Masse Speaks on Automotive Issues in Parliament

House of Commons Debates
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Speaker: The Honourable Peter Milliken

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, the member for Oshawa did not talk about the feebate program. Right now, as his constituents are being laid off, their tax dollars are being paid into a feebate program that is sending money to South Korea, Japan and other parts of the world. His constituents are subsidizing auto jobs, which are taking jobs away from Canadians, and he has done nothing to stop it.

The member has also not addressed the fact that we still do not have a TPC program for the automotive industry. Quebec and Ontario have one for the aerospace industry, but nothing for the automotive industry.

My last point is really interesting when we hear the rhetoric that has come out of the member's speech. He mentioned that 21 out of 22 recommendations from the industry committee have been taken care of. I sat on that committee. He said the number one recommendation had been fulfilled, but it was not. It is fraud to suggest that it has happened. The recommendation was quite specific. It was for a five year capital cost reduction allowance plus a review for another five years. That is very important when it comes to the third, fourth and fifth year of investment.

How can that member get up in this chamber in front of his constituents and say that was delivered when it was not?

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to ask a question of my Bloc colleague.
One of the interesting things that the Conservative government has done is to bring in a fee bate program against the automotive industry. This is a program which taxes vehicles, often manufactured in Canada, which may also provide a rebate for vehicles. It has not changed the trend with regard to purchasing fuel efficiency vehicles. The evidence from the automotive industry shows that.

An interesting part of this is that auto workers in Oshawa, Brantford and other parts of Ontario who are being laid off because of this situation are watching their taxpaying dollars go to companies that produce vehicles offshore. Companies based in South Korea or Japan which are flooding vehicles into Canada are receiving thousands upon thousands of dollars individually. Millions of dollars are going to those corporations that are then once again running workers in this country out of jobs.

What does my colleague think about a program that sends the tax dollars of hard-working Canadians to other countries which are then used in those countries' industries to make sure that we lose jobs over here? What does he think about that Conservative strategy?

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, as the auto critic for the NDP, I have been pushing for a green auto strategy for a number of years, which is to have manufactured vehicles in Canada that were eco-friendly receive some type of incentive in a program that we outlined. Instead, the government has introduced a program, shockingly enough, that actually sends money to foreign nations.

For example, the Toyota Prius, the Honda Civic, the Toyota Camry, the Nissan Altima and the Toyota Yaris are all made in Japan, and the list goes on and on. The Conservative government's program sends literally millions of dollars per vehicle annually to overseas manufacturers that are competing against Canadian manufacturers. We are watching our jobs disappear from Oshawa, Brantford and other areas.

Is this the type of program that the Bloc would support or would it be better to have an auto strategy that actually produces vehicles in our own country because we can control that? This program of watching Canadian taxpayer dollars going overseas is being celebrated in Tokyo City because they have millions of dollars coming onto their plant floors at the expense of Canadian taxpayers.

Would the Bloc rather see something actually done so the manufacturing of green autos is done in our own country?

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, over the last decade, the Liberal and Conservative plans for the manufacturing sector have been abysmal. When we look at the record, it was the Liberals, under the member for LaSalle—Émard, who introduced the notion of having a Korea trade agreement, which right now would cost our auto manufacturing sector.

Ironically, the Liberal minister who was supposed to actually develop an auto policy, crossed the floor to the Conservatives and is now driving this home at the expense of our auto workers across the country.

Second, there is a connection with the Conservatives policy. The Conservatives have implemented a market policy under Transport Canada that is a feebate system, which is a tax on cars. Interestingly, it was done under the guise of incentivizing eco-efficient vehicles but it has done the exact opposite. The system they put in place is so flawed. Subcompact car sales have not gone down for those feebate vehicles. It is the same with the SUVs and large cars. It has had the exact opposite effect.

What is ironic is that right now auto workers are being laid off in Oshawa, Brantford and other parts of the country where their hard-earned tax-paying dollars are actually going overseas to subsidize those vehicles that are flooding into our market. We do not even have the ability to ship our cars back into places like South Korea. South Korean has put hundreds of thousands of cars into Canada's market while we have only put a few hundred into its market.