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House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cuts.

Topics

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party has boasted that he placed the government on probation. And yet, it seems that he is incapable of influencing its decisions in order to help workers. The cuts at the CBC are the most recent example.

When this government's lack of flexibility forced the CBC to cut 800 jobs, the Liberal Leader mildly lamented the situation and hoped that the decade of underfunding imposed on the corporation by the Liberals had been forgotten.

It should be noted that, under the Liberals, the CBC's budget, in constant dollars, decreased by $200 million annually, from $900 million to $708 million.

As long as the Liberal leader, through his inaction, continues to endorse the measures adopted by this Conservative government, he must assume responsibility for his complicity.

Newfoundland and LabradorStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Conservative Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this time to mark a very special occasion in our country's history.

Sixty years ago today, Canada was made complete when Newfoundland and Labrador joined Confederation. In the past 60 years we have grown together as a strong and united country, a country that we all should be very proud of.

The people of Newfoundland and Labrador have made a tremendous amount of contributions to Canada. Their rich culture and passion for life is sewn in the fabric of this country. Without Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada would not be what it is today: the greatest country in the world.

On behalf of all members of the House, we wish to congratulate the people of Newfoundland and Labrador on the 60th anniversary of joining Canada.

Visa RequirementStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud that after three long years of informing, petitioning and cajoling the Conservative government, my Motion No. 247 and its previous version, Motion No. 99, calling on the government to lift visitor visa requirements for Croatia was finally implemented.

Twenty years ago, the Iron Curtain came down, and two days ago Canada's visa curtain around Croatia came down as well. It is immensely gratifying that this Easter will be the first that families and friends from Croatia will be able to visit their loved ones in Canada and all it will take is the purchase of an airline ticket.

It is rare for the contents of an opposition private member's motion to be adopted in its entirety by the government, and I am proud that for the second time the Conservative government has seen fit to implement one of my motions.

I am humbled by the support I received in the thousands of communications and petitions from individuals belonging to Croatian Canadian parishes and organizations from across Canada. Together we were many and we made it happen.

The EconomyStatements By Members

March 31st, 2009 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, someone just wrapped up his “telling them what they want to hear” town hall series out in B.C.

Someone called the forestry sector one of the “basement industries”. Someone obviously wants to abandon the resource sector.

Not only does someone not care about resource jobs, he also wants to lose the auto sector. In B.C. he told his audience he did not want to spend money to stabilize the manufacturing industry of southern Ontario. Someone would not dare say that to the communities in southwestern Ontario.

Someone may have dreams of killing the resource sector in B.C., or the auto industry in Ontario, but his real dream is to impose a job-killing carbon tax.

Since first suggesting the idea decades ago, someone has championed the carbon tax idea in the Liberal leadership and during the last campaign. If imposed by now, someone would have crippled the Canadian economy.

Someone, the Liberal leader, is bad for Canada's economy.

Navigable Waters Protection ActStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, constituents in Nanaimo—Cowichan were dismayed when changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act were passed.

The Conservative government is using the excuse of removing red tape to grant the transport minister unprecedented powers to decide which waterways are worth protecting and which are not.

It is unacceptable that one individual has the sole authority to approve the construction of a dam, boom, or causeway. This is undemocratic and may cause irreparable damage to our precious lakes and rivers.

Environmental triggers within the NWPA to ensure a proper assessment prior to starting a construction project over or next to one of Canada's waterways were replaced by the unilateral authority of the transport minister to grant approval for works without any parliamentary review or public disclosure.

The long-term consequences of any given project need to be carefully considered and weighed against the benefits before it can it can be allowed to go ahead. Navigation and environmental rights should not be abandoned in the name of expediency.

In B.C. we know badly designed dams destroy salmon runs. The transport minister does not have any responsibility to protect salmon habitat, and with no public disclosure we will not know a decision has been made that will affect salmon until it is too late.

Forestry IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party recently declared in a flippant tone that the forestry and logging industries are low end or basement industries, as he likes to call them. How can an intelligent person say such a thing? When he tours such Quebec regions as Abitibi, in Lac-Saint-Jean or the Saguenay, will he tell workers to get out of their basements and, like him, see the light?

The member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore seems to look down on Canada's forestry and logging industries from a great height. On this side of the House, we believe that the forestry industry is an important primary industry in our economy and not a low end one.

The Liberal leader has clearly demonstrated that he is more at ease in an ivory tower than in the real world with real workers in the resource regions of Quebec and Canada.

Quebec BridgeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Pascal-Pierre Paillé Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Communauté métropolitaine de Québec or CMQ recently reiterated the request made in 2003 by the mayor at the time, Mr. Allier, to the Canadian Minister of Transport that it honour its commitment to completely refurbish the Quebec bridge. Here is the gist of the resolution passed on February 26, 2009.

If the work is not completed, the bridge will continue to deteriorate, and the cost to repair and maintain it will continue to increase. Although an independent firm had estimated the cost at $63 million, that number has since increased as a result of environmental requirements that must be taken into account as well as additional costs associated with the poor condition of the bridge structure.

Furthermore, the CMQ pointed out that the Government of Canada invested $440 million to repair the Jacques-Cartier, Champlain and Victoria bridges, while the Quebec bridge is being left in a very poor state.

This government must reassume ownership of the Quebec bridge, complete the restoration and, once and for all, show a little respect for this “national historic site”.

Newfoundland and LabradorStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, 60 years ago today, just before midnight, Canada gained its tenth province and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador became Canadian citizens. Today is the anniversary of our confederation with Canada.

The past six decades have brought great change. There have been ups and downs. However, on balance we are richer for being part of Canada, and Canada is richer for our presence.

In my riding of Labrador, the decision was clear. Voting in 1948, for only the third time in our history, my ancestors achieved a long-held dream. With 80% support, we chose Canada and we still do.

March 31, 1949, gave new meaning to our country's motto: A mari usque ad mare, “From Sea to Sea”.

When the day breaks over Canada, it breaks a little earlier than it did on July 1, 1867, and we are all better because of it.

On this date we became part of this great country, this united country, the best country in the world. On this date, Canada became complete.

Vive le Canada.

Automotive IndustryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, hypocrisy is defined as a condition of people pretending to be something they are not.

For example, let us say one pretends to care about the auto industry while in Ontario, but when in British Columbia one tells people that one does not support the auto industry. That is hypocrisy.

Let us say that one is the father of the job killing carbon tax and campaigns on it, but then tries to distance oneself from it. That is hypocrisy.

Or if one pretends to support the seal hunt and then allows one of the senators and top advisers to work to ban it. That could be hypocrisy.

If one signs one's name to a letter calling for a coalition government with a separatist party and then later lets on that it did not happen. That is hypocrisy.

It is clear. Based on the definition and the examples given, the leader of the Liberal Party suffers from that condition.

Automotive IndustryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member may find himself suspended for making statements if he persists in ignoring the ruling I made the other day. I know that may cause some disappointment.

Automotive IndustryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Automotive IndustryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. I wish to advise hon. members, in case some have forgotten, the Canadian Medical Association is on the Hill today. It is offering services to members to assist them in maintaining their health. Although I am only responsible for rights and privileges, I can, of course, urge hon. members to care for their health. In room 602 upstairs, members are able to go between now and 5 o`clock.

Members can have a free assessment of their risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It is not necessary to make an appointment. Members are free to go anytime until 5 o'clock today.

I would urge all hon. members, particularly after question period, if they are feeling unwell, to head upstairs and get a checkup.

Oral questions, the hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we asked the Minister of Industry three simple questions about whether Conservatives did their jobs to protect Canadian auto-workers and Canadian taxpayers, and the answers were as follows: no secure credit facility right now, no corporate assets backing up our loans, and no warranty guarantees for Canadian consumers.

Is this the government's position? Because if it is, it is not doing its job.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, what I indicated yesterday was that we are, of course, working with these two auto companies as before. There has not been any money flowed to General Motors, and there are strict conditions before that happens.

Should the company's restructuring plants not be certified, or should that company go into CCAA or chapter 11, we can convert those loans to debt financing, which are either callable or they have higher security, so that is the answer to the hon. member's question.

When will he do his job as Leader of the Opposition and not say one thing in British Columbia and say another thing in the House of Commons?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I make a habit of saying the same thing right across the country and the hon. member knows that.

Canadians are not buying cars and I did not get an answer to the question about protecting warranties for Canadian cars. I did not get an answer to the question about access to the credit facility, promised in December, not to be delivered in May. Why?

When will the government start doing its job, which is to protect Canadian taxpayers and Canadian auto-workers?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, what I did say yesterday was that when we get some details of what the Obama administration has planned for warranties, we are willing to look at that. We are extending credit through the secure credit facility. That will help auto parts makers.

Indeed, as I have said before, we have made loans available. GM has not asked for those loans. There are strict conditions attached to those loans and we will continue to apply those conditions.

When the hon. member stands up and says he is being consistent, I would like to ask the hon. member how consistent he is on the carbon tax, which he pushed on the previous leader of the Liberal Party and now tries to distance himself--

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. Leader of the Opposition. Order, please.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the answers amount to saying, “Always a follower; never a leader”.

GM Canada unveiled its restructuring plan in February. This government waited until yesterday to reject it.

Why did it make GM and its employees wait so long for such a disappointing response? Why are they going to have to wait so much longer in anguish and uncertainty?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, the restructuring plans submitted by GM and Chrysler are not acceptable now. Perhaps later there will be an action plan we can find acceptable.

It is very interesting. The hon. member says things in different parts of the country that he thinks will be acceptable to them. He does not understand that we have 24-hour-a-day news channels today. We hear those things and we wonder when he is going to be consistent. Because if he wants to be prime minister, he has to be consistent.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I asked whether the government required collateral from GM Canada in the event of a loan.

Incredibly, the minister answered that no loans had been made to date, as if that were enough.

Yet several months ago his government agreed to lend the automotive sector $2.7 billion.

I repeat my question: do the Conservatives require that GM Canada put up any assets as collateral for loans, and if so, what is that collateral?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, we have not made any loans to GM to date. If there are restructuring plans that are not certified and if we do make loans under those circumstances, those loans will be repayable.

I have also said that, in the case of a chapter 11 CCAA situation, then of course we would be able to roll over any potential loans to a DIP financing situation and we would have higher security. That is the answer to the question. I have been consistent all along. I certainly encourage the hon. member to convince his leader to be consistent as well.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the industry minister said that the U.S. president had “some new ideas on the auto industry that he's willing to look at”.

If the minister were truly at the table with the U.S., he would know these are not new ideas. Clearly, he is not there.

While President Obama is considering structured bankruptcy, with support for consumer confidence through warranty guarantees, the appointment of an auto reform director and decisive leadership, the Conservatives are doing nothing to support consumer confidence.

Why is the minister hiding in a shroud of ambiguity while our industry struggles for life?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the ex-auto critic for the Liberal Party should know that we are working very closely with the United States government and we have been from the very beginning, and that is because it is an integrated car industry, which the hon. members on the other side seem to have forgotten.

Yesterday, President Obama credited Canadians with being part of the solution and credited us with working together with them. It would be something that even the leader of the official opposition, the leader of the Liberal Party, must be very jealous of.

Goods and Services TaxOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is really sad to see the Prime Minister sending out one of his token Quebeckers when he cannot answer our questions himself. When it came to loan guarantees, for example, it was the Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec) who answered our questions. For the harmonization of the GST, it was the Minister of Public Works and Government Services who answered our questions yesterday.

I want to ask the one who is really responsible for the GST harmonization file to rise and answer us once and for all. Can he give us one good reason why he is willing to compensate Ontario but refuses to do so for Quebec?