IN THE HOUSE ~ Canada-EFTA agreement (Bill C-2) and its impact on Canada's shipbuilding industry

Speaker : Mr. Julian
Context : Questions and Comments

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, there is no clear illustration of just how out of touch Conservatives and Liberals are than that exchange we just had between two members. I like very much the standing committee chair for international trade, but how could they be more out of touch with what is happening across this country? At a time when we are hemorrhaging jobs, hundreds of thousands of lost jobs, the committee chair did not mention that every single witness before the Standing Committee on International Trade who actually came from the shipbuilding industry said “this is going to kill our industry, we're going to lose thousands of jobs”.

Yet with complete complacency, just like they did with softwood lumber killing that industry, we have Conservatives and Liberals combining to say “we don't care, we're all right, so we're going to just close shipyards right across the country”.

I am saying to the public watching this morning, particularly shipyard workers in Halifax, Marystown, Newfoundland, Lévis, Quebec, the Washington shipyards in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo, B.C., every single witness said that this is going to kill our shipbuilding industry.

We have had a lot of lip service paid to fair trade. The reality is what countries are doing now around the world is protecting key industries. The Jones Act in the United States and its fair trade policies is one very good example. Americans built on their shipbuilding industry and Conservative and Liberals in this House are moving to kill it.

I would like to ask the hon. member, who I like and respect as a person, but quite frankly think he is completely out to lunch when it comes to economic policies, how he reacts to Alfred Comeau from Halifax who said “It's a shame that the Liberal Party of Canada feels that it has to remain a puppet of the Conservative government in supporting another bad free trade deal for Canada” and he signs his name with another--

_________________________________________________________________

Speaker : Mr. Julian
Context : Debate

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, this is an extremely important debate. That is why the NDP is following through, as we have at each level of the debate, to ensure that the voices of shipyard workers from coast to coast are actually heard in this debate.

As members well know, there is an Ottawa bubble that is incredibly strong for new members of Parliament, the Conservatives, Liberals, even Bloc members. They come here and they simply forget about the interests of their constituents. It happens time and time again. We see these with trade agreements that sell out Canadians and sell out Canadian jobs.

Essentially we have Conservative and Liberal MPs who only listen to corporate CEOs, even as those corporate CEOs are moving jobs offshore to other countries, to the third world where they can pay miserable wages and then sell their goods back in Canada. The result has been a hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs over the last few years, hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs lost, and still the government persists in bringing forward sellout agreements, agreements that have not been negotiated with any strength, that have not been negotiated with the interests of the country in mind, but are simply agreements that sell out various sectors of the Canadian economy in the hope that somehow, magically, through George Bush-style free trade agreements, there will be economic benefits.

The reality, which Statistics Canada tells us very clearly, is that that approach has not worked. Over the last 20 years, for about three-quarters of Canadian families, their real income has actually gone down and many of them are listening today. They have seen how disastrous right-wing economic policies, including George Bush-style free trade agreements, have been for the country. They are earning less now than they were 20 years ago. If that is not a silent economic crisis, I do not know what is.

The whole basis that somehow throwing these agreements out and selling out various sectors creates jobs in Canada simply does not work and simply does not hold up. It is very clear. When the bottom line of these agreements and the whole lack of industrial strategies in a whole variety of sectors does not work, one would think the government would think twice, but no, from Liberals to Conservatives, it is just the same old thing.

Perhaps that is why the NDP representation in this House over the last few years has tripled. It is because people are saying, “No, it does not work in our community. We are tired of working for minimum wage jobs. We are tired of seeing our manufacturing facilities close down”.

We saw that with the softwood sellout, which now the Liberals and Bloc Québécois members regret supporting. They are trying to distance themselves as the penalties now start coming into play, with $68 million last week and probably $400 million that softwood communities and small softwood companies, the ones that have survived, will have to pay when the next decision comes down.

It is absolutely absurd and now the opposition parties that helped the Conservatives drive the getaway car in the softwood sellout are trying to pretend that they were not in the car. Canadians are not fooled by that.

Now we have an agreement coming forward that every single representative, whether a worker's representative or an owner's representative, representing shipbuilding across this country from coast to coast, has said will kill our shipbuilding industry. It has been unanimous. We are not talking about some difference of opinion. We are talking about unanimous recommendations to carve out shipbuilding from the agreement, yet not a single Conservative MP has stood up for shipbuilding. Even though in many cases they represent shipbuilding workers in their ridings, not a single Liberal MP has stood up for shipbuilding. The Bloc Québécois, as I mentioned in French just a few minutes ago, despite being pressed by shipyard workers in Lévis, Quebec, is refusing to stand up for shipyard workers.

Only one party in this Parliament is standing up for shipyard workers and that is the NDP. That is because we have our own shipbuilding critic, the member of Parliament for Sackville—Eastern Shore. We have a new member of Parliament for Welland who represents the shipbuilding workers there and who is doing a terrific job as well.

_________________________________________________________________

Speaker : Mr. Julian
Context : Questions and Comments

M. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NPD): Monsieur le Président, je suis profondément déçu. Le Bloc est arrivé pour transformer Ottawa et c'est plutôt Ottawa qui a transformé le Bloc québécois qui revient avec les mêmes vieilles politiques libre-échangistes, dans le style de George Bush ou que le Parti conservateur ou le Parti libéral. C'est exactement la même chose, en dépit du fait que les travailleurs du Québec leur demandent de changer leur politique.

Maintenant, le Syndicat des travailleurs du chantier naval de Lauzon dit très clairement: "Nous représentons les travailleurs syndiqués CSN travaillant au chantier naval de Lévis. Nous nous joignons aux travailleurs des chantiers canadiens pour vous donner notre appui dans la démarche qui a pour but de faire exclure les chantiers canadiens de l'Accord de libre-échange entre le Canada et l'Association européenne de libre-échange."

C'est très clair. Les travailleurs et les travailleuses du Québec disent au Bloc qu'il fait fausse route, qu'il est en train de faire une erreur. Il suit les mêmes vieilles politiques libre-échangistes qui existent maintenant surtout au Canada. Aux États-Unis, ils ont changé cela pour une approche de commerce équitable. Ici, au Canada, on est pris avec les vieux partis qui tiennent de vieux discours, et le Bloc québécois tombent dans ces vieux discours.

Maintenant, il n'y a qu'une seule question que je peux poser. Le Bloc semble en vouloir aux gens de la région métropolitaine de Québec, aux travailleurs de Lévis. Les travailleurs de la région métropolitaine de Québec demandent au Bloc québécois de dire non à cette entente, d'en enlever les chantiers maritimes. Est-ce que c'est parce que le Bloc québécois en veut toujours à Québec, parce qu'il veut punir la région métropolitaine de Québec, qu'il veut punir les travailleurs et les travailleuses de la région de Québec et le chantier naval de Lauzon qui n'ont pas voté du bon bord, qui n'ont pas voté pour le Bloc au cours des dernières élections? C'est la seule...

_________________________________________________________________

Speaker : Mr. Julian
Context : Questions and Comments

M. Peter Julian: Monsieur le Président, j'aime personnellement le député, mais il fait faire fausse route à l'ensemble de la population québécoise.

Plus de la moitié des Québécois et des Québécoises veulent une approche de commerce équitable. C'est un sentiment vécu par la majorité des gens du Québec. Mais là, le Bloc québécois s'allie avec le Parti conservateur et le Parti libéral — les vieilles affaires de John McCain, de George W. Bush. Cette idée qu'on ne peut pas défendre certaines industries stratégiques est absurde.

Les travailleurs et les travailleuses du chantier maritime de Lévis et du chantier naval de Lauzon demandent au Bloc québécois de voter en faveur de l'amendement du NPD afin d'enlever effectivement la construction navale. Les États-Unis font cela de façon systématique. Avec leur Loi Jones, ils ont effectivement mis de côté l'industrie navale et les chantiers maritimes pour s'assurer que cette industrie est pleinement capable de contribuer à l'économie.

Le NPD est le seul parti en cette Chambre à dire actuellement que les chantiers maritimes devraient être soutenus et qu'on devrait effectivement soustraire de cette entente les chantiers maritimes. Il faut le dire, c'est la seule façon de forcer ce gouvernement à entreprendre une véritable politique maritime.

Pourquoi le Bloc appuie une entente pour la construction navale, quand le NPD offre la solution justement pour établir cette politique maritime? Il ne faut pas le cacher et dire que nous créerons éventuellement quelque chose. Cette entente tue la construction navale. Ce sont les mots qui viennent justement des travailleurs et des travailleuses des chantiers maritimes à travers le Canada, incluant les travailleurs et les travailleuses du chantier naval de Lauzon.

Alors, la direction est très claire, pourquoi est-ce seulement le NPD qui écoute ces travailleurs et ces travailleuses?

_________________________________________________________________

Speaker : Mr. Julian
Context : Debate

We represent our constituents. We are standing up for shipbuilding workers. It is not as if the members can pretend they have not heard. Hundreds and hundreds of letters have been pouring in, especially to Liberal MP offices telling them to support the NDP's amendment for the carve out. Hundreds of them. There are more coming in as we speak. There are so many that fax machines have been having difficulty keeping up. The letters say, unanimously, “Support the carve out”.

I read one of the many letters received into the record earlier and I will do it again. It said: "One of the most surprising things to me as a shipyard worker is that all stakeholders in the industry, including owners, operators and unions from coast to coast have emphasized the need for this support on a carve out during in the many committee meetings that were held on the use of free trade talks. It is a shame that the Liberal Party of Canada feels that it has to remain a puppet of the Conservative government in supporting another bad free trade deal for Canada."

These letters are pouring in. They are heartfelt. The shipyard workers are saying that Canada has, by far, the world's longest coastline, and Canada has a proud shipbuilding tradition. In fact at one point just a few decades ago we had the fourth-largest navy on the entire planet. Shipbuilding yards were churning out ships in Vancouver. We had ships coming out every week. We had shipbuilding jobs, tens of thousands of shipbuilding jobs.

The reason why that industry is now on its deathbed is because of a completely irresponsible approach by the former Liberal government, continued by the Conservative government, and now we have a coffin that is being presented in the middle of the House of Commons by the Conservative government, Bill C-2, saying we are going to kill it, we are going to finish off our shipbuilding sector.

Liberals and Bloc members say “Oh, that is okay. Sure. I am alright. I am an MP. I have my job. I do not care about workers in this country”.

What are they basing their vote on? There is some sort of airy-fairy theory that somehow Canada will be advantaged. There has been absolutely no economic impact analysis of this agreement. Not one Liberal MP, not one Conservative MP, not one Bloc Québécois MP has actually said “Maybe we need to know, actually, how many jobs we are going to lose from this”.

It is absurd that that Ottawa bubble corrupts each and every MP who comes from other parties. They seem incapable of standing up for Canada and standing up for Canadians jobs once they get elected to Parliament. It is appalling. They cannot say that they did not know. Those letters are coming in,and there are letters that the NDP has read into the record, letters that have come from the B.C. marine workers, (unclear) Shipyards, the Halifax Shipyards. It is pretty conclusive.

What happens next? Well, we are now starting debate on third riding. In a few moments I will offering a motion that will carve out shipbuilding from this agreement.

What we are saying is that essentially, over the next two weeks, those shipbuilding workers who are listening in today, those shipbuilding workers who have been sending their letters to Liberal MPs and those shipbuilding workers in Quebec who have been indicating to the Bloc Québécois that they should be voting for this carve-out will get another opportunity.

Over the next week, over this coming week, they need to let their voices be heard. They need to make sure that those MPs who are so willing to sell out our shipbuilding industry for some vague advantage that might come, although there is no economic analysis so they cannot really pinpoint anything but maybe there is some advantage, those MPs will actually be forced to make a choice.

They need to know that if they are voting to sell out shipbuilding that essentially what they are doing is making sure they do not come back to the next Parliament. It needs to be that clear.

We have precedents for that. We can recall the softwood sell-out, supported by the Bloc and the Liberals. Many of those Liberal MPs who voted for the softwood lumber agreement, particularly in northern Ontario and northern Manitoba, are no longer here. People in northern Ontario, people in north Manitoba said “No, if you are not going to represent us, we are not going to return you to Parliament”. Those Liberal MPs are no longer here.

_________________________________________________________________

Speaker : Mr. Julian
Context : Debate

With that very clear point, I know the hundreds of shipyard workers who have been writing to members of Parliament and thousands of other shipyard workers across the country will be impacted by this agreement, unless we get the carve-out that the NDP is proposing. We ask the shipyard workers to write in.

I will complete my speech by moving the following amendment. I move:
Amendment

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “Bill C-2, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the States of the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), the Agreement on Agriculture between Canada the Republic of Iceland, the Agreement on Agriculture between Canada and the Kingdom of Norway and the Agreement on Agriculture between Canada and the Swiss Confederation, be not now read a third time but be referred back to the Standing Committee on International Trade for the purpose of reconsidering clause 33 with a view to re-examining the phase out of shipbuilding protections.

________________________________________________________________

Speaker : Mr. Julian
Context : Questions and Comments

Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore who has been the foremost advocate for shipbuilding workers across the country and for having a national shipbuilding strategy here in Canada. He has done real honour in the House by his actions.

It is the workers and owners who have told us time and time again in committee, every single representative and witness representing the shipbuilding industry said, “This will kill us”. Every single one said it. Yet Liberals, Conservatives and Bloc members said, “To hell with all of them, we don't care. We have some airy-fairy approach to George Bush style free trade and it has to work even though there are no economic impact statements at all to justify this. We just figure somehow Canada is going to come out ahead”. That is just not good enough for the hard-working shipbuilding workers across this country from coast to coast.

Every other country does this. As the member mentioned, the Jones Act protects the United States' shipbuilding industry so that it can continue to build a very viable one. This one kills the shipbuilding industry with 1,000 cuts instantly. As soon as it is approved, it shuts off certain sectors from Canadians being able to build ships and that continues until the inexorable end of our shipbuilding industry.

The member for Sackville—Eastern Shore asked a very intelligent question. The reality is every member of the House should be standing up to vote for this NDP amendment.

_________________________________________________________________

Speaker : Mr. Julian
Context : Debate

Les gens de Lévis, les travailleurs du chantier naval de Lauzon doivent dire effectivement au Bloc québécois qu'il est inacceptable que le Bloc pénalise la ville de Québec parce que — j'imagine — elle n'a pas voté du bon bord. Il faut dire que cette entente de vendus de la construction navale est inacceptable. Ces travailleurs et ces travailleuses, qui ont été si clairs, doivent être encore plus clairs parce que le Bloc ne semble pas comprendre que cette entente de vendus est encore pire que l'entente de vendus du bois d'oeuvre qui a coûté des milliers d'emplois aux travailleurs et aux travailleuses québécois. Ces derniers ont perdu leur emploi parce que le Bloc, au lieu de défendre les intérêts du Québec, a juste décidé d'y aller avec les vieilles politiques libre-échangistes à la George Bush, dans le style conservateur ou libéral. Les bloquistes ont refusé de défendre les intérêts du Québec, alors que ses travailleurs et ses travailleuses devraient être entendus.
Transcription in progress / Transcription en marche

Le Bloc québécois dit qu'il va défendre les intérêts du Québec, sauf dans le cas de la construction navale. Là il est prêt à vendre les intérêts des travailleurs parce qu'il pense que, éventuellement, il y aura un avantage pour le Québec. Or le Bloc québécois n'a rien de tangible à présenter parce qu'il n'y a jamais eu d'étude d'impact. Alors le Bloc ne peut rien démontrer de ce qui fait contrepoids à ce qu'il est en train de vendre.

_________________________________________________________________

Speaker : Mr. Julian
Context : Debate

The Liberal MP from Welland, who was a flamboyant free trader on the George Bush model, is no longer here and he has been replaced by a dedicated social democrat who is standing up for the workers in the riding of Welland.

Across this country more and more Canadians are saying we do not want these old speeches we have been hearing for 20 years that eventually something will happen, eventually our quality of life will improve, eventually we will get higher incomes, while all the money continues to be concentrated in a few people's hands. Corporate CEOs and corporate lawyers are making more money than ever. In fact the wealthiest Canadians now take most of Canada's income. Middle-class families, working-class families have lost ground. Their real incomes have gone down even the hours worked have increased substantially, but the policies that have been adopted by Liberal and Conservative governments essentially have put the focus on the wealthiest of Canadians to the exclusion of everyone else.

Increasingly Canadians are waking up to that fact. So this is a call out for shipbuilding workers in Victoria, British Columbia and Nanaimo, B.C. with that proud tradition that I mentioned in Vancouver, British Columbia in the Washington yards. They need to contact their Liberal MPs and telling Conservative MPs that this sellout is completely unacceptable. Over the next week they need to make their voices heard.

Shipbuilding workers in southern Ontario in the Welland yards need to, unfortunately they have a terrific MP, but they need to make their voices heard as well.

Les gens de Lévis, les travailleurs du chantier naval de Lauzon doivent dire effectivement au Bloc québécois qu'il est inacceptable que le Bloc pénalise la ville de Québec parce que — j'imagine — elle n'a pas voté du bon bord. Il faut dire que cette entente de vendus de la construction navale est inacceptable. Ces travailleurs et ces travailleuses, qui ont été si clairs, doivent être encore plus clairs parce que le Bloc ne semble pas comprendre que cette entente de vendus est encore pire que l'entente de vendus du bois d'oeuvre qui a coûté des milliers d'emplois aux travailleurs et aux travailleuses québécois. Ces derniers ont perdu leur emploi parce que le Bloc, au lieu de défendre les intérêts du Québec, a juste décidé d'y aller avec les vieilles politiques libre-échangistes à la George Bush, dans le style conservateur ou libéral. Les bloquistes ont refusé de défendre les intérêts du Québec, alors que ses travailleurs et ses travailleuses devraient être entendus.

The shipbuilding workers in Nova Scotia have sent in hundreds of letters and they cannot be more clear, but they need to phone those MPs in Halifax West, in Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, who are refusing to stand up for their own constituents. The shipyard workers in Marystown, Newfoundland and Labrador who have a very good member in the MP for St. John's East, but all of the other Newfoundland and Labrador MPs are trying to vote for an agreement that kills the jobs in Marystown. That is what we have heard from shipyard workers across the country and over the next week because we are not going to be in session. They need to let their MPs know that this is unacceptable and that they must stand up for Canadian jobs and stand up for their community.

That is the reality that we face. A House where one party is defending Canadian jobs and standing up for Canada, and three parties who are selling us out. They are not even selling us out with anything tangible to give us. No economic impact statement, nothing that actually says what advantages are here. It is symbolic they say. I am sorry, but the shipyard workers of Canada need more than symbolism. They need jobs. They need a maritime policy that actually creates more jobs. They do not need an agreement that, as shipyard workers have so clearly said to the Parliament of Canada, kills their industry.

The Conservatives say in 30 years we will be investing more money. Well, in 30 years there will not be any shipyards left. The Liberals say some day they will be in government and will put a policy in place. Well, there will not be any shipyards left.
Le Bloc québécois dit qu'il va défendre les intérêts du Québec, sauf dans le cas de la construction navale. Là il est prêt à vendre les intérêts des travailleurs parce qu'il pense que, éventuellement, il y aura un avantage pour le Québec. Or le Bloc québécois n'a rien de tangible à présenter parce qu'il n'y a jamais eu d'étude d'impact. Alors le Bloc ne peut rien démontrer de ce qui fait contrepoids à ce qu'il est en train de vendre.

_________________________________________________________________

Speaker : Mr. Julian
Context : Questions and Comments

Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Speaker, the member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek has been a strong advocate for Canadian workers and Canadian jobs. I wish we had more members like him in the House. We have 37 members like him, but we need to have 137 so that these kinds of sellouts actually stop. We are working on it. The number of strong representation for workers has tripled in the House over the past few years. If it triples again, we will not see any more of these sellouts.
That is an important step in Canadian Parliament. We stop the Ottawa bubble and actually start thinking about people on the Main Streets across this country rather than just corporate CEOs and bankers, which is what Liberals and Conservatives seem to love. They love giving money to bankers and corporate CEOs. They do not seem to think very often about the hardworking ordinary Canadians who pay their taxes and actually pay their salaries.

The question was: Was this raised? It was raised in committee repeatedly by every single representative from the shipbuilding industry: owners, workers and every single one. The member is quite right to point this out. We have Liberals and Conservatives not even bothering to listen. They do not even bother to listen to the impact of their decisions. They did not even want to read the bill. They just wanted to push it right through.

In fact, Liberals moved to cut off witnesses. We had Liberals and Conservatives saying that they did not really want to hear from shipbuilding representatives. They did not really care about that. Somebody said that there were going to be some benefits in this deal and even though there was no economic analysis whatsoever they were just going to pass it through, throw it on the House of Commons and see what happens.

That worked really well for the softwood sellout, did it not? Thousands upon thousands of jobs lost because members in the House did not do their job. We told them what the impact would be: Hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, softwood communities devastated, mill closures and the money going down to the United States. What did they do? They voted it through. We are giving them a last chance to do the right thing.

_________________________________________________________________

Speaker : Mr. Julian
Context : Questions and Comments

Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question from my colleague for Elmwood—Transcona. They are stuck in the past. They are dinosaurs on trade policy. The rest of the world is moving to fair trade and we are seeing a fundamental change because the old George Bush-style free trade policy simply did not work.

We have fair trade now in place in Washington. The Barack Obama administration was elected on that basis, yet here, the last relics of George Bush-style free trade are still in place in the House of Commons. Canadians need to know that we have these relics. They are trade illiterates. They are folks who just take whatever is given to them on free trade without checking facts, without checking what has actually happened to middle-class family incomes or without checking what the impacts are of each and every one of these agreements that Liberals and Conservatives love to sign but do not seem to want to read.

I think that is why we need to look at best practices. In the case of the member for Elmwood—Transcona, he asks a very valid question. The U.S. has a viable and vibrant shipbuilding sector because, under the Jones Act, they exempt shipbuilding from international trade agreements. That is a best practice that has led to thousands of new shipbuilding jobs in the United States. The NDP is simply saying that we want to adopt that best practice here and carve shipbuilding out of this agreement

_________________________________________________________________

Speaker : Mr. Julian
Context : Questions and Comments

Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Speaker, we know what will happen. They will lose their jobs. And their families will lose their breadwinners.
This is why we are saying, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the country at large, that this is the time when shipyard workers need to speak out. Those hundreds of letters have had some impact--