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

39TH PARLIAMENT, 1ST SESSION
Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her very well thought out presentation on the softwood sellout. She is part of an NDP caucus that is the only caucus actively opposing this sellout and all the negative repercussions to the softwood industry and the softwood communities across the country.

I would like to ask the member a question about what just transpired at the international trade committee, where the three other parties from the other sides of the House refused to hold hearings to actually get from the softwood communities that are impacted the kind of feedback about how this bill would impact them negatively and what alternatives the government should be looking at.

The Bloc just cancelled the sessions that were supposed to take place in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Saguenay is the area most affected by this bill, yet the Bloc just cancelled the sessions. The Bloc said it was not interested in consulting Quebeckers.

The Liberals just killed the hearings that were going to be held in northern Ontario, when we know that northern Ontario is most impacted by this, and the Conservatives wanted to kill the hearings in British Columbia. We understand why. It is obviously because they are scared that British Columbians might actually find out what is in the deal. The more British Columbians know, the less likely they are to vote Conservative.

Since the NDP is the only party standing up for the majority of Canadians who oppose this sellout, why does the NDP need to carry the ball for the entire country? Why are the other three other parties letting this country down?

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Mr. Speaker, we have heard this morning that the Conservatives and Liberals worked together to kill the trade hearings which would be held in British Columbia.

We certainly understand why the Conservatives are afraid of going into British Columbia on softwood in that we have a trade minister who has absolutely no credibility, who has betrayed his riding in Vancouver Kingsway, and who could not get elected dog catcher in Vancouver Kingsway if he tried. So he has no political future in B.C. though obviously the other Conservative MPs from British Columbia as well are running very scared. They do not want hearings in Vancouver because they know what British Columbians will be telling them.

What I do not understand is why the Liberals would kill the hearings in northern Ontario. It makes absolutely no sense. Northern Ontario along with British Columbia are in the epicentre of the impacts of this bad deal. We are looking at 20% job loss in northern Ontario and the only MPs who seem to be standing up for northern Ontario are ones such as the MP for Sault Ste. Marie and the MP for Timmins-James Bay. But the Liberals moved to kill hearings in Thunder Bay to hear back from northern Ontarians about this softwood sellout and the impact.

I will agree with the parliamentary secretary on one point, the Liberals are all over the map. They say they are opposed to the softwood sellout. They follow the NDP religiously, any time we raise opposition, two days later they will say the same thing, but they voted to kill hearings in northern Ontario.

Absolutely despicable that any party would say that most Canadians are opposed to the sellout, so we do not want them to come into northern Ontario or we do not want the trade committee to go to British Columbia because we do not want to hear from real Canadians.

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The Bloc just cancelled the sessions that were supposed to take place in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, even though everyone knows that this area is the most affected by the bill.
My question is very simple. Why did the Liberals kill the hearings in northern Ontario? Why did they refuse to hear back from northern Ontarians on a sellout that is going to cost them hundreds if not thousands of jobs?