MASSE QUESTIONS HARPER GOVERNMENT ON KEEPING JOBS IN CANADA & NAVISTAR CONTRACT LOST TO TEXAS

HANSARD - JANUARY 29, 2009 - QUESTION PERIOD

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed its $825 billion economic stimulus bill with the pledge to support its industries and buy American iron and steel. With billions in tax dollars promised to be spent in this country, we should ensure that Canadian industries and Canadian workers are the ones who are going to get the actual benefit.

Why does the Prime Minister not implement our own buy Canadian program instead of his current program that sees Navistar truck workers thrown out of their jobs and a bunch of Texans hired? Will the government look after Canadian steelworkers like their counterparts south of the border? Will he act this time?

Hon. Stockwell Day (Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we are watching that legislation very carefully because history is clear that protectionism does not stimulate economies. As a matter of fact, protectionist measures are a drag on economies. We are a trading nation. We are prosperous because our products and our services that Canadians make and export around the world bring those returns to our country and also benefit other countries. We are going to make sure that the United States lives up to its obligations under the WTO and under NAFTA. There are clear legal obligations there and we will engage with it to make sure that it sticks with it.