April 14, 2010

NDP

Denise Savoie

New Democratic Party

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie)

The hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster can begin his comments. I will have to interrupt him at 7:10 to allow the sponsor of the bill to speak.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Department of Public Works and Government Services Act
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NDP

Peter Julian

New Democratic Party

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP)

Madam Speaker, I have to say I like the parliamentary secretary, but his statement was absolute rubbish.

First off, we have to be very clear here. There is absolutely nothing in the bill that contravenes any international obligations pertaining to Canada. It is simply not true.

Second, and this is perhaps even more important, when we look at what has happened with the wood industry, the softwood lumber industry particularly, in this country over the last few years, it has been self-inflicted by the current government, particularly because of the softwood lumber sellout that has led to the death of 20,000 jobs across this country.

When we held hearings into the softwood lumber sellout at the international trade committee, it was very clear what the implications were. This was a sellout with implications that would lead to the death of thousands of jobs in this country and would kill dozens of mills. Yet, the Conservatives, with the support of Liberals and, I have to say with great regret, the Bloc, the three other parties in this House ganged up together and the result has been the death of much of the industry.

In my riding of Burnaby—New Westminster, we were at the epicentre of this killing of our softwood lumber industry. We lost three mills after the signing of the softwood lumber sellout. We lost Interfor, Canfor and Western Forest Products, one after the other. Two thousand direct jobs were lost. Six thousand jobs were lost indirectly. All because the current government put its faith in David Emerson who knew full well that what this would do is kill the industry. But he figured that nobody on the Conservative government's side would actually do any due diligence around his work; what the Conservatives would do is cut some ribbons, say that they had achieved a victory, give $1 billion to the United States and, somehow, everything would turn out all right.

Well, that is not how it has turned out. We have seen dozens of mills close, thousands of jobs lost, and the Canadian taxpayer and Canadian softwood communities continue to pick up the tab. We are debating, currently, Bill C-9, which would imposes a $60 million additional penalty on softwood communities across this country, brought in by the Conservatives. We now have in front of the arbitral panel a further hundreds of millions of dollars, potentially, in penalties, given Quebec and Ontario forestry practices, legitimate for the softwood lumber sellout, now considered the object of fines, and we have looming in the distance B.C. stumpage being challenged with potential penalties of up to half a billion dollars. All because the Conservatives did not actually read the agreement before signing it. All because these Conservatives were recklessly irresponsible with our wood industry.

We have a chance to start to rectify what was broken by these Conservatives, with the support of the Liberals and, I dare say, the Bloc; that is, by taking a first step to actually start to repair what was broken by adopting Bill C-429. It is a small step forward. It is not going to get back the 20,000 jobs that were lost directly and the 60,000 jobs that were lost indirectly. It is quite true that the reckless abandon with which the current government destroyed the softwood lumber industry is going to take time and a lot of work to repair. But it is true that giving preference to concepts that promote wood, while balancing off costs, while balancing off greenhouse gas submissions, as is included in this private member's bill, would allow for those first few steps. We produce quality products, the member for Nanaimo—Cowichan said very clearly. British Columbia produces about half of that wood across the country. I need to quote again what the member for Nanaimo—Cowichan quoted, that British Columbia's skilled workmanship and advanced technology help to provide high-performance structural materials and unique appearance grade wood components.

There is no doubt of the quality. There is no doubt of the efficiency of our workers in British Columbia and right across the country. What is in doubt is the current government's capacity to understand the magnitude of what it did in 2006 when it imposed the softwood lumber sellout.

Liberals went along. The Bloc went along. That is true, but it is the Conservatives who provided the getaway car while they emptied out everything that was of value in the softwood lumber industry and drove away, completely irresponsibly, killing thousands of family-sustaining jobs across this country with that vote.

Parliamentarians, particularly of those three parties, have a responsibility to adopt this private member's bill to start to address what they have broken. Every single Conservative MP in this House is responsible for the devastation in the softwood lumber industry. Every single Liberal MP in this House is responsible and every single Bloc MP is responsible.

At least the Bloc is stepping forward with some ways to repair the mistake that was made in 2006.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Department of Public Works and Government Services Act
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BQ

Gérard Asselin

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Gérard Asselin (Manicouagan, BQ)

Madam Speaker, in my last five minutes I will conclude the debate on Bill C-429, which I introduced in the House and which will be voted on at second reading next week. I hope that the majority of parliamentarians in this House—whether they are members of the Liberal party, the NDP or the Bloc Québécois, where there is unanimous support—will ensure that Bill C-429 passes second reading and goes to committee.

When we introduce a bill, we know that there is always room for changes and improvements. The parliamentary committee will hear from those who support the bill as well as those who do not because of concerns or simply because of their profession, such as contractors, architects or engineers.

The Bloc Québécois decided to introduce Bill C-429 after extensive consultation with the Bloc's colleagues. We know that a number of regions in Quebec, as well as some in Canada, depend almost exclusively on the forestry industry. That is the case for some villages. In my riding—in places such as Rivière-Pentecôte, Baie-Trinité, Rivière-Saint-Jean, Pointe-aux-Outardes with Scierie des Outardes, and Ragueneau—the vast majority of the workers in these villages or towns work at the sawmill or the Baie-Comeau paper mill.

I would like to remind members that, on the North Shore, the forestry industry was the main industry. There also used to be a fishing industry at one time. It is quite normal and logical that a member would be concerned with developing these natural resources. The region's history is intertwined with the forestry industry. As members of Parliament, we have met with workers from the forestry industry who worked at a sawmill for a number of years and then, unfortunately, lost their jobs.

We know all about it. The NDP member just talked about it. The Bloc Québécois, the Liberals and the Conservatives voted for the softwood lumber agreement. The problems began when Americans charged a surtax on our lumber exports to the United States. We had no choice but to settle and we did so at the request of the forestry industry. We did not do it of our own accord, but at the request of the forestry industry, which was on the brink. Bank managers were waiting for companies to settle their debts. The Americans could afford to wait, and they knew that the longer they waited the more the Quebec forestry industry would slump. Today, it is having trouble getting back on its feet.

The odd thing is that the automobile industry was having the same problem during the economic crisis and the government did not hesitate to inject $10 billion into Ontario alone; but it injected only $270 million into the forestry industry for all of Canada in 2009-10. For workers who have lost their jobs, we asked the government for loan guarantees. The government dragged its heels and said that because of the agreement, it could not grant loan guarantees to the forestry industry. We also asked the government to provide training through an adjustment program for older workers who had lost their jobs in order to retrain them for the job market. We also asked for improvements to employment insurance: the elimination of the two week waiting period, the infamous 60% to 65% calculation, and eligibility after 360 hours without transitional measures instead of 560 hours.

If the government had acted in good faith, it could have used these measures to directly or indirectly help all those who unfortunately have lost their employment in the forestry industry.

There is a still one week left for those who are unsure. I listened to the hon. member and the two parliamentary secretaries who spoke earlier. I do not know who wrote their speeches, but they have completely missed the mark.

There is one week left. I hope that in the vote next Wednesday, the majority of the House will support Bill C-429.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Department of Public Works and Government Services Act
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NDP

Denise Savoie

New Democratic Party

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie)

It being 7:15 p.m., the time allotted for the debate is up.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Department of Public Works and Government Services Act
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?

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Department of Public Works and Government Services Act
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NDP

Denise Savoie

New Democratic Party

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie)

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Department of Public Works and Government Services Act
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?

Some hon. members

Yea.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Department of Public Works and Government Services Act
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NDP

Denise Savoie

New Democratic Party

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie)

All those opposed will please say nay.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Department of Public Works and Government Services Act
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?

Some hon. members

Nay.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Department of Public Works and Government Services Act
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NDP

Denise Savoie

New Democratic Party

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie)

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, April 21, just before the time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Department of Public Works and Government Services Act
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A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.


BQ

Carole Lavallée

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Carole Lavallée (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, BQ)

Madam Speaker, adjournment proceedings allow for additional information to be given and for us to receive better answers than those given during question period. We know that it is called question period and not answer period.

My question from March 16 was basically about CD sales, artists' royalties and the fact that the Minister of Industry bragged to the CBC about having downloaded 10,000 songs onto his iPod. He said iPod, not MP3. It seems his MP3 is an iPod. He was bragging publicly about his 10,000 songs, and he was proud. I am also proud of him because downloading 10,000 songs is fine, but they have to be paid for. The artists who made them have to be paid. We have to pay the creators. We cannot benefit from digital technology that way, walking around with 10,000 songs in your pocket and not paying the artists.

Music is not free. The creators must be paid for their work. That is what we saw earlier, during the vote on providing a levy to artists from the sale of MP3 players and iPods. This motion was passed by a vote of 156 to 147. It is likely that the 156 members who voted for the motion were from this side, while the 147 who voted against it were from across the way. It is the Conservative Party that does not want to pay for music. They do not want creators to be paid for the work they do.

Yet musicians do remarkable work. They work hard, and often alone. We cannot imagine how hard young musicians in an entry-level band must work. They have to have other jobs, because they do not earn much money from the music they make. To become a good musician, it takes years of study. Musicians have to start at a young age, often 7, 8 or 10. After years of studying, they find a job in a corner store or grocery store, and every night they sit alone for hours on end, composing music and writing songs on their computer or by hand. Then they get together with their bandmates once a week to rehearse. They practice every day for months and years. Sooner or later, they get a gig: a stage is available, but they have to pay for it. So they pay for it. Once again, they do not make any money. Before they have even made their first CD, imagine the years of hard work, the years of practice, the sleepless nights, because it is also a passion, and all the time they spend practising their songs. When we have a CD in our hands, we cannot imagine the hours of work that went into it, but it does take a long time.

Some people think it is free. The Minister of Industry thinks it is free. He should be ashamed. He was unable to say whether he had downloaded those tracks legally. My question here in the House is this: did he download those 10,000 songs legally or not?

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Sub-subtopic:   Telecommunications
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CPC

Dean Del Mastro

Conservative

Mr. Dean Del Mastro (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, CPC)

Madam Speaker, the comments made by the member are borderline. They are ridiculous and certainly inflammatory. The member alleges that the Minister of Industry has illegally downloaded songs on to his iPod with absolutely no evidence. I would guarantee the minister has paid for the music on his iPod, because he is a pretty upstanding guy and he understands these things.

This is nothing but a smoke show. Where was this passion for artists when we brought in Bill C-61 in the last Parliament for copyright? If the same members who stood tonight in favour of the iPod tax or the tax on digital memory would have stood up for copyright to protect the artists that the member now claims to support, we would have had a regime to protect them, to protect intellectual property and to protect cultural creations like music. However, the member did not do that, neither did her party and neither did the other opposition parties. They used it as a wedge issue.

Now she stands up and says that she is here to support artists. She is not here to support artists. She voted in favour of a tax. All the opposition parties voted this evening in favour of a tax, a tax on digital memory, a tax on iPods, a tax on PDAs, a tax on anything that stores digital memory.

Here is some news for the people at home. If people have devices that not only store photos, but also store music, 100% of the opposition members think those people should pay a tax for the music, even if they bought it for photos. However, that is their solution because they like taxes. They think they can wave a wand over things and make money appear, and it does not harm anyone. We could take millions and millions of dollars from Canadian consumers, create a great fund to hand out and take credit for, but it would not harm anyone. It is nonsense. When will those members stand up for consumers?

Instead of making outrageous allegations against the Minister of Industry, why does she not talk to the consumers in her riding and find out how much more they think they should have to pay for these devices. What do they think would be fair? It is nonsense and it is ridiculous. She should get in touch with her constituents. I can guarantee her that they do not support an increase in tax on iPods and all forms of digital memory devices.

Let us put it this way. I will give the member the opportunity to apologize for the outrageous allegations she made against the Minister of Industry.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Sub-subtopic:   Telecommunications
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BQ

Carole Lavallée

Bloc Québécois

Mrs. Carole Lavallée

Madam Speaker, I cannot get over the fact that he asked me to apologize.

He does not understand, and he is not familiar with his file. Bill C-61 was never voted on here. If I remember correctly, it was introduced on June 5, 2007, but died on the order paper. It was never debated at all. It did not get past first reading. Nobody talked about it. His government introduced it, but never reintroduced it.

Speaking of copyright, if that bill was so good, he should reintroduce it. We have been waiting years for the government to introduce a copyright bill in the House, but nothing has happened yet.

I will repeat my question. The Minister of Industry was never able to state publicly on CBC that he legally downloaded 10,000 songs. Every time he was asked the question, he started laughing. Did the Minister of Industry download those 10,000 songs legally?

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Sub-subtopic:   Telecommunications
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CPC

Dean Del Mastro

Conservative

Mr. Dean Del Mastro

Madam Speaker, the member had an opportunity to apologize for an outrageous allegation, suggesting that the Minister of Industry has stolen music, but she did not. That is outrageous and I wish she had taken the opportunity to apologize.

In fact, her party did not support Bill C-61 and neither did the other opposition parties. If they had, we would have had a new copyright regime in this Parliament instead of using it as a wedge issue.

With respect to my not understanding the file, I understand consumers. I understand people at home are working hard and paying a lot of money in taxes. I think they pay too much tax, but all the opposition members see is opportunities to tax: here a tax, there a tax, everywhere a tax, tax. I understand that, and I will not be party to a regime that thinks we can tax people as much as it wants and there will not be implications. It is nonsense.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Sub-subtopic:   Telecommunications
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NDP

Denise Savoie

New Democratic Party

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie)

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:25 p.m.)

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Sub-subtopic:   Telecommunications
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April 14, 2010