IN THE HOUSE ~ Speaking out for public hearings on Bill C-24, Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006

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

Mr. Speaker, we found out yesterday that the Liberals on the international trade committee moved to kill softwood hearings that were scheduled in northern Quebec, in the Saguenay, and in Thunder Bay in northern Ontario, which is the epicentre of what will befall this industry if the Conservatives succeed in pushing through this bungled legislation.

Also, in British Columbia they did the same. In British Columbia in particular we know that half of that $1 billion giveaway is from British Columbians. British Columbia communities are being forced by the Conservative government to give up half a billion dollars in illegally taken tariffs. That is B.C.'s money.

The Conservatives, under the direction of the international trade minister, who has no opportunity of being elected even as a dog catcher in his riding of Vancouver Kingsway because he is so detested for his betrayal of his constituents, have abandoned British Columbia. Other Conservatives from British Columbia are simply following along. It is pretty clear that no Conservatives will be elected west of the Rockies in the next election.

What I cannot understand is why the Liberals would move to kill hearings in northern Ontario when there are supposedly Liberal members who supposedly represent northern Ontario. Twenty per cent of the mills will close and 20% of jobs will be lost in northern Ontario as a result of this deal. This information comes from testimony we heard at committee this summer, yet the Liberals have moved to kill the hearings. This is absolutely despicable.

My question is quite simple. Why did the Liberals kill hearings that would have allowed people in northern Ontario, British Columbia and the Saguenay in Quebec the opportunity to voice their concerns about this sellout, this bad deal?

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Twenty-four years to be precise.