Bill C-300 (Historical)
Corporate Accountability of Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries Act
An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries
This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.
This bill was previously introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session.
John McKay Liberal
Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)
Second Reading and Referral to Committee
(This bill did not become law.)
- Oct. 27, 2010 Failed That Bill C-300, An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries, be concurred in at report stage.
- Oct. 27, 2010 Failed That Bill C-300 be amended by deleting Clause 10.
- Oct. 27, 2010 Failed That Bill C-300, in Clause 9, be amended by replacing line 17 on page 6 with the following: “functions under subsection (2)”
- Oct. 27, 2010 Failed That Bill C-300, in Clause 8, be amended by replacing line 36 on page 5 with the following: “enter into or renew a transaction”
- Oct. 27, 2010 Failed That Bill C-300, in Clause 5, be amended by replacing lines 18 to 23 on page 4 with the following: “( a) the IFC's(i) Policy on Social and Environmental Sustainability,(ii) Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability and Guidance Notes to those standards, (iii) applicable Industry Sector Guidelines, and(iv) General Environmental, Health and Safety Guidelines;”
- Oct. 27, 2010 Failed That Bill C-300, in Clause 5, be amended by replacing line 17 on page 4 with the following: “(2) The guidelines shall be substantially consistent with:”
- Oct. 27, 2010 Failed That Bill C-300, in Clause 4, be amended by adding after line 12 on page 4 the following: “(11) Every investment manager who invests the assets of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board pursuant to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act shall take into account the results of examinations and reviews undertaken pursuant to this section.”
- Oct. 27, 2010 Failed That Bill C-300, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing lines 39 to 44 on page 3 with the following: “(8) If a corporation is found by a Minister to have contravened a guideline referred to in section 5, the corporation shall have six months, from the date of publication of the Minister’s finding, to bring itself into compliance. During that period, no adverse steps resulting from that breach of compliance shall be taken against the corporation by Export Development Canada pursuant to section 10.2 of the Export Development Act or by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade pursuant to section 10 of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act.(8.1) The Ministers shall publish in the Canada Gazette their findings regarding compliance with the guidelines within a period of 30 days after the conclusion of the grace period provided for in subsection (8).(8.2) If, at the end of that grace period, the corporation remains in contravention of a guideline, as determined by the Ministers, the Ministers shall, within a period of 30 days, notify the President of Export Development Canada and the Chairperson of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board that the corporation’s mining, oil or gas activities are inconsistent with the guidelines referred to in section 5. (8.3) If a corporation found to be in contravention of a guideline at the end of the grace period provided for in subsection (8) subsequently undertakes corrective actions, the corporation may request the Ministers to review the results of those actions and make a determination regarding compliance with the guidelines. The request shall be made in writing and shall include such information as is required to determine compliance with the guidelines. (8.4) Subsections (3), (4), (6) and (7) apply to a request for review provided under subsection (8.3) as if it were a complaint. (8.5) If the Ministers determine through a review that the corporation remains in contravention of a guideline, the Ministers shall notify the President of Export Development Canada and the Chairperson of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board that the corporation’s mining, oil or gas activities are inconsistent with the guidelines referred to in section 5.”
- Oct. 27, 2010 Failed That Bill C-300, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing line 32 on page 3 with the following: “undertaken pursuant to this section, which shall include a determination regarding the corporation’s compliance with the guidelines set out in section 5 and the Ministers' basis for any finding, within eight”
- Oct. 27, 2010 Failed That Bill C-300, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing lines 22 and 23 on page 3 with the following: “ister who receives the complaint shall consider any relevant information provided by the corporation or the”
- Oct. 27, 2010 Failed That Bill C-300, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing, in the English version, lines 3 and 4 on page 3 with the following: “receive complaints regarding Canadian corporations engaged in mining, oil or gas activities”
- Oct. 27, 2010 Failed That Bill C-300, in Clause 3, be amended by replacing, in the French version, line 34 on page 2 with the following: “3. La présente loi vise à faire en sorte que les”
- Oct. 27, 2010 Failed That Bill C-300, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing lines 12 to 16 on page 1 with the following: ““developing countries” means countries classified as low income, lower middle income or upper middle income in the World Bank list of economies, as amended from time to time.”
- Oct. 27, 2010 Failed That Bill C-300, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing, in the French version, lines 10 to 13 on page 1 with the following: “Opérations de recherche, notamment par forage, de production, de rationalisation de l'exploitation, de transformation et de transport de ressources minérales, de pétrole ou de gaz, réalisées dans le territoire d'un”
- Oct. 27, 2010 Failed That Bill C-300, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing lines 9 to 11 on page 1 with the following: ““corporation” means any company or legal person incorporated by or under an Act of Parliament or of any province, and includes holding or subsidiary companies of the corporation.”
- April 22, 2009 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.
February 14th, 2013 / 1:25 p.m.
Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON
You have to question whether that's benign neglect, and it's to their advantage not to know. Again, I don't want to make accusations here, because it's a very, very difficult place to function. From the standpoint of a committee of Parliament, if we're trying to look at where we can go to influence a situation like that, obviously Canadian companies would be one of the places that we could start. And in fact, because of suggestions in Parliament about a corporate social responsibility act—I think it was Bill C-300, if I remember correctly, that people tried to get through here—at least it drew attention to the fact that our companies do have a social responsibility when they're in these other countries.
It's very important to us that your organization provides us with this kind of counter-perspective of what's happening. In your organization's dealings in that country, what are your opportunities to actually explore what's happening there? I can't imagine you having very much freedom.
Income Tax Act
Private Members' Business
December 7th, 2012 / 1:30 p.m.
The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin
There are five motions standing on the notice paper for the report stage of the member for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale's Bill C-377, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations).
While it is not usual for the Chair to provide reasons for the selection of report stage motions, in this case it has been decided to do so given that the Speaker has received written submissions from the hon. members for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale and Cape Breton—Canso, outlining exceptional circumstances surrounding the committee consideration of the bill.
As members know, consistent with the note to Standing Order 76.1(5), the Chair would not normally select motions that could have been presented in committee.
In the present case, however, there appears to be extenuating circumstances. The hon. members who have submitted motions at report stage were in attendance at the meeting scheduled for the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill by the Standing Committee on Finance. In addition, they had both submitted motions in advance of this meeting and these had been circulated to all members of the committee. At first glance, it would therefore appear that the amendments submitted by these members could have been proposed during the committee consideration of the bill.
In his submission, the member for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale explained the efforts that were made to ensure that the committee would actually begin the clause-by-clause study of the bill as scheduled in order to complete consideration of the bill within the prescribed deadlines attached to it. He reported that these efforts were unsuccessful and, as a result, there was no opportunity to propose amendments in committee.
The Chair has been met with this kind of circumstance before. On September 20, 2010, in the Debates on page 4,069, Speaker Milliken ruled on a case where the member for Scarborough—Guildwood faced a similar situation in relation to his Bill C-300, an act respecting corporate accountability for the activities of mining, oil or gas in developing countries. In that case, the Speaker selected report stage motions for debate because it had been established that the member had made clear attempts to have the clause-by-clause study take place so that amendments could be considered by the committee.
Similarly, in the case before us today, the Chair has carefully reviewed the sequence of events as well as the written submissions from the members for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale and Cape Breton—Canso and is satisfied that these motions could not be presented during the committee consideration of the bill.
Accordingly, Motions Nos. 1 to 5 have been selected for debate at report stage. They will be grouped for debate and voted upon according to the voting patterns available at the table.
I shall now propose Motions Nos. 1 to 5 to the House.
Bill C-377—Income Tax Act
Points of Order
November 28th, 2012 / 4:40 p.m.
Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate the member's attempt at brevity but I must say that it reminded of that old classic movie, Airplane from 1980, penned by Jim Abrahams and David Zucker.
What I kept thinking of when I was listening to his brief presentation was those continuous scenes where Ted Striker, the ex-army pilot who was afraid to fly would continue to tell stories to the people in the seat next to him and they would end up attempting suicide. However, I do want to thank my friend for being at least a little more brief than the official opposition House leader. I will attempt to be even briefer than my friend from the Liberal Party.
I rise to respond to last Thursday's intervention by the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie and yesterday's intervention by the hon. member for Saint-Lambert concerning a royal recommendation for Bill C-377, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations).
Bill C-377 was introduced on December 5, 2011, by the member for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale and has since been read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance. The bill would amend the Income Tax Act to require labour organizations to provide financial information for public disclosure.
I would note that this bill was not identified by the Speaker as an item of concern with respect to the financial prerogative of the Crown, nor has it been the subject of an intervention by a minister of the Crown or a parliamentary secretary on behalf of one.
The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie argued that the provisions of the bill requiring labour organizations to submit financial information and the requirement for the Canada Revenue Agency to publish the information on a website with search tools somehow represent new and distinct charges on the treasury which are not currently authorized.
The hon. member for Saint-Lambert then added the information provided to the finance committee by the Canada Revenue Agency which provided estimates on the expected incremental costs associated with implementation.
There are procedural authorities and precedents for cases where a new royal recommendation was not required for incremental modifications to expand the operation of provisions already authorized by a royal recommendation. The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie cited page 833 of the second edition of the House of Commons Procedure and Practice. The most relevant portion pertaining to amending bills, such as Bill C-377, is that a royal recommendation is required for:
...bills which authorize new charges for purposes not anticipated in the estimates. The charge imposed by the legislation must be “new and distinct”; in other words, not covered elsewhere by some more general authorization.
Section 220 of the Income Tax Act provides the minister with the authority to administer and enforce the provisions of the act. Indeed, this authority was cited in the same materials provided to the finance committee which the member for Saint-Lambert cited yesterday.
In particular, subsection 220(2) provides broadly and generally that:
Such officers, clerks and employees as are necessary to administer and enforce this Act shall be appointed or employed in the manner authorized by law.
Clearly, the authority to retain any necessary staff has already been addressed by Parliament.
It may also be useful to add here that subsection 5(1) of the Canada Revenue Agency Act provides that:
The Agency is responsible for
(a) supporting the administration and enforcement of the program legislation....
Program legislation is, in turn, defined in section 2 of that act as:
....any other Act of Parliament....
(a) that the Governor in Council or Parliament authorizes the Minister, the Agency, the Commissioner or an employee of the Agency to administer or enforce, including the....the Income Tax Act....
Indeed, this broad mandate already enjoyed by the Canada Revenue Agency is addressed in response to the Liberal question 1(a) in the finance committee materials the hon. member for Saint-Lambert cited, which asked how Bill C-377 aligns with the Canada Revenue Agency's mandate.
The agency replied:
A measure introduced by Parliament that is incorporated into the Income Tax Act and falls under the responsibility of the Minister of National Revenue will be administered by the CRA. Parliament determines if a measure will be incorporated into the Income Tax Act.
In other words, the Canada Revenue Agency has already been given a broad, sweeping mandate to administer and enforce federal taxation laws. Meanwhile, other existing provisions of the Income Tax Act allow the minister to require certain persons or entities to file information for the purposes of taxation.
Specifically, for example, subsection 149(14) dealing with qualified donors provides a requirement for public foundations to
—file with the Minister both an information return and a public information return for the year in prescribed form and containing prescribed information.
In other words, the act already requires information to be submitted to the minister in a prescribed form and containing prescribed information. Therefore, this does not constitute a new function, mandate or duty for the minister or the agency.
The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie also argued that making the information public represented a new and distinct activity that was not currently authorized.
First, the agency has a comprehensive website which publishes lots of information and materials, so that would not be a new responsibility for the agency.
As for making information public, I would note that the Income Tax Act provides provisions now to that effect. Subsection 149(15) relates to information that may be communicated in respect of charitable organizations. It states:
—the information contained in a public information return...shall be communicated or otherwise made available to the public by the Minister in such manner as the Minister deems appropriate...the Minister may make available to the public in any manner that the Minister considers appropriate...
In other words, the act provides the minister with the authority to publish in any manner the minister considers appropriate the content of a public information return. That other information would fall within an existing mandate and duty does not, I submit, require a royal recommendation.
Turning to some precedents, on February 10, 1998, at page 3647 of the Debates, Bill S-3, an act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985 and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act, was found not to require a royal recommendation. In his ruling, Mr. Speaker Parent said, in a case where powers were expanded yet no royal recommendation was needed, that:
It seems fairly evident that the powers of the superintendent would be extended by Bill S-3. It may well be that additional expenditures would be incurred because of those enhanced powers of the superintendent. Should an increase in resources be necessary as a result of these new powers, the necessary allocation of money would have to be sought by means of an appropriation bill because I was unable to find any provision for money in Bill S-3.
The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie made mention of the additional tasks which would fall to the employees of the agency as well as training which might be required for the new filings. Your immediate predecessor's ruling, Mr. Speaker, at page 7261 of the Debates for February 23, 2007 on Bill C-327, an act to amend the Broadcasting Act answers this point, states:
Bill C-327 may or may not result in a greater workload for the CRTC, but the activities being proposed are within its mandate. If additional staff or resources are required to perform these activities then they would be brought forward in a separate appropriation bill for Parliament’s consideration.
More recent, on October 26, 2010, Mr. Speaker Milliken ruled concerning the need for a royal recommendation for Bill C-300, an act respecting corporate accountability for the activities of mining, oil or gas in developing countries. The bill, among other things, required the Minister of Foreign Affairs to establish a process for the examination of complaints concerning possible contraventions of the guidelines. The Speaker ruled then:
—the Chair is of the view that the examination of such complaints is not a departure from or expansion of the current ministerial mandate under the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act...Bill C-300 may put forth more stringent requirements, but it does not expand the mandate per se.
It may be that a reorganization of resources or even additional funds would be required, however, it appears these would be operational in nature.
I submit that Bill C-377 is consistent with the precedents cited in that it does not authorize a new expenditure of public funds. Rather it deals with the operation of provisions already authorized by Parliament which were accompanied by a royal recommendation at the time these provisions were enacted.
The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie mentioned that there was nothing set out in the recently tabled supplementary estimates (B) for this fiscal year. The hon. member for Saint-Lambert also claimed that this was confirmed in the agency's answers to finance committee.
Let us be clear. The usual practice we can expect to see unfold would be that the agency would account for its operations under Bill C-377, should it become law, in its estimates after the bill becomes law. That is a common practice with respect to any proposed legislation that has not yet been enacted. The supplementary estimates argument advanced by those hon. members is really a red herring in this entire debate.
Should Bill C-377 become law, the authority to spend for the purposes set out in the bill will be under the general authority of existing broader provisions of the Income Tax Act as well as the agency's general authorities under the Canada Revenue Agency Act. Should additional funds be required, the government would seek them from Parliament as part of the supply cycle through an appropriations bill in the ordinary manner for operating expenses.
I respectively submit that Bill C-377 does not require a royal recommendation and is properly before the House.
May 30th, 2012 / 4:40 p.m.
Program Officer, Halifax Initiative Coalition
No, I'm not speechless. I don't know where to start.
I guess I would encourage the honourable member to review testimony given before this committee on Bill C-300 and to review statements of claim before the Ontario and Quebec Superior Courts regarding the operations of Canadian companies, the Norwegian pension funds documents, and the websites and publications of reputable organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. I can't imagine how anyone could review those publications and not come away with concerns about the operations of Canadian extractive companies overseas.
May 30th, 2012 / 4:40 p.m.
Lois Brown Newmarket—Aurora, ON
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Keenan, I think that both our extractive industries and the members of this committee would take offence at the suggestion that our extractive companies are going into other countries and making rape and pillage their norm. I know people who are in the extractive industries, and they are fine, upstanding people who run reputable companies. So personally, I find your characterization highly offensive.
I shouldn't speak for the rest of the committee, but I think this is an accusation that goes beyond the pale. I have attended the PDAC convention in Toronto, the prospectors and developers convention. It's enormous. It's attended by people from every country in the world. Every country that has a booth there places a high value on the expertise of Canadian companies and the reputation of the Canadian extractive industry. They want our companies to go to their countries and do business there. I could probably name 50 countries off the top of my head with whom I have had conversations.
I have been in Burkina Faso. I have seen the wonderful project that Iamgold has in that country and the wonderful work that they are doing to create alternative economic opportunities for the people of Burkina Faso. These people are thrilled that they now have a school for their youngsters and a training centre for their young people, who are getting the ability to do electrical and plumbing work, and take real jobs into the economy. They have a health care clinic populated with competent health care workers who are providing assistance to the people of Burkina Faso in an area that is four hours removed from Ouagadougou. So there are good things going on with our extractive industries.
We can also look at the Equator Principles. You talked about Bill C-300. Canadian extractive companies comply with the Equator Principles. We have a counsellor—there are no complaints against Canadian companies she's dealing with. We have a fine reputation around the world. You talked about Talisman. Talisman was in South Sudan, and there were some accusations against Talisman. Talisman threw up their hands and decided to pull out. China went in, and we know the sad tale that's ensued.
You've heard Dr. O'Neill's testimony. You heard what she said here. What you're telling us is 180 degrees removed from the good work that USAID is seeing done. They talked about 800 permanent jobs being created in Peru in the agricultural sector. I've visited countries in Africa where, in tandem with Canadian companies working in Kenya, we have agricultural projects going on in Ethiopia. We have agricultural projects that are creating real opportunities. The private sector, the extractive industry, they're all part and parcel of this. It's not that we're only working in that area. CIDA has much money going into capacity-building in these countries—developing judicial processes, developing a civil society. It can't be one or the other. Civil society, a fair and open judiciary, transparent elections—these things can't happen unless there is a reliable and growing economic process happening at the same time.
When you look at these things happening in tandem, is it not possible for CIDA to partner with companies and make life better for people in these emerging economies?
February 27th, 2012 / 4 p.m.
Lois Brown Newmarket—Aurora, ON
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you very much for being here today with us. This has been a most interesting study for us, one of the most engaging I've been involved with on the foreign affairs committee.
I was on the foreign affairs committee when we reviewed what was then Bill C-300, which was the CSR bill brought forward by one of our Liberal members. We also had some very interesting representations on that one.
Mr. Gratton, I wonder if I can address a couple of questions to you.
Mr. Royer just talked about workplace action, and I think this is a quote. He talked about “changing people's attitudes” toward the workplace. I've had the opportunity to spend some time in Africa. I've now visited nine countries. I have seen many of our CIDA projects, and I have had the opportunity to meet with the extractive industry in every country we've been in.
I want to particularly focus on two projects. One is the IAMGOLD project in Burkina Faso, in Essakane, and the other is the project that has developed around the De Beers facility in Botswana.
Now, Botswana has been very intentional in turning its economy around through understanding what the mineral resources can do for it. De Beers has built a phenomenal facility there that does all of the grading of the diamonds, but there are seven facilities outside of this De Beers facility that are businesses where the people who are Botswanian citizens have real jobs doing all the cutting and the polishing of the diamonds. Botswana has been able to lift itself to become what's now a middle-income country, through tax revenues that are being paid by the individuals who are employed in these facilities.
In the Essakane project that IAMGOLD is investing in, we saw a hospital facility, a primary school, a secondary school, and a skills development school that is giving the people of Burkina Faso real jobs, real opportunity to make a change for their families.
I wonder if you have any other examples, or if you would like to comment a little bit on projects you've seen where these same kinds of initiatives are taking place, where we see that the extractive industry has taken responsibility to help provide the countries with real income.
February 9th, 2012 / 1:40 p.m.
Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Neve, thank you for a very comprehensive report, as always. It's not a surprise coming from you, but this seems particularly more pervasive—the explanation of the more pervasive violations there. I want to start by giving the government members some credit here.
I'm going to be a little critical of the government, but the government members are the ones who brought to us that we should do this study. I think it's only fair to say that. We had a situation here, as you will recall, where we tried to get Bill C-300 on corporate social responsibility through the House a few years ago, and that failed.
When I look at your comments about the guidelines from the United Nations, it's in line with the due diligence guidelines we were hoping to get through our own House. You have a United Nations mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia. Do you know if they have any access in this country? As well, is Canada a participant in that particular group?
Private Members' Business
December 12th, 2011 / 11:05 a.m.
Charmaine Borg Terrebonne—Blainville, QC
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-310, which would amend the Criminal Code to address the cruel and serious problem of human trafficking in Canada.
I congratulate the member who sponsored this bill for introducing a bill that will have the support of all parties in this House. This is the first time I have supported a government initiative and I congratulate her on it. I hope that in the future the opposition parties and the Conservative government will have many opportunities to work together.
This bill proposes two very important amendments to the Criminal Code that will make it easier to prosecute perpetrators of human trafficking. This heinous crime has destructive effects on the victims, which reminds us that in a not-too-distant past, slaves were treated similarly by Canadians and by our neighbours to the south. Unfortunately, at a time when human rights and individual freedoms should prevail and at a time when we would have thought our attitudes had evolved enough to eliminate this abominable crime, there are still people in this country who can deny their own humanity and sell people who are just as deserving of freedom as any other person.
Therefore, I believe that the House has the duty and the power to hold these individuals accountable by proposing and adopting a legal framework to eliminate this form of slavery and severely punish the perpetrators, so that we can set an example for the rest of the world.
This bill targets the real criminals—the traffickers. This bill would extend Canada's jurisdiction beyond our borders, which means we could go after traffickers with Canadian citizenship or residency regardless of where they are in the world. I would once again like to congratulate my colleague opposite for developing a bill that targets the real criminals and not the victims.
However, since there is a distinction made between human trafficking and human smuggling, I have to wonder about Bill C-4, which targets the migrants instead of the smugglers in cases of human smuggling in Canada. Migrants are the victims in this fraudulent scheme, and the real criminals are those who deceive these people by promising them a better future. I would have liked to see the government use Bill C-310 as an inspiration and to withdraw Bill C-4 from the Order Paper.
The first section of the bill amends the Criminal Code in order to apply Canadian extraterritorial jurisdiction to the offence of human trafficking. This will give the Canadian government the legal means to prosecute a Canadian or a permanent resident of Canada involved in human trafficking, regardless of where he or she works, lives or operates. Introducing extraterritorial jurisdiction using the nationality principle in international law is compatible with our international obligations under the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, the Palermo convention. Given the international nature of human trafficking, extraterritorial jurisdiction is crucial. We simply cannot allow Canadian traffickers to live a comfortable life without any fear of being held responsible for their crimes just because they can hide behind international borders.
Thus, I am convinced that our government has a responsibility to ensure that our legal system can prosecute those responsible for such crimes to the full extent of the law through this extraterritorial jurisdiction. We have the right to hold our citizens to a certain standard of behaviour, even those who are outside our borders.
In her introductory speech, the sponsor of the bill said that it would ensure justice in cases where the offence was committed in a country without strong anti-human trafficking laws. I agree with her completely, but I find it unfortunate that this government did not live up to this standard during the previous Parliament with regard to Bill C-300, An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries. Once again, I hope the government will learn something from this private member's bill.
Coming back to Bill C-310, before 2005 the only legal action that could be taken against human traffickers was based on charges of kidnapping, threats or extortion. Section 118 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act prohibits anyone from bringing someone into Canada by means of abduction or fraud. In other words, human trafficking was not considered a criminal offence per se until 2005. Since then, only five people have been prosecuted on the basis this new offence.
Crown prosecutors and experts blame the lack of prosecutions on the current definition of exploitation, which requires proof of a threat to safety. This proof is difficult to obtain, which results in traffickers being found not guilty.
This leads me to the second amendment to the Criminal Code proposed in this bill. The member sponsoring this bill has every reason to propose expanding the current legal definition of the word “exploitation”, which defines the conditions for a person to be considered a victim of human trafficking. The current legal definition of this word in the Criminal Code does not contain any precise examples of exploitation. Therefore, this second amendment would add evidentiary foundations to enable courts to give clear examples of exploitation, such as threats or use of violence, coercion and fraudulent manipulation. This would update the legal terminology and would give courts the legal tools they need to successfully prosecute these criminals.
Once again, I congratulate the member on her wise and well thought-out bill.
I will conclude by talking about human trafficking in Canada. In Canada it is tragic to see that aboriginal women and girls are disproportionately more likely to be victims of human trafficking. This tragedy is the result of a number of factors, and to address this, our government will have to combat it from all sides. We absolutely must recognize that poverty, lack of housing and very difficult living conditions for aboriginal women and girls are factors that explain why they are disproportionately more likely to be victims of human trafficking.
I would like to point out a coincidence. Today, the Standing Committee on Status of Women will present its report on violence against aboriginal women. This report is the product of two years of study on a very serious issue and an unfortunate tragedy in our country. Over the course of this study, the committee heard from about a hundred aboriginal women and people working with victims and their families. I had the opportunity to listen to some of this testimony when I sat on this committee. It is clear that to fight violence against aboriginal women and girls, including human trafficking, we must acknowledge the poverty and economic marginalization they experience.
I truly hope that this report will lead to concrete recommendations for improving the economic conditions of these women and decreasing their vulnerability to violence and human trafficking. I strongly encourage all of my colleagues in the House and the general public to listen to the presentation of this report today. Once again, I thank my colleague for this wise and necessary bill.
November 4th, 2011 / 12:05 p.m.
Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB
Mr. Speaker, I have today a petition to present from literally thousands of Canadians across Canada.
The petitioners point out that they are appalled by reports that Canadian mining and oil and gas companies are involved in human rights and environmental violations around the world. In particular, they are embarrassed at the Canadian government's lack of action against such violations in eastern Congo, leading to the use of the term “the iron fist of Canada” to describe the Canadian government's support of activities harmful to Congolese communities.
Therefore, the petitioners request that the House the Commons legislate the standards for Canadian mining companies operating outside of Canada to be the same as the standards they must reach operating inside of Canada. This would include, but not be limited to, making participation in corporate social responsibility review process, allowing the corporate social responsibility review to produce legally binding judgments to include the violation of human rights and other harm to communities as part of any legally binding accountability mechanism and to revitalize the spirit and the principle of Bill C-300 of the last Parliament to hold Canadian extractive companies to the standards of decency Canadians expect of their government—
Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act
October 5th, 2011 / 4:55 p.m.
Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB
Mr. Speaker, it is a real honour to again stand in this House and speak on behalf of the constituents of Crowfoot to Bill C-13, Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act.
The legislation that we are debating today introduces our Minister of Finance's key elements of the next phase of Canada's economic plan, a low-tax plan for jobs and growth.
My constituents of Crowfoot know that our Conservative government is focused on creating jobs and promoting economic growth. Under the leadership of our Prime Minsiter, Canada has the strongest economy and the strongest job growth record in the G7. We have created nearly 600,000 net new jobs since July 2009.
The International Monetary Fund, IMF, projects that Canada will continue to be among the nations with the strongest economy and the strongest economic growth in the G7 over the next two years.
However, Canada is not immune to the global economic turbulence. Bill C-13 provides our government with the means to stay the course and implement the next phase of Canada's economic action plan.
One of the features of Bill C-13 is a temporary hiring tax credit for small business. It would make it easier for small businesses to hire workers or enhance wages. This is precisely the kind of measure that Canadian workers need at this time. This would create new jobs and help save the jobs presently had by the workers across this country.
Hard-working, tax-paying Canadians raising their families need stable and predictable employment to see them through this difficult economic time. The keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act would help support Canada's economic recovery.
I just want to touch on a couple of highlights of Bill C-13.
First, it would expand tax support for clean energy generation to encourage green investments. According to what opposition members have said today, they will vote against that, the opportunity to enhance green investments and clean energy generation.
Second, the bill would extend the mineral exploration tax credit for flow-through share investors by one year to support Canada's mining sector.
I had the privilege in the past Parliament to chair the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and international Development. At that committee, we studied a number of bills, such as Bill C-300 and others. I know that the Canadian mining sector contributes over $300 billion to Canada's GDP each year and over 300,000 Canadians are employed in the mining industry.
The mining industry stimulates and supports economic growth, both in large urban centres and in remote rural communities, including numerous first nation communities across the country. However, again, the opposition members say that they will not support that.
Mining accounts for 19% of Canadian goods exports and $5.5 billion in taxes and royalties paid to the federal, provincial and territorial governments. The industry also generates considerable economic spin-off activity. There are more than 3,200 companies that provide the industry with services ranging from engineering consulting to drilling equipment. In addition, over half of the freight revenues of Canada's railroads are generated by mining.
Many Canadians are not aware of the large role that Canada's mining sector plays in our economy. However, it is important to nurture Canada's mining industry.
Bill C-13 also would simplify custom tariffs in order to facilitate trade and lower the administrative burden for all businesses.
Most Canadians do not know that Canada is a nation built by trade. We do more than $1 billion a day in trade flowing over the Canada-U.S. border. While many Canadians understand the important role of trade, they do not realize that trade just with the Americans amounts to $1.8 billion a day.
Since 2006, our Conservative government has been working diligently to boost Canada's access to markets, not just across the border with the neighbours closest to us, but all around the world, and we are having success.
I look in the House today and I see our agriculture minister who has been working hard at his desk here all afternoon. I commend him and our trade minister for the amount of work they have done around the world to open new markets and give, whether it is our agriculture sector or our manufacturing sector, the opportunity to market their goods in many of those countries. Yes, we are having success.
The agriculture producers, the farmers, who I represent work hard every day to take advantage of the opportunities that the Minister of Agriculture and the government are providing. We could feed the world from where I come from in Alberta and from the west, so we welcome all customers, and that includes the new customers. The more the merrier. We pledge to fill all the orders that our Minister of Agriculture and our Minister of International Trade can find for our agricultural sector.
The bill would extend the accelerated capital cost allowance treatment for investments in manufacturing and processing machinery and equipment for two years to support the manufacturing and processing sector. Bill C-13 would extend this well received measure from one of our previous budgets. Our Minister of Finance has been fighting the effects in Canada of the global economic recession since 2009. Canada's manufacturing and processing base has been using this measure to create and save jobs. They still want this accelerated capital cost allowance and our Conservative government is glad to give it and to be in a position where we can allow it to continue.
We are eliminating the mandatory retirement age for federally regulated employees in order to give older workers the option of staying in the workplace. We know that Canadians are healthier and they are living longer than ever before in our history. In economically difficult times, older workers sometimes want to choose to stay working for another year or two and make some extra money for their families or for themselves in their retirement. This contributes to economic growth. Older workers have a great deal to contribute and our government is giving them the go-ahead. However, it sounds like the opposition will be voting against it.
There is a very important initiative in Bill C-13 for the constituents in my riding. The government would provide a permanent annual investment of $2 billion in the gas tax fund to provide predictable, long term infrastructure funding for municipalities. Unlike the Liberal governments of the past, our government has returned gas tax revenues to jurisdictions where they were raised. We deliver these revenues to local jurisdictions earlier in the year than ever before so they can plan for the building in the summer season. This allows local governments to free up other funds in their budgets and get more accomplished through the calendar year.
In my riding of Crowfoot, we have many small county municipal governments and they rely on these funds. When I attend those council meetings, they let us know how much those funds are needed and appreciated. In some cases, the amounts of revenues in small villages or communities seem small but it makes projects possible and it allows small communities to grow when it spurs on local employment.
There are a number of other initiatives in Bill C-13 for creating and saving jobs and helping Canada's economy. Over the course of the debate on this bill, other speakers from this side of the House will detail some of these initiatives.
Bill C-13,, as already mentioned by the member for Souris—Moose Mountain, introduces the volunteer firefighters tax credit for volunteer firefighters. When the opposition talks about tax credits for those who do not need it, well we are talking about the volunteer firefighters of my constituency.
The bill would increase the ability of Canadians to give more with confidence to legitimate charities by introducing a package of integrity measures designed to help combat fraud and other forms of abuse. I know that the people in my riding are very charity minded. My constituents are generous and engaged in many charitable projects. They appreciate this initiative to ensure their efforts are not in vain.
Bill C-13 has help for families. It introduces the new family caregiver tax credit to assist caregivers of all types to help with dependent relatives.
This is a good bill. I appreciate the number of opposition members who have been here to listen to the debate today.
When we are in opposition, it is not always about opposing. It is about standing up and supporting families in tough times in the economy. We would appreciate members' support.