Alistair spoke about Agriculture and Agri-Food, International Trade, and Impact Assessment Act in the House
June 6th, 2018 - 12:05am
Madam Speaker, I appreciate the parliamentary secretary's words. However, I go back to the points I raised in my speech: the fact that Premier Horgan's letter to the Prime Minister mentioned that there is confusion on how to access the softwood lumber action plan and that there is a concern that the nature of the programs will not offer support in time to shield against the impact of tariffs. I also have correspondence saying that the current structure is of no help to Catalyst.
Again, how is the parliamentary secretary's government going to address these specific concerns so that Catalyst can access these programs while we wait for a final determination in August of this year?
Madam Speaker, I still think the hon. member for Lakeland should be the hon. member for Vegreville, given her passionate defence of her community.
We were willing to give this bill a chance. We did vote in favour of it at second reading. However, every single one of our amendments at committee was rejected by the Liberals, and the Liberals are trying to ram this bill through as quickly as possible. Given that, I would like the member to comment on this as a pattern with the Liberal government.
The Liberals are masters of the long promise when it comes to justice reform, electoral reform, and now the environmental review process, yet it all seems to be done at the last minute in a very rushed process. I would like to hear the member's comments on that in the scope of this bill and whether or not it is following that exact same pattern.
Impact Assesment Act:
Madam Speaker, last week the parliamentary secretary, and indeed the entire Liberal government, voted to support Bill C-262, which would make sure that all the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The member for Edmonton Strathcona has brought forward some report stage amendments to the bill, which seek to do just that.
In the context of Bill C-262 and the member's support for what that bill aims to do, will the Liberal government be consistent and, this week, vote in support of those amendments, which seek to do what the member voted for just last week?
Mr. Speaker, I want to ask my Conservative colleague a question specifically in the context of the vote we had last week on Bill C-262. I know that the Conservatives did not vote for it, but the important fact is that the Liberals did.
My colleague, the member for Edmonton Strathcona, moved a series of amendments at report stage that seek to bring Bill C-69 in harmony with what the Liberals supported last week on Bill C-262. Does the member have a reasonable expectation that the Liberals would at least remain consistent and support those amendments from the member for Edmonton Strathcona, or are we going to see a flip-flop, where they say one thing and do something completely opposite?
Mr. Speaker, one of the gaps in Bill C-69 is that it only requires a consideration of indigenous knowledge in going ahead with these assessments.
The member for Edmonton Strathcona has moved some report stage amendments, specifically Motions Nos. 4, 7, 9, 10, 12, and 13, which seek to bring this bill in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I checked the vote last week on May 30, and the member for Hastings—Lennox and Addington did vote in support of Bill C-262, which seeks to bring Canadian laws in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Will the member be consistent with his vote last week and vote in support of these amendments when they come before the House?
Mr. Speaker, the member for Pontiac mentioned that the committee had agreed to make an amendment to Bill C-69 with regards to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. It amended the preamble, but that preamble is non-binding, so it was a meaningless gesture by the government.
I will bring to the attention of all members that the member for Edmonton Strathcona has brought forward report stage amendments, notably, Motions Nos. 4, 7, 9, 10, 12, and 13. Given that the member across the way voted last week in support of Bill C-262, which strives to bring the laws of Canada into harmony with UNDRIP, will he be consistent this week and support those amendments and live up to what he did last week?
Mr. Speaker, my fellow vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food went through some of the trials and tribulations that the opposition parties had with the bill at committee. The member for Edmonton Strathcona moved many amendments. There was a situation where the amendment deadline passed before the committee could receive all the submissions. It was a really rushed process for such a very important bill. The theme of the bill is very important.
According to the way the Liberals voted last week, does the member think they will be consistent on Bill C-262 and support the report stage amendments that incorporated UNDRIP provisions into the bill?
Agriculture and Agri-Food:
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals continually claim that they fully support our supply managed sectors, but Canadians are having a hard time believing it.
First, the Liberals signed CETA, which created a breach. Then they signed the CPTPP, which threatens to blow the sector wide open, and on Sunday the Prime Minister said he is flexible to making concessions in these sectors as a part of NAFTA renegotiations. Which is it, because they cannot have it both ways? When will the Liberals stop compromising our supply managed system and actually support Canadian farmers?
Madam Speaker, I rise today to follow up on a question I raised in the House of Commons on February 26 of this year. I also had a follow-up question on March 19. The question has to do with the unfair duties and tariffs that have been imposed on the Catalyst Paper Corporation and some pulp and paper operations across Canada. This has affected my particular riding quite severely because of the fact that we have a large mill in the Crofton area, which is a great small community in my riding of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford.
When I raised this issue on February 26, I noted the fact that earlier in the year, on January 8, the Department of Commerce in the United States had imposed a 6.09% countervailing duty deposit on exports of uncoated groundwood paper products. This was followed up in March by a 22.16% anti-dumping duty deposit on the company's exports of the same product.
When we add both of those up, Catalyst simply cannot survive with those duties, nor can any company. Indeed, it is putting many American consumers at risk, because the cost of newsprint has now skyrocketed. The U.S. cannot meet its own demand.
If these duties remain, the Crofton mill stands to lose hundreds of good-paying, union jobs, and the benefits of the resource industry that forms the bedrock of regional economies.
I will outline a few points on what Catalyst means to my local community of Crofton.
Catalyst Paper Corporation is BC Hydro's largest consumer. If that company were to fold or have any of its operations shut down, it would be a huge loss to provincial revenues in BC Hydro. Catalyst is also a big consumer of waste fibre from local saw mills. In fact, many saw mills depend on Catalyst for a source of revenue, but also as a place where their “waste” can be turned into a value-added product.
The Catalyst mill employs about 570 people, and it pays millions of dollars in municipal taxes to the district of North Cowichan.
This mill that produces about 350,000 tonnes of newsprint each year. It is quite incredible in what it does.
Both by the company and Premier John Horgan in British Columbia have raised concerns about the softwood lumber action plan. In fact, Premier Horgan wrote to the Prime Minister last month. He noted that there was confusion on how to access the program. There was concern that the nature of the programs did not offer support in time to shield against the impact of tariffs. In fact, when I was speaking directly with the leadership of Catalyst, it told me that the current softwood lumber agreement aid package was of “no value” to it.
I go back to the question I raised in February and again in March. What specifically is the government doing with these onerous and unfair tariffs?
I would like to have specifics that I can take back to not only the company, but also to the many constituents who depend on this mill. We really want to know that Canada is standing up for this mill and is doing everything it can. I hope the parliamentary secretary can spell that out for me tonight.