June 4, 2003

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The hon. Pierre Pettigrew

I cannot accept the tone used by the Bloc Quebecois, as though all of a sudden, we should feel more sorry for Quebeckers than other Canadians. That is completely—

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
Permalink
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The Speaker

The hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
Permalink
PC

Peter MacKay

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC)

Mr. Speaker, speaking of delays, it took just one day, a single day, for the government to accept a proposal to buy luxury jets, approve the sale, issue a contract and take possession.

Canadian farmers and plant workers are losing their livelihoods waiting for the government to debate and decide if the agriculture sector is indeed hurting.

When will the government offer a compensation package for the cattle industry? Why can the government purchase luxury jets and have that deal go through in a day while farmers have to wait weeks?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Herb Dhaliwal

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member knows that there is a program for compensation for those herds that have to be depopulated. All the farmers will be able to get compensation for that.

As far as a larger review, this is something that is ongoing. The situation is evolving. We need to have a good understanding. In fact, that is why the Minister of Agriculture today is in Alberta, to make sure that he meets with the beef industry, has that view and takes that view into consideration.

This situation is being worked on. The Minister of Agriculture is on top of this issue to have a good understanding of what is needed to resolve some of these issues.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
Permalink
PC

Peter MacKay

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC)

Mr. Speaker, those ministers' assurances are not allaying fears across the country. We have to dispel any fears that it is unsafe to eat Canadian beef.

Today, Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg called on Canada to reform its testing standards. He is not the only one troubled by our nearly four month delay in reporting the case. We saw the harm from the delay in the government reaction to SARS. We have seen the harm in the delay of the helicopter program. The minister's feeble response this morning does not cut it.

When is the agriculture minister going to bring about the implementation of measures to expedite testing?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Herb Dhaliwal

Liberal

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

First of all, Mr. Speaker, Canada has the best testing system in the world within that framework.

For the hon. member to question that, he should know better. He should not be standing up in the House and questioning a system that is recognized all over the world by the international community. He knows better. He should be speaking about the good work done.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is recognized as the best in the world. It is doing everything possible to make sure there is a full investigation and let the scientists do their study so we can open the borders and give confidence to people around the world that Canadian beef is safe.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
Permalink
PC

Peter MacKay

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Peter MacKay

I have no confidence, Herb. That is the problem.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
Permalink
NDP
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The Speaker

I am quite relaxed. The hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona has the floor.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Agriculture
Permalink
NDP

Bill Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the new Tory leader's secret deal permitted him to vote for star wars yesterday because I cannot imagine Orchard being in favour of that.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Policies
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The Speaker

Order please. I know that the hon. member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough will want to contain his enthusiasm. His microphone is on when the hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona's is on and it makes it very difficult for the Chair to hear.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Policies
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NDP

Bill Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie

In any event, Mr. Speaker, it seems that there are two camps in the Liberal Party with respect to star wars and that government can only make announcements about those things that the Liberals are divided on, such as election financing and star wars, and we cannot get any action on anything else.

I want to ask the Minister of the Environment a question. It is Environment Week, it is Clean Air Day. Could he please tell us how he intends to provoke some division within the Liberal Party on this issue so we can get some action?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Policies
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LIB

John McCallum

Liberal

Hon. John McCallum (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I always listen to my caucus colleagues attentively and with respect.

One message yesterday came out loud and clear and it is a message I welcome. The message from my caucus colleagues is: government do not mess around with weapons in space because if you do, you will face the wrath of the caucus. I accept and agree with that message.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Policies
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NDP

Bill Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP)

It is nice to know, Mr. Speaker, that the minister of defence can get a message once in a while from somebody.

I want to ask the government more generally, when it comes to mad cow disease, when it comes to softwood, when it comes to helping hospitality workers affected by SARS, all we have is silence or inaction. Still we only have a government focused on the things that divide them. When are the Liberals going to get their act together and help people who are the victims of these various crises in our country?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Policies
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LIB

David Collenette

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I totally reject the hon. member's question. The fact is the Minister of Industry is working on measures that will improve the economic lot of those affected by SARS, as is the Minister of Human Resources Development. The Minister of Agriculture is in Alberta today dealing with the beef industry crisis.

This government acts on behalf of all Canadians all of the time.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Government Policies
Permalink
CA

John Duncan

Canadian Alliance

Mr. John Duncan (Vancouver Island North, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the trade minister indicated he would be willing to step away from a quota based softwood proposal tabled by the Canadian negotiator with the Americans. A cardinal rule of good faith negotiations is that a tabled offer cannot be unilaterally withdrawn.

Why did the minister show such disrespect as to table an offer that he is now prepared to abandon?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
Permalink
LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I showed absolutely no interest in withdrawing the paper that was tabled last week in Washington.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
Permalink
CA

John Duncan

Canadian Alliance

Mr. John Duncan (Vancouver Island North, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, that is contrary to one statement yesterday. Whenever the government is questioned about softwood lumber assistance, the natural resources minister pops up and repeats his softwood promises from last October. It is now eight months later and not a dollar has flowed to forest workers and communities.

The government's promises have done nothing for softwood workers or the industry. I will save the minister the trouble of repeating himself. When is he going to deliver?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
Permalink
LIB

Stephen Owen

Liberal

Hon. Stephen Owen (Secretary of State (Western Economic Diversification) (Indian Affairs and Northern Development), Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it was not last October. It was on December 19 that the Minister of Industry announced a $110 million program for economic adjustment in forest dependent communities across the country. Over 50% of that money will flow to British Columbia workers and communities.

The minister appointed a high level, multi-sector committee to review these proposals. The call for proposals has gone out. They are being received and reviewed by community futures development corporations at this point. Money will be flowing very soon.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
Permalink
BQ

Serge Cardin

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Serge Cardin (Sherbrooke, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, last October, the Minister of Natural Resources announced that the government was considering the possibility of creating phase 2 of the softwood lumber industry assistance package. Yesterday, he confirmed that loan guarantees were an avenue worth exploring to assist the lumber industry. In addition, his colleague from International Trade confirmed that the situation had worsened.

What is the government waiting for? Is it going to launch phase 2 of the assistance package or not?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Softwood Lumber
Permalink

June 4, 2003