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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

Canada–EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, that is surprising considering the government, as has been said many times this morning, has the ability to exempt those military purchases, so both the last question and response were very troubling.

Since the Bretton Woods agreement has fallen apart, if the member has any further suggestions about the new financial order, that would be good.

I want to compliment the member for bringing up the fact of the feedback cycle on global warming. I want to add that with frozen methane in big chunks in the oceans and the white ice going away, the darkness is attracting more heat, which is a very big concern for us. Climate change is worse in the north than anywhere else. Under those circumstances, where all sorts of potential is being opened up out there, the fact that the Conservatives have cancelled the Arctic ambassador and not replaced it has lowered our esteem in the world in Arctic affairs.

Canada–EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Yukon for his tireless work not only for the people of his constituency but also for the people of the north. He, more than just about anybody else in the House, knows full well the impact of global warming on the territory he represents. He sees it in his day to day life and he sees the impact it has upon individuals.

The point I was driving forward is that the government has a chance to think clearly and to innovate during this time of a changing financial architecture by adding energy policy and trade policy together. They can and must go together. That will require international co-operation on how we can change the WTO, how we can change the IMF and how we can ensure the WTO and the IMF work together to deal with the issues of labour rights, health care and the environment.

I want to expand upon what my friend said.

The issue of feedback loops is not something on which we can go back. These feedback loops, if they are set in motion, will cause a cascade of events that we cannot stop. The elimination of the carbon sinks, wetlands and forests and the increasing temperature, which causes the melting of the ice and the release of methane, which is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, will result in these feedback loops and we cannot turn them off.

It also has an impact upon the very countries with which we are signing a trade agreement. That will result in a change in the currents in the North Atlantic which will result in cataclysmic changes for agriculture and for the economies in the region, most of all our country and our economy.

Canada–EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I will ask my hon. colleague this question once again.

Will his party support a carve-out of the shipbuilding and marine industry, similar to what the Americans have done, when it comes to the EFTA deal?

Canada–EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will respond again by saying let us work together to ensure Canadian workers are protected and the Canadian economy maximizes its potential and its capability.

On the shipbuilding industry, I ask him a reciprocal question. Will he support the proposal that I have in the House to ensure the import tax on ships goes into a special fund, which should be matched with the private sector, and used to modernize our shipbuilding capabilities in our country so we can compete with countries from around the world in this important industry?

Canada–EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, today it is my pleasure to speak to Bill C-2, an act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the States of the European Free Trade Association. The association is made up of four countries: Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

As some of my colleagues mentioned this morning, this is the second time that Parliament is considering the bill to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the States of the European Free Trade Association. During the second session of the 39th Parliament, Bill C-55 was passed at second reading, but could not be finalized before the 39th Parliament ended on September 7, 2008.

Bill C-2, which is before us today, and Bill C-55 are identical. I want to reiterate that the Bloc Québécois will support this bill because we believe that it will provide good trade opportunities for Quebec. Nevertheless, it is important to point out that this economic initiative, while very positive for Quebec, raises some concerns that I will explore later in my remarks.

As we all know, many Quebec businesses depend on exports to ensure growth. However, 85% of our exports are to the United States. That means that we have to diversify free trade.

International exports represent almost one-third of Quebec's GDP. Every day we are painfully becoming more aware that our economy is far too dependent on that of the United States. When there is a recession or a downturn in consumerism as is now happening with the Americans, coupled with the obvious aggression of emerging countries such as China, India and Brazil, we can see that it is getting more and more difficult to keep our place in the American market and to encourage growth in our manufacturing businesses. The results have been significant for Quebec. We have lost over 150,000 manufacturing jobs in the past five years, more than 80,00 of those since the Conservatives came to power.

The riding that I represent, Berthier—Maskinongé, has been severely affected by the loss of manufacturing jobs, particularly in the furniture and textile industries. If we were less dependent on the American market and our trading relationships were more diversified, I am convinced that our manufacturing sector would not be so hard hit.

And this is what makes the agreement that we are looking at today such an interesting initiative. It also offers new opportunities for Quebec business. For example, like Quebec, Switzerland has a large pharmaceutical industry, vigorous and innovative, especially with respect to brand name drugs. It is not surprising that Quebec is the Canadian leader in the field of brand name drugs because of its pool of skilled researchers and its favourable tax system. We could therefore easily imagine that in order to more easily break into the American market—

I think that I will stop there and continue after question period.

Canada–EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé will have 15 minutes remaining after question period.

It is now time to move to statements by members. The hon. member for Brandon—Souris.

Lee ClarkStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, it was with sadness this past summer that we heard of the passing of a learned scholar and federal politician who served Brandon--Souris.

Mr. Lee Clark passed away in August after a riding accident at his retirement home in Lake Metigosh where he spent many happy years during his retirement enjoying the outdoors. He has left to mourn his wife Barb, two daughters, and three grandchildren.

Lee earned his doctoral degree and served on the staff of Brandon University before becoming our member of Parliament from 1983 through 1993. He returned to Brandon University until his official retirement in 1998.

Lee Clark lived his life as a dedicated educator and politician, a tireless volunteer, and most important, a great husband, father and grandfather. Those who were fortunate to have known Lee Clark knew him as a talented man who quietly got things done. He asked for no praise or accolades, but enjoyed the satisfaction that he was able to help those in need.

Those of us who knew Mr. Lee Clark are much better off because of it. I ask the House to remember the life of one of our great Canadians, Mr. Lee Clark.

Frederick Gordon BradleyStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, on December 10, 2008, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and in particular, the historic town of Bonavista, was deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of Frederick Gordon Bradley.

Mr. Bradley was the son of the late Senator F. Gordon Bradley and Ethel Louise Bradley.

He was successful in business but devoted much of his life to community service. He was a longtime town councillor and mayor of Bonavista. He also formed the town's volunteer fire department in the 1960s. History and heritage consumed much of his interests. He was an avid storyteller, researcher and collector of information about the past.

Mr. Bradley was a longtime member of the executive of the Newfoundland Historical Society and served a term on the board of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2006 Mr. Bradley received the distinguished Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Award in recognition of his longstanding contribution to the preservation of the province's history and heritage.

With his untimely passing, the town of Bonavista and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador are left with a large void that will be difficult to fill.

East AfricaStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, in this 19th International Development Week, it is important to recall that the FAO recently called on its member states for more investment in rural areas of East Africa with high potential for agricultural production to help them face the food crisis.

With most resources going into food aid, there is little investment in agriculture, and most of it is occurring in highly degraded areas. It is important that areas with higher potential for agricultural production receive greater financial support to produce surpluses that can feed the poor.

It would also be desirable to work together with these countries at establishing a supply management system in their jurisdictions. This would be a good way for their farmers to have more control over their production. This would be a sustainable solution to the food crisis in East Africa.

HolocaustStatements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fight against holocaust denial is international in scope and Canada can be proud of the efforts that we have taken in fighting the extremist Ernst Zundel. Therefore, Canadian parliamentarians must speak out against Rome's decision to welcome Bishop Richard Williamson, a notorious supporter of the lies of Zundel.

Williamson has praised Zundel from the pulpit of a Canadian church. He has consorted with the Zundel defenders and he has continued to use the farcical testimony that no Jews died in the gas chambers. By rehabilitating Williamson, the church has shown a surprising indifference to the international fight against holocaust denial.

Last year, Williamson was just a Zundel fellow traveller. Thanks to the Vatican, he is now the most famous anti-Semite in the world. While the New Democratic Party welcomes the church's attempt to reassure the international Jewish community, nothing less than the full condemnation of this decision is acceptable in this day and age.

Dick IllingworthStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to recognize Dick Illingworth, one of Aurora's most respected citizens, on the occasion of his recent retirement. At the impressive age of 92, Mr. Illingworth has retired from his journalism career.

After many years with the RCAF, Dick served the community of Aurora as school trustee, town councillor, and then mayor, before beginning his career in journalism and broadcasting in 1985.

His broadcasting career began with hosting shows at the local community television station, Aurora Cable. His show Our Town focused on news and current events, and his regular column “Bouquets & Brickbats” in The Auroran, was either scathing in criticism or lavish with praise.

Politicians were particular objects of his scrutiny and bouquets were a welcome endorsement. He always ended his commentary with “I'm Dick Illingworth and that's the way I see it”.

The whole community joins me in thanking Mr. Illingworth for his great service to our community.

Super BowlStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Canadians and Americans sat at their televisions watching the tremendous sports spectacle of the Super Bowl.

However, there were no greater fans than my neighbours, Don and Evelyn Berger, parents of Pittsburgh Steelers punter, Mitch Berger, the only Canadian player on the field.

Mitch grew up in Delta playing community football and graduated from North Delta Secondary School. He has made his parents, our community, and country very proud.

I ask all members of the House to join me in congratulating North Delta's Mitch Berger, our Canadian Super Bowl champion.

RCMPStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, Dennis Cheeseman and his brother-in-law were sentenced for their involvement in the murder of four Mounties almost four years ago in Mayerthorpe, Alberta. One of these men told an undercover police officer that he knew James Roszko planned to kill the Mounties that day.

Imagine the heartbreak of the wives, the children, the parents, and the grandparents of these fallen police officers as they continue to cope with the tragic loss of their loved ones. The courageous officers names were: Constable Brock Myrol, Constable Peter Schiemann, Constable Anthony Gordon and Constable Leo Johnston.

As members of Parliament, we must honour these young RCMP officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. There are many RCMP officers on the Hill this week. Let us stand together with them and remember the ultimate sacrifice the fallen Mounties made that fateful day.

Léonard OtisStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, Léonard Otis was recently honoured by the Coalition urgence rurale du Bas-Saint-Laurent. At 84 years of age, Mr. Otis remains one of Quebec's most ardent defenders of forestry. Born on a farm in Saint-Damase, in my riding, Léonard Otis devoted himself to ensuring sustainable forestry practices to better serve humankind, not capital gain. This pioneer in agricultural and forestry trade unions held many posts in that sector for over 40 years. He became an ardent promoter of tree farming, a perfect example of sustainable development.

Léonard Otis has always maintained that it is our duty to preserve the forest in order to pass it on to future generations. Mr. Otis is a man of great courage and conviction who has shown us how to achieve balanced regional development.

Canada Health InfowayStatements by Members

February 2nd, 2009 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada Health Infoway is an innovative program designed to improve patient safety, help public health professionals and cut costs by creating a system of electronic health records.

I am happy to see that budget 2009 earmarks $500 million for Canada Health Infoway, to help the organization reach its goal of creating electronic health records for 50% of Canadians by 2010. If we add the money provided in budget 2007, the funding totals nearly $1 billion.

This is a tangible measure and another example of how budget 2009 is investing strategically in the health and safety of Canadians. I hope all the opposition members will do the right thing and support this budget.

Sri LankaStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am calling on the government to act immediately to end the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka continues to be devastated by escalating fighting. The UN has raised concerns about human rights abuses amid this renewed civil war, while the increased violence in Sri Lanka has led to the suffering of displaced people.

Further humanitarian aid is needed immediately. The time to act is long overdue. Thousands of innocent people are being lost and the lives of many of their loved ones.

I have raised this issue in the House of Commons before and I will continue to raise the issue until the government steps up, takes on a leadership role on behalf of all of us as Canadians for a peaceful resolution to this conflict. I would like to thank the many constituents who have contacted my office.

Canadians are expecting their government to take action to help the people of Sri Lanka. We must act now to facilitate an immediate end to this violence that has cost so many lives and bring a lasting peace to Sri Lanka.

Human RightsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Friday evening, armed vandals forced their way into the Mariperez Synagogue in Caracas, assaulted a security guard and spent several hours defacing this place of worship with anti-Semitic and anti-Israel graffiti.

Canadians condemn with a single voice this barbaric and deeply offensive act, just as we condemn all acts of anti-Semitism wherever and whenever they occur anywhere in the world. Such acts are an affront to the values of Canadians and to all civilized people. Acts of hatred against any faith deserve condemnation and, given the long history of anti-Semitism as the prototype for all other forms of religious and racial bigotry, this particular attack impels us to an immediate and uncompromising response.

With these considerations in mind, Canadians stand in solidarity with the good people of Venezuela in condemning this uncivilized act.

Black History MonthStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in recognition of Black History Month, a time when we can remember the struggles, triumphs and contributions of African Canadians. Halifax has been the site of some of the most important times in this history, including the underground railroad and the unjust displacement of the residents of Africville.

Today, Canada Post unveils a new stamp honouring the late Rosemary Brown, the first black woman elected to public office in Canada. Ms. Brown was a positive force for change as an elected leader and she paved the way for leaders such as Donald Oliver; Dr. Daurene Lewis, Canada's first black mayor; Wayne Adams, Nova Scotia's first black MLA; and Irvine Carvery, the first African Nova Scotian elected chair of the Halifax Regional School Board.

Their stories are just a few in our rich collective history. Best wishes to all during Black History Month.

National AnthemStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, our national anthem is a source of pride for Canadians and something that unites us from coast to coast to coast.

Three of my Conservative colleagues from New Brunswick rose in this House on Friday and called for the reversal of the ban on the morning singing of O Canada at a school in my province.

I am proud to inform this House that O Canada will once again be sung every morning by students at Belleisle Elementary School.

The support from this House and government to reverse the ban may have played a part, but nobody played a bigger role than young student Julia Boyd, who brought this issue to the public's attention.

On behalf of us on this side of the House, we thank Julia for standing on guard for Canada.

Black History MonthStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, this year, more than any other, Black History Month is a special time to commemorate the history of individuals who, together with all peoples, contributed to the history of humanity through their tangible contributions to our society.

Just a few months ago, we witnessed a great event, a great moment in the history of blacks and in our common history, the election of the first black American president. The newly elected president has demonstrated, as did Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela before him, that with a dream, energy and determination, you can make barriers fall and bring about what was thought to be impossible.

The Bloc Québécois will be proud to participate in the activities planned for Black History Month. May it instill pride and hope so that together we can combat intolerance and face the challenges before us.

Free TradeStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the wake of the global economic crisis there have been some worrying reactions from south of the border.

President Obama's new administration has launched an ambitious government program to kickstart the economy, and we offer our congratulations. However, some details are cause for legitimate concern.

Such is the case with the clause stating that the steel used in infrastructure projects, provided for in the economic stimulus plan, must be produced exclusively in the United States.

This is a blatant protectionist measure. If it is adopted, thousands upon thousands of steel jobs in this country would be threatened. In Quebec alone, an estimated 2,000 jobs would be on the line.

It is not too late. The Conservatives must remind our American partners about their obligations under NAFTA. Free trade policies have done much to improve the prosperity and competitiveness of Canadian and American companies. The Conservatives must ensure that this continues.

Correctional Service CanadaStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight the work of our Conservative government in combating the use of illegal drugs within our federal prisons.

There is a federal prison just miles from our family farm, where I grew up, and I am all too aware that drugs are prevalent in our prisons and are a source of income and control for gangs.

These are serious and longstanding problems that have been overlooked for decades and are now being addressed by our Conservative government through a bold and innovative initiative.

We have committed significant and meaningful funding toward an anti-drug strategy, a strategy which will, over the course of the next five years, go a long way toward the detection and elimination of drugs in our federal prisons.

In addition to these initiatives, Correctional Service Canada has also introduced a zero tolerance drug policy to further respond to this problem and to better protect correctional staff. Eliminating drugs in prisons is an important step toward the rehabilitation of offenders and the creation of a safer environment inside our federal prisons. It is a step, I am proud to say, that has been taken by this Conservative government.

TradeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, protectionist measures in the U.S. Congress are now aimed not just at Canadian iron and steel but at manufactured imports used in public works projects. Thousands of Canadian jobs and billions of dollars in exports are at risk.

The U.S. legislation was not written overnight. How did the government get caught off guard? What is it doing right now to ensure that Canadians do not lose further jobs to the rising tide of 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, we are very concerned with the developments that we are seeing on this in the United States. I met with the acting U.S. trade representative this weekend. He noted the Prime Minister's comments on this in the House of Commons last week and also the comments that I and others have made.

We have this concern not just registered, but we are in daily contact with a variety of individuals in the United States and are warning them of the dangers of protectionist movements. They say they are concerned about this. They are looking at what they can do to mitigate it.

TradeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that the minister met his counterpart after the legislation passed in the House of Representatives, so the Conservatives missed their first chance. They missed the chance to stop this legislation or to change it when it went through the U.S. House of Representatives.

The legislation is now before the U.S. Senate. What action is the government taking now, both with the administration and with Congress, to secure Canadian exemption from these protectionist measures?