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View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, I was saying that over $6 billion worth of investments could be delayed, which would have a significant impact on the construction industry, suppliers and workers across Quebec.
That is not all. Another industry has been left out in the cold and is not getting nearly enough attention in the House: the forestry industry. Unfortunately, the Canada—United States—Mexico agreement has not led to resolution of the softwood lumber conflict, far from it. This conflict has been going on for too long. Washington's unfair tariffs on a range of forestry products are at the root of the softwood lumber crisis. Quebec's new forestry regime was developed specifically to address the United States' demands and to ensure that Quebec would not be accused of having illegal subsidies.
We know the softwood lumber crisis is cyclical and has been for at least 20 years. Quebec has suffered the consequences of sanctions that did not necessarily target its industry. Of course we stand united with Canada's industry, but that hurt us, especially in the early 2000s.
Canada prefers the status quo even though U.S. tariffs have led to the closure of several mills. I would note that problems in the forestry industry affect the vitality of many Quebec towns and cities. These problems have had a devastating impact on the economy of Nédélec, a town in Abitibi—Témiscamingue, where I am from.
The forestry industry accounts for nearly 30,000 direct and indirect jobs in Quebec, mostly in the regions, but also in the cities. These businesses invest an enormous amount of money to increase their productivity while lowering their production costs. To manage that, they have to be financially and generously supported by innovative Government of Canada projects. To remain competitive, we must absolutely modernize our plants, and to do that, we will have to think about improving programs, including those delivered by Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions.
I have enough time to talk about supply management. The new NAFTA weakens our agricultural model in Quebec, and the federal government made a massive concession. This saddens me to no end. By 2024, our dairy producers will lose 18% of their domestic market to foreign production. That represents an annual loss of $450 million.
I found out that in my region, producers living through this economic uncertainty have started selling some of their quotas. As far as I am concerned, that is the beginning of the end. This shows how much uncertainty this free trade agreement is creating for our farmers.
As if that were not enough, this agreement will also let Americans have a say on our commercial practices. I find that simply unacceptable. How can Canada allow the Americans to use export penalties to block our trade with other global markets? This will limit the ability of Canadian products to compete with those of other countries.
What can we do? First, the compensation package for the new NAFTA will have to provide for millions of dollars in compensation for the losses suffered by dairy producers as a result of previous bad agreements. I remind members that if these producers were asked to choose between receiving compensation or being fairly rewarded for their work, they would tell you that compensation is not their choice.
Next, we will have to require that the Americans—
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