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House of Commons Hansard #6 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreements.

Topics

TradeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as somebody who has lived his last 30 years in the United States, we would think he would be familiar with the fact that we actually do not get involved in drafting legislation in the United States, nor do Americans get involved in drafting our legislation.

We are very concerned about this. A last-minute entry into the legislation, the particular clause that is before their Senate right now, takes it further than just steel and just iron products. It could go across the board to many other products. That is why we have been aggressive on the file. That is why we are hoping for some mitigation here.

TradeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Trade returned from his trip to Davos saying that he was cautiously optimistic following his meeting with his American counterpart—cautiously optimistic in a situation in which 2,000 jobs could be lost in Quebec alone. Canadians do not need empty rhetoric. They want the legislation to be changed.

What is this government doing right now in Washington to protect Canadian jobs from American protectionism?

TradeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, over 2,000 jobs could be affected in Quebec, la belle province, but many jobs could also be affected across the country and around the world. Canada is not the only country concerned about the situation; other countries are also concerned. We will continue to voice our concerns. We will continue to present potential solutions. If we continue to do this, a solution can be found.

TradeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, with respect to both acid rain and softwood lumber, strong publicity campaigns were launched in the United States and no effort was spared in lobbying Congress and the Senate.

My question is for the minister. Where are this government's efforts on this, something so important to all Canadians?

TradeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fact that my colleague has mentioned action taken by the former Conservative government, which effectively changed the situation.

It is also important to point out that this takes time. This is not the sort of thing that can be done overnight or in two days. That is why we are concerned. And that is also why American industries are heavily involved in this situation. They understand that this is a serious problem that can affect global trading.

TradeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem is one of time. This legislation has gone through Congress very quickly. It is now in the Senate and can go through the Senate very quickly.

I must say I disagree with the minister's statement that it is not our job to get involved with Congress. Every Canadian ambassador in Washington in the last 25 years has said exactly the opposite: that is where we should be fighting, that is where we should be, and that is what we should be doing on behalf of Canadian business and on behalf of Canadian workers.

TradeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, if my friend opposite is really concerned about working together, as those members pretend to be, then he should at least be accurate in his statements. What I said just moments ago is that we do not normally get involved in the drafting of legislation in the United States. He should be accurate when he talks about that.

He is also incorrect in that this has not passed in Congress. It has passed in the House of Representatives. Then there will be a passing, possibly, in the Senate. Then the two will be reconciled. That is what Congress is all about.

We are moving quickly on this. We are making our views known and we are being heard.

TradeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the recovery plan unveiled by the U.S. President, Barack Obama, contains a protectionist clause that would violate WTO and NAFTA rules and threaten 2,000 jobs in Quebec. The Prime Minister promised to raise this issue with his American counterpart when he visits on February 19. But it is quite possible that this plan will already have been adopted by the U.S. senate when the two leaders meet.

Will the Prime Minister promise to call President Obama as soon as possible and ask him to change that clause, in order to prevent a prolonged legal battle like the one over softwood lumber?

TradeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, our goal is to reach a solution before the President arrives in Canada. I do not know whether it is possible, but that is our aim. We want to reach a solution beforehand.

TradeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is possible to encourage local purchasing and still comply with WTO and NAFTA rules. Such a policy would mean that certain equipment would be purchased locally for security reasons, for example.

At a time when we are in the midst of an economic crisis and many industries are struggling, why does the government not adopt a buy local policy that complies with WTO and NAFTA rules?

TradeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, we believe that Canadian products are the best in the world, but it is up to the buyers to decide whether they want to purchase them. We are continuing to encourage people to consider Canadian products and services. There are also occasions when it is necessary to buy Canadian. We are going to continue to promote that.

TradeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is possible to choose local industries for the construction of equipment and still comply with the provisions of NAFTA and the WTO. With regard to security in particular, there is nothing to prevent the government from having trucks for the army built in Canada, in Quebec for instance .

Why does the government refuse to use these exemptions and prefer to award its military contracts to foreign companies, an illogical decision in these times of economic slowdown?

TradeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, in this case it is clear that the Canadian Forces need a certain type of truck.

On this particular procurement, what we have done is receive, dollar for dollar, the amount for this particular contract in the range of $274 million. Much of the work on the component parts of this particular truck will be done in Canada. Much of the in-service support will of course be done in Canada, around the country at various bases where these trucks, these workhorses of the Canadian Forces, will be located.

TradeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec industry wants its share of spinoffs from military contracts. One year after the contract was awarded to Boeing and Lockheed, the aerospace industry is unable to confirm whether the value of the contracts is $660 million.

Does the Minister of Industry realize that Quebec is not receiving its fair share?

TradeOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, our government acknowledges the importance of the aerospace industry to the economy. It is obviously a very important part of the Quebec economy as well as of the entire country's economy.

We have supported this industry in our 2008 and 2009 budgets. This industry represents part of our economic plan for Canada and Quebec also. Naturally we support an action plan for Canada that will invest in industries of the future, as is the case with the aerospace industry.

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker on Friday, the Minister of Human Resources insulted the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who, through no fault of their own, have been thrown out of work. When she was speaking about the employment insurance program, she said, “We do not want to make it lucrative for them to stay at home and get paid for it”.

Does the Prime Minister agree with his minister that unemployed Canadians are just looking for a way to stay at home and get lucrative payments from the government, or will he ask her to apologize?

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it is a tragedy when anyone gets laid off from his or her job. We understand that on this side of the House, but we believe that in a time when across this country there are still many job openings, and in fact, companies cannot find enough people with the needed skills to fill those jobs, it is important that people get back to work, that they have the opportunities to get the skills to do the jobs of today and the jobs of tomorrow. We believe they should have that opportunity. That is what we are providing with our economic action plan.

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not think we heard an apology there. I think we saw a compounding of the problem.

The minister and the government seem to believe that somehow Canadians would rather sit at home and receive payments from the government than go out to work. It is simply not the truth. If the Conservatives spent some time with the hundreds of thousands of people who are losing their jobs now, they might understand that. People are not trying to sit at home and get paid. They are trying to protect their homes. That is what they are trying to do. They are trying to keep their jobs.

Will the minister at least stand up and apologize to the unemployed, whom she has insulted?

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we want people to have the opportunity to work, to bring food home and put it on the table for their families, and to do that with dignity.

The apology should be coming from the hon. member and some of his cohorts who keep saying that people over 50 cannot learn new jobs. They want to put them out to pasture. We have faith in them.

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for employment insurance believes that people want to stay home, live the good life and live off the state. That is what she said and that is the root of the problem.

It reminds me of the time the Prime Minister referred to Maritimers as losers. It is the same kind of attitude.

The minister should apologize because the unemployed are insulted. They want real jobs, not insults from the minister.

Human Resources and Skills DevelopmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we are offering them. We are providing training so that they can have good jobs in the future.

We will be providing the training and they have voted against it.

Equalization PaymentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government is unilaterally and without any consultation amending the equalization formula. The changes mean far fewer dollars will be flowing to provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador. This is no way to run a federation.

Could the Prime Minister tell the House why the government is managing the federation in a manner which is driving federal-provincial relations into the ground?

Equalization PaymentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, certainly one of the principles involved in equalization is that all provinces should be treated equally. That is indeed what we are doing. It is not open to one province to elect to have unrestrained growth of equalization sharing payments, whether it is through the accords or through formal equalization. That is exactly what is being suggested by the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

We believe in fairness across the board in Canada. That is why growth in the accord incomes and in equalization is fair--

Equalization PaymentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Vancouver South.

Equalization PaymentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister utters absolute nonsense.

The fact is no amount of evasion can change the fact that the federal government has a responsibility to make this federation work properly. The government is one big wrecking crew when it comes to federal-provincial relations.

How can the Prime Minister assure the House that the budget implementation legislation will not be used to settle political scores with any premier or any province?