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House of Commons Hansard #12 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreement.

Topics

TennisStatements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, after a 20-year absence, Frédéric Niemeyer returned to the Rock Forest recreation centre, where he made his professional debut, from March 11 to 19, when he competed in front of a home crowd in the National Bank Futures tournament in Sherbrooke. Mr. Niemeyer, who is originally from Deauville, is ranked 179th in the world.

Created to showcase the most talented players from Quebec and from Canada, the National Bank Futures tournaments allow our athletes to accumulate ATP points and win $10,000 in prize money.

The Bloc Québécois would like to thank and congratulate the recreation centre and the Sherbrooke tennis club and its president, François Lefevbre, for organizing the tournament. They gave us a chance to see a Quebec tennis great in action, along with two upcoming young players from the Eastern Townships: Sébastien Jacques of Magog and Alexandre Desmarais of Deauville.

We also congratulate the tournament winner, seventh-seeded Robin Haase from the Netherlands.

TerrorismStatements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, this government is concerned with the intensification of violence in Sri Lanka, triggered by Tuesday's suicide bombing.

We condemn all terrorist acts as demonstrated most recently by our listing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam pursuant to the Criminal Code.

Norway, which has been facilitating the peace process between the parties, is currently working on the ground to bring them back to the negotiating table.

The government of Sri Lanka has stated its continued support for the ceasefire agreement and willingness to return to negotiations. We urge both parties to cooperate with the Norwegian facilitators and agree upon a date for the resumption of talks.

National Day of MourningStatements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, today is the National Day of Mourning. It is a day the constituents of the Churchill riding know only too well. This day we remember Canadians who have lost their lives in a work related death and those who have lost their health due to the workplace. Many of us in the House and across the country have been affected in one way or another by a workplace accident or tragedy.

In my riding of Churchill injuries happen not only in the high risk industries of logging or mining, fishing or construction, but they happen in all occupations. Injuries in a rural riding can be most challenging, often requiring travel to access health care and further travel for appropriate treatments. This difficulty is compounded by the emotional and often financial burden for the families.

Young people are quick to jump at opportunities to work, but these new workers have higher rates of injuries than other people, often within the first couple of days or weeks of starting their new job.

This National Day of Mourning gives us, as Canadians, a chance to remember the value of both work and safety and each other.

I ask all members to work together as parliamentarians toward the goal of safer workplaces for all people.

Softwood LumberStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Fitzpatrick Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday was a historic day for the forestry industry in Canada. After us suffering through 13 years of Liberal inaction, it took only 80 days for our Prime Minister and this government to find a resolution to the softwood dispute.

The Liberal record is abysmal on this file. The previous prime minister was willing to sell out the return of illegal duties. He clearly stated that the return of only $3.5 billion was just okay with him. The former member for Papineau, as foreign affairs minister, was willing to get rid of the exemption for Atlantic producers. It is obvious that the previous Liberal government did not have the interests of the forestry industry in mind and was willing to sell out the industry just to get a deal.

The deal will improve the balance sheets of our Canadian forestry companies. The residents and the forestry industry of Saskatchewan are extremely pleased with this deal. This is a good deal for our country, for our residents and for the forestry industry in my riding. Under this Prime Minister, what Canada wanted is what Canada got.

Foreign AffairsStatements by Members

April 28th, 2006 / 11:10 a.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, the rescue of James Loney and two other hostages in Iraq ended an anxious four month ordeal for my community of Sault Ste. Marie.

James' parents, Patrick and Claudette, rejoiced with their other children. For 118 days, neighbours, church and other friends offered steadfast prayer and support. Like James, the community is grateful to God, to the soldiers, government and diplomats who rescued him, and to supporters who were his voice during captivity.

Typical of James, his first words of gratitude included remembering others in detention, in prison or on security certificates without due process. His deepest wish is that every forsaken human being has a hand of solidarity reaching out to them.

The Christian Peacekeeper witness to non-violent peacemaking challenges the rhetoric of violence. The world is bigger than only “us and them”.

SudanStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the crisis in Sudan has become even more grave. The murder and rape of innocent civilians by Khartoum's sponsored Janjaweed continues unabated. Now we see that food is running out for hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled the carnage. This week, Sudan's President al-Bashir and Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini engaged in talks to provide Sudan with nuclear capabilities.

The crisis demands action now.

Our government must urgently ask the UN Security Council to authorize the assembly and deployment of a peacemaking force, with a chapter 7 mandate, to Darfur. We must also lead an international effort to ensure that the refugees have the food they need.

This week the Prime Minister said that Canada will not sit idly by while a genocide is occurring. Now he must back up those words with action and vigorously pursue this plan that will save the lives of the innocent people in Darfur and stop a genocide. Time is not on Darfur's side.

National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness WeekStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, April 23 to 30 is National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week. The green ribbon symbolizes life and promotes organ donation.

On January 16, in Quebec, the Chambre des Notaires established a list of people who have agreed to donate organs and tissue. This list is available on line to authorized individuals 24 hours a day.

Thanks to the list, people's last wishes concerning organ donation will be easier to respect, and patients waiting for transplants will have quicker access to the organ or tissue that could change their life. This is a very smart initiative that demonstrates, yet again, Quebec's innovative spirit.

I invite all of my colleagues to wear the green ribbon and to convince as many of their friends and acquaintances as possible about the importance of organ donation.

National DefenceStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Wajid Khan Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the decision barring the media from the repatriation of troops killed in action in Afghanistan was taken on behalf of the families of the servicemen, yet they were not consulted. The government claims that refusing to lower the Peace Tower flag is a more respectful act of remembrance for troops killed in action.

To my mind, nothing can be more dangerous for Canada that the war in Afghanistan should come to be regarded as a departmental affair under the sole care and arbitration of the overburdened Minister of National Defence and his boss. An experienced government knows that all armed forces need to preserve the connection between their members and the civilian population.

I note that neither the Prime Minister nor the Minister of National Defence had any reservations about lowering the Peace Tower flag as a sign of respect for the RCMP officers killed in the line of duty. Why are our soldiers any different? Because they died overseas?

LobbyistsStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal member for Vancouver Quadra cannot seem to get the story straight on lobbying, and no wonder. Liberals have been displaying incredible ethics amnesia in this Parliament.

It was the former Liberal prime minister's so-called conflict of interest code that purposely left the barn door open to Liberal lobbying horseplay, with defeated Liberal cabinet ministers rushing to the lobbying trough and major corporate lobbyists jumping on the Liberal transition gravy train without jumping off the Liberal lobbying bandwagon, at least not until the former Liberal prime minister's personally hand-picked ethics lapdog finally caved to pressure and told them to deregister, knowing full well the Liberal prime minister did not have a cooling off period for them after transition. Michael Robinson, Dennis Dawson, John Duffy, Arthur Kroeger, Mark Resnick, André Albinati, Francis Fox, Cyrus Reporter: sadly, the Liberal list of lobbying conflicts goes on and on.

If the Liberal member for Vancouver Quadra is serious about strong accountability on lobbying, he should tell his Liberal colleagues to stop opposing the Conservative federal accountability act, get with the program and get on with changing the old Liberal rules. Canadians turned the page on Liberal cronyism by choosing a Conservative government. Can the Liberals now do the same?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, in the softwood lumber dispute up until now, Canada has always demanded the Americans show respect for the trade agreements they signed. We also insisted that duties collected illegally from Canadian firms not be scooped into the pockets of American lumber barons.

With yesterday's deal, Canada lost both ways. It was a political deal, a deal at any price, and the Americans got a signing bonus of up to $1.5 billion swiped directly from Canadians.

Why did the government give in, on bended knee, to Uncle Sam?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let us get this straight. Over six years, the Liberals failed. Over six years, they did not act. In 80 days, this Prime Minister acted in the best interests of Canada and will deliver back to the pockets of Canadians $4 billion U.S., plus interest, that the Liberals sent to the United States and did not get back for Canadians.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, industry people say that this softwood deal could have been had yesterday or two weeks ago or six months ago. All it took was a Canadian government that was prepared to roll over.

The Americans violated NAFTA, they capped the market access, they swiped $1.5 billion, and on the very day that this deal was done, the U.S. filed another extraordinary challenge against Canadian softwood lumber.

Why was this deal unacceptable to the Minister of International Trade last November but, in even less favourable form, it is okay today?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

The hon. member is absolutely right, Mr. Speaker, that the current Minister of International Trade helped us stop a bad Liberal deal last November that would only have delivered $3.5 billion. He stood up for Canada and said no to the deal then.

He worked hard over the past weeks, along with the Prime Minister and our embassy in Washington, to secure this, with the industry's support, with the support of the premiers of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, all Liberal premiers, because they were sick and tired of six years of inaction. They realized that this deal will bring $4 billion back to Canada, and it will bring peace and open trade for the Canadian forest industry.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, it will be very interesting to examine the exact impacts on the Canfor firm on both sides of the border.

This is not free trade. It is not fair trade. This is limited trade, capped, restricted and controlled to suit the United States, and the deal will last only as long as it works in the Americans' favour. On top of that, the U.S. industry gets $1.5 billion, taken illegally from us, to fight Canadians with our own money.

Last September the Prime Minister said that was wrong and he would fight it. Again during the election campaign he said it was wrong and he would fight it. Why has the Prime Minister flip-flopped again to settle for less?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

That is absolutely wrong, Mr. Speaker. In fact, the United States industry will keep only 10% of the duties that we agree it illegally collected. Eighty per cent of the duties will be repatriated to Canadian industry. The other 10% will be allocated on forestry projects, including aid to Katrina reconstruction and the pine beetle problem in British Columbia. That will be a direct benefit to our industry.

That member and his government were prepared to accept a bad deal of only $3.5 billion. The Liberals dawdled on this file for six years. We have acted and we have brought home $4 billion to protect the Canadian forestry industry.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, Carl Grenier, from the Free Trade Lumber Council, is not impressed with the agreement signed yesterday by Canada and the United States regarding softwood lumber. Mr. Grenier cannot accept that the Canadian government left in excess of $1 billion in the hands of our American competitors.

How can the Prime Minister claim that yesterday was a great day for Canada and Quebec, when this agreement represents a complete sellout by Canada and more than a billion dollars belonging to our lumber industry has been given away to the U.S.?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the former Liberal government is the one that sold out. Over six years, Liberal attempts to reach an agreement consistently failed. They were not successful in winning their battle against the Americans.

Yesterday, Guy Chevrette, the president of the Quebec Forest Industry Council, commented that “it was worthwhile to put an end to this endless dispute. We have been waiting for five years; we are flat out”.

Quebec's Liberal government and its premier supported this agreement, because it serves the higher interests of Quebeckers and Canadians.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, do the Conservatives realize they have signed a bargain-basement deal with the Americans, so much so that they feel the need to gag Canadian producers? Mr. Grenier, whose organization represents companies representing more than 40% of Canadian softwood lumber exports, said, “I have never seen such a rotten deal. It is a complete sellout by Canada”.

Have we just witnessed the demise of NAFTA?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, frankly, I do not understand what the hon. member means. In Quebec, where he is from, the vast majority of lumber producers support the agreement, as does Quebec's Liberal government.

In signing this agreement, the Prime Minister ensured that boundary sawmills, among others, are protected by an exemption. This is a good deal for Quebec, Quebec's lumber industry and all Canadians.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the American strategy throughout the softwood lumber dispute was very clear: it was to drag out the legal proceedings as long as possible in order to wear down the Canadian industry. Only loan guarantees would have helped the industry keep up the fight. According to Carl Grenier of the Free Trade Lumber Council, the Canadian government put pressure on the industries by telling them they would not get any help if they did not accept the agreement.

Is this attitude shown by the government not equivalent to allowing the Americans to go back on their word and disregard the NAFTA rulings?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker. Canada's ambassador to Washington, Mr. Wilson, said yesterday that Canada was still prepared to use loan guarantees to protect our industry if the U.S. did not accept the agreement.

Our government was still prepared to support our industry if there was no agreement. However, we reached an historic agreement yesterday to protect the interests of the forestry industry in Quebec. That is why the Quebec Forest Industry Council and the Government of Quebec, among others, supported this agreement.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I agree, it is a historic agreement: we are letting the Americans keep $1 billion that they extorted. I do not think that people are very happy that the Americans are keeping $1 billion of our money. What is more, softwood lumber is being dropped from NAFTA.

Guy Chevrette from the Quebec Forest Industry Council said, “The industry's financial difficulties did not put us in a long-term time position of strength.” That is because the previous government did not use loan guarantees and this government also refused to do so. We are in fact leaving the Americans with $1 billion to prepare for the next battle. That is the reality.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is ridiculous. The Americans will pay back the Canadian industry 80% of the duties it took illegally. They are keeping only 10% to cover their legal fees.

This government has always defended the interests of our forestry industry. That is why after 80 days, we took action to get an agreement that is good for Quebec. This agreement received support from the Government of Quebec and the majority of lumber producers in Quebec.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the agreement reached yesterday has left a bad taste, even for those who had to approve it. Henceforth, softwood lumber is no longer covered by NAFTA.

Will the Minister of International Trade admit that he is sending the wrong message-—a message that encourages challenges to NAFTA and attacks on Quebec and Canadian companies because in the end it is worth it?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

On the contrary, Mr. Speaker, the message is clear: our Prime Minister will defend the interests of the Quebec and Canadian industry and fight against illegal practices in international trade. That was accomplished by yesterday's historic agreement. It will ensure stability in the industry for seven years. Furthermore, it will not set quotas based on current prices. Consequently, as a result of this agreement, $4 billion US, plus interest, will be repaid to the Canadian softwood lumber industry.