Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on to the bill in front of us.
I have heard the debate over the previous number of days and have followed it in the press and throughout the time I have been in Parliament. I have tried to put it in the perspective of the north. We are mentioned in the bill because the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut get an exemption under the clauses.
In some ways that is a result of certain trade links we have with the state of Alaska. Certainly the United States does not mind taking care of its own. In terms of Alaska and the relationship of how it receives lumber from some of the north, the United States is very good about taking care of its own. That speaks volumes about the United States and suggests to me volumes about what Canada is about right now.
This agreement is about short term gain for long term pain. Let us look at it from a perspective of what the government is trying to accomplish. The government is very interested in moving toward a majority in Parliament the next time an election is called. It is very interested in appearing to be decisive and able to deal with issues. I think this has triggered the effort that has gone into selling out our industry. It is short term gain.
There will be short term gain in the industry as well, because the industry is starved for dollars and opportunities. We will get some investment dollars back in the short term. Companies will be able to hang on for a little longer and continue to work in the industry. However, we are in a North American market where housing has boomed for many years and now it is starting to die. When housing dies, the requirement for forest products die and the prices drop.
As the prices drop, the duties come in, so our industry will get the double whammy. Not only will we not have prices that are strong, but we will also have a duty imposed on us. That duty will drive us further into the ground. As time goes on, the industry will either shrink or the corporations will recognize that unprocessed raw logs will continue to cross the border duty-free. Their incentive, as the prices drop and as the duties come on, will be to relocate manufacturing and processing of wood into the United States. That is exactly what will happen with this deal.
Where will we be at the end of the day with our lumber industry? We will be in long term pain. That is what we will get from this deal. We will get a short term gain and long term pain.
Where is Canada going with this softwood lumber deal? It is larger than that, of course. Canada fundamentally is structurally altered with the free trade deal. Exports to the United States increased by 250%, and the U.S. now receives 87% of all Canadian exports.
As Canada becomes more dependent upon U.S. markets, trade within Canada and the rest of the world has decreased. The result of the free trade deal has led to dependency. We are in a dependent position to a country that has 10 times the economic clout that we do. We put ourselves in a position of a mouse and we have shortened the chain to the elephant. What kind of life is that when we are so close to that big foot?
I have noticed one thing in the softwood lumber deal. It is the interference of the deal in federal-provincial and provincial to provincial relationships. All of a sudden we have the United States demanding that we treat our internal politics differently.
We have deals for the Maritimes. The Americans have given it an exemption. We have different deals for Quebec. We have different deals across the country. Therefore, we have a foreign power now telling us how to run our internal affairs. That to me is once again an abrogation of Canada's sovereignty, the sovereignty for which all our forefathers fought hard and that this government seems to treat with a great deal of disdain.
The rights of Canadian citizens are being taken away in this deal. All of a sudden we have a deal that has numerous punitive clauses that go beyond most people's expectations when they go into business. Corporate directors are to be held liable for corporate debts due to the duties that are imposed under this deal, even for companies in bankruptcy.
Spouses and children are liable for the debts in the case of transferred properties. We are going to track them down to make sure they deliver this blood money over to the government.
Searches without warrants are authorized under clause 77 for records pertaining to payments and taxes. The authoritarian arm of the government will come down on these people who try to go away from this very special deal with the United States. Canada is basically giving up control of our country's resources to a foreign power.
When we think of it, this is a foreign power that is 10 times our size. When we focus on its finances and its manufacturing, the U.S. is a global power of immense and important distinction. What does Canada have in contrast? Canada is a country of 32 million people with a vast landscape of land and resources. Canada's strength is in what we do with those resources and how we position those resources for our children and our grandchildren.
When we sell out these resources, as we are doing here, we are doing irreparable harm to all those young children who want to grow up and live in their communities in regions of the country such as the northern and rural areas of Canada.
What are we doing? We are saying that this lumber is not for Canadians. We are saying that we will ship these logs down to the United States and these young Canadians can go and work in the cities. What we are doing here is giving up control.
I could talk about the energy deal that Canada signed under NAFTA but I will save that for another debate because there certainly should be a debate on our energy sector soon. If the government thinks that it can get away without talking about energy in this Parliament, without putting these things on the table, then it has another think coming when it comes to the NDP caucus.
Conservatives used to say that good fences make good neighbours. When they said that I liked Conservatives. I thought they were good guys. I thought they were there to protect us and take care of us. They have certainly fallen far away from that goal.
I have not had a chance to talk about the environment yet. To me the boreal forest of Canada is one of the last refuges of natural wilderness that we have in this country and it is being destroyed. What will this deal do to help that boreal forest? Zero. This agreement does not take the boreal forest into account at all. We are again abrogating our responsibilities to the environment. We are creating a situation, unlike northern Europe where they get 12 jobs for every one job that we get in the forest industry, Canada is going in the other direction with this deal. This is very sad.
I do not think I need to talk about jobs. We have heard it and we know what will happen. This is the deal that these people want for Canada.