House of Commons Hansard #221 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

Manganese Based Fuel Additives Act
Government Orders

9:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ovid Jackson Bruce—Grey, ON

Madam Speaker, I am not a lawyer and lawyers have fun with these topics. This will be in the courts forever.

I do know that in the United States the EPA reasons are that MMT will cause certain medical problems. That is the major thing it is going with now. We have to understand that billions of dollars are involved. I am sure there will be campaigns, full page ads and what have you. It is the scientific community that has to deal with this. Sure there will be things going back and forth. The jury is still out on it. This dispute has been around for a long time. It is a legal one and I do not have an answer to it. I am sure that in the end the United States EPA will win out.

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9:40 p.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, the member for Bruce-Grey talked about a number of issues. He talked about standards and harmonization. He talked about MMT being banned. I think he also touched on the issue that Canada is the only country that uses it.

Our industry minister said in April: "The member will know that MMT is not permitted in the United States by legislation. It is crucial that we have uniformity of standards". The U.S. court of appeals has now ordered the U.S. EPA to grant Ethyl Corporation's application for a waiver, paving the way for the use of MMT in unleaded gasoline in the United States. Several U.S. refiners have provided written notice of their intention to use MMT. Uniformity of gasoline additives within North America would now require Canada to maintain rather than restrict MMT.

The member also talked about it being banned. The environment minister on May 5, 1995 said: "The United States Environmental Protection Agency banned MMT in 1977 and since that time Ethyl Corporation has consistently tried to turn around the ban by court case after court case in which it continues to fail".

MMT was not banned by the EPA. It is still used in the United States in leaded gasoline and after market products. It was used in unleaded gasoline during the crude oil shortages of the 1970s. In 1977 the U.S. Clean Air Act established a process requiring new fuel additives not substantially similar to gasoline to obtain a waiver by demonstrating compatibility with vehicle emission systems.

Ethyl of course undertook the largest fuel additives testing program in history which resulted in the EPA's conclusion in December 1993 that MMT will not cause or contribute to the failure of any emission control device or system. Contrary to the minister's statements in May the U.S. court of appeals ordered the EPA to grant a waiver approval to Ethyl Corporation on April 14, 1995. The minister was fully informed of this decision but did not say anything to this House.

Another comment was made by an Environment Canada news release on May 19: "Canada is currently the only country in the world tht permits the use of MMT in unleaded gasoline". MMT is approved for use in Canada, Argentina, Bulgaria and Ukraine. It is being actively considered for introduction in Australia, New Zealand and other countries in southeast Asia and around the world. These countries have closely monitored Ethyl's EPA fleet testing program and have noted the U.S. court of appeals ruling ordering the U.S. EPA to grant Ethyl's waiver application. Several U.S. refiners have confirmed their interest in using MMT in the United States.

If MMT is considered bad for automobiles and the environment, why then does the minister not ban the substance under the schedule in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act? Why can we not use CEPA to ban MMT?

Manganese Based Fuel Additives Act
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9:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ovid Jackson Bruce—Grey, ON

Madam Speaker, first I would like to make a point of clarification. I forgot that I was sharing my time with the member for Simcoe North.

Some of the comments by the member for New Westminster-Burnaby were contradictory. He said that in the United States there is a court case going on with regard to the banning of MMT, yet he says that MMT is used. If MMT is used then we do not have a problem. I suspect that there are times when we would have to do that. There probably are old fashioned cars that do not use the highways as much. Certain facilities are made in order for those people to operate their vehicles. That may be one of the reasons they are using MMT.

The basic thing we are looking at here is as the member for Davenport explained, there are 18 automotive manufacturers that say that MMT will foul up the onboard diagnostic equipment. We are talking about Canadian consumers, and we must understand that the on board diagnostic equipment sends messages to the computer. These are all little electronic devices. If they become plugged and turn on the on board diagnostic lights, it will cause these cars to be taken in for repair. The manufacturer is going to get fed up with it and pull the plug, which they said they would do, and stop using the light, which is so important for these vehicles as the technology advances to the stage where you know when your car is starting to pollute the environment.

In the United States they have stickers and at certain times cars go in to be fixed. But the on board diagnostics show right away when there is a problem. The MMT will foul them up and render them useless. By doing that it impairs the pollution device it impairs the fuel economy of the car sputter, and it makes the car sputter and not function properly. It takes away that protection from the consumer.

That is what we are trying to do. The hon. member does not want to spend any money. If the manufacturers of MMT want to push this product and make it acceptable to the automobile manufactuers then let them get their scientists to make sure it works in a way that it does not do that. Let them do that, but the Government of Canada should not be spending money for that kind of stuff.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives Act
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9:45 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member for Bruce-Grey to comment on the fact that in 1991 auto research laboratories did a study on various fuel formulations and tests showed that an addition of a small amount of MMT to a 10 per cent ethanol blend will significantly enhance environmental benefits by reducing emissions that contribute to ground level ozone and urban smog. The test demonstrated that with an industry average fuel MMT and the 10 per cent ethanol it reduced NOx emissions by more than 30 per cent. How would the member respond to that piece of evidence?

Manganese Based Fuel Additives Act
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9:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ovid Jackson Bruce—Grey, ON

Madam Speaker, basically by using exhaust gas recirculation. NOx emissions are caused by high combustion chamber temperatures. Therefore by using exhaust gas recirculation, which is triggered by the computer, it drops the temperature in the combustion chamber and we can regulate NOx that way through the standards that EPA expects.

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9:45 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Madam Speaker, Bill C-94, as most of my colleagues have already well pointed out, is intended to prohibit the use of the product MMT in the production of gasoline. This product is a manganese-based additive used in practically all unleaded gasolines in Canada since 1977.

Before I start, I think I should point out that the research done by Health Canada indicates that the fears expressed by a number of groups regarding the harmful effects MMT may have on health are unfounded. On its own, this product does not harm the environment. However, and this is the crux of the matter and the reason the minister is putting Bill C-94 before us today, automobile manufacturers claim that MMT in gasoline clogs the anti-pollution devices, impeding their effectiveness and thus, indirectly, of course, harming the environment.

I listened earlier to my colleague for Davenport say that the only people with any interest in opposing the bill were MMT producers or distributors. This, however, is not quite the case. The major oil producers also have an interest in opposing it, and we will see why in due course.

The oil producers claim in response to the automobile manufacturers that MMT means gasoline can be produced at a considerably lower cost in environmental terms at the refining stage. MMT requires less intensive processing and this means

less carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide from the smokestacks of gasoline manufacturing plants.

In addition, MMT allows refineries to reduce the aromatic cycles in gas and thus benzene emissions. Caught between these two industry giants, the automobile manufacturers and the big oil companies, which are fighting each other, is the product distributor, Ethyl Canada, which, according to several analyses, has passed all the required tests and is said to be ready to put its product on the market in the United States where it was, as my hon. colleague from the Reform Party put it, partly banned.

In fact, on April 14, 1995, the United States of America Court of Appeal for the district of Columbia, rendered its decision in the case involving Ethyl Corporation and the Environmental Protection Agency, in which Ethyl contested the refusal of the agency, on July 13, 1994, to meet its request to put an end to the banning of MMT in unleaded gas.

The court decided and I quote: "The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency has broken the clearly stipulated conditions of clause 211 by rejecting the request of Ethyl to put an end to the banning of MMT for public health reasons". The court added that since Congress had given the agency the mandate to evaluate, only in terms of emissions, what is implied by some of the requests to stop banning a product, and since Ethyl had met the requirements concerning the emissions, the administrator of the agency had exceeded his powers by rejecting the request made by Ethyl. Because of these facts, the court sent a direct order to the agency which will, as the court said, have to grant Ethyl its request to remove the ban on its additive.

Therefore we can see that, in any event, the United States is getting ready to put MMT back in circulation in a few months. The court's explanation was as follows: "As regards the arguments made by the American Automobile Manufacturers Association against the opinion of the Environmental Protection Agency according to which MMT does not affect in whole or in part the proper operation of the emission control system in vehicles, the American court ruled that those arguments had no value at all. First of all, the court emphasized that the agency had established that ethyl used as an additive had easily passed tests required in all the most stringent studies ever conducted". The court is referring here to statistics.

The court also noted that "the Environment Protection Agency has examined, using more restrictive criteria, Ethyl's data on the use of the additive in more technologically advanced vehicles", and the court found that the agency had detected no significant emission increase, that is no increase which could reasonably be attributed to a sampling error.

As for the allegation by automotive manufacturers that MMT interferes with the operation of OBD-II systems, the court said in its ruling that "the EPA had reasonably refuted the doubts of the three automotive manufacturers concerning the effect of MMT on these systems". The court went on to say that "under the Clean Air Act, the EPA still has the authority needed to establish these facts".

As a result, Ethyl intends to reintroduce MMT on the U.S. market very soon, once registration matters have been settled.

Faced with this, the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute has recommended-as have the hon. member from Davenport and my colleague from the Reform Party-that a committee of independent experts be asked to settle the issue.

Not too long ago, Claude Brouillard, president of the institute, said, and I quote: "We have solid scientific and technical data supporting MMT and its use in Canada". However, as some players question these facts, we are prepared to submit this issue to an independent committee of experts and to abide by their decision. We hope that the federal government, the automakers and the product manufacturer will endorse this proposal". This comes from the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute. Therefore, the manufacturer of MMT is not the only one dissatisfied with the decisions which are being made.

As well, Mr. Fisher, chairman of the board of this institute, sent the following letter to the Prime Minister. I will read some paragraphs in English. Mr. Fisher wrote this:

"The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, which represents the vast majority of the petroleum refining and marketing industry in Canada, is strongly opposed to the announced plan of the government to legislate a ban on imports of the gasoline additive MMT."

"We understand that the proposed legislation will be presented to Cabinet soon. This proposal is being justified under the banner of harmonization with the United States, but actions currently under way in the U.S. are leading towards the probable reintroduction of MMT into unleaded gasolines."

"The MMT controversy is a technical issue between the auto industry and the petroleum industry"-he is quite right-"an issue that should be decided on the basis of sound science. It does not require a legislative solution and it is not appropriate for your government"-the letter was addressed to the Prime Minister-"to be taking the action at this time. We submit that the process followed by your government has been seriously flawed." So wrote the petroleum producers, not the company producing MMT.

"When the Minister of Environment first spoke publicly on the issue, she prbably stated that the issue should be resolved by the two industries. The minister then went on, however, to declare that in the absence of an agreement she would legislate MMT out of gasoline. By declaring the outcome, any incentive for the auto industry to cooperate in a joint scientifically based testing program was removed."

"The CPPI has repeatedly offered to participate in either a joint testing program or independent scientific evaluation program and to abide by the results".

The chairman went on as follows:

"There are demonstrated environmental, economic, and energy efficiency benefits from the use of MMT. We do not believe these benefits should be lost to Canada without a sound database on information to demonstrate that the allegations of the automakers against MMT are valid. To date, this information has not been forthcoming. Indeed, as the U.S. Court of Appeals recently decided, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has accepted that automakers have not demonstrated their case against MMT."

"Given the probability of MMT being reintroduced in the U.S., the lack of a sound scientific case against MMT, the benefits of the additive and the flawed process of political development, we strongly urge the government to not proceed with the proposed legislation to ban imports of MMT."

Clearly, it is not only refining and marketing companies that find this bill premature, at least in its present state, as is now being submitted to us today.

In spite of all the adverse opinions, the minister is still presenting her bill which settles, or tries to settle the question by banning MMT. I think, as my colleague the member for Laurentides said earlier, that they want to give a chance to the ethanol program.

On December 21, 1994, the federal government announced a new program that would promote the extraction of ethanol from biomass. According to the Minister of the Environment, in accordance with her policy on agriculture and with the government's will to develop an innovative economy, the government will implement the national program on biomass ethanol to promote private sector investment in that industry.

Again according to the environment minister, the national program on biomass ethanol shows that the government is quite determined to encourage the production and the utilization of renewable fuels wherever it is advantageous from an environmental and an economical standpoint. Apparently, that would be a step forward in setting up, in Canada, a renewable energy industry. The program provides for the establishment of a reimbursable line of credit guaranteed by the federal government, to which a limited number of eligible applicants would have access. A total amount of $70 million would then be offered under certain specific conditions between the years 1999 and 2005. We can see that there is a real desire on the government's part to promote ethanol in any way possible.

However, my colleague from the Laurentides asked a very relevant question. What would be the point of banning MMT if we are to spend money to use ethanol as a new gasoline additive? I think that question deserves to be studied in committee. Indeed, this little bill, apparently quite simple and quite insignificant, might have an extremely serious and complex impact.

I was listening to my hon. colleague opposite who was telling us about technical considerations behind this project. The fact is that there is a complex technical problem with various consequences. My colleague was remarking that "there are billions behind this", and he is absolutely right. When billions of dollars are at stake, we should at least think about the reason why the bill is put forward.

The Bloc will reluctantly support this bill at second reading, with so many reservations that it will not be real support. We hope to review it thoroughly in committee.

I hope the committee, both the staff and the members, will take the time to make a careful study of this issue, as my colleague from the Reform Party was asking for.

We will conduct a study that will be as exhaustive as the government will allow, because there are too many different interests at stake in addition to technical points about which decisions must be made. To do so, we will need complete explanations from some players who are independent, in some way, in the analysis itself, because they are not part of it.

But during the whole time this bill is studied in committee, we will keep in mind that Quebec as a whole has often been a loser to date, in terms of investment in the energy sector, and in all possible ways.

I would like to give the establishment of the Borden line as an example. Those who sat in the House, or were interested in politics at the time, remember very clearly that, in the early 1960s, international oil prices dropped so dramatically after worldwide overproduction, that western Canadian oil prices far exceeded oil prices on foreign markets. Refineries in the east end of Montreal, almost all of which are in my riding or very close to it, refused to buy oil from western Canada because it was so expensive.

At that point, western oil producers complained and asked the federal government to find a solution to their problem. The government appointed the Borden commission. That commission, which had no representative from Quebec, decided that a line would be set, the Borden line, giving western Canada a captive market, that is the region west of the Ottawa River, and that a pipeline would come to Sarnia. It also decided that eastern refiners, that is Quebec refiners, would have to get their oil from that pipeline. Consequently, within a few years, the whole petrochemical industry was transferred from eastern Montreal to Ontario. Quebecers, who were refiners and sellers of finished oil products, became buyers of refined products from Ontario.

This is a clear case, in the energy sector, of Quebec being deprived of an economic activity which it had developed.

This morning, I was listening to the hon. member for Longueuil. He was quite right when he said that all the major investments made in recent years in the energy sector, including CANDU research, amount to about $12 billion. Indeed, billions of dollars are invested in projects such as Hibernia, but not one penny was ever spent on hydro projects in Quebec.

Before concluding, I want to remind this House that 23 per cent of the money invested elsewhere than Quebec comes from Quebecers. We want to look at every side of the issue, and we hope that the committee will give us the opportunity to meet all those concerned with this issue.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives Act
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10:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Devillers Simcoe North, ON

Madam Speaker, the hon. member made reference to the District of Columbia circuit court decision, as have previous speakers.

I have a fax statement I would like to read and ask the member a question. It is fax from the EPA to Environment Canada that reads:

EPA has just learned of the D.C. circuit's decision requiring the agency to grant a fuel additive waiver for the manganese-based gasoline additive MMT. The agency is disappointed in the court's decision that EPA cannot consider health effects in deciding whether or not to grant these waivers.

This decision does not mean that unleaded gasoline containing MMT can now be sold. The Clean Air Act also requires that all new fuel additives, including MMT, must be tested and their health effects studied before they can be registered for use.

In 1994 EPA issued rules implementing this requirement that will govern the testing of MMT. MMT is not currently registered for use in unleaded gasoline. The agency will therefore require the testing concerning potential health effects of MMT be completed prior to its approval for this use.

I would like to know whether the hon. member is aware that tests will have to be completed before MMT can be used in the United States.

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10:05 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Madam Speaker, I was not aware of that. A Health Canada study showed that MMT is not a threat to health and the environment. We will find that report for my colleague. Mind you, reports coming out of Health Canada are not always reliable.

For example, UFFI was supposed to be fabulous. People had to spend billions of dollars to remove the stuff from their homes. Let us remember also the thalidomide and silicone breast implant problems. I always take what comes out of Health Canada with a grain of salt. Health Canada tells us that MMT is not a health hazard.

My colleague's question underscores an obvious fact. We are dealing here with an extremely complex issue that has implications in health, technology, and chemistry. Those who will examine this issue in committee will have to rely on experts to understand all the aspects of it.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives Act
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10:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Québec-Est, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to mention a rather interesting phenomenon. Listening to this discussion in the House concerning additives to the gas used in cars is a reminder of where the federal government is at compared to Quebec. In Quebec the electric car has been invented. An inventor in Montreal by the name of Couture has reinvented the wheel.

He has developed an electrical system by equipping each wheel with a motor, making this car the car of the future. Pollutants will be eliminated because, as we know, the whole discussion around MMT involves whether or not it pollutes, whether or not it is detrimental to health. In Quebec, we will eliminate pollutants. We will eliminate exhaust pipes. This will be a car without an engine. This electronic car is a major step forward for the entire world, and it began in Quebec.

Once again, this shows how Quebec has made progress in this field, as it has in many others, in trying to come up with the best, environmentally friendly solution for a healthier society. I was curious to know if the hon. member agreed with me that Quebec is already a frontrunner in the search for a solution to all these questions of gas and pollutants.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives Act
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10:10 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Madam Speaker, I found my colleague's remarks most interesting, as I was just speaking about this this morning. In fact, whenever we look at gas and additives to it such as MMT, ethanol or whatever, we are looking at chemical roducts, all of which, in one way or another, pollute. Take ethanol, which is not supposed to be a pollutant. Its manufacture from corn and fertilizers will damage the soil.

So the electric car, which needs no gas or other fuel, is an unprecedented opportunity for Quebec to take the lead in technology that does not exist anywhere else. I think that the people who are asking us for our vision of society see this as part of that vision. We could very well decide to electrify all our public transportation in Quebec, the buses travelling between cities and, gradually, all cars, and develop our own technology, which we could eventually export, especially now that we are the largest producers of electricity.

So I think my colleague is right, it is a key to the future, one which, in our case, will mean that in a few years we will no longer be wondering about chemical products, with their inevitable repercussions.

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10:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ovid Jackson Bruce—Grey, ON

Madam Speaker, my colleague from Anjou-Rivière-des-Prairies poses an interesting question. I would like to ask him a question.

It is said that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to the next. Nothing is free. Electric technology is still in its infancy. Battery technology is getting better but only for short runs. However, when we build hydro dams there is environmental damage. If we move to nuclear, there are costs as well. There are no free rides. We cannot say that electric cars are a panacea. They may become part of the mix of transportation systems but there are costs.

For instance, in the 1960s the demand for hydro power was doubling every 10 years. There are costs. Nothing is free. The automobile will still be there and we will still have to contend with the way it performs and try to improve it.

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10:10 p.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Comox—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this bill today. Bill C-94 proposes to regulate interprovincial trade in and the importation for commercial purposes of certain manganese based substances.

Before I go any further, let me clarify for the House what MMT is. MMT or methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl is a fuel additive. I am really pleased I had my two years of organic chemistry in order to be able to fumble through that. I will be using MMT for the rest of my speech.

MMT is a fuel additive which boosts the octane of gasoline and increases its efficiency. It has been used since 1977 in almost all Canadian unleaded gasoline.

MMT was introduced as an additive to gasoline when lead was banned and its addition has proven to enhance the effectiveness of fuel and has shown environmental benefits. This bill is designed to eliminate the use of MMT which is a lead replacement in unleaded fuels.

Bill C-94 allows the minister to authorize an exception for MMT. It will not be used in unleaded gasoline subject to monitoring requirements. Coverage of the bill can also be expanded by order in council to cover other manganese based substances and the bill will be binding on all persons, including the federal and provincial governments.

The penalties for unauthorized import or interprovincial trade of MMT are harsh and range from a $300,000 to $1 million fine and six months to three years in jail. That is pretty stiff.

I have several concerns with the bill. I am concerned about the government initiative in this matter in the first place. The government should not be interfering into private disputes between businesses. That is what this is. It should be resolved between the concerned parties and not by government legislation.

I am also concerned about the lack of research behind the bill. The government has refused to conduct an independent technical reviews to address the issues in dispute, as suggested by several provinces, gasoline refiners and the manufacturers of MMT. Instead the government is legislating a ban on a product without any proper investigation.

This is a technical industry issue which can only be resolved through an independent technical review, not by subjective government action. Reform has been very clear that it does not want to take sides on the issue. It has met with both sides, Ethyl and the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Associations, MVMA, and both sides appear to have credible arguments. Both sides have run exhaustive tests and come up with two different and contradictory results. This is why Reform feels that there is a need to run a third party independent test on the product before any conclusions are reached.

I am concerned that the bill is going ahead despite the fact that government does not have any conclusive evidence that MMT has an adverse effect on the environment. The minister's claim that MMT has been linked to increasing vehicle repair costs to the engine and emission control systems are unfounded. There is no external evidence to support any claim that the removal of MMT will decrease repair costs to the motorists.

The minister also claims that MMT causes on board diagnostic units to malfunction in the new 1996 cars. There is no evidence to support this either. The MVMA claims to have data to support this claim, but Ethyl says that test results from the largest EPA approved fuel additives testing program in history demonstrate that contrary to claims by the MVMA, MMT in Canadian gasoline is fully compatible with the new on board diagnostic catalyst monitoring systems.

Again, no independent third party testing has been conducted in Canada on MMT and the 1996 on board diagnostics. There is also no evidence to support claims that MMT damages the life of

emission control equipment or that the use of MMT in gas increases fuel consumption or pollution.

This legislatio is based solely on the evidence developed and put forward by the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers' Association, one of the parties directly involved in the dispute. Again, none of the evidence has been subject to third party analysis.

The Motor Vehicle Manufacturers' Associations has not made their evidence available to the general public. One has to ask why. Of what are they afraid?

When asked in the House of Commons for evidence to support this legislation, the minister side stepped the issue, refusing to bring the evidence into the open. Why? Clearly because the minister does not have sufficient evidence.

In fact there is evidence that appears to point to the contrary. Health Canada conducted a study in December 1994 which concluded that the current use of MMT does not harm Canadians. The report stated: "All analyses indicate that the combustion products of MMT in gasoline do not represent an added health risk to the Canadian population". Evidence provided by Ethyl Corporation, the manufacturer of MMT, also contradicts the conclusions of the MVMA.

It is important to note the method the government is using to implement this ban. The legislation proposes to ban MMT through a trade restriction, not an environmental ban. It is important. Why? Because the government has no legislative grounds to remove MMT for health, environmental or technical reasons. If there is something environmentally wrong with MMT then use the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Do not use a trade ban. There is something wrong with this picture. If the government is going to ban a substance it should have conclusive evidence that will support the ban which it does not have.

I am concerned about the precedent set by this bill of government interfering in business. The two concerned parties, industry and Ethyl, are both making contradictory claims and have been unable to smooth out their differences on their own.

Before the environment minister stepped in, the two sides were close to negotiating an understanding to bring in third party testing, which is what we want. However, the minister's interference in this issue has brought matters to a standstill. As soon as one side felt the minister was on its side, all talks were broken off. Rather than helping the situation the minister's interference hindered the course of events.

I am also concerned that Bill C-94 sets a precedent for business to drive the government agenda. The MVMA has threatened to raise automobile prices and to withdraw automobile manufacturers across the border if these companies do not get their way. This bill is clearly the response.

Government should not be responding to unfounded threats from the business community with legislation. This is no way to run the country, although it may now be the new way of Liberals doing business.

My concern with Bill C-94 is not who is right or wrong. I do not feel I can take a position on the issue because at this point there is not enough evidence to support one side or the other. My concern with the bill is the manner in which decisions are being made by government. Government should not be making decisions until there is clear third party, unbiased evidence on the table. There needs to be a fair and independent technical review of the facts.

Given that most automobile manufacturers are based in Ontario it is clear why the government has chosen to support the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers' Association in this dispute. Lobbying is the issue here, not MMT.

Government should not base its legislative decisions on lobbying or on where it feels its election interests may lie. MMT is the only gasoline additive available in Canada that is capable of reducing nitrogen oxide emissions by as much as 20 per cent. Nitrogen oxide emissions cause urban smog. A ban on MMT could have the equivalent effect of adding one million cars to Canadian roads by the year 2000 if we do not have an equivalent replacement.

If a replacement for MMT is not identified, its removal from gasoline will prove to be more environmentally detrimental than leaving it there in the first place. This should be of concern because it appears that environment department officials do not know what will replace MMT. This bill only allows six months for its ban to be effective. Six months does not allow enough time for industry to adjust.

Canadians should also be concerned about the cost of the legislation on the individual consumer. It is estimated that taking MMT out of gasoline will cost an estimated $109 million in capital costs and tens of millions of dollars for operating costs. These costs will be dumped on the consumer which will mean an increase in gas prices.

Several provinces have voiced their opposition to this bill. I wonder how the government justifies the restriction of import and interprovincial trade of MMT with Bill C-88 which proposes to remove interprovincial barriers to trade. Again it does not fit.

The spirit and intent of Bill C-94 represents a unilateral interference into provincial affairs. The province of Alberta has stated that Bill C-94 contradicts the energy chapter of the agreement on internal trade. Article 1209, section 1 states that

no party shall restrict, prohibit or hinder access to its petroleum markets or its petroleum products markets.

Alberta has questioned the environmental benefits of removing MMT and has demanded a fair and timely process to resolve the dispute. Saskatchewan's deputy minister of environment has stated the MVMA has not convinced Saskatchewan and the majority of provinces that there is any evidence to show MMT has an adverse effect on the on board diagnostic systems.

Why is the Minister of the Environment ignoring these concerns shared by Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick? Could it be that perhaps she is in the pocket of the auto industry?

I am also concerned that the environment minister's actions directly contradict what is currently taking place in the United States. The Americans have recently overturned the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association's evidence, the same evidence on which the proposed legislation is based.

Let me repeat that because it is important. The Americans have recently overturned the MVMA evidence, the same evidence on which the proposed legislation is based. The 19-year prohibition of MMT was recently lifted by an U.S. appeals court because the evidence of its effect on the environment has been shown to be inconclusive. Last week the United States district court of appeals issued its mandate ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to grant a waiver to permit the use of MMT in unleaded gasoline in the United States.

This reaffirms the findings that MMT does not cause or contribute to the failure of any emission control system or damage the environment. The order to grant a waiver follows from extensive program testing of the fuel additive.

I am concerned that the minister is jumping the gun with the bill. It appears that MMT will probably be reintroduced into the United States this fall. At the same time, the minister is taking action to ban the product in Canada. It simply does not make any sense.

Actions in the United States put a large question mark on the efforts of the environment minister to ban MMT in Canada. We have to ask again, why?

In conclusion, I would like to make it clear that I do not support this legislation. I do not support legislation based on lobbying and threats, and I do not support legislation that fails to obtain a fair and independent technical review of the facts.

If this legislation is to go forward, I agree with my colleague that it must go to the environment committee. Extensive witnesses from both sides should be called. The only way that this can be solved is a clear third party independent study to find out what are the basics.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives Act
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10:25 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Devillers Simcoe North, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member a question. The hon. member for Westminster-Burnaby before him made the allegation that the minister is in the pocket of the motor vehicle manufacturers.

If that is the case, I would like to ask the hon. member why it is that MMT has been disallowed for use in leaded gasoline in the United States since 1978? Was the EPA in the pocket of the motor vehicle manufacturers as well?

Did he not hear the statement that was read containing the facts from the EPA to the effect that the granting of the waiver does not permit the use of MMT in unleaded gasoline? It was simply a technical decision made by the District of Columbia circuit court to the effect that the EPA could not consider health effects in deciding whether or not to grant these waivers. The issue of using MMT still will be the subject matter of extensive testing on health effects.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives Act
Government Orders

10:30 p.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Comox—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, on the first point, about the minister being in the automakers' pocket, clearly this whole process is coming forth through pressure from the automakers, many of whom are in southern Ontario. The pressure is there. The minister has bowed to the pressure, and that is unfortunate.

In terms of the waiver, the minister is making my point, in that what we require is a third party independent look at this situation. I will go back to my former life and use 2,4-D as an example. The member for Davenport will understand the background. No matter which side of the issue, whether the banning of 2,4-D or the use of it, either side could get as big a pile as they wanted of the evidence. It was very difficult to get a clear, independent, middle of the road decision. This is what is required. I believe this is what the Americans are fighting for on this waiver. Again they are just bowing to saying this is exactly what we want.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives Act
Government Orders

10:30 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

Madam Speaker, to the hon. member for Comox-Alberni, for whom I have the greatest respect, no matter where the automotive industry is located, the industry serves Canadians from coast to coast, regardless of their location.

Here we are talking, among other things, of meeting the requirements of the customers in terms of warranty and in terms of the ability of the car owner to determine whether through the diagnostic system the anti-pollution devices can work or not.

The hon. member is shaking his head, but that is a fact. If he has more information to add, I would be glad to listen to him in this debate.

The member for Comox-Alberni spoke about the importance of independent testing. I am told that independent testing has been carried out by both sides of the debate, by the car manufacturers as well as by the petroleum industry. How much more independent testing does the member for Comox-Alberni want? Does he realize that testing is expensive, that it takes

time? And while further tests are taking place, as proposed by him, the manufacturing industry is in the process of producing the diagnostic devices, which will then not be switched on or connected if the MMT additive is not removed from gasoline. Therefore everybody will be losing in the process.

Has the member for Comox-Alberni given any thought to all the consequences of his suggestion flowing from further independent testing?