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House of Commons Hansard #160 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drug.

Topics

Access to InformationOral Questions

May 30th, 2007 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his latest report, the Information Commissioner was very critical of the government, and gave an F, a failing grade, to the Privy Council Office. The commissioner singled out the Prime Minister's Office in particular, which has received an F three years in a row, an example not to follow.

Will the Prime Minister, who has refused to clean up in the past, admit that he is trying to hide his current behaviour by doing everything he can to put off reforming the access to information regime?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not the case. This government is completely committed to the Access to Information Act and the principles of openness and transparency.

I have to point out that the report indicates that, among others, Agriculture Canada, Citizenship and Immigration, Foreign Affairs, International Trade, Finance Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, and the Immigration and Refugee Board have all improved, and it goes on and on. A number of those have gone from an F to an A. We are on the right track.

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government had promised to clean up the access to information regime.

Does the Prime Minister realize that the commissioner's latest report confirms that, far from heading in the direction of more transparency, his office has taken to putting up more obstacles to the flow of information?

Access to InformationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I certainly cannot answer for what took place in the previous administration, but I am very pleased about the progress that this administration is making.

While I am on my feet, I would like to read what it had to say about Justice Canada:

There is reason to be optimistic that Justice Canada will succeed in improving its grade by next year. The department has put the necessary resources and processes in place, and senior management is closely monitoring progress.

I agree with that completely.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the crisis in the manufacturing sector is continuing. In the first four months of the year, 31,000 jobs disappeared in Quebec alone. The Minister of Industry is washing his hands of the whole issue and saying that he has already implemented the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, which is not true.

Does the minister realize that in making such a statement, he is essentially confirming his customary laissez-faire policy, the preferred approach of his former employers at the Montreal Economic Institute?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, this government's approach is to help the industry. We are taking steps to help manufacturers, and our actions are in line with what the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology hoped to see us do for manufacturers. In fact, yesterday, Perrin Beatty had this to say about the government's response to the committee's unanimous report: “The government's response to the recommendations...show that it is listening to Canadian manufacturers, and delivering for them at a time when manufacturers need it most”. The opposite is true of the Liberals and the NDP, who voted against the budget, against progressive measures for manufacturers.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should tell that to the workers who are unemployed.

The Minister of Industry is giving too much importance to the accelerated capital cost allowance, a tax measure that is inadequate because the manufacturing sector did not make a profit last year and therefore did not pay any tax.

Could the minister show a bit more initiative and also put in place budget measures to better target the sectors that are the worst off?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the measure my hon. colleague is referring to will cost taxpayers $1.3 billion over three years. If she believes this is nothing, I suggest she take an economics course.

It is important to mention that the unemployment rate in Quebec decreased by 1.2% in April and is now at its lowest level ever. That is what Conservative measures have done.

Corporate TakeoversOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, Bombardier, with 56,000 employees, is a true Canadian success story. Its CEO, Laurent Beaudoin, issued a strong warning yesterday that the industry minister's laissez-faire approach to foreign takeovers is threatening Canadian jobs: “We can't continue to leave things as they are now, without somehow protecting Canadian interests”.

Why is the industry minister ignoring industry leaders like Laurent Beaudoin while we lose tens of thousands of Canadian manufacturing jobs?

Corporate TakeoversOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised at that kind of question because the hon. member must know about the Investment Canada Act.

Under section 20 of the Investment Canada Act, when there is a foreign investment or a foreign takeover in this country, this is what we look at to be sure there are net benefits for Canadians: we look at the effect on economic activity, the effect on competition, the participation by Canadians, the effect on research and development, and also the effect on all the industrial base in this country.

Each time we have a foreign investment, it must be good for Canada.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the industry minister continues to ignore industry leaders like Laurent Beaudoin, Gord Nixon and Dominic D'Alessandro, business leaders who are responsible for thousands of Canadian jobs.

The finance minister, the trade minister and the industry minister have all said that they are concerned about the loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector.

If they are so concerned, why did they cancel labour market partnership agreements worth $3.5 billion just when Canadian workers and manufacturers needed that help the most, when they are losing their manufacturing jobs?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I just want to let the hon. member know what my colleague, the Minister of International Trade, said. He said that the policy the Liberals had before was knee-jerk politics of the worst kind. That is what he said.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are hundreds of workers on the Hill today. They are fighting for their jobs. They are fighting for a decent hearing and basic respect from the Conservative government. Textile workers in Quebec, automobile workers in Ontario, forestry and fishery workers, these people deserve answers from the government.

When will the Prime Minister take real action to protect these jobs?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, once again I am surprised by the opposition's stand. The parliamentary committee, together with the government, unanimously adopted a report that made positive recommendations in keeping with the action requested by the manufacturing industry these past months. The government is taking action. Here, in the House, the opposition is being completely hypocritical and contrary by voting against the budget. What is the Liberal's true position? What is the NDP's true position? Are they for or against manufacturers?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister always seems surprised by the questions he is asked.

The government is taking its time with Bill C-55, a bill adopted by the last Parliament. This bill gave us the wage earner protection program to help protect the salaries and pensions of workers in the event of bankruptcy. Because of the multitude of job losses, many families will need this legislation.

Will the Prime Minister finally promise to finalize this bill before the end of this session?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, we tabled this bill several months ago. A notice of motion was given to the House. All the opposition parties agreed to fast track it and send it directly to the Senate since the technical changes reflected the will of the House of Commons in the last Parliament. However, the Bloc Québécois made amendments and these are not in the spirit of the bill that was passed. When the Bloc gives us the green light, we will act quickly and table the bill.

EstoniaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Estonia and other Baltic States have long been supported by Conservative governments in Canada. When they achieved restored freedom, a Canadian Conservative government was among the first in the world to recognize their restored independence.

In recent weeks, following an Estonian decision to relocate a Soviet occupation era war memorial, Estonia has been the victim of ethnic clashes, cyber attacks and assaults on Estonian diplomats in Russia as the Russian government has stepped up the rhetorical attacks on Estonia.

Is Canada standing up for the freedom and democracy of our NATO ally, Estonia?

EstoniaOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeSecretary of State (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, Canada stands strongly by Estonia, a NATO ally and friend of Canada, in the face of intimidation from Russia or any other country. During the height of the tensions over this incident, our foreign affairs minister communicated to Russia in the strongest terms our concerns over the Russians' actions and reminded them of their obligations under international law.

Whether the acts against Estonia are in cyberspace or in the streets of Moscow or Tallinn, Canada will continue to support the government and people of Estonia in the face of any aggressive act.

I might add that Estonia is a responsible global citizen, including the deployment of forces to southern Afghanistan.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has failed Canadians and working class families across this country. It has failed to invest in technology for a green auto strategy. It has failed to produce an auto plan. It has failed to stop a single plant closure across this country. Jobs are outsourced, there are foreign takeovers, factories are moving to Mexico, and still there is no plan.

How many more working families have to suffer before somebody over there gives a damn and does something about it?

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Windsor West will want to use judicial restraint in his questions and use of language.

The hon. Minister of Industry was rising to answer the question.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, there is always big rhetoric from the opposition members. Do you know why? Because they vote against the budget. They vote against what is good for the manufacturers. They vote against a strong economic union in this country.

Mr. Speaker, do you know what Mr. Perrin Beatty said yesterday? He said that the government's response to the recommendations shows that it is listening. We are listening to Canadian manufacturers and delivering for them at a time when manufacturers need it most.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it would be irresponsible for the minister to say that he adopted the recommendations. He did not even get past recommendation one of the industry committee report. As for rhetoric, about 150 families will go home tonight, people who do not have a job and a paycheque for the next week. There is no rhetoric about that.

Part of the problem is the government continues with the policies of the previous one. Right now the government is more interested in South Korea shipping cars into Canada than Canada having the same treatment.

Why is it going to protect jobs in South Korea as opposed to growing them in southwestern Ontario? Stand up for Canada for a change. Do something different.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The Minister of Industry has the floor and we have to be able to hear his answer. I can tell everyone wants to listen. The Minister of Industry has the floor.

Manufacturing IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is very simple. Since we took office in January 2006, employment increased by 2.8% in this country. This is because we have a budget that is listening to entrepreneurs in this country, is listening to manufacturers. We are listening to Canadians.

We lowered taxes. That is good for the economy. People have more money in their pockets. They can invest. They can create jobs. That is what is important in this country.