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 #135 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have quite a platform developing over there. Here we have the leader of the Liberal Party who has opposed every tax cut in the last two budgets to Canadian families, to individuals and to business and who is now up here lobbying for special tax breaks for corporations.

We have the leader of the Liberal Party who, after we got $5 billion in duties refunded to Canadian forestry companies, wants to rip up the softwood lumber agreement. Good luck if that is going to be his election campaign.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, when this incompetent government signed the softwood deal last fall, it promised seven years of peace and we have got barely seven months. The deal is falling apart.

The U.S. trade representative is now demanding even higher export taxes, which would ruin Canadian producers. The dispute has started all over again.

How can Canadians trust the government to protect Canadian jobs when it negotiates a bad deal for Canada and cannot even make it stick?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the leader and the deputy leader of the Liberal Party are; the softwood lumber deal is in place.

Under that agreement, there are consultations and a dispute settlement mechanism. That is why we have had the return of duties. That is why we have some stability in the industry.

The government obviously believes in the agreement and wants to preserve it. I do not know whether some American interests want to rip it up. I understand the Liberal Party wants to rip it up, but that is bad for the industry and bad for Canada.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives signed a softwood lumber agreement that was bad for workers and bad for the Canadian forestry industry.

We are now seeing the results of their incompetence. We have weakened our negotiating power under NAFTA. In addition, we left a billion dollars on the table. Now, the Americans are raising a new trade dispute that threatens the agreement itself.

How can Canadians have confidence in this incompetent government?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, after five years of disputes over softwood lumber that cost the industry dearly, this government reached an agreement with the United States for the return of $5 billion to Canadian forestry companies. The industry in Quebec does not want to tear up this agreement. The industry in the rest of Canada does not want to tear up this agreement. It is the position of the Liberal party that is bad for the industry and for Canada.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

April 18th, 2007 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the tragedy that occurred a few days ago in the United States, when an insane shooter burst into a university and killed 33 people, saddened us all.

Serious though the situation is, it is important that we not abandon the fight. There are various ways to combat this insane violence. One of them is gun control, and a registry for that purpose. The federal government, however, has in fact decided to allow the existing registry to fade away.

In light of these tragic events, does the Prime Minister not understand the importance of gun control, and therefore of the registry?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government recognizes the importance of gun control and of taking measures against crimes committed with guns. That is why, for example, we support the registry of licences for handgun and restricted firearm owners.

In its 2007 budget, the government spent $14 billion to institute an improved screening system. It is important that we continue those efforts.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that there is a registry. We have to make that registry work. We must not abandon it. The Premier of Quebec is calling for this, as are the police, who know a little bit about this subject.

I ask the Prime Minister, who is sticking dogmatically to some promises made during the election campaign while he breaks others, to take a realistic and responsible position this time. He must grasp the situation and take action to preserve the registry, because this is a matter that affects the quality of life in our society.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we intend to preserve the registry for owners of handguns and other restricted firearms.

We also intend to spend more money for a screening system. It is important that what we do, and the money we spend, be for measures taken against crime and not just measures taken against duck hunters and farmers.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government takes a very strange approach. When it comes to consulting on the appointment of judges, it does not hesitate to seek the opinion of the police and even to appoint police to the committees, but when it comes to gun control, it does not want to listen to the police.

Can the Minister of Public Safety explain his logic? Why is the opinion of the police so important when it comes to choosing judges but not important at all when it comes to gun control?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, that is not the case. The handgun registry will be maintained. It is very important to do this.

In addition, we are going to introduce another system. A person wishing to register to purchase a firearm of any kind, whether a handgun or any other kind of gun, will have to be interviewed. We have never had a system like this, and now we will.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is obviously an area that needs further clarification. The government has decided to take a mean, underhanded approach to the firearms registry by doing things that will ultimately totally gut it. For example, it is letting the registry go to seed by failing to keep it up to date and by extending the full amnesty for holdouts who refuse to register their firearms.

Have the tragic events of the last few days not induced the Prime Minister to review his approach and finally realize that it is contrary to what the people want?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we are continuing to study the situation and improve the system, but we have introduced something that never existed under the Liberals. It is my friend and hon. colleague who is not very clear. It is absolutely essential to keep the handgun registry, and that is what we are going to do.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, more and more people are asking themselves questions about the escalation of the war in Afghanistan. We know that the Liberals sent our troops with no plan and no exit strategy. And the Conservatives are continuing down the same path. They do not respect the position of our NATO allies, who, unlike us, are not pursuing this war in Afghanistan.

My question is to the Prime Minister. Why is he persisting in this engagement, this escalation in Afghanistan? Why?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are in Afghanistan with the support of the government and people of Afghanistan, the United Nations and the international community, and also with our NATO allies. This government strongly supports the efforts of our troops in very dangerous circumstances. It is a great honour for our country that our men and women are prepared to make such sacrifices for us and for the citizens of other countries.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem here is that the Prime Minister is not coming clean with Canadians about what is really going on, that he is actively promoting an escalation of the conflict.

Documents uncovered by the NDP show that this government has approached the United Arab Emirates about sending troops to Kandahar. Canada requested Leclerc main battle tanks, two platoons of armoured reconnaissance vehicles and 155-millimetre self-propelled guns.

All of this new firepower is designed to launch a Bush-style surge to attack insurgents at the border with Pakistan. Now, if this is not an escalation, what is?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, obviously, the Canadian men and women who serve in uniform in dangerous circumstances such as this are there to help the Afghan population and the international community deal with serious domestic terrorist threats that have possible international implications.

Our people are there doing the work of the international community. They are doing good work. They deserve our support. They certainly do not deserve this kind of attack on their efforts.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Valley Liberal Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Trade has stood in this House and pretended that the softwood lumber deal would protect lumber programs and policies in Canada.

Yet what is happening is exactly the opposite. We have a letter from President Bush's trade representative attacking several programs in Ontario because the Americans are unhappy with them. They are even attacking a program to fund the construction and maintenance costs of access roads.

How can the Minister of International Trade claim that this is the best deal in three decades for Ontario and will he spend some time on it now?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade and Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, this is indeed a good deal. As a matter of fact, there was no deal under the Liberal government and we all know that. It is because of the hard work of the Prime Minister and the trade minister that we actually have a softwood lumber agreement that provides the avenue for us to have consultations and that indeed is what we are doing.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Valley Liberal Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is clear the government is not paying attention to the thousands of forestry workers who have lost their jobs.

Clearly, the deal is bad for Canada and especially Ontario. The U.S. is attacking loan guarantees, programs that are necessary to help the industry grow. It is attacking programs that will help value added manufacturing, diversification, and the long term health and sustainability of the Ontario forest sector.

When will the Minister of International Trade admit that this deal does nothing to protect the Ontario industry and when will he start making sure forest policy is made in Canada and not in Washington?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade and Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, the opposition gives this government a lot more credit than is likely going to happen. We do not control the housing industry in the United States. The softening of prices in the United States has created more protectionism than we were expecting. It is this softwood lumber agreement that provides us the opportunity to sit down and discuss what the Americans feel are their concerns.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec forestry industry is going through an unprecedented crisis, but it cannot look to the incompetent Conservative government for assistance.

After abandoning the economic development of the regions of Quebec in their budget, the Conservatives have abandoned forestry workers for the benefit of the Americans and a bargain-basement deal on softwood lumber.

Just ask workers who have lost their jobs in Abitibi, in Mauricie or in the Outaouais.

Why is the Conservative government not doing something today to fix the mistakes caused by its incompetence and inertia on softwood lumber?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I wonder where my hon. colleague was a few months ago; since he certainly read the last budget, he could have seen that $400 million was allocated to help the forestry industry stay competitive. That is in addition to the softwood lumber deal, which will bring about long-term stability for the next seven years. That is what we are doing. That is what a Conservative government does. We keep our promises to Canadians and the softwood lumber industry.

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, forestry industry workers deserve better than the flagrant incompetence of the Conservatives. In a recent letter, the Americans launched a frontal attack on the assistance programs operated by the Government of Quebec totalling over $1 billion. The Conservatives have created more problems than they have solved.

At the meetings with the Americans scheduled for tomorrow, instead of kowtowing, will someone in this Conservative government finally stand up for the interests of Quebec workers?

Softwood LumberOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my hon. colleague that in Quebec, 98% of softwood lumber companies supported the agreement and still support it. And in Quebec the Fédération des travailleurs du Québec (FTQ) also supports this agreement because it is good for the workers and for Quebec. That is why they supported the agreement and why they still support it today. I wonder where my colleague was a few months ago.