company called Brascan, it managed to get another large chunk of land near Port Alberni released from public lands into the private sector.

The consequences, particularly for the community mid-Island around Port Alberni, have been rather devastating, in that the large amount of private land creates a situation that allows logs to be exported. The logs are vulnerable to export, particularly from this mid-Island area.

Immediately after Weyerhaeuser sold to Brascan, the company divided into two, separating the lands from the mills. At the same time, one of the largest mills in the Port Alberni area, Island Phoenix Division, happened to be moved to the land sector, Island Timberlands. Almost immediately that mill was dismantled, with the loss of about 300 jobs. Conveniently, that particular site is now available for log exports. That is a concern to people in the mid-Island area. Of concern to all of the workers is the tremendous movement toward facilitating log exports. The mill portion of Cascadia was very soon sold to the Western Forest Products division, which now controls about nine of the remaining coastal mills, and Island Timberlands is simply a land manager that can export those logs according to existing rules.

I am concerned that the existing situation has resulted in a tremendous increase in log exports. Log exports have doubled since 2001. Since 1996, the amount of coastal forest wood being exported as raw logs has increased about 10 times.

I want to say that this agreement in general has been very good for Canada. To end the impasse, the government took action on a very complicated file. Billions of dollars are coming back to our entire Canadian industry, including the coastal forest industry.

Clause 17 of the agreement allows us to take action through the governor in council. We are looking at that right now with the province and the review team to deal with this coastal log export issue. I am hopeful that we will see action. I have been discussing this issue with the Minister of International Trade and the Minister of Natural Resources. I know they are discussing it, as I have with the provincial minister, Rich Coleman, the minister of forests.

I am hopeful about the report tabled by these very capable forest experts from British Columbia on the issue of coastal log exports. There have been discussions and consultations going on over the past year. I know that they have heard from the community and I know the community is very upset.

In particular, people at Port Alberni have been counting the logging trucks coming out of there while the mills have been shut down, impaired or working at partial capacity. Even during the recent salmon festival, a ship pulled into the port to load logs for South Korea to be milled there while we have mills working at less than capacity right there in Port Alberni.

We are concerned about the impact of these coastal log exports. The agreement is a good agreement for Canada. We are going to move ahead, but the sidebar issue here on the coastal log exports is one that I hope we will be able to address through the provisions of clause 17. I hope we will see some action to help keep those logs get processed in Canada and on Vancouver Island and to help keep as many jobs as possible right here at home.

Motions in amendmentSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

1 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, I will explain later in my speech how much the Liberals are against this bill, but I have a question for the hon. member. What really bothers me is the part about leaving $500 million in the United States to the lobbyists who are going to use it to come back at us in 24 months after the expiry of the agreement.

In the previous government I was involved in a lot of negotiations and at that time if money was going to be left on the table it was going to be for constructive uses there, whether it was Katrina victims or low income housing, but there was definitely no intent for it to be left there for the lobbyists of the U.S. forest industry.

How can the member stand here, agree with this bill wholeheartedly, and say it is a good bill when money is going to be left on the table to come back and bite us later?

Motions in amendmentSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

1 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Conservative Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member is concerned for his rural community, but I am concerned when I hear the member object to this agreement when his government had the opportunity to solve this issue a whole lot sooner and allowed these tariffs to accumulate at the alarming rate they did, strangling our coastal communities and forest companies. The previous Liberal government was ready to sign an agreement that was not anywhere near as good as this one for the Canadian industry.

I want to draw attention to something that is a big concern while I have the opportunity. An article in Saturday's Globe and Mail discusses investment in the coastal industry and some of the comments are indicative of where we might be going, which concerns me.

Jimmy Pattison, a big player on the west coast, talks about making big investment in the coastal industry and that is because there is some measure of optimism that what goes down must come up. Hopefully it will come back. Russell Horner, chief executive officer of Vancouver's Catalyst Paper Corporation, stated:

There needs to be a major restructuring, with closure of a lot of assets and reinvestment in others. The government doesn't need to fund that, but they need to facilitate it...when things shut down, they need to let them shut down.

I know that is a concern because Catalyst runs the paper mill in Port Alberni. We do not want to lose that paper mill as a consequence of the lack of available raw materials from the downturn on the softwood side.

Motions in amendmentSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was amused to see the member for Sydney—Victoria speak in opposition to the agreement when the Liberals in committee tried to ram the thing through. They did the Conservatives' dirty work for them. I like him personally, but I think it is audacious, even for a Liberal, to stand in the House now that the television cameras are back on and say that the Liberals are opposed again. It is in the House now because of the Liberal Party and Canadians will not forget that we are debating this bill in the House because of the Liberal Party.

I would like to go back to my colleague from the Conservative Party who said some things that were absolutely shameless. He knows that on October 13 the Court of International Trade ruled in our favour. This has been the line from the beginning. The Conservatives said it would be endless litigation. The Prime Minister said it would take seven years of litigation.

The member knows that following that decision customs and border protection has already started paying 100% of the dollars out to the companies that did not sign on to this badly botched deal. He also knows that most companies have not done the legal work for the Export Development Corporation because they know full well this is a badly botched deal and that they should not be involved in it. He knows all those facts.

However, the question that I have to ask is--

Motions in amendmentSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Nanaimo—Alberni.

Motions in amendmentSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Conservative Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member talks about money coming back because of the Court of International Trade ruling. He knows full well that the U.S. industry announced that if it was not for this agreement being in place, it would have immediately launched an appeal. That appeal was not launched because of the good work of this Conservative government in arranging an agreement that prevented the U.S. industry from appealing that ruling. The member knows that to be the case and he continues with his NDP “pat themselves on the back spin”.

I want to discuss another issue which is the concern about the move to private lands. Port Alberni, which has been hit so hard by this issue, has also been hit hard by rain recently. Next to the town of Port Alberni is a huge of tract of land on the Beaufort Range that has been the subject of extensive logging because of private land practices there. In fact, back in January there was an investigation. Forest officials were brought in to examine the blowout in the water and there was a boil water advisory as a consequence of that. There have been some very serious changes with the Private Managed Forest Land Council--

Motions in amendmentSoftwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Sydney—Victoria.