Softwood Lumber

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): – Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is in New York today giving another speech. In fact, all this Prime Minister does is talk. There is nothing that makes him happier than sounding like he is about to act.

NAFTA ruled four months ago. Why in those four months has Canada done nothing to protect our jobs and businesses from George Bush’s attacks? What good is another speech when everyone knows this Prime Minister does not have the gumption to stand up for this country, for jobs and for workers? What good is another speech?

Hon. Jim Peterson (Minister of International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is addressing the Economic Club of New York this evening. He has a number of very important meetings.

It is absolutely essential that our Prime Minister travel this world and carry the Canadian message. In terms of trade, it is a great story to tell. In terms of the NAFTA itself, the United States must respect the terms of the NAFTA. This is one of the messages he will be taking to the United States.

Softwood Lumber

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, given the ongoing softwood lumber fiasco and the fact that Quebec and Ontario are not going along with the Aldonas policies, is it not time for the trade minister to abandon the strategy of provincial concessions that B.C. is still pushing and make it clear that Canada has a right to make its own forestry policies?

Will the minister be clear and state he will not sell out Canadian forestry policies and jobs? Will he assert that position both to B.C. and more important, to the U.S.?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let me be clear that our government has always pursued a two track approach. We are absolutely free in this country to pursue the forestry practices we want in our own country according to our own sovereignty. We will win before the courts at the WTO and NAFTA.

However, the British Columbia government of Mr. Campbell was elected last time with its own plan of changes for forestry management practices. He was elected with the mandate of doing that. It is the sovereignty of the British Columbia legislature that will adopt the changes promoted by a government elected on that platform.