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

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. On December 1, 1994 I placed a question on the Order Paper and I am still awaiting a response.

I was wondering what the hon. member has to say about when I can anticipate a response to my question. It is Question No. 117.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, the question the hon. member has put is one that requires answers from numerous government departments and agencies and that is part of the reason for the delay.

I understand two departments have not been able to get the material required to the central place where these answers are gathered. Work is continuing with respect to that and as soon as I am in a position to answer the hon. member's question I will be more than happy to furnish the reply.

Ways And Means
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1) I wish to table a notice of ways and means motion to amend the Excise Tax Act and the Income Tax Act.

I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-87, an act to implement the convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction, be read the third time and passed.

Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act
Government Orders

June 19th, 1995 / 3:40 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, from the killing fields of Passchendaele to the bloated corpses of Kurdish people in Iraq, to the people we have seen dead and dying in the streets of Japan, chemical weapons have come to each and every one of us in our lives.

Bill C-87 is something we as Canadians should be very proud of as it enable us to implement our convention on the banning of these weapons of mass destruction. It also shows a unique amount of leadership that Canada and Canadians have demonstrated, a degree of leadership I might add that shows what we as Canadians can do in foreign policy if we put our minds to it.

I thank those members in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade who have worked extraordinarily hard to implement this very important piece of legislation, not only for Canada and Canadians but also for people across the world. As I hearken back to my original example, all of us in the House today and all Canadians hope that such tragedies will not occur in the future.

This is a landmark deal. I also thank a couple of members of the riding of Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, Mr. Bob McCrossen and Mr. Ken Conrad, who have given me invaluable information on these and other policy matters.

This convention had a number of sectors and dealt with schedules 1, 2 and 3 dealing with various chemicals. Schedule 1 deals with chemicals that are known to be chemical weapons such as tabun and sarin. Schedules 2 and 3 deal with precursors. There are varying degrees of compliance among them but it enables our country and other countries to monitor each other in a co-operative fashion to ensure that no country within the international community is building up chemicals or precursors to chemical weapons that can be used for aggressive and belligerent purposes.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the bill is the degree of co-operation. If we look at just one aspect of it, it enables countries to look at other countries and demand spot checks on the countries if they are suspected of developing, producing or stockpiling chemical weapons for aggressive and military purposes. It enables the international community to go in there, investigate and demand the chemicals be apprehended and destroyed as is.

The consequences of not doing so are significant for the country that chooses not to obey. In this instance when the implications of using chemical weapons are so severe it is important to see that the international community finally has its act together and is able to penalize countries that engage in these activities.

The industries that produce chemicals have appeared before the committee on foreign affairs, on which I sit, to give their wholehearted support for the bill. That is important to know. We in the House do not want to impede or compromise in any way, shape or form the ability of the chemical producers of Canada to engage in the peaceful production of chemicals for industrial purposes, a very important aspect of the industry.

There was a level of co-operation shown in the production of this convention that has not been seen since the end of the second world war. My hope is that we can learn something from this in the application to other aspects of threats to the international security that are occurring in the world now.

I have two examples on the aspect of the international stage that are a major threat to the international security not only for countries half a world away but also, believe it or not, for our country.

One example is the trafficking of small arms. The trafficking of small arms in this world of ours moving from one area of conflict to another has fanned the flames of ethnic discontent. It has given the fuel to enable people to fight ethnic conflicts where 90 per cent of the time it is the civilians who bear the brunt of these wars. They serve very little purpose.

Although people might say they have a right to buy and sell weapons, it is not the same as buying and selling wheat. These seemingly innocuous trades have an enormous impact not only on the conflicts in question but also on countries such as ours which are not directly involved in it. Why is that so? Because it causes the migration of individuals away from conflicts to areas that do not have conflict. It means that people are going to move to our country. I am sure if we put ourselves in those people's shoes we would see that they want to live in their homeland. They do not want to move to an area half a world away. These people in moving to our country will then cause an economic stress on our social programs.

The second thing is that conflicts half a world away put a stress on our military and on our foreign aid dollar. No matter what we do, if we go into a country and spend decades building up its infrastructure and a civil conflict occurs in that country, all of what we and other countries have done to build a peaceful and productive society will be dashed on the rocks for generations to come. We can see that now in the former Yugoslavia, in

Angola and in Mozambique. The list goes on and on. In fact the list is getting longer all the time.

There were over 40 ethnic conflicts in the world last year. The numbers are not getting lower they are getting higher. In part, small arms are what fuel the flames of that. I ask if Canada can take a leadership role, the same leadership role we demonstrated in producing the convention on banning chemical weapons, in developing some restrictions or framework in the trafficking of small arms for our benefit and for the benefit of countries the world over.

A disturbing thing came across my desk late last week. It shows that in Rwanda the French in collusion with the Government of Zaire have been selling arms to the former Hutu government living in the camps in Zaire. This means that the French are selling arms to the rebels and the rebels, over 50,000 strong, are getting ready to go into Rwanda to continue the killing.

I say that because it is very important. They are not only destabilizing Rwanda but they are destabilizing the eastern part of Zaire and are fuelling the flames of ethnic discontent in Burundi also. What we have seen for the last two years in central Africa is going to repeat itself unless we ask the international community through the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity to get involved and defuse the situation before it gets out of hand.

The other aspect in which I would like us to take a leadership role is the banning of land mines and anti-personnel devices. These devices have no significant role in fighting a war. They are primarily meant to destabilize the civilian population and are not meant to kill but to maim. Usually they are meant to maim civilians who work in the fields and children. Many of these anti-personnel devices are in fact designed to look like toys. When the children pick them up they get their arms or legs blown off. That is what they are used for.

I would ask that we take a leadership role in asking for the land mines and the anti-personnel devices to be put in the convention for conventional weapons and put in a similar category to chemical weapons. If we did that we would do a great service by saving hundreds of thousands of lives and preventing injuries. We would also be able to prevent the situation we see now which is that after a conflict finishes large areas of many countries are left completely uninhabitable. I will give a couple of recent examples.

In Chechnya there are literally millions of mines seeded around the country and absolutely nobody knows where they are. Therefore large tracts of land in Chechnya are going to be completely uninhabitable.

In Mozambique thousands and thousands of square kilometres of land are completely uninhabitable. People cannot go into the fields to grow crops to get their economic house in order because of the land mines. That completely diminishes the ability of a country to get on its economic feet after a civil conflict is over.

In Croatia the Croatians say that over a quarter of a million hectares are completely uninhabitable because they are seeded indiscriminately with land mines and anti-personnel devices.

The justification is as I have described before. Let us get together and work with the United Nations to look at those two areas. This is not only in our interests but in the interests of the international community as well.

As I said before, the model we can use is this convention, the convention on banning the stockpiling, use and production of chemical weapons and the degree of international co-operation we have seen here. It is a truly remarkable degree of co-operation. If we as a country can work with our Nordic compatriots to influence other multinational organizations, such as the United Nations, and the regional groups, such as the OAU, the OAS and the OSCE, and show them it is in their self-interests to put restrictions on the purchase, sale and production of small arms and look toward banning anti-personnel devices and mines, then we might be able to make some headway in this area.

I would also like to address the aspect of preventive diplomacy. I have spoken to the Minister of Foreign Affairs about this on a number of occasions. The minister said that yes, we will get involved by sending some of our diplomats across and that we will try to influence other countries and in co-operation with them send rapid deployment forces into areas where fighting has started. I would say that is too late. We usually find that the antecedents to conflict are on the boards at least two years before a conflict blows up.

There are things we can do to prevent these conflicts from occurring. Let us use the UN crisis centre more effectively. We need to build up a network all across the world of groups, individuals and NGOs that can funnel information into the UN crisis centre. The UN crisis centre could then produce briefs which would be made public every month as to what is occurring in the hot spots. The United Nations, which again would require a new level of co-operation, could then act on these situations to try to get a diplomatic solution rather than having them solved at the end of an assault rifle.

There are some things which we have not looked at aggressively. One of the things is to use the IFIs as an economic lever to bring belligerents to the table before they start fighting it out. These are things which have not been looked at before.

The other aspect is to withhold non-humanitarian aid from countries. By doing that we can force them to engage in behaviours consistent with common international norms. Again we try to offset the conflict by engaging in a diplomatic solution. If we allow a conflict to occur the seeds of ethnic hatred are sown for generations to come. It does not end at the end of the

conflict; rather, it continues for generations to come. We will all collectively pay for it in the future.

We cannot keep getting involved in conflict after conflict. We do not have the power, we do not have the will, and rightly so, and we do not have the money or the resources to do it. Perhaps through the leadership which we have demonstrated by implementing the convention on chemical weapons we can use the lessons we have learned here and bring Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and Norway together to influence the multinational organizations. If multinational organizations are going to continue to function in the way they have been since the end of the second world war, we will get the same results we have been getting since that time which are totally unacceptable.

We need a paradigm shift in the way we deal with the new threats we are going to have in the international community in foreign policy. As one of the few countries in the world that can take a leadership role in this, I ask that we engage in this not only for the benefit of the international community but also for the benefit of Canadians.

Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park
Ontario

Liberal

Jesse Flis Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a minute of the question and comment period to compliment the hon. member on his vision of a safe, secure planet for all. I heard this in committee and in the House. I compliment the hon. member for that vision and I hope he never loses it.

As he mentioned in his speech the most successful thing about this bill is the co-operation experienced in developing the convention and when the bill was being worked on to put it through the House before the summer recess.

I want to take the opportunity to thank the Reform Party and the official opposition.

Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak on third reading of Bill C-87 on the prohibition of chemical weapons. It is a particular pleasure considering that Bill C-87 seems to be one of the few government bills that has not been slapped with time allocation by the government.

It is a sad indicator of the state of our democracy that our government feels there should not be free and open debate on all the bills of substance that come before the House. When the Liberals were in opposition they went insane every time the Mulroney government imposed closure, especially on controversial bills like C-68, C-41 and C-85. Unfortunately, now that they have formed the government their tune has changed. As the Liberals and BQ were voting for closure and silencing democratic debate, they were laughing and joking as if they were having a grand old time. This behaviour is reprehensible and I would not have believed it if I had not seen it with my own eyes.

The use of closure on these highly controversial bills was particularly ironic considering that the government was willing to spend as many days as necessary for debate on things like the $2 coin. If there really was a time problem in Parliament, then why would the government not limit debate on that sort of bill? If there was a time problem, then why did it not resume debate on the controversial bills months ago, rather than ramming them through in the last two weeks before the summer break? The answer is simple: Time is not the problem. The problem is that the government is putting forward flawed legislation and a free and open debate would expose this to everyone.

Does the government really think the people of Canada do not see what it is doing? Do the Liberals think that if they stifle debate Canadians will not notice they are lining their own pockets with the outrageous MP pensions? Does the government think citizens do not realize it is giving special status under the law to sexual orientation? Will gun owners not notice their legitimate rights are being trampled on? No, on all counts.

Even though there is a temptation to play the government's ridiculous game, the Reform Party does support the chemical weapons convention which Canada signed in 1993. We will support the bill which allows Canada to be among the first group of countries to implement the convention's terms of agreement.

As all members of the House know, the Canadian commitment to peace is second to none in the world. This country invented the concept of peacekeeping and we have given strong support to the UN for many decades. Because of our history, Canada has also strongly supported international agreements and regimes to limit the dangers of war. The bill we are dealing with today falls into this category.

The chemical weapons convention deals with a category of weapons that are a blight on the world. Since the use of these weapons is considered illegitimate by almost everyone, the chemical weapons convention is dealing with a virtually universal norm. When I say universal, we must remember that there are notable exceptions which serve to remind us exactly why Canada must support the chemical weapons convention.

Everyone here in this House will remember with horror the terrible scenes of Kurdish villagers gassed by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the late 1980s. A reoccurrence of this truly evil act must be prevented in the future. By ratifying Bill C-87 Canada will be doing its part toward that end.

More recent events in Japan again reminded Canadians about the threats posed by lethal chemicals. In Japan we had the tragic circumstance where a fanatical cult was able to manufacture the deadly nerve gas sarin and then use it to poison hundreds of people in the subway system.

Once the signatories to the chemical weapons convention pass their own enabling legislation and the convention comes into force, hopefully this kind of tragedy will become preventable. With stricter controls of chemical warfare agents and their precursors, it seems unlikely that a group would be able to stockpile the kinds of chemicals hoarded by the Japanese cult leaders. Hopefully this would be detected and the appropriate officials could respond to head off trouble before it got out of hand.

Bill C-87 prohibits the production and use of chemical weapons and provides for the regulation of certain chemicals that can easily be turned into chemical weapons. Over the summer and early fall similar pieces of legislation will be prepared throughout the world and hopefully by late this fall the chemical weapons convention will officially come into force.

Currently the vast majority of countries have signed this convention and the Reform Party is quite hopeful that this worldwide effort will be a long term success.

With few countries outside the convention there will be significant pressure on signatories to adhere strictly to the convention's goals and provisions. Unfortunately the Middle East is one part of the world where several countries are refusing to join the convention. These Arab states argue that because Israel is unwilling to join the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, NPT, they cannot sign on to this convention. I do not agree. While I share the hope of these countries that the Government of Israel will consider joining the non-proliferation treaty, I also believe that this chemical weapons convention is serving the best interests of peace everywhere and it is a separate matter.

Both the chemical weapons convention and the non-proliferation treaty are agreements in the best interests of all the people and governments of the world. Therefore neither should be used as a bargaining chip by governments.

Too many times in this world countries abuse international instruments of peace and selfishly use them to their own advantage. The most ready example of this is the current situation in Bosnia with which we are all familiar. Let me review what has occurred in Bosnia to illustrate my point.

Canadian troops first went to Bosnia over two years ago, hoping they could provide assistance and humanitarian relief to the people there. They also tried to keep combatants apart and facilitate a negotiated peace for the region. Unfortunately these laudable goals were not backed up by a UN mandate that could get the job done. With no leadership from Ottawa, our peacekeepers have been left twisting in the wind.

The warring parties in Bosnia have manipulated and abused the peacekeepers who were sent there to help them. For example, we all know about the ridiculous hostage takings by the Bosnian Serbs. This has not happened once or twice but time and time again. It is an insult and an outrage to all Canadians.

However the problems go deeper than the abuses by the Bosnian Serbs. Let me quote from an article in the Toronto Star on June 9. It states: ``Canadian peacekeepers were dealt a double blow of life threatening harassment yesterday, not from the Bosnian Serbs but at the hands of the mainly Muslim Bosnian army. In one incident, in a trigger finger stand-off, the Bosnians pointed rocket propelled grenades, machine guns and pistols to prevent Canadians from reaching and retrieving a bulldozer stuck on a remote mountain road.''

A second article states that on May 22 Bosnian military police supported by Bosnian soldiers ambushed two Canadian UN armoured vehicles near Vares. The police demanded that the vehicles be opened, a right they do not have. Canadians refused. Suddenly a truck moved from behind a building and 15 heavily armed men hit the ground. The Bosnian bandits took radios, walkmans, personal items, smoke grenades and a number of fragmentation grenades.

These articles show clearly the kind of abuse I am talking about. The Canadian government and the international community must work hard to ensure that this kind of ridiculous and flagrant abuse will not occur in the future and will not occur with the enforcement of the chemical weapons convention.

Moving on to the substance of Bill C-87, the Reform Party supports this bill although we have a few concerns for which we would like assurances. First and foremost, Reform is concerned about the cost to the taxpayers and to Canadian industry. While we acknowledge that this bill has legitimate costs, according to our information the government does not yet know the price tag on Bill C-87.

We would like the government's assurances that it will spend the taxpayers' money with the utmost discretion and that it will present the actual costs associated with Bill C-87 to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs once these become available.

Reform wants to ensure that the implementation of Bill C-87 will be as cost effective as possible. For example, the government must avoid the creation of a huge new bureaucracy to monitor and regulate the Canadian chemical industry.

Officials at Foreign Affairs have notified Reform that a full time staff of five as a "national authority" plus one additional staffer at foreign affairs might be needed. The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs should be mandated to ensure that it does not go beyond this.

Since Reform has agreed to move this bill speedily through committee we would also like assurances that the government will use the inspection powers in Bill C-87 most judiciously and cautiously. Reform does not want to see a recurrence of the scope of inspection powers granted in Bill C-68. Provided we receive this assurance and the government ensures that inspectors will treat legitimate Canadian industry with all the respect it deserves, then we will be satisfied.

Most important, when it comes to the inspection of industry the government must take all reasonable steps to ensure their privacy. Industries subject to inspection must fully comply with the inspectors or be subject to either summary conviction or conviction on indictment.

Under the more serious category of an indictable offence persons would be subject to up to five years in prison and a $500,000 fine. In the face of these rather serious Criminal Code penalties business people will be compelled to comply with inspection requests even if they feel their legitimate rights to privacy are being violated.

Under paragraphs 14(1)(b) and (c), the inspectors can examine:

. . .any thing in the place being inspected; . . .make copies of any information contained in the records, files, papers or electronic information systems kept or used in relation to the place being inspected and to remove the copies from the place;

Although I know the intent of the legislation merely aims to fulfil the obligations of the convention, this wording could be interpreted more widely and Reform does not want to see this happen. Investigations could be used as fishing expeditions by the government to examine companies under a microscope. This would be totally unacceptable. The government must guarantee that all inspections are required to directly investigate whether companies are breaching the chemical weapons convention. Fishing expeditions should be specifically prohibited.

Under subclause 15(3) the bill states that search warrants would not be required, even if an inspector were refused entry to the premises, if there are "exigent circumstances". I would like to assume this clause is merely precautionary and is not intended for regular use. Under all circumstances except an extreme emergency, the government should obtain a search warrant where entry is refused. As we all know there are not many industries in Canada that currently make or use chemical weapons, so it seems very unlikely there will be any circumstances so pressing that a warrant cannot first be obtained before an inspection is conducted.

Moving to clause 20 of the bill we find the penalties for breaking the convention. I would like to hear from the government what exactly this clause means. It states:

Every person who contravenes any provision of this act is guilty of an offence and liable

It goes on about either an indictable or a summary conviction. I would like to know who would be subject to punishment in a large company where there was an offence committed. If a clerk made a reporting error through negligence would that employee be convicted? Would the owner? Would the board of directors? Would the clerk's supervisor? This must be cleared up. I would appreciate the government's comments on this.

Other than the aforementioned cautions and the suggestions for government, I have no doubt Canadians will support the intent of Bill C-87. Canada has always been a strong supporter of multilateral efforts to promote peace and restrict arms proliferation. This is especially true with respect to the prohibition of the use of chemical weapons. By asserting leadership in this area Canada is standing up for the extension of a rules based, multilateral system to defend our interests and promote common norms and values with like-minded countries.

In conclusion, Reform would like to give its strong support for this bill. I am glad the Liberals in this House are not imposing closure on C-87 as they seem to be doing with every other important bill that goes through this House.

Once Bill C-87 is passed we hope the government will make its implementation as pain free as possible for industry while still upholding Canada's commitment under the chemical weapons convention. If it does this I am sure all Canadians will for once be proud of something we have accomplished in this House.

Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Bloc

Nic Leblanc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will take only a few minutes to speak again to a bill I consider very important and which I also had a chance to discuss at the second reading stage.

I think the importance of this bill cannot be overestimated. Its purpose is to implement a convention that was signed by several countries. The fact that we are now about to pass this bill bodes well for the future, because I am against all kinds of weapons. But I am also realistic. I think weapons of all kinds will be around for a long time. However, chemical weapons above all should be absolutely prohibited because they are cruel and inhumane.

I hope such weapons will never be used again, but we cannot ignore the fact that these weapons are used and have been used in the past and that they kill adults and children who are innocent of any involvement in wars or conflicts.

These weapons could also be used against groups who are against a given religion, for instance.

A whole congregation of Christians, Jews or Muslims can be destroyed with these weapons. They are not just used to wage war but also to defend all kinds of ideologies and, in the process to attack innocent people. That is why today I again want to take a few moments to condemn these horrifying weapons.

These weapons can make people chronically ill. People are attacked physically, and their health may suffer for the rest of their lives. They are very dangerous in that respect as well. These weapons can also contaminate soil and water, damage the health of animals and destroy plants. They have a disastrous impact on the environment and human beings.

These weapons can also breed further hostility, as the memory of the suffering and ill health they caused will linger, possibly generating further conflicts in the near future. I think that is why it is so important to destroy these chemical weapons as quickly as possible and thus prevent recurring conflicts between peoples and nations.

Bill C-87 says we must prohibit the stockpiling, sale and production of these chemical weapons, and I certainly agree with this bill. I hope that the agency responsible for enforcing the provisions of this convention will take all necessary steps to do so using diplomacy and also bringing trade pressures to bear on countries that do not comply with the convention or refuse to sign the convention. They should be punished by means of trade sanctions, and the agency should use diplomacy to ensure they ratify or comply with the convention.

Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise on behalf of the people of Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt to speak on Bill C-87, the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act.

The chemical weapons convention is an extremely important treaty for the international community and has special significance for Canadians. It was just over 80 years ago in April 1915 that Canadians were one of the first victims to experience the gas of the Ypres salient. It was only three years ago that allied soldiers in the Persian Gulf had to face the threat of Iraq using chemical weapons in defiance of the international community.

Ever since chemical weapons were used on that fateful day in 1915 the international community has tried to come up with an effective treaty to contain and eliminate the use and stockpiling of these weapons of mass destruction.

The first attempt to control chemical weapons was the Geneva protocol of 1925. Sadly the Geneva protocol was as fatally flawed as the many nuclear weapons treaties of the 1970s and 1980s.

It was an agreement to ban the first use of chemical weapons only. It failed to limit or control the manufacturing of these weapons and many nations felt obliged to manufacture and stockpile chemical weapons for retaliatory purposes if attacked first.

The quest to ban chemical weapons outright continued and I am proud to say that Canada played a major role in the negotiations that resulted in the chemical weapons convention, the first multilateral weapons treaty to ban a whole category of weapons of mass destruction.

This treaty could not have come at a better time. As I mentioned earlier, at least one state has used or threatened to use chemical weapons on its neighbours and on its own people. In Japan a religious cult is currently under investigation for its role in placing deadly chemical agents in the Tokyo subway system killing scores of innocent civilians. This treaty I believe is a significant step forward in reducing such threats to the international community.

Since the chemical weapons convention was open for signature in Paris in 1993 it has been signed by almost 160 countries and will be ratified after 65 nations enact it. Canada will be one of the first.

This is significant in itself. However what really makes the chemical weapons convention a major success is the substance in the treaty. The convention obliges all states parties that manufacture and stockpile chemical weapons to destroy all stocks and manufacturing facilities within a set timeframe. This is accomplished under the close scrutiny of international inspections, effectively banning the future development and stockpiling of these weapons. The system of verification and inspection is the most rigorous to ever be imposed in a multilateral agreement.

Of major significance is the safeguard this convention has against the clandestine manufacturing and stockpiling of chemical weapons through international monitoring and inspection of all such facilities that could be used for that purpose.

The convention does not stop there. It also extends international monitoring into the global civilian chemical industry. To facilitate the international monitoring of civilian chemical industries, three schedules of toxic chemicals which have been used as chemical weapons or are known as chemical weapons precursors have been drawn up.

Schedule 1 chemicals are known as chemical weapons. These include chemicals such as sarin, which was used by terrorists in Japan, and mustard gas which Canadians faced in the trenches in World War I. These are not widely available in Canada aside from applications in some research facilities. Under Bill C-87 these research facilities will be required to obtain a licence and undergo two annual inspections.

Schedule 2 chemicals are more widely available in Canada. Many chemicals in this schedule have numerous commercial applications but can be directly used to produce chemical weapons. Manufacturers of Schedule 2 items will have to undergo two annual inspections if their production exceeds a listed threshold.

Chemicals listed on these two schedules will be banned for export to nations not party to this convention.

Finally schedule 3 chemicals are widely manufactured and used in Canada. These chemicals could be used as chemical weapons if present in large enough quantities. Companies manufacturing these chemicals will be eligible for occasional inspections.

Industries that work with the chemicals outlined in the three schedules will have to report on their own activities to their governments which will in turn disclose this information to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. A group of international inspectors will have the authority to inspect any facility it deems necessary. In addition to the scheduled chemicals, the convention also provides for an overview of facilities which produce discrete organic chemicals that could be adapted to produce chemical weapons.

These producers of pesticides, fertilizers, paints, textiles and lubricants will be subject to report on their production activities and will be required to allow random inspections of their facilities.

This convention will also ensure that all states parties will abide by the convention.

A provision in the convention allows any states party to have the right to demand a challenge inspection or no right of refusal inspections of the facility it believes is not acting in accordance with the convention. In addition, states not signing the convention will find themselves affected. States parties will have restrictions on the export and import of scheduled chemicals with states not party to the convention.

While the substance of this convention is important and I hope it will assist in making the international community a safer place, I have two concerns I would like to raise for members' consideration.

First the convention is going to be expensive to implement. It can cost up to 10 times as much to destroy chemical weapons and their manufacturing facilities as it did to initially manufacture them.

While the cost in this regard to Canada will be minimal due to the fact that we do not stockpile or have manufacturing facilities for schedule 1 chemicals, less developed nations are going to have difficulty destroying their arsenals. Take Russia, for example. Russia has 40,000 to 60,000 tonnes of chemical weapons to destroy. This will cost billions of dollars that Russia does not have. International inspectors will have to be diligent to ensure that states like Russia are not taking shortcuts to dispose of their arsenals.

At the same time, Canada must take care not to be dragged into paying other nations' destruction expenses given our own financial circumstances.

Second the international community, Canada included, must not be under any illusion that this convention will result in the absolute elimination of the threat of chemical warfare. While important, this convention is only one step in that process. Its true success is to reduce the threat only. It must be remembered that a number of states will not sign nor adhere to the convention. These states, which will remain unnamed, can still stockpile, produce or obtain, through the black market, weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons. In addition, terrorists will still pursue chemical weapons as a means to fulfil their goals.

While the convention may assist the international community in preventing these states or terrorists groups from acquiring these weapons, it does not guarantee that they will succeed. It must also be remembered that states that will destroy their stockpiles also have the knowledge to produce these deadly agents again if that international community changes.

I would like to conclude by stating that this convention, while a contribution to international security, does not mean that we should lower our defences. Canada must remain vigilant in maintaining a strong and well armed military capability of engaging in combat in a variety of theatres, including the chemical weapons theatre.

We must recognize that rogue states and terrorists will try to obtain or produce these chemical weapons. We must keep a watchful eye on those intent on this destruction.

The Reform Party therefore supports the intent and the spirit of Bill C-67.

Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup-Postal services.

I also wish to inform the House that under the provisions of Standing Order 30, I am designating Tuesday, June 20, 1995 as the day fixed for the consideration of private member's Motion No. 425 standing in the name of the hon. member for Comox-Alberni.

This additional private members' hour will take place from 11.30 p.m. to 12.30 a.m., after which the House will proceed to the adjournment proceedings pursuant to Standing Order 38.

Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Comox—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, it was good of you to tell me that my private member's bill tomorrow night will be at a rather late hour. I am sure the audience will be enraptured.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-87, an act to implement the convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction. It is the enabling legislation for the chemical weapons convention which Canada signed in 1993.

This convention prohibits the production and use of chemical weapons and provides for the regulation of certain chemicals which can readily be turned into chemical weapons. The convention is the result of over 20 years of negotiations.

The international community has been trying to outlaw chemical weapons and their use for over 100 years. This is the first time the whole category of weapons of mass destruction is to be eliminated.

Under international supervision all stockpiles of chemical weapons will be destroyed along with the facilities that produce them. This convention also enables a system of international supervision and inspection which will work to ensure such weapons will not be developed again. Under the terms of this convention, state parties are obliged to pass legislation that not only encompasses activities on their own territory but also prohibits their citizens from undertaking prohibited activities outside their area. States that own chemical weapons will have 10 years to destroy the weapons and production facilities.

Twenty-eight countries have ratified the convention to date and 65 countries will need to ratify the convention before it comes into effect. Canada will be among the first 65 countries out of approximately 132. The chemical weapons convention will take effect 180 days after the 65th state ratifies the agreement and tables it.

It is unfortunate to note however that the United States and Russia, the two countries that have the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons, have yet to sign on. Also, several middle eastern countries such as Iraq and Libya as well as North Korea have refused to participate because Israel will not join the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. This is of great concern given the recent use of chemical weapons in the gulf war by Iraq and more recently the use of chemical weapons to commit genocide within Iraq against the Kurds.

Chemical weapons continue to be a threat to world security. The need for international agreements to remove these weapons of massive destruction is very critical indeed. Chemical weapons are not only a threat to troops in times of war but also to civilians at all times. Only a few weeks ago we witnessed with horror how chemical weapons were tragically unleashed on unsuspecting Tokyo commuters. Shortly afterward, stockpiles of sarin, one of the chemicals scheduled in this bill, were found in Japan.

This convention may not prevent individual incidents of chemical weapons attacks. However, the implementation of the act will make it more difficult for such weapons to be created. In this way it may deter future incidents.

Eighty years ago, on August 15, 1915, Canadian soldiers were the first to be subjected to a systematic gas attack in the trenches in Belgium. On that day Canadian soldiers choked and fell to the ground writhing from chlorine and mustard gas released by the Germans. Many Canadians died that day and many would suffer lifelong ailments as a result of being gassed. My grandfather was among those to be gassed during the great war and he carried the scars for the rest of his life.

Mustard gas was one of the most effective gases used during the first world war. When the vapour touched the skin it immediately caused huge blisters, then blindness and when inhaled, the gas blistered the lungs resulting in death. Only recently the Kurds suffered this same fate from mustard gas.

Canadians are fortunate to live in a country that does not possess chemical weapons or have chemical weapons production facilities. Provisions in the treaty related to chemical weapons or chemical weapon production facilities therefore do not apply to Canada except in the area of trade. The main impact of this convention on Canada comes from provisions relating to industrial activity contained in the three schedules of this bill.

I was going to briefly outline these schedules but I will bypass this section. My colleague outlined the schedules in his speech which will be recorded in Hansard .

The Reform Party supports this bill. Canada has always been a strong supporter of multilateral efforts to promote peace and restrict arms proliferation, especially with the prohibition of the use of chemical weapons. Canada's participation in this treaty will encourage other non-participating countries to hopefully follow suit.

A few issues need to be addressed by government before the legislation is implemented. For example, although the government has been consulting with industry for years on this topic, the government still cannot provide any figures regarding the cost of implementing this bill. It is difficult to determine exactly what the government is proposing to do without seeing these figures.

The government has also not been able to provide any specific details regarding the exact size of the new bureaucracy which will be associated with the implementation of the legislation. Canadians need to know the size of the bureaucracy and exactly what is being proposed. It would be useful if the government would supply these items before tabling bills rather than expecting Canadians to simply sign a blank cheque.

Members opposite mentioned on second reading that the legislation represents the most balanced and cost effective means of implementing the convention. However, those statements are meaningless because we simply cannot assess the legislation without first looking at the figures. It is important that we not create another huge level of bureaucracy. Officials at foreign affairs said that it may take as few as five or six staff, and this sounds reasonable.

There are also problems with section 15(3) which need to be worked out. This section states that exigent circumstances would make it unnecessary to obtain a search warrant when an inspector is refused entry. We need to clarify what is meant by exigent circumstances in the bill. As it stands, this could be open to very broad interpretation and may infringe on the rights and liberties of individuals if a definition is not clearly provided.

There are also problems with section 20 which states that every person who contravenes any provision of the act is guilty of an offence. That sounds like a presumption of guilt and given this presumption the implications in section 23 are far too broad.

It also states that where a person has been convicted of an offence under the act, anything seized by means of which, or in respect of which the offence was committed, is forfeited to Her Majesty in right of Canada and shall be disposed of as the minister sees fit. The provisions for confiscation are particularly open ended and it is unclear what is meant by them. Is the minister taking liberties to confiscate possessions, property, illegal chemicals or is he merely gathering evidence needed for a trial? I am concerned about these areas and we need some clarification.

We must ensure that individual rights and liberties are protected when we set out powers of inspection. Sections 13(c), 14(b) and 14(c) warrant close examination and careful clarification before they are set into law. Protection to ensure that authority for inspection is not abused must be included in the bill.

There are also questions about who will pay for the costs of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. This large worldwide organization will have up to 1,000 staff and will operate with an annual budget of $150 million to $180 million. Members will also have to contribute to international inspection expenses and costs of elimination of chemical weapons and facilities.

It is unclear where these overall costs will come from and how much Canada will have to commit to. It is important that given our current fiscal situation Canada not be too generous in its contributions. We must be frugal because we just do not have the money.

There are several areas of concern in the bill which must be addressed before it becomes law. However, Canada's participation in the convention should and will be absolute. Despite the need for clarification in the bill, I am pleased to say that I agree with its spirit and intent and I am pleased to support the bill before the House today.

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4:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I would like to make a personal note with respect to the remark made regarding private member's Motion No. M-425 tomorrow evening being from 11.30 p.m. to 12.30 a.m. Of course that would be prime time in Comox-Alberni.

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4:35 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this much needed bill. I am also pleased to hear about the treaty and the signing of it. The legislation is a real motherhood and maple syrup issue. No one can disagree that chemical weapons are a danger to our planet Earth and must be controlled.

Once again the government has shown its failure to understand the situation. The government is not proposing banning chemical weapons because it is the right thing to do, it is proposing to rush the legislation through for political reasons. Canadians should not confuse the government's intentions in the process the bill is receiving. This government wants passage of this bill because if Canada is one of the first 65 governments to ratify the convention the government will receive political favours.

Just as this government has told Canadians that the firearm control bill was for public safety and the sentencing bill was a deterrence on crime, this government will tell Canadians this bill makes the world a safer place. Just as Bill C-68 was not about public safety and Bill C-41 was not about a deterrence for criminals, this bill is not about world safety in the eyes of government. This bill is about giving this government bragging rights.

Recent events have shown that chemical weapons are becoming the weapons of choice among terrorists. The sarin attack in Japan has shown that terrorists can do the maximum physical and psychological damage at low cost. The attacks on Kurds in Iraq have shown that civilian populations are at the mercy of those who control chemical weapons.

We on this side totally agree that measures must be put into place to monitor and detect those who could easily obtain chemicals to spread terror. Canadians must understand this bill will not guarantee that terrorists cannot obtain, combine and release certain chemicals upon an unsuspecting public. This bill only approves monitoring of certain chemicals that could be dangerous, just as Bill C-68 only monitors law-abiding firearms owners.

Just as Bill C-68 cannot prevent criminals from using illegally obtained firearms to wreak havoc upon Canadians, this bill will not prevent determined terrorists from illegally obtaining the chemicals they need. The justice minister continually told Canadians that the gun legislation was necessary for public safety but later admitted no legislation could prevent those criminals truly wishing to use an illegal firearm from using one in the commission of a crime. Let us not hear any talk from those opposite that this bill will make public safety certain. This bill will not do that.

What could have prevented those wishing to use chemicals as a weapon is tougher sentencing. Unfortunately the justice minister did not do that in this bill or in Bill C-41. Instead of sending a message to terrorists and would-be criminals that Canada will take a tough stand to stop the use of chemical weapons by imposing severe sentences on dangerous criminals who consider this, the government offered alternative measures in Bill C-41 and no measures in this bill.

We on this side of the House readily admit and know one important fact that the government either cannot or will not admit. We know there are criminals who cannot be treated or rehabilitated. These criminals are the kind who would use chemical weapons. Those are the individuals who require severe sentences up to and including life in prison. Life in prison for those opposite means life: no review, no conditional release, no end of sentence release. Life means incarceration until the criminal is no longer able to threaten Canadians. It means the criminal never returns to society.

The government had the opportunity in Bill C-41 to enhance this legislation by including severe sentencing. The government instead rushed this bill through the House to enhance its reputation rather than to send a message to criminals in this bill or in Bill C-41.

Instead we get legislation that makes it a severe crime to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation but no increased sentencing for those who use chemical weapons upon helpless victims. This government always puts legislation together that promises more than it delivers. Just as the government would tell Canadians this bill is to enhance public safety, the real reason for this bill is so some of those opposite can bask in the limelight of world opinion.

If this government wanted to deter the use of chemical weapons, it could have and should have included sections in this bill to change the Criminal Code, to put in punishing long sentences for anyone dealing with or using chemical weapons. This government states it is bound by international obligations to include punitive criminal sentences in Bill C-7, an act respecting the control of certain drugs introduced by the Minister of Health.

This government states international obligations obligate it to pass this legislation. I do not see any punitive sentencing measures in this bill. As I said, the bill is the right thing to do but the reason the government is doing it may not be so.

Instead of introducing legislation for public safety and the public good, the government is introducing the legislation for its individual praise from the world community.

If the government wanted to send the message that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated instead of simply pushing an inspection bill through the House to gain personal glory, it should have included measures that will deter criminals from even thinking about using chemical weapons.

If the government can increase sentences for users of soft drugs it can increase sentences for users of dangerous chemicals weapons, but it has not. I will support this inspection bill even though it has no measures that deter criminals. The government has failed in that respect.

The government joins the United States in the failed attempt of its war on drugs by removing civil liberties by allowing inspectors to read medical files of Canadians. It increased jail sentences for casual soft drug users because the United States told it so. The government will not legislate increased sentences for the use of chemical weapons.

Half measures and dreams of glory on the international stage fuel the government's desire to rush the bill. Perhaps now that the voters of Ontario have chosen Reform principles of justice the government may change its bleeding heart ways not because it is the right thing to do, not because it may lose votes if it does not; it will do it because it is the right thing to do. It is too bad the government once again chose the wrong reasons.

We fully support the bill as an initial step in deterring the crime of the use of chemical weapons of any nature.

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4:45 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak this afternoon if for no other reason than the temperature in the Chamber is bearable.

It is an honour to speak on third reading of Bill C-87, an act to implement the prohibition of the production and use of chemical weapons. I join most members of the world community in abhorring the use of chemical weapons.

This proposed legislation takes into account many concerns and tries to establish a compromising balance between these concerns. It acknowledges the devastation caused by the horrendous use of chemical weaponry as well as the ongoing studies and testing of these substances for future development.

The convention modernizes the 1925 Geneva protocol which was an international attempt to limit the use of chemical weapons after the first world war. This protocol was brought to present day standards by having observed past experiences and having learned from them. We now realize that putting a ban solely on the use of chemical weapons left many areas open and

allowed the stockpiling of such weapons but closed the doors for use and further study.

Bill C-87 is the act to implement the more recent convention of 1993 and realizes there are many uses of chemicals and outlines both the positive and negative aspects. The 1993 convention ensured states would not stockpile chemical weaponry for retaliation against future attacks or to instigate war. If they did they would face the condemnation of the world and sanctions as well.

Canada has always been among the first to initiate peace. In 1983 Canada made large contributions to the committee that developed and outlined a treaty on disarmament leading to the conclusion of discussions in 1992 when Canada was urging a ban on all warfare to be accepted internationally. There is now such a ban on the use of chemical weapons which caused such brutality. It is this ban we are discussing in the House today.

The convention involves not only those who engage in war but also those industries using chemical substances in their production and testing. This is where Canada assumes its role in the convention.

Canada will primarily be enforcing the legislation when it comes to the importing and exporting of chemicals listed in the three schedules. Canada does not own chemical weapons nor do we contain any manufacturing facilities that do so. Therefore our role in implementing the convention is fortunately not very complex.

In 1915 Canadian soldiers were victims of the first gas attack during World War I. The 1925 Geneva protocol had a certain amount of control on the use of these weapons but was not able to completely rid their usage.

Recently we have seen chemical weapons used in the Iran-Iraq war, in Japan and by Iraq against its own civilian Kurdish peoples, among others. This convention, which will be headed by the organization for the prohibition of conventional weapons, will enforce legislation in all the signatory countries prohibiting chemical weapon usage and will hopefully have the international support and pressure to impose greater sanctions against those contravening these policies.

Areas of legislation included in today's convention include verification policies, creation of an organization to implement them, specific guidelines with regard to levels of chemical ability as well as processes for destroying weapons and their plants.

The verification regime, which is global, is to ensure these weapons of mass destruction will never be developed again. The international monitoring system will safeguard against weapon production by inspecting all facilities which are or were used for these purposes. This system does not affect Canada as there are no facilities here. This verification process will also be extended into other chemical industries.

Three schedules are to be used in ensuring no chemical weapons are or can be manufactured. Industries using such chemicals will be required to report annually and each government of the signatory countries will be required to report to the international organization, the OPCW.

In Canada the Minister of Foreign Affairs will designate officials who will act as Canada's national authorities. Canadian officials will collect information from Canadian industries and transmit it to the OPCW for inspecting purposes. However international inspection teams have the right to conduct inspections without warrant in accordance with the provisions of this convention. It contains appropriate provisions for inspection and keeps them in accordance with the need to protect privacy.

As will be a requirement of other countries, Canada will enact legislation in the Criminal Code providing penalties, fines and imprisonment for warlike use or production of chemicals. Legislation will protect but keep a close eye on usage of these chemicals for medicinal purposes as well as for pesticides, fertilizers, paints, textiles and lubricants.

The convention will also require state organizations to enforce restrictions on the export and import of schedule chemicals with states that have not signed the convention. All chemicals on the list will therefore be subject to the Import and Export Permits Act. Although there are restrictions which will be imposed on exports to suspect states, the legislation has balanced these restrictions with the desire to liberalize trade for industries and medicinal purposes.

The schedules which will be used in identifying chemical legality are in three groups. The first contains chemicals such as mustard gas. Some other chemicals in this same group are used in pharmaceuticals and in cancer research. Schedule 2 consists of chemicals which are precursors to schedule 1, chemical weapons. Schedule 3 contains the least powerful of the three groups, often used in industry but can also be used as weapons when in large quantities.

Each group will be under scrutiny, whether it be checks and balances, limited amounts permissible or whether they must obtain a licence and pay a fee to use them.

Under international supervision all stockpiles and producing facilities of chemical weapons will be destroyed within a given time frame. Given this, the legislation will have to consider economic implications. There will be a 10-year limit for states to destroy their stockpiles and facilities. However a 10-year extension is also allowed which has stricter controls. I have a problem with this 10-year extension because if we continue to allow extensions on the destruction of these facilities we are allowing them to remain for greater use.

The Reform Party supports Bill C-87 and would like to see it implemented immediately. Canada has always been a strong supporter of multilateral efforts to promote peace and restrict arms proliferation.

By accepting the convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and eventually on their destruction Canada is promoting common norms and values with like minded countries.

Reform acknowledges the government has consulted for many years on this topic but still does not know how much it will cost to implement nor the exact size of the bureaucracy to be created. Foreign affairs has speculated a full time staff of five as a national authority plus one staffer at foreign affairs might be needed. We would like to make sure the bureaucracy does not expand beyond this.

Section 15(3) states exigent circumstances would make it unnecessary to obtain a search warrant when an inspector is refused entry. This should be clarified. The wording in section 20 also seems too broad. Section 23 states:

Where a person has been convicted of an offence under this act, any thing seized by means of which or in respect of which the offence was committed is forfeited to Her Majesty in right of Canada and shall be disposed of as the minister directs.

Exactly what could be confiscated under this provision is unclear. The powers of inspection should not be allowed to get out of control. Reform does support this legislation and hopes there will be some accountability in its enforcement to see it is not used unnecessarily.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.)

The House resumed from May 29 consideration of the motion that Bill C-88, an act to implement the agreement on internal trade, be read the second time and referred to a committee; and of the amendment.