June 4, 2003

LIB

Herb Dhaliwal

Liberal

Hon. Herb Dhaliwal (Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, first, the Minister of Agriculture has done a tremendous job on this file. He has been front and centre. In fact, even today he is meeting with the beef industry. He has been talking to his provincial counterparts. He has been talking to the secretary of agriculture in the United States. He has been on the front lines making sure we do everything we can to resolve this.

What we are doing to make sure we have the science, we are having a full investigation. We hope by early next week we will have all that information so we can open the borders and continue to export our products across the world.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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CA

Stephen Harper

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, at least we can give the minister credit for not praising the performance of the Prime Minister on this file. That does not, of course, answer the question, but I will move on.

Even once the ban is lifted, the beef ban by the United States, there will be a permanent loss of market share. What will the government do about that? Will the compensation package include plans for the promotion and marketing of Canadian beef abroad?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Herb Dhaliwal

Liberal

Hon. Herb Dhaliwal (Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, of course we are concerned with the effect on the industry. We are monitoring the situation. We are evaluating it.

However, unlike the hon. member and his party, we do not believe we should be building firewalls across the country. We believe we should be building bridges and strong national solutions to problems such as this. That is why we are working on it and will continue to work on it.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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CA

Grant Hill

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, no wonder there is western alienation, with comments like that.

The former finance minister has ships plying the St. Lawrence Seaway. Those ships are guided by expert pilots. His company, aided by four Liberal supporters, are trying to get rid of those expert pilots for dangerous or hazardous areas.

Is this not just another example of a special deal for the man who wants to be the Prime Minister of Canada?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Member for LaSalle—Émard
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LIB

David Collenette

Liberal

Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I intentionally resent the innuendo contained in the hon. member's question. It is disgusting.

The members of the transport committee, on all sides, including the one who is yelling at me, are hon. members and they have the right to voice their opinions on matters of national policy. This has nothing to do with other interests. This has everything to do with what is good for transportation in this country.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Member for LaSalle—Émard
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CA

Grant Hill

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, the minister says that there were no special deals for the former minister. Let us talk about them.

Other cabinet ministers have blind trusts but that former cabinet minister had a blind management.

When it comes to dumping oil, everybody else gets a fine but that former minister gets a special deal.

Finally, on the issue of foreign tax shelters, that former minister is given a special deal.

How many more special deals can we expect for the former finance minister?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Member for LaSalle—Émard
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LIB

David Collenette

Liberal

Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I really am reluctant to get down to the level of reply that is required here, except to set the facts straight.

First, the former minister of finance has complied with all the regulations and all the required procedures by the ethics commissioner. The fact is that he is not involved in the day to day management of that particular company.

However, to set the record straight, that company was fined by the government for an infringement of the law. That is not a special favour.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Member for LaSalle—Émard
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BQ

Gilles Duceppe

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, while the Minister for International Trade acknowledges that the crisis in the softwood lumber industry is worsening, and his colleague in Natural Resources confirms that the option of loan guarantees in still on the table, the Secretary of State responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec refuses to act for fear of displeasing the Americans, according to what he said in the House yesterday. Yet the companies are at the end of their rope, and calling for help.

Can the minister confirm that the loan guarantees are legal under international trade rules, and can he explain why he is not making them available to the industry?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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LIB

Herb Dhaliwal

Liberal

Hon. Herb Dhaliwal (Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday to the hon. member, this was one of the options that was considered when we introduced a $350 million package. It is still on the table.

However it is in our best interests to make sure we find a long term solution to this problem because it is something that has been going on for a long time. That is what we are focusing on.

We hope that in the near future there will be a solution to this but failing that, we have always said that we are committed and that we will do more to support the industry and the workers.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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BQ

Gilles Duceppe

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, while he is telling us that the loan guarantee option is still on the table, the workers can no longer put anything on their dinner table. That is the problem. He ought to realize straight off that there is a problem.

In the fisheries sector, for instance, the government decided to recognize that the workers affected by the cod and crab moratorium are in exceptional circumstances, and so it brought in exceptional income assistance measures.

What I am asking him, therefore, is whether the same could not be done in the case of softwood lumber, to bring in exceptional income assistance measures—since EI measures are inadequate—so that this might be supplemented with such measures as—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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The Speaker

The hon. secretary of state.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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LIB

Claude Drouin

Liberal

Hon. Claude Drouin (Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, for the softwood lumber problem, we have implemented measures for a total of $350 million. These are concrete measures. There are $110 million for the industry, to develop the communities. These are measures we have implemented in order to help the workers get through this crisis, and we hope to see this resolved as promptly as possible. Those of us on this side of the House are seeking solutions.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
Permalink
BQ

Michel Gauthier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the Secretary of State responsible for Canada Economic Development for the Regions of Quebec does not need to look for solutions. They are right there in front of him. They respect NAFTA. They are called loan guarantees. That is what the industry needs, and despite his package of measures, hundreds of jobs are being lost in our regions.

Is there anyone on the government benches who is responsible enough to take the economic situation of our regions into account? They can keep their nice speeches; what we need are real measures.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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LIB

Herb Dhaliwal

Liberal

Hon. Herb Dhaliwal (Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, we, in fact, acted more than seven months ago. We did not wait until we had the situation now where we have layoffs. We acted way before.

Yesterday I outlined the programs: $81 million to support workers; $110 million to support communities; money for research and development; and money to make sure that we get new markets.

We have responded to support employees across the country. We will continue to do that and, as we have always said, if more needs to be done the government will take action to do more.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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BQ

Michel Gauthier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I appeal to the ministers and members from Quebec. When they meet people out on the ground, as we do, they must realize the distress that workers and companies are experiencing.

I call on one of them to speak on behalf of their colleagues, to stand up and tell us why they have been silent and why they have not insisted that the Minister of Industry put in place the measures that the regions need and that everyone knows are necessary. Let them stand and answer.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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?

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. Minister for International Trade is standing; I believe he wishes to respond and he may do so.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew

Mr. Speaker, I think it would be totally irresponsible to pit one region against another, and to tell us that a minister from Quebec must tour Quebec, when 50% of softwood lumber exports that are being penalized right now come from British Columbia.

Our government is concerned about Quebec's interests. We are concerned about Quebec's workers. We are also concerned about workers in British Columbia.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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An hon. member

There are problems everywhere.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
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June 4, 2003