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Results: 76 - 90 of 444
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I do not know whether this is a translation problem, but I was expecting a very simple answer. It took two minutes and I did not hear the words “I do not know”.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I am truly glad to rise today to speak to this very sad situation. Talking about cars is a joy, but it is unspeakably sad to learn, as we did today, that 3,000 Ontario workers will be losing their jobs. It is appalling.
I said it is a joy because cars are one of humanity's guilty pleasures. I am 55 years old; I was born in 1963. When I was younger, I dreamed of owning a Duster with big tires and side pipes. That was my dream for years. I have been driving a Prius for the past 17 years, and it may not be terribly exciting, but it is the right thing to do. The problem with the Prius is that it is imported, so it does not really support Canadian industry. The Oshawa plant that will be closing its doors has been open since 1930, if memory serves. People have been making cars in that part of the country for a long time.
Which vehicles are made there today? They make the Chevrolet Impala, a small police car. I have had one as a rental car on occasion, and it is pretty nice to drive. Surprisingly, it is relatively good on gas. When the speedometer was showing 110 or 115 kilometres an hour—yes, I drive 15 kilometres over the speed limit—the car used 6.7 litres per 100 kilometres, if I remember correctly. That is pretty good, but that is not the current market trend, as my Conservative colleague said. People want big cars and SUVs. It is too bad, since we need to think about the environment right now, but that is the market trend.
The GM plant manufactures the Impala, the Cadillac XTS and the Equinox. Anyone, including the Prime Minister, can see that those models are on their last legs. Those old models are not very trendy. The Chevrolet Equinox probably still sells well, but it is definitely not the car of the future. Everybody knows that everything is built on platforms. I do not know the name of the platform used to manufacture the Impala and the Cadillac XTS, but it is a platform that has reached the end of its life cycle.
My colleague from Durham talked about the Chevrolet Volt. That car was manufactured in a plant in the United States that also shut down. I do not think that the closure of the American plant is an indication that hybrid vehicles have no future. The reality is that the Chevrolet Volt is built on the Chevrolet Cruze platform. The Chevrolet Volt is a hybrid of the Chevrolet Cruze. It is not the plug-in hybrid technology that is being abandoned, but the look of the Volt. Anyone who knows a little about cars will notice the similarities between the two, particularly with regard to the way the cabin is built. Only the look of the Volt is changing. The car will eventually be back in a different form. Obviously, that is what is intended because it was a great commercial success.
When I bought my first Prius in 2001, everyone laughed at me, even Jacques Duval. Today, he is a great supporter of the Tesla, but at the time, he said that these cars were ridiculous and that they were not going anywhere. Toyota gambled on hybrid vehicles and won. That is why we are proud to know that some Toyota hybrids are built here in Canada. Hybrid cars popularized the idea of driving a vehicle powered by something other than a combustion engine.
The Chevrolet Volt is a commercial success. Quebeckers love that car. The Chevrolet dealership in Rawdon is the top dealership in North America. It is no doubt the General Motors dealership that sells the most cars like the Volt, the Sonic, or perhaps the Sprint, and the Bolt, both by volume and per capita. It gets the lion's share. Many Ontarians buy from that dealership because Quebec offers a lot of incentives for purchasing an electric vehicle. The Volt is a major seller, and I find that reassuring. In my opinion, that model will come back on another platform.
Canada's auto manufacturers always end up with the short end of the stick. Having spoken to workers' groups and representatives of Canadian manufacturers, I can see that companies are fond of describing themselves as international players. They do not want to say that their made-in-Canada cars are better than the others. They do not want to get into regionalization. As members can imagine, this would not be beneficial for them. At the very least, they do not see it as a positive.
We have to do this, at least as much as our trade agreements allow us to. We should be proud of what is manufactured here. We should be promoting the vehicles manufactured by our workers.
Earlier I said that a long time ago, in 2003, Jack Layton pushed for a plan, a vision, to renew Canada's automotive sector.
I understand that Canadian auto workers look down on Japanese vehicles or other vehicles that come from elsewhere. Unfortunately, up until now, the electric vehicle movement was essentially limited to imports.
Our relationship with the auto industry in general is not one of equals. It is the epitome of cynicism. If I look at the notes we had on GM, it would seem that bailing out companies is inevitable. Two days later, the boss gives himself a bonus before closing up shop. In this case, the government gave GM a $14-billion tax break just last week.
In the meantime, we cannot be so self-centred as to ignore reality. GM is facing challenges. According to the numbers I saw and the consultations I have held, the company is very profitable. It is in the process of downsizing. We see it quite often. These companies are posting profits, but in this case it was not enough, because 2,500 jobs are being cut in Oshawa. It is cynical. It is even more so when we consider that it was just given a lovely $14-billion gift. The company got financial assistance when it needed it, and now it is closing its doors.
That said, what I want to focus on is the pride we should take in what we make. In Canada, we manufacture vehicles that may seem a bit outdated, a bit last-generation. However, not many people know that we also make cars like the Toyota Corolla, a top seller with broad appeal. Normally, the plant should not have to close. Of course, the Cruze is a whole different story, because the platform needs to change.
In Canada, we manufacture the Toyota Corolla, the Toyota RAV4, the Lexus RX 350 and the Lexus RX 450H, which is the hybrid model. We also manufacture the RAV4 hybrid. Not many people know that.
Once the car is in the dealer showroom, is there anything preventing us from saying that the car was built in Canada or that it is a modern, environmentally friendly car? I would think that would be a plus, yet nothing is ever said about that.
The last time I went to California, I drove through strawberry country and saw signs saying “America's best strawberries”. Americans are always tooting their own horn. In Canada, we never brag about what we do. I think that is a bit of a shame.
Toyota manufactures its cars here because we have good workers who do an excellent job of assembling cars and who know how to do it. They know very well that they are going to sell those cars to their neighbours, and they want them to be made right. We can be proud of our workers. Unfortunately, I do not know why we are so embarrassed about this.
I want to point out that there are a lot of RAV4 hybrids in the government's fleet. This is a good thing, and I am proud of it.
In addition to those three GM vehicles, we also make the Ford Flex, which, I must admit, will soon be discontinued. This model was quite unique, but it is clearly not a car of the future. The Ford Edge and its equivalent at Lincoln, the MKT, are interesting vehicles, but as far as I know, they will soon be discontinued. We have been making these cars for quite a while, so this is a bit worrisome.
As a politician in Ottawa, I do not find it reassuring to know that we make the Ford Flex, the Lincoln MKT and the Ford Edge. These are old models. We also make the Ford GT, an extremely prestigious car with a short run, but I still think it is worth pointing out that skilled Canadians hands manufactured such a prestigious vehicle.
Before I talk about Chrysler, I need to talk about Honda, which manufactures the popular Civic. Something tells me that this model is not going anywhere. I would be shocked if there were problems at that plant. We also manufacture the Honda CR-V, a much larger, but extremely popular, model. I have no concerns about this plant either, although I cannot say the same about Ford's.
Next, I wanted to talk about Chrysler, for I am not at all reassured, given that in Brampton, a suburb of Toronto, the price of a bungalow keeps going up, not to mention all the rumours going around. I am pretty sure that neither management nor the union would disagree with me on this: the Brampton plant just completely renovated its paint facility. I think tens of million of dollars were invested in it.
That is where the Chrysler 300, the Challenger and the infamous and aptly named Demon are manufactured. I think the Demon has 700 horsepower under the hood, which is about the same as eight Honda Civic engines. It is a beast. These are limited editions, and they can be very exciting and quite beautiful. However, they are relics of transportation prehistory on our planet, since they are powered by engines that produce an appalling level of pollution.
The Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger and Chrysler 300 are three very nice cars that many young men might find exciting, but honestly, we have to admit that their future does not look bright.
Now we come to the model that interests me the most. Yes, I am interested in the Dodge Caravan, but I especially like the Chrysler Pacifica. My colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands mentioned the movie Who Killed the Electric Car. I went to the Windsor and Detroit area and had the chance to see the sites that are interesting to people who are into cars.
First, I saw the first versions of the Pacifica, which is delivered with a rechargeable hybrid engine. It is a regular car for a regular family. I agree that it could be less expensive, and could be better supported, but it is equipped with a rechargeable hybrid system.
That means it is not unreasonable to think that a family living in a Toronto suburb with a Pacifica Hybrid could leave their house, drop off the children at day care and school, go to work, park the car, not plug in, all without using a drop of gas. Then when they go to visit grandma in Muskoka, the engine will start. At the end of the day, the family will fill up the gas tank once every two months. That is not bad as far as I am concerned. It is progress.
Has anyone really ever heard of this vehicle, though? It would appear that even the government has never heard of it, because I have been keeping an eye on it for two years now. There were two vehicles here in front of Parliament for the Canada 150 celebrations. This year, another official vehicle was used for the Canada Day celebrations and it ran on gas. What a bad idea.
There was no shortage of tourists that could have been shown those vehicles and who would have thought to themselves, “It's probably built in Windsor and it's all electric”. People can tell when a car is electric because they do not hear it pull up. It runs clean without exhaust emissions. We will not talk about it though. It is far too great of a Canadian success to actually talk about.
I visit Windsor to see that plant and that truck. People who like cars and who visit Windsor also go across the way to Detroit, Motor City, while they are there. Detroit is home to the headquarters of GM and the big towers that are right across from Windsor. Detroit is also home to the famous plant where the Ford F-150 is built.
I was therefore pleased to learn, even though this still surprises me, that the Ford F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in North America. It outsells the Honda Civic and other brands of pickup trucks.
There is a reason for that, however. A lot of people need a pickup truck, and that is fine. I have a few doubts about my neighbour in Longueuil who has a really big pickup and, as far as I know, does not have to tow a trailer full of tools, a fifth-wheel trailer, or anything like that. Does he really need a truck like that to go to Jean Coutu? I have my doubts. It seems to me that it may not be a very good choice, but overall it is top selling vehicle.
I was delighted to see it at the plant and to see a plant like that one. I have not visited plants in Canada, but I can say that the Ford F-150 plant in Rouge River is a marvel of automation. The employees there work in a lab-like setting with gloves and little mitts. It is a model factory very much inspired by the man who invented the assembly line, Mr. Ford himself. I visited that place, and I was overjoyed to see that the gas tank is made in my riding, in Boucherville, by Spectra Premium Industries.
Obviously, this will have a huge impact on jobs and the economy. Anyway, I took a little detour to go see the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. While there, I saw GM's famous EV1, the electric car that debuted in the 1990s through Saturn. That model was destroyed, put out of commission by the oil industry. That was such a shame, and I have never really forgiven GM for making something so wonderful and then selling out to the oil lobby.
Today, in 2018, the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid is a vehicle that is well suited to the needs of Canadian families. Unfortunately, there is no sense of pride, no Canada-wide incentives, for this vehicle. We also do not have a vision for what we could do to improve Canada's automotive sector.
Unfortunately, the dealers that have these cars do not promote them. They do not want to sell them and would rather sell the regular Caravan minivan, which carries a profit margin of $1,200. The Pacifica does not have such incentives, and the margin is just $200 or $300. They would rather not convince a customer to buy a $50,000 van to earn just $300.
What this means is that I am worried for the Pacifica Hybrid, a vehicle than can be plugged in and that is manufactured in Windsor. This is the most futuristic vehicle ever manufactured in Canada, and I think that if we do not do something, we will lose it. We need to wake up, have some vision and be proud.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, first I would like to thank the member for asking his question in French.
Second, I am touched to know that his father worked in Sainte-Thérèse. Back in the day, Sainte-Thérèse is where they made the four-door Pontiac LeMans, that run-of-the-mill car everyone's mother-in-law drove. It was fine. Eventually, however, front-wheel drive took over and rear-wheel-drive cars fell out of fashion.
What happened next? The Sainte-Thérèse plant manufactured the last of those prehistoric vehicles: the Firebird, the Trans Am and the Camaro. We ended up with a mediocre factory. We always wind up with scraps, leftovers, auto manufacturing flotsam and jetsam. Can we make the next vehicle? Can we invest in a facility that will last 10 years instead of producing cars that will no longer be made a year and a half from now?
The member mentioned electric vehicles. What can we do for the people of Oshawa? When Bombardier announced it would be cutting 2,500 jobs, Montreal's aerospace sector banded together and took action. Can we work together to find places for these people? An entire city is traumatized by this turn of events. Can we stop quarrelling amongst ourselves and work together to find a way to put pressure on GM to retool the factory for the cars of tomorrow, not some old diesel dinosaur?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his question. It is true that there seems to be an interest in alternative vehicles in Quebec. In fact, Quebec has the highest number of electric vehicles per capita in Canada, and I am very proud to say so.
The biggest market in Quebec is the south shore, and more specifically Longueuil. That is why I formed a coalition in Longueuil with my provincial and federal colleagues. We are six elected officials who fight to raise the profile of transport electrification.
No one knows this, but a company called Avestor, which is owned by Hydro-Québec, was building a battery. It was eventually sold, at an astronomical price, to the Bolloré Group, a French company that created a vehicle based on that battery. If I remember correctly, it was designed by Pininfarina, a great car designer, which created a small, four-door car with that battery, which can now be found in 4,600 electric cars in Paris's car sharing program.
Unfortunately, this program is winding down. As in the case of BIXI, there were problems and operating deficits. That said, at the time, it was the biggest test fleet of electric vehicles ever seen. We have every reason to be proud of our prototypes. The battery must have had some great qualities to have spawned such a tremendous project, but ultimately, they moved on to the next generation. The Minister of Science said that he had supported Blue Solutions in the development of its next generation of batteries.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question and for being here. We are having an emergency debate about the closure of the GM plant in Oshawa. My colleague just flew in from Vancouver about an hour and a half ago, and she is here. I congratulate her, and I think that all the workers at the Oshawa plant will thank her.
We are talking about electric vehicles. Electra Meccanica is a Vancouver company that builds great three-wheeled electric vehicles for the commuter market. Their vehicles are used by DHL, an express courier service. Many of these yellow vehicles are on the streets. Electra Meccanica also makes a convertible model, the Tofino, which will be fully electric. These cars are manufactured in Vancouver. We know that there is an interest in the environment and best practices in that region.
I have here the brief submitted by Electric Mobility Canada, which made five recommendations to the federal government. This organization was heavily involved in the consultations requested by the Minister of Transport. However, nothing has happened yet, unfortunately. It is really deplorable because delays on current issues like transport electrification can lead to our automotive industry being perceived as a dinosaur with no vision for the future.
I would like to point out that Toyota manufactures a RAV4 that is completely electric, but it is only sold in California. No one has ever seen it here.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, my colleague is absolutely right. Tonight is about the workers losing their jobs. We want to take emergency measures, such as convincing GM to give rebates or 0% interest on the Equinox and sell the Impala at a lower price. These are last-ditch efforts.
Ideally, we would build a car of the future in Oshawa. Why does the plant not build the next Volt? It is no longer being built in Detroit, and we want it here. We want to build the new Volt here.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, there is a crisis in the media industry, and the Liberals finally decided to take notice yesterday, after tens of thousands of jobs had already been cut. This was a good decision, and I thank them for it, but it is a little late. Our media industry has been gutted, and 92% of the money will not be spent until after the next election.
The Liberals chose to make Canadians foot the bill, yet Google and Facebook, which dominate the online advertising world, are the ones that swallowed up our media's advertising revenue. They are the ones that caused this crisis. The Liberals are not making them pay taxes. What is worse, the Liberals make these companies' services tax deductible, as if they were Canadian companies.
Why does the Liberal Party not demand anything from Facebook, Google and the rest? Are they like firefighters who start fires?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his remarks.
We all know that Conservatives and New Democrats do not always agree. However, one point on which we can agree is that the government's failure to appoint judges is deplorable. Without more judges, delays in the justice system will not get better.
I would like to know if my colleague finds that utterly deplorable. The election is a year away, but we all know that anything the government does between now and then will be motivated solely by a desire to get re-elected.
For the past three years, the government's legislative agenda has been quite sparse. The government has not changed much, and when it does do something people were looking forward to, such as this bill, it does a poor job.
What does the member think of that?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the passion of my colleague opposite. I would want to believe that too, if I were her. I would want to believe what my colleagues told me, what my ministerial colleague told me.
Can she tell me whether she will at least have a chance to look into how little progress the current government has made on its legislative agenda compared with the previous government at the same point in time?
When a bill is suddenly introduced, it is only natural to say that we are going to examine it, but ultimately, many witnesses and experts in the field believe that Bill C-75 does not come close to doing what needs to be done.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank my colleague for his speech. We discussed our positions, which sometimes align, but often do not.
Obviously, I always feel a need to point out how disappointing this government's legislative agenda is. Given all of the serious problems Canada is facing, including those faced by first nations, this bill once again seems insufficient.
In the spring, the Criminal Lawyers' Association said that, sadly, intimate partner violence is one of the recognized legacies of residential schools and the sixties scoop. It believes that creating a reverse onus at the bail stage and increasing the sentence on conviction will likely aggravate the crisis of the overrepresentation of indigenous people in our prisons.
I would like to know what my colleague thinks about that. I think that is a major problem. The government is always talking about reconciliation, but it would be nice if the Liberals would take concrete action to improve this situation, rather than just being satisfied with public relations exercises.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I hear the government talk about being a law and order government when it is clearly a common spin government.
I am not an expert on these matters, but all I can say about this bill is that everyone including the member for Papineau can see that the justice system is clogged up because of these very mandatory minimums.
Why not deal with the bigger problem, which is mandatory minimums? It is as though they called a plumber to fix a leak in the water heater and he is wasting his time fiddling with the taps.
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Louis-Hébert. I often say that I believe him to be a politician with great intentions. However, the question the Conservatives are asking today is quite legitimate. I expect to get a frank and honest answer to the many questions that will be asked.
I have a simple question for my colleague. It is easy to draw parallels between the country's budget and that of the average family in Canada. Unfortunately, statistics can lead us astray. It seems that roughly half of all families in Canada are living paycheque to paycheque. The level of debt is quite high and clearly the government is leading the way on that.
Does my colleague not find it shameful on the government's part to not know when the budget will be balanced again? It is a problem. Maybe they do not want to say because there is an election coming up in a year. Is that not pathetic?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Vaughan—Woodbridge for his speech. He mentioned having children.
I wonder how we can really have such a debate where, once again, the parties blame one another for accumulating the most debt. I was chuckling and wondering who was telling the truth, the Liberals or the Conservatives? However, that is not really the issue. The real issue, as the Conservatives have so clearly articulated, is when we will return to a balanced budget.
I would like to know how my colleague can justify his point of view to his constituents and to his child. They asked you a simple question, so why are you not answering? It is so simple.
I have never heard an informed response on managing public finances or international borrowing rates that justifies the fact that the Liberals cannot give us a specific date. We are not even given an articulate reply.
Would you mind telling me what you would say to a constituent who asks you how many millions of dollars a week you spend to say nothing?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague. I think that the debate is enriched when members make historic references in their speeches. He is always saying hello to his constituents, which I find very amusing, but he is right. I also want to say hello to the people of Longueuil—Saint-Hubert. We are here in Parliament to represent them, to debate and to talk about various topics, and people can watch us on TV. I thank my colleague for making meaningful speeches and reminding us why we are here and why we have these conversations.
Sure, I understand when my Liberal colleague says that these deficits are being used to make investments. I agree, but an investment involves a loan, a payment and a term.
Does my Conservative colleague think that if we were two or three years out from an election, instead of one year out, the Liberals would be more forthcoming about the date? Is it not precisely because an election is coming up that the Liberals are willing to say just about anything in order to make Canadians more cynical?
The Liberals carry a heavy burden because they created very high expectations. There have been many disappointments, and they cannot even tell us when the budget will be balanced.
Does my colleague think that, if we were not one year out from the election, the government would be more transparent about when it expects to return to a balanced budget?
View Pierre Nantel Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Brandon—Souris for his speech. I really liked how he presented the subject, in a very rational, common sense way. That is done all too rarely in this place.
Earlier a Liberal member said that business owners were happy that the economy has recovered. Of course my local business owner is going to be very happy with me if I max out my credit card to invest in his or her business.
I would like to know what my colleague thinks of the message being sent to Canadians, since everyone knows that Canada's debt is huge. I read recently that nearly half of all households are living paycheque to paycheque and do not have substantial savings.
Would my colleague agree that this is not only a broken promise—and certainly not the first—but also a bad message to be sending on financial management?
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