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House of Commons Hansard #66 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was young.

Topics

Mothers and Midwives CAMpaignStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, this morning, I was honoured to attend Senator Keon's breakfast to address the appalling lack of progress on the fifth millennium development goal: improving maternal health.

The Mothers and Midwives CAMpaign has brought together some of Canada's finest, including Bridget Lynch, president of the International Confederation of Midwives; Maureen McTeer, Canadian chair of the White Ribbon Alliance; Dr. Andre Lalonde, executive vice-president of the SOGC; and, Dorothy Shaw, president of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.

We were fortunate to be joined, via video conference, by British undersecretary of state, the truly inspiring Ivan Lewis. Together, we agreed on the need to focus on MDG 5 at the upcoming G8. One of the best indicators of health systems is maternal mortality. Shockingly, 500,000 women die every year and one every minute.

In Sierra Leone, the risk of a woman dying as the result of a pregnancy is one in eight. In Canada, we need to help our aboriginal people. We need to do this together and we need to do it now.

Automotive IndustryStatements By Members

June 2nd, 2009 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, Liberal hypocrisy continues. On his blog, the Liberal leader's senior adviser disagreed with the government's decision to protect Canadian auto jobs. He wrote:

...sell off entities which actually make you money, and then buy shares in companies which are total, unmitigated disasters. Could someone remind me, again, why Canada doesn't need an election right now?

Do Ontario Liberals agree with their leader's top strategist that providing support to GM and Chrysler is a waste and a total unmitigated disaster? Does the Liberal leader agree with his top strategist?

This decision is the right one for my riding, and Oshawa is grateful for the action the Conservative government is taking to protect the future of Canada's auto sector. This shows again that the Liberals are out of touch with the economy and how to protect Canadian jobs during these tough economic times.

When in B.C., the Liberal leader criticized the auto sector, something he dared not do in Ontario. Now, his most trusted campaign strategist is letting Ontarians know what his leader truly thinks of the auto industry. The Liberal leader should come clean. Ontario's auto industry needs action, not lip service.

Forestry IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, today thousands of people gathered in Ottawa to protest the government's lack of action to protect forestry jobs.

CEP is seeking loan guarantees for forestry companies so they can continue to operate during this financial downturn, not a bailout but a loan guarantee, money that will be paid back to Canadians. CEP is also asking for protection for retirees' pensions. Too many workers are seeing their pensions disappear when companies go under.

However, the issue that has affected my riding the most is the tax credits that U.S. forestry companies receive that make it more affordable to buy logs in B.C. and ship them to the U.S. for processing. It is a blow every time a truck loaded with logs leaves my riding, which will keep mills open and jobs healthy in the U.S. but not in the communities where the logs are harvested.

Finally, it is the workers of today that need help from the government. Our industry has been in transition for years and many workers have exhausted their severance and EI. Workers and their families deserve better. That is why the NDP political staff and CEP Local 232 stand together with their brothers and sisters to demand action from the government.

Coalition Against Anti-SemitismStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to announce the launch of the Canadian parliamentary coalition against anti-Semitism.

Canada is founded upon a shared set of values and anti-Semitism is an affront to these values. As such, anti-Semitism is an attack upon the fabric of our tolerant, free, open and democratic society. It is an attack on all Canadians, Jews and non-Jews alike. It is the oldest and most persistent form of hatred and the template upon which so many other forms of hatred are based.

This announcement is intended to signal that in this country legislators of all parties are deeply concerned about what seems to be a rising international tide of renewed anti-Semitism on a scale not seen before in my lifetime.

Today we begin a nationwide inquiry into anti-Semitism. I invite all members of Parliament to support this initiative and the struggle against the oldest and most enduring form of hatred.

Forestry IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, thousands of forestry workers from Quebec and Canada are in Ottawa to ask the Conservative government to accept its responsibility and help the industry, which is in crisis.

Workers from several regions have come here to tell us that they, along with everyone else, are tired of dealing with the repercussions of this crisis. Forestry workers and communities feel that the government does not respect them, and they are right, because never before has a government shown such contempt for an industrial sector. It certainly does not harbour such scorn for the auto sector.

Forestry workers have every reason to be angry. They deserve a real plan to help their industry. Conservative members, particularly the two ministers from the Saguenay—Lac-St-Jean region who were elected because they promised to save the industry, have been dragging their feet for too long. People will not forget.

Hunger Awareness DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight National Hunger Awareness Day.

National Hunger Awareness Day, co-ordinated by Food Banks Canada, is a call to Canadians to take action to ensure that we no longer need food banks in this country. Every month, food banks help more than 700,000 Canadians, 37% of them children. Seniors, the disabled and even people working full time who are unable to make ends meet are among those who turn to food banks.

This year in my riding there are a series of activities under way to bring awareness to hunger in our communities. In particular, I would like to recognize workers involved with the Cobalt, Coleman, Latchford and Area Food Bank for its excellent work in promoting National Hunger Awareness Day.

I would ask all hon. members and Canadians from coast to coast to coast to join me in recognizing the importance of National Hunger Awareness Day and strive toward a day when no Canadian, young or old, has to go hungry.

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, in a moment of inspiration, will the Leader of the Opposition write a book about how he will increase taxes given that he is not answering the question?

Has it been forgotten that, in this country's recent history, the Liberals' greatest expertise has been in increasing taxes? Or is this Liberal leader even more intent than his predecessors on increasing taxes?

Canadians have not forgotten that Liberals are taxers and spenders who do not look after taxpayers' hard-earned money. They like to help out their pals and want to control everything from Ottawa. They want power at all costs.

My fellow citizens are worried because the Liberal leader is not telling us who will be paying for these new taxes.

At least weather vanes only point in one direction at a time.

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, every day in Canada 5,000 heart and cancer patients depend on isotopes produced at Chalk River, but by this week's end Ontario's isotope supply may shrink to 10% of need. There are isotope shortages in British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

Chalk River will be shut down, perhaps indefinitely. The government has known about this problem since November 2007. The question is why does the government pretend it has a plan when it does not have any isotopes?

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the House knows, the shutdown of the reactor at Chalk River has been unexpected.

That said, our government and the company have been working with isotope suppliers around the world to attempt to manage this situation. Of course we are also in communication with the medical community on how best to address this.

The fact of the matter is that the reactor had to be shut down for safety reasons, and those safety reasons must be paramount.

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government is simply trying to buy time here.

The truth is there are no alternative supplies of isotopes, no adequate alternative supply of isotopes, just as there was not when Chalk River was shut down 18 months ago. The world's two major reactors in the Netherlands and South Africa do not have the capacity to make up the shortfall, and both will be shut down for maintenance next month.

When will the government get up and tell us the truth and come up with a plan to deal with its own incompetence?

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is exactly why a reactor should not be shut down without a reason, but in this case, there are serious safety concerns.

As I have said, when other reactors have been shut down around the world, Canada has increased its production to help manage that situation. We are working with our international partners and working with the medical community to manage this particular problem. There will be challenges, but steps are being taken to deal with those challenges.

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the point is that international suppliers cannot increase production. That is the core of the problem.

The government has known for 18 months that there are problems at Chalk River. It knows that there are no alternative sources of medical isotopes.

When will the government tell patients the truth, which is that there are no more isotopes?

Medical IsotopesOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are clear on the facts. There is a huge challenge here, and that is why a reactor is not shut down without a reason. In this case, that reason has to do with public safety.

As we have done in the past, we are working with the other isotope producers and the medical community to manage this situation in the best way possible.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, thousands of employees and employers in the forestry sector are currently demonstrating their dissatisfaction with the Conservatives' laissez-faire attitude, and for good reason. We support them.

Plants are closing one after the other all over the country. It is happening in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and New Brunswick. Companies like AbitibiBowater and Fraser Papers are in danger. If the industry does not get loan guarantees, it will disappear.

The Prime Minister must follow through on the industry's demands. Otherwise, can he explain why he is willing to let our forestry industry die without loan guarantees?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that this government undertook an unprecedented level of consultation with the forest industry, with the workers and with the communities in developing our economic action plan.

The result was more focus on marketing and innovation, as the forest industry had indicated it would like to have. We have delivered on that. We have delivered to the communities in terms of help for those communities that are most in strife because of the downturn in the economy.

Not only that, we have put $7.8 billion into programs within the economic action plan that will spur on the domestic supply.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that in two years over 55,000 forestry workers have lost their jobs. Dozens of mills in B.C., Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and elsewhere have closed, many of them permanently.

The workers with jobs are left to fear for their security, pension and future. There is no plan to offset lucrative foreign tax credits for black liquor, no plan to help communities affected by mill closures, no plan for pensions and no loan guarantees to protect what is left of our industry.

The Conservatives just do not care about the national forest industry, the workers or their families. Why?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Halton Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the more important list is the list of accomplishments of this Conservative government: $1 billion in a community adjustment fund to help forestry communities; $1 billion in a community development fund to help forestry communities; $170 million to help the forestry sector with innovation and marketing; $35 million for renewable energy technologies such as biomass and biofuels; more money in terms of helping with respect to earthquake rebuilding projects; $127.5 million for forest industry long-term competitiveness initiatives; $8.3 billion in Canadian skills--

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government gave the auto sector $10 billion in aid, which adds up to over $650,000 per job. Nobody knows the details of the aid package, or even whether any guarantees were required. In contrast, the government gave just $270 million to the forestry industry, which is the equivalent of $1,000 per job. That is way out of proportion.

How can the government give that much money per job to the auto industry, which is concentrated in Ontario, and a mere pittance to the forestry industry, which is concentrated in Quebec?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the forestry industry is active across Canada. The sector is going through very hard times, but it is still an important sector. It is in trouble because U.S. demand went down dramatically.

We are working to fix the problem. Over the past three years, through tax cuts and Export Development Canada programs and services, we have given the sector nearly $50 billion, and we will keep looking at ways to help the industry.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister justified helping the auto sector by saying that demand had plummeted and that it affects thousands of indirect jobs, and that is true, but that is what is happening in the forestry industry too. The forestry industry is also critical to the survival of entire regions, and the industry's problems affect thousands of indirect jobs. What is good for the auto sector should also be good for the forestry industry.

Can the Prime Minister explain why he has given so little financial help to the forestry industry?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we have given that sector a lot of help. We have given tens of billions of dollars, not only through tax cuts, but also through programs for affected communities and workers, including agreements with the provinces on the industry and on worker training, not to mention loan guarantees underwritten by EDC and the BDC.

The question is, why did the Bloc Québécois vote against all of these programs for communities that rely on that sector?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said yesterday, to justify the enormous sums of money being paid out to help the auto industry, that there would be job losses in the six figures. Well, we have already lost 50,000 jobs in the forestry industry, half of them in Quebec, and we are still waiting for a real assistance plan.

By the Prime Minister’s reasoning, what is he waiting for to help the forestry industry—the number of jobs lost to go even higher?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the forestry industry is having very hard times because of the uncertainty that characterizes that market. That is one reason why our government has created the Canada-Quebec committee to prepare appropriate responses to the crisis in the forestry economy.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the recent document filed by Canada on May 15 in the case between Canada and softwood lumber producers in the United States, the government’s lawyers argue, at page 11, that the loan guarantees given to forestry companies do not violate the softwood lumber agreement. However, the Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec) says the opposite.

So who is telling the truth, the Minister of International Trade or the Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)?