This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #10 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

JusticeOral Questions

March 16th, 2010 / 2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dona Cadman Conservative Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, since first elected, our government has taken action to tackle crime and protect Canadians. Our approach is balanced. It includes prevention, enforcement and rehabilitation. However, there is more work to be done, especially in the area of strengthening our young offenders system to deal with violent and repeat offences.

Could the Minister of Justice please tell the House how the government plans to deal with this important issue?

JusticeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say today that the government tabled a bill that will give Canadians greater confidence that violent and repeat young offenders will be held accountable.

The bill would simplify the rules to keep those violent and repeat young offenders off the streets while awaiting trial, would require the courts to consider adult sentences for youth convicted of the most serious crimes and would require the courts to consider publishing the name of a young offender when necessary for the protection of society.

I am pleased that the Quebec provincial police association has already come out in support of this for victims' families. It should have the support of all hon. members.

Environment CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to relations with the media, the government wants to put Environment Canada's scientists in a straitjacket. Not only must these people have their replies checked by a spin doctor beforehand, they must also write a report after the interview. Such practice is a shame for Canada. This is scientific censorship, like we see in totalitarian regimes that try to bend the facts to reflect their distorted view of the reality.

Why does the government want to muzzle scientists when they talk about the climate? Is it to justify its lack of action in addressing climate change?

Environment CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend and his colleague seem trapped in arrested development back in 2007-08. These are dated allegations that go back some time. They seem to be back with their carbon tax and these matters from several years ago. I think it is because they do not want to focus on what this government has achieved with the Copenhagen accord.

I advised the House yesterday that, in fact, 106 countries had ratified the accord. As of today, it is 110 countries.

Why will the Liberals not work with us? Why will they not support this Canadian action?

IsraelOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government timidly deplored at the UN the decision by Prime Minister Netanyahu to increase Jewish settlement by building 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem.

Will the minister make it clear to the Israeli government that the situation is unacceptable and will he commit to condemning all construction in the occupied territory?

IsraelOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this morning testifying before the committee, I had the opportunity to explain Canada's position very clearly.

It is based on negotiations between two parties to permit stability and peace between these two societies, these two sovereign states living side by side and on commitment to a peace process as well. That is the position of the Government of Canada. As I have already said, we condemn expanding settlement in East Jerusalem.

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, first, the government sends letters to groups in rural communities telling them they are no longer getting funding for Internet access. Now we see the government flip-flopping. What is going on?

For many in rural and remote communities, the community access program is key for Canadians to access online resources for services, training and jobs.

Could the minister confirm that the full funding to the community access program will be maintained? Is the flip-flop due to the outrage of rural Canadians? If it is not a flip-flop, why did they get the letters in the first place?

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said in the chamber today, the money was always in the budget and the money was always going to be allocated to the groups that had the money in the first place. Therefore, our position has not changed.

I am quite surprised the member cares so deeply about this issue since she voted against the budget in the first place.

Provincial transfersOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we all know the Liberals slashed transfer payments to the provinces in order to resolve their structural deficit, which resulted in great upheaval in health care and the closure of the Armagh hospital in Bellechasse.

Happily, in its 2010 budget, our Conservative government is maintaining and increasing transfers to the provinces to maintain quality health care, education and social services across the country.

Could my colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources, explain the many benefits of Canada's economic action plan for Quebec?

Provincial transfersOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question. As we know, the Liberals never acknowledged there was any fiscal imbalance. Who resolved it? The Conservative Government. In the 1990s, the Liberals cut transfers to Quebec. Who promised to never again balance Ottawa's budget on the back of Quebec? It was the Conservative government. In 2005-06, the Liberals transferred $12.5 billion to Quebec. Today, the transfers total $19.3 billion. Who increased the transfers to Quebec by $6.8 billion? The Conservative government.

When Premier Jean Charest said the 70% increase in transfers to Quebec over what they were under the Liberals was good news--

Provincial transfersOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis.

Environment CanadaOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is at it again. Not only must Environment Canada scientists get government approval for their answers before an interview, they must also write a report on the interview after. This is censorship reminiscent of the censorship on science practised in dictatorships. It flies in the face of Canadian values of freedom.

Why is the Prime Minister having his spin doctors muzzle the government's own environmental scientists? Why is the government extending its crude command and control ideology to honest and free scientific inquiry aimed at making the world a better place for future generations?

Environment CanadaOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the government supports the scientists we have at Environment Canada and other departments as well.

As I pointed out to my colleague earlier, these allegations go back to 2007 and 2008. I have been the minister for over a year and a half. I have not had any difficulties in the department with our scientists, relative to media inquiries. These are the same rules that apply to all other government departments.

Why does the hon. member not focus on some of the investments that the government has announced in the budget relative to northern meteorological navigational services, for example, the RADARSAT Constellation, all of this great scientific work that this government supports.

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, community Internet access centres are the foundation of an immense network that allows hundreds of thousands of people to use new technology. By cutting the community access program, the Conservatives are jeopardizing the survival of these centres and, as a direct result, they will be denying Internet access to those most underprivileged and to rural communities.

Does the government understand that it needs to maintain the community access program in order to prevent this exclusion?

TelecommunicationsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as we have already indicated, we announced in the budget that we will provide funding for this Internet access program through grants. We support Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, who need Internet access and our program.

We have another program, the broadband program, with $200 million for rural and remote Canadians, for access as well.

We are on the side of Canadians who choose to live in rural and remote communities.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the steering committee of the network of women parliamentarians of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Bravo!

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion--Throne Speech and BudgetBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I think you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, at the expiry of the time provided for government orders today, the divisions in relation to the business of supply be taken in the following order: the question to dispose of the opposition motion in the name of the member for Malpeque, followed by the question to dispose of the opposition motion in the name of the member for Joliette.

Opposition Motion--Throne Speech and BudgetBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the chief opposition whip have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Opposition Motion--Throne Speech and BudgetBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion--Throne Speech and BudgetBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Opposition Motion--Throne Speech and BudgetBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion--Throne Speech and BudgetBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Opposition Motion--Throne Speech and BudgetBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:05 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, I am pleased today to take part in this debate to bear witness to our government's initiatives in support of the forestry sector in Quebec.

I would like to mention the work of my two colleagues, the Minister of State for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and the Minister of Natural Resources and their predecessors, the current Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Minister of State for Agriculture for all their strategic initiatives to ensure the future of the Canadian forestry sector.

You will have understood that our government not only listens, but acts and produces results, as well. Given the scope of the work, we members on this side of the House are rolling up our sleeves to work with the provincial and municipal governments and the economic players in the forestry sector to meet the challenges of the future.

We believe strongly that we need everyone's support to make Canada united and prosperous.

One thing is clear. The Bloc has only one aim and that is to sow confusion, block ideas, block solutions, block initiatives, block projects that are good for Quebec and have us believe that separation is the ultimate solution.

With this motion by the Bloc today, we have further proof that it has only one thing in mind—separation. It is an obsession with the Bloc members. The facts show that the Bloc solves nothing. After nearly 18 years here in this House, they have provided no solution to any problem whatsoever.

This reminds us that the Bloc members have no interest in improving the welfare of Quebeckers. Their own interests are all that matters to them.

The Canadian federation, with all due respect to the Bloc, is working for all of the country's regions. Quebec has played a pivotal role in the development of Canada as we know it today.

Unlike the Bloc, we deliver the goods to Quebeckers and all Canadians. We did of course resolve the fiscal imbalance, recognize the Quebec nation and give Quebec a seat in UNESCO. We also reduced their fiscal burden and worked tirelessly to protect their jobs and to make Canada and Quebec the best place to raise a family.

Today, I am pleased to have the opportunity to explain to members how hard the Government of Canada is working to ensure a sustainable and competitive future for the forestry industry in the country.

As we all know, Canada's forestry sector is facing restructuring in order to meet cyclical and competition challenges.

I am sure that all of the hon. members will agree that the federal government has an important role to play in supporting this vital sector, which is so important to millions of Canadians.

There can be no doubt that our government is concerned about the difficulties facing the forestry sector and the workers and communities that depend on it, and that it is taking steps to help renew this sector in Quebec and all across Canada.

Today, I would like to begin with a few of the initiatives already taken by the government. It is clear that, from the outset, the government has taken prompt and decisive action to assist Canada’s forestry industry.

In 2009, as part of Canada’s economic action plan, the government took unprecedented steps to support workers and communities in the forestry sector, and to ensure the sector’s sustainability for the future.

Allow me to discuss a few of these measures.

A $1-billion community adjustment fund was created to mitigate the short-term impacts of economic restructuring. The fund targets forestry sector communities.

A two-year $170 million allocation will help the forestry sector develop new products and processes and take advantage of new market outlets.

Of that amount, $50 million will help expand domestic and foreign markets for Canadian forest products and support large-scale demonstrations of the use of Canadian lumber in construction.

The government will invest $120 million in the advancement of innovation, which will help transform the forest products sector by developing cutting-edge technologies.

A proposal to permanently eliminate customs tariffs applicable to a whole range of machinery and equipment should allow the forestry sector to save $440 million over the next five years.

An allocation of $8.3 billion under the Canada skills and transition strategy is assisting workers directly affected by the economic slowdown. It will increase employment insurance benefits and funding for skills development and workforce training in the forestry sector.

Another $1 billion transfer over two years will help the provinces and territories provide support for skills development to a maximum of 100,000 workers who qualify for employment insurance.

An amount of $500 million over two years has also been provided to set up a new strategic training and transition fund and to assist all workers with training or adjustment needs, whether they qualify for employment insurance or not.

As part of the targeted initiative for older workers, $60 million over three years is helping older workers obtain the specialized support they need while in transition to a new job.

This program has broadened its scope, and now targets all communities with fewer than 250,000 residents, which includes many of the country’s forestry communities.

Our government has allocated $7.8 billion to build quality housing, stimulate construction, and enhance home energy efficiency.

Given the importance of wood in construction and renovation activities, this investment will increase domestic demand for Canadian wood products.

Moreover, our government has created the pulp and paper green transformation program. Under this program, Canadian businesses that produce black liquor can draw on a $1 billion fund for capital investments to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities, their capacity to produce renewable bioenergy, and their overall environmental performance.

Once again, these initiatives and their financing are available to the forestry sector in all provinces and territories.

Early this month, my colleague, the Minister of Finance, announced other measures to ensure the strength and sustainability of the forestry sector as it moves toward future opportunities in the wood product and bioeconomy markets.

As a direct response to the demands of the forestry sector, the 2010 budget calls for an additional $100 million over four years to help the sector implement state-of-the-art products and technologies while contributing to the creation of a world-class industry equipped to compete in the clean energy economy of tomorrow.

The next generation renewable power initiative in the forestry sector will support the development, commercialization and implementation of advanced clean energy technologies and highly valuable new bioproducts.

Diversification is key to the future prosperity of the forestry sector in Canada, and the development of biomarkets offers numerous possibilities for building the Canadian forestry sector.

We understand the importance of the Canadian forestry industry for local communities and our national economy. That is why we are making short-term investments in communities and workers while helping to lay the foundations for a renewed, more competitive and sustainable forestry sector.

I could add that this renewable energy initiative was very well received by the forestry industry, which knows a competitive advantage when it sees one.

The industry is well aware of the benefits it will reap when Canadian clean energy technologies are commercialized and implemented.

The initiatives and funding measures were made available to the forestry industry in every province and territory. However, last April, the government decided to take it farther. In partnership with the government of Quebec, it agreed to head up a special Canada-Quebec team to coordinate efforts to support the forestry industry in that province.

The special team identified a number of important areas of common interest where rapid action was called for. In each of those areas, concerted efforts were made by several federal and Quebec government departments. For example, the governments of Canada and Quebec invested in sylviculture to advance sustainable forest management objectives and to create and maintain jobs in the forestry sector.

In May 2009, a $200 million investment to support sylviculture activities in Quebec was announced. Each government invested $100 million in those activities. In July 2009, the two governments together provided an additional investment of $35 million to restore bridges and improve multi-use road maintenance in Quebec.

Those investments led to the creation and maintenance of over 8,300 jobs. The two levels of government worked together to implement measures that, in the short term, will benefit many workers and communities that depend on the forestry industry in Quebec.

The forestry industry also receives significant assistance from other sources. Export Development Canada provided $16 billion to support the forestry industry in Canada in 2009. Of that amount, $11.9 billion went to help 223 forestry companies in Quebec.

As well, this year, the Business Development Bank of Canada has provided support to 1,110 mall and medium-sized businesses in the Canadian forestry sector to date. Most of those loans, 47%, went to the province of Quebec. That is far more than any other territory or province has received from Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada for the forestry industry over the last two years.

The governments of Canada and Quebec are using their existing partnerships to promote innovation in the forestry sector in areas such as bioenergy and nanotechnologies, as well as in the next generation of building systems.

To that end, they have organized better coordination of the existing programs, they are facilitating technology transfers to manufacturers of value-added wood products, and they are collaborating with FPInnovations laboratories throughout Canada, including two in Quebec, and with universities, researchers and other interested parties.

I would add that funding provided to FPInnovations by the federal government has made possible the construction of the first wood-frame building over four storeys in Canada, the head office of the Confédération des syndicats nationaux action fund, a six-storey building in Quebec City.

As well, between now and 2011 about half of the $170 million invested in support for innovation and market development initiatives will have been spent in Quebec. We also expect that companies in Quebec will have access to $280 million under the Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program, which will help them become more sustainable in both environmental and commercial terms, through investment in energy efficiency and the production of renewable energy.

In conclusion, our government has obviously taken rapid and decisive measures to help the forestry sector in Canada to meet a number of challenges, to adapt and to hold up.

It is clear that our abundance of natural resources is no longer the only key to economic prosperity. The forestry sector and all of the other resource sectors must call on Canada's other assets to transform our resources into value-added products and keep quality jobs in Canada.

We know that economic success in the current context requires an ideal combination of resources, people, knowledge, know-how and systems.

Our government is determined to implement what is needed to ensure that these basic economic fundamentals are in place in order to strengthen the competitiveness of Canada's natural resources sector, to support sustainable industry and to provide a clean and healthy environment.

Today, although Canada's economy remains dynamic, the forestry sector and the communities that depend upon it are feeling pressures from the global economy. Resisting these pressures will require innovation as well as industrial and entrepreneurial creativity.

We must acquire new skills and new expertise, create new products, find new value in unexploited forest resources and establish new markets. In order to meet these challenges and take advantage of the opportunities they represent, the government of Canada must continue to work closely with provincial and territorial governments, communities and industry.

Unlike the Bloc, we on this side of the House keep the promises we have made to Quebeckers and to all other Canadians.