House of Commons Hansard #270 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-69.

Topics

International TradeOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard—Verdun Québec

Liberal

David Lametti LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation

Mr. Speaker, this was a trip that was focused on creating and enhancing our business relationship with India. We welcomed $1 billion in total investments between Canadian and Indian companies, which will lead to the creation of close to 6,000 good, well-paying middle-class jobs in Canada, such as with Tech Mahindra, a leader in tech IT services, which will be investing $100 million to establish a new centre of excellence for artificial intelligence in Canada; and the Jubilant Bhartia Group, which will be investing $100 million to expand its facilities in Kirkland.

International TradeOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, on his trip to India, our Prime Minister behaved like a bad actor in a low-budget film. That trip was a diplomatic failure, a security failure, and an economic failure.

We have learned that the Indian government just announced an increase in tariffs on Canadian chickpea imports from 40% to 60%.

This feature film started out as a comedy, but quickly turned into a horror movie. Our international relations have suffered since this government took office in 2015.

The Prime Minister is making serious mistakes, but Canadians are the ones who have to pay the price. Why is that?

International TradeOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Maurice—Champlain Québec

Liberal

François-Philippe Champagne LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I can assure my hon. colleague that no one is working harder for Canadian farmers than our government. I was part of the last trade mission in November. This trade mission to India was the largest in history and involved 150 entrepreneurs. We met with more than 11 ministers. I can assure my colleague that this issue was raised at every meeting we had.

We are going to continue to work hard for Canadian farmers because we, on this side of the House, understand how important this issue is for them. We are going to raise this issue at every opportunity.

International TradeOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not doubt that my hon. colleague is working very hard. It is his boss that is the problem.

After our Prime Minister's disastrous trip in India, we find out that Canada's security was compromised. Yesterday, we also learned that his diplomatic missteps have been costly to the Canadian economy since the Indian government has just announced a significant tariff increase on chickpeas of 40% to 60%. Our Prime Minister is showing the entire world that he is not fit for the office he holds.

Does he believe that our international relations are inconsequential? What does he plan to do to repair our relations with this major trading partner?

International TradeOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Maurice—Champlain Québec

Liberal

François-Philippe Champagne LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I have visited India a number of times. Our discussions are ongoing. India is an important trade partner to Canada and we understand what is at stake.

Let us not forget what the Prime Minister did while he was in India. He announced more than $1 billion in contracts and several thousand jobs for Canada. We understand the importance of this relationship. I can assure my colleague that on this side of the House, we will always be there to promote trade relations between our two countries.

International TradeOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we learned that Donald Trump wants to go after our industries yet again. First it was softwood lumber, now it is the aluminum industry that could suffer as a result of the American President's unjustified decisions. Yesterday, he announced that he will impose a 10% tariff on Canadian aluminum products. The aluminum industry is a huge employer in Quebec, and many jobs are in jeopardy as a result of these protectionist actions.

Can our industries count on our government to stand up to Trump's protectionist policies?

International TradeOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Orléans Ontario

Liberal

Andrew Leslie LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Canada-U.S. Relations)

Mr. Speaker, as we are a number one customer of the American steel industry, any restrictions on the steel and aluminum trade in Canada would be completely unacceptable. Our steel and aluminum industry is highly integrated and supports the American manufacturing supply chains. If restrictions are imposed, we reserve the right to defend our trade interests and Canadian workers.

International TradeOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it must be Groundhog Day again already, because once more we see the U.S. administration targeting a vital Canadian industry. This time it is the steel sector.

Here is the pattern with the Liberal government, and it is not a good one. While it sits in round after round of NAFTA talks, Donald Trump targets Canadian industry after industry with illegal tariffs. Here is Trump's Canadian hit list so far: softwood lumber, aerospace, agriculture, and now steel. Exactly how many more tariffs and attacks will Canadian workers have to face before the Liberals reach a durable and fair agreement?

International TradeOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Orléans Ontario

Liberal

Andrew Leslie LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Canada-U.S. Relations)

Mr. Speaker, we will always defend Canadian interests and values, and as a key NORAD and NATO ally, and a number one customer for American steel, any trade restrictions on Canadian steel and aluminum are not acceptable.

Our steel and aluminum industry is highly integrated and supports American manufacturing supply chains. Our government has raised this point directly with the highest levels of the United States administration, and we will continue to do so. We reserve the right to take responsive measures to defend our trade interests and Canadian workers.

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, have you ever been on one of those family vacations where your dad makes you take so many photos that just out of sheer desperation, you have to throw yourself on the ground? That is how Canadians felt watching the Prime Minister's terrible trip to India. Not only that, but he also managed to create a major international security incident in the process. Now, adding insult to injury, we learn that the Indian government is raising the tariff on Canadian chickpeas.

My question is simple. Did the Prime Minister raise the issue of trade, and now that we have a problem, is he going to do something to help Canadian farmers who are being targeted?

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Saint-Maurice—Champlain Québec

Liberal

François-Philippe Champagne LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that there is no government working harder for our farmers in Canada.

When I was there last November, we met 11 ministers from the Indian government. We made sure that at every single meeting we had representatives from Pulse Canada with us. We made sure that we talked with our Indian counterparts about stability and predictability. We made sure that the Indian government would understand that we want to be a trusted partner, but we need to ensure a long-term solution based on science. That is exactly what we have done, and that is exactly what the Prime Minister did during his last trip.

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I want to remind hon. members that holding up a poster with someone's picture on it is considered a prop. I will not point out any member in particular, but I want to make sure that it does not happen again.

The hon. member for Hochelaga.

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, the bad news keeps flooding in regarding the trip to India.

La Presse is reporting this morning that the government may have extrapolated the job creation figures following the announcement it made while the Prime Minister was in India. Apparently, 2,738 jobs were created, not the 5,800 announced. To think that this was the only good news that came out of that trip.

Can the government remind us all once again what exactly that trip was supposed to achieve?

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard—Verdun Québec

Liberal

David Lametti LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the hon. member that the purpose of the trip was in fact to promote trade and strengthen our trade relationship with India.

What we achieved was $1 billion in investments between the two countries, and nearly 6,000 jobs for middle-class Canadians. Let me give some examples. Tech Mahindra, a leader in information technology, is going to invest $100 million in Canada to create a centre of excellence in artificial intelligence.

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Atwal affair gets more sordid by the day.

Yesterday, in his elevator press conference, the public safety minister suggested that it was okay for the national security adviser to share confidential information with the media, but not okay for that same information to be shared with members of Parliament.

Why was the Indian conspiracy theory okay to share with journalists to help get the Prime Minister out of a crisis but not okay to share with the House of Commons, where Canadians send MPs to hold them to account?

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ajax Ontario

Liberal

Mark Holland LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, the hon. colleague across has been in the House for a long time and he well knows that we cannot discuss specific intelligence information that is received from national security agencies. He is well aware of that.

The independent, nonpartisan advice that we receive from our public servants is something that we listen to and we act on. Unlike the party opposite, we do not politicize or play games with our public service. We make sure we listen to their advice and act accordingly.

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, the point made by the parliamentary secretary is absurd.

The government is saying it is okay for the PMO to share confidential information with journalists that Canadians, including members of Parliament, will then read in the paper, but it is not okay to share that same information with parliamentarians or parliamentary committees to hold the Prime Minister and that member to account for this atrocious trip.

When will the Liberals admit that the cover-up of the Atwal affair is worse than the crime?

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ajax Ontario

Liberal

Mark Holland LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, that is what that member is saying but that certainly is not representative of the facts whatsoever.

Again, to be very clear, and the member knows this well. We cannot under any circumstances discuss specific intelligence information we receive from our national security agencies. The member has been in government and he knows that very well. That is a rule that must be adhered to.

We follow the advice of our public servants. We stand behind that advice. We do not play partisan games with it. We act on it when we are given that information.

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaOral Questions

March 2nd, 2018 / 11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has accused the Indian government of being involved in inviting his convicted terrorist friend Jaspal Atwal to a state dinner, yet one of his own Liberal MPs has taken the blame and been reprimanded for issuing the invitation. The Prime Minister does not seem to realize he has created a diplomatic disaster as India has responded by raising tariffs on some products by 50%.

Will the Prime Minister issue an apology to the Government of India or will he continue to allow his accusations to cost Canadians?

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ajax Ontario

Liberal

Mark Holland LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as I have said in this place, the invitation in question should never have been sent and when the information was found out about this individual, that invitation was immediately rescinded. The member of Parliament who advanced that name has apologized and made it clear that an error occurred.

We absolutely and without question stand behind our public servants and the recommendations they make to us. We listen to their advice in this and every instance and act on it accordingly.

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal honeymoon is over. Following the shameful diplomatic incident between Canada and India, a Liberal MP was punished for inviting a friend of the Prime Minister, Jaspar Atwal. As a result, India has once again raised the tariff from 40% to 60%. This is the price Canada will have to pay for this diplomatic disaster. It is going to take a lot more than a little dance in the sun to fix this mess.

What does the Prime Minister plan to do to address this diplomatic disaster, for which he is solely responsible?

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ajax Ontario

Liberal

Mark Holland LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I have been very clear. The invitation was a mistake and it was rescinded as soon as information on the individual was available. All input and advice from our public servants are crucial and non-partisan. We have full confidence in them.

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister’s trip to India is best described as the theatre of the absurd.

Mr. Atwal has deep connections with the Liberal Party. The Liberals blamed a backbench MP for inviting him to dinner. Then they brought out this preposterous theory that the Indian government was responsible, trying to embarrass the Prime Minister. The result is a serious diplomatic incident and a punishing tariff on our pulse products, hurting our Canadian farmers.

What is the Prime Minister going to do to fix his mess?

Prime Minister's Trip to IndiaOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ajax Ontario

Liberal

Mark Holland LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I have been very clear that the invitation that was made should not have been made and that it was rejected.

Here is my problem. When the party opposite, which was responsible for devastating cuts to our national security infrastructure, $530 million from the RCMP, $390 million from CBSA, and the list goes on, stands and gives lectures on national security, when it ignored the advice of Justice O'Connor in 2006 and Justice Iacobucci in 2009, it is a little rich. Therefore, I would ask the Conservatives to rethink their line of attack.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister must realize that his antics on the global stage have very real consequences. The casualties for this latest diplomatic nightmare are Canadian farmers. The only souvenir from the Prime Minister's latest family vacation is the successful derailing of Canada's trade relationship with India. Yesterday, India increased the tariffs on our chickpeas from 40% to 60%, further jeopardizing Canada's $4 billion pulse industry.

Will the Prime Minister please explain why he is so willing to sacrifice Canadian farmers just to maintain this ridiculous conspiracy theory?