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House of Commons Hansard #84 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was unemployed.

Topics

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this is unbelievable. First of all, last week, I went to see the 5,000 workers in Dolbeau-Mistassini and I also attended the union demonstration the week before. We are working on the ground with people.

On August 31, 2009, Export Development Canada committed over $7 billion in support for Quebec's forestry industry through access to credit, loan guarantees and accounts receivable insurance. I am talking about $7 billion, and they say we have done nothing. That is not what the unions are saying. Our government is getting the job done and will continue to do so.

TaxationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, increasing taxes on everyday essentials is like trying to dig oneself out of a hole. Yet the government is pushing forward with its HST scheme, raising taxes on items like school supplies, home heating and even funerals. Harmonization will create more harm than good.

Could the government explain how paying higher taxes will help Canadians who are struggling with this recession?

TaxationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I encourage the hon. member, if she feels very strongly about this, to run for a position in the British Columbia legislature. That is the place that makes those kinds of decisions, as does the Ontario legislature. Our place is merely to facilitate decisions that have already been made by provincial legislatures. That is our place in this.

Her party, however, whenever it gets a chance, wants to increase taxes, wants to increase the burden on businesses, as well as individuals. That is her record. Thank goodness it is not this government's record.

TaxationOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is that sort of twisted logic that feeds the cynicism of the public.

The finance minister lobbied B.C. for years to harmonize its sales tax with the GST. Now the minister is trying to convince us that his government had nothing to do with this unpopular tax shift, but Canadians see the $1 billion trail leading to his door.

I would like to ask the finance minister, exactly what date did negotiations with B.C. begin? The people of B.C. would love to know that.

TaxationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, all I know is when she and her party were given a chance to lower the GST by two points, she and every member of that caucus voted against it. To the shame of their tax-fighting credentials, they are certainly a wolf in sheep's clothing.

TaxationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, why the cover-up on the date?

Let us be clear. Harmonizing sales taxes in British Columbia and Ontario is tantamount to a tax increase on basic goods for ordinary families. They will have to pay more for fuel, their loved ones' funerals, heating during winter and even their children's diapers. That is really rotten.

Can the minister explain how raising the price of basic goods will help families recover from the economic crisis?

TaxationOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, that follows along the direction we see consistently day by day in the House of Commons. The NDP does not understand what makes businesses prosper in our country. It is our small and medium enterprises that pay the taxes, that employ Canadians.

Every time NDP members stand in the House, they stand against Canadians. They want to raise taxes, but this government has put forward many pieces of legislation to reduce the taxes of Canadians. Unfortunately, they have voted against them every time.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is more bad news at AbitibiBowater and the Conservatives continue to do nothing.

Almost 500 jobs in Beaupré and Clermont were eliminated yesterday. That is in addition to the thousands of other jobs that have disappeared in the sector since the beginning of the crisis.

Why did the Conservatives cancel the $1.5 billion loan guarantee program established by the previous Liberal government?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:30 a.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 I just mentioned, and it is important to repeat it for my colleague, on August 31, 2009, Export Development Canada made available to the Quebec forestry industry more than $7 billion in credit access, loan guarantees and receivables insurance.

I would like to remind the member opposite that between 2000 and 2006, the Liberal Party completely abandoned the Canadian forestry industry by failing to enter into an agreement with the U.S. In addition, the Liberals' only solution to the current crisis is to trigger an election. It would be much better if they would work with us and find solutions.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we can only surmise that the Conservatives seem bent on destroying the forestry industry. Backed by the Bloc, they signed the softwood sellout agreement with the United States. The Conservatives and the Bloc handed over a $1 billion gift to the American lobby. What is worse, this sellout agreement has forced our industry to defend itself with one hand behind its back. Bill C-50 will not provide any assistance to workers who have lost their jobs. The government of Quebec and the Liberals know this.

How will we help these workers?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, when we signed this agreement with the U.S., we brought back $4.5 billion to Canada and redistributed the entire amount to the forestry industry. Countervailing duties have fallen from 30% on average to less than 15%. We did our job.

Unfortunately the pulp and paper industry is now in crisis. In 2009 alone, AbitibiBowater's share in the paper market declined by 31% and, since 2000, sales of newsprint have dropped by 42%.

Unfortunately, this is about markets. However, we will continue to support the forestry industry and to do our job.

NortelOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, as you know, the second auction of Nortel assets earlier this week dealt with its Enterprise business and the winning bid from a U.S. firm was for about $1 billion Canadian.

I was informed on Wednesday that the winner had notified the Canadian government that it was fully aware its purchase was subject to review under the Investment Canada Act because of its size and that it was ready for it. I am glad that that U.S. company is fully aware of how it works.

I would like to ask the minister one more time why he does not realize how it works.

NortelOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the hon. member is suggesting. Is he suggesting that this government has already taken a position that the particular transaction he mentioned is not reviewable? If he is under that misapprehension, it is indeed a misapprehension.

NortelOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was referring to the minister's decision with respect to the wireless assets of Nortel.

On Wednesday, the Minister of Industry dismissed the possibility of reviewing whether the sale of Nortel's wireless assets was in Canada's best interests. Even though the price paid was well above $1 billion Canadian, he maintained that the actual value was no more than $182 million, and that it would therefore not be necessary to review the transaction.

Even though the stakes are high and it would only be prudent, the minister simply said no.

Is this a good way to protect Canadian interests?

NortelOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to go through this again.

There is a law in this country and it is called the Investment Canada Act. The law has a threshold for review. The threshold for review is $312 million based on the assets of the company. This particular transaction was $182.5 million underneath the threshold. Therefore, it is not reviewable, unless the Liberals want to have different laws for different transactions. If that is their idea of an economic policy, it stinks.

ImmigrationOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, facts revealed on Radio-Canada's Enquête program shed rather troubling light on the government's mismanagement of the immigration file and highlight the minister's blatant lack of transparency on this issue. He claims to be aware of the situation, but he is not doing anything about it.

Given yesterday's revelations, will the minister act swiftly to implement visitor exit controls, a solution that the Bloc Québécois proposed back in 2008?

ImmigrationOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it is a fact that our government takes a zero tolerance approach to immigration fraud. We are very concerned about the proliferation of bogus immigration consultants offering advice on or abuse of our system. Mr. Speaker, you can bet your bottom dollar that we are going to continue working toward that end.

ImmigrationOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, the same program, which the parliamentary secretary should have watched yesterday, featured three secretly filmed consultants who acknowledged the existence of a fraudulent strategy to get around immigration laws.

Has the government initiated investigations? Will it press charges against these three people?

ImmigrationOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, obviously such situations are unacceptable. The department is very aware of these cases. As my colleague knows, investigations are under way. We cannot comment on an ongoing investigation. This is a case by case issue. People can be sure that the minister is dealing with this type of thing. It is unacceptable. Unscrupulous consultants will be punished to the full extent of the law. We will do everything in our power to address these unfortunate situations.

ImmigrationOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the CBC has revealed an extensive Canadian citizenship fraud scheme in Montreal. The report uncovered an industry of consultants specialized in creating fictional lives in order to help immigrants meet the legal residency requirements.

The Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism said that he is aware of the fraud. Can he tell us whether this scheme has targeted regions outside Quebec?

ImmigrationOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

St. Catharines Ontario

Conservative

Rick Dykstra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the department is fully aware of the recent media report of the activities of certain unscrupulous immigration consultants. To avoid jeopardizing ongoing investigations, I cannot speak to the specifics of any case. I can say again, clearly, we have zero tolerance on this side of the House for immigration fraud.

ImmigrationOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the CBC report revealed some shortcomings in the Lebanese government's administrative practices. By choosing not to stamp the passport directly upon arrival, the Lebanese authorities are counteracting the controls we have in place here.

The government is clearly in over its head here. Has it at least contacted the Lebanese authorities to put an end to this practice?

ImmigrationOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, this demagoguery needs to stop. My colleagues know very well—and if they do not know, we will repeat it—that this type of fraud is handled on a case-by-case basis. The Canada Border Services Agency is involved, as is the RCMP. These situations are taken very seriously. The government is taking action, and does not need any lectures from the Bloc on how to enforce the law.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

September 18th, 2009 / 11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister declared victory over buy America in February, and exports to the U.S. are now down over 35%.

The Prime Minister did nothing to stop the new passport rule at the U.S. border, and same day travel across our border is now down 29%. Businesses and border towns are devastated.

How can Canadians trust the Prime Minister to defend our interests in the U.S., a Prime Minister who has been so wrong so many times, a Prime Minister who has failed to get any meaningful results against buy America protectionism in Washington?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just had a very successful visit to Washington which included a face-to-face meeting with President Obama. They discussed Canadian proposals for open and freer trade. He also met with key congressional members. That was another very successful meeting. Last night he spoke to the Canadian American Business Council in New York.

We are continuing to represent Canada's interests on the world stage, and with Americans.