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House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was funding.

Topics

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it will be noted that once again this minister has not been able to cite chapter and verse. He is unable to do so because there is no section that forbids it. Yet Export Development Canada provides loan guarantees. The government has even extended them to the auto industry.

How is it that what is good for the auto industry and Ontario is not good for the forestry industry and Quebec?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 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, as usual, the Bloc Québécois is trying once again to drive a wedge between the provinces. We are not. First of all, there is a world wide economic crisis. This is an economic matter, not the political one they are trying to make it into. Since the loan guarantees offered by Quebec and Ontario are currently in arbitration, it would be inappropriate for us to comment on the process at this time.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec) continues to say that loan guarantees to the forestry industry are illegal, and he adopts the position held by the United States, which challenges any little initiative taken to help that sector.

Instead of once again caving in to U.S. protectionist lobbies, will the minister identify the specific section of the softwood lumber agreement which, according to him, prohibits 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, the minister is right. There are currently two cases before the court concerning loan guarantees. Also, our government has provided assistance to the forestry industry, and we have a process in place to provide credit or financing. Right now, Export and Development Canada is cooperating with a majority of companies in the forestry industry, and I invite the hon. member—

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Sherbrooke.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister does not understand that the forestry industry has a much greater need for loan guarantees and a minister that supports it, than for a minister who signs the op-ed pieces published by his colleagues in the local newspapers.

If the minister really believes that loan guarantees are illegal under the softwood lumber agreement, will he identify the specific section that prohibits such guarantees? Otherwise, we will have to conclude that such a section does not exist, and that the minister does not want to help the forestry industry.

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 minister is right and the hon. Bloc member is wrong. Right now, the industry has two cases before the court, which will hear them and issue its ruling.

That said, I invite the hon. Bloc member to meet with Export and Development officials. He will learn that there are many ways to deal with this issue, and many programs available to forestry companies. So, I invite him to arrange a meeting with these officials.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian auto workers made some very tough decisions over the weekend to make some sacrifices in the defence and preservation of their industry. It is courageous. It is time that the Government of Canada stepped in with its support.

That is what working families are looking for right now. They want to know if the government is going to step forward and provide support to this key manufacturing sector and help to transform it to the production of the green vehicles of the future.

Will the government tell us today that it is going to back up this industry with the kind of guarantees that are needed?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite knows, the Government of Ontario through Premier McGuinty and the Government of Canada through the Prime Minister made the commitment in December that we would participate in order to try to work with the Detroit three to survive.

It is good news that the union members working with General Motors have made at least a step forward. This is a major challenge not only with respect to General Motors but with respect to Chrysler and Ford as well, dealing as we must with assumptions concerning a reasonable quantum of auto sales, about legacy costs and about labour costs.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, that answer certainly is not going to give the workers very much of a sense of confidence after the bold move they just made.

Everyone agrees that the agreement between GM and its workers is a step in the right direction. The urgent issue is: Are the Prime Minister and his government now prepared to say that they will indeed be there to help the manufacturing sector and its workers?

Will the Prime Minister finally come up with a strategy for a green and environmentally friendly auto industry, as proposed by the NDP five years ago? Will they act now?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, of course, this government has put forward $1 billion in a green technology fund which that member over there is voting against. I will say, though, that the Minister of Industry has been working very hard with the auto industry for quite a while now. With my premier, Dalton McGuinty, we are getting it done. We are taking a firm look at all the conditions. We want to make sure that we find the right balance between protecting the taxpayers' dollars and actually moving this industry forward. That is what we are doing.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, while all the attention is focused on large employers such as GM and Chrysler, we hear less about other key manufacturing sectors. For example, over the past year and a half the furniture industry has lost 6,000 jobs in Quebec alone. Workers who had been with the same plant for 15, 20 or 25 years now find themselves out of work.

Does the government realize that its laissez-faire attitude toward the manufacturing industry has led to this disaster?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely wrong. This government has done a number of things, starting in 2007, to help the Canadian economy. In fact, the 2009 budget put forward easier access to credit. We have provided measures to help purchase new machinery and equipment. Those guys just cannot get it that we are getting it done for Canadians. We have enhanced skills training. We have support for workers and their families. We have a 100% capital cost allowance for new computers. That group down there is voting against all of it.

InfrastructureOral Questions

March 9th, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities said that billions of dollars of infrastructure money allocated and fully approved under Parliament's accountability process but not yet invested after 11 months would be carried forward. He said that it is available to invest now and into the coming year. The next day another Conservative MP said that those very same unspent funds would be left behind, unused, gone.

I ask the minister to confirm which is it: is all that unspent money still there to invest going forward, or at a time when Canadians need it most is he leaving it behind?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we will leave no dollar behind.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

It is bad enough, Mr. Speaker, that the Conservatives are contradicting themselves, but the minister is contradicting himself.

If indeed that money is still available to bring forward, then I have to ask the minister, if he has all that money that has been approved with full accountability, ready to continue into the months ahead, why does he need a blank cheque with no accountability?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are planning to spend billions of dollars on infrastructure and more investments made under our building Canada plan. That is an important initiative.

The Minister of Finance, in response to the unprecedented economic challenge we are experiencing, has come forward with a number of programs to provide additional stimulus, an additional shot in the arm. That is exactly what those resources will go to fund, things like our $4 billion community stimulus fund, things like our RInC program, things like our important investments in the environment.

If the Liberal Party cannot be part of the solution, it should step aside, get out of the way and let the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister get the job done.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, news in the auto industry goes from bad to worse. Chrysler has laid off another 1,200 people. GM's auditors have expressed substantial doubt about its viability.

Canada has the best auto workers in the world and we believe we can build a vital, prosperous auto sector. What Canada needs today, as it has for the past two years, is a real national auto strategy. Instead what we have is reactive policy from the government.

Why does the government refuse to cooperate on a Canadian auto strategy?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry was out way ahead of this game. In fact he was out before the Americans. We have been working in partnership with the Americans on this integrated auto strategy. The member may not know but the auto industry spans the entire continent and we have been working well with the Americans.

I want to assure the House that once we have all the conditions in place and all the right due diligence is done, we will work with the auto industry for a strong future. We will find the balance between protecting the taxpayers and supporting this industry.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, what this member is aware of is the government waited until last week to go down to the United States and talk about integration.

The Conservatives sadly announced last year that they would not have a national auto strategy because they were not in the business of picking winners and losers. Now they have a crisis on their hands. Two years of inaction is leaving tens of thousands of workers without jobs and an industry on the brink of collapse.

Why has the government failed to work with the industry and auto workers to achieve viable long-term solutions through a national auto strategy?

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, the first thing I would like to do is welcome the member to the House of Commons here in Ottawa. Obviously he has either not been here or has not been paying attention.

For months this government has been working with the Americans. This government has been down to the United States and has met with the people down there who are current to this integrated industry.

While we are very pleased that GM and the CAW are working closer together these days, the fact is that we still have to do our due diligence. We are working hard. We are committed to finding a strong future for this industry and protecting Canada's portion of this market.

University ResearchOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, after its ideological cuts to culture, the Conservative government is going after university research by giving funding priority to scholarships for business-related research and thus neglecting all other social sciences.

Will the government stop its attempt to take ideological control of university research, a move that is being unanimously denounced by students, professors and presidents in all universities?

University ResearchOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely incorrect. I suppose that is okay because that member has voted against the budget anyway, a budget that we have increased every single year that we have been here.

There is a 50% increase in the social sciences scholarship programs. What we heard in prebudget consultations from universities, colleges and researchers was that we actually needed more. So we put more in, almost 3,100 new scholarships across the board, with no reduction in existing scholarships. There are 3,100 new ones which the member voted against.

University ResearchOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, all additional funds must go to business-related research. That is the reality.

Outraged by the Conservative government's decision, professors have decided to boycott evaluating applications for these ideological scholarships. They feel that if there are additional funds—as the minister of state is suggesting—they should simply be put towards the best applications.

Will the Conservatives give up their simplistic ideas that are counter-productive to research, rectify the situation and leave universities free to conduct the research they feel needs to be done?

University ResearchOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Cambridge Ontario

Conservative

Gary Goodyear ConservativeMinister of State (Science and Technology)

Mr. Speaker, I mentioned it earlier, but the member was probably not listening, so I will say it again a little bit slower this time.

We have increased funding to the science and tech communities. Out of the $5.1 billion for science and technology, $2 billion is actually going to our universities and colleges. We are proud of that, because under the previous government, that infrastructure was left to dilapidate.

We have added more money to scholarships, more scholarships for more students, more research money, good quality buildings and good equipment. That member has voted against all that.