House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was countries.

Topics

The House resumed from October 28 consideration of the motion that Bill C-29, an act to regulate interprovincial trade in and the importation for commercial purposes of certain manganese-based substances, be read the third time and passed; and of the amendment and the amendment to the amendment.

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10 a.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Oxford, ON

Madam Speaker, in the past 30 to 40 years the evidence has been accumulating that all is not well with mother earth. The list of endangered species lengthens, the flocks of migratory birds dwindle, the lakes and rivers die. Even the oceans are becoming toxic sinks. We are warned not to go out in the sun. A tan is no longer a sign of health.

The aboriginal people understood these things. Many young people understand them. Many adults do not, or will not. Our modern, industrial, developed society is characterized in these words of the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins in his poem, God's Grandeur :

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; It gathers to a greatness like the ooze of oil

crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

and all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; and wears man's smudge and shares man's smell; the soil

is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod. And for all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black west went

Oh, morning, at brown brink eastward, springs-

because the Holy Ghost over the bent

world broods with warm breast and Ah! Bright Wings.

Hopkins' hopeful ending suggests that all may yet be well with God's help. But this poem was written over 100 years ago and human technology is now outstripping nature. We as citizens of this planet must redress the balance with nature which is the only way to ensure a sustainable future for all humanity. Unless we change our attitude to the environment, we will destroy it and ourselves into the bargain. The time is now.

This brings me to the bill before us today. Bill C-29 seeks to ban the fuel additive MMT from Canadian fuels. I support the bill because the most efficient way to protect the environment is to prevent pollution. Bill C-29 accomplishes this.

Canadians know how important their environment is and they expect the federal government to take a leadership role in preserving and protecting it.

Some members of the House may ask why Bill C-29 is important. Bill C-29 represents a prudent approach that ensures the Canadian consumers and the environment are protected. It deals with the uncertainty regarding the long term effects of MMT on advanced emission control technologies such as on board diagnostics, OBD, that are now being built into the motor vehicle fleet on a widespread basis.

On board diagnostic systems are designed to monitor the performance of pollution control systems, particularly the catalysts, and alert the driver to a malfunction. These systems prevent increased tail pipe emissions, including carbon monoxide and other hydrocarbons which impact on local air quality, as well as carbon dioxide, the principal contributor to climate change.

Properly functioning OBD systems are in essence an inspection and maintenance tool in the vehicle, and inspection and maintenance programs require vehicles to be tested on a periodic basis for emissions.

The industry wide implementation of properly functioning OBD systems will permit all Canadians to benefit from an emissions reduction strategy. For example, an assessment of the emissions benefit attributed to the air care inspection and maintenance program in the Vancouver city area conducted on an annual basis shows that hydrocarbon emissions have been reduced by 20 per cent, carbon monoxide emissions by 24 per cent, nitrogen oxide emissions by 2.7 per cent and fuel consumption by 5 per cent from the tested fleet.

Auto makers have indicated that if MMT remains in Canadian gasoline they would take action, ranging from disconnecting OBD sensors to removal of the OBD systems and decreased warranty provisions for automobile owners. General Motors of Canada has already advised the government that it has disabled certain functions of the OBD system on 1996 model year vehicles.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to MMT. Alternative fuels can replace this additive as an oxygen enhancer in gasoline. For instance, ethanol is a renewable fuel that I and many of my rural caucus colleagues have supported for its obvious environmental and economic benefits. The ethanol plant in Chatham will have an enormous economic benefit for southwestern Ontario. The plant will be producing over 150 million litres of this cleaner burning fuel which will ensure that a better alternative to MMT as an oxygen enhancer is readily available for the Canadian consumer.

The earth is a global spaceship. The delicate envelope of atmosphere which surrounds us is all the environment we have. As human beings we share with all other species of animals and plants this layer of air, soil and moisture. All citizens of Canada need to keep in mind that wonderful picture of planet earth taken by astronauts which shows it swathed in blue green swirls of atmosphere floating in the black void of space.

Until all of us are aware of the finite, fragile and unique nature of our world, and treat it accordingly, we must pass laws which will protect this planet for future generations. Bill C-29 is such a law and I am proud to support it.

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10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this bill on manganese based additives, but at the same time I find it sad that the government continues to obstinately insist on passing a bill to ban MMT, when there has been no proof of any real danger to the environment.

In this matter, the official opposition has had the very constructive attitude that, yes, it would be worthwhile to look at this, that there would have to be impact studies, that we would have to look at the potential advantages, impact and risks associated with this additive. But the government has found no proof and has no justification. It seems that the sole reason for the government's continuing pressures is the lobbying by Ontario MPs, who see this bill as a way of improving the cost-effectiveness of a not very successful industrial sector in Ontario.

The government's insistence on pushing the bill through, no matter what, has had several effects. As was said this morning, Ottawa wants to push through a bill that will be harmful to Montreal. It is, moreover, harmful to all of Canada, for there is the possibility of a nearly $200 million lawsuit by an American company, Ethyl, under NAFTA. The Canadian government, in irresponsibly pushing this bill ahead, will once again be costing Canadians a great deal of money.

Why does the government absolutely insist on adopting this bill, when it could simply be sent to a committee for study, as long as necessary to prove the environmental effects of MMT? Are there harmful effects, yes or no? Could the validity of the Ethyl claim be verified? When it comes down to it, will we be stuck with a major legal battle, with millions of dollars spent on defending Canada in a case about which we are not even certain? What is more, the governments of Alberta and Quebec have already announced that they intend to take Ottawa to court, and they are not alone. A total of six provinces have spoken out against the federal government's bill on MMT, this gasoline additive which has not been proven harmful to health.

There are, therefore, some important elements to be considered: the cost to Canadians, and the tarnishing of Canada's image by defending a case about which there is no certainty under the free trade agreement. What is still more dramatic for Quebecers, however, was summarized very aptly by the president of the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, Alain Perez, when he said "At this time, there are several factors threatening a Montreal refinery, one of which is this bill".

Is this one more case of the federal government putting Ontario before Quebec, or changing the rules of the game? The competitors are already in the marketplace, the rules of the game are already in place, and if the refineries in the Montreal region are able to survive, those in Ontario must be able to as well. If there are problems with ethanol production, efforts must be made to make it more profitable, to improve production processes and other procedures, but not via political interference. Political interference changes the rules of the game.

We are seeing an increasing number of instances under the current Liberal government. The same is being done with Canadian International. By playing this kind of game, the government is promoting unfair competition. On the one hand, the government upholds a certain principle and the principle of free competition is supposed to rule the market, because it will make us competitive and people will get a better deal. But on the other hand, whenever there is a very strong political lobby-in the case of Canadian, it is western Canada, and in this particular case it is Ontario-environmental considerations which are not justified are used as an excuse to go ahead and rush a bill like this one through the House.

I think that in this case, the federal government has clearly shown that it is more or less being led by its strong delegation from Ontario, by the lobby of ministers from that region. When a decision is to be made here in Parliament, all aspects of a bill must

be considered. Whether we are talking about economic costs, the legal problems that can be expected with the provinces, the potential damage to our international reputation and the impact on employment in a region like Montreal, if the federal government adopts this bill, if the Liberal majority manages to ram it down our throats, they will prove once again that Canadian federalism is good if it is good for Ontario.

When there is a choice to be made between economic benefits for Ontario or for Quebec, like the Supreme Court in this country or the Tower of Pisa, it always leans in the same direction. The federal government always leans toward Ontario, which is more less what is happening in this case.

In the coming year there will be an election campaign, when Quebecers will be asked to consider the relevance of all this. It will be up to them to decide, in this case as in so many others, who conducted the best defence of Quebec's interests. Was it the federal government, which is ramming down our throats a bill that will benefit Ontario, without giving any scientific proof of the environmental impact, or was it the Bloc Quebecois, which defended Quebecers and the entire Canadian market, saying that political lobbying was the only reason and that the lobbies fully supported the federal government's position?

It looks as though the federal government has taken advantage of the silence of the Conservative Party. Defending the interests of Quebec does not seem to be its main concern. When one has a federal vision of Canada, there are many things one does not talk about. We in the Bloc Quebecois have no such constraints. We have no wish to form the government, and so we are in a position to defend consumers, Canadians and Quebecers, to ensure that the choices made by the Canadian government produce long term benefits for the Canadian economy and the Quebec economy.

When the Liberals vote on this bill later today, especially the Liberal members from Quebec, I hope they remember this position that was reported in the papers today. I am referring to what was said by Alain Perez, president of the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute: "At this moment, the existence of a Montreal refinery is threatened by a number of factors, including this bill, the bill on MMT, on manganese-based additives".

When the Liberals vote on this bill, every time a Liberal member, especially those from Quebec, rises in the House to vote in favour of the bill, he will be hurting Quebec's economy, and Quebecers are sure to rembember this in the next election.

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10:15 a.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, the environment as a topic currently is not the headline grabber that it once was. However, the worrisome fundamental trends for our planet remain.

The real problem is to determine what are wise actions for governments to take to protect the environment in view of science, economics and politics. Often it is the apparently obvious quick fix that is tried and then eventually realized as no real solution. In addition there is always the politics of balancing and reconciling the vectors that pull in different directions. It seems in this case that the vectors or forces of politics win over the policy vectors indicated by science.

With this bill we have a political headstrong approach that is characteristic of governments that think they are high in the polls, believe their own press releases and have an arrogance that only they have the divine right to govern. My how the tone has changed from when these Liberal members were in opposition. Back then they howled like coyotes when the other old arrogant members, the Conservatives, used closure. The Liberals were outraged when closure was used. Now that they are in power they do the same thing.

Voters have to remember this and resolve that such breaking of faith with the community should not be rewarded in the next election with support and a vote for any Liberal. What is being done today reveals the inner heart of what drives Liberals in government. It is a prime example of why federal politicians are rated no higher than insincere used car salesmen. It is understandable that Canadians turn off on politics.

Before us we have a bill which is anti free trade and which is supposed to help the environment but it is not supported by credible scientific evidence. This bill should have died on the Order Paper but now we have it back again under the closure rules.

I despair that we will ever see a Liberal Minister of the Environment who will be content with the best that science has to offer for environmental policy. The quest for short term political payoff is evidenced in this bill to ban the importation and trade of MMT in gasoline.

We were not even close to having a realistic minister when the member from Hamilton had the job. She had a manner of finding her own departmental officials two steps behind her on nearly every erratic policy course change in her quest for the heroin fix of the political hit. Unfortunately now with the new minister, Canadians are getting little improvement on the MMT score.

In the environment portfolio there has not been an abundance of legislation. Since the Liberals took power in 1993 there have been only six bills brought forward by the Minister of the Environment. It is a stark comparison to the active Department of Justice which has introduced 30 bills. With extra time to consult and consider,

one would think that environment would only produce wise and quality law. How wrong to surmise.

In May 1995 the former minister introduced a bill that would ban the interprovincial trade and importation of the gasoline additive MMT. Bill C-94 which is now Bill C-29 has easily become one of the most starkly divided issues during this Parliament. No legislation during the 35th Parliament has lasted this long in the House. The reason is that the so-called science is in conflict. Ways and means do not match up in this bill. When a basic idea is flawed, the resultant legislation is bad. It does not deserve to be passed.

However the former minister and her political friends at the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association had a half baked idea that went too far. The MVMA wanted MMT to be removed from unleaded gasoline in Canada because it claimed that the additive which is used to boost octane and reduce pollution was creating havoc with the new onboard diagnostic pollution sensors in late model automobiles.

There were only two ways to get MMT out of Canadian gasoline. One would have been for the MVMA to conclude negotiations with the stakeholders including Ethyl Corporation which manufactures MMT as well as the petroleum companies and conduct independent third party tests that would conclusively demonstrate if MMT was harmful. The other was the strong arm approach to directly legislate with the government trying to scare Canadians, claiming that if MMT was not out of fuel, automobile manufacturing plants could close and the price of cars would dramatically increase. Those latter arguments put forward by the government proved to be false.

The weighing of the policy options must have taken at least two minutes for the minister to decide as the choice was so poor. The choices were politics or science, and the minister chose politics.

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, CEPA, was designed to create environmental protection and among other things to ban substances that are harmful to the public health and the environment. The former minister wanted to put MMT on CEPA's toxic list but Health Canada did not find it harmful to our health. Unfortunately for Canada's most unenvironmental environment minister, Health Canada had already proved that MMT in its present manner of use presented no harm to health and it later stood by their conclusion on the record.

With the new minister, Environment Canada has been no better off with this bill. He had his chance to put Bill C-94 on a permanent shelf to collect dust. One wonders who is really in charge of legislative initiatives with his department as it was brought forward again in full view of the bill's discredit. The mistake of this bill will certainly remain as a legacy to Liberal environmental legislation.

Reformers have opposed this bill without pressure from lobby groups because the inherent nature of the original idea was bad. Thorough and rigorous independent testing is the only way to resolve the regulatory question of whether we should have MMT in gasoline.

At present MMT helps cars run cleaner with better distance to fuel consumption ratios so that less gas is burned which helps the global warming agenda. I am told that MMT in gasoline is significantly better for gas mileage than reformulated gasoline. Further, we should carefully test some of the proposed alternatives to reformulated gasoline as they may not be inherently as environmentally friendly as first thought. Choices turn out that way when politicians seek the short term rewards of political success over what science may show as the long term public interest.

We also have to look at the taxpayer subsidies the Liberals are pouring into ethanol production which may be an uneconomical choice that in total in the big picture may not be very environmentally friendly. The issue of MMT and why the government does not like it I suspect has a lot to do with money and who pays rather than doing the right thing for the environment.

Above all, the use of closure as a principle in Parliament on this type of bill is disrespectful to members of the House. It is an example of how old line system defenders, the Liberals in this case, continue in their traditional ways and reinforce public cynicism about representative government versus responsible and accountable government to the people.

The bill is bad. Its methods are perverse. Now we have the final insult of it being driven by closure. I hope Canadians will remember this in the next election.

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10:25 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Resuming debate. Is the House ready for the question?

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10:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

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10:25 a.m.

An hon. member

Question.

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10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Kilger Stormont—Dundas, ON

Madam Speaker, there has already been a certain amount of co-operation among all the parties involved in this debate, and I must also acknowledge that the Chair has asked if we wished to resume debate. In a spirit of co-operation, we would ask the Chair to please return to the matter under debate so we may complete this nevertheless important bill.

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10:25 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

I acknowledge the remarks of the hon. government whip but I would remind this House that, on two occasions I called for a resumption of debate,

and no one seemed interested in doing so. I will call for it a third time. Resuming debate.

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10:25 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, on a point of order. There is a practice in this Parliament that has gone on for three years at least whereby the parties agree to provide you with a list of those who will be speaking. The opposition has always co-operated and is prepared to continue doing so.

However, a procedure, even if you did say it twice, must not be used to speed things up and take people by surprise. We are prepared to co-operate. I thank the chief whip of the Liberal Party for recognizing the need to facilitate debate, but I do not want things hurried up and the debate adjourned earlier than planned, before everyone on the list has had a chance to speak.

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10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Kilger Stormont—Dundas, ON

Madam Speaker, I would nevertheless like to say that, in presiding over our debates at this time, the Chair has certainly followed our Standing Orders in asking members if they wished to resume debate. No one rose on either side of the House. I do recognize that the Chair was right in following the procedure and putting the question.

That said, and still in the spirit of co-operation among the parties in this matter, I hope we can continue the debate.

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10:25 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

Point of order.

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10:25 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

The hon. whip of the Reform Party has to be in his seat in order to be recognized.

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10:25 a.m.

An hon. member

He is.

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10:25 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

Madam Speaker, I would like to reinforce the position taken by the government whip. The Chair has acted entirely appropriately in this case. She asked repeatedly for speakers, for anybody to stand. There was no attempt to rush things through at all that I could see. I do not agree, of course, with the time limitations and some of the other things that are going on, but the Chair has acted appropriately.

By all means, if somebody wants to debate, then we will not stand in the way of doing it. However, the Chair is absolutely right.

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10:30 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Thank you very much. However, you will appreciate that if members wish to speak and have put forth their name on the speaking list, they should be in the House when it is their time for debate.

Accordingly, we are resuming debate with the hon. member for Mercier.

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10:30 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, again in the spirit of co-operation, I think a member on the Liberal side rose to speak, but you perhaps did not see him. As we usually alternate our speeches, we are prepared to have you recognize the Liberal member who rose.

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10:30 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

I have just recognized the hon. member for Mercier in this debate. Does she wish to continue the debate?

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10:30 a.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Yes, Madam Speaker, after almost losing my turn because I hoped that the hon. member across the way would rise in his place. I would like to speak to Bill C-29 this morning, with the government having just imposed an unacceptable gag.

The official opposition, under the enlightened direction of our critic, the member for Laurentides, conducted a study and then mounted a campaign on this issue, which has been presented as an environmental issue, when in reality it is an economic one that pits certain parts of the country against others, in this case Ontario and Quebec.

After serious examination of the matter in committee, the official opposition could only conclude, in the absence of conclusive evidence backed up by independent studies, that by banning MMT, the government is actually looking for a way to satisfy the automobile industry, which is concentrated, as everyone knows, in Ontario.

This ban will have terrible repercussions on oil companies in my riding in eastern Montreal. Over the years, the riding of Mercier has lost four oil companies. Their loss had a devastating effect, not only on employment, but also on the rest of the petrochemical industry and its future.

We would obviously have sought different solutions if there were proof of serious environmental consequences. In the absence of these independent and conclusive studies, we can only conclude that the government is caving in to pressure from the automobile industry, which claims that MMT in gasoline adversely affects the performance of catalytic converters. This conclusion reached by the automobile industry has not been proven in an objective and independent manner.

The official opposition therefore finds it disturbing that, with no regard for the economic impact on the development of Quebec and not just on employment in Montreal, the government is imposing a gag order, when we have already suggested that passage of this bill be delayed so that an independent study can be done. And if the government truly wished to protect the environment, it would have seen to it that these conclusions were accurate beyond all possible doubt, or at least beyond all reasonable doubt. But, instead, they go ahead with a gag order.

The eastern sector of Montreal has not forgotten the federal decision to impose the Borden line, which meant that Quebec, once an exporter of refined oil to the rest of Canada, became an importer. This was devastating for employment. And then the Prime Minister came to Montreal and sadly asked "What can we do for Montreal?", but in the weeks since then we see that the government, through a gag order, is now trying to rush through a decision that jeopardizes at least one of the two remaining refineries.

I repeat, this issue has been handled by our environment critic, who conducted consultations, who tried to have the bill postponed, who tried to pin down the government in committee. And the upshot was this gag order, this hasty decision in response to pressure from the automobile industry.

On the eve of the next election, Quebecers will also remember that the automobile pact was supposed to distribute auto assembly plants more equitably, given that Quebec is one of the largest consumers of automobiles in Canada, but that there is only one assembly plant. Quebecers will also remember that to now seriously threaten what is left of the petroleum industry in Montreal does not make the government look good. So let Prime Minister Chrétien come back and sorrowfully ask what he can do for Montreal and pledge his full co-operation.

This morning's issue of Le Journal de Montreal carried an article on the federal government's decision yesterday to gag the opposition parties in order to pass a bill that could threaten the survival of one of the last two refineries in Montreal. The article also pointed out that the government had interfered in provincial jurisdiction in drawing up this bill.

It did so by using the fact that this additive, MMT, is produced in the United States. It therefore decided to ban its interprovincial trade and importation. It did not ban production, just importation.

This is an issue that Montrealers and Quebecers will remember because the environment was used as a smokescreen for the ambition of Ontario's automobile industry. If things had at least been out in the open. But no, they were obscured by suggestions that this was a dangerous product, when, in reality, its absence in gasoline will require more refining and add to pollution.

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10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased that the House is giving final consideration to Bill C-29.

Canadians will remember that we have an opportunity here to ensure that we pass legislation on the basis of both merit and good common sense. Canadians will remember that this is not muzzling Parliament, not gagging the House. We have had 10.5 hours of debate and discussion. Canadians will remember that this MMT legislation before us is an important stepping stone in the prevention of air pollution.

This package of government initiatives will result in billions of dollars in health benefits saved for Canadians and for our health care system. This will help prevent the pain and suffering of choking and gasping attacks by the young and the elderly when bad air days shroud our cities with a dirty blanket of pollution which happens too often in many of our cities, particularly during the summer.

Today almost every Canadian motorist uses MMT simply because Canadian refiners use MMT. The exact amount of this additive may vary from one batch of gasoline to another. In general, premium grade gasoline contains a higher volume of MMT than regular grade gasoline.

Let me focus on the technological advances that have steadily cut the harmful emissions coming out of our tailpipes. In fact, since the early 1970s and the advent of national standards, over 90 per cent of the most noxious tailpipe pollutions have been removed. The automobile industry strongly warns that gasoline containing MMT clogs and jams up the operation of sophisticated onboard diagnostic systems.

However, I want to focus on the opportunity we have here to promote the health of people. We cannot take chances with the air we breath. We need this legislation for the health of Canadians and a healthy environment. I can go on to talk about the 21 auto manufacturers that are convinced that MMT clogs their pollution monitoring equipment and that are supporting and petitioning the government and members of Parliament, bringing forward their concerns. It seems to me that it is quite clear that we need to heed their message.

There are some 14 million cars on Canada's roads, each pumping out over 4 tonnes of pollutants every single year. Therefore we are on the road to disaster unless we do something now.

We are pushing for national emission standards so that our auto makers can ensure that they protect the air for Canadians.

We have had debates in the House about health, the health of Canadians. We cannot be indifferent to air quality because we know that air quality has a profound effect on Canadians and that it translates into $1 billion a year on our health care system.

We know that hospital admissions of infants for respiratory conditions are linked to ozone and sulphate pollution. We are living in an age when dangerous atmospheric pollutants rather than hormones are poisoning babies.

It is also important to note that scientists, including people at the University of Waterloo and other Canadian universities, who have done research work in this area, support this legislation.

We also know a whole list of groups and organizations support getting rid of MMT. They have been mentioned in previous speeches: the Allergy Asthma Association, the Canadian Institute of Child Health, the city of Etobicoke public health, the city of Toronto public health, the Council of Canadians, the Environmental Defence Fund, the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada, the Ontario Public Health Association, Pollution Probe and Sierra Club. All of those organizations, who spend hours working on research and looking at issues, cannot all be wrong.

Of the 196 living Nobel laureate scientists, 99 joined with over 2,000 of the world's scientists to again sound a warning to us that we need to do something about the air we breathe.

Canada is one of the few countries that uses MMT and therefore it is important that we pass this legislation for all Canadians. It is also important that we protect Canadians from increases in automobile prices and I think the discussion we heard made mention of that.

It is important that we support this legislation, that we think about the health of Canadians and that a ban on MMT, supported by health departments, is really the way we must go. A healthy environment, the need to promote cleaner and alternative fuels, the trend to North American harmonization, consumer protection and all the economic pluses are the reasons why we need this legislation.

This bill will do a number of things for us. Canadians will certainly remember this day when we ensure that the air they breathe is clean. I call on all members to support this important piece of legislation.

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10:45 a.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis, QC

Madam Speaker, we have noticed that most of the members taking part in this debate were from Ontario. We understand why.

The largest concentration of automakers is found in Ontario. In a way, we cannot blame the Ontario Liberal members for defending the interests of their province. At the same time, Quebec members, like me, cannot be blamed for defending Quebec's interests, not only the interests of Quebec but those of the other provinces as well. Ontario is somewhat in a minority position on this issue.

Earlier, the hon. member for Mercier talked about the businesses and the refineries located in her riding. I have the same situation in my riding of Lévis, where the Ultramar refinery, one of the most modern and the second best performing refinery in North America, is located. Even though it performs well and as such is less threatened than the one mentioned by the member for Mercier in the Montreal area, its managers have told me that if this bill passes as it is, that will have an impact on the refinery, on the jobs and most of all, as we should not forget, on car owners.

As for Quebec, the impact could reach $7 million, as was mentioned in a newspaper article this morning. I think it is a lot more, because some people want to change the rules in the interests of Ontario where all the automakers are located. But it is also for another reason.

What do they want to replace MMT with? Ethanol. Who are those most in favour of ethanol? Again, Ontario members. We have nothing against those who stand up for the interests of their riding, of their region; but we also have the right to stand up for the interests of ours. We can see that the bill only takes Ontario's interests into account. That is unacceptable.

Since I have only ten minutes, I will state ten facts that the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute pointed out in a letter in answer to the Automobile Club people.

The first point mentioned in the letter is the following: "The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute and its members are not opposed to prohibiting MMT and have pledged to withdraw this product should there be any evidence", and here comes the important part, "that the presence of this substance in gasoline is a threat to health or to the environment".

This is the problem. No harmful effect was demonstrated. If it was proven that MMT is dangerous, or that manganese, which is one of its elements, is dangerous, what would Health Canada or the Department of the Environment do? They would ban this product. This bill, however, merely seeks to prohibit its use in gasoline. A product is either toxic or it is not. The fact is that neither the health department nor the environment department banned this product.

Second point: "Car manufacturers never clearly and factually proved that MMT could adversely affect the operation of catalytic converters". This has not been proven.

Third point: "Health Canada formally, publicly and in writing, stated that there was no proof whatsoever that MMT was a threat to the health of Canadians".

As a member of the Standing Committee on Health, I checked this out. A study commissioned by Health Canada reveals that only one manganese-related death was ever recorded in the world. This death, which occurred in 1941 in Japan, was not linked to MMT but to manganese, and a considerable dose was involved.

That was the only case ever recorded. Health Canada has experts who maintain that, in quantities such as those currently found in MMT, manganese is not dangerous. Not only is it not dangerous, it is necessary to neutralize certain products in gasoline and prevent pollution. In other words, it makes certain gasoline products less

polluting. It is used not only to reduce the octane number, but also to keep in check other pollutants found in gasoline.

Fourth point: "Putting MMT in gasoline helps reduce toxic emissions". This is what I just told you about.

Fifth point: "At the recent conference of the Canadian Council of Ministers of Energy, eight provinces opposed Bill C-29. Moreover, the premiers of Alberta, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan wrote the Prime Minister, asking that the bill be withdrawn. As for Quebec, the National Assembly unanimously approved a motion asking for the withdrawal of Bill C-29". This motion was adopted by all the parties, including the Liberal Party of Quebec. From time to time, members of the Liberal Party of Canada should listen to their provincial counterparts. But they do not.

Sixth point: "On the federal level, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister for International Trade have come out against Bill C-29." Obviously, they were swallowed up by cabinet solidarity at that point, and so nothing more has been heard from them, but they had already indicated their opposition to the minister.

Seventh point: "Bill C-29 banning international trade in and the importation for commercial purposes of MMT constitutes a violation of NAFTA-this is the written opinion of Gordon Ritchie, former Canadian NAFTA negotiator-and of the interprovincial trade treaty". That means there is a risk of prosecution, and I believe some legal challenges are already in the works.

Eighth point: "The automobile makers have refused our organization's proposal to have a fully independent body examine and report on the situation".

If a complete, independent, exhaustive study proved that there is indeed a danger, then we in the official opposition would also respect the findings. The official opposition is opposed, but this is because the government has not proven its case.

What are they doing instead? Yesterday, a motion was adopted to gag the House by limiting the duration of the debate, in order to get this bill through quickly. This attitude is becoming increasingly common, and the opposition objects. When someone wants to gag democracy, they try to paralyze the opposition. They try to rush bills through when the Christmas or summer break is coming up. As usual, the Liberal government is still trying to put one over us, thinking that we will soon forget about it, because it is nearly time for the Christmas parties to begin. But this is serious.

Ninth point: "Banning MMT constitutes a threat to the competitiveness of the Quebec refining industry, and would be contrary to the interests of Quebec drivers".

The tenth and last point is that the government stubbornly insists it is right in this case. The Deputy Prime Minister began this debate when she was Minister of the Environment in 1995, obviously also putting the interests of Ontario first. She started it, and the government tabled a bill. Now it has less and less faith in its evidence, as it has really not proven anything. The only way to proceed then is to push it ahead as fast as possible, by gagging the House, so that it can get its way as usual.

Former Social Credit leader Réal Caouette sometimes had some good quotes. He used to say: "The government has your good at heart, and it will manage to get its hands on your goods as well". That is what the government has on its mind with this bill. The heck with the financial consequences, it says, the heck with the consequences for hundreds, even thousands of jobs. It thumbs its nose at all of this.

Privilege
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

The Speaker

Dear colleagues, before proceeding with Statements by Members, I would like to return to the question raised yesterday by the hon. member for Laurier-Sainte-Marie following the statement made by the hon. member for Saint-Denis pursuant to Standing Order 31.

The member for Laurier-Sainte-Marie alleged that the facts as presented by the member for Saint-Denis were incorrect. He asked the member for Saint-Denis to withdraw what she had said and related his version of the facts.

Although members enjoy considerable latitude in the choice of the subjects they wish to raise under Standing Order 31, it is for the Chair to determine whether those statements are in order. The Chair may, for example, interrupt a member improperly applying Standing Order 31 or using language that might offend.

I would furthermore remind members that statements constituting personal attacks are not permitted. Speaker Sauvé pointed out on January 17, 1983, at page 21874 of Debates , that:

The time set aside for Members' Statements should not be used to make personal attacks.

Members' statements are an effective and essential mechanism enabling members to express their opinions on a range of subjects. The Chair does not want to block this means of expression in any way.

I have reviewed the blues, as I promised I would yesterday, and I have very carefully considered the words of the member for Saint-Denis. It is not for the Chair to make a pronouncement on the truth of members' statements. I am concerned, however, by the member's choice of words, since we were very close to a personal attack.

On many many occasions in the past, the Chair has reminded members of the need to honour the conventions and traditions of this House, especially that of conducting themselves with the courtesy appropriate to elected representatives.

An important element of this courtesy is refraining from levelling a personal attack at someone else. The words expressed are broadcast instantaneously to all regions of the country. Once they have been uttered, it is very difficult to retract them, and the impression they leave is not always easily erased.

Statements by Members must not be used to make personal attacks. This is fundamental to maintaining order in Parliament.

My colleagues, the Chair cannot always predict the course of debates. Members will understand that the Chair is often caught between respect for freedom of speech and the rapid delivery of 60 second statements. For this reason, I must count on the goodwill of every member. I intend to be very vigilant to ensure no one is the victim of personal attacks in this House.

I encourage all members to treat their colleagues with the respect they are due. I thank you for your attention in this matter.

Privilege
Government Orders

11 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

Privilege
Government Orders

11 a.m.

The Speaker

I would prefer to hear points of order following Statements by Members, but is this a related matter?

Privilege
Government Orders

11 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will explain it to you if I may, and you will judge whether it should be dealt with after or before Statements by Members.

You asked the Bloc Quebecois member to withdraw his remarks. He did so on the understanding that you were going to make a ruling today or later on the matter. However, the member for Laurier-Sainte-Marie agreed to withdraw his remarks provided the member making the accusations did so as well. According to these allegations, he had used public money to promote his wife's candidacy in school board elections, an allegation that was entirely false. We therefore asked to have the member in question withdraw her remarks. There is no mention of this in your ruling, I note.

We maintain our request that these offensive and totally false remarks be withdrawn. We would ask the member of the Liberal Party who made them in her statement under Standing Order 31 to withdraw them.

Privilege
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Kilger Stormont—Dundas, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is not up us to decide whether the Speaker's ruling is right or wrong. We must accept what the Chair in its wisdom has decided. Speaking for the government, I believe the ruling handed down by the Speaker of the House is fair.

Also, I think that when members say they will withdraw "on condition", we are on a slippery slope. I believe that members on both sides of the House should never question the authority of the Chair. We want to deal with this subject with all the respect due to the Speaker and the Chair.

Privilege
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order.

Privilege
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

The Speaker

I do not want debate. This is the last time.

Privilege
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, far be it from us to question the authority of the Chair. We believe that the ruling you gave this morning was given with a great deal of wisdom.

However, Mr. Speaker, perhaps you could explain, with an eye to future proceedings, how we should respond to false allegations made by a member other than by appealing to the Chair and asking for a withdrawal of comments that were very inaccurate, to say the least? Otherwise, anyone in this House could avail himself of the same procedure-accuse someone of not saying the truth-without penalty, and give the public the impression that we have done something wrong.

Mr. Speaker, tell us how we could prevent this from happening again. Otherwise, we must conclude that we can use the same strategy to accuse members opposite of other irregularities.

Privilege
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Kilger Stormont—Dundas, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to start a debate, as you yourself pointed out. I simply want to say that we are actually getting into a debate. Facts presented yesterday by other members are a matter for debate. I do not think this is a point of order.

Like the hon. member for Joliette, we respect your ruling and your wisdom, Mr. Speaker.

Privilege
Government Orders

11:05 a.m.

The Speaker

I appeal to the House that we should stay away from any personal attacks on other members. I never know exactly where you, hon. members, are going when you begin your statements. That is why I give you so much room. Sometimes we come very close but the House has a way of regulating itself.

I would agree in the sense that there can be no conditions on the decision that a Speaker will take. I am your Speaker. You put me here. I am the embodiment of the rules of the House. Many times you have given me quite a bit of room in here. I do not know if I could ever accept that any member would withdraw unparliamen-

tary language on condition that something else happen, that I do something else.

When I dealt with unparliamentary language, it was something that was dealt with between myself as the spokesperson for this House of Commons and another member directly. In the sense of the rules, what one person says or the other person believes does not affect me. We look at facts. It is the old story: Is the glass half full or half empty?

I would appeal to all hon. members to be very judicious in your choice of words when you are making statements in the House. My only recourse if I feel that the statement is going in a certain direction would be for me to intervene, cut off the member's statement and go to the next member.

I would hope that in this decision I have made like all of the others in the House you would receive it in the spirit with which it is given. First and foremost this institution is a place where we do have freedom of speech. It is not incumbent upon your Speaker to ever decide on the veracity of statements. When one member says something is true, I accept it and when the other member says something is true, I accept that. That is the only way we can function.

I would leave that decision where it is. I will be very vigilant in listening to all of the statements by members. I want to let this rest where it is now and I want to proceed to Statements by Members.

L'Odyssée Elementary School
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, Wednesday we celebrated the official opening in Orléans of a new public elementary school for young Franco-Ontarians in the area.

The École L'Odyssée will start with nearly 450 pupils in classrooms that will let them use the environment as a learning tool. For instance, there is a glass wall that provides a view of water pipes and conduits, there are protractors on the doors, trees representative of the regional flora and hallways named after famous Franco-Ontarians.

The school's ultramodern equipment will help prepare young Franco-Ontarians for the world that will be theirs, the world of high tech, computers and science, as reflected in the booming technological sector in the national capital region.

The fact that École L'Odyssée has come to Carleton-Gloucester proves once again that francophones are capable of making their way in a country full of opportunity, by developing their potential in their own language and culture, of which they are so proud.

Bravo and many thanks to the principal of the school, Anne Quevillon, to the parents, the teachers and the Conseil scolaire public francophone d'Ottawa-Carleton.

High Speed Train
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the decision to go ahead with plans for a high speed train in the northeast corridor between New York and Boston will have important economic benefits for Quebec and for the Lower St. Lawrence, thanks to the dynamism of the Pocatec company and its president and general manager, Carl Casista.

With the initiative of teachers from the Collège and the Cégep de La Pocatière, this SME has, over the years, built up a synergy with Bombardier, and has met the challenge of high tech development outside major centres.

The company won a $7 million contract to design and build communications equipment for the high speed train. This is a wonderful example of the economic benefits to be derived from implementation of the high speed train project in the Canadian corridor.

Let us hope that the preliminary feasibility study by Bombardier and its five partners, recently confirmed by Bombardier's chairman and CEO, Laurent Beaudoin, will make this dream a reality.

Gun Control
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, constituents in my riding of Peace River are fair and reasonable people. When it comes to government they only ask that this federal government be fair and reasonable also.

They want government to spend their tax money wisely and they want their government to be honest. But these days many constituents in Peace River are seeing red and in this case it is not the government's flag program.

They ask: What will making farmers, ranchers and hunters register their rifles and shotguns do to reduce crime in this country? They believe this Liberal government is not being honest with Canadians. They see this as a half baked measure that will waste taxpayers' money, tie up the police force in paperwork and achieve little in reducing a growing crime problem.

I agree with the constituents of Peace River. I believe most fair minded Canadians do also.

Blind Lawn Bowling
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

John Richardson Perth—Wellington—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to Mr. Norm Green, a constituent of mine, who is proving that with the right attitude obstacles in life can be overcome.

After an accident caused him visual impairment, Norm brought his trademark enthusiasm to the sport of blind lawn bowling in 1994. Today the St. Clements resident bowls several times a week at the Elmira Lawn Bowling Club where he not only challenges members with sight, he often shows them how to play.

In 1995, only one year after taking up the sport, Norm entered the Canadian National Blind Lawn Bowling competition and finished a respectable fourth. That same year he finished first for his class in the Ontario Lawn Bowling Championship. Then in only his second year of competition, Norm won the National Blind Lawn Bowling Championship in September 1996. Now Norm is entitled to compete and represent Canada in the World Lawn Bowling Competition in New Zealand this February.

I congratulate Norm on all of his achievements. I know that all Canadians join with me in wishing him the best of luck.

Welland Canal
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the city of St. Catharines celebrates the birthday of the Welland Canal.

On November 29, 1829 the first Welland Canal was born. One hundred and sixty-seven years ago, 40 wooden locks built over the Niagara escarpment opened the transportation route into the heart of this country.

On this special occasion we honour the builder of the canal and Canada's father of transportation, the Hon. William Hamilton Merritt.

Today the Engineering Institute of Canada will memorialize this work with the unveiling of a plaque recognizing the achievements of Canada's professional engineers in the construction of the Welland Canal.

The Welland Canada is Canada's oldest active transportation route. Over the years the canal has been enlarged three times to accommodate Canada's growing transportation needs. It is a vital part of the St. Lawrence Seaway and provides thousands of jobs and great economic benefit to the country. It also attracts hundreds of tourists who visit St. Catharines to watch huge ships climb 100 meters to carry cargo between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

I know members of the House of Commons join me in celebrating the great achievements of Canada's engineers on this the birthday of the Welland Canal.

Martin Streef
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, last May I congratulated Martin Streef from my riding for being named the Ontario region's outstanding young farmer for 1996. Today I would like to congratulate Mr. Streef for winning the Canadian championship for the best young farmer of the year at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto.

Mr. Streef and his family operate Streef Produce in Princeton and at the Toronto Food Terminal. Having started from scratch while still in high school, Martin has led his company to become one of the largest potato producers in Ontario. Streef Produce currently operates five farms on 1,500 acres in Oxford and Brant counties.

Like any business, the agricultural industry is constantly in need of new blood. We can be assured that Canada's agricultural sector will stay competitive with young farmers like Martin Streef leading the way.

Canada Labour Code
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Maurice Bernier Mégantic—Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour recently said, and quite rightly, that the best collective agreement is still one that has been negotiated.

However, the media have informed us that Air Canada is now hiring strikebreakers in case of a strike. The company is brazenly placing job ads offering $10 an hour, $1,400 for a training program, and an $800 bonus for crossing picket lines.

When he tabled his reform of the labour code, the minister said that an anti-scab provision was unnecessary, given that he was convinced of the parties' good faith.

The Bloc Quebecois feels that there needs to be an amendment to the Canada Labour Code prohibiting replacement workers. The situation shaping up at Air Canada proves our point beyond all doubt.

Gun Control
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, this government continually talks about promoting Canadian unity but its actions do not follow its words.

The justice minister's gun control regulations are just one more example of this double talk. Instead of uniting Canadians in the

common cause, they seriously divide Canadians against each other. These regulations divide province against province by arrogantly discounting the concerns of some duly elected governments. They divide rural citizens against urban citizens because of traditional lifestyles.

Worst of all, they divide Canadians by race: aboriginal against non-aboriginal. While these regulations will be enforced vigorously in most of Canada, the exemptions for aboriginal people ensure that no aboriginal will ever be charged under the act, for the same reasons that little effort is being made to stop the flow of illegal weapons on Indian reserves straddling the Canada-U.S. border. This law is unfair for aboriginal people. It is unfair for all Canadians. We must be treated equally under the law.

Mimico
Statements By Members

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today to applaud the members of the Mimico business community who this year re-established the Mimico-by-the Lake Business Association in my riding.

For many years now the retail district in this community has been in decline. The actions of local small business leaders, the residents and City Councillor Mr. Peter Milczyn have proved that when the community comes together it can produce positive results. Already businesses like Universal Bakery and Pekao Travel have changed the retail landscape. These improvements will move in step with the plans for the waterfront motel strip development.

For almost five years there was no construction in the area. We see that these changes and the fruits of this government's infrastructure plan for the waterfront motel strip are turning the economy around. The Mimico Business Association will join the New Toronto and Longbranch Business Associations-

Toronto Separate School Board
Statements By Members

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Beaches—Woodbine, ON

Mr. Speaker, a constituent in my riding of Beaches-Woodbine has informed me that the Toronto Separate School Board is seriously considering selling off 38 schools to private companies. The private sector consortiums would then depreciate these buildings for tax purposes the way any owner of a private office or apartment builder can. The depreciation of these buildings will be calculated at 5 per cent under the federal tax rules.

Although the private sector would initially pay millions for these schools, it would more than recoup their investment through rents, tax write-offs and the subcontracting of services.

This is a totally unacceptable way of financing our educational system in Ontario or anywhere else in Canada. This uploading of educational costs to the federal government by province of Ontario is not acceptable.

Taxpayers have already paid for the construction of these schools and are continuing to pay high educational taxes to maintain the excellence of our educational system. By selling off these buildings millions of tax dollars will go into the pockets of private businesses at the expense of services to children. This abuse must be stopped.

Snowy Owl Foundation
Statements By Members

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Ottawa West, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 1993 as Louis Turpin lay dying of AIDS complications, a snowy owl landed in view of his window. Later that day, surrounded by his loving family, Louis died but his illness and death inspired the Turpin family and friends to dedicate their efforts to conquering AIDS.

Yesterday the Snowy Owl Foundation was launched to support AIDS education, prevention and services to persons living with AIDS. Look Beyond was released, a book that captures in words and photographs the faces and spirit of Canadians living with AIDS.

One of those courageous Canadians is Billy Jo, a seven-year old girl with AIDS. She spoke about her family and the joy of living every day to the fullest.

To the Turpin family, to all those who have created and contributed to Look Beyond and to the Snowy Owl Foundation we owe our gratitude for inspiring life and hope.

Candu Reactors
Statements By Members

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, in spite of constant human rights violations in China, in spite of the pressures exerted by environmental groups and the danger posed by the export of nuclear technologies, the Government of Canada has just entered into a contract with China to build two Candu nuclear power plants.

Sure, we have to create jobs. However, the Bloc Quebecois believes that this contract should have been accompanied by strict conditions regarding the use of this nuclear technology.

Liberal government members already boast about having signed the contract of the century. We should remind them that, while the total value of the project is $4 billion, its spinoffs in Canada will only reach $1.5 billion, since $2.5 billion will go to American and Japanese companies.

We should also remind Liberals that Quebec will only get $275 million, or a mere 18 per cent of the total economic impact in Canada. Once again, Quebec is not getting its fair share in this federation.

Canada Post
Statements By Members

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Bill Gilmour Comox—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Post mandate review recommends that the government appoint to the board of Canada Post only individuals with the expertise and stature to be directors of a similar sized corporation in the private sector.

However, like most recommendations in the report, it appears this one will be ignored as well.

Last month Gilles Champagne, a long time Quebec Liberal fundraiser, was appointed to the Canada Post board of directors. Mr. Champagne is well known for the $1,000 a plate fundraising dinner he organized for the Prime Minister.

Last week Brian Steck was appointed to the Canada Post board of directors. Mr. Steck's qualifications appear to be that he works for Nesbitt Thomson, a company that gave over $197,000 to the federal Liberal Party since 1993.

When will the Liberal government end the despicable practice of rewarding party supporters and appoint only qualified members to boards as recommended in the Canada Post revue and promised in the red book?

Diabetes
Statements By Members

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Nearly 1.5 million Canadians have diabetes. It is a major cause of premature deaths, blindness, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, limb amputation and other significant health problems.

The chances of having diabetes increase with age and it affects more than 13 per cent of Canadians between 65 and 74 years of age.

The Canadian Diabetes Association supports research on diabetes, protects the rights of diabetics and their families, and provides them with a wide range of services. I am proud to say that Health Canada also plays an important role in the fight against diabetes, by subsidizing research through the Medical Research Council, by promoting the smooth functioning of the Canadian multisectorial council for diabetes, and by conducting health-related monitoring activities.

Please join me in wishing the Canadian Diabetes Association and its many volunteers are very successful Diabetes Awareness Month.

China
Statements By Members

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to stress the innovative and effective approach used by our Prime Minister to promote human rights, during his recent visit to China.

It is important to know that Asian countries are very sensitive to anything they perceive as a form of interference in their domestic affairs. Far from avoiding his responsibilities, our Prime Minister chose to raise the issue from the angle of "good government and the rule of law". Any society which, like China, is beginning to open itself to the world, soon realizes the importance of conforming to a number of universal rules.

Our Prime Minister used wisdom and intelligence to get his message across to his Chinese hosts. We are convinced that this approach will help increase China's awareness of the international values we endorse.

China
Statements By Members

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

Dear colleagues, since the period for members' statements began 11 or 12 minutes late, question period will be extended until 12.12 p.m.

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister.

When questioned before leaving for Asia, the Prime Minister said that the only solution for Canadian was to restructure the company rather than look to the government for assistance, because the company's problems were the result of bad management, and an infusion of federal funds would not help resolve this problem. The Minister of Finance took a similar line Wednesday.

Since the Prime Minister has already made his government's position plain, can the Deputy Prime Minister tell us who authorized the Minister of Transport to open the public purse and come to the assistance of Canadian by offering a rebate on fuel tax?

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, this government has taken a great deal of interest in the

case of Canadian Airlines, because many of the company's employees and clients have been deeply affected by the events of the last few weeks.

I would point out to the member that 1,273 employees of Canadian Airlines International live in Quebec. I think it important for everyone that a bit of interest be shown in finding solutions to these problems.

It was therefore necessary for airline management, creditors, governments and employees to draw up together a plan that could work. This step has almost been completed. Since the Prime Minister's departure, all groups have tried to work together, except for one union. Now all the interested parties have come together with a common plan.

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the hon. minister that what is important is that we follow the example of other countries. All the major countries in the world, including France, England and Germany-with the exception of the United States, which has a population of 300 million-have only one national airline. We are enjoying the luxury of having two. Therein lies the problem. If we really want to save jobs, we must accept a long term solution and have just one national airline.

We know that a number of airlines, besides Canadian International, are now experiencing financial difficulties. Others, like Air Canada, have made it back to the profit side of the ledger, but only after many years in the red. What criteria will his government use to decide which carriers will be entitled to the fuel tax rebate and which will not? What will be the determining factor?

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, this must be made very clear. The rebate will be offered to all airlines under the same conditions. In return, a company will have to give up substantial tax write-offs.

In other words, this could amount to payment of higher taxes to the federal and provincial governments in the future. Let me be very clear: this is an offer that will be made to all airlines.

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to see such a medley of answers. I hope that the minister who feels moved to reply to the next question will give me the right answer, because we are moving along with the specific information given us first by the Minister of Industry and then by the Minister of Finance.

By changing the rules of the market, by subsidizing fuel, as it seems prepared to do, is the government not contravening one of the NAFTA rules, and will it not leave itself open to economic reprisals from the United States, and even from other competing companies in Canada?

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I can confirm for the member that a tax rebate is not a subsidy according to NAFTA.

Tobacco Legislation
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

Yesterday, the Minister of Health presented us with the main thrust of the tobacco legislation he plans to introduce shortly. This was a vague and fuzzy list of the measures he is planning, particularly with respect to the sponsorship of sports and cultural events on which he intends to pass regulations.

Can the minister indicate more clearly what he intends to impose in the way of restrictions on promotional material at sports and cultural events? In other words, can the Players Grand Prix, for instance, still be called that?

Tobacco Legislation
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we outlined the strategy of the Government of Canada to deal with tobacco consumption in the country. Seven major elements were outlined to the public in terms of what action we will be taking.

We have put in place some restrictions with regard to sponsorship promotion that companies will have to abide by. However, I want to indicate to my colleague opposite that we are not banning sponsorship in this country. Not at all. We have restrictions on that promotion. The details will be contained in the bill. I hope to give notice later this afternoon, with the tabling of the bill on Monday.

Tobacco Legislation
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, can the minister assure us that his bill will be more specific than his speech, and that he will not try to slip past us, as regulations, and therefore without debate, more stringent measures concerning sponsorships?

Tobacco Legislation
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, 11,000 Quebecers die each and every year as a result of tobacco consumption. As the ministry of health, we have had to show some leadership on this particular file. There is leadership but it has consequences. The consequences are that there are restrictions on sponsorship promotion. It will be regulated. We will consult with

the industry. We will consult with the various cultural groups to make sure there are workable solutions.

Make no mistake about it, there are restrictions and there are restrictions on sponsorship promotion.

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, I found the Bloc's questions rather curious. It wants only one airline per country but it wants to make this into two countries.

The government has now followed the lead of B.C. and Alberta in offering Canadian Airlines some relief on oppressive fuel taxes, but the offer may be meaningless. It is good only if Canadian's employees vote to accept the restructuring package and the government will not do anything to ensure that those employees get that chance to vote.

My question is for the Minister of Labour. Given that the government's convoluted tax rebate offer is worthless if the employees are not allowed to vote on it, when will the government take action to protect the democratic rights of Canadian's employees?

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, in response to the hon. member's question, I am certain that he is aware of section 108 of the Canadian Labour Code. It precludes the Minister of Labour from ordering a vote in circumstances such as he has referred to.

The hon. member knows full well that the best way to ensure that workers at Canadian Airlines have the right to vote is that we continue to put public pressure on the union leadership.

However, if the hon. member is suggesting that the Government of Canada intervene in terms of legislation in order to effectuate a settlement there, he is away out of line in terms of what the collective bargaining process is all about.

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is really interesting the minister should raise section 108.1. Yesterday the Reform labour critic placed a motion before the human resources committee asking for an immediate review of section 108.1 of the Canadian Labour Code in order to ensure the democratic rights of Canadian Airlines employees. The response to that by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour was: "Giving Canadian employees the right to vote is a waste of time for this committee". The Liberal and Bloc members then proceeded to vote against the motion.

My question is for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour. In the cold light of day, and after a good night's sleep, is he prepared to withdraw those unacceptable comments and support the democratic rights of Canadian employees who may lose their jobs if this government does not act?

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the context of the words which the hon. member makes reference to, but I do not think there is a member on either side of this House who does not want the members of the CAW to exercise their right to vote on a particular package.

What the hon. member must understand is that we have the Canadian Labour Code which outlines the procedures that employers as well as workers must follow.

I would encourage the hon. member as well as his party to continue to put pressure on the various unions which are involved here in order that that right may be exercised.

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government's response to a plea by Canadian's employees to be allowed to vote on the company restructuring program has been that it is up to their elected union representatives. Those union officials are supposed to be like MPs, and I say supposed to be; that is representatives, not rulers.

It is both clear and democratic that Canadian's employees whose jobs are on the line should have the right to decide on their own future. It should not be left in the hands of Buzz Hargrove whose job is not at stake, who will still have his job even if Canadian folds.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. The choice is democracy or dictatorship. Buzz Hargrove has chosen dictatorship. Is this government willing to choose democracy by protecting the democratic rights of the union workers of Canadian Airlines?

Canadian Airlines
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, on the substance of the hon. member's questions I concur wholeheartedly. Union members should have that right in terms of the package before them.

But in view of the restrictions we have within the law, it is incumbent on the leadership to provide that right to their members. That is an internal thing they will have to deal with in the weeks and the months ahead.

Tobacco Legislation
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Health said that he considered that he had no responsibility whatsoever to assume in connection with any repercussions of his bill on the sponsorship of sports and cultural events.

Last week, the Toronto Star reports that the Minister of Canadian Heritage also declined any responsibility in this area.

My question is for the heritage minister. Does she intend to shoulder responsibility in connection with the organizations affected, and will she propose alternative solutions when sponsorships are reduced?

Tobacco Legislation
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question. Let us be clear. The first objective of the legislation and the proposals we outlined yesterday is health. When 11,000 Quebecers are dying each and every year as a result of tobacco consumption it behoves the government to take action.

There is no need for a replacement fund because we have not banned sponsorship across the country. It will be a corporate decision of those individual companies concerning what they do and the amount of money they provide to various sponsorships across the country.

Tobacco Legislation
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister said earlier that there will be restrictions, there will be repercussions on sponsorships, we are assured of this.

Departmental employees stated before the heritage committee this past March that they were working on a report to assess the impact of the Minister of Health's policy on cultural and sports events, as well as a draft recommendation and suggested timeframes.

My question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage. As we speak, has the minister received these recommendations, which are aimed at offsetting the effects of the Minister of Health's policy on cultural and sports events, given that the government has always sent a message to the organizers of cultural and sports events that they should link up with the private sector?

Tobacco Legislation
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the simple fact is this: sponsorships are still legal. No one needs funds to replace sponsorships which have not been banned.

Labour
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister who is answering for the Minister of Labour.

The minister said very clearly in response to the transport critic for the Reform Party that the government wants the workers to be able to vote on this legislation. As the minister said, the government knows that the present provisions of the Canada Labour Code do not allow that.

The government is here to pass legislation for the benefit of Canadians. If it wants the workers to be able to vote on this, why will the government not give the workers the ability to do so?

Labour
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, two reasons. First, we respect the provisions of the Canada Labour Code.

Second, as we speak, the Minister of Transport is in the province of British Columbia having consultations and discussions with various representatives of different unions to impress on them the need to allow workers of the CAW to have the right to vote on this restructuring package which is not a part of the collective bargaining process.

Labour
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government, despite the fact it says that it wants the workers to vote, is hiding behind the provision of the labour code that Mr. Hargrove is using to prevent a vote.

Yesterday I was at the human resources committee meeting. The parliamentary secretary suggested this is a temporary solution and may not be a profitable solution in the long run. That is not what the company, most of the workers or provincial governments say, and it is not what the federal government has said.

Is the federal government refusing to allow a vote to occur because it really does not believe in the future of Canadian Airlines?

Labour
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I have been a long time supporter of Canadian Airlines. Many in this caucus and many members in this cabinet are very supportive of Canadians Airlines.

The hon. member has it wrong. It is not the Government of Canada, it is not the Government of British Columbia and it is not the Government of Alberta. It is the union leadership of the CAW, namely one individual who is at fault here. The pressure must apply to him and his cohorts in order to give union members the opportunity to vote.

Zaire
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The government's attempt to save its plan in Zaire will have lasted only 24 hours. The agreement on the food drop mission announced yesterday was seriously questioned today. Zaire is opposed to the agreement, humanitarian organizations are sceptical

and even General Baril does not seem convinced, since he would use this option only as a last resort.

Since the Canadian government's proposal to drop food has met with strong local opposition, are we to understand that the minister submitted this proposal without considering all the consequences? In other words, was the minister making a last-ditch attempt to save the plan?

Zaire
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

No, Mr. Speaker. After the meeting on the weekend with representatives of the countries concerned, especially the military group, we carefully assessed all recommendations. We consulted many countries on the level of consensus for international initiatives and especially to assess the information on conditions in Zaire.

In the process, we received the support of 20 countries. We have the support of major humanitarian organizations, including the Red Cross committee and other international groups. Granted, there are some people, especially those in the Reform Party, who are critical. But the major humanitarian organizations agree on the need to provide humanitarian aid to the refugees.

There is an international consensus among the 20 countries which will be meeting in Ottawa today to confirm this mission and guarantee the capability of the international community to distribute humanitarian aid in Zaire.

Zaire
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister apparently sees opposition coming from only a few groups. However, according to our information, that is not the case.

Does the minister realize, as a number of intervenors in the field have pointed out, that a food drop in a region where there are still groups of armed rebels may threaten the safety and even the lives of refugees who are now without protection?

That being said, and although we do not question the minister's good intentions, could he tell us whether he intends to obtain the agreement of the main partners in the field or propose another option? Could the minister tell us, considering all the opposition, whether other alternatives have been considered?

Zaire
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I make it very clear that we consulted with the major humanitarian organizations before we put the proposal forward. As I said before, the media can find the odd individual because there are always critics everywhere, but we first established that there should be a headquarters at Entebbe so that there is a multilateral force on the ground able to make evaluations and responses.

Second, they would be given a mandate to undertake reconnaissance missions to develop good information in Zaire to determine where food assistance would be most appropriate, where the refugees are and how they can be most effectively delivered.

At the present time that there is no access for convoys to go in. That access has not been given by the countries but we do have the opportunity to provide air assistance.

The comment was made by one minister of one of the governments of Zaire. I would like to point out to the member that there is total confusion in Zaire. There are two premiers. No one is sure who is in control. The fact is that we have received the full approval of the President of Zaire in discussions with Ambassador Chrétien.

Those are the conditions we are working under. I am not saying it is a panacea, that it is a full answer. However, I do believe most Canadians, with the exclusion of some of my friends opposite, want this country to continue to provide leadership to mobilize whatever efforts are possible by the international community to support humanitarian aid. That is our mission and we are fulfilling that mission.

Krever Commission
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Evidence Act defence to hide cabinet documents from Krever is bogus.

The McDonald commission in 1979 obtained secret cabinet documents by an order in council and the then clerk of the privy council, Michael Pitfield, admits the decision is discretionary and lies with the Prime Minister.

Since there is a choice, why has this Prime Minister chosen to hide the files?

Krever Commission
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the McDonald commission occurred before the introduction of section 39 of the Canada Evidence Act.

Krever Commission
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, why do we care about these documents?

In 1985 Saxon William Forbes was born. He was given a tablespoon of blood to bring colour to his cheeks. He was constantly sick, diagnosed with HIV and today he has full blown AIDS. This did not have to happen.

Regulations were drafted in 1984. The government of the day decided to quash them. Today the government also has a choice. If it wanted to, it could release the documents to Krever. Why will the Deputy Prime Minister not release those documents?

Krever Commission
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, nobody wants to get to

the bottom of the issue surrounding the blood scandal more than the government. The commissioner has the capacity to compel any previous minister to testify. I believe at least one previous minister of health has made a public statement suggesting that she would like to go before the commission to provide information.

The fact is that commission counsel has suggested that her testimony is not necessary. If any clarification can be brought to the matter, I am sure that the commission and Mr. Krever will do their best to compel those witnesses to come forward and put all the facts on the table.

Aids
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

In Canada, it is estimated that between 26,000 and 35,000 persons carry the AIDS virus. An average of 3,000 new cases are identified each year in Canada. It is a sorry state of affairs, since Canada, along with Australia, is one of the countries where the average age of those with the disease has dropped since the start of the epidemic.

Given the proportions of this scourge, is the minister prepared to renew the national AIDS strategy for five years with its budget of $40.7 million a year? Is he prepared to make the commitment?

Aids
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that the subject matter to which he made reference is a serious issue. It has been given serious attention and will continue to receive serious attention.

We have provided substantial moneys for this fiscal year, the next fiscal year and thereafter additional moneys will be made available. We are presently reviewing the programs we have in place.

By the testimony from many experts across the country, the interventions by government have been very helpful and very successful. I look forward to constructive suggestions being made by the hon. member as well as the standing committee, the subcommittee of which he is a member, as well as from other Canadians as we get closer to the time at which we will have to re-evaluate our position on additional moneys.

Aids
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, a little more leadership would not hurt.

Can the minister assure us that there will be a third stage to the national AIDS strategy and that it will cover all the needs of those with the disease, namely, treatment, community group support, prevention, education and research? I invite the minister to take a firm stand.

Aids
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is quite right. What is needed is a national strategy. The federal government, being one part of that strategy, would like to do everything that it can within its fiscal resources. I hope that other governments, non-governmental organizations and others can be a part of the solution and that they will not just stand back and complain.

Many of the activists who I have met across the country have come forward with some very valuable and constructive suggestions. I look forward to that continuing as we get up to the time at which re-evaluation and decisions will have to be taken.

Economic Development
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Ben Serré Timiskaming—French-River, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources.

I was in Yellowknife not too long ago as part of the natural resources committee study on rural economic development and I heard some very deep concerns about the depletion in the availability of carving stones for the Inuit. I understand that there has been a major discovery of alabaster on Victoria Island recently.

Can the minister tell the House if NRCan played a role in that discovery and what it means for northern communities and Canada?

Economic Development
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Edmonton Northwest
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raises a very important question. It is both a question of cultural and economic concern to the people of the north.

This summer, during a regular geological field survey near Holman on Victoria Island, one of the geological survey mappers discovered a very large deposit of alabaster which will enable many people of the north to continue their important carving activities.

The geological survey is committed to mapping and documenting resources such as this. We appreciate that this is important, not only to the economic self-sufficiency of this region, but it is an important part of the culture of this region.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, in response to a question yesterday from my colleague for Comox-Alberni regarding the softwood lumber dispute being taken to the WTO, the Minister of Foreign Affairs answered: "To provide an orderly arrangement with our largest customer requires us to play by the rules".

Surely the minister must know that Canada was one of the main proponents in establishing the World Trade Organization. It took nine years at the Uruguay round of the GATT to establish rules to handle disputes of this nature which are extremely important, more important in many cases than our NAFTA rules of dispute.

Would the minister not agree that it is time to use these rules to defend Canada's interest in these types of trade disputes?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, over the past 15 years there has been, almost in every year, a countervail action taken by the United States against the Canadian softwood lumber industry. This has caused major uncertainty in the industry. It has resulted in major costs to the industry. There was $800 million collected on export fees alone by the United States during one period. It has caused enormous disruptions in the marketplace.

The Canadian government negotiated a five-year agreement in which there will be no countervail whatsoever so there can be an orderly marketing arrangement between Canada and the United States without any threat of trade actions. That agreement was based on a level of 16.4 billion board feet, which is the highest level in the last 10 years, with the exception of one year, based on average exports.

That was the deal which was arrived at. It was supported by the exporting provinces. It was supported by the industry. It was put into an agreement and now the export market is proceeding.

In the meantime, certain lumber companies rushed to the border, exceeded their quota and they are now in the position of saying: "We do not want to play by the rules any more".

The Minister for International Trade set up certain safety valves. They can borrow quota against their values for next year. They can provide extra fees if they want to export more. It is all there, but they cannot continue to say: "Simply because we are not getting our cake and eating it too we want to change the rules". The rules are there to ensure there is effective marketing and safety of the industry against countervail costs being imposed by the United States industry.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

Noon

Reform

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, surely this minister would know that every time Canada has had a trade dispute with the United States on softwood lumber we have won. In fact the $850 million he talked about was fully rebated to Canadian producers.

The only thing that has happened is that the United States has done an end run on us and changed its domestic legislation which means that we will probably not win at the NAFTA panel any more. That is why we are suggesting we should take this dispute to the World Trade Organization.

We have been in contact with many producers in the last few weeks. In fact, we surveyed companies and 80 per cent of those which responded want us to cancel this deal and walk away if we are countervailed by the United States again and to take this to the World Trade Organization.

Why will the government not honour that kind of concern by those companies that there is a threat of massive job layoffs?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

Noon

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first I would invite the hon. member to be a little more detailed. I certainly take his representation but if he wants to produce those calls, those responses, those companies, I am sure the minister of trade would be very happy to take that representation.

In the meantime, the minister has established an advisory committee made up of members of the industry from across Canada to provide him with that kind of advice in terms of constantly reviewing the agreement to determine quota levels and ways of administering the agreement.

Rather than a random phone call survey, I would suggest the hon. member put his case and his information to the minister of trade. He can take it to the advisory committee which represents the entire industry and determine if those cases have been made. The hon. member constantly comes to the House and grandstands the idea of ripping up the agreement and going to dispute. This is simply continuing the uncertainty and the problems rather than trying to make this agreement work.

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry.

Yesterday, we heard about some questionable accounting practices and the outrageous perks of the Canadian Space Agency chairman, Mr. Evans. More details came out today. The chairman has reportedly been given a severe reprimand by the information commissioner for deliberately destroying certain documents.

In light of such disturbing facts, does the Minister of Industry recognize that his former advisor, who now heads the Canadian Space Agency, is bereft of credibility when it comes to heading one of Canada's leading institutions, an internationally renowned institution?

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

Noon

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr.

Speaker, I have in my hand a letter from the information commissioner of Canada. The hon. member's allegations are false. The letter does not say that Mr. Evans destroyed documents, and Mr. Evans has clearly denied destroying any documents.

Second, I can tell the hon. member that, upon joining the Canadian Space Agency, Mr. Evans immediately renegotiated the arrangements between the agency and the U.S. He helped me by preparing the agency's long term space plan. He has done an outstanding job. As a result of his efforts, the space agency is respected worldwide.

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the allegations were made by the commissioner of information, who is also a very credible person. If the accusations are false, blame the commissioner of information. It seems to me this situation is starting to look like the Boyle affair. The minister cannot just sweep it away.

In light of the very serious accusations hanging over the space agency chairman's head, will the minister recognize that he has no choice but to immediately suspend Mr. Evans, his former advisor, and call a public inquiry into the questionable accounting practices of the Canadian Space Agency and its chairman?

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

Noon

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the source of the allegations referred to by the hon. member is Michel Vastel, a journalist, not the commissioner of information. I have his letter in my hand.

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Table it.

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

Noon

Liberal

John Manley Ottawa South, ON

It does not say that Mr. Evans destroyed documents. Why would he want to destroy the reputation of a man who has served Canada well? It is outrageous to see how irresponsible the people across the way are.

I can table the letter, Mr. Speaker.

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Go ahead, table it.

Canadian Space Agency
Oral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Manley Ottawa South, ON

They do not want to hear the truth on the other side. Since Mr. Evans has been at the head of the space agency, we can say that some pretty terrific things have been done, not only for Canada, but also for Quebec, in terms of francophone representation within the agency.

I can quote statistics. When Mr. Evans joined the agency, three of the 14 members on the executive committee were French speaking. There are now eight. In addition, we are negotiating a major contract for Phase II of RADARSAT. Discussions are under way with a consortium led by Quebec companies.

I repeat, Mr. Evans is doing an outstanding job.

Justice
Oral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, after almost a year of refusing to reveal details of the contract between Corrections Canada and Clifford Olson whereby Canada's most notorious serial killer was able to produce 12 videotapes about his child slayings, Corrections Canada has finally and reluctantly released the agreement under access to information rules.

The contract raises some important legal questions, particularly with regard to who owns the tapes.

My question is for the solicitor general. Since it appears that Olson and his lawyer own the tapes, what is to stop them from selling those tapes to the media or other sensationalists?

Justice
Oral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the tapes in question were not produced by Olson but by the staff of the Correctional Service of Canada. Therefore, and this is not changed in any way by the wording of the agreement which was signed in June 1993, the tapes in question belong to the crown and not to Mr. Olson.

Justice
Oral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I certainly respect the opinion of the hon. minister but I hold in my hand copies of the registration under the Canadian Copyright Act which clearly puts Clifford Olson and his lawyer in possession and in control of these tapes.

The facts are that the lawyer and Clifford Olson do possess the tapes and they do have control. There is a real chance that Olson will either release or sell the tapes to the media.

I appeal to the minister on behalf of Sharon and Gary Rosenfeldt and other parents who have lost their loved ones to this sick maniac. I call upon this government to act immediately. Will the Solicitor General confiscate and destroy the Olson tapes? Yes or no?

Justice
Oral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, Olson is not personally in possession of any of the videotapes in question. Second of all, the lawyer in question is in possession of five of them. He has previously undertaken not to make them public, but in any event I am advised that legal action is being undertaken on behalf of the crown to regain possession of the tapes from Olson.

I further want to point out that registration of a copyright does not establish copyright but merely amounts in law to a claim. If

there is a certificate of such a nature, I am advised that this does not in law actually create a right in copyright.

Film And Television Industry
Oral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Shaughnessy Cohen Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Graduates from programs like communications studies at the University of Windsor want Canadian jobs in a Canadian film and television industry. What has the Department of Canadian Heritage done to help these talented young Canadians find work in this growing Canadian industry?

Film And Television Industry
Oral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I want to inform the House that on November 27 the agreement was signed establishing the first contracts under the Canadian television production fund. There are a range of projects including: "B.C. Times" in British Columbia; "Cotter's Wilderness Trail" from Alberta; "Wind at My Back II" from Ontario; and "le Théâtre dans tous ses états du Québec". There are $160 million worth of applications.

Members of the Reform Party will be happy to know that this new fund will lead to 30,000 direct and indirect jobs in what is an incredibly vibrant and growing industry, the Canadian film business.

Un Secretary General
Oral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Godin Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The United States refused to give a second mandate to current UN secretary general, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, whose term will end on December 31.

Since Washington used its veto power to go against the will of the 14 other countries forming the security council, and against the will of most members of the United Nations, what does the Canadian government intend to do to convince the United States to reconsider its decision?

Un Secretary General
Oral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we expressed our support for the secretary general on several occasions. We did so multilaterally and bilaterally, and our Prime Minister expressed that support directly to the President of the United States. Unfortunately, we are currently not a member of the security council, which will make the final decision.

I hope a solution can soon be found, because, right now, the work of the United Nations is being hindered by the debate or the process relating to this issue. This is a concern for all involved, given how difficult it is to arrive at a solution. We will certainly continue to state our support for the secretary general.

Parole
Oral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, with regard to parole, the auditor general's report states: "When the correctional services do not have enough information on the offender and the crime, the information usually comes from the offender". Now that is a dear, sweet, comforting thought. The auditor general goes on to say that there is a very high risk in this whole area, that there is a mess.

What is the solicitor general doing to fix this situation?

Parole
Oral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general is referring to the difficulty of the corrections service in receiving information from provincial institutions, courts, local police forces, provincial corrections departments and so on. It has been working to get agreements with the provinces to get this information. I have asked that this be expedited and that this be put on the agenda for meetings with provincial ministers.

I want to use this opportunity to speak here in question period to urge my provincial counterparts to sign the necessary agreements as soon as possible so that the corrections service will have all the information required to enable the right types of decisions to be made.

In any event, I want to add that the auditor general strongly supported the concept of offenders spending part of their term in the community under supervision as the best way of protecting the public. It was also pointed out that the concerns are based on a relatively small sample. However, that does not mean that this is not a problem and I am striving to see it corrected as soon as possible.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, in the course of question period in a rather heated exchange, a serious allegation was made of the president of the Canadian Space Agency. I referred to a document. I would like to

table the letter from the Information Commissioner of Canada so that members may see it.

I must say that in the heat of the moment after the exchange, I may have been heard by the stenographers to have referred to the hon. member as a "menteur". Out of respect for the traditions and rules of the House I would wish to withdraw that comment.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

12:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I do thank the hon. minister for the voluntary withdrawal of that word. We will take the letter and it will be tabled.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

12:15 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, my point of order was precisely to have you ask the minister to retract what he said about me following the question I put to him.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Saskatoon—Dundurn
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Morris Bodnar Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's responses to eight petitions.

Ways And Means
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 83(1), I have the honour to lay upon the Table a notice of ways and means motion to amend the Excise Tax Act, the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act, the Income Tax Act, the Debt Servicing and Reduction Account Act and related acts. I ask that you designate an order of the day for the consideration of the motion.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Shaughnessy Cohen Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.

Pursuant to the order of reference of Tuesday, June 18, 1996, your committee has considered Bill C-25, an act respecting regulations and other documents including the review, registration, publication and parliamentary scrutiny of regulations and other documents and to make consequential and related amendments to other acts, and your committee has agreed to report it with amendments.

Motor Vehicle Safety Act
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Ontario, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-356, an act to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

Mr. Speaker, unlike the case in the U.S., the federal government does not have the legal power to order a manufacturer to immediately recall a vehicle which has been found to have a serious safety defect or has actually caused injury or death.

This bill forces manufacturers covered by the Motor Vehicle Safety Act to notify in public in a specifically prescribed manner when they become aware of a design, construction or functioning defect in a vehicle which they sell or import.

It also provides the Minister of Transport with the power to order an immediate recall of defective vehicles and prohibit their sale until the defect has been duly corrected. This bill is the result of the tragic and entirely preventable deaths of Thomas Bonnici, Natalia Bajc and Stuart Herriot. These children died due to failures in the current system.

Whether it was the inability to identify defects or failure to adequately advise the public when defects become known or not recalling the vehicle models concerned, these questions are left best to the courts.

What is relevant from the government's perspective must be the current inability of Transport Canada to quickly identify vehicle defects even after people have been injured or killed and take immediate action with manufacturers to recall vehicles and correct the problems.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Patrick Gagnon Bonaventure—Îles-De-La-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to submit, in both official languages, a petition signed by residents of the Gaspé area, the riding of Gaspé, who want the passenger train service between Chandler and Gaspé to be maintained. They also point out that commodities transportation by rail is crucial to the current and

future economic development of the Gaspé area, including the intermodal port-rail transportation facilities in the port of Gaspé.

The petitioners urge the Canadian government to release funds to maintain the service between Chandler and Gaspé either to VIA Rail or to a potential partnership made up of the various levels of government and the private sector, as long as the majority interest remains under the control of the public sector and the passenger train service is maintained in this area.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by constituents in the national capital region calling on this House to declare Canada indivisible.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Saskatoon—Dundurn
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Morris Bodnar Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, Question No. 76 will be answered today.

Question No. 76-

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

What are the financing terms and conditions for the proposed sale of two CANDU nuclear reactors to China, what proportion of the cost is based on loans and/or grants secured through the Export Development Corporation and/or other Government departments or agencies, what are the terms and conditions of these loans, and how do the loans and/or grants to China compare to the grants and/or loans given to other CANDU purchasers in the past, namely Argentina, Romania and Korea?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

I am informed as follows regarding Atomic Energy Canada Limited, AECL.

Loan agreements in support of CANDU sales abroad are commercially confidential documents to which AECL is not party. Therefore, AECL cannot provide information with respect to the terms and conditions of eventual loans to China, as the sale has not yet been finalized, nor can it provide comparative information in relation to past loans to Argentina, Romania and South Korea, for the first CANDU reactor. South Korea's purchases of three additional CANDU reactors on two separate occasions have not necessitated loans from the Canadian government.

The Export Development Corporation, EDC, is participating in export financing negotiations for AECL sale of two CANDU-6 reactors to China. However, all terms and conditions have not yet been finalized. It is important to note that there are no grants or subsidies involved. Any financing would be repayable with interest and normal fees would apply. In other words, any loan would be on a non-concessional basis and would respect the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, parameters.

With respect to comparisons to previous AECL CANDU sales, EDC does not disclose the terms and conditions of transactions or potential transactions it supports for reasons of commercial confidentiality. However, all transactions involved repayable loans and fees.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Morris Bodnar Saskatoon—Dundurn, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-29, an act to regulate interprovincial trade in and the importation for commercial purposes of certain manganese-based substances, be rread the third time and passed; and of the amendment and the amendment to the amendment.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is our last chance to speak to Bill C-29. Unfortunately, we have been gagged, but I still have a few comments to make on Bill C-29, hoping that the bill will be reviewed in the Senate, and that it might amend or defeat this bill, which would have a huge impact on Quebec oil companies.

The Liberal government is finally showing its true colours. Since the beginning, the government has lacked the will to be transparent and get to the bottom of this issue regarding the addition of MMT to gasoline.

The present environment minister and the former one, the deputy prime minister, have always refused to shed light on this issue. Instead of ordering scientific studies as we have asked, they simply caved in to the auto makers lobby and the Ontario Corn Producers lobby. By a strange coincidence, both lobbies are from the same province as the two ministers.

To put a damper on the controversy surrounding their bill and the strong opposition it is encountering, the Liberals have brought in time allocation at third reading. In other words, they are gagging us. The Liberal government is telling members: "Enough. Keep your mouths shut. We will decide and you have nothing to say about it".

Debating, the reason we sit in this House, is defined by the Webster dictionary as: ``To consider reasons for and against''. As parliamentarians, we are here to discuss bills at length. The right to speak is the Parliament's raison d'être. This is what democracy is all about.

The gag strategy that the Liberal government is imposing on us today with Bill C-29 goes directly against the very raison d'être of Parliament. Closure violates freedom of speech, it is unparliamentary and undemocratic.

We, in the opposition, still had some things to say about this bill. We wanted the Liberal government to listen to us so it would recognize that its bill is unfounded and without any sound scientific basis. Bill C-29 simply responds to the automotive industry. This proves once again that the Liberals are responding more to lobby groups than to the real issues. That is a disgrace. It shows all the weakness and lack of vigour of the environment minister in this matter.

The auto industry lobby systematically refused to reveal its studies and thus scientifically support its allegations that the additive was effectively clogging anti-pollution devices, particularly the OBD-2.

As for the Ontario corn industry, it congratulated the environment minister on his bill, seeing that the MMT ban would throw the door wide open to another additive, ethanol, which is produced from corn. Since Ontario produces 80 per cent of Canada's corn, this bill means an exceptional market opportunity for corn producers in that province. This would be a gold mine for Ontario corn producers.

Ethanol production is extremely expensive, both in terms of the environment and in terms of production costs. Fertilizers and pesticides play a major role in corn production. Moreover, the production of one litre of ethanol increases the cost of energy from oil products.

I must also remind members that production costs are so high that the excise tax is removed from this product at the federal level and that the provinces are doing the same, particularly Ontario, with a tax exemption of 22 cents a litre. This weakens the myth of ethanol as "green gasoline".

It is in Ontario that the biggest ethanol plant will soon be built. It is also the federal government that launched in 1994 an ethanol development support program. Are these all coincidences? Not very likely. The government should be looking at other alternative fuels instead, because ethanol from corn has shown obvious weaknesses.

The only scientific data based on the results of tests conducted on various automobiles were provided by Ethyl Corporation and oil companies. These data are the opposite of the allegations made by the auto industry, which has not provided any supporting data. The MMT lobby says it is ready to withdraw its product if independent tests, approved by all parties, prove that MMT gums up the onboard diagnostic systems. These tests could be conducted within a very short time frame and would clarify this issue once and for all. But the government says no, preferring to hide behind the anti-MMT lobby.

The majority of provinces strongly opposed Bill C-29. There was strong opposition to this bill even within cabinet, particularly from the Minister of International Trade, who sees this bill as an obstacle to free trade. As a matter of fact, Ethyl Corporation has given notice of its intention to launch a US$201 million lawsuit against the government, claiming that Bill C-29 is an obstacle to free trade and to the free trade agreement. Is the minister sure to win his case in court? Let us hope so, otherwise it will be very costly.

Bill C-29 is the reincarnation of Bill C-94, which died on the Order Paper during the last session. We would have thought that the new minister would do his homework more carefully, but no. That is not the way it is. The minister came up with the same bill without being able to justify it. We have every reason to be concerned. If the minister does not take his work more seriously and does not show more thoroughness in his decisions, the Prime Minister should replace him without delay, because he is a liability for the environment.

Having accomplished nothing and unable to fulfil their promises with regard to the environment, the Liberals had to do something. So they came up with Bill C-29. What a performance. As if there were nothing else to do for the environment.

Of course, there is Bill C-65 on endangered species, which the government recently scrambled to introduced recently to show that it is doing something for the environment. Let us not forget that the Liberals have been in office for more than three years. Before Bill C-65, the minister was seen last summer on a boat in the Gulf of St. Lawrence when the Irving Whale was raised. What an impressive record.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

The question is on the amendment to the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment to the amendment?

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

The Speaker

All those in favour of the amendment to the amendment will please say yea.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

The Speaker

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Pursuant to Standing Order 45(6), a recorded division on the amendment to the amendment stands deferred to Monday, December 2, 1996, at the ordinary hour of adjournment.

On the Order: Government Orders:

November 29, 1996-The Minister of the Environment-Second reading and reference to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development of Bill C-65, an act respecting the protection of wildlife species in Canada from extirpation or extinction.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:30 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I move for the Minister of the Environment:

That Bill C-65, an act respecting the protection of wildlife species in Canada from extirpation or extinction, be referred forthwith to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Liberal

Karen Kraft Sloan Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the referral of Bill C-65, the Canadian Endangered Species Act, to committee for study and action.

Canadians from all walks of life, from urban to rural areas, have told us we need endangered species legislation.

Members of Parliament on both sides, in the government benches and in the seats across the way, have reflected this genuine concern for Canada's wildlife. That is why the government looks forward to working with the committee while they study and strengthen Canada's first ever endangered species legislation.

The government commitment to this legislation was made in the speech from the throne. It followed extensive consultations with wildlife conservation groups, other environmental groups, farmers, the private sector, provincial and territorial governments and individual Canadians.

Our planet is losing from one to three species per day, mainly as a result of human activity. The recently released IUCN red list contains over 5,000 animal species currently at risk of becoming extinct. Unhappily some countries now have up to 50 per cent of their mammal species in this category.

Fortunately Canada is nowhere near that figure but we are not immune from this disturbing trend. One out of every 25 of our mammal species and one out of every 33 of our bird species are threatened or endangered. In Canada 276 species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and plants are facing extinction and once they are gone, they are gone forever.

All levels of government have a duty and a responsibility to work in partnership with one another and with concerned citizens across the country and around the world to do all in our power to prevent this from happening.

Canadians care passionately about the natural environment. When we have the opportunity to enjoy wild places, few of us can deny the incredible feelings that overwhelm us. We must never forget that not only are we in nature but that nature is in us. Our connections with nature are expressed through social, biological, economic, cultural and spiritual relationships.

Thomas Berry, an eco-theologian, urges us to maintain a sense of respect and a sense of gratitude toward the earth. Indeed, Canada's identity has been shaped by our wilderness in the grandeur of its gifts. It is how we see ourselves and how we are known by others throughout the world.

As I said, Canadians feel passionately about our natural environment. Our provincial and territorial colleagues and our federal minister have listened to Canadians. Last month we agreed to a national accord to the protection of species at risk. With it we have put nature first and jurisdictional disputes second.

The accord commits all provincial and territorial governments, along with the federal government, to take action within specific time periods to provide for the recovery of species in danger. I am confident that the provincial and territorial governments will live up to the spirit and the letter of that agreement in the same way that we are doing with this legislation before us today.

Provisions throughout the bill enable federal action to protect critical habitat, including automatic protection of wildlife residences until the recovery plan has been developed. It covers threatened and endangered species that move across international borders. There are authorities in this legislation for immediate action with other levels of government, the private sector, environmental groups, farmers, fishers, loggers and individual Canadians to work together to protect species in imminent danger.

Once an endangered species is officially listed, activities causing damage or destruction to its residence will be prohibited. This bill requires that recovery plans address threats to survival of species, including threats to critical habitat. It will also give provision for immediate emergency protection of habitat. Offences under the legislation could result in fines up to $250,000 and up to five years

in prison. Corporations would be subject to penalties up to half a million dollars.

Another important element is the provision to protect international cross-border species at risk. Only the national government has the ability to work co-operatively with other countries for the conservation of species.

I would be remiss if I did not mention public participation. It gives all Canadians a chance to play an active part in the protection of species. The public can take part in everything from proposing species for listing to access to the courts for legal redress.

This is good legislation. Members of the committee have shown an active interest in working on and improving what is before us. They, like most Canadians, understand the special reverence we have for Canada's wilderness. This legislation will help us protect species at risk. It is time now to continue the work of putting in place Canada's first ever endangered species legislation.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-65, an act respecting the protection of wildlife species in Canada from extirpation or extinction, has finally been introduced in this House.

Following this stage, the House will be able to refer the bill to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. We will thus have complied with regular legislative procedures. At the outset, we have to admit that everyone agrees that wildlife species must be protected. The flora and fauna are vital components of life on earth. Without flowers, trees, plants, animals and fish, life on earth would be impossible.

Unfortunately, human activity has seriously damaged biodiversity. Only recently have we acknowledged this and started trying to reverse the process. We must act vigorously before it is too late, though it is unfortunately too late for some species which are already extinct.

In the last two decades, the preservation of biodiversity has become an international priority. As a result, we had the 1980 World Conservation Strategy; the 1991 report entitled "Caring for the Earth"; the 1987 report of the World Commission on Environment and Development entitled "Our Common Future"; and more recently, in 1992, the International Convention on Biological Diversity. As we can see, environmental awareness is a recent reality.

In Canada, some provinces and the federal government have already passed laws in this area. Some 12 federal acts deal with the conservation and protection of threatened species.

These laws include the Canada Wildlife Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, the Fisheries Act, the National Parks Act, the Health of Animals Act, and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

At the provincial level, four provinces-New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba-have their own laws designed to protect endangered species. As for the other provinces and the territories, they have laws on wildlife management and endangered species. Their content varies considerably.

On October 2, at a meeting in Charlottetown, the federal and provincial ministers responsible for wildlife agreed in principle on a national convention for the protection of wildlife in Canada. This agreement is designed to prevent the extinction of wildlife species in Canada as a result of human activity. It establishes a new framework for co-operation between the federal, provincial and territorial governments. It deals with co-operation, collaboration and complementarity between its signatories.

Quebec, which supports the general principles and goals behind Canada's endangered species conservation projects, was already reluctant to support the national agreement, fearing overlap between Bill C-65, which we are debating today, and the laws already in effect in the provinces, particularly the one in Quebec, in force since 1989, which works well and is already producing results.

Quebec minister David Cliche said, and I quote: "We risk creating more red tape instead of dedicating ourselves to what really matters to us: the fate of endangered species".

Bill C-65 introduced by the federal minister only confirms the apprehensions of the Quebec minister. Again, the federal government clumsily encroaches on Quebec jurisdiction.

For ministers in Quebec and other provinces, including Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the principle behind the Charlottetown accord was very simple: if the ministers agreed that a species was endangered, the entity having jurisdiction over this species' territory or habitat would be responsible for the protection of both the species and its habitat.

It is impossible to protect a species without protecting its habitat. Since the provinces have jurisdiction over the habitats found within their territory, the province, in this case Quebec, is responsible for the protection of this habitat. But, obviously, the federal minister did not understand that principle adhered to by four provinces which already have legislation on endangered species.

Bill C-65 says that the federal government can act in order to protect the habitat of any federal species, and the definition of species is not limited to those species under federal jurisdiction

like migratory birds and any species identified as transboundary, such as caribous crossing the border, for example.

In clear terms, that means the federal government could unilaterally decide to take action on provincial territories if it considers that a given species is threatened, endangered or at risk, which caused an outcry from provincial ministers.

Bill C-65 goes against the intent of the Charlottetown accord, which says that if the ministers agree to put a species on the list, it is up to the jurisdiction controlling the territory to make sure the habitat of that species is duly protected.

Bill C-65 could allow some unthinkable and unacceptable interference in areas of provincial jurisdiction. Bill C-65 essentially replicates the main points of the bill presented by the previous minister in 1995. That bill had been so massively opposed that it was never passed. One of the criticisms was that the proposed measures were not strong enough.

We believe that this bill presents some tremendous risk of duplication and federal interference. Its scope is much too wide and it could create legislative overlap and duplication.

We also have much to criticize in the whole process for implementing the protection system described in the bill. In particular, jurisdiction as provided will allow enforcement by the federal government on provincial land without the consent of the provinces, because of the definitions given of federal land, aquatic species and migratory birds. One provision empowers the minister to rule on transboundary species, which means that the federal government would be able to take action not only with respect to nearly all species, but also with respect to their habitat, without the issue being debated in the House, as the House does not discuss regulations.

I will conclude by adding that, in any case, this bill will be referred to a committee, where we will surely propose some amendments to ensure that the legislation does not duplicate existing and very good provincial legislation. I hope the government and the official opposition will agree on various amendments.

We will also see what can be done after hearing from various witnesses. We will then determine the position of the Bloc Quebecois on this issue.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is good to be able to speak to this motion today which has some basic optimism about doing good things which have general social support across the country.

As civilization on this planet becomes more developed, humanity encroaches on the world ecosystem. Although there is some adaptive specialization and limited evolution to the living world, what we observe is a general trend to deterioration of the environment and living things, and more prospect of dying than living and the trend to extinction rather than survival.

There is difficulty for mankind to find better health on this spaceship earth, as it is turning into everything opposite of the garden of Eden.

Society may not be able to halt all of what is happening to the earth, but we can be reasonably responsible in stewardship. Mankind is on a life support system called earth that hurdles through space. It is all we have for our children, so we have to take care of its bounty and all those who live on it.

Today with this bill we are attempting to mitigate some of the excesses of civilization on other species. It is not the dawning of a new day but some basic housekeeping for our land.

We need to have a national conversation about this piece of legislation. We must have committee hearings where Canadians can speak, as it is fundamental to governance in a modern democracy. Consequently we have Bill C-65 to be moved to the committee stage before second reading.

As many members of the House are aware, the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development was supposed to travel this week to Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto. Unfortunately politics got in the way and the trip was cancelled at the last minute. I had several calls earlier this week from potential witness who are very upset that the committee would not be able to hear their testimony.

I want to state for the record that the Reform Party agreed to the original travel plans and continues to believe that it is essential that Canadians from all parts of the country be heard on this bill. It is the concern of the committee to receive submissions from non-governmental organizations as well as private citizens.

However, it will not be any Reform Party strategists that will oppose this bill, but we on this side of the House will be the voice of the community, especially those who think that often they are shut out by arrogant majority governments that seek out political credit rather than wise governance.

Let me state publicly that if the minister does not openly listen and act on the suggestions of all the relevant stakeholders who have deep concerns with Bill C-65, this bill might become Bill C-29's big brother.

Some will say is that a threat. Maybe yes, but not from Reformers. It is, rather, a signal of the rules of the game from the thousands of Canadians who are paying attention to the passage of this bill. It is the reasonable expectation of all Canadians who want to protect our environment while at the same time protect our hard won political rights, our vital freedoms to live in a free market

economy and earn an honest living. A poor bill could become very problematic on those counts.

What is paramount for all members of the Reform Party is to ensure that all stakeholders, including ranchers, farmers, environmentalists, private citizens, will always play an integral part in the preservation and the recovery process of species that are endangered.

For years, non-governmental organizations like the Canadian Cattlemen's Association have taken the initiative to protect endangered species. For example, cattle producers have voluntarily co-operated with programs like the North American water fowl management plan as well as operation burrowing owl. These programs require equal participation from the producers and the conservation groups.

Many individual producers have set aside parts of their land specifically for the protection of wildlife habitat. The bottom line is that producers are willing to take the necessary action to ensure the sustainability of endangered and threatened species.

One of my concerns has to do with section 34 of the bill which deals specifically with emergency orders. In this section, either the Minister of the Environment, Canadian Heritage or Fisheries and Oceans will make an emergency order should the minister decide that immediate action is required to protect a specific species. As I read it, the order includes a provision that relates to the prohibiting of activities that directly affect a species or where the habitat is in imminent danger for the survival of the species. Therefore this could affect private land, not just the federal land that the bill claims it only covers.

Nowhere in the background material provided by Environment Canada does it state that the bill will or could affect private land. Yet when I questioned officials from Environment Canada they made it very clear to me that in certain circumstances the bill could affect private land. This is exactly the kind of thing the committee needs to work out before this legislation will be accepted by the vast majority of Canadians.

In meetings with farmers and ranchers they have told members of the Reform Party that they are willing to work alongside the government in the protection of endangered species. However, their biggest concern is that there should be no expropriation without fair compensation. I hope this does not become the very point where it all unravels.

Definitions need to be tightened up. I will give one example. What if a species lives on federal land and for some reason becomes endangered and the provisions of the act are triggered? The species, say a non-migratory bird, may also nest on some adjacent industrial land that is about to be expanded. It is adjacent private land in this case that is not governed by a provincial law. So if new roads and power and sewer facilities are to be completed, nests will be destroyed and this would not be accidental.

The private landowner will be affected by the act if there is no such legislation in the province. The owner would indeed be consulted about a recovery plan, but when it came down to it, it could mean that the expansion of the industrial park would be stopped and the landowner's real estate value would plummet and they would suffer loss. Then the question is who pays for the catastrophic financial loss because of a new regulation from government.

The gist of this bill seems to be that the provinces that do not have endangered species legislation would come onboard in the very near future. Indeed this would strengthen Bill C-65. Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case, at least for the province of British Columbia.

Recently B.C.'s environment minister, Paul Ramsay, was quoted as saying that it was not on his government's agenda to introduce legislation even though he signed the national accord. In British Columbia this act will cover only less than 1 per cent of all the land. So without the help of the province of British Columbia, this act is more than 99 per cent useless. In the province of Alberta, for example, the ratio is only slightly higher but not enough for the minister to get even a little excited.

The auditor general says in chapter 22 of his November 1996 report that the federal government is not doing all that well in cleaning up polluted federal land. Therefore is it clear that in the federal House of responsibility species will indeed be protected and that the same consequences will apply to bureaucrats as ordinary citizens as a result of this bill? Will public servants be fined? It seems to be the old problem of the lands in common and crown land where no individual or specific entity appears accountable.

There are big penalties for private corporations but will members of the armed forces be charged and will national defence actually pay the corporate fines when it hurts endangered species on federal land such as a low fly zone or a firing range? There must be no double standard.

I stress again that the minister needs to listen to all Canadians before he will get support on this bill. He does not want to go down as the environment minister who brought in Bill C-29 which caused more smog from automobiles and caused more endangered species.

We must ensure this bill will not be used for a perverse purpose by an economic competitor to mess up the marketplace and put a company out of business merely because the competitor wants an economic advantage for their own firm. The bill must be an instrument for community co-operation and a point around which actual species can be preserved.

I want to prevent the situation wherein the only species preserved are lawyers who could use this new law to litigate every project for years and allow every fringe environmental group to unreasonably promote their religion to the detriment of the big picture of the environment or the basic rights of Canadians. Therefore the section on citizen complaints must be clarified.

The Reform Party will not oppose for the sake of opposing. We say three things about our role. First, we have a duty as opposition to hold the government to account and to test the veracity and merit of what it brings forward in legislation and also how it delivers its governance. Second, we desire to compliment the government when it goes in the right direction. Third, if we heavily criticize we must be prepared to present thorough and realistic alternatives on the table for all to examine. Reform is ready to govern, but until called upon by the people we will do our duty with this bill.

Therefore, we support the motion for Bill C-65 to go to committee before second reading to broaden the circle of examination and to provide Canadians outside this Chamber a better chance to participate. The terms of the bill assert a new level of ongoing community co-operation and consensus. Let it be also said in the making of this bill that we will have the same spirit of consultation and willingness to adjust as the bill becomes tested in the community.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

The Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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12:55 p.m.

The Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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12:55 p.m.

An hon. member

On division.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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12:55 p.m.

The Speaker

On division.

(Motion agreed to and bill referred to committee.)

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the House would be disposed that the Speaker might see the clock as being 1.30 p.m. I see that the member under whose name private members' hour stands is in the Chamber and we might proceed to private members' hour at this time.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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12:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member have permission to put his suggestion?

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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12:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the suggestion. Is it agreed that we should proceed at this time to Private Members' Business?

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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12:55 p.m.

The Speaker

It being 1.00 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

12:55 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

moved that Bill C-252, an act to amend the Criminal Code (mines), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure today to speak on my private member's bill, Bill C-252, an act to amend the Criminal Code relating to mines.

This bill deals with an epidemic that we have in our midst which is affecting over 60 countries in the world. It is an epidemic which kills over 25,000 people every year. It is an epidemic which harms over three times that many people. It is an epidemic primarily designed to kill and maim innocent civilians, often children. The epidemic I am talking about is the epidemic of anti-personnel land mines.

This scourge affects many countries and often the poorest countries of the world. It is often spoken of on the same level as biological and chemical weapons. These heinous devices, these heinous silent killers which lay underneath the ground beside trees, on walking paths, beside watering holes and in fields are devices which violate virtually every single tenet of humanitarian law. They are in effect by their very nature, by the way in which they are used and by whom they affect, illegal. Yet there are in the world today countries which still use them, countries which produce them and countries which sell them.

The purpose of this bill is to give Canada a leadership role in banning anti-personnel land mines. To the credit of the government, it has placed a moratorium on land mines. It has also destroyed two-thirds of its stockpile. That is a move in the right direction. If we are calling for an international ban on anti-personnel mines which we have been doing, we must first take a leadership role in banning them domestically. It is disingenuous for us to call for a ban of these mines internationally on the one hand and on the other not do the same within Canada. It is a shame

because these weapons are not necessary, from a military or any other perspective. I will get to that later on in my speech.

There are two different kinds of these mines. There are blast mines which when stepped on blow up. There are fragmentation mines which contain pieces of shrapnel and metal one of which elevates itself above the ground to rip out a core and affect people perhaps in a 50 or 60 yard radius from where the mine has blown up.

The fragmentation mines shoot out projectiles at rapid speed which can tear into a person's bowels, legs, groin, chest, eyes and face. The blast mines can take off a limb. Perversely, these devices are not meant to kill but are actually meant to maim. The perverted logic behind this is that a person who is injured is a greater problem to society at large than somebody who is killed and removed from society.

Most of these mines are laid in battlefields. Most of them are laid in the poorest nations of the world. The mines are also used for a number of other different purposes. They are used to terrorize. They are used as blackmail. They are used to starve people. The Khmer Rouge used them very effectively in Cambodia. They would lay mines around the fields and say to the people that they could only get back into their fields if they paid them money. The Iraqis used them very effectively to starve the Kurds.

These mines, as I have said before, affect the poorest nations of the world. When a war is over and people want to go back into the fields they cannot do so because of the mines. This continues the cycle of starvation and destitution within these nations.

The mines are also used in a number of other heinous ways which is well known to the people here. Over 40 countries in the world manufacture mines and the list of companies that make them reads like the Who's Who of Fortune 500 . In fact if we look at the nations that make them, we find sadly that those who claim to be the leaders in peace at the United Nations Security Council are those who are the greatest producers of land mines in the world. It is important to know that. The list includes companies such as Daimler-Benz, Daiwa and many others that can be found in Fortune 500 .

Many of these devices are often designed to look like little toys. The reason they are designed to look like toys is that children will pick them up and their arms will be blown off.

My personal experience with land mines occurred when I was working on the Mozambique border in southern Africa during the war in Mozambique. It was usually young people, adolescents, children, youth, who had their limbs blown off. If you have ever looked into the eyes of somebody who is sitting on a hospital bed with one of their limbs torn to pieces and fragmentations embedded in various parts of their body, knowing full well that that the person is going to die or at best live a life of utter poverty and destitution, then you cannot arrive at any other conclusion but that these devices must be banned.

In fact looking at the current conventional wisdom, the Pentagon has called for a ban of these devices. Twenty-two top military brass in the United States have called for a ban. Canadians have called for a ban. The international community has called for a ban, yet we do not have a ban. Furthermore our country has not called for a ban.

The International Committee of the Red Cross put forth a very eloquent document which looked at the use of land mines purely from a military perspective. It was done by 12 top military brass including General Itani, a Canadian. The outcome was they said that there was no legitimate military use for anti-personnel land mines in the 1990s and there would not be in the future. They strongly recommended that these devices be banned.

Within 24 hours that document was supported by another 24 top military brass. Within 48 hours, 72 top military brass supported it, including General Norman Schwarzkopf and our own General Lewis MacKenzie.

The primary reason for keeping land mines within our arsenal comes from the military, from a very archaic view of the use of mines. Unfortunately that is the view that is being held sway within our country today and that needs to change.

I am greatly disappointed that this bill which in effect has been supported by members across this House and in fact in the Senate was not made votable. There have been dozens and dozens of interventions by members from the government, the Bloc, the Conservative Party, the NDP and Reform Party to ban anti-personnel land mines in Canada. There are even senators from all party lines who desperately want this to occur. There is no reason this bill should not have been made votable so that the House and the people of this country could vote on this very important humanitarian issue.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

1:10 p.m.

An hon. member

The government should bring forward a bill.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

1:10 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

That is right. The government should forthwith bring forward a bill calling for a ban. I am sure we could get speedy passage of that bill through this House and the Senate to make sure that Canada is playing a leadership role.

We are not the only country to have addressed this. Many countries have done so. For example, Belgium which had a vast stockpile of anti-personnel mines has made a ban. Sixteen countries across the world have taken leadership and it is high time that we as a nation did too.

Apart from the military aspect of land mines, there is also the issue under humanitarian law. There are rules which talk about the proportional or discriminate use of weapons. Land mines violate international humanitarian law on at least four or five tenets. They

are disproportionate, they affect civilians, they are not addressed necessarily to combatants, they continue to affect people long after a war is finished and they are inhumane by any stretch of the imagination.

If we are in agreement with international law, with the tenets that we have signed with the United Nations, then we have to arrive at no other conclusion but the fact that anti-personnel land mines are illegal and must be banned. There are no two ways about it.

If we want to speak in purely selfish terms, there are over two million land mines seeded around the world. Every year we take out 85,000. The cost to make a land mine is between $3 and $10, yet the cost to remove one can be anywhere between $300 and $1,000. We are losing the battle. We cannot keep up with the scourge if we are only removing that many and indiscriminately dumping over two million of them a year. And indiscriminate it is. Mines are tossed out of helicopters and from the backs of trucks. There are machines made in Great Britain, France and the United States which toss literally hundreds of them around.

In the gulf war a staggering 400,000 anti-personnel land mines were laid every single day. What is the cost to remove them? The worldwide cost is over $35 billion. Who can afford that? Not the countries that have them because they are some of the poorest countries in the world. Not the international community because we are all labouring under huge debts and deficits which we simply do not have the money to pay for.

What happens in the poorest countries of the world with the mines? It prevents these countries from getting back on their feet. Mozambique, Angola, El Salvador, Somalia; the list is endless. These countries will never become self-sufficient, will never be able to stand on their own two feet unless these issues are dealt with forthwith.

Some of my colleagues will speak today about the people who are affected by mines and what happens to them if they are lucky enough to survive the blast. Some of them may be lucky enough to go to a hospital where they will receive proper medical treatment and possible amputation. They then will suffer months if not years of future surgeries. Because the mine fragments are embedded deeply they often get septic. The people become sick and require antibiotics which are not often available. They might need revision surgeries if it is available to them or they die a very painful and horrible death.

We talk about prosthetics. Prosthesis for these people are not readily available. When one is making $15 U.S. a month and the cost for prosthesis is over $125 U.S., and children will use over 20 of these in their life, one can see that is simply not available.

Those of us who have travelled in the third world, as many members have, know that these people who are affected by mines and are amputation victims live a life in the lowest possible social strata in their society. They are in effect outcasts in a world of poverty. They often crawl on the ground using the remnants of rubber tires on their knees and beg. The families cannot take care of them and they can hardly take care of themselves. It is clearly inhumane.

Therefore, it completely violates any of the tenets of humanitarian law under which we are supposed to live.

Canada has a great opportunity. We have taken a leadership role in many other areas in the past. During the times of Pearsonian diplomacy we demonstrated that we can take a leadership role to strive for peace and understanding among people. We have demonstrated a leadership role in humanitarian aspects. We have Louise Arbour who is the head of the war crimes tribunals in the Hague. Canada has a pre-eminent role in diplomacy and in foreign policy.

I would ask that the government look at this issue and bring in a bill that will have a domestic ban on anti-personnel land mines. If we can have a domestic bill on these devices then clearly we can go to the international community and talk with a great deal of personal conviction and credibility. We can tell other countries that it is in the best interest of the poorest countries and the poorest people of the world, indeed all of us, to ban these devices. They must be put on the same level as chemical weapons, biological weapons and lasers that are designed to blind people. All of these weapons have absolutely no place in warfare in the 20th century.

So-called military experts will say that there are rules that govern mines. They have mapped them out and they know where they are. However, the facts of the matter are that is completely not true. Although we may try to do that, guerrillas can go in and move the mines around. Weather patterns shift the mines around. We do not know where they are. Guerrillas can take mines as they go through a mine field and use those mines to damage and destroy that which they are supposed to protect. They can also be used against the parties that they are supposed to protect. There is no use for these devices now and they must be banned.

Strangely, although the military is the primary objector to calling for a ban on these devices, the primary use is by non-military combatants, non-conventional combatants or guerrillas. They are the ones who use these discriminately and they are the ones who do not adhere to common practices of war. We all know there are really no rules in war.

Some people have said that if we call for a ban on these devices not everybody is going to adhere to it. That is very true, but by banning these substances we will be able to arrest the epidemic of the distribution of these devices so we can at least lower the numbers that are being laid. As I mentioned before, if one is laying

two million mines a year and taking 85,000 out we have a losing proposition and they must be removed.

These mines are not used for military purposes. They are primarily used in a inhumane fashion to terrorize the civilian population. Many are designed to target a civilian population by putting them along the pathways to watering holes. The military do not do that. They know how to deal with mines. This practice is meant to terrorize the civilians.

I would like to congratulate a number of groups in Canada which have worked extraordinarily hard on this issue. Mines Action Canada, the International Committee of the Red Cross, just to name a few, along with many Canadians from coast to coast have tried to bring the issue to the forefront of international consciousness.

I would ask that the government follow the desires and wishes of the majority of Canadians and ban a device which is so heinous it is beyond our comprehension unless we have dealt with or heaven forbid, been affected by land mines or anti-personnel devices.

I will stop there. Based on what I have said today, I would like to seek the unanimous consent of the House to make my private member's bill votable.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

1:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Finlay)

Is there agreement that the bill should be made votable?

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

1:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of private member's Bill C-252, calling for a domestic ban of anti-personnel land mines.

I have a particular interest in this issue, since last week at a conference of the North Atlantic Assembly I was elected Special Rapporteur to the Science and Technology Committee to report to the assembly on anti-personnel land mines with the objective of banning them. In the coming months I will be studying this issue very closely.

In recent years, due in part to the efforts of numerous international non-governmental organizations, as mentioned by the previous speaker, the issue of anti-personnel land mines has been brought to the forefront of international relations. We are becoming increasingly informed and aware of the destruction and havoc caused by such weapons all over the world.

These efforts have led to an international campaign to ban anti-personnel land mines, a movement in which I am proud to state Canada has taken a lead role.

In October of this year, the Minister of Foreign Affairs held an international strategy conference toward a global ban on anti-personnel land mines where representatives of 70 governments, non-governmental organizations, multilateral agencies and private citizens attended. The Ottawa conference concluded with the adoption of the Ottawa declaration calling for an international ban on anti-personnel land mines.

The problem is enormous. It is estimated there are 119 million uncleared active land mines around the world in more than 64 countries. Currently, as the previous speaker mentioned, only 100,000 are being cleared and disarmed yearly at great expense.

The United Nations has projected that if no further land mines were laid, it would still take 1,000 years and $33 billion to clear the land mines that are already in place. However, each year two million to five million new mines are put in the ground. We cannot sit idly by and allow the situation to continue unchecked.

These horrible weapons currently claim more than 2,000 victims a month and over the last 50 years have probably inflicted more death and injuries than nuclear and chemical weapons combined.

While the use of land mines began as a counter to tanks, the use of anti-personnel land mines have become increasingly popular. They have become the weapon of choice for parties involved in guerrilla type operations and international conflicts as they are cheap, as little a $3 a piece, easy to lay and highly effective in killing and maiming human beings, particularly women and children. They are used in some cases to deny access to farm lands, irrigation channels and power plants. The effect of these usages is devastating in a country recovering from war.

Once land mines are laid, they are indiscriminate in their actions since they do not have to be aimed or fired. They are nameless and faceless weapons. Unless they are cleared they go on killing long after the end of any conflict. In fact, the United Nations has estimated that land mines are at least ten times more likely to kill or injure a civilian after a conflict than a combatant during hostility.

Moreover, floods, landslides, moving sand dunes and natural erosion can shift their positions long after they have been laid and marked. In Namibia 88 per cent of post-1980 land mine casualties were civilian. The same situation is reflected in many other countries where land mines are numerous.

The effects of land mines are gruesome and abhorrent. One person is killed or maimed by a mine every 20 minutes and nearly a third of the survivors have at least one limb amputated. On a current election monitoring trip to Bosnia I was shocked to note that about one in every ten adults and children walking along the street in a town called Gorazde had either a hand, an arm or a leg missing.

By comparison, in the U.S. there is one amputee per 22,000 inhabitants. In Cambodia, one of the countries most affected by mines, there is one amputee per 384 inhabitants. A study in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cambodia and Mozambique found that the number of mine incidents in these four countries more than doubled between the early 1980s and the early 1990s.

Land mines cause havoc in a society and severely hamper post-war reconstruction. Most mines strike those who are poor and must go into debt to pay for their medical bills if they can afford medical treatment at all. Gorazde has 20,000 people and two doctors from Doctors without Borders.

The day before I arrived in Gorazde a little boy picked up a red lunch pail and blew his arm off at the shoulder. All the doctors could do is cauterize it and send him to Sarajevo. No one knew what happened to him after that.

Mines also prevent the use of land for agricultural production in many parts of affected countries, severely limiting economic recovery. For example, in Libya only 27 per cent of arable land is usable because it has been covered by mine fields since World War II. Mines make reconstruction of rail and road networks, power lines and waterways slow, dangerous and costly.

When I was in Bosnia they only had power for two out of 24 hours. It was erratic. It could not be repaired. Sometimes the electricity came on from two until four in the morning, the time when most people do not have much use for it.

Not only do anti-personnel land mines prevent the use of resources, they also place a strain on the budgets of countries affected, especially since those countries are likely among the poorest in the world.

In addition, land mines prevent the settlement and resettlement of refugees which is essential to the success of the peace process. Peacekeepers are also at risk in these circumstances and we have many Canadian peacekeepers in Bosnia right now, over 1,000.

A total of 203 UN peacekeepers have been injured by mines and 60 have been killed to date. A further 39 UN civilian personnel have been injured and 7 have been killed by mines. One of the most important briefings I got repeatedly before I went to Bosnia as a civilian election monitor was all the rules and regulations on how to avoid getting maimed or killed by a land mine. I was in one of the most beautiful countries in the world yet I could not step off the sidewalk or the road on to the grass anywhere.

For all of these reasons, land mines make it difficult, if not impossible, for countries to make the transition from conflict to peace through economic recovery, which is what those countries desperately need in order to reduce the chances of future armed conflicts.

Land mines are not a significant source of revenue for most countries. About 100 companies in some 55 countries produce approximately five million land mines a year comprised of about 360 different types of anti-personnel land mines. Few countries profit significantly from the sale of conventional anti-personnel land mines, most of which sell from $3 to $30 each.

Not only are clearance costs between $300 and $1,000 per mine, the human costs are overwhelming. Each victim will incur lifetime expenses and each country will incur serious human and economic costs from those injuries. We can be very proud. Canada has one of the best trained forces in the world in disarming these mines.

The review conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons adopted on May 3 a revised version of the convention's protocol II regulating the use of "mines, booby traps and other devices". Some of the revisions include an extension of the protocol to apply in both international and non-international armed conflicts, a clear assignment of responsibility for mine clearance to those who lay the mines, and a requirement that all mines be mapped and recorded. Of course that requirement is useless in many countries. As soon as the weather changes the mines shift and it is impossible to find them. Self-destructing mines may be used without any specific restriction but they are few and far between.

While I am pleased that such efforts are being attempted it is not enough. The provisions will be phased in over nine years. In addition to this delay, many of the provisions are costly, difficult to ensure and unlikely to be followed, particularly in the midst of war.

Even if states comply with the recording and mapping rule these techniques are only marginally effective when land mines shift easily over unstable ground. Self-destructing mines can be delivered in huge quantities and are extremely difficult to map. Their use could lead to an even greater increase in civilian mine casualties.

The limited military usefulness of land mines must be overridden by humanitarian priorities. I have had the opportunity to witness firsthand, as I have mentioned repeatedly, the destruction caused by anti-personnel land mines.

On the trip to Bosnia the most nervous part of the whole trip was not fear that I would be shot at or fear that there would be conflict between the people we were there to observe, it was the fear for my own person. I thought to myself there are many people, young people, who do not have work, 85 per cent unemployed, and they have the added fear that if they step anywhere that they should not, off a road, off a sidewalk, they can be maimed for life.

I can only imagine the dangers the average citizen faced on a day to day basis there. Fighting had technically ceased. Just because the

act of war was over did not mean the citizens were out of danger. Rather, they faced a whole new set of problems, not the least among them was trying to rebuild a country with so many obstacles in place.

Canada must take a lead role in achieving a global ban on anti-personnel land mines. Bill C-252 is non-partisan. It has been presented by a member of the Reform Party but I wholeheartedly endorse it in a non-partisan fashion. It draws our attention to this very important subject and provokes serious debate and consideration of the issues involved.

I strongly urge thoughtful consideration of this bill because ongoing dialogue is essential to any future progress.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

1:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-252. Although it is a very rare occurrence, this bill has elicited an air of peace and a desire to resolve a situation that causes terrible problems and suffering throughout the world.

We must recall the Government of Canada's position on anti-personnel mines. There is an international agreement. Canada has destroyed two thirds of its mines, and I think this bill today contributes an important additional element. It would completely close the door on any trade in anti-personnel mines. It would prevent there being any more international military transactions in Canada relating to mines. I think this should be incorporated in the Canadian government's international policy.

I would like to remind the House of statements made in this regard on December 12, 1995 by the hon. member for Laval East and on May 8, 1996 by the member for Terrebonne expressing the official opposition's desire for a strong, definite and clear policy on the part of the Canadian government prohibiting mines so that in the 21st century there would be no mines on earth and so that they could not cause the horrible injuries we often see in reports on the civil wars still raging unfortunately in a number of countries in the world.

This is why the bill introduced by the hon. member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca is interesting. We cannot overlook the possibility of arms dealers becoming increasingly greedy for gain and, despite the will to destroy these types of mines, of individuals from other countries, manufacturers for instance, or dealers using a country like Canada as a contact point within North America or even the whole world, or maybe as a place to set up business.

I think we had better find a way to follow up on this legislation. The purpose of this bill is to prohibit the offer for sale, purchase, possession, giving, barter, manufacture, assembly, import or export of a mine or an apparently harmless device, which is another definition for a mine.

Overall, this piece of legislation would prohibit the trade of this type of weapon in Canada.

It has been clearly demonstrated that these anti-personnel mines are left-overs from more barbaric times. Just like international conventions were signed to deal with gas warfare, it is important to try to solve this problem once and for all before the end of the century.

Unfortunately, mines are used in what could be called conventional wars raging in several continents, wars between neighbouring countries and even factions within a country who can only afford cheap weapons and mines, which makes this type of weapon interesting for a warring group. Victims are either maimed for life or are beyond recognition.

The most horrible aspect of antipersonnel mines is that they make no distinction between a child, a woman, an adult or an elderly person and soldiers engaged in combat. It is very important that the Canadian government's message to the rest of the world be quite clear.

We have a firm policy, and we have destroyed two thirds of the mines. Is two thirds enough? Should we not have destroyed 80, 85 or 90 per cent? Good question. We already have at least one element of the debate on the destruction of two thirds of Canadian mines. But there is one element missing from Canada's policy and that is to ensure there are no sales on Canadian soil. I think the contribution made by the hon. member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca is important in this respect.

In a speech the Minister for International Co-operation and Minister responsible for Francophonie gave on October 3, 1996 at the international conference on strategies for a complete ban on antipersonnel mines, the minister said that the continued presence of 110 million antipersonnel mines in developing countries, mainly in rural areas, actually means that these countries are still a war zone. Because antipersonnel mines are cheap, easy to obtain and easy to lay, they are the weapon of choice among belligerents in the poorest countries.

However, we must not forget that in many cases, the trade in these weapons which are used by belligerents in wars in the poorest countries is often in the hands of people in wealthy Western countries. We must ensure that Canada is not in any way involved in this international arms trade. That is why the bill before the House today can be useful.

The minister also said in his speech that together we must put pressure on governments to prohibit the manufacture, sale and use

of land mines. So I fail to understand why the government majority refused to let this bill be a votable item. I do not see why just now the majority refused to let this bill come to a vote.

If we look at the bill itself, it does not contain much that is controversial. In fact, it consists of only two sections: the first one defines what a mine is, which I mentioned earlier, and says that every person commits an offence who purchases, possesses, manufactures, assembles or imports a mine or an object or device referred to in the second definition.

The bill even provides that the Government of Canada or of a province, or a corporation, might possess mines for the purpose of gaining experience in mine clearing or acquiring information about mines. Therefore, the exemption allowing the government to undertake meaningful action regarding those mines that are still active, one third of the all remaining mines, is already provided for in the bill.

It also provides for penalties which I find appropriate and which would be substantial in the case of someone committing an offence under this bill. A first offence could result in up to 10 years in prison; for a second offence the maximum penalty would still be 10 years in prison, but there would be a minimum of one year in jail and, subsequently, for each additional offence the maximum penalty would be 10 years with a minimum of two years less a day.

The only reason I believe this bill is not votable is because it does not come from a member of the majority.

This is rather upsetting, because private members' business is part of the parliamentary agenda. Its very purpose is to allow members who have developed an awareness of certain issues to propose corrective measures when government policies are flawed, and to have these measures properly debated.

In conclusion, I personally believe a consensus can be reached on this bill in Canada. After adopting a national policy to destroy two thirds of the mines, we ought to be able to reach the same consensus to prevent the sale of mines in our country.

I hope the government, which refused earlier to give unanimous consent to make this bill a votable item, will find a way to integrate this policy. The hon. member who introduced this bill deserves credit for doing so, because it is important to state that mines are prohibited throughout Canada.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have had some very good interventions here today.

I want to congratulate the member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca for bringing this forward. I know the work he has done on this issue. I know that the personal experiences he has obviously help him to understand the issue better.

This is a very important issue for me as well in that the deployment of anti-personnel mines is a massive human tragedy. It not only maims but it takes life and a lot of the time it affects women and children.

One of the opportunities I had on this issue was with a delegation at the Interparliamentary Union led by Senator Bosa. I was given the duty on behalf of the Canadian delegation to have this issue of banning anti-personnel land mines on the agenda. The Interparliamentary Union is made up of 133 countries. This is an international issue. It is up to members of Parliament from around the world to build a consensus and come to an agreement on having a total ban on anti-personnel land mines.

At the Interparliamentary Union it was our task to get this issue on the agenda. However, just to get issues on the agenda of an international organization is a tremendous task. There had been a number of attempts before by Belgium to have this issue put on the agenda and they had failed.

There was a real effort by all of our delegation. We had written to many of the ambassadors of other countries to inform them that we wanted to have this on the agenda. One of the ways that happens is there is a vote at the IPU on the first day. We were able to convince members of Parliament from around the world to come together and vote on this issue. We were very successful in convincing them to put it on the agenda.

Once the issue was on the agenda a drafting committee was struck. I had the privilege to be on that drafting committee. The Canadian text was adopted as the working document. This was the document that was accepted. It would have been a great asset to have other members, like the hon. member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, with us when the work was done there. Unfortunately his party does not want to go to some of these international forums.

These international forums are very valuable to put international issues on the agenda. We are working with members from around the world and Canada has taken a leadership role in the world. Too often as Canadians we undersell our influence around the world.

This is a good example where the Canadian delegation was able to get this issue on the agenda and have the Canadian text as the working text for the committee. What happens in these international organizations is that it goes to the working committee. The working committee debates some of these issues and comes up with a consensus.

As Canadians we ask why would some countries not want to support the banning of anti-personnel land mines. It seems very logical. There were some countries that were not interested in doing that. One of those countries is China. It produces more anti-personnel land mines than any other country. When the text was being examines, the Chinese were not interested in a very

strong text. I said to my other colleagues, most of whom were very supportive, that in the public mind these international organizations often water down what is necessary.

This resolution should not be watered down. It is very strong and asks for a total ban on anti-personnel land mines. It would stop their production, their transportation and their use.

The Canadian delegation, along with other countries, was able to adopt a very strong resolution at the IPU. The final paragraph asked the IPU to work with other international organizations like the United Nations so that the international community could come together to formalize a convention for the total ban of anti-personnel land mines.

Many of my colleagues here today have articulated the tragedies which land mines have caused. I also want to inform the House and the Canadians watching this debate of the tragedies which anti-personnel land mines have caused.

The October issue of Equinox has an excellent article. One of the stories was about a mother and her four-year old daughter who were out working on the farm. The mother had the daughter strapped to her back when she stepped on an anti-personnel land mine which costs no more than $3 or $4 to produce. It went off with 12 pounds of pressure. The mother was killed. She lost her limbs and died right there. The four-year-old child who was on her back lay there with one of her legs blown off for three days before someone found her. That four-year-old child will have to spend the rest of her life with one leg. Imagine the tragedy. That tragedy happens 500 times every week. It happens in those countries which are least able to deal with it.

When my wife and I toured the refugee camps on the Thailand-Burma border we went to a clinic which is partly funded by the Canadian government. This clinic is in an old barn which has been converted into a hospital. It was not a hospital in the sense of what we are accustomed to. It was just a broken down building which had been put together. Normally it would hold ten patients. There were 100 people in that hospital.

Our memories are very vivid. We met a 21-year-old Burmese student. Due to a land mine both of his arms had been blown off and he had no vision. It made me feel good that as a member of Parliament I was able to, in a very small way, help to bring this issue before the international community. Canada has a very important role to play in this regard. It has taken a leadership role.

A conference was held in Canada. We tried to bring those countries who are like minded together. It is not easy to get the international community to agree to something. One thing that I have learned as a member of Parliament is that Canada is very well respected by the international community. It is well known that Canada will take a leadership role on very important issues. It will be able to get those countries together but we have to do the groundwork. We have to get those countries together and ensure that we do our homework to get this done. There will be countries that will say they do not need it because they will ensure there are regulations so that the mines are not laid indiscriminately and it will be okay to do. However, the reality is that it is not true.

We are losing the battle. If we were to remove every one of the anti-personnel land mines presently on the ground it would take us 2,000 years at today's rate. However, two to five million mines are being laid in the ground each year. It is a real tragedy.

I know my time is limited so I will conclude. It is up to the members not only in this House but around the world to come together and say that as members of Parliament, as people we want to make sure that we correct this problem.

I want to thank the hon. member from Esquimalt for bringing this forward. He can count on my support to continue to work in the international forums. Canada is willing to go along with it but we need all the other countries in the world to come on board. We need to concentrate on the international forums and put this debate forward. When we win the support of all the other politicians around the world then we will be able to deal with this issue. I am sure we can be successful in working together on this issue.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, sometimes in this House a very special thing happens and that is a feeling of unanimity about a particular issue. This is certainly one of them.

I would like to commend my colleague, the member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca. Within all of our lives there are defining events. Clearly this has happened in the life of my colleague where he has been involved in this issue at a very personal level.

With your indulgence, Mr. Speaker, I would like to read a column he had written that appeared in the Financial Post on Tuesday, May 21, 1996. He writes:

For those who survive, the horror often begins with an ominous click as the detonator is triggered. It is followed by a deafening roar and having your body catapulted through the air. The result is either death, or a life of destitution in a developing country where people who are disabled occupy the lowest social rung in a land of poverty and despair.

In January 1992, Tomas Chiluba was a strong and fit 18-year-old Mozambican fleeing his country, a land wracked by 15 years of civil war. Just before arriving at the South African border and the hope of a new and better life, Tomas heard that fateful click. He was dragged into the hospital 18 hours later. The explosion had torn into his legs, ripping the flesh off his left leg, while shattering the bones and sending mine fragments and bone shards into his right leg. For the next three hours we amputated his left leg above the knee and tried, as best we could, to remove dead tissue, dirt and mine fragments from the good leg in the hope of salvaging it. Thousands of times each year, far from the prying eyes of the world community, this tragic scenario is played out.

The international community convened in Geneva earlier this month-

-that was in May of this year-

-to deal with this silent menace. Sadly, only marginal progress was made with calls for the use of "smart" mines (a real oxymoron) that self-destruct only 90% of the time, and the prohibition of plastic anti-personnel mines. Canada called for an international ban but refused to do the same domestically citing that land mines are essential to our troops in the field. However, this argument has been effectively dispelled by a number of studies, the latest by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The time has now come for our country to take a stand. We have significant moral suasion in the international community and it is time we took a leadership role by banning their production and use in Canada. This will send a clear message for other countries to follow suit.

Land mines have been with us for decades and have become a long lasting and lethal by-product of war. Sixty-nine countries harbour over 100 million of them in their soil, their precise location unknown. Indiscriminately seeded over large areas, they can be active for over 50 years.

Many of the anti-personnel devices are made of plastic and are usually targeted against innocent civilians. Some are even designed to look like toys so children will pick them up, play with them, and have their arms blown off. They are not meant to kill, but to maim, the perverted logic being that a disabled person will be a continuous drain on society and therefore more costly than someone who is dead. The toll in human suffering they have exacted around the world is enormous. In Cambodia, one out of every 260 people are amputees and in Angola it is one in every 470 people.

Over 40 countries manufacture over 300 different types of mines at a cost ranging from $3 to $70. They include such nations as Italy, Sweden, Canada and paradoxically every permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The company names run like a who's who on the Fortune 500 and includes such notables as Daimler-Benz and Motorola. Even in Canada, SNC Industrial Technologies in Quebec makes the C3A2 land mine, dubbed, "little Elsie".

Although mines are cheap to produce, their removal is extremely costly and dangerous. The worldwide bill for demining is a staggering $85 billion. Who will pay for this? Last year, 85,000 mines were removed worldwide at a cost of $70 million. However, at the same time two million mines were widely and indiscriminately seeded. Thus, despite our efforts, we are losing the battle.

Above and beyond the ruined lives and huge demining costs that mines cause is their devastating effect on an economy as they render huge tracts of land unusable for decades. This is particularly sad since those countries that are mined tend to be the poorest, and have been decimated by years of civil conflict. Their starving populations, desperately in need of the land to feed themselves, cannot because of the risk of stepping on a mine. The world community recognizes this silent menace but must now organize itself to do something about it.

For the sake of Thomas Chiluba and thousands of others like him, it is imperative that we eliminate the use of land mines and anti-personnel devices worldwide. To not do so will commit thousands of young people to a life of disability, leaving a lethal legacy in impoverished countries already devastated by war. Banning them is our only option.

Those are the words of my colleague from Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca. He has proposed in Bill C-232 a very small step toward the objective of reducing and finally banning land mines. I think that his bill makes a lot of sense from the perspective that it is not grandiose. It does not say anything about our country as a country. It does not say anything about armed personnel. It does not say anything about armament in bases around the world. But what it does say is that:

Every person commits an offence who sells, offers for sale, gives, barters or exports

(a) a mine; or

(b) an object or device that the person, on reasonable grounds, believes

(i) is designed exclusively for use in the manufacture of or assembly into a mine, or

(ii) will be used in the manufacture of or assembly into a mine.

(2) subject to subsection (3), every person commits an offence who purchases, possesses, manufactures, assembles or imports a mine or an object or device referred to in paragraph 1(b) above.

The bill makes sense in that it talks about putting this into the Criminal Code so that we at least take one small baby step, on whole legs, toward the objectives that we have of seeing land mines banned.

Once again I would ask for unanimous consent of the House that Bill C-252 be sent to committee at this time.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I have a point of order from the hon. solicitor general.

Point Of Order
Private Members' Business

1:55 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I want to raise a brief point of order of which I have just given you notice. The point of order is for the purpose of allowing me to make a correction to today's Hansard . I would have raised this earlier but this matter has just been brought to my attention.

During today's question period I answered a question in part as follows: "Mr. Speaker, Olson is not personally in possession of any of the videotapes in question. Second of all, the lawyer in question is in possession of five of them. He has previously undertaken not to make them public, but in any event I am advised that legal action is being undertaken on behalf of the crown to regain possession of the tapes from Olson".

It is clear from the context here that I was referring to Olson's lawyer. As I say, it was just brought to my attention that I ended a sentence with the word Olson, creating an apparent contradiction with what I said at the beginning of my answer. I wish to confirm that I was referring to Olson's lawyer when I said that legal action is being undertaken on behalf of the crown to regain possession of certain tapes.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-252, an act to amend the Criminal Code (mines), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, I have a request that the member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca be given a few seconds to wrap up. I see by the clock there are only a few seconds remaining. Rather than go into a full debate I am going to give the member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca the remaining time to wrap this up.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, thank you for your consideration.

I would like to thank my colleagues for Mississauga West, Vancouver South, Kootenay East and Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup for their kind and heartfelt interventions on this enormous humanitarian issue.

In closing, I would just like to say to every member in the House that as has been mentioned passionately by the members here from across party lines, this issue is one of non-partisanship. It is an issue of basic humanitarianism. It is an issue that we as Canadians stand for as part of our soul in being fair and equitable people who want to do the right thing and fight for those who are most dispossessed in the world.

I hope the government will bring forward a bill forthwith on this issue calling for Canada to play a leadership role in banning anti-personnel land mines.

I ask once again that the House make my Bill C-252 votable.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member have permission to put the motion to the floor?

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

1:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

There is not permission.

The time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired. Accordingly the order is dropped from the Order Paper.

It being 2.05 p.m., the House stands adjourned until 11 a.m. on Monday.

(The House adjourned at 2.03 p.m.)