House of Commons Hansard #32 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was powers.

Topics

Order In Council Appointments
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table, in both official languages, a number of order in council appointments which were made by the government.

Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 110(1), these are deemed referred to the appropriate standing committees, a list of which is attached.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

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

Immigration Act
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Reform

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-281, an act to amend the Immigration Act (removal of those convicted of serious criminal offence).

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to provide for the removal from Canada of any immigrant or person seeking immigrant status who is convicted of a serious criminal offence in Canada. If the order for removal is sought by the crown, it is mandatory.

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

National Head Start Program
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to introduce in this House a motion that asks for the unanimous consent of the House to develop, along with provincial counterparts, a comprehensive national head start program for children in the first eight years of life, to ensure that this integrated program involves both hospitals and schools and is modelled on the experience of the Moncton Head Start Program, the Hawaii Head Start Program and the Perry Preschool Program.

This motion could be the greatest single effort of this House to decrease youth crime in this country that we have ever seen. I ask the government to work with the provincial counterparts on this matter.

National Head Start Program
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

National Head Start Program
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

National Head Start Program
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

There is no consent.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Gordon Earle Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition for a public inquiry into Ipperwash. This petition concerns the fatal shooting death of Anthony Dudley George on September 6, 1995 at Ipperwash Provincial Park where over 200 armed officers were sent to control 25 unarmed men and women.

The petitioners ask that the House of Commons support a full public inquiry into the events surrounding the fatal shooting on September 6 to eliminate all misconceptions held by and about governments, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Stoney Point people.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

November 18th, 1997 / 10:10 a.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is it agreed?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-11, an act respecting the imposition of duties of customs and other charges, to give effect to the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, to provide relief against the imposition of certain duties of customs or other charges, to provide for other related matters and to amend or repeal certain acts in consequence thereof, as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

Customs Tariff
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson for the Minister of Finance

moved that the bill be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to)

Customs Tariff
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

Willowdale
Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson for the Minister of Finance

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Customs Tariff
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to speak to Bill C-11, an act to simplify and update Canada's tariff system.

Members will recall that during the second reading debate, widespread support was voiced for this legislation from both sides of the House. I am pleased to report that support was also evident at committee. Indeed, I believe that most members were of the view that while Bill C-11 is and might be low profile and somewhat technical, it nevertheless represents an important contribution to making Canada a more competitive player in world trade and will in fact help to maintain jobs in Canada.

In that respect, we heard during debate and in committee that trade is the economic lifeblood of Canada. Clearly then, it is in our national interest to advance measures, such as Bill C-11, that simplify importing and enhance Canadian producers' ability to compete both at home and abroad.

Members will know that the customs tariff is a key component of Canada's import regime. In my view it represents the nuts and bolts of import transactions undertaken by thousands of Canadian importers on a daily basis.

It not only classifies all goods that may be imported into Canada but also provides for applicable tariffs and import duty relieving measures to assist Canadian businesses.

Put simply, despite going largely unnoticed by the general public, the customs tariff touches on the daily economic activities of millions of Canadians.

It is thus important that we take every effort as we are doing with Bill C-11 to ensure that the tariff is as efficient and as up to date as possible. Anything less would in fact entail an unnecessary burden to Canadian industry.

I remind the House that the Canadian industry has played an integral role in developing this legislation. Since 1994 when this initiative was launched, extensive and detailed consultations have been undertaken with interested parties regarding the proposals contained in Bill C-11.

As well, to facilitate input and to help secure consensus, the government has disseminated the proposals as broadly as possible. In fact, each of the proposals to change the existing customs tariff has been published in the Canada Gazette .

In addition, letters were sent to all known interested parties and in March 1996, when a draft of the proposed new simplified customs tariff was made public, it was placed on the Internet and on Revenue Canada's electronic bulletin board. To go further, advertisements were placed in some of Canada's leading newspapers inviting comments from both industry and individuals.

As a result, the importing and manufacturing communities strongly support the changes embodied in this bill. They particularly support the measures for greater simplicity, for transparency and predictability, all of which should help to improve the competitiveness of Canadian industries.

Moreover, industry unanimously endorses the implementation of the new simplified customs tariff on January 1, 1998.

To sum up the virtues of this bill, let me use the words of the hon. member for Calgary South rather than my own. As he eloquently put it during the second reading debate, the cumulative effect is a more predictable, simplified tariff legislation with less regulatory burden and increased competitive strength. Very eloquently put.

As I mentioned, this view was confirmed during the hearings of Bill C-11 in the House standing committee on industry. Clearly the witnesses from the manufacturing and importing associations welcomed the benefits of this bill, especially with respect to the positive effects the legislation will have on their competitiveness.

Particular mention was made of the duty reductions on a wide range of inputs used in the manufacturing processes. They also welcome the streamlining of the existing tariff system to facilitate the importation of goods into Canada and to reduce compliance and administrative costs for business.

We did hear some concerns. I first wish to address a concern that was raised on a policy issue relating to the tariff on auto parts.

Specifically, some witnesses objected to the inclusion in the tariff schedule to Bill C-11 of the provision that continues duty free status for auto parts used by non-auto pact producers as inputs in assembling motor vehicles in Canada.

The purpose behind this measure being continued in Bill C-11 is to maintain a uniform manufacturing environment for all auto assemblers in Canada. The continuation of a zero tariff on auto parts is consistent with this objective.

Bill C-11 ensures that Canada will continue to be an attractive place for automotive investment by maintaining a level playing field for auto manufacturing in Canada.

I should also point out that this bill contains a number of measures that all participants in the auto industry will benefit from. They include the unconditional duty free provisions covering all production machinery, precision instruments and apparatus, as well as all materials for manufacturing vehicles, parts and accessories. That is the one concern.

I also want to take a few minutes to address concerns that have been expressed by some in the importing community that there may not be enough time to prepare themselves fully for the scheduled January 1, 1998 implementation date.

Revenue Canada and Statistics Canada appreciate that there is a large change over in data that must be installed in importing systems in order to be ready for the new tariff. That is why since April of this year there has been an ongoing outreach campaign by the department of revenue to assist in these necessary preparations by providing the data required to update these systems. The efforts are continuing with the issuance two weeks ago of the printed departmental version of the 1998 tariff. Updated customs notices are also being issued which taken together with other initiatives are aimed at ensuring that importers will have all the necessary information in their hands prior to the January 1 implementation date.

A second concern has been expressed in that in view of the timelines for introducing the new tariff, Revenue Canada should exercise administrative tolerance for the first six months of 1998 and in fact waive any penalties for submitting incorrect statistical information.

I understand that Revenue Canada has discussed these issues with the importing community and is prepared to show flexibility provided that importers make their best efforts to apply the new tariff correctly. Furthermore, Revenue Canada is prepared to assist those who need help to identify the proper statistical information to do so before goods are imported into Canada.

The government has every confidence that the new simplified customs tariff represents a positive change for the importing community. For its part, the importing community looks forward to the benefits the bill will confer, benefits including some $90 million in duty reductions in 1998. Importers are also looking forward to having less red tape associated with their import transactions.

These are all issues that not only the importing community has made reference to, but the business community at large. This is an area where the government has taken a step forward in reducing the regulatory burden and easing the administrative burden that small businesses and businesses in general face. That goes forward on the competitive issue in allowing our Canadian companies to compete both domestically and internationally on a more level playing field.

In conclusion, while there is an effort required to adapt to the new tariff, it is certainly well worth it. We have seen support from both sides of the House during second reading debate as well as in committee. Certainly it is a widely held view in the House and in industry.

I urge the House to pass Bill C-11 quickly. The faster Parliament passes this legislation, the more confident the business community will be that its efforts to adapt to the new tariff will not be in vain.