House of Commons Hansard #141 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was reform.

Topics

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Now members see the dilemma into which the Chair is put. Now you see the dilemma that the Speaker is put into because if the question-

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

You let them go with seven questions in a row on the tobacco bill. Two days in a row they had seven questions in a row.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Order.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

At best you are putting your Speaker virtually in an untenable position. I would invite hon. members to discuss this with me if they like in my Chambers, but this is surely not the place.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

What's the point?

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to let this point rest right now and we will proceed from here.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

March 10th, 1997 / 3:10 p.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed 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 four petitions.

Commonwealth Day
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Northumberland
Ontario

Liberal

Christine Stewart Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, today is Commonwealth Day. It is observed every year on the second Monday in March by all Commonwealth countries to celebrate the Commonwealth, its values and principles.

The theme for this year's Commonwealth Day is "Talking to One Another". Communication has always been an important feature of the Commonwealth whether it is between governments, non-governmental organizations or simply interested individuals. Although the Commonwealth consists of 53 diverse countries, it is a family of nations with many shared values and beliefs. By talking to one another, whether at intergovernmental meetings or increasingly through the Internet, we in the Commonwealth have advanced the causes of democracy and human rights and the fight against poverty and injustice that are extremely important to us.

Last year was an important year for the Commonwealth. Canada played an active role in the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on the Harare Declaration, CMAG, which has met seven times in the last 15 months to discuss serious and persistent violations of the Harare declaration.

CMAG was created as a result of the last Commonwealth heads of government meeting in New Zealand in 1995 to study the situations in Nigeria, the Gambia and Sierra Leone. This was part of a wide ranging plan adopted by leaders for increased action to promote democracy, development and consensus building.

The action group will be presenting its report to the heads of government in Edinburgh in October. At the Edinburgh meeting the Harare declaration will be consolidated and strengthened as we revisit the issues of democratic development in our member states. In addition, for the first time, the broader economic issues of trade, investment and development among our member states will be a major focus of our discussions. A non-governmental organization forum and a business forum will be held in conjunction with the governmental meeting, which will draw together the vitality of the private and public spheres.

The Commonwealth is much more than governments and officials. It is also a vibrant and growing association of ordinary people in every part of the globe. Thousands of Canadians are active in the professional, development and service associations which are the strength of the Commonwealth. The relationships built between Canadians and individuals through these organizations are an important force in developing international understanding.

This year we went one step further by looking beyond governmental meetings to actively consult with both the private sector and the Commonwealth NGO community on how government can best promote and preserve democratization and human rights. The round table sessions were successful and several good initiatives are being developed as a result. We look forward to more consultative sessions in the future.

The Commonwealth is a force in the world for the values Canadians cherish, and I urge all members to join me today in saluting the Commonwealth.

Commonwealth Day
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is impossible not to notice the paradox between this theme, communication, and the lack of transparency and information that characterizes this government.

Why is it so difficult if not impossible for members of Parliament, who are the elected representatives of the people, to obtain the right to take part, even if only as observers, in consultations with various groups in our society? Why is it that the government, which is constantly promoting communication, especially through the Internet, has cut subsidies to the NGOs responsible for making the Canadian public aware of the importance of development? We know that the key to gaining support for our efforts toward sustainable human development depends mainly on raising public awareness in donor countries.

Why is silence the only response we get when we try to find out what is happening within the ministerial action group since the disguised failure of the special mission sent to Nigeria to examine the situation with regard to democracy and human rights?

In the meantime, General Abacha's regime continues to hold sway with complete impunity. The Commonwealth is even considering welcoming that country back as a member although the situation has not improved in any way since the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other Ogoni political opponents.

The Commonwealth is indeed a valuable forum to discuss important issues as long as the political will is there. Canada has succeeded in distinguishing itself in the past when it fought against apartheid in South Africa. Despite this positive example, which shows that communication is possible, it remains extremely difficult to reach a consensus when it comes to democracy and human rights, even within a group as limited as the ministerial action group.

Canada can and must exercise strong leadership within the Commonwealth in order to promote democracy and human rights. There are signs of a tendency to use all multilateral forums, including the Commonwealth, to deal with trade issues as separately as possible from human rights and democracy.

In these times of increasing globalization, there is a great risk that vital questions will be overlooked. Canada must not give in to this tendency and must continue to defend human rights and democracy, as it began to do in the case of Nigeria, with the support of Parliament and of the people of Quebec and of Canada.

That having been said, I would also call on the government, next year and in subsequent years, to implement one of the unanimous recommendations of the report by the Sub-Committee on Sustainable Human Development. The committee recommended that the Canadian government play a leadership role within the Commonwealth and elsewhere, in order to raise the issue of child labour and to bring about concrete solutions.

Given that the problem of the exploitation of child labour is one that affects a number of Commonwealth countries, including India, Canada must seize the opportunity provided by this multilateral forum to help move the cause of children throughout the world significantly forward.

In this regard, the Bloc Quebecois intends to keep an eye on the results of the next meeting of Commonwealth heads of government, scheduled to take place in Edinburgh next October 24 to 27.

Commonwealth Day
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Lethbridge
Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker Lethbridge

Mr. Speaker, it is certainly a pleasure to respond to this noble day called Commonwealth Day and the remarks that have been made in the House.

I have listened to what the minister and the member from the loyal opposition said. I take note of the fact that one of the messages trying to be transmitted throughout the Commonwealth at this point is talking to one another. That is certainly a good message, very idealistic and is an attempt to bring these countries that form the Commonwealth together so that they can have some common aim or purpose. I think we should have that.

However, as a nation and a participant in the Commonwealth, one of the responsibilities we have when we are talking to one another is to make sure we are not just talking about things that are politically correct and somewhat acceptable. There are times when we must talk about human rights and the actions taken by some of our fellow countries in the Commonwealth that are not appropriate as such, and if they are not appropriate we should clearly say that in the most positive critical to bring them to task to live up to the expectations that we have in Canada where human rights is certainly an item of top priority.

I would think, in speaking with regard to this more noble idea of countries in the Commonwealth talking to one another, that the same thing should apply in this assembly where we talk to one another in an open and fair manner, where we have the opportunity to speak on behalf of western Canadians, central Canadians and eastern Canadians equally and where it is heard. Sometimes we forget that in this major partisanship forum, as is the case today. Question period today was no exception.

Certainly the noble cause to talk to one another in the world is good. To keep peace and harmony in the world is good. However, let us remember the lesson right at home as well.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Pursuant to Standing Order 34, I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the meeting of the Standing Committee of the Conference of Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers held from January 2 to 8, 1997 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 58th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs pertaining to the list of associate members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

With leave of the House, I intend to move for concurrence in the 58th report later this day.

Competition Act
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Ontario, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-381, an act to amend the Competition Act

(protection of those who purchase products from vertically integrated suppliers who compete with them at retail).

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to present and table this bill entitled Act to amend the Competition Act (protection of those who purchase products from vertically integrated suppliers who compete with them at retail).

The evolution of this bill follows the recognition that small business is the backbone of our economy and the recognition that there is certainly ample evidence of abuse of dominant predatory pricing going on in this country but we seem to have a lack therein or a shortage of legislative levers in order to address this reality, particularly in the oil industry.

This enactment will give a basis for the enforcement of fair pricing for a manufacturer who sells a product at retail, either directly or through an affiliate, and also supplies the product to a consumer who competes with the supplier at the retail level in order to give the customer a fair opportunity to make a similar profit.

As I indicated, other provinces, such as Quebec, are proposing the same bill in their jurisdiction. The text also states that a supplier forcing or trying to force a client to establish a retail pricing policy or a marketing policy for retail sales is guilty of anticompetitive practice.

(Motions agreed to, bill read the first time and printed.)