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House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was justice.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact, the government actually may have an economic action plan that it can now put into place. We are happy that the senators have decided to move on.

As the Prime Minister referred to, we had lots of time to get this done. There was lots of time for the opposition to show leadership. Instead of playing games, the Liberals could have directed the Senate immediately to at least read the budget. They would have found that in fact EI extension cannot take place until the bill receives royal assent.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have more bad news today. TD Bank has said the Canadian economy will lose 500,000 jobs this year and that the unemployment rate will be in double digits, 10% by the end of the year and going into the first half of 2010.

Yesterday I asked the finance minister, why he dropped in his quarterly report the commitment in the budget to create or save 190,000 jobs.

Today I ask, did he abandon the 500,000 Canadians who will become unemployed? Does he not care about the 10% of Canadians who will be unemployed this year?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we do care about all Canadians. That is why we have been working so hard on this side of the House to make sure our economic action plan is put in place as soon as possible.

We have spent months communicating and negotiating with the opposition trying to get this through. We had the most broad prebudget consultation talking to Canadians to find out from them what they wanted us to do.

That is where the economic action plan came from. Unfortunately, we did not receive any good suggestions from the leader of the official opposition.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister created confusion yesterday by linking loan guarantees and subsidies. I would like to think that was a mistake. Loan guarantees are precisely what the forestry industry needs, and they are totally legal. Moreover, In committee today, Guy Chevrette, president of the Quebec Forest Industry Council, commented that the claim that the loan guarantees were illegal was tendentious and intellectually incorrect.

Will the Prime Minister clarify the situation and tell us that the loan guarantees are not subsidies, and are legal under the rules of the WTO, NAFTA and the softwood lumber agreement?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to quote someone who was at the same committee this morning, Avrim Lazar, President of the Forest Products Association of Canada. During the meeting of the subcommittee, Mr. Lazar said that solutions for the forestry industry needed to reflect the real problem, which is the market. The help the industry needs during this period of crisis is access to credit, work sharing for employment insurance purposes, and assistance for communities, and these are all measures contained in our economic action plan.

He also spoke of helping Canadians to keep their jobs when the market picks up, with new products and new markets, measures that are also included in our economic action plan.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, clearly the Washington lobbyist disguised as a minister has not answered the question, any more than the Prime Minister has.

The truth is that the Prime Minister has an ideological mental block as far as economic policies for Quebec businesses are concerned. We are seeing a return to the old Reform roots. Back in its day, for ideological reasons, the Reform Party leaked information to Embraer, in order to harm Bombardier before the WTO. It was the Reform Party that did that.

Does the Prime Minister intend, out of ideological pig-headedness, to reserve that same fate for the Quebec forestry industry? Let him stand up and answer the question on loan guarantees.

Forestry IndustryOral 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, day after day the leader of the Bloc Québécois gets up in the House and focuses on something that is going on in the courtroom. There are two cases in which the question of loan guarantees is being taken up.

He can spend his time hanging around the courtrooms and hanging around the lawyers, but we are out there on the street and in the forestry industry with those companies that are needing help.

Through EDC, for instance, there is credit insurance available. There are financing agreements available. There are bond provisions through our various ministries and itemized in the budget. There is a wide range of programs for forestry companies and for workers.

We are there helping the workers. Those members should get out of the courtroom and help us in reaching the workers.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the forestry industry is asking for loan guarantees because liquidity is dangerously low. This morning, at the Subcommittee on Canadian Industrial Sectors, all Quebec forestry representatives indicated that loan guarantees are legal under the softwood lumber agreement and important to their survival.

Instead of sticking to their ideology, will the Conservatives respond to the alarm sounded by the forestry industry and finally provide loan guarantees?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to receive a letter from my counterpart this morning because I invited him yesterday to meet with our representatives from Export Development Canada.

He said that he wanted to meet with them to learn about and have a greater understanding of programs available to the forestry industry. We will be meeting with him.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

By giving credence to the protectionism of the U.S. forestry industry, the Minister for Economic Development is contradicting the position taken by Canadian lawyers at the London Court.

Does the chief lobbyist for the U.S. in this House realize that by refusing to provide loan guarantees he is killing the forestry industry in Quebec regions, not just his but mine as well?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc continues to mislead the public and forestry workers. Nothing is happening in London.

If the Bloc members cannot even get the details right about where these deliberations are taking place and they do not even know in what city they are taking place, how can we trust them on any other information they are putting out there?

EDC is there with provisions for financing, for bonds, for credit insurance. We have programs for workers. We have work share programs. We are helping the workers. The Bloc should forget about the lawyers and start helping the workers.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

March 12th, 2009 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, first let me add the words of condolence of our members to the families who are watching the unfolding terrible events as a result of the helicopter crash.

Yesterday Canadian auto workers took action to save jobs at General Motors. It was bold action. On the same day the president of Chrysler told a committee that 9,000 auto workers at Chrysler could be thrown out of work and those families could be facing unemployment.

The workers took bold and strong action. It is time that the federal government showed the same courage. When is the Prime Minister going to take action to protect auto jobs and create the green jobs of the future?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the leader of the NDP knows well, we are in discussions with the automobile manufacturers. We are doing that in collaboration with the government of Ontario and also with the government of the United States. We are looking at various forms of possible assistance, provided of course, that that assistance will be part of a broad plan that involves sacrifices by all stakeholders to ensure that these companies will be viable in the long term. That is the basis, and the only basis, on which we will make taxpayer contributions. Obviously, those discussions continue.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to the industry minister, the Canadian auto industry is in, as he called it, an “existential crisis”. We do not need some kind of pop psychology here. What we need is a strategy for the creation of the green auto production of the future. We tabled such a plan five years ago.

When is the federal government going to get moving on this? Does the Prime Minister recognize that the lack of action could result in the absolute collapse of the Canadian auto industry? Does he intend to do anything about that at all?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, to be serious, the plan for the long-term viability of these companies does have to be developed by these companies. That is why we are in discussion with the companies, why other governments are working with us and why we are working, provided we have the plans that will ensure viability, to put in place the necessary supports.

However, it is not going to be done on some report on the back of an envelope from the NDP. This is a serious economic problem. This government is engaged in it and obviously we are working to achieve a successful conclusion in collaboration with our provincial and American counterparts.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is saying to people that he is going to take care of the banks, but when it comes to the auto sector and auto workers, they are on their own. That is essentially his message.

According to the Minister of Industry, the future of our auto sector is in the hands of American consumers. That is not leadership. The Prime Minister should be showing leadership.

Is the agreement between GM and CAW acceptable or not?

Will the Prime Minister hold an auto summit and get everyone together in the same place at the same time so that we can find a solution to this crisis? Yes or no?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for months we have been in talks with our partners in the United States and Ontario to develop and to receive a long-term development plan from these companies. That will be the basis of any and all assistance offered by the federal government.

I do have to take some quarrel with what the leader of the NDP says. The Government of Canada has not bailed out banks. That is one of the things that makes this country different from just about every other country in the world.

Rural RegionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, even before the start of the current economic crisis, a number of regions in Quebec were facing major rural exodus problems. In a number of regions, the closures of sawmills, paper mills and manufacturing companies, which had not received any support, further limit opportunities for young people outside the major centres.

What future do the Conservatives foresee for rural regions?

Rural RegionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, the department it is my pleasure to head will continue to support the regions in Quebec through a series of programs that we will announce by March 31. Some $1 billion will be distributed countrywide, and, of that, over $200 million will go to the regions of Quebec for economic diversification. We are very concerned by what is happening in the forestry industry, as we have already said. It is a market issue, unfortunately. Our products are selling less than before. We must be ready for the recovery, and that is what we are doing with all the regions in Quebec.

Rural RegionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the rural exodus is a vicious circle. The lack of opportunities causes many of our young people to leave their region to try their luck in the city. Labour is in shorter and shorter supply, and businesses locate where it is available, which in turn further limits opportunities in the regions, and the cycle continues.

What do the Conservatives intend to do to put an end to this vicious circle?

Rural RegionsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, we intend to do it by investing in each of the regions in Quebec, by being on the ground as we always are and by bringing in programs that will help the regions recover. Yesterday and again this morning, we met a number of representatives of the forestry industry. Next week, I will again have the pleasure of visiting the regions of Quebec in order to announce some very good news in various regions.

Science and TechnologyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister of state continues to mislead Canadians about science funding, claiming he has increased spending on research. Statistics Canada numbers are clear as day. OECD numbers point to the same thing. As a per cent of GDP, in real terms Canada is spending hundreds of millions of dollars less now than in 2005.

Claiming that the $2 billion in university infrastructure is also a direct investment in research is not only double-counting, it is blatantly false. When will the Conservatives introduce themselves to the truth?

Science and TechnologyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank the member for voting for those kinds of initiatives. I would also like to point out that this government has put more money into the science and technology sector than that government ever has: $5.1 billion.

I want to mention that the IMF actually said that this is the right economic stimulus for this country at this time. It is certainly a lot better than a carbon tax.

Science and TechnologyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, talent is mobile and gravitates towards the universities where it will be recognized, be it in Canada or abroad.

“We are going headfirst into a cement wall,” said Doug Crawford, a neuroscientist at York University. “The very best scientists will leave,” added Heather Monro-Bloom, the President of McGill University. “They want to make use of their talents at all costs”.

Those are not my words. That is what our scientists are saying. Is the minister telling them they are wrong?

Science and TechnologyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, this government has supported science and technology in a capacity that has never happened in the history of this country. We are doing that because it creates jobs for the future. It stabilizes and diversifies our economy going forward. It improves the quality of life for Canadians.

That is exactly why we are doing it. This particular year, we put $2 billion into the universities and colleges, because that was their number one ask. That is what they asked for, and it does create jobs right now. It is a brilliant idea, and I want to thank the member for voting for it.