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Results: 1 - 15 of 206
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Taleeb Noormohamed Profile
2022-06-16 22:04 [p.6881]
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Madam Chair, I will be sharing my time with the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
It is an honour to rise in this House on this subject. Many people might be asking why a member of Parliament from Vancouver is speaking about an issue that in many cases is focused on farming and on challenges facing many of our farmers, as we think about global food security and insecurity. It is because food security is not an issue just for rural Canada, but it is for all Canadians.
I want to begin by thanking the member for Battle River—Crowfoot and his family for the work they do in ensuring Canadians have food on their tables. It is an important part of making sure we all appreciate and recognize the efforts that families are making.
In my riding of Vancouver Granville, there are companies like Terramera that are doing innovative work and making it possible for us to do better at using technology to increase agricultural supply and to improve the way in which we grow in an environmentally sustainable way. It is important for us to remember that innovation is a big part of how we are going to be able to get through this together.
However, the reality we face today is that, thanks to Vladimir Putin's illegal war in Ukraine, one of the world's greatest grain suppliers is in crisis. The world is looking to Canada, as we have heard, to step up, and we will.
Our world-class agriculture and agri-food industry is a major driver of food security in over 200 countries around the world. Last year, despite the challenges of the pandemic, our agri-food exports topped $82 billion in 204 countries and territories. We are committed to ensuring farmers have the tools and the supports they need to keep their businesses strong, so they can feed Canadians and the world.
Right now, we all know Canadian farmers are facing higher costs and shortages for their inputs. Whether it is fertilizer or fuel, due to the disruption of supply chains caused by the conflict in Ukraine, farmers are hurting. We know that fertilizer is vital to Canadian farmers to grow their crops and help feed the world. We are working with government and industry partners to ensure that farmers have access to fertilizer for Canada to do its part during this time of global food insecurity.
For starters, we changed the advance payments program, allowing producers to receive 100% of their cash advances immediately when they apply rather than in two instalments. This program will offer farmers low-interest loans to help cover their seeding costs in the spring. We have also extended the deadline for the AgriStability program to help more farmers manage the severe challenges they are facing. This program will help farmers cover significant drops in farm income.
As well as being a leading food producer, Canada is also the world's largest producer and exporter of potash fertilizer. On Monday, our government announced significant support for the new sustainable potash mine to be developed by BHP in Jansen, Saskatchewan. Our support of this innovative project is a long-term investment in global food security and environmental sustainability. We are glad to support these efforts to minimize the carbon footprint of the potash mine and to implement technology to further reduce emissions from mine operations, because this will be the world's greenest potash mine.
Our investment will help to ensure Canada's position as a leading exporter of potash is maintained and will help strengthen food security. The demand for potash will continue to grow due to a need to increase crop yields to feed a growing global population.
To ensure the long-term viability of our agriculture sector, we will keep making record investments to help Canadian farmers build on the great work they are already doing for all of us. We will do whatever it takes to ensure Canadian farmers have access to the resources and tools they need to ensure a stable food supply for Canadians and for the rest of the world.
Throughout the pandemic, we introduced a number of measures to help ensure the supply chain worked as effectively as possible, including support for farmers and food processors to invest in safety protocols to keep their farms and plants running. The COVID-19 crisis reinforced Canada's reputation as a reliable supplier of high-quality agriculture and food products around the world. As a nation that exports much more food than we import, we showed how vital we are in helping our trading partners feed their populations.
To maximize our trade opportunities, we have been working hard to diversify our trade through agreements with key trading partners, including the EU, North America and the countries of the trans-Pacific, with 15 trade agreements covering 51 countries giving Canadian farmers a competitive edge in over 60% of the global economy.
We are going to keep advocating for farmers and advocating free trade that is open and based on rules. We are going to continue to work with the WTO and our G20 partners as well as our North American colleagues to maximize our opportunities under the existing agreement while exploring new alliances.
The best way to strengthen global food security is to support the hard-working men and women who produce our food, and that is exactly what we are going to do.
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View James Maloney Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Chair, I would like to thank all members of the House tonight, as this debate would not be taking place if it were not for the unanimous agreement of all members in this chamber. I believe the reason we have that unanimous consent is that we stand united in purpose to stand with Ukraine. We need to remember that throughout this debate.
I rise today in support of Ukraine and of the initiatives of our government to support Ukraine in this difficult time. The links between our two countries are strong, and Canada has been and will be steadfast in standing in solidarity with Ukraine, especially in the face of unwarranted Russian aggression.
For me, the ties are strong. Not only do I have a large Ukrainian community in my constituency, but there are also many Ukrainian cultural and religious organizations, as well as the Ukrainian consulate. Canadians of Ukrainian descent strengthen our social and cultural fabric in Etobicoke, in Toronto and in the country.
The community is strong and the ties that bind our two countries are many. They are my neighbours; they are my teammates; they are my classmates; they are my friends. As has been said many times before, when Ukraine became an independent state in 1991, Canada was the first western country to recognize it as such. Canada and Ukraine have enjoyed an even stronger relationship since.
The 1994 joint declaration on special partnership recognizes Canada's support for the development of Ukraine and the importance of that bilateral co-operation. Canada is committed to supporting Ukraine as it takes necessary steps to secure itself as a stable, democratic and prosperous country. We have been there to develop and strengthen democratic institutions in Ukraine, including election monitoring. I was there myself in 2019 as part of the delegation. I felt those bonds.
Since 2014, Canada has provided Ukraine with more than $890 million in multi-faceted assistance to support Ukraine's security, prosperity and reform objectives. Since 2015, Canada has been providing military training to Ukraine under Operation Unifier. The operation's focus is to assist with security force training to help them improve and build their capability and capacity.
Over 32,000 of its security forces will help ensure Ukraine remains sovereign, secure and stable. Last week, our government announced $340 million for the extension and expansion of Operation Unifier for three more years, as well as immediately deploying 60 personnel to join approximately 200 Canadian Armed Forces members on the ground, with the ability to surge to 400.
Military support is just one part of Canada’s overall strategy. There are also economic supports through trade and investment. In 2020, the value of Canada’s merchandise exports to Ukraine totalled $161 million and the value of merchandise imports from Ukraine amounted to $144 million. Last week, on January 27, Canada and Ukraine announced the launch of negotiations for the modernization of the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement.
Since 2014, Canada has been one of Ukraine’s leading bilateral development assistance partners, having committed more than $245 million to development assistance, including the provisions of emergency basic health services, safe drinking water, food assistance, protection support, shelter and essential relief items.
This needs to be a non-partisan debate. As I said at the beginning, we are united in purpose. The Prime Minister is fully engaged. The Deputy Prime Minister is fully engaged. Our Minister of Foreign Affairs was in Ukraine last week, came back and granted the request of the President of Ukraine. The Minister of Defence is there as we speak. I expect, upon her return, we will see further action from Canada.
I hope we can maintain this united force and non-partisan approach.
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View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-12-01 19:19
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Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to share some thoughts on a very important issue. It does not matter what side of the House one sits on, we all recognize that Canada leads the world in many different industries. One of those industries is our softwood lumber industry. We have, I believe, an incredible history of providing not only the United States but also other countries a first-class product. That is recognized.
I give a great deal of thought, and express appreciation and thanks, to those who have been there over the years to protect and foster growth within that industry. It employs thousands of people. It contributes billions of dollars to our GDP. It is a major force in our economy. Whether it is its direct jobs or indirect jobs, it should matter to all of us. We as a government, and the Prime Minister himself, have expressed concern, whether it is to the President of the United States or to others. This is an industry that Canada, and in particular our government, will be there to protect.
I believe an appropriate way to start my comments would be to read what the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance stated the other day on this very important industry. The minister said:
Mr. Speaker, the softwood lumber industry is a source of jobs and pride for Canadians across our country. We are extremely disappointed by the unfair and unwarranted decision of the United States to increase the duties it imposes on softwood lumber. This issue was raised, of course, by the Prime Minister at his meeting with President Biden. I have raised it with Secretary Yellen, as have all of our colleagues, and we have pointed out that these duties are adding to the inflation tax American consumers are paying.
This is not a new issue. We can talk about what we would argue on this side of the House are unfair practices taking place in the United States at times, and they are targeted at one of Canada's most valuable industries. This is not the first time. We have seen it on several occasions in the past. As a government, it is important that we speak as one voice, that we do not capitulate and that we recognize our voice is stronger if we unite in saying what is happening is not right.
In terms of free trade and the U.S., the relationship that Canada has with the U.S., the emphasis that we put on being a good neighbour and the economic ties between provinces and states, one needs to look at groups like our interparliamentary associations. We understand the dynamic. They have industry leaders within the United States, a significant, relatively wealthy group of people who are very effective at lobbying.
Because that is the case, we once again have duties and the U.S. has taken action that not only hurts us here in Canada but hurts Americans too. The U.S., from what I understand, does not have the ability to meet the demands of its market when it comes to softwood production. Canada, over the decades, has supplemented that supply.
As I indicated earlier, we have a first-grade product that is in high demand in the United States. However, the wealthy American mill owners and other stakeholders have been effectively lobbying to get these penalties put into place.
As a government, we have approached the very top political level: the President. We will turn to the free trade agreement that we ratified not that long ago, which includes Mexico. We will take it to the World Trade Organization as a government. I know the minister is on top of this file and recognizes the importance of it. We will do whatever we can to protect that industry, which is well represented in a number of regions including British Columbia, which has been hit very hard recently with rains. The province of Quebec and my home province of Manitoba have important lumber industries also.
Regarding jobs, indigenous communities often take the lead in providing the workforce. This industry supports so many communities in rural Canada. In many ways it is incredible.
The government, the Prime Minister the Deputy Prime Minister and the minister responsible are very much aware of the issue. To individuals who are following the issue, in particular those who are working in the industry and the owners who are trying to ensure that we can maintain our market share, the Government of Canada has their backs. We will continue to work with different stakeholders and appeal to members on all sides of the House to add value to the debate we are having tonight. It should not necessarily be a finger-pointing exercise. It should be recognizing that this has gone on now for many years. It predates this government.
That is why we have trade agreements. That is why we have the World Trade Organization. That is why we build the relationships that we have. There is no doubt in my mind that Canada will ultimately prevail, as we have prevailed in the past, because we are on the right side of this issue. We might not necessarily be able to prevent it from happening, although I sure wish that we could, but we can ensure at the end of the day that the industry not only survives but thrives into the future.
We have seen growth in export markets, whether to China, Europe or others, because it is important. The minister will tell us that we look at ways in which we can expand our export markets. That is why we have progressive, aggressive trade going on with agreements. We have signed more trade agreements than any other government. We have, that is a fact. It speaks volumes in terms of how this government recognizes the value of our exports because we see that in the actions we take every day.
In particular, workers can rest assured that we will be there to support them in the coming days, weeks or however long it takes to resolve this, and we will prevail on this issue.
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View Eric Melillo Profile
CPC (ON)
View Eric Melillo Profile
2021-12-01 19:29
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Mr. Speaker, I appreciate a lot of the sentiments that the member for Winnipeg North shared. Of course, those in the riding of Kenora and across northern Ontario are looking for more than that. They are looking for results and they are looking for action.
A question had been posed to the minister, a couple of times I believe, and she has not been able to answer. I wonder if the member could answer this for us. Does the member know how many negotiations and how many meetings have transpired between this government and the U.S. trade representative?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-12-01 19:30
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Mr. Speaker, I am unable to give a hard number, but I believe these are the types of discussions and dialogue that occur on an ongoing basis. Today, I would suggest that there is a larger interest in the subject matter because of actions that have taken place in the U.S., and there has been more engagement as a direct result.
Let us not try to politicize the issue. This is an issue that was there in the past. It is not just one government that has had to deal with this. What is important is that whoever is in government at the time takes whatever measures are necessary to ensure that we are protecting the industry. As I said, I truly believe that the Government of Canada will resolve this positively. Unfortunately, it will take time.
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View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2021-12-01 19:31
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Mr. Speaker, I can understand my colleague from Winnipeg North wanting to depoliticize the debate because what both the Conservatives and Liberals have done for the forestry industry is pathetic.
Earlier, I was listening to my colleague say that it was powerful U.S. lobbyists who managed to get the tariffs imposed. He said that members of the House should not be pointing fingers at one another. He is saying that because the current government and the successive governments have done absolutely nothing for the forestry industry. Lobbyists in Canada are oil industry lobbyists.
The forestry industry is a natural resources sector that is underestimated. Ask anyone in the industry. There is no federal program available to help diversify the forestry industry. That is the problem. We depend on the United States and now this industry, which is the economic base of many regions in Quebec, is becoming more vulnerable. That is the problem.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-12-01 19:32
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Mr. Speaker, that is just not true. Not only has the government been there to support the industry in times of need, but we have been there consistently since 2015. We have seen growth in exports beyond the United States over the last four or five years. We continue to look for other economic opportunities and other export opportunities, which is one of the reasons why we have had a very aggressive approach to getting trade agreements.
We are not scared of standing up to the United States. I think what is important is that there is a process in place. That process will, as it has in the past, allow for Canada and our industry to not only survive but thrive. It does make it difficult, which is why the government needs to be there for the industry. We have been there, and we will continue to be.
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View Charlie Angus Profile
NDP (ON)
View Charlie Angus Profile
2021-12-01 19:33
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Mr. Speaker, we knew that the Biden government was sending clear messages of protectionism, and we know that the softwood lumber issue is continually affected by the American trade lobbyists in Washington. The Prime Minister's team went to Washington on November 17, and this was to be the big rapprochement. Seven days later, we got hammered with an 18% tariff duty.
My question is this: Were there discussions in Washington about the softwood issue? What was said, and why was it that within seven days of meeting the Canadian delegation the U.S. hit us with the hardest penalties they have thrown at us? What went wrong in Washington?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-12-01 19:34
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Mr. Speaker, I would not want to read too much into a coincidence. I believe the last time we had this issue before the House was in the late fall. There might be a timing issue. I am not as familiar with the issue in depth, in terms of why it has arisen over the past few weeks, but I do know that this issue periodically surfaces, unfortunately, and the driving force for it to surface is not necessarily a government. It is the lobbying that takes place among very wealthy lumber owners from the United States.
That is my understanding of it, and we have a responsibility to use the tools we have as a government to protect our industry. That is exactly what we are going to do here in Canada. We will prevail.
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View Terry Duguid Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Terry Duguid Profile
2021-12-01 19:35
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Mr. Speaker, as my hon. friend and colleague has pointed out, this is not the first time we have been challenged in this way, and with determination and perseverance each and every time we have prevailed.
I wonder if the member could offer us a few reflections on the CUSMA negotiations, the recent free trade agreement, and just how important it is to speak as one voice as a country. Opposition members, government-side members and all Canadians need to stand together. Does he agree with that and have some reflections?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-12-01 19:36
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Mr. Speaker, Canada is a trading nation. We need to be able to trade with the world.
By expanding our export markets we are able to improve the lifestyles of all Canadians. Export markets create jobs for our middle class. They create and contribute to our GDP. As I say, the forest industry alone contributes billions of dollars to our GDP every year.
When we can sign off on trade agreements that enable our producers and exporters to get more to markets around the world, we are better off as a nation. That is why we made it a priority. Today our emphasis has to be using the tools we have before us to protect an industry that is respected and worth the fight. This government is prepared to step up to the plate and ensure that we prevail and protect this industry.
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, let me give some context. In my riding, the Merritt Tolko mill has closed, and Tolko has closed in the Kelowna—Lake Country riding. The company is not leaving forestry. It is leaving British Columbia, and opening up in places like Louisiana. The member says they should be able to open up other places.
On May 29, 2021, in a story by Lance Lambert in Fortune magazine, headlined “Biden administration could double Canadian lumber tariffs even as wood and construction costs soar”, the U.S. commerce department proposed doubling the tariff on Canadian lumber from 9% to 18%, a prospect that dismayed home builders. That was on May 29, 2021. The current government should have known. It should have been acting. It should have been engaging, and the minister cannot even tell us how many times she has met with the trade representative.
What does the member have to say about a government that just does not seem to care about the Merritts and the Kelownas of the world, where those jobs are not coming back?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-12-01 19:38
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Mr. Speaker, whether in the member's constituency or my constituency, depending on the industries that are there, we recognize the jobs of all Canadians in industries that continue to make our nation prosper. We continue to support them in the very best way that we can, and at times there is a need for us to come forward in a larger way by looking at what sorts of options we can use, such as I made reference to: trade agreements, and having discussions and more dialogue with local politicians.
Remember, this policy coming from the States is also hurting American consumers. We know how important this issue is, and we will continue to have dialogue and push Canada's file and as we say, as governments from the past have done, we will prevail. It is just something that has taken place, and it is not just this government. That is why I say I do not think we do a just cause by trying to say it is all this government's fault, because that is not the case.
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View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2021-12-01 19:39
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Mr. Speaker, I want to start off by saying that I will be splitting my time with the member for Calgary Nose Hill.
I would like to provide the counterpoint to what we have just heard from the Liberal side, because we have to distinguish fiction from fact. The truth is, there is a long history to this dispute, going way back to at least 1982. It was a Liberal government under Paul Martin that finally tried to bring peace to the woods. This was called the war of the woods because we had ongoing battles between the United States and Canada on the softwood lumber issue. Unfortunately, Paul Martin failed to get a deal done, to get peace in the woods. His trade minister, Jim Peterson, failed to get an agreement for Canadians.
Then we had an election in 2006. Stephen Harper was elected prime minister of our country and he did something remarkable. He reached across the aisle and asked David Emerson to cross the floor and join his cabinet. He had one main task, and that was to resolve the lumber dispute. David Emerson had deep roots in the softwood lumber industry. He knew it well. Stephen Harper knew that David Emerson could get the deal done, and guess what? He did it successfully.
In fact, he was remarkably successful. He negotiated a seven-year softwood lumber agreement and bought peace for seven years. He also negotiated a potential two-year extension. On top of that, he negotiated a $4.5-billion U.S. repayment to Canada that went back to the softwood lumber producers in Canada. It was a big win for Canada. It was a big win for the Conservative government under Stephen Harper because it brought us that peace we needed in the woods.
That softwood lumber agreement needed to be ratified in the House through a ways and means motion, and guess what? The Liberals voted against it in 2006. Only one Liberal voted in favour of it: Joe Comuzzi. He boldly stood up against the duplicity of the Liberals at the time. We later ended up renewing that agreement, so we had a total of nine years of peace between Canada and the United States.
Today we find ourselves in a situation. For the last six years, the Liberal government, the finance minister and the Prime Minister have been continually promising to resolve this dispute.
In fact, I have here a CBC article going back to March 12, 2016. The headline is “[Canada's trade minister] heralds ‘real breakthrough’ on softwood lumber negotiations”. That was six years ago. That trade minister was quoted as saying, “We have now managed to get the Americans to the table, we have managed to raise attention to this issue at the very highest levels.” She went on to say, “I don't want to downplay to anyone the complexity—the fiendish complexity—of the softwood lumber issue [but] this was a real breakthrough.” That was six years ago. What happened to that breakthrough?
Time after time, when we ask questions in the House about how those negotiations are going, we are told we are going to get a deal, yet it has been six years. That, by any definition, is failure, especially when we compare it to the standard the Harper government set in negotiating nine years of peace in the woods. For six years we have had a war in the woods and that war continues. In fact, today we are in a situation where the U.S. has doubled tariffs on softwood lumber exports from Canada.
Shame on the government. Shame on the Prime Minister. Shame on the finance minister, who was trade minister when she made those bold statements. I know we can do better and Canadians deserve better.
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