House of Commons Hansard #139 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tobacco.

Topics

Privilege

10 a.m.

The Speaker

Order. Before we proceed to the orders of the day I am now ready to rule on the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for York South-Weston on Wednesday, February 19, 1997 concerning the availability of budget documents prior to the budget presentation made by the Minister of Finance on Tuesday, February 18, 1997.

I want to thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, the hon. member forSt. Albert, the hon. member for Kootenay East, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance for their comments in this matter.

In his submission, the hon. member for York South-Weston argued that many of the provisions of the budget had been announced by the government prior to the speech of the Minister of Finance and that budget documents were available approximately 15 minutes before the minister rose to make his budget presentation. He contended that these two actions were in marked contrast to previous practice.

The member also maintained that the privileges of members of the House are impinged upon when information is released prematurely. Finally, he asked the Chair to review the whole matter of the budget lock-up.

Since the beginning of this Parliament, hon. members have witnessed an important change in the budget process. On February 7, 1994 the House adopted amendments to its standing orders which included the insertion of new Standing Order 83.1 to provide for so-called "prebudget consultations" by authorizing the Standing Committee on Finance to consider and make reports on proposals regarding the budgetary policy of the government.

Accordingly, the Standing Committee on Finance has engaged on three occasions in a process of public consultation, during which its members were authorized to travel and to listen to the concerns of Canadians. Pursuant to Standing Order 83.1, the committee tabled three reports: the first on December 8, 1994, the second on December 12, 1995 and the third and most recent on December 5, 1996.

On the issue of budget secrecy, perhaps it would be helpful to remind all members of what Speaker Sauvé pointed out in a decision she gave to the House on April 19, 1983 at page 24649 of the Debates :

-budget secrecy is a political convention. So also is the practice whereby the minister presents his budget in the House before declaring it in any other public forum.

I agree with Speaker Sauvé. It would not be proper for the Chair to get involved in the interpretation of budget secrecy, nor the matter of the lock-up.

As for the issue of privilege with respect to the matter raised, let me quote again Speaker Sauvé. In a decision which can be found in the Debates of November 18, 1981 at page 12898 she stated that:

-a breach of budget secrecy cannot be dealt with as a matter of privilege. It might constitute a very important grievance for members. Such action might have a very negative impact on business or on the stock market. It might cause some people to receive revenues which they would not otherwise have been able to obtain. All of these are possible consequences of breaches of budget secrecy, but they have no impact on the privileges of the member. They might do harm-irrevocable in some case-to persons or institutions, but this has nothing to do with privilege.

Speaker Fraser was also asked to rule on budget secrecy. On June 18, 1987, at page 7315 of the Debates he mentioned:

Budgetary secrecy is a matter of parliamentary convention. Its purpose is to prevent anybody from gaining a private advantage by reason of obtaining advance budgetary information-The limits of parliamentary privilege are very narrow and it is not a responsibility of the Chair to rule as to whether or not a parliamentary convention is justified or whether or not the matter complained of is a breach of that convention. That is a matter of political debate and not one in which the Chair would wish to become involved.

I concur with both Speakers in that a breach of budget secrecy has nothing to do with parliamentary privilege. Therefore, in the case presently before us, the Chair cannot determine that the hon. member has been in any way hindered in the performance of his parliamentary duties.

Consequently, it is my decision that there is no prima facie case of privilege.

I thank the hon. member for York South-Weston for raising his matter.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.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 six petitions.

Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin for the Minister of Industry

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-85, an act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985 and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act.

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

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin on behalf of the President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-86, an act to amend the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act and to make a consequential amendment to another act.

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

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to present today. The first petition suggests that Bill C-33 was debated with undue haste and will undermined the natural family. This petition is from people in my constituency of Macleod.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the second petition points out that the GST on books is unfair and that there was a promise to remove it from reading material.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the final petition points out that the white ribbon against pornography week be given more coverage here in Parliament. I agree with all these petitions.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a number of petitions here.

The first petition deals with profit from criminal activity. It is being denounced by these constituents and they point out there ought to be absolute certainty that this does not occur.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is similar commentary with respect to pornography and its negative effects on society. It is not only denounced, it is in fact suggested that this should not be happening because it is extremely dysfunctional and degrading to women, children and others.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, the third petition wants to ensure that there are no increases in taxes on gasoline. The petitioners feel that it is already too high.

The fourth petition is with respect to reading materials. These petitions want no GST on reading materials, something that I have advocated for some time. They also suggest that reading and learning materials could be zero rated.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, the last petition calls on members of this House to make upgrading of the national highway system possible. I am pleased to provide my support for all these.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Simon de Jong Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of presenting a petition on behalf of the

Canadian Council of Railway Operating Unions. This petition is signed by communities all the way from Windsor, Ontario to Revelstoke, British Columbia.

What the petitioners are pointing out is that the viability of the CCROU as an effective bargaining unit for the members has been undermined as a result of the government's interference in the collective process via the maintenance of the Railway Operation Act, 1995.

What they are asking for is that Parliament and the government restore meaningful collective bargaining to the process. They call on Parliament to recognize the importance of free and unfettered collective bargaining by enacting a bill which would restore the union's right to strike and with it the company's right to lock out.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Simon de Jong Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of introducing another petition signed by petitioners mainly from Fort Qu'Appelle and the Balcarres district.

These petitioners point out that there are still over 30,000 nuclear weapons on the earth. They point out as well that the continuing existence of nuclear weapons poses a threat to the health and survival of human civilization and to the global environment.

They call on Parliament to support the initiation and conclusion by the year 2000 of an international convention which will set out a binding timetable for the abolition of all nuclear weapons.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions today. The first petition comes from Regina, Saskatchewan.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that our police officers and firefighters place their lives at risk on a daily basis as they serve the emergency needs of all Canadians. They also state that in many cases their families are often left without sufficient financial means to meet their obligations.

The petitioners therefore pray and call on Parliament to establish a public safety officers compensation fund to receive gifts and bequests for the benefit of families of police officers and firefighters who are killed in the line of duty.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition comes from Calgary, Alberta. The petitioners draw to the attention of the House that managing the family home and caring for preschool children is an honourable profession which has not been recognized for its value to our society.

The petitioners therefore pray and call on Parliament to pursue initiatives to assist families that choose to provide care in the home for preschool children, the chronically ill, the aged or the disabled.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the final petition is from Dingwall, Nova Scotia. The petitioners draw to the attention of the House that the consumption of alcoholic beverages may cause problems or impair one's ability, and specifically that fetal alcohol syndrome and other alcohol related birth defects are 100 per cent preventable by avoiding alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

The petitioners pray and call on Parliament to enact legislation to require health warning labels to be placed on the containers of all alcoholic beverages to caution expectant mothers and others of the risks associated with alcohol consumption.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to present.

Two of the petitions have to do with the national highway system, the first of which notes that 38 per cent of our national highway system is substandard. Therefore the petitioners call on Parliament to urge the federal government to join with the provincial governments to make the national highway system upgrading possible.

The second petition, which is also on the subject of highways, notes that 52 per cent of the price of gasoline is composed of taxes, while only 5 per cent of the revenue is reinvested in the highways. Therefore the petitioners call on Parliament to not increase the federal excise tax on gasoline and allocate its current revenues to rehabilitating our crumbling highways.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the third petition concerns reading and literacy. The petitioners note that the 7 per cent GST now applied to reading material is unjust. The petitioners ask Parliament to zero rate books, magazines and newspapers under the GST.

I support their petition.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the Minister of Health is in the House today to hear me present this petition.

Five hundred and fifty petitioners from my riding of Cambridge pray and request that the government make a commitment to renew the national AIDS strategy and maintain the current level of funding.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

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

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

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Milliken)

Is that agreed?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

10:20 a.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

moved that Bill C-71, an act to regulate the manufacture, sale, labelling and promotion of tobacco products, to make consequential amendments to another act and to repeal certain acts, be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to rise and speak to Bill C-71. There are many in the House today who have experienced much debate on the issue of tobacco regulation. Several of us who sit here today were here in 1988 for debate on what was then Bill C-51, the Tobacco Products Control Act.

I would like to thank my previous colleague, the former minister of health, the Hon. Jake Epp, who brought forward Bill C-51, for his commitment to tobacco regulation and for his efforts in legislating in this area.

Almost seven years ago Minister Epp rose in the House to speak on Bill C-51 at third reading. I quote from that speech:

The purpose of the bill is to provide a legislative response to a national public health problem of substantial and present concern. It is intended to protect the health of Canadians in light of conclusive evidence implicating tobacco use and the incidents of numerous debilitating and fatal diseases.

Although we on this side of the House have on several occasions found cause to differ with the party of the Hon. Jake Epp, Bill C-51 had the support of my party.

We did have concerns about the legislation at that time. We wanted to make certain that the bill went as far as possible to restrict the access and exposure of tobacco products.

My hon. colleague, the minister of heritage, spoke to those concerns throughout the debates on Bill C-51. While we wanted to ensure the legislation was effective, we never wavered in our support for the principles of the bill. Today we have before us a bill which speaks to the commitment of my party and of the government to the health of Canadians.

Tobacco is a preventable source of much health damage to Canadians. Behind the glossy advertising and the carefree lifestyles that sponsorships feed off is a record of suffering and of lives ended far too soon. Who in the House has not been touched by the devastating toll of tobacco use? We have all had relatives, friends or acquaintances who have been sick or who have died because of tobacco related illnesses.

As debate on Bill C-71 has already revealed, smoking has complex and diverse impacts and as the research mounts all around the world we are learning much more about the effects of that use. We are coming to understand more of the factors that influence the decision to smoke and yes, the decision to continue to smoke.

Let me underline one tragic fact. The decision to smoke is being made overwhelmingly by teenagers. Some 85 per cent of all smokers started before the age of 16. Those who suggest that this issue is about adult choices should keep that in mind.

What faces these young smokers? A lifetime of weakened health for one thing, because we know that tobacco kills. We know that research shows a death toll of about 40,000 lives of Canadians cut short each and every year. We know that tobacco is associated with about 30 per cent of all cancer in this country.

If that were all the price we paid because young people fall prey to the lure of tobacco use, it would be too much. But there is more. Tobacco has economic and social costs as well. One of the most obvious economic impacts is the cost of health care for people who suffer from the effects of tobacco use. We face those costs from a number of sources, the most basic of course is the cost to our medicare system.

I think all political parties in the House understand Canadians believe very strongly in our medicare system and I believe all political parties in the House know we need to improve the way we use that system. That means reducing unnecessary drains on the system.

Tobacco must be the best example of a preventable cost to medicare. But we estimate that tobacco use costs our society approximately $15 billion each and every year, about $3.5 billion resulting from the kinds of direct health care costs I have been talking about.

I could talk about how those costs are incurred, about hospital days spent, visits to doctors and prescription costs, about time spent in long term health care facilities. We could spend considerable time talking about the illness that doctors link to tobacco consumption. It could be cancer, heart disease or a lung disease such as emphysema.

We must remember and take to heart that the smokers who are addicted and who are perhaps sick today because of their habit probably started to smoke when they were very young, probably when they were teenagers.

As we debate the bill today yet another generation of Canadian youth is being exposed to the lure of tobacco products. The new tobacco customers are young Canadians. As we sit in our places today let us try to remember the feeling of young people. Young people feel themselves to be immortal. They want to be adults and do things that seem adult like.

Being a teenager is a time to assert one's independence. It is a time when the opinions of friends and peers can weigh more heavily on a decision than the advice of teachers, parents or even physicians. The most common reason cited for starting to smoke is the influence of friends, better known as peer pressure. A 13-year old or a 14-year old cannot easily conceptualize the possibility of getting heart disease or cancer in 30 or 40 years.

Let us think of our own youth whether we grew up in Quebec, Ontario or the maritimes and how immune as young people we thought we were to diseases such as heart disease, cancer and others. If the young get hooked the addictive power of nicotine will do the rest. It is as simple as that.

We know that one in three young Canadians smoke and that half of them will ultimately die prematurely of a tobacco related disease. We know that youth are the most tragic casualties of tobacco use and addiction. We know that youth are the most vulnerable to tobacco promotion.

I wish to present to the House some facts that ought to be examined both in light of their substance and in terms of the devastating effects they can have on young people: 29 cent of 15 to 19 year olds and 14 per cent of 10 to 14 year olds are currently smoking. Let us imagine a 10-year old daughter or a 13-year old son smoking. Do they visualize the possibility of cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other lung diseases? No. Smoking among teens aged 15 to 19 has increased by as much as 25 per cent since 1991.

According to the 1994 youth smoking survey, 260,000 children in Canada between the ages of 10 and 19 began smoking in that year. Figures like these which are being replicated in other countries have prompted their governments to legislate in the area of tobacco control. The World Health Organization has classified youth smoking as a global pediatric epidemic. That is why the government's priorities in developing the legislation and our overall tobacco strategy have been focused on young people.

The tobacco industry claims it does not advertise to encourage youth to take up smoking. That is what the industry says. It claims

it is only encouraging the switching of brands among older established smokers. The focus of advertizing, says the industry, is an audience of entirely adult tobacco consumers.

If we walk the streets we see the billboards and the paraphernalia in terms of caps, jackets and T-shirts. We can check billboards in close proximity to schools and other institutions for young people. These billboards and paraphernalia are certainly not a campaign directed toward the senior citizens. The campaign is for young people.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

An hon. member

Oh.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

David Dingwall Cape Breton—East Richmond, NS

I know the hon. member opposite hates to hear the facts, but let me share something with him. I know he will enter the debate. Then we will have an opportunity to hear his wisdom and intellectual fervour. Perhaps he will listen to one of his own who said on this issue that the tobacco industry said it did not advertise to encourage youth to take up smoking.

Vincent Fischer, president of Symbiose, can qualify as being the guru of sponsorship in Quebec. As he notes, the studies are based on common sense. He said:

If tobacco manufacturers invest $60 million, they are not doing so for the good of their health. They are doing so because they are getting a return on their investment.

That is not me. That is an advertising executive in the province of Quebec.

As I said, the focus of advertising, says the industry, is an audience of an entirely adult tobacco consumers. The information all around us suggests and proves that it is not so.

I again refer hon. members to the article in La Presse of yesterday.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

An hon. member

Oh.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

David Dingwall Cape Breton—East Richmond, NS

I know the hon. member opposite does not like to hear what I am saying. He wishes to avail himself of the opportunity to heckle. I would encourage him to participate so that we can have an intelligent debate of the subject.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

An hon. member

You are asking for too much.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

David Dingwall Cape Breton—East Richmond, NS

Perhaps I have gone too far in suggesting the hon. member might be able to engage in debate of the subject matter in an intelligent way. I will reflect upon my earlier assertion and perhaps at the end of the debate I will have a few words to say to my friends opposite.

Young people are sophisticated enough to understand the purposes of tobacco company marketing tools. Health Canada's 1994 youth smoking survey found that 85 per cent of young smokers and 83 per cent of non-smokers agreed that advertisements for events

sponsored by tobacco companies were a means to directly advertise cigarette brands.

I recognize many of my colleagues opposite have expressed concern about the link between sponsorship and youth smoking. I would like to take a few moments to discuss that issue.

The National Cancer Institute of Canada has issued a report entitled "Tobacco Marketing and Youth: Examination of Youth Attitudes and Behaviour on Tobacco Industry Advertising and Sponsorship". This is Canada's premier cancer research organization. It concluded an exhaustive review of the available science not only in Canada but indeed beyond our borders.

The institute found there was substantial evidence that young people are aware of and respond to cigarette advertising. Advertisements present images that appeal to youth and are seen and remembered by them.

The United States will be implementing a full ban on sponsorship promotion in August 1998. I would like to share the following points from the federal registry of August 28, 1996.

The FDA has found that image based advertising is particularly effective with young people and that the information conveyed by imagery is likely to be more significant to young people than information conveyed by other means in advertisement.

The FDA also pointed to studies showing that children are exposed to substantial and unavoidable advertising, that exposure to tobacco advertising leads to favourable beliefs about tobacco's use, that advertising plays a role in leading young people to overestimate the prevalence of tobacco use, and that these factors are related to young people's tobacco initiation and use.

In essence it is a way in which to present an image and an environment that smoking is okay, that smoking some how is sexy, and that smokers should not worry about getting some form of disease in the future. It is a very well carved and focused strategy by the advertisers but in particular the tobacco companies.

The FDA also looked at sponsored events and found that the effect of sponsored events on young people who attend such events was enormous. Advertising affects young people's opinion of tobacco products, first, by creating attractive and existing images that can serve as a badge of identification; second, by utilizing multiple and prolonged exposure in a variety of media; and, third, by associating the product with varied positive events and images.

The World Health Organization also recognized the link between tobacco sponsorship and consumption. It has found that the tobacco industry uses the sponsoring of sports and entertainment to complement and/or replace other marketing activities to reach large audiences and to associate their products with positive images.

I am not standing here today to tell adults how to live their lives. I am not telling them to quit smoking although I would hope they would. I am not banning tobacco in this country.

Some have suggested that only a ban on tobacco would really address this public health challenge. There are seven million addicted smokers in Canada. If we were to ban this product, can we imagine the chaos and smuggling that would take place? They are addicted to a substance which according to scientific reports is more addictive than heroin. They are addicted to a product that would be prohibited if introduced on the market today. It is a product that kills when used as directed.

It is not a new product. It is a product with generations of use and an insidious hold. To be reasonable and to be responsible we have to make every effort to prevent youth from beginning to smoke. Experts on tobacco generally agree it is far more productive to discourage young people from experimenting with smoking than trying to place several legal restrictions on adult smokers. Our strategy must be to reduce and ultimately eliminate tobacco use.

We introduced a blueprint in December 1995 whereby numerous consultations took place. We consulted widely with provincial and territorial governments, the health community, tobacco manufacturers, collateral industries, sports and cultural groups, and concerned Canadians. There were over 2,700 submissions in response to the blueprint. Now, 15 months later, I stand before the House at third reading of Bill C-71. The bill contains reasonable measures that will restrict advertising and sponsorship promotion.

Let me make it perfectly clear that we are not banning advertising. We are not banning sponsorship promotion. Instead the bill will place restrictions on these promotional activities which will reduce the exposure of cigarettes in Canadian society.

The government has taken into consideration the concerns of the arts and sports events that rely on tobacco company sponsorship. We have set an implementation period for the sponsorship restriction provisions. We will bring them into force in October 1998. This is effectively a two-season adjustment period.

Let me remind the House that the completion of the implementation period equates to a banning of sponsorship or sponsorship promotion. I challenge some of the national media outlets and their spokespersons to stop acting in a grossly negligent manner in pursuing a track of misinformation about the bill and about the effects of the bill. It is just not so.

The coming into force of section 24 in October 1998 will mean the implementation of restrictions on the extent to which sponsorship activities can be promoted.

I have seen the various legal opinions that the tobacco industry has circulated about Bill C-71. One interpretation asserted that the bill would prohibit persons under 18 years of age from being hired at retail locations where tobacco products are sold. The bill creates no such prohibition and does not deal with criteria for vendors and employees in any way. The bill focuses on the ages of the purchasers. It focuses on sales to minors. Other interpretations have alleged that maximum fines and imprisonment will automatically ensue for any contravention of the act on the day following its coming into force.

In reality, such interpretation ignores the establishment of an enforcement policy in my own department. This policy deems prosecution as a last resort to achieve compliance. It includes warning letters and consultations prior to any consideration of legal action. If members opposite are asking me to do the exact opposite, I will reflect on that.

I could probably stand here all day and talk about the various legal opinions tobacco lobbyists have circulated. We know they are the heart and soul of members of the Bloc Quebec, the lobbyist. I find that the unholy alliance of the Bloc Quebecois and the tobacco lobbyists is rather insidious. For every 15 minutes that this debate continues, one more Canadian will join the role of those who died sooner than they would have otherwise, all because of tobacco use.

Let me add one comment regarding those legal opinions. I have publicly offered a voluntary preclearance mechanism. What I have proposed is that when individuals or groups are apprehensive about possible prosecution under this legislation, when they want to ensure that their advertising or their sponsorship promotion fits within restrictions, they can come to my department and discuss it with our officials.

Before event organizers start making unfounded allegations about what they can do and cannot do, I encourage them to review the restrictions with my department.

It is important not to lose sight of the strong support for Bill C-71 which comes from every region of the country. The Canadian Medical Association supports the legislation: "We are looking for expedient passage of Bill C-71 because we know that the future generation of Canadians must be protected from the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the country".

The president of the Canadian Cancer Society also wrote: "I am writing to express my support for Bill C-71 and to urge you and your ministry to do everything possible within legal frameworks to help end the tragedy of death by tobacco".

I have also received the endorsement of the Coalition québécoise pour le controle du tabac. It represents over 561 organizations across the province of Quebec. The number includes 238 towns and municipalities across the province of Quebec. It includes the Association of Cardiologists of Quebec, the Quebec Dental Association, the Quebec Association of Family Physicians, the Pathologists Association of Quebec, the Quebec Paediatrics Association, the Quebec Medical Association, the Quebec Public Health Association, the Quebec Lung Association and the Quebec division of the Canadian Cancer Society.

My friends opposite on one hand supported Bill C-71 and the principles at second reading and have now done a major flip-flop, the hypocrisy of the Bloc Quebecois. They must be accountable for this flip-flop. They must be accountable to those 561 organizations that support the provisions of Bill C-71.

To the hon. members opposite, their day of reckoning is coming and it is coming fairly soon. They will pay the price for their opposition to the health of the Quebec people, particularly the young people of the province of Quebec.

It falls to my colleagues opposite with the same force that it falls to me as the Minister of Health. We cannot, as members of Parliament, overlook the unavoidable toll of tobacco.

In Quebec alone, the members of the Bloc Quebecois, in their unholy alliance with the tobacco companies and the lobbyists, are saying to 76,000 young people who will begin smoking this year they do not care about the health of les enfants des quebecois. That is what they are saying by their opposition to Bill C-71. This is 30 per cent of the beginning smokers in the country as a whole. Smoking is more common in the province of Quebec than in other parts of Canada and the hon. members know it. They reject outright the efforts of the hon. minister of health in the province of Quebec, one of their own, Jean Rochon.

It is a flip-flop today. Why? It is to get the media headlines each and every day in order to save their political skins in the next federal election.

Thirty-eight per cent of Quebecers are smokers. In the rest of Canada the rate is 31 per cent. They are both unacceptably high. As many as three million people alive today in Canada will die from tobacco related diseases, and one million of those are in the province of Quebec. That is far too many. These are reasons enough to do all we can to reduce tobacco consumption in this country.

I know a number of my colleagues are waiting to speak to this bill. They share my concerns about reducing tobacco consumption in Canadian youth. However, let me take a few moments to

acknowledge the efforts of some of the people who have helped get us this legislation here today.

I refer of course to my parliamentary secretary. The member for Eglinton-Lawrence certainly deserves a lot of praise and a lot of recognition. He has brought his experience and judgment to this bill and I wish to thank him for it. I also want to thank the hon. member for Burin-St. George's who chairs the Standing Committee on Health. I want to thank all members of that committee regardless of their political affiliations.

I would be remiss in my remarks if I did not single out one member. In this House we have differed on many issues and I would suspect that we will continue to differ on many other issues. However, I must give credit where credit is due, to the non-partisanship demonstrated by the hon. member for Macleod. He has stood in his place time and time again and attacked me on a variety of different issues, but when it comes to this issue of smoking, tobacco and the control of tobacco use in this country, he has not stood with the Minister of Health; he has stood with the young people and I think he is deserving of praise from all of us in this Chamber.

I want to thank the members of the Bloc Quebecois, in particular the member for Lévis. I know they have concerns with the bill but I am confident that at the end of the day they will put the health of Canadians and, yes, the health of Quebecers first and foremost.

I say to members of the Bloc I know that many of them who are over there are very uncomfortable with the decisions that have been made by the leadership of the Bloc Quebecois. I know that. I say to my hon. friends opposite that it is never too late to change one's mind and do the right thing. I am sure that the children in the province of Quebec will be forever indebted to members of the Bloc Quebecois if they were to exert the kind of leadership that others in the province of Quebec have exerted in terms of supporting children and supporting the health of those children in the province of Quebec.

Finally, I wish to say a few words about the other place. Hopefully later this day this bill will receive third reading. It will leave this Chamber and go to another chamber. I would suspect, having the respect that I have for the other chamber and its members, they will examine this bill in an expeditious way, but in a comprehensive way, and that they too will see the purposes of what this bill is about. It is about the health of Canadians. It is about the health of children. It is about the health of children in the future.

I want to thank all members of the House who have participated in this debate. I know at times it has been acrimonious, but I want to say to all members that we can be a part of something which is very important to the country. I enjoin all members to join with me in that act.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health asked us to reconsider our decision to vote against the bill at third reading.

Before he leaves us, I would urge him to be as intelligent as he would like us to be and make his bill more flexible. It would then be possible to achieve the objectives we in the Bloc Quebecois supported at second reading, because the objectives of this bill are admirable, except in the case of devices like taking away sponsorships. Sports and cultural events so dear to the hearts of Quebecers are being deprived of these sponsorships, including the Montreal Grand Prix and all the international festivals such as the Just for Laughs festival and the jazz festival.

Vancouver also has a jazz festival. Fireworks attract thousands of people from Canada and Quebec. As you know, international events attract many tourists as well. These events give Quebec and Canada international visibility.

The Montreal Grand Prix is the third biggest sports event broadcast throughout the world, after the Olympic Games that are held once every four years and the World Cup. The Formula I Grand Prix comes right after these two. This country is lucky to have a Grand Prix event, to be seen throughout the world and to say to the people of the world: "Welcome to our country".

This country is supposed to be renowned for its quality of life, although, unfortunately, Canada's child poverty rate is one of the highest among Western countries, among the G-7 countries. That is not something to be proud of.

When the minister explained his objectives, we agreed with him, as you know. That is why we voted for the bill at second reading. The minister is an experienced parliamentarian, as you are, Mr. Speaker, and knows that at second reading the debate is on principles and objectives. That is why we supported the bill at second reading.

However, the minister should take the time to read the only speech by the only opposition member authorized to speak in the House at second reading. The hon. member for Portneuf also wanted to speak at second reading, but the hon. member for Macleod, after only a few minutes, a few seconds, called the previous question.

This caused some confusion in the House and, as a result, there was only one speaker for each party at second reading. The minister, after hesitating for months and months, as his predecessor had done, tabled this bill before Christmas. The debate at second reading was on December 5.

This is a venerable parliamentary strategy. A government that wants to pass controversial bills will table them at the end of a session, either in December or in June. They know that, at Christmas time, people are busy with their Christmas shopping. The minister purposely tabled his bill at that time because he did not want this bill to give rise to debate.

The Reform Party also did not want a debate, to the point that, when the minister announced that the bill would be tabled on December 5 at his news conference of December 1, the spokesperson for the Reform Party, who had not read the text, as no one had a copy at that point, immediately agreed in principle to ensure that the bill was passed as quickly as possible. That takes the cake. An opposition party that gives its approval before even reading the bill and its clauses.

When the Minister of Health uses a member of the third party who takes such positions, I think he is putting his credibility on the line. It makes no sense. How can you support a bill if you have not read it? In any case, we in the official opposition do not make a practice of doing so and we are not going to start now. We take the time to read the bills.

We supported the minister's objectives, but had reservations about sponsorship. I said so in my speech as the official opposition critic on tobacco. This week the Prime Minister quoted my remarks, noting that I had said we supported the minister's objectives.

That is true, but the Prime Minister should have finished reading and mentioned that we had reservations about the restrictions imposed on the sponsorship of sporting and cultural events and that, if none of the changes proposed were accepted by the Minister of Health or the government, and I said it even then, we would oppose the bill at third reading. We did not reverse our position, as the minister suggests, we did not do an about-face under the influence of the tobacco lobby.

I suggest the Minister of Health look to see who gives the most to the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party is funded by the tobacco companies, and is not bothered by the fact-rather interesting behaviour. On one hand, it is acceptable for the Liberal Party to receive contributions from tobacco companies and, on the other hand, we are being accused of being the tobacco companies' accomplices. We are nobody's accomplices.

The Bloc Quebecois supports cultural and sports events. To this extent, we are their allies because their very survival is at stake. This is what we support. The government side is implying all sorts of things. No matter how calm the minister sounds in appealing for common sense on this health issue, we will not let him pull the wool over our eyes.

Who is the most opportunistic, the minister or us? Who, as he said, is being hypocritical, when the Liberal government while waging a war against tobacco products does not dare put them on the list of dangerous and illegal substances? And why not? Because the federal government alone stands to make $2.6 billion from taxes on tobacco products, as the budget reveals. The other jurisdictions in Canada will reap another $2 billion, for a grand total of $4.6 billion.

They will not recognize tobacco as a dangerous and illegal product; that would be the logical thing to do but no, they want the revenues from that dangerous but nonetheless legal product.

We can very well hold a debate on the risks associated with smoking. At the second reading stage, during the speech I made as the official opposition critic in this area, I did admit that tobacco was a dangerous product, as demonstrated by scientific studies. The most serious study on the subject was conducted by scientists at the University of Texas and the Beckman Institute in California. They found a direct link between lung cancer, some other forms of cancer, and smoking.

That study refers to a carcinogenic substance and to the P-53 gene, which weakens the body's immune system, its resistance to illnesses that may cause cancer in the long term. We do recognize that. Statistics show that, every year, 42,000 people in Canada, including 12,000 in Quebec, die of cancer or lung diseases related to smoking. We do admit there is a problem.

But should we proceed within a legal framework on this issue? Yes, we could establish a legal framework for a government initiative, program or policy. But then again, that legislation would have to be enforceable, balanced, well designed, sensible. It would have to provide for a well structured implementation over time so it can be enforced. Because a law people do not comply with is unenforceable as it would require much more than the 40 inspectors we now have to make sure it is implemented. At present, in all of Canada, only 40 federal inspectors supervise the enforcement of the existing legislation. There already is a legislation providing for the monitoring of convenience stores to ensure they do not sell tobacco products to young people under 18. This legislation is not new; it already exists. We are adding a few details like the identity card, but the law already exists.

Yet, a serious study shows that, in Canada in general, it is not being enforced in 25 per cent of cases, while in Quebec the rate is almost 50 per cent, apparently because federal inspectors do not go there much. Why should we pass a new law when we know that the existing one is neither enforced nor enforceable? Why?

Why is this legislation unbalanced? I will give you an example. The government does not appeal enough to the accountability of citizens, young people and parents. For instance, for corner stores

and other retailers who sell tobacco products, this legislation provides for significant fines that I find excessive, while the offender himself would not be fined.

Let us take the example of the legislation on alcohol. How does it work? Of course, fines are imposed on those who serve alcohol to minors but, at the same time, minors are also penalized: they are arrested and must go to court. You will tell me that it is a youth court, but they still have to appear before the judge. And parents who do not abide by the legislation on alcohol, at least in Quebec, are also questioned.

But that is not the case here. Yet, according to the health minister and the parliamentary secretary and many others, tobacco is more dangerous than alcohol. However, we know that drinking and driving may create problems; many accidents are caused by alcohol. Why this inconsistency?

Here is another inconsistency. In the health committee, of which I am a member, we see there is some responsiveness. I am not taking a final stand on this, because it has not been discussed in our caucus yet. For example, there are some who think that marijuana and hashish, which are soft drugs, should be legalized. Why? Because, these people are saying: "If they were legal, they would be better controlled. The government could better ensure the quality of the products and they would be less dangerous for young people".

Does making drugs illegal reduce the use of so-called soft drugs and even harder drugs? On the contrary, make them illegal and use increases. Is legislation effective enough in itself to prevent increased use of tobacco, alcohol or any other substance?

We could go back in time and look at what happened when alcohol was made illegal. In the United States, in the 1930s, they had something called prohibition. Being my senior, Mr. Speaker, you will recall the incredible impact banning alcoholic drinks had, the resulting increase in contraband and crime for instance. I am a baby boomer, but my parents often told me stories about those days.

Without getting into Al Capone in Chicago and all that, we all remember stories about that era; there were even movies made about it. A purely legal or legislative approach is not enough to fight something that may be bad in itself.

Before sitting on the health committee, I was the official opposition's critic for youth and training. That is the line that should be developed, that should have been developed. It was suggested earlier that the Bloc Quebecois had somewhat ambiguous, hypocritical and paradoxical positions. I have a figure here showing that, when he announced he was imposing a special surtax on tobacco two years ago, the Minister of Finance told us it would bring in $180 million in additional revenue, which would be used to fund this great prevention campaign and ensure better control. How was this $180 million used? In fact, $40 million was spent.

I am looking over the figures for this year. But, this year, what is the government doing? It is legislating. With this legislation, given how concerned the minister, his parliamentary secretary and the Liberal members are about public health, we would have thought the government would have used at least that $180 million. Yet, only $10 million was spent on prevention and another $18 million on control and inspection, for a grand total of $28 million. That is far from $180 million. What did they do with the rest of the money? Where have these millions gone?

I will tell you what happened to these millions. There were spent, among other things, to promote Canadian unity, to the tune of $23 million for flags, sweaters and all kinds of gadgets. I can tell you about it, because a provincial final is currently being held in my riding, as part of the Quebec Games. I try to attend this extraordinary event as often as possible, and I urge people to the same and go to my riding of Lévis, because it is the first time these games are organized by a RCM, a group of municipalities getting together to put up a major event.

What did the federal government do? The heritage minister came barging in and, pretty well at the last minute, announced a $100,000 subsidy, but with one condition: the Canadian flag would have to be up there and the athletes would have to wear sweaters that promote the flag and Canadian unity. We are talking about the provincial finals of the Quebec Games. Can you believe it? The heritage minister has some nerve.

With the $63 million that it is spending, hers is the only department that got a budget increase this year, when the government was cutting elsewhere, including in transfer payments to the provinces for health, the notorious Canada social transfer, which now also includes post-secondary education and social assistance. The government is indeed making deep cuts in these areas.

On the other hand, it spends on things like that. Oddly enough, this $63 million is roughly the same amount that sports and cultural events will lose, those $60 million in sponsorships, if the bill is passed this evening and if the Senate then gives it approval.

Given that difference of only $3 million, the heritage minister, who is just as convinced as her colleagues are, that is the health minister and the parliamentary secretary, should have taken that $63 million to compensate organizers of sports and cultural events, since the amounts are basically the same.

But no, they put Canadian unity ahead of health in this case. When Bloc Quebecois members talk about the survival of cultural

and sports events, we are told that we are putting culture and the promotion of sports ahead of national health objectives.

The government, however, promotes its flags, handing them out for free, and we in the Bloc Quebecois are expected to say nothing. Do not count on it, Mr. Speaker. Perhaps not you personally, you have an objective, non-partisan role, but through you, those members who make appeals to us, the minister who speaks from the heart, who says to the Minister of Canadian Heritage: "Listen, if you are as concerned about the health objective as I am, take part of the $63 million, if not all of it, and apply it to that".

First of all, the health minister should be consistent. Let him take the $180 million set aside for prevention, promotion and education. Let him so something constructive. Then we would take him seriously when he talks about our judgment, our humanity and the health objectives. Then we would take him seriously.

The minister should himself get serious and spend the money accordingly on sports and cultural events, and at the same time, in addition-because he is apparently sure of his objectives concerning young people-he would then take an important dimension seriously.

A number of studies show that, in 80 per cent of cases, young people decide whether or not to take up smoking around the age of 15 or 16. The main reason young people smoke is not because they have seen a logo for tobacco products on a car racing at speeds of 200 kilometres an hour and up; that is not the reason at all. It is not because of a logo seen at the site of a sports or cultural event, for these events draw more adults than young people. This is not why they smoke. The primary reason, in over 50 per cent of cases, is because their friends smoke. They want to copy what their friends are doing. They want to be one of the gang, so they start smoking. That is the main reason they start.

If the minister were serious, he ought to accept our recommendations. During the clause by clause examination, we said "If it is peer pressure that gets young people to start smoking, why not make use of this real social fact and provide funding for youth centres and other youth organizations that are so much in need of funding?" These organizations have had their funding cut, federal funding in particular. There could be programs focussed on prevention, young people speaking to others in the schools, telling them not to smoke, for young people are very much aware of the issue.

I have had experience with youth-related issues. Before I was an MP, I always worked in youth organizations, and I have a fairly good idea how young people think about certain things. I am not worried, not pessimistic. I think our young people are becoming increasingly aware about certain things; we could even learn a thing or two from them.

Who has more influence on today's young people than other young people? Sometimes I revert to an old habit, and throw out a piece of paper. How do young people react to this most of the time? They say: "No, no, not there. It goes for recycling". Our children make themselves responsible for recycling at home, but they also talk about it at school, and they talk to us about the environment. The environment is important to our young people, and smoke is an environmental contaminant.

Since the minister is no longer here, I shall now address the parliamentary secretary. Why does he not encourage his minister, if he is serious about this, to put the planned $180 million, at least that much, into programs for young people?

Why not give more money to anti-tobacco groups? I have personally met representatives of all groups and all lobbies, whatever you want to call them. The Bloc Quebecois, unlike the minister, took the time to listen to everyone. Not just one group but everyone, including representatives of anti-tobacco groups. There are intelligent people in those groups, people with sincere convictions.

Far be it from for me to insult people who have done a wonderful job telling young people about the dangers of tobacco use. Unfortunately, although the minister tried to avoid this debate by putting the matter before Parliament at a time when the public's attention was elsewhere, it happened just the same. The debate was there during our Christmas parties. The subject was discussed at family gatherings. And after the holidays, people started to realize what was at stake and that they might lose the Montreal Grand Prix and other major cultural and sports events that were very popular, and they started to demonstrate their opposition, as we saw in Montreal this week.

If there had been a healthy debate, properly set up, and if there had been consultations conducted properly, well planned and unbiased, not this steamroller approach so Quebecers and Canadians would not realize what hit them. If instead of this inappropriate approach to lawmaking, the government had shown a spirit of transparency and openness and respect for different opinions.

Those who support tobacco company sponsorships of cultural and sports events could have talked to the public. People I spoke to personally, in private, said they were appalled at what was happening to cultural and sports events. They are appalled. They have nothing against those who promote culture. Of course, when they defend a position, opinions tend to crystallize, and finally no reconciliation seems possible. But what do you expect? The minister talks to only one side, he hears only one side of the story and will not allow any consultation.

When you want to draft a bill, you organize forums, you have consultations and meetings in the provinces, you ask the provinces whether they agree, to get their co-operation, because the subject we are talking about today is our health. Incidentally, I may remind you, and I am sure you know, but it seems we often forget what it says in the Constitution about health. Perhaps the Minister of Heritage should have the Constitution printed in pamphlet form so Canadians across the country will know what is in the Constitution. Those who read them would see that health is a provincial matter. Where does the word "province" appear in the bill?

With my colleague from Drummond, in committee, when the bill was being studied clause by clause and on many occasions, I tried to say: "Include at least `in co-operation with the provinces"'. But no, the Minister of Health wanted to be the defender of health and take his place in history as the man who had an extraordinary anti smoking bill passed. He wanted credit for it, so much so that, seeing the consternation it caused in his own caucus and in cabinet, the minister said, in public, before anti smoking lobbies, that, if this bill were not passed before the elections, he would put his liberal beliefs, his convictions and his membership in the Liberal Party on the line. He even suggested to people that they vote against the Liberal Party in the next elections.

In doing so, he put pressure on the other members of cabinet. There are people on the other side, members from Quebec, including the member for Outremont, the Secretary of State responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development in Quebec, who said suddenly: "Hang on, I am powerful, influential, I will get the minister to change his position. You will see". He listened to the representatives of sporting and cultural events, because, several months later, he discovered the economic importance of it all: $200 million in economic benefits for the Montreal region, 2,000 jobs.

A few months later, after the holiday season, he discovered that it could adversely affect him in his own riding. He had not thought of it before, but he must have been told so in some Christmas parties. So the Secretary of State responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development in Quebec finally realized that.

The president of the Liberal caucus in Quebec realized that, but as he could feel the heat, he suggested that an election be held. Now, another president of the Liberal caucus is making promises. The extension was one year, he asked for it to be 18 months, and he won. After that, he thought he might just as well ask for a five-year period, but he was turned down. The Minister of Health told him it was enough.

Of course, even if he is from Quebec, from the riding of Saint-Maurice, the Prime Minister himself then had to support the decisions of his Minister of Health. He was compelled to state that the most important thing for him was Canadians' health. Come on. We know him well. We saw him in action during the referendum campaign. He said he would make changes and he did try a little, but as soon as the provincial premiers did not agree, that was the end of his efforts. A little motion was moved in the House of Commons.

Oh yes, we know him. He is the one who, when he was Minister of Justice and acting on behalf of former Prime Minister Trudeau, imposed patriation of the Constitution from London and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Today, he tells us that Canadians and Quebecers' health is what counts the most as far as he is concerned and that he will make this issue a plank in his electoral platform.

The Minister of Health reminded us of that when the Liberal Party agreed to delay application of some restrictions for 18 months. He will hear about it during the electoral campaign. The voters will talk about it, the official opposition too.

The bill is so imprecise and deliberately confused that it leaves room for all kinds of interpretation and speculation. Everybody is confused. For example, the organizers of the Grand Prix de Montréal claim that, according to this bill, if passed, people could not even watch the Australian Grand Prix this weekend on television.

Sponsorship of events such as the Grand Prix is a package deal. I have no respect for tobacco companies who use blackmail but, because of this bill and because of the anxiety caused by its adoption, Quebecers may not be able this weekend to watch Jacques Villeneuve race in the Australian Grand Prix. He is the son of Gilles Villeneuve, and the potential world champion driver this year.

This morning, the plane I took from Quebec City was delayed due to a terrible storm. People recognized me and told me they were hoping I would rise and speak about this, because they want to see Jacques Villeneuve compete in the Australian Grand Prix over the weekend. They absolutely want to see him.

It is not a totally sure thing. This is a very particular event, very current, and it just goes to prove that the 18-month extension proposed by the president of the caucus applies only to clause 24. The parliamentary secretary knows quite well that it applies only to clause 24 and not to clause 31.

What is in clause 31? It deals to retransmission. The 18-month adjustment period does not apply to that clause. I am sure that some Liberal members are not aware of that. Therre are not many of them, but maybe they are listening.

I urge them to do as the member for Outremont did, even if it is a bit late; I urge them to read clause 31 of Bill C-71 which they will pass tonight. It deals with retransmission. They will see that the 18-month adjustment period does not apply to clause 31. Clause 31

is really special, it means a tobacco company's logo cannot appear on a car.

If this is allowed, if a tobacco company's logo or name appears on the car, TV networks will have to distort the image. It would be somewhat similar to what is done in a news report when witnesses want to remain anonymous for whatever reason. Their image is then distorted to ensure they are not recognized.

Imagine the next formula 1 race with TV cameras trying to distort only the cigarette company's name appearing on the car so that it cannot be recognized. Imagine that Gilles Villeneuve is sponsored by a tobacco company, we will not be able to see him. If he comes first, I imagine they will go to the runner-up, but since most racers are sponsored by tobacco companies, the only one they might be allowed to show will be the one who came in last. This does not make sense. Usually people are interested in the driver who comes in first not last. This is rather odd.

But it is the truth. The member who is grinning should look at clause 31 and ask a lawyer to review it. If he is of the opinion that what I am saying is wrong, the member should have his health minister make a solemn statement to that effect in this House before we adjourn, as he did the other day, with good reason.

The job of the opposition is to criticize, but sometimes we have to recognize that the minister does set the record straight. For example, some people in Quebec, and perhaps elsewhere, are saying that it would prohibit persons under 18 years of age from being hired at convenience stores. Indeed, it was not clear.

We wondered, we asked questions and so did Reform members. In a solemn declaration, the minister said: "It is not in the bill. It is not in, but I commit myself to not prohibiting it by way of regulations". He said it would not make any sense. He took that solemn pledge. We are asking him to do the same for the broadcasting of Grand Prix auto races. We want him to say: "Section 31 is so convoluted that you could read into it one thing and its opposite".

That is saying quite a lot. If I had more time, I would prove to you that this bill has been put together in such a way that some sections are totally incomprehensible. Nobody can understand them.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

11:30 a.m.

An hon. member

Not even the minister.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis, QC

The minister wants to go to the Supreme Court with that. We are in this situation because parts of previous legislation dealing with sponsorship was struck down by the Supreme Court. From my office in the Confederation Building, I can see the Supreme Court. Maybe I am prejudiced, but it seems to me that it is always leaning to the west. But I may be over-reacting.

First, the Supreme Court is in Ontario and most of the judges come from Ontario. Most of the time, when there are decisions involving Quebec, we are in the House. We have become rather suspicious when it comes to relying on the Supreme Court to interpret a piece of legislation. It is not that we are suspicious by nature, it is because we have facts. There is a lot of evidence which prove that Bill 101 was badly tampered with by the Supreme Court. But that is not what we are dealing with this morning.

For a minister to be this tentative on each and every aspect of a bill is unusual indeed. I asked my colleague, the hon. member for Chambly about this, since he sits on the committee that deals with the scrutiny of regulations and the administration of legislation. He told me that they have rarely seen an act worded the way this one is, where the minister is so afraid his act will be thrown out of court that he reserves the right to regulate each and every aspect of the issue, instead of mentioning his power to make regulations only once, as usually is the case. The word "may" is used over and over again, all over the place, regarding sponsorships, sales, the way the product should be regulated, and so on.

The minister is so concerned that he will be making regulations on just about everything. But at the same time, it has to be said that the minister is grabbing a great deal of power in an area which, in theory, is none of his concern, since this is a health issue. Again, the provinces are not even mentioned.

The minister has arranged it in such a way that he will be pulling all the strings and retaining full power through regulations. The thing is, we would like him to table his regulations in this House. We would have liked him to do so while the bill was before us, but at least he should do so very soon. In fact, we have moved an amendment to that effect.

The official opposition has acted constructively, proposing a series of regulations at the clause by clause review stage of the bill. We succeeded in having one agreed to, regarding vending machines with remote controls. We had to negotiate long and hard for this and we were quite proud of ourselves. We won this point in committee, but now, at report stage, what do we see? The words got changed around to read only vending machines with locking devices. That is what would be allowed, even in bars where customers under the age of 18 are not admitted. They want to put tobacco into the category of illegal and dangerous substances and treat it as such, requiring that it be kept under lock and key, even in places where children are not admitted.

I am running out of time. I will not go into histrionics, I will simply encourage the members across the way to do their duty as lawmakers and, unlike the hon. member from the Reform Party, not to rush into supporting a bill before getting a copy of the bill and reviewing it thoroughly, particularly clauses 31 and 53, where the presumption of innocence is reversed and the onus or burden of

proof that should be on the accused is on the victim instead of the other way around.

I will conclude on this: read your bills, as it is your duty as Liberal members, before voting for or against them.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House today as a parliamentarian who truly believes that we should have small government with as few rules and regulations as possible and that personal responsibility is very important. I try to judge every piece of legislation by those yardsticks.

On this issue I could be and have been accused of forgetting freedom. I could be accused of forgetting the fact that individuals who decide to smoke should have that ability and that responsibility. Therefore I would like to explain to my colleagues in the House and those people in Canada who are interested in this issue why I have chosen to support and vote for Bill C-71.

I do not often trust statistics, especially statistics that are gathered by those on the various sides of an issue. I made my own graph of cigarette consumption per capita for Canada and the United States between 1970 and 1994. I used figures that are completely independent of any side on this issue.

The graph illustrates that over the past 20-plus years the incidence of smoking in Canada and the U.S. has been declining, and declining considerably, in lock step in fact. The graph is fascinating. Since I cannot show it in the House, I can only demonstrate with my hand that the graph is like a toboggan hill with both Canadian and American per capita consumption rates in lock step coming down.

For the previous 15 years there had been no interruption in that downward slope. However, in 1993 the Canadian smoking rate went up while the U.S. smoking rate did not. The increase in the Canadian smoking rate makes the slope of the graph look like the lip on a ski jump.

Two things have happened in Canada during the time I have spent in this House: a tobacco tax rollback, where the price was reduced in some provinces; and the supreme court striking down the Tobacco Products Control Act, which was designed to prevent smoking.

I also independently found the figures on overall Canadian tobacco consumption which include cigarettes sold over the counter, roll your own cigarettes, non-smoke tobacco like snuff and so on, the contraband market, smuggled cigarettes. I kept the grouping together as much as possible. I found that between 1990 and 1991, overall consumption went down in Canada by 6 per cent. It then dropped almost half a per cent. The next year it dropped 3.49 per cent. This verifies what was in the other figures, that there was a downhill trend. However, in 1994 consumption went up 9.2 per cent.

These are very new statistics available through access to information. The results show what happened the first year after advertising of tobacco products was re-legalized.

After the Tobacco Product Control Act, which affected the legality of advertising, was struck down in 1996, advertising could resume and the results were powerful. Brand switching did not significantly take place during that year when advertising was re-allowed.

It is fascinating to look at what happened in the high tax provinces and the low tax provinces. When the tax rollback took place some provinces did not lower their taxes. In those provinces where taxes stayed high, the increase in smoking in 1996 was 1.72 per cent. In the low tax provinces it was 2.32 per cent. That demonstrates to me a price sensitivity in tobacco consumption, especially for youth.

Overall per capita consumption in Canada went up 2.32 per cent during the year when advertising was allowed. Those figures say to me that advertising sponsorship has an effect on youth.

Another tidbit of information that is not commonly known is that chewing tobacco was on its way out. Chewing tobacco was very popular around the turn of the century. We have all seen the pictures of the cowboy and the spittoon. Chewing tobacco is another form of nicotine consumption. There were only two groups who continued to use chewing tobacco in North America: rodeo cowboys and baseball players.

The consumption of chewing tobacco can be very clearly graphed and then an advertising program took place. We hear that the main factor in tobacco consumption is peer related. There was no peer relationship with smokeless tobacco. An advertising program was undertaken by one of the young, new chewing tobacco companies. It is fascinating to see what has happened. I will not mention the name. I do not want to give these companies an advertising presence in the House, but I have watched the name of chewing tobacco appear on race cars. I have watched chewing tobacco advertisements occur at drag races. I have watched chewing tobacco appear at rodeos.

Do you know, Mr. Speaker, that chewing tobacco consumption has gone up? It is much more prevalent today than it was. That says to me that an advertising campaign completely independent of any peer group pressure can change human behaviour.

I consequently said that my responsibility on this bill was to be non-partisan since I actually started out believing that this approach was nonsense, that there was no way to change human behaviour, that government intervention in this area was worthless. Having changed my mind, I went to my colleagues and said:

"I believe this bill will have an effect on youth". As a group we decided to do whatever we could do to make sure no roadblocks were put in the way of the bill.

Why did we decide to expedite it? I found that Jake Epp, who was mentioned before, took 13 months, plus or minus, to get his bill through the House of Commons. Because 10,000 kids a month take up smoking, and if it took 13 months to get the bill through the House, I felt it would be unconscionable. How did we decide to expedite it? We made sure there were no procedural wrangles that could lengthen the time interval that this bill would stay in the House.

Consequently, when I made my speech at second reading I asked for the question to be now put. What happened was fascinating. There was confusion in the House. All that needed to happen was for a member to stand and say debate and the debate would have gone on, but there would be no chance of procedural wrangling. It was interesting that the debate collapsed. My colleagues were ticked off at me because they said they did not get a chance to speak. I had members opposite speak to me.

I want Canadians to know there was not a Liberal on the other side of the House who had a clue what I was going to do. Not a member of the Bloc had a clue what I was going to do. I simply decided to prevent procedural wrangling. It was very effective, effective beyond my wildest dreams.

On the issue of sponsorship and job losses, my colleagues in the Bloc feel as strongly about this issue as I do. I have an interest in race cars and racing. I have raced on the same track on the same day as Jacques Villeneuve's father, Gilles Villeneuve. I still own a race car and I still race although my political job has messed it up quite royally.

I am fearful of anything that threatens the Grand Prix de Montréal. I very carefully looked at what has happened with tobacco sponsorship in other countries, with a view toward protecting my hobby, my interest, my avocation and the value of my race car.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

It was pretty well self-interest.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

11:45 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

It was self-interest for sure.

France sought to ban all tobacco advertising effective in 1993. There was a huge outcry from sponsorship groups. FISA, the group that governs motor sport throughout the world, organizers of the Grand Prix circuit, announced the French Grand Prix of 1993 would be withdrawn.

The French Grand Prix is the longest running grand prix in history. To those people in France the grand prix is extremely important. The threat occurred before the law was passed in 1993. The sponsorship ban in France went through. The 1993 French Grand Prix was held. The 1994 French Grand Prix was held. The 1995 French Grand Prix was held. The 1996 French Grand Prix was held. The 1997 French Grand Prix will be held devoid of tobacco sponsorship.

Exactly the same argument was made about jobs for advertisers and the advertising industry, that there would be a huge withdrawal of funds to the advertising industry and jobs would be lost. My colleague in the Bloc is concerned and rightfully so for jobs in the advertising industry. I have testimony saying that 22 per cent of the labour force working directly in the outdoor advertising industry would be lost. It is a big deal.

The president of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Canada wrote to a marketing magazine. Tobacco advertising had been banned in Canada and he wrote:

The ad ban under the Tobacco Products Control Act was arguably one of the best things to ever happen to our industry. It drove our members to develop other advertising categories so that today packaged goods, not tobacco, are our largest spending group. The loss of tobacco revenues has been completely recouped and then some.

We are being given a bill of goods from self-interest groups. Let me refer to the issue of the shopkeeper bearing all the onus. When a youngster goes into a shop to buy cigarettes and is sold cigarettes the shopkeeper is fined. I have listened to the shopkeepers at home. They are quite concerned that their businesses will be wrecked and that there will be cigarette inspectors throughout the country.

I tried hard to amend the bill to put some onus of responsibility on the youth who broke the law. I wanted a small fine for the 15-year old who went into the shop to buy cigarettes. It would be a slap on the wrist: "Don't do that. It is illegal". That was my one attempt to amend the bill. I was not looking for procedural wrangling. I tried to make that little attempt but it was unsuccessful.

Another big issue for my party and me was the regulations which put meat on the bones of the act. Over and over again I have lobbied for the regulations to be scrutinized by the whatever committee would be appropriate, which in this case was the health committee. I put those proposals, ideas and thoughts forward. I had hopes the minister would hear me out on the issue and the regulations would be scrutinized.

As it turned out, a Liberal member put forward such an amendment which through design or mess up was passed. I was told the scrutiny of regulations was against parliamentary tradition.

This is an historic occasion. It will not be noticed by the press or by those worried about tobacco. However as a health committee we

will receive the regulations, may do a study of them and make changes. I circle the word may. I sincerely hope the member who put forward the amendment gets huge credit for having done so. The scrutiny of regulations will take place by elected representatives and not just by order in council. That little one is great for me; it is my smile on the tobacco bill.

I must say a few words to my smoking friends, those people whom I tried all my life in my capacity as a physician to convince not to smoke. I hope they can stop. I have expressed words of advice. I know how tough it is. To that end I have looked at the cancer statistics.

I see the ads for cigarettes which try to convince young women: "You've come a long way, baby". I will talk about cancer of females for now. From 1970 to 1995 colorectal cancer has dropped somewhat. Ovarian cancer has stayed reasonably level. Stomach cancer has come down. Cervical cancer has come down. Cancer of the uterus has come down slightly. Melanoma has stayed static. However there is one cancer that has taken off like a rocket ship, cancer of the lung. It has gone from less than 10 per 100,000 to almost 35 per 100,000. It is the only female cancer that has taken off.

There is only one reason for this in our female population, in our young women, in our wives and in our daughters: "You've come a long way, baby. You've learned how to smoke". It is a shame. I hope this will be very evident to the young women.

The bill will soon go to the other place. I will watch with great interest certain of the individuals there, three very prominent senators: Michael Kirby, William Kelly and Roch Bolduc, all of whom are very intimately involved in the tobacco industry. They are on the boards of these big companies. I will watch them very carefully to see whether or not they will vote on these issues. If ever there has been a conflict of interest on a voting issue, there it is. I will watch with profound interest to see what happens. Will they abstain?

Before I came to Parliament I made a little promise to myself that if I were ever offered compensation for changing my mind on something I would not do it. That is a nice way of putting what I would like to say very strongly. I cannot say the word that I would like to say because it is inappropriate to use it in the House.

One night not so long ago I received a phone call. The person on the line said: "Doc, if you change your mind on this bill it will mean something to you personally in a financial way. If your party changes its mind on this bill funds will flow". I am making that announcement in the House of Commons today. I as a member of Parliament was offered compensation for changing my mind on this issue.

I have a lighthearted but not so lighthearted request for the tobacco companies. They are looking for things to sponsor. They are looking for areas to put their money. What if they sponsored funeral parlours? What if they put a little sign on every hearse saying that it is sponsored by the tobacco company involved?

I considered the approach taken on the bill. I thought it was the wrong way to go. I am still not sure the bill is perfect. I find flaws and holes in it.

When I went to Parliament the people at home said that I should try to be as non-partisan as I could and try to support legislative measures that would make a difference. For the 10,000 children per month who are taking up tobacco, half of whom will die prematurely, I say that the bill is imperfect but it is better than a vacuum.

I will reflect back on the first patient I had as a medical student. The fellow was a veteran. He was my very first assignment. I was a green, untrained medical student in the Mewburn pavilion at the University of Alberta. He had emphysema. He had smoked all of his life. He was dying; he was literally at the end of his life. He was on oxygen. I went to visit him day after day after day. I was getting to know what it was like to deal with a patient, to listen to somebody in distress and to watch him slowly slip away.

His last words to me were: "Doc, don't let the young kids smoke". He did not last much longer. I will never forget him. I will never forget his advice to me. In my judgment this legislation will help in the quest not to let the young kids smoke. Let me close by saying with memory of my first patient: "Don't let young kids smoke".

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11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Lachine—Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is a most important debate. We are debating a social issue: our society's values. What will be the future of our young people? Should we try to reduce the number of smokers and, if possible, eliminate smoking completely? On our side of the House, we think so.

I strongly support Bill C-71, even more so because I had the honour to introduce, in the Quebec National Assembly, the first legislation in Canada protecting non-smokers, Bill 84. I have heard the opponents of this bill.

Bloc members claim that it is almost as an attack against Quebec, against freedom of expression, and even that Montreal's economic future is in jeopardy. True to form, members of the PQ and the BQ said that it was Quebec against the rest of Canada, the rest of Canada against Quebec. Those who vote for the bill are against Quebec and against Montreal's economic future.

The media opposed to the bill even called those who support Bill C-71 ayatollahs, and now the Bloc's big guns have adopted the term. There are goodies and baddies, and yet, I wonder if this is such a clear cut issue in Quebec.

Let me name just a few of the hundreds of organizations that support Bill C-71, as I would not have the time to name them all: the Association des cardiologues du Québec, the Association des médecins de langue française du Canada, the City of Montreal's public health branch, all the hospitals in the Montreal region and across the province, all the CLSCs, l'Association des étudiants du Département d'éducation physique de l'Université Laval-these people definitely have an interest in sports-the Association régionale du sport étudiant de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue, the Association régionale du sport étudiant du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, the Association régionale du sport étudiant Laurentides-Lanaudière, the Gouffre school board, in school board, the Fédération québécoise du sport étudiant, the Maison des jeunes d'Amos Inc., the Maison des jeunes de Desbiens, l'Illusion, the Maison des jeunes de Saint-Jovite, the Maison des jeunes du Bas-Saguenay, the municipality of Lotbinière, the municipality of Saint-Bruno-de-Kamouraska, the municipality of Saint-Simon-de-Rimouski, the regional county municipality of Rivière-du-Loup, the City of Deux-Montagnes, the City of Rimouski, the City of Roberval, the City of Saint-Félicien, and hundreds of other cities, CLSCs, sports organizations, etc. Are these people ayatollahs of tobacco?

Are the countries that are taking similar measures, and those that have already done so, ayatollahs of tobacco? France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland and, in 1998, the United States with much stricter legislation than the bill before us, are these countries also ayatollahs of tobacco? Do they not understand?

On December 10, 1992, the Fédération internationale du sport automobile (FISA) stated unequivocally that the French Grand Prix was over, that it was going to be cancelled. Four years later, the French Grand Prix is still going strong and, in 1997, Jacques Villeneuve will definitely try to win it. The Grand Prix will still be there in 1998-99, in the year 2000 and well beyond that.

In 1988, officials of the Canadian open golf championship said that if Du Maurier withdrew its support, it would be the end of that event. Yet, this golf championship will be held in Montreal this year, with the support of Bell Canada. The Virginia Slims women's tennis tournament is still going strong, even though Virginia Slims was replaced by Corel. At one time, the Australian world tennis tournament was sponsored by Marlboro; now, it is sponsored by Ford.

It has been said that Bill C-71 would deal a deadly blow to Montreal. It has been said that the economic future of Montreal will be brought down by Bill C-71. But when the big guns in the Bloc Quebecois' who are condemning Bill C-71 because of its economic impact on Montreal are told that political instability in Quebec is weakening and hitting Quebec hard, they tell us that this

is a figment of our imagination. We have referendum after referendum. We just had a referendum at a cost of several millions of dollars that divided Quebecers and caused political instability, and what is the Quebec government doing to reshape the economic future of Montreal? They are talking about a third referendum, maybe for next year or the year after.

The mayor of Montreal, who should know something about it, said himself that political instability is hitting Montreal hard, that we cannot go on like this with our never ending quarrels from referendums to language battles. That was the mayor saying that, and he should be in a position to know about it.

We were also told that there is no link between advertising and young people starting up smoking. Yet, there are studies about that. I will quote only a few of them for lack of time, but I could send our colleagues from the Bloc seven boxes full of studies, hundreds of them, showing a link between the two. I will quote only a few. The team of Pollay, Siddars, Siegel, Haddix, Merritt, Giovino and Ericksen studied this issue over a 14-year period, from 1979 to 1993. These people are experts in marketing, social sciences, health sciences, etc. They concluded, and I quote:

Because brand shares of advertising voice are significantly related to subsequently realized market shares, cigarette advertising appears to influence the smoking behaviour of adolescents. Notably, the effect is substantially larger amongst adolescents than among adults by a factor of about three. The battle of the brands for market share is waged largely among the young, for it is a brand's success among the young that leads to greater brand sales and profit in the long term.

A 1996 U.S. study by Evans, Farkas, Gilpin, Berry and Pierce comes to the same conclusion. These studies have extensive references.

"Our results support the hypothesis that tobacco marketing may be a stronger current influence in encouraging adolescents to initiate the smoking uptake process than demographic characteristics, than perceived school performance or exposure to other smokers in a peer or family network. The cumulative evidence supports the need for effective strategies to prevent adolescents from starting to smoke".

In his book entitled Smoke & Mirrors: the Canadian Tobacco War , Rod Cunningham quotes an Imperial Tobacco chairman, who said: ``If we keep at it long enough, we can get tremendous benefits by sending to the public a longer-lasting message''. He also quotes a vice-president of marketing at Imperial, who thinks that even the

less privileged smokers can choose a brand because it conjures up a comfortable lifestyle.

Also mentioned is a project carried out by a marketing research company from Ontario in 1977 on behalf of Imperial Tobacco. It was called "Project 16 years old". The report stated and I quote: "The purpose of this project was to learn as much as we can about smoking uptake, about how high school students feel when they start smoking and what they forecast will be their future tobacco consumption".

In another of its documents entitled "Media Plans 80", Imperial Tobacco describes the groups it is targeting in 1980 for its various brands. The target groups are defined according to demographic characteristics such as age, sex and education. Some of the ads were aimed at boys and girls from 12 to 17 years of age.

The "National Media Plan 81" Imperial Tobacco prepared the following year contained a similar market analysis strategy for comparable target groups. For some brands, the 12 to 17-year old smokers still represented the major target group. They were given the highest weighting used.

In La Presse of March 5, 1997, Normand Turgeon, a marketing professor at the École des hautes études commerciales who did a study showing that tobacco companies sponsor events because it boosts their sales, is quoted as saying: These results contradict what manufacturers have been saying. What they keep telling you is not the truth''. In <em>La Presse</em> of March 5, 1997, Vincent Fischer, a champion of sponsorship in Quebec, said:If tobacco companies invest $60 million in sponsorships, it is not because they want to be nice, but because it pays''.

We have been told that Montreal would be losing the Canadian Grand Prix. I wonder if Bloc members are not a bit worried that, if their fondest dream ever came true and Quebec became a sovereign country overnight, Montreal would lose the Canadian Grand Prix. Would the Australian Grand Prix still be held in Australia if it became the Victoria Grand Prix overnight? I doubt it very much. But they do not worry too much about that.

In the March 4, 1997 edition of the Journal de Montréal , Jacques Duval, a former president of the Montreal Grand Prix exposed the odious blackmail that is going on, saying: ``One does not have to be a rocket scientist to realize that what is going on is a rather clumsy conspiracy by people who are primarily concerned about their own interests''.

The Canadian Grand Prix will survive if it deserves to survive, and I think it will, because it does. We are also being told that arts and artists in Quebec will be affected by the loss of sponsorships. It is as if the whole artistic community in Quebec were opposed to Bill C-71. However, the Artistes pour les commandites sans tabac represent 300 Quebec artists such as Claude Meunier, Serge Thériault, Marc Favreau, Gilles Pelletier, Plume Latraverse, Édith Butler, and talk show hosts Gregory Charles and Marc-André Coallier. One of their spokespersons said: "These sponsorships sell cigarettes. One cannot try to enrich people's life while contributing to the shortening of their existence. We cannot keep silent while the tobacco industry uses the addictions it creates to stop a piece of legislation as crucial as this one in the area of health".

We have to know exactly how much the tobacco companies contribute to Quebec arts: at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal, 1 per cent of total revenues; at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal, 0.4 per cent; at Ballet Jazz de Montréal, 2 per cent; at the Centre du Théâtre d'aujourd'hui in Montreal, 1 per cent; at Montreal's Orchestre de chambre I Musici, 0.3 per cent; at Montreal's Place des Arts, 0.1 per cent; at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, 0.3 per cent; at the Montreal Opera, 0.3 per cent.

Except in one case, no percentage is higher than 3 per cent.

It is said that in Quebec all movements, political or otherwise, are against Bill C-71. And yet, here is what Minister Rochon said in the November 27, 1996 edition of La Presse : ``We will go as far as we can. Sponsorship is subliminal advertising. It is a very strong means to promote consumption of a product, especially among young people. Some events have become as addicted to tobacco as the smokers themselves''.

In La Presse of November 11, 1996, Rémy Trudel, the minister responsible for sports and recreation, expressed his concerns about the close links between tobacco manufacturers and a sports facility: ``There are priority values a government should not give up''.

In Le Soleil of November 28, 1996, Louise Beaudoin said: ``I agree that Quebecers' health must come first''.

Allow me to quote clause 22 of Minister Rochon's tobacco bill. This bill, now in draft form, is the fifth version to be discussed by the Government of Quebec, and is expected to be introduced in June 1997.

Clause 22 of the bill says: "Any direct or indirect funding of sporting, cultural or social events or facilities whose purpose is to promote tobacco in any way is prohibited".

To those who are opposed to this bill, particularly my colleagues from the Bloc, I ask this: what would they have said if Minister Rochon had introduced a bill before the federal minister did? Would they have condemned Minister Rochon publicly? I am talking about a bill supported by the Parti Quebecois government itself, a bill that exists, a bill whose clause 22 I read, a bill I have a complete copy of here, a bill that goes much further than Bill C-71.

What would they have said then? What would they have said if the bill at issue came from the Quebec government?

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12:15 p.m.

An hon. member

I will tell you.

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12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Lachine—Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

You see, Madam Speaker. They cannot accept any debate.

We listened to their colleague a few minutes ago. We did not attack him, but they cannot accept any debate. They cannot accept it because, according to them, something is either black or white. You are either for or against it. There is nothing in between. They cannot accept another view.

This is why, whenever we speak, they feel the urge to interrupt us. Well, let them. What I would like is to see them ask Mr. Rochon where he stands, why a pequiste minister at their headquarters in Quebec has come out with a bill that goes much further than the federal bill and said they wanted to go further.

What would they have said then? Would they have attacked the federal government? Would they have called Mr. Rochon an ayatollah? Would they have called Mr. Trudel an ayatollah? Would they have called Ms. Beaudoin an ayatollah? Of course not. They turned it into politics, petty politics at that.

Their line now is that it is the rest of Canada against Quebec. It is Mr. Dingwall, the health minister, against all of Quebec. It is everyone against Montreal. But this is simply not true.

This impressive list of 560 organizations-

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12:15 p.m.

An hon. member

Céline Hervieux-Payette is on our side.

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12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Lachine—Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, he is interrupting again to tell me: "Céline Hervieux-Payette". You see the difference between us and the Bloc Quebecois. We are not a monolithic block; we Liberals can think for ourselves. Some of us are in favour of the bill, and some have reservations. Perhaps the senator has reservations. That is her business, that is her fundamental right.

We are not like them, caught in a stranglehold, unable to move, unable to accept that anything could depart even slightly from their monolithic view of things. What distinguishes the Liberal way of thinking is that individuals think for themselves, arrive at their own decisions. If anyone in our party wishes to say otherwise, let him or her do so. That is what democracy is all about. Our hands are not tied. We are human beings first and foremost.

I for one, as a Liberal living in Quebec, am 100 per cent in favour of Bill C-71. When we passed Bill 84 in the National Assembly, smoking was allowed in hospitals, clinics, restaurants, everywhere in Quebec. Today, progress has been made. Things are certainly not perfect, but smoking is far less prevalent or practically non-existent in hospitals and clinics. Even in restaurants, there are areas set aside.

The legislation Mr. Rochon is proposing, and that I would dearly love to see passed, will mean the end of smoking in restaurants and public places. It is smoking we are battling. We are battling for a future concept, a social value. I therefore strongly support Bill C-71.

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12:15 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Portneuf, QC

Madam Speaker, my Liberal colleague asked a number of questions of the Bloc Quebecois and I had trouble refraining from giving him the answers since he was so insistent about it.

First of all, I would like to tell all my Liberal colleagues that the Bloc Quebecois agrees with the principle of Bill C-71. It agrees with the content of the bill, barring a few exceptions. However, when a bill includes the use of means that should not be used because the end never justifies the means, it is our duty as the official opposition to point out those aspects of the bill.

You will recall that, unfortunately, debate was cut short at second reading. We probably could have drawn these aspects of the bill to the attention of Liberal members and of all Canadians if that debate had taken place. But it did not, and we are forced to raise these issues now.

So, the first major irritant is the reverse onus, which means that people will be considered guilty until they can prove their innocence. This is totally new in our justice system, and that is why it is a major irritant. As the official opposition, the Bloc Quebecois cannot accept such a change of rules in our justice system.

The second irritant concerns sponsorships. It may be desirable that tobacco companies stop sponsoring various events some day, but it is not something that can be done overnight. That is the problem. The minister is telling us that if young people do not see any tobacco advertising at sporting and cultural events, they will not start smoking. I admit that it may influence them a little, but it is not their main motivation.

When I was young, many people smoked and I, myself, started to smoke. Thank God, I was able to quit later on. However, there were no sponsorships on television. This was at the beginning of television. We had black and white screens only, and there were just a few programs. But did we ever smoke. Therefore, there must be other factors that lead young people to smoke.

In fact, if the health minister is so convinced that sponsorships are one of the important factors that lead young people to start smoking, why then does he not provide a transition period in order to help sponsored events to find other sponsors? How can we

believe a minister who is not ready to invest a single penny to support his principles?

This is not grandstanding, we are only looking at the facts as they are. Without a transition period, the direct losses will amount to $60 million. As for indirect losses, they will amount to $200 million for the Montreal area, an area where there are more poor people than in all the maritimes. We are not grandstanding, we are looking at the facts. If the losses are that high, it will cause unemployment. Unemployment means poor families. Poor families mean poor children, malnutrition, a high dropout rate, health problems.

Even worse, studies show that poor families smoke more. By refusing to provide a transition period, the minister will endanger the health of those same young people he claims he wants to protect. This really is a measure the minister did not foresee the possible perverse effects of.

In fact, we must realize that the sponsored events proposed some interesting compromises to the minister but it seems that he prefers going to court, because this is sure to happen. Sponsored events and sponsors will go ahead and force the minister to go all the way to the Supreme Court and once again, in five years or more, the problem will still be with us.

I want to tell my Liberal colleague that in the health committee I myself proposed active measures aimed at the young, for example, an awareness campaign where stars popular with young people would tell them that they do not smoke to preserve their health.

Last November, I had the opportunity to discuss the bill with Mr. Rochon and I expressed my concerns. You will know that Mr. Rochon's bill has not moved a bit since then. His bill will be reviewed by cabinet because good intents are one thing, but negative impacts are another and they must also be taken into consideration. That is one of our main points. We want the bill to have maximum efficiency and we want full protection for the health of Canadians and Quebecers.

However, the clauses on sponsorship will have the effect of replacing a problem with another which might be even worse.

I have a twofold question for my colleague. First, could it be that the minister is more stubborn than convinced? Is the Minister of Health sick? Why does he not invest the money in his own budget to finance a transition period? Finally, and I would really appreciate an answer from my colleague, is the minister not afraid that the right he is assuming to decide what can or cannot be seen on television might be declared unconstitutional? Other countries tried to decide for their citizens what could and what could not be seen and we know what happened to them. I ask the member across the way if, out of sheer stubbornness, the minister is not losing sight of what is best for the health of Canadians and Quebecers?

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12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Lachine—Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, first of all, if the minister is really losing sight of the health objectives of Canadians, then why is he getting support from all health organizations across Canada, including Quebec? Hospitals, Local Community Service Centres, doctors, in fact everyone supports the minister. If he is against health, why would all these groups give him their unqualified support?

They say there was no debate on this issue. This is an issue that has been discussed for years. For years we have been debating this question. Every time a bill is introduced. In fact the Conservative government introduced one, and there was endless debate on the subject. There is a debate in our society between the pro-tobacco groups and the anti-tobacco groups. This has been going on for years. All the facts are known.

I told the hon. member for the Bloc Quebecois that if he wanted to go and see them, I would show him seven boxes full of documents that prove there is a connection between tobacco sponsorships and smoking, especially among young people. There are studies, and I quoted two of them, but there are hundreds more that prove this fact.

And if it were not true, why would France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Scandinavian countries, and so forth, have done the same thing we are doing? Even if Minister Rochon's bill is being revised in cabinet, the fact is that he and the Quebec government said quite clearly they wanted to go further.

They talk about unemployment in Montreal, where I come from. Montreal is in bad shape today. But I think there is something wrong when they talk about the connection between sponsorship and unemployment and never mention the connection between political instability and unemployment in Montreal. Why is Zellers leaving? Why did Canadian Pacific leave? Why are we losing 5,000 Quebecers more per quarter than we get, including immigrants? Why is this happening?

They do not want to face the facts. They do not want to face the consequences of this endless debate that has been going for years. They had the first referendum, but that was not enough. They had a second one, it was still not enough. So they will have a third one. Even the hon. member for St. Hubert, who is running for the leadership of the Bloc Quebecois, said the other day: "After a third referendum, no more, because people are fed up". She herself admitted this had to stop someday in order to provide some political stability. That is what we need.

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12:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Madam Speaker, I will respond immediately to the hon. member for Lachine-Lac-Saint-Louis who said my colleague had mentioned Mrs. Céline Hervieux-Payette.

I believe it would be a good idea to start off with two little paragraphs the hon. member is, no doubt, not aware of. I will also remind him that this lady is the chief organizer for the next elections, or one of those who will be helping him get elected in his riding. I trust she will be on the platform with him to defend this stand.

What she said is this: "In my opinion, restricting advertising and sponsorships has a minimal role to play in overcoming this scourge. If sporting and cultural activities in Quebec are earmarked as the testing grounds for a policy that will not have the desired effects, I say no way. Give me your support to stop Montreal from being the major victim of this policy, when it is already nearly crushed by unemployment".

The person speaking here is not a separatist but a good Liberal, one rewarded by the government across the way with an appointment to the other place, the other House. Yet she does not support the colleague we have just heard in any way. Do you know why there is a difference between what the Liberals on the other side here and the Liberals in the other place have to say? It is because in the other House they were not elected, while here the Liberals across the way are, and they want to look good on the campaign trail. They want to look like the good guys in a matter as vital as health.

What did the Liberals do in the area of health in 1993? Nothing, or next to it. I will give you only a few examples, because my time is limited. And I will take this opportunity, Madam Speaker, to tell you that I will be sharing my time with the member for Joliette.

The Department of Health did major studies on raw milk cheese. In the end it was shown beyond a doubt that the whole thing was totally absurd, and the Liberals backed off.

There was the national forum on health where the government spent $18 million, and yet health is a provincial jurisdiction. There was no reason for this forum. It was so unpopular that the provinces did not even take part in it, although it is under their jurisdiction.

Then there was the Minister of Health, who, in the first years, went to war. She went to war against tobacco with her famous plain cigarette packaging. The packages were beige and were supposed to stop young people from smoking.

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12:30 p.m.

An hon. member

They were drab like the minister.

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12:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Indeed, they were just as drab as the minister and that is why it was stopped at that point. It was said that it did not work.

Now, on the eve of elections, the Minister of Justice realized that voters will be wondering what the Liberals have done in the area of health. They needed a noble cause. They found it among the young people, in the health of the young. They latched on to the idea that they would protect the health of young people and intervene in the issue of smoking.

If the government really had the courage of its convictions, it would prohibit what it says is dangerous. Tobacco seems to be dangerous, it must be prohibited. I heard the health minister and the parliamentary secretary telling us that the effects of tobacco use, particularly among young people, cost our society several billions of dollars. He estimates at $3.5 billion health care costs directly related to smoking.

But I did not hear the same health minister or the same parliamentary secretary telling me and the House that indeed it costs us $3.5 billion, but that the federal and provincial levels of government make at least $5 billion in various taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products. Sure it is no laughing matter when you consider people suffering from lung cancer or other diseases related to tobacco abuse, but we live in a free country. Why is the government insisting on wiping out this industry?

If it had raised the real issues regarding tobacco use, we would not have ended up with this hypocritical piece of legislation which is before the House today. Moreover we have been gagged at second reading of this important bill. It was read very quickly. We were gagged in committee as we were reviewing the bill clause by clause. Again today at report stage and at third reading, the government is applying closure. We will not be able to discuss the bill at leisure. Why? Because the Liberals opposite do not want to discuss it.

Earlier, the member for Lachine-Lac-Saint-Louis said there are seven boxes of documents proving there is a direct link between smoking and diseases. I can tell you that on the other side, there are also seven boxes of documents to prove the effect is not as immediate as they claim. There are also studies that show that just because young people go to the Du Maurier open does not mean that, when they go home, they want to go out and buy a package of cigarettes.

As the Leader of the Opposition said, the young person who watches a game of tennis and sees "Du Maurier" at the back during the whole game is far more interested in getting a new tennis racket when he comes home than a package of cigarettes. There is no immediate effect. No studies have been able to prove this.

Furthermore, quite frankly, we are not 100 per cent against Bill C-71, the anti-tobacco bill. We support most of the bill, and we said so to hon. members opposite. We even proposed as many as 32 amendments to improve the bill and provide more active ways of educating young people, for instance, if we really want to protect them. But no, the government ignored our comments and continues to do so because it is the sole repository of the truth. When you gag the opposition, it is because you do not want to listen to the

opposition. You do not want to listen to them because you think you are right. That is the problem.

That is why when I listen to a speech like the one made this morning by the Quebec member for Lachine-Lac-Saint-Louis, I can hardly take it seriously. It is really too bad. He is here to defend the interests of Quebec, but for 20 minutes he defended the interests of Ottawa, not like us, the members of the Bloc Quebecois, who have the interests of Quebec at heart.

For instance, the part of bill that we cannot accept, that no one in Quebec can accept, is the part that concerns sponsorships. If this bill is passed, we will not be able to have a number of sports and cultural events which the people of Montreal and people from other parts of Quebec are accustomed to having.

I will name a few that are at risk because the government opposite will not listen to reason: the jazz festival, the Benson & Hedges fireworks, the Just for Laughs festival, the summer festival in Quebec City, the Montreal Grand Prix, the Trois-Rivières Grand Prix, plus the whole domino effect of banning sponsorships. The loss in Montreal alone will be $240 million plus more than 2,000 jobs. This is not counting the domino effect on the regions.

In Berthier-Montcalm we have the Gilles Villeneuve museum. If there is no Grand Prix in Montreal, you can bet that the 10 or 15 per cent who visit the museum during the Grand Prix will no longer come. These are people from Europe, Japan and United States. These tourists bring money into Quebec. If there is no Montreal Grand Prix, no Trois-Rivières Grand Prix, they will never come to Berthierville to visit the museum. They will not make a special trip from Japan to come and visit the Gilles Villeneuve museum.

You must understand this, Madam Speaker. Try to make them understand. In concluding, if it is so important to the government opposite, it should make this part of its election platform and let the Secretary of State for the Federal Office of Regional Development in Quebec go on the hustings in Quebec to sell Bill C-71, and the people will decide whether or not they want this bill. In Quebec, the answer will be no, we do not.

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12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel St. Boniface, MB

Madam Speaker, I think you know the respect I have for all my colleagues in the House and of course for a great many of the official opposition members.

However I find ironic and contradictory-

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12:40 p.m.

An hon. member

Surprising.

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12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel St. Boniface, MB

"Surprising" does not go far enough. Their attitude, the reaction they have of saying that the member for Lachine-Lac-Saint-Louis was not looking out for Quebec or for Quebecers, what utter nonsense.

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12:40 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Lebel Chambly, QC

The truth hurts.

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12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel St. Boniface, MB

It is not the truth, it is complete nonsense.

The last member who spoke, the one before last, is an hon. member with a reputation that far surpasses that of most members of the Bloc Quebecois.

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12:40 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Godin Châteauguay, QC

It has been a long time since you yourself were in Montreal.

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12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel St. Boniface, MB

They know it. He is a member known for his honesty. I find it appalling that they would use this opportunity to try to insult him, to embarrass such a person.

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12:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

I would like a little more respect to be shown members of this House.

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12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel St. Boniface, MB

We all know that any credible research shows a link between tobacco and health. We have just heard the member try to tell us that other researchers say the opposite, but how many Canadians buy this?

Honestly, use arguments that make sense. There are almost 600 groups in Quebec, credible people, who support this bill, 600 groups. A majority of Canadians, including Quebecers, support this bill. And they are trying to make people think otherwise. Why? In order to try to rationalize their position, to try to scare people.

They said it would mean the end of all sorts of events.

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12:40 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Lebel Chambly, QC

It would.

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12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel St. Boniface, MB

Why? Because their position is unfounded. They are trying to scare people, to get them worked up. That is their only strategy. Obviously, when they have nothing to say, they attack, they scare people. Why not? That is the only tactic they have left.

It is unfortunate. It is not true to say we are playing politics with this bill. We are here to try to protect young Canadians, including Quebecers.

That is what we should be trying to do together, rather than trying to use the opportunity to engage in petty politics. That is what they are up to and I would like to know why. Why are they defending smoking, which leads to poor health? I would like to know how they can defend such a position.

It is unbelievable.

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12:40 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Tremblay Rosemont, QC

What about the museum in Berthierville?

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12:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to reply to the hon. member for St. Boniface. I am defending the economic spinoff aspect, one of the reasons being that we agree with the health aspect of it, the question of protecting our young people, the requirement about being over 18. This is part of the 80 per cent of the bill we agree with.

The part that bothers Quebec-and the reason I referred to the fact that the hon. member comes from Quebec and is not defending Quebecers-is that not defending Quebecers in such a matter means that $30 million will be lost in sponsorships, $240 million in Montreal alone in economic spinoffs of all kinds. That means, for Montreal alone, a minimum of 2,200 jobs lost.

Let him come and tell those 2,000 people who are unemployed after Bill C-71 is passed at third reading, that it is their fault, the Liberals' fault, that the Montreal tourist industry has been dealt a death blow, that $240 million annually in economic spinoffs of all types is being lost, that $30 million in sponsorships is being lost.

Let him come and tell people that during the election campaign. I invite you to come and say that in my riding. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, who is in the House, can also come and tell people that. Let him explain to the Gilles Villeneuve museum what it is going to lose.

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12:45 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, I had begun, in my earlier speech, to explain that the bill before us is unreasonable, because it mixes very different values. Sponsorship does not mean advertising. The two things are very different.

The fact that a company's name appears on a car is not going to cause us to buy more of the company's product. If the company advertised the merits of its product, I would agree we should prevent this sort of advertising, which would encourage people to use a product more. But this is not what sponsorship is about, not at all.

The aim of sponsorship is simply for a company to present an event or let the public know it is presenting one. It is to show that the company shares the concerns, social life, daily life, recreational activities and culture of the people. If it also promoted its product, that would be advertising. Just because we see an image, we do not necessarily try to imitate it.

We have seen certain political figures in the federal government for the past 30 years, and we have not turned into Liberals. By seeing them, we were not tempted to do as they do. Once we get to know them, we no longer wanted to imitate them. That is the difference.

We are surrounded daily by sources of pollution. Statistics indicate that 60 per cent of the population is overweight. However, advertising and sponsorship by chocolate products has not been prohibited. Chips, peanuts and animal fat are all still permissible.

The doctor treating my weight problem became as fat as I was in a year. Should he have treated me by phone? It was not by treating me in his office that he put on weight. And yet, if anyone had the motivation it was he. He knew the causes and did not heed them. He avoided them.

That is why I say we do things through education. On the news this morning, they were saying that, for the past 10 years, women have suffered from lung cancer more than men. The number of women smokers has quadrupled in the past 10 years. Does this mean that women are greater fans of car racing than men? Is the sponsoring of a cultural festival by Rothmans or Du Maurier and a racing event by Players to blame for the fact that the number of women smokers has increased fourfold?

From what I can see on television, I do not think that such events are attended by more women than men. Inappropriate associations are being made. Why is that? Because the federal government, through its minister, has put its head on the block to please a powerful lobby: the anti-tobacco lobby. There is nothing wrong with those who are against tobacco use to fight for their cause and express their opinions; that is their role. There is nothing wrong either with the tobacco companies wanting to defend their position; that is their role.

But when a minister says: "If this bill does not pass, vote against the Liberal Party in the next election", the real purpose of his legislation is clear: to please the very powerful anti-tobacco lobby representing thousands of well-meaning people.

If it were not for this commitment made by the Minister of Health, I suspect the government would be more inclined to compromise and show greater flexibility in the implementation of this act. The Minister of Health wants to save his head at the expense of thousands of jobs throughout Quebec, particularly in Montreal, Quebec City and Trois-Rivières, in the riding of Joliette, where an important tobacco growing industry generates seasonal jobs. I would hate to see them have to lay people off.

Try educating and convincing people instead; it is a much more effective approach. The best example of a successful education campaign is Operation Nez Rouge, which was designed to fight alcohol abuse. The whole thing is based on education and it did not cost the people of Quebec thousands or millions of dollars. It was initiated in Quebec 10 or 15 years ago by a professor at Laval University, in Quebec City.

This initiative has now been extended not only to other provinces across Canada, but also to several countries, where similar organizations were created. Today, as a result of this campaign, the number of alcohol-related automobile accidents has been reduced by nearly 80 or 90 per cent. This is how effective this educational approach has been, instead of the government interfering with people's lives through legislation.

Drunk drivers were not condemned, they were educated. Today, these individuals are proud of what they have learned. They are

proud to play a role in social development and to help reduce the number of traffic accidents. We did not convince these people by intruding in their lives, but by teaching them principles.

In addition to being ill-advised, this intrusion is a dangerous precedent. If, whenever there is abuse of any kind, the government must legislate to prevent such abuse, eventually no one in Quebec or in Canada will be able to act of his own free will. Everything will be regulated.

Discotheques will be closed, because they are too noisy. Indeed, it is dangerous for young people to listen to loud music because they could go deaf. The fact is we do not prohibit music in discotheques. As long as it is played inside, the number of decibels is not regulated. Then again, maybe we should do something about it, because it is harmful and it is costly to society if a young person loses his hearing.

Similarly, we do not prevent people from overdoing it, from staying up until four or five in the morning. Some young people do that. Quite often, they roam the streets. Should we legislate, impose a curfew at one in the morning and tell these kids they must not be on the street after that time? That is not what we do. We leave it up to parents to educate their children. And it is through education that we will succeed.

There are many other examples. Cars pollute the environment, and not just because there are tobacco company logos displayed on them. They pollute because they release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This adversely affects the quality of life of all of us. When I breathe the carbon dioxide released by cars, it is harmful to my health. Yet, the government did not legislate on that. It does not prevent cars and buses from being on the road, even though it is harmful to my health.

Earlier, I mentioned products that cause obesity. Again, the situation is the same. The companies that make these products were not prohibited from sponsoring social or cultural events. It is ill-advised to try to regulate such issues. The official opposition is merely asking the government to amend its legislation so as to allow the tobacco industry to continue to sponsor events that provide jobs for thousands of people.

This bill might help save the lives of some people, but it could also ruin the lives of the thousands of others who will be deprived of their livelihood. Indeed, it might ruin the lives of some people because it will make them lose hope. And the same goes for their children.

This is a bad remedy. They are prescribing a remedy without first looking at the side effects. It is like saying that, because I eat things that are not good for my health and a cure will not be found for 10 years, my fingers will be cut off. It is not the best solution. It is like saying that if my fingers are cut off, then I will no longer be able to eat those bad things.

Instead of cutting off people's fingers, we should try to educate them, to show them how to eat, how to better protect their health and their bodies. This is what we mean by educating people. It is more work and it may be more costly but, in the long term, it is much more beneficial and much more respectful of people's freedom. We are asking the government to respect people's freedom and to recognize this freedom by accepting our proposed amendments to the bill.

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12:55 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Lebel Chambly, QC

Madam Speaker, I have paid great attention to the very meaty and lengthy speech by my hon. colleague from Joliette. It appears that he has not bought into the notion-nor have I-that a person will live forever if he stops smoking. People do die of other things.

Unfortunately, I am one of those victims of cigarettes. I am a heavy smoker, as you know, Madam Speaker. But I am free to do so. There is one aspect of this bill which I do not feel has been discussed enough. I may cough a lot, but I would rather die of lung cancer than to die a captive, a victim and a prisoner. Sad to say, that would be even worse.

Since the sixties, we have moved into the era of "one size fits all", ready to wear clothes that fit everybody but do not really fit anybody, and fast food, "ready to eat". Maybe that is what lies behind the problems of obesity my colleague was referring to. Then there is the "ready to think", the "one thought fits all". We certainly cannot ask the questions that bother us any more. Let us take one simple example: immigration. It is certainly frowned on for a citizen to ask whether we are letting too many immigrants in, or not enough, one type rather than another, and so on. One can no longer ask questions in this area, for it is not politically correct. So now we have "one p.c. thought fits all".

Now, with this bill, we have the "one sight fits all". They want to ban from the public eye certain names, corporate names, honest names that have earned their visibility. That is one of the aspects of the bill. They are treating as something shameful the names of corporations, good corporate citizens nonetheless, who have-or so I hope-paid their fair share through their taxes and so on. I therefore approve of the hon. member for Joliette's reference to doing away with excess, whether eating, smoking or whatever. I agree with him, but people must be left with the freedom to choose.

I have always been afraid of regimes that feel they are the possessors of the absolute truth, with a calling from the Creator, telling us "From now on, you will no longer smoke". I ask my hon. colleague for Joliette if he does not believe instead in the virtue of educating our young people, for they are the ones we want to protect.

I would also ask him whether he could address the regulatory aspect a bit. There are whole chunks of the bill, seven sections of it, which leave a shameful amount of discretionary power to the Minister of Health, someone who has not dazzled us with his judgment so far. To confer upon a man lacking judgment the power to judge is not such a great idea for a bill. The power needs to be

channelled, the regulations need to be passed by the governor-in-council. That way, if there is one minister who is not all there, the others can put him back on track. But that is not the case.

Now, without any judgment-the Liberals showed that they did not have any in the raw milk cheese issue-the minister will now, on his own, be able to issue rules, poultices and wooden legs from one day to the next and have regulations made in response to pressure from anti smoking groups or others. The worst of it all is that, if Bill C-25 is passed, the regulations will not even be made public.

So, I ask my hon. colleague from Joliette to say, for the benefit of this House and especially for the minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec and also for the benefit of the Liberals present, whether he does not see a certain danger in the legislation.

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1 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, I see that I have only 30 seconds left. That is not much time to answer my colleague's question.

I spoke primarily of sponsorships because this is what affects us most immediately. We could of course have spoken of the regulations, but it would have been with great uncertainty, because we do not know what it is about.

Furthermore, the bill's regulations will not in all likelihood be presented until after the election, because a Liberal promise is involved. And we know what to expect from a Liberal election promise. We had them at the last election, and they were not honoured. The government does not want to reveal them immediately. It will wait until after the election, because the cost to it will be less then.

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1 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Speller Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to take part in a debate which is close to my heart. I have talked about this subject for the last eight years, probably more than any other member.

I thank my colleagues on this side of the House for their understanding of my position. It is important and very difficult sometimes to stand and talk about the tobacco issue. I particularly thank the minister and his departmental officials for accepting amendments put forward by tobacco farmers. Specifically I thank the member for Lambton-Middlesex for her amendment. She worked very hard on contributing to this piece of legislation.

The number of tobacco farmers have greatly decreased since 1984. Most of the 1,200 remaining are in my riding of Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant. The economic consequences of the tobacco industry in my riding are significant. It represents almost one in three jobs. Within Canada about 60,000 Canadians are employed by the industry as a whole. The impact in my area is greater than in any other area. Its rural economy is dramatically impacted. With that many jobs it means income that people can spend. Certainly the economic impact is greatest. Of all the tobacco money generated in my riding, 80 per cent of it actually remains there.

A study done by Deloitte & Touche entitled "Economic Contribution of the Tobacco Industry in the Tobacco Growing Regions of Ontario" outlines the importance of the industry to a small community such as mine. It is important for all hon. members and all Canadians to understand that.

If we look at the total number of jobs directly involved in tobacco growing, the producing of the product, there are 16,189 full time and part time jobs. That averages out to 4,578 FTE or full time equivalent jobs, which accounts for 22 per cent of all agricultural jobs within my area.

In terms of university students, $13.4 million of labour income goes to university and high school students in my area each year. It helps students attend high school and university.

I have some other figures on income. The total income created by tobacco is $315 million. In Haldimand-Norfolk it is $174 million. In Brant county it is $31 million. In Oxford county it is $44 million. In Elgin it is $66 million.

Let us look at its impact on local communities. Communities and municipalities throughout Ontario are being dramatically cut back by the Harris Conservatives. Let us also look at the income tobacco taxes bring to these areas. In Brant county federal taxes amount to $6 million; provincial taxes, $3 million; and local taxes, $1 million, for a total of $10 million. In Haldimand-Norfolk the federal taxes amount to $34 million; provincial taxes, $16 million; and local taxes, $7 million. This industry is generating $56 million in taxes in the area.

Where do the jobs come from? Locally hired family members account for the largest portion. These are family farms that help put children through school. It is estimated that 33.4 per cent or $11.3 million goes to local high school students from these growers. Almost 20 per cent of the income goes to students.

My argument is simple. As long as Canadians can legally smoke, which is difficult sometimes given some of the legislation, espe-

cially municipal legislation, they should be able to smoke Canadian tobacco. The benefits of that will be seen in my community.

That money does not only go into the pockets of the growers and the people who work in tobacco growing regions. It goes to schools. It goes to corner stores. It goes to support local hospitals. It goes into charitable events within the community.

Within the area of Delhi, Tillsonburg and Aylmer or the entire tobacco growing area, the level of money given by that community is a greater percentage than most other regions of Ontario. Tobacco producers give back what they take out of the soil.

Tobacco growers are normal people. They are good people. They are Canadians who have contributed to the fabric of the country. They came from all over the world to Haldimand-Norfolk to produce tobacco. We have one of the largest German communities and one of the largest Belgian communities. We have Hungarians and all kinds of different groups that have come to our area to produce tobacco.

They were encouraged to get into the industry by the federal government, by the provincial government and by consumers. My argument is simple. Let us not throw them to the wolves. We have taken the time to encourage them to get into the business. Why do we not take some time if it is the view of governments to move them out?

The industry can be stabilized. Some of the measures the government has implemented have helped producers in my area. People ask why they do not move into another area or why they do not grow wheat or melons. That has been tried. The soil is not suitable for other crops. The size of the tobacco farms are on average 80 acres and today not much money can be made with 80 acres of soil. They just cannot have viable farming operations. Certainly the area they have tried have already been flooded. There is no easy answer to help them move.

The government has helped. I congratulate it for that. I will continue to work for more help. Past governments, this government, consumers and political parties have all participated in the debate. Sometimes they forget these farmers are normal Canadians who want to earn a living for their families. As a member of Parliament for that area I will continue to speak out on their behalf with regard to the tobacco legislation. I hope hon. members on all sides will help me speak out for them.

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1:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Godin Châteauguay, QC

Madam Speaker, I listened very carefully to the hon. member who spoke for the Liberal Party. I see that he too is very concerned about the economic aspects. Apparently, his riding is in an agricultural area where a lot of tobacco is grown. He mentioned 16,000 jobs, 22 per cent of all farm jobs and $56 million worth of taxes. And this is in a very rich province. Today, the economy in Montreal and the province of Quebec is facing a host of problems.

I would appreciate if he would explain a few things for me. Did he at any time consider talking to his government to try to establish a measure of fairness and ensure some kind of economic balance?

Not so long ago, when it wanted to harmonize the GST in the provinces of Eastern Canada because it thought they would lose a lot more than Quebec, the government offered them $1.2 billion or $1.3 billion as compensation. It has been calculated that in the province of Quebec, and especially Montreal, this bill will cost us $30 million.

I wonder why the Liberal Party, which decided to give $1.2 billion in compensation to the provinces in Eastern Canada, would not do the same for Montreal. Does he think he could get this point across to his government?

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1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Speller Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Madam Speaker, obviously the hon. member was not listening to me as closely as he said he was. Members on this side from Quebec and the minister have spoken out strongly on behalf of the people of Quebec and Montreal. They have put forward the argument very forcefully and have been very successful in doing so.

I will not get into the GST, but I was going to comment on the economic impact of the bill on my community and the impact of all governments and the actions they take. Frankly the economic impact of the bill will be very minimal. However I assure the hon. member the people of Quebec are very well represented within government by capable ministers, much more so than they are through some of the voices on the other side.

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1:10 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Madam Speaker, I compliment my colleague for highlighting a couple of points. Unlike some other members of the House he was here to appreciate an amendment was put forward by a member on this side of the House which dealt with the concerns of the Bloc and the Reform on the question of regulations. That amendment has passed and regulations will be available for scrutiny by the committee. It is a precedent setting item that works to the advantage of all who want to take a look at the complete impact of the bill.

On this issue my colleague, who has always spoken on behalf of his own constituents, will have to address the bill as it stands. The speaker who proceeded him talked about the importance of education to curbing behaviour, to modifying behaviour and to weaning people away from the evils of tobacco use. I am wondering if while

he is defending the interests of his growers is he also accepting that education and by extension controlling-

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1:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Order. The hon. member, very briefly.

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1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Speller Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his comments. If it is a question of raising tobacco taxes like the Reform Party would have us do or putting in an education program, I would certainly support the education program rather than increasing an export tax.

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1:15 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Hamilton—Wentworth, ON

Madam Speaker, I have reservations about this bill but I support it strongly despite those reservations.

I am a former smoker and at one time I smoked 60 cigarettes a day, which is a lot of tobacco. I first began smoking at age 16 as a result of peer pressure and gradually I began smoking more and more. Tobacco is a very insidious drug. It tends to grow on you and the addiction develops both physically and psychologically over the years. It was very difficult to quit the habit but I did about 10 years ago. So I know something about the problems of tobacco.

I support the spirit of the bill because it is certainly true that young people tend to be the ones who get first hooked on tobacco products and become the addicted adults later in life. In reality cigarettes are a nasty product when you are first introduced to them. I am sure if people began as adults to try cigarettes they would reject them absolutely. It is something that really develops as a result of peer pressure. The idea behind the bill that we should address the problem of young people beginning to smoke is a very good one.

I am not entirely certain that creating more restrictions on young people who smoke will actually have the desired affect because when you prohibit something from young people they tend to want it that much more. On the other hand, given the importance of the intent of this legislation, it is worth trying these restrictions that the legislation proposes.

The second reservation I did have is sponsorship. I always regarded the sponsorship by tobacco companies, breweries and distilleries of arts and sporting events as something they did as good corporate citizens. In reality we need the tobacco companies, the distilleries and the breweries. If legitimate companies do not produce these products that are demanded by the consumers, even though these products have adverse health effects, then we know from past historical experience that organized crime will produce these products. It is a very necessary and good thing to have legitimate industry producing these products for the marketplace. The benefits flow to shareholders of those public companies, and that is as it should be.

I always thought the payback of companies engaged in producing products that have potentially adverse health effects would be that they would want to be especially good corporate citizens. I always regarded the sponsorship of tobacco companies of things like the Grand Prix, or the breweries and distilleries of things like the theatre, as something that they did as good corporate citizens in order to in a sense make up for the fact that they were producing products that did have adverse health effects.

I must say that in my own riding this theory that I have held for a very long time was eroded somewhat when I found that a local volunteer theatre, Theatre Aquarius, developed in the community, wanted to go into the big leagues and managed to obtain some government money and also some sponsorship from a tobacco company. When the new theatre was built as a result of this sponsorship they changed the name to the du Maurier Centre. That was about 10 years ago. I felt at the time that was a terribly tacky thing to do and that it eroded the whole sense of generosity from the tobacco company that it should want to rename the theatre with its own logo.

In the one sense I am not so sure that the sponsorship of these major events that has been the subject of so much debate here actually is going to have an effect in deterring young people from smoking. I am not sure that is going to be the case. However, again, like the other aspects of the bill, it is worth trying.

In the other sense I do not understand why the tobacco companies if their intention is not so much advertising as it is being good corporate citizens, I do not see why they take umbrage at the provisions in the bill which do not eliminate their logos but which merely put them in a less prominent position. I would have thought that this would not be something that they would reject so hotly, as appears to be the case.

That brings me to the third point. The reason why the tobacco companies react so aggressively to Bill C-71 is a tremendous climate of conflict has been created as a result of the lobby groups on both sides of the equation. Certainly the tobacco companies have been able to afford very strong lobbyists but what has actually fueled the acrimony and the conflict have been the government funded lobbies that exist on the other side, the anti-smoking lobbies like the Non-Smokers' Rights Association and the Canadian Council on Smoking and Health.

These groups have received tens of millions of dollars from Health Canada and provincial health ministries over the years in order to promote anti-smoking. I wish I could say that this was something that was prompted by altruism, but I am afraid that big bucks count in this instance and many of the principal players in these lobby groups, just like the lobby groups supported by the tobacco industry, are getting very big bucks indeed. In fact, if we try to find out how much money they are receiving it will enter into the range of $100,000 plus.

Indeed I believe a chief executive of one of the anti-smoking lobbies is around the range of about $180,000 a year. This is government money ultimately, government money coming from our Department of Health. I point out that the Department of Health has supplied $500,000 a year over the last two years to the Non-Smokers' Rights Association, a lobby.

The lobbying extends beyond these named organizations. It also includes various health organizations that have very much something at stake. What is at stake ultimately is research dollars.

If we look at the public accounts for Health Canada what we find is a disproportionate amount of money from Health Canada which is spent on various types of studies on tobacco control. Some of these studies are nothing less than exercises in propaganda, attempts to propagandize members of the House of Commons.

I refer very quickly to a study that we all saw, a questionnaire that we were approached with last November from the faculty of medicine of York University, I believe it was. It was conducted by Mary Jane Ashley, M.D., faculty of medicine of the University of Toronto. This was a survey that asked us for our views on health promotion. It was a telephone survey. After one got into the survey by the person questioning one realized that these questions were directed toward tobacco control.

I submit that this survey was nothing more than an exercise to propagandize members of the House. When I called the authors of the survey they refused to give me copies of the survey. As a matter of fact, they hung up on me. When I called Health Canada to find out how much money was spent and whether I could get a copy, because Health Canada was sponsoring the survey, it said the survey was not available.

In other words, I could not get a copy of the survey that was phoned to all the MPs in this House of Commons from either Health Canada or the authors of the survey even though it was entirely financed by Health Canada. So it was simply a propaganda exercise.

I am happy to say that I do not believe that this Minister of Health or this government is bringing forward C-71 as a result of being driven by these propaganda exercises by these various lobby groups that stand to make so much money in government funds. I really do believe that the bill is being driven by a genuine desire to find a solution to young people smoking.

What I do hope is that when this bill finally passes, the health minister will turn to the Department of Health and do something about the $60 million in the last three years on tobacco control research. I hope he will turn back to the department and redirect that type of funding to health care, research, muscular dystrophy and cancer and even the creation of tobacco abuse clinics. However, let us stop funding lobby organizations. That is the third reason why I support this bill.

The fourth and final reason is the amendments moved by the member for Lambton-Middlesex, a backbencher, who moved I think the most important amendment and the most important element of this bill which is to require that any regulation to be set as a result of this legislation be referred first to this House of Commons and debated by a standing committee before the regulation can be passed. This means that when this legislation passes there will still be an opportunity for all the stakeholders to make sure that the regulations really do reflect the needs not only of the tobacco industry and the freedoms of the tobacco industry but also the needs of Canadians.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Hamilton-Wentworth for his remarks.

A long time ago, Victor Hugo wrote, in Les Misérables , that the State does the accounting for us and it does not make mistakes. That is what Inspector Javert told Jean Valjean when he put in a request for payment of the very small amount he had earned after spending 19 years in jail in Toulon.

Today, the modern version of Les Mis would read: ``The State thinks for you and it does not make mistakes''. As my colleague, the hon, member for Chambly, said earlier, ready to think has replaced ready to wear, one thought fits all has replaced one size fits all.

There is something fundamentally wrong in this. Everyone in this House is against smoking and against tobacco being readily available to young people, but this is not the way to deal with the problem.

I myself come from a family of smokers. My father's father used to smoke a pipe, my mother's father smoked Alouette tobacco, and both of them enjoyed cigars. My father smoked approximately two packs of Export a day, unfiltered, and my mother still smokes the same brand today.

I saw so many of those packs of cigarettes on the kitchen table at my parents, so many cigarettes and butts all over the place, that the thought of starting to smoke never occurred to me. I have never touched that forbidden fruit. Perhaps I should have abstained from other things, but seeing my parents and family smoking around me acting as a disincentive, made me a non smoker. Still today, I look at my mother smoking and it says right on her pack of cigarettes that smoking is harmful to her lungs, that it could be dangerous if she became pregnant-nothing to worry about on that score-and, since she smokes American cigarettes, that the surgeon general has determined that smoking can be dangerous to your health.

Smokers do not even read these warnings any more, they are so used to them now.

The education effort the hon. member for Joliette and the hon. member for Berthier-Montcalm referred to earlier is the best thing we can do.

Where should it start? In school and with people giving a good example, but it should continue at work. When our young people go to work, when they are in school-let us prevent dropping out-they are not smoking.

When young people are at work or in school, they do not engage in criminal activities. It is all a matter of how one uses one's time. One way to keep our young people busy is to get them back in school or in the workplace, to convince them to pursue their professional development.

Reducing tobacco use is definitely a noble cause, but I do not think that the bill will help that cause. Rather, it will result in economic losses for regions such as Lanaudière, and it will also increase unemployment in regions such as Haldimand-Norfolk, which is represented by the hon. member.

Are we going to solve a problem by creating other problems elsewhere? I do not think so. Nor do I believe that the promoters and sponsors themselves would be seriously hurt if international events in Montreal, Valleyfield, Ville-Marie and elsewhere in Quebec and in Canada were to disappear because of the loss of major sponsors.

Therefore, I will oppose Bill C-71, as I did at second reading.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Hamilton—Wentworth, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to pick up on something my hon. colleague said, which was that the key to stopping young people from smoking is education. One reason I support passage of the bill is that I believe we have to try whatever we can to stop young people from smoking.

However, one thing that it will accomplish is take government money way from the special interest groups, the lobbys that make so much money by propagandizing both sides of the issue, by fomenting conflict and by pretending to educate the public.

Millions of dollars are given to these organizations that say they are educating the public. If Health Canada really wants to educate young people, let it give those millions of dollars to the schools, to teachers in the schools whether in Quebec, Ontario or any other province, Let the schools teach the children the problems with smoking. Do not give the money to the lobbyists.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Bill C-71 today. I would like to make a few remarks about the comments of the member for Haldimand-Norfolk, who extolled the benefits of tobacco producers and the positive impact it has made on Canadian society.

I want to go on record by saying that it is an absolutely outrageous distortion of the truth to say the tobacco producers in any way are even remotely considered a benefit to Canadian society. It is an affront to every Canadian who is suffering from tobacco related diseases. Today the Canadian Cancer Society released a study which tragically demonstrates that women have unfortunately bypassed men in terms of lung cancer. It is the number one killer of women. What a tragedy. Those are the benefits the tobacco producers are giving to Canadians.

Madam Speaker, 45,000 people die every year as a result of tobacco related diseases; 250,000 children take up tobacco every single year. Half of them will die prematurely and the morbidity statistics will be greater for them than their non-smoking colleagues.

The cost to the health care system is billions of dollars. The loss in gross national product is billions of dollars. What is the benefit of this?

Today the primary cause of cancer deaths in women is lung cancer. It took women 20 year to catch up, but by heaven, "you have come a long way, baby". Indeed, they have. These are statistics of which no one can be proud and are a tragedy.

In 1994, just after the election, the situation was similar to what it is today except there was tobacco smuggling primarily centred in Quebec and on aboriginal reserves in Quebec. That is a bad thing.

However, not only was tobacco smuggled but also alcohol, people, weapons and drugs. Smuggling conduits were occurring across the board in full view of the police who were told to leave things alone because they were afraid of instigating another Oka situation, a significant consideration.

What did the government of the day do? This Liberal government dropped the tax on tobacco, decreasing the price by up to 50 per cent in some provinces. What has that done? It has increased the number of children who begin smoking every single year by about 50,000 to 100,000.

I want to read from a document published by the Ministry of Health by Drs. Morrison, Mao and Wigle called "The Impact of the Cigarette Price Rollback on the Future Health of Canadian adolescents". I will read a couple of excerpts.

"It is estimated that a 20 per cent reduction in the price of cigarettes in the next five years will result in over 142,000 new

adolescent smokers by the end of 1998. Among these persons, almost 16,900 smoking attributable deaths will occur before the age of 70, well before their normal life span should be finished".

"A 50 per cent price reduction is estimated to result in over 355,000 new adolescent smokers over the next five years which will result in approximately 40,000 smoking attributable deaths before the age of 70". That is what the government has done.

The last paragraph of this document put out by the Ministry of Health says: "Government tobacco control in Canada has had three main components: health promotion campaigns, high tobacco taxes and restrictive policies on public smoking". This is important. "Even the temporary abandonment of high cigarette taxes will likely lead to large numbers of teenagers becoming and/or remaining cigarette smokers. The health consequences of the recent tax decrease will continue for decades".

I cannot think of a single piece of legislation by any government in the history of the country that has had a more negative impact on the health and welfare of Canadians, and certainly on the health and welfare of children. I do not understand how the people on that side, who have children themselves, can in all good conscience support that bill.

Right after that, I brought in a private member's bill which demanded that the government put the tobacco taxes back where they were as of January 1994. What was the government's response? It would not make it votable so that it could become law. It would not give the House the opportunity to make the bill votable, become law and have a chance for a full debate. The government cut it off in committee. What a shame.

In the intervening three years, as a direct result of this policy, hundreds of thousands of children are now picking up cigarette smoking. It did not have to happen. There was a solution to addressing the smuggling situation without compromising the health, welfare and lives of Canadian children.

In 1992, the Conservative government of the day put an export tax on cigarettes. Within six weeks, smuggling went down by 70 per cent. The tobacco companies said to the government: "If you don't remove this export tax, we will get out of Canada". What did the Conservative government do? It buckled under the pressure, removed the export tax and the smuggling went up again. There are solutions. The reason why I focus on this is that cost is the single most important factor in consumption, particularly among children.

The government sold out in 1994 because it knew the tobacco companies would bring a strong lobby and say to the government: "You can't put an export tax on". Instead the government lowered the price and we heard champagne bottles being uncorked in all the tobacco companies. They must think we are fools to do this. They probably could not imagine that any government would compromise the health, welfare and lives of Canadians for political expediency, but that is exactly what happened.

Furthermore the government promised a $60 million investment in education after it lowered the cost because it recognized there would be an increase in consumption. However, it did not even put $6 million into education. The other $54 million somehow disappeared. The government's promise was not kept and people, particularly children, are paying the price to this day.

During the past three years, with obvious evidence of the devastating effects of the government's tobacco tax rollback, the government has done nothing. Now it is bringing in a bill which we are going to support. It is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, in fact it is quite weak. We are going to support it because it is better than nothing.

However, there are solutions to the problem. The government could have enacted solutions that would have addressed the smuggling situation without compromising the health and welfare of Canadians. That is what the government should have done.

First, it should have kept the cost at the January 1994 level and even increased the taxes on tobacco. Second, it should have put an export tax on tobacco in order to eliminate smuggling. Third, it needed to enforce the law.

Nobody talks about the law-abiding aboriginal people on reserves who live in the midst of thugs who engage in smuggling. I do not care whether they are aboriginal or non-aboriginal. These people are breaking the law. If they are breaking the law, the law has to be enforced and they should be dealt with accordingly. One law, one land, one people. However, that is not happening.

The government has put its tail between its legs and has not enforced the law. The law needs to be enforced not only for the sake of principle but also because nobody speaks for the law-abiding aboriginal people on the reserves who live in a culture of fear in the midst of these thugs. It does not suit them very much to have people who traffic in automatic weapons in their midst.

Fourth is education. Unless you have been living in a cave, Madam Speaker, it is impossible not to recognize the harmful, damaging, deleterious effects of tobacco consumption. We have to invest in children. As a physician I know that most people pick up tobacco when they are 11 or 12 years of age, not when they are 20. When they are 11 or 12 they do not know the difference. You can tell them as much as you want that tobacco will cause lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and a number of other problems later on and they simply will not listen because they have a sense of immortality.

If we are going to have an effective education policy we have to address children in terms that are meaningful to them. We have to address their sense of narcissism, which is normal for that age, and their sense of self. Tell them that their skin will look ugly, that their breath will smell, that their hair will smell. These are things they can understand. Tell them that they will age prematurely. These are the things they should be telling children, not that their lungs will look black when they are 55 years of age. That would be a far more effective way to address the educational situation with children.

The primary reason women and young girls start smoking is to be thin, to be skinny. This gets into a whole different issue which we can address at another time. The secondary reason is to be cool, which is a very difficult issue to address. If we attack their sense of narcissism, we will be much more effective in our educational policies than we would be if we talked about the long term effects of smoking to one's health.

Fifth, the government needs to stop subsidizing tobacco producers. Sixth, stop promotion and seventh, introduce crop substitution policies for the farmers. Contrary to the claims of the member for Haldimand-Norfolk, these policies do work.

I would like to address again the aggressive lobby which is being put on by the Bloc Quebecois on the sponsorship issue. Would these cultural and athletic events really disappear from the Canadian scene? Where would they go? To England? To France? To the United States? Of course not. All of those countries either have or are going to ban tobacco sponsorship of cultural and athletic events. They are not going anywhere. This is just another move by the tobacco companies to try to prevent having any restrictions placed on them and they will go to any length to do that.

This week during this debate the Bloc Quebecois sponsored an event in the Hall of Honour of the House of Commons, which was a front for the tobacco companies, where free drinks and food were served. It was a cheap, shameless effort to try to seduce members of the House to vote against Bill C-71. I cannot think of one reason why the people of Quebec should be proud of the members they elected to the House who would compromise the health and welfare of their children. The province of Quebec has the highest number of kids who smoke. They are compromising those children under the guise of tobacco sponsorship.

The tobacco companies claim that it is an issue of free speech. They hide their true agenda under spurious arguments.

In the United States they increased the content of carcinogens and addictive materials in tobacco.

If they say that advertising has no effect on children, why are they currently engaged in such a fight? Why do they invest millions of dollars into sponsorships? Out of the goodness of their hearts? I do not think so. Why are they currently engaged in the most aggressive advertising campaign in China that the world has ever seen? They are doing it because they recognize there are millions of potential smokers they can capitalize on. China is only beginning to realize the cost.

The tobacco companies have one agenda, to ensure that the greatest number of people in this or any other country smoke. They do not give a damn whether there will be any adverse effects. They are purveyors of a carcinogenic, toxic material which, if brought to this country today, would never be legalized.

A libertarian would say that people have the right to do what they want. People should have the right to consume whatever they want, whenever they want. However, libertarian views do not apply to 11 year olds. That is why we are trying to put forth good, tough legislation that will address the tobacco epidemic we have in Canada today.

I urge the government to do the following. First, be courageous and restore the tobacco taxes to the January 1995 level. Second, put an export tax on tobacco. That will cut the legs out from underneath the smugglers. Third, enforce the law so that those people who are smuggling are brought to justice. Fourth, introduce appropriate and effective educational policies within our schools, not only for tobacco but also for alcohol, pot, cocaine, heroin, et cetera. The dangers of all those substances need to be told through our education system.

This is an opportunity for the government to take a leadership role on this important issue. It can do something constructive for the health and welfare of all Canadians and, most important, for the health and welfare of our children.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Speller Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his comments. As the hon. member knows, I do not agree with them certainly.

I did not mention this earlier in my speech, but in my riding of Haldimand-Norfolk not only do I have the largest number of producers of tobacco in the country but I also have the largest native reserve in the country. I use reserve in that sense.

Yes, the tobacco producers do support me in my riding. However, I was shocked to hear some of the statements coming out of the Reform Party members who have called on the government to put on an export tax and to increase the taxes. Even today on the local radio station the Reform candidate in my riding said they are against this. I wonder if he has consulted with the local candidate in my riding who keeps claiming that Reform would not do any of that if they were in government. It is just a question of free speech.

I know the hon. member and I know his background. We have talked about this issue today. I heard just a clip of him talking about the tobacco diversification program. I know he, unlike other members in his party, has spoken to me and has said that he is concerned with tobacco farmers and producers, unlike his House leader who said that we should just get rid of them all.

I want to explain to the hon. member, who may not be aware, in terms of the tobacco diversification program, as I explained earlier, there are only so many places where we can diversify. In fact, with an 80 acre farm there is not a lot that one can do in terms of producing other products. They have been into ginseng and some other things but frankly the markets have been cluttered. What does he expect these farmers to do when his party puts them out of work?

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Madam Speaker, we are very sensitive to anybody who could lose a job. That is the last thing we want to happen. However, we have to balance this situation out with what is actually occurring.

We have a group of individuals producing a substance that is the single leading cause of preventable death in this country today. The hon. member may talk about 16,000 people who are employed in the industry but let us balance this off with the fact that 45,000 Canadians die every year from tobacco related diseases. Two hundred and fifty thousand children pick up the tobacco habit every year.

The fact is the tobacco lobby is actively going and supporting this member for its own gains. It wants to invest money into this individual's coffers, not for the benefit of the individual but for the benefit of its own pockets. It has no interest whatsoever in trying to do something for the betterment of Canadian society and for the people therein.

The reality is that tobacco producers are caught in a difficult situation. Crop diversification has worked in a number of countries and I will be happy to offer the hon. member examples of where this has occurred. However, beyond that we are looking at a situation where the production of the substance is costing the Canadian taxpayer and society billions of dollars in losses to health care and to the gross national product.

I would ask the hon. member, when he contemplates this situation, to balance out the supposedly tiny gains that he has in his own riding to the collective good of Canadian society.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member who has just spoken about Bill C-71. He gave us a few issues to think about and I would like to congratulate him.

The hon. member spoke about one thing that our friends in the Bloc Quebecois are ignoring. While he, and we, are speaking about the health of Canadians throughout the country, wherever they may live, the members of the Bloc Quebecois are ignoring the health of young and old alike. They are still confusing the issue of sponsorships with the issue of health. I would like to thank the member for coming back to the topic that concerns us today, which is a bill that deals with health.

He emphasized certain very important themes, obviously, but I would like to ask him a question. It is somewhat political, I admit, but it is also necessary.

When the member talks about the importance of a comprehensive strategy to combat a preventable illness he addressed a series of items and he made some recommendations. They have been considered by committee and they will continue to be debated in this House.

He pointed to the export tax which regrettably was tried a few short years ago and did not work. We would be prepared to consider that or at least his views on the matter. More important, the member ought to know that when there was a reduction in the taxes on tobacco a few short years ago there was as well a commitment of $180 million to provide funds for education, enforcement, promotion and research. Of those moneys spread out over four years, he will know that in the course of the last three years there was $104 million and $24 million currently available for this year.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sure there is enough of a question in there for the hon. member to address it in one minute.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, certainly there were quite a few questions in there. I will hit them one after another.

First, contrary to what my hon. friend said, the export tax did work. In 1992 the Conservative government of the day put forth an $8 export tax on tobacco. Within six weeks smuggling decreased 70 per cent. What did the government do in response to pressure from the tobacco companies? It put its tail between its legs and removed the tax. The tax did work.

Second, this government earmarked $64 million for education. Less than 10 per cent has actually been spent on tobacco education. Where the other $54 million went only the government knows. Most likely it went into the general revenues. What is certain is that it did not go to where it was supposed to go; again another broken promise by this government, compromising the health and welfare of Canadian children.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

It being 2 p.m. we will now proceed to Statements by Members.

Imax
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, during a special ceremony on March 1, Cambridge resident Bill Shaw received an Oscar from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for the technological development of IMAX.

While studying at the Galt Collegiate Institute, Robert Kerr and Graeme Ferguson, together with Bill Shaw, came up with the idea of a large screen format motion picture. Following their first IMAX type film at Montreal's Expo '67, 148 IMAX theatres have opened worldwide and more than 100 IMAX films have been produced, making the company one of the largest grossing motion picture theatres in North America.

The IMAX success story shows that Canadians can not only compete but lead in the high technology sector.

Liberal Party Of Canada
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Bernier Mégantic—Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the election approaches, the federal troops in Quebec are panicking. The proof is that a provincial Liberal, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, is supporting the present Conservative member for Sherbrooke, with the blessing of the Liberal ministers of finance, intergovernmental affairs, and citizenship and immigration.

The electoral message sent to the Quebec people by federalists is therefore the following one: "Do not vote on the basis of the ideas presented by the federalist parties, because in the end, Liberal or Conservative, it boils down to the same thing. You must vote against the Bloc Quebecois".

What federalists fear most is that Quebecers will once again rise up, as they did in 1993, and take real power for themselves by voting for the Bloc Quebecois, the only federal party devoted to the defence of Quebec's interests until sovereignty is achieved.

When provincial Liberals start supporting federal Conservative candidates, it means that the federal Liberal Party, the head office, as the Prime Minister so often says in this House, has quite simply lost control of its provincial branch offices.

The Jazscats
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Dale Johnston Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, every musician dreams of performing in New York's famous Carnegie Hall. For most it remains just a dream, but not for members of the Wetaskiwin Composite High School's vocal jazz band ensemble, the JazScats.

For one week next February New York City will eclipse New Orleans as the jazz capital of the United States. Ten of the best student jazz ensembles from Canada and the U.S. have been invited to participate in the second annual North American Vocal Jazz Extravaganza.

The Wetaskiwin students will give two solo appearances in Carnegie Hall and then join the other groups for the grand finale. While in New York the ensemble will take part in special workshops and give concerts.

This prestigious honour would not have been possible if not for the dedication and hard work of the ensemble's music director,Mr. Paul Sweet. Our congratulations go to all these dedicated young musicians.

Community Clubs
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, Park City West Community Club in my riding was audited by Revenue Canada and found to be in arrears to the tune of over $10,000 on the basis of not having charged and remitted GST on registrants in sports programs for people 15 years of age and older.

I object to the policy of charging GST on these programs. I even more strongly object to demanding of a community club run by volunteers that it comes up with this kind of money.

At a time when we hear so much from the government about dealing with youth crime and other related issues, it beats me why we should be penalizing community clubs and making sports activities more costly for Canadian families with teenagers.

I call on the Liberals to change this policy before other community clubs are hurt as well. Get tough on the big corporations for a change; pick on somebody your own size.

Research
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, Dr. David Strangway, who has just been admitted as an officer of the Order of Canada, retires this summer after more than a decade

as president of the University of British Columbia, having directed the expansion of the university's advanced research in science, medicine, biology, engineering and related disciplines to a position of leadership in North America, all this in close co-operation with business and industry.

Pure research in the university has yielded extra community dividends in export industries and in the skilled professional jobs emerging with that.

The federal government's budget announcing the creation of a Canadian foundation for innovation and marked expansion of existing federal programs for networks of centres of excellence and industrial research assistance reflects the work already done in our universities in investing in knowledge, in advanced research and education, and in students and teachers as a key to our economic well-being in the next century.

International Women's Day
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, March 8 is International Women's Day. I am proud of the accomplishments the government has made in the sphere of women's issues. Let me name a few.

Bill C-72 made a defence of self-induced intoxication a thing of the past. We passed approximately 100 Criminal Code amendments to deal with women's concerns. The witness protection program provides safety for women who come forward and report crimes. Amendments have been made to the Criminal Code to prosecute Canadians who travel abroad and sexually exploit children. There are tougher laws against those who exploit juvenile prostitutes and those who stalk their victims, and tougher laws to protect the public from sexual offenders.

We listened to Justice Arbour's report on prison reform. We formed a partnership with the Canadian Association of Broadcasters to wage a public campaign against violence against women.

Our health strategy is responsive to women's health. The national health forum devoted a section to women's health and we are listening to its recommendations. Prenatal nutrition programs, research funds for children, the strategic initiative program and the concerns-

International Women's Day
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Bramalea-Gore-Malton.

Housing
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, thousands of low income families in Ontario and across Canada depend on social housing.

Yesterday the government reached its first agreement with the province on the transfer of the administration of social housing. However in Ontario the Tory government wants to shift responsibility for social housing to the municipalities.

I ask the Minister of Public Works and Government Services to reaffirm our commitment to quality, affordable social housing. Among Canada's neediest families social housing is a necessity, not a luxury, so the government must preserve it.

Tobacco
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, given the imminent passage of the tobacco bill, I wish to speak out against the behaviour of the hon. member for Saint-Maurice and Prime Minister of Canada, who will become known as one of the people with the primary responsibility for the first class funeral of such events as the Trois-Rivières Grand Prix.

In fact, it will remain in the collective memory that, despite massive mobilization on a number of fronts, particularly from people in his own region who fear for their jobs, the Prime Minister continues to unfeelingly turn a deaf ear to these calls for help.

In 1993, the Liberals managed to convince the people in Saint-Maurice that they would benefit, as would the people in their entire region, and Quebec as a whole, from the Prime Minister's actions. Today, like the rest of us, they see that the end result is nothing but profound frustration, because the Prime Minister refuses to react to the negative impact of the anti-sponsorship clauses in his bill.

Fortunately, the people of Saint-Maurice will soon have a chance to make themselves heard, and we have confidence in them.

The Deficit
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the people of Prince George-Peace River, especially their children and grandchildren, appreciate that the federal deficit has been reduced.

However I would be remiss if I did not also point out that these same constituents know the Liberal government does not deserve the credit. The taxpayers of Canada do. The government is taking $25 billion more in taxes from them. That brought down the deficit, not government spending cuts.

This sad fact is particularly evident to the people of the isolated northern community of Mackenzie. While their cost of living goes up, the government refuses to reinstate their northern residents deduction.

The Liberals waste billions of dollars on grants and loans to big business yet ignore the needs of northern communities: $144 million to Bombardier but nothing extra to complete paving of the Alaska highway.

Priorities. Why can the government not get it right?

Mining
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Algoma, ON

Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the tremendous efforts of six pioneers who were inducted on January 22 into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame located in Elliot Lake in my riding of Algoma.

These Canadians are Robert Boyle, Walter Curlook, Walter Holyk, Alfred Powis, Franklin Spragins and Joseph Tyrrell. Clearly it is through the efforts of people like these that many small and some remote communities are able to enjoy the high technology and environmentally sustainable development associated with mining today.

In particular Walter Holyk provides an excellent example of this pioneering spirit. His innovative theories on the genesis of volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits led to the discovery of the Half Mile deposit in New Brunswick, Nanisivik on Baffin Island and, most notable, the Kidd Creek deposit near Timmins, Ontario. On behalf of all members I congratulate these inductees on their impressive accomplishments.

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in Elliot Lake is worth a visit. I invite all members to enjoy this first class site.

Immigration
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Dromisky Thunder Bay—Atikokan, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canada-U.S. border is one of the longest and friendliest borders in the world. Every year there are over 90 million border crossings at over 500 ports of entry such as border crossings, airports and harbours.

Given this, it is remarkable that so few criminals gain access to our country. This is not by chance, but it is the result of a very effective co-operative effort between Canadian and American law and border officials.

Every year countless lawbreakers are apprehended at ports of entry. Moreover, through efforts such as the joint immigration-RCMP task force initiative and Bill C-44 the government has done much to rid Canada of such undesirables. In 1995-96 over 1,600 criminals were removed from Canada.

The government's enforcement policies and the unique co-operative efforts that exist between Canadian and American law and border officials will continue to protect Canadians.

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development yesterday gave in to pressures from his Liberal caucus colleagues and announced adjustments to the employment insurance act.

In order to counteract the potential negative effects of the calculation of short work weeks, the government has just launched plans for adjustments in 29 high-employment regions. These will run until November 15, 1998, and two different methods will be used to encourage the unemployed to accept the so-called short work weeks.

In certain regions, the method applied will make it possible to group short weeks together, while in others the method selected will be to exclude these when calculating eligibility for benefits.

The adjustments announced yesterday to the Employment Insurance Act confirm that our primary concern is to encourage people who are out of work to return to the work force.

Status Of Women
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Canada Labour Congress revealed that Canada holds an unfortunate record: wages paid women in Canada are the lowest of all the industrialized countries, after Japan. In 1994, women formed the main contingent of the poor.

Employment equity is essential to an egalitarian society. When jobs are increasingly threatened and income security is vital to a changing society, the Liberal government is denying its election promises, cutting social programs dramatically and lowering its unemployment insurance benefits.

The Bloc Quebecois considers that the Liberal government, throughout its mandate, has increased economic disparity, which gives rise to a two tier society where women and children form the majority of the poor and the marginalized.

Esquimalt Defence Research Detachment
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport recently announced that federal cuts to British Columbia's research and development had gone too far.

What does the government do? It closes the Esquimalt defence research detachment and moves it to Halifax. This will cost the taxpayer over $5 million per year in lost contracts and $8 million in moving costs. It will decrease British Columbia's research staff to only 1.4 per cent of the national allotment, eliminate our world leading Arctic research facility and decrease our ability to capitalize on far east markets, all this in the year of the government's self-proclaimed year of Asia-Pacific. Even the defence department officials call this a blow to research.

What is the real reason for the closure? It is to coerce the people of Nova Scotia to vote Liberal in the next election.

Once again the government is shafting the people of British Columbia to save its own political hide.

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Dianne Brushett Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have told the government that the new EI legislation is a disincentive to accept small weeks of work. Both employers and employees from all regions have identified this problem.

Under the leadership of the Minister of Human Resources Development we have taken swift action to solve this problem as quickly as possible.

In Cumberland-Colchester where unemployment is greater than 10 per cent and long term jobs are difficult to find, the new adjustment project will enable workers to bundle small weeks.

In other areas workers will be able to exclude small weeks from their calculation of benefits. This will ensure that workers in every region of the country are able to take full advantage of all available work without having their benefits lowered.

I am pleased the government has responded to the needs of part time and seasonal workers. It has ensured that every hour of work counts and that small weeks will no longer result in lower benefits to Canadians.

Tobacco
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the day before yesterday, a number of Bloc members gave us a brilliant demonstration of their talents as public entertainers.

The tobacco companies provided them with a lunch, drinks and entertainment, all free in exchange for their participation in a public demonstration.

How could the Bloc turn down such an appealing offer? Food, drink, photo ops with sports stars and top billing on the evening news, all for free. Compliments of the tobacco companies-

Tobacco
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I ask members to be very judicious in their choice of words when making statements.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is utter confusion at the present time concerning this weekend's broadcast of the Australian Grand Prix via the CBC and the Sports Network.

On one hand, the spokesperson for Health Canada says that the bill does not prohibit broadcasting of the Australian Grand Prix and other Grand Prix racing events of the season. On the other hand, according to Normand Legault, who has the TV broadcasting rights for the Formula I race, and I quote: "If the bill is passed, Grand Prix events will not be broadcast because cigarette brands sold in Canada appear on the cars and the drivers".

Can the minister tell us whether under the provisions of the bill, it will be possible to televise the Australian Grand Prix on the weekend and whether broadcasts of other Grand Prix events will be allowed, even if the cars carry a logo or brand of a tobacco product?

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I fully understand the position of the hon. member opposite.

Perhaps he might reflect on the fact that the bill presently before the House has not been passed. How can the member opposite make a conclusion when the legislation has not been passed?

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, for someone who in a newspaper referred to legislation as though it had already been passed to say today that since the bill has not been passed, he cannot answer, verges on the frivolous.

Today we will vote on the bill at third reading. Under this bill, will it be possible to broadcast the Australian Grand Prix and other Grand Prix events, yes or no-the question is clear-since his bill happens to deal with these matters? I would ask the minister to be responsible enough to answer my question now.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the minister has attempted over the last number of months to be extremely candid with the hon. member opposite. I hope he and members of his party will start to be responsible in terms of the information contained in the bill.

Just so that the hon. member fully understands-and this is about the fifth time people have had to clarify it-I ask him to listen very attentively. Before and after October 1, 1998 the legislation-and I want to be careful here-will not prohibit the broadcasting of sporting events originating in Canada and in other countries including Grand Prix racing.

Even representatives of the firms he stands to support and tries to speak on behalf of knew that information a long time ago.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the time frame referred to by the minister does not apply to one clause, and if I could say it is clause 31, I would, but I will not, Mr. Speaker.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Please put your question now.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the minister, if it is true that this clause is protected by this time frame, to put it in writing and say so-

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Lévis.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, I would rather the bill not be mentioned at all, but, after questions were raised a few days ago, I reviewed all the questions. Since none dealt directly with the bill, I allowed them.

I would also ask that, in their answers, the ministers not refer to the bill or any of its parts. If answers could remain general in nature, it would be best, much better than referring directly to clauses after saying they would not be mentioned and then mentioning them again.

That is my decision. The hon. member for Lévis.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis, QC

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

I find it ironic that, on the one hand, the minister claims to want to protect the health of young people in Quebec and Canada, while, on the other hand, the primary effect of his anti-tobacco policy will be to jeopardize the future of events such as the film festival, which gives young creators a chance to make themselves known, show what they can do and get their career off the ground.

Does the minister recognize that his policies banning the sponsorship of cultural events may well result in denying young artists important opportunities to launch their career?

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the preamble of the hon. member's question is absolute nonsense. The hon. member knows that the full intent and purpose of that legislation are health related.

The hon. member also knows, as do all the groups in his province and elsewhere to which he has referred, that sponsorship is not being banned, that sponsorship promotion is not being banned and that after the implementation period there will be no banning of promotion and no banning of sponsorship promotion.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us approach the issue from a different angle. The government is attacking sporting and cultural events in Quebec, while continuing to support tobacco research in Ontario.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis, QC

How can the minister claim his sole focus is health, when his government is still subsidizing, through Agriculture Canada, experimental research on tobacco growing?

Tobacco
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Regina—Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman should know that in 1996-97 the funding for research was down some 90 per cent compared with the level it was at in the mid-1980s. That research, which involves about one and a half person-years, is focused on agronomic matters which have absolutely nothing to do with the promotion of tobacco production. Our emphasis is on diversification and assisting farmers in finding ways to get out of tobacco production.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, for a month the Prime Minister has been in denial about his government's role in cutting health care. But yesterday in question period he finally admitted that the Liberals had cut health care, and cut it they have, with a $1.2 billion cut in federal transfers to Ontario alone.

The effects of these Liberal cuts are being felt today in Toronto with the announced closings of 10 hospitals, including the Wellesley and the Women's College hospitals. Ten hospitals are gone in Toronto, a dozen closed in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Pembroke, London and Ottawa, and behind it all, the Liberal Government of Canada.

How does the health minister propose to repair the damage that federal cuts to health care are doing in Ontario?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, when a government is faced with a deficit the size of ours it has to cut. It cannot ignore 20 to 25 per cent of its spending which is transfers to the provinces.

The leader of the Reform Party referred to the $1.2 billion reduction in those transfers to Ontario. What he did not mention was the $500 million reduction in interest cost to that province as a result of the actions that the government has taken. Nor did he make a reference to the $4.5 billion tax cut that will reduce Ontario's revenues, three and a half times larger than the reduction in transfers.

In other words, he should understand that if hospitals are being closed in Ontario it is as a result of a political choice. Tax cuts are being made. I will not dispute them, but they are not the result of a reduction in transfers from the government.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, where was the health minister in all of this? This health minister clawed and scratched to get a couple of million dollars transferred from another riding to his riding but where was he when there was a $4 billion cut in health care?

There was a budget discussion in cabinet before the budget came down and a choice was made to subsidize businesses and corporations to the tune of $7 billion while cutting health care by almost $4 billion.

Why did the government choose to cut health care by almost $4 billion but continued to fund crown corporations and subsidize businesses to the tune of $7 billion? Where are the priorities of the Liberal Party?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, provinces across the country are cutting in a number of social areas. The fact that it is happening in Ontario is not the result of the reductions in transfers. It is the result of a political decision taken by that government.

At the same time the province of Alberta is declaring surpluses and cutting taxes. He cannot say that it is reductions in federal transfers when Alberta is cutting taxes and declaring surpluses.

The province of Saskatchewan began cutting and closing hospitals before this government took office. The statements of the Reform Party are nonsense and they do not bear any kind of examination.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government cannot avoid the fact that it had a choice and it chose not to cut subsidies to crown corporations and businesses and it chose to cut health care.

Thanks to the Liberal government, hospitals across the country are closing. Thanks to the Liberal government, waiting lists are longer. Over 170,000 Canadians are on waiting lists, and 45 per cent of them say they are waiting in pain. That is what the government's choice to cut health care and to continue to subsidize corporations and businesses through handouts has meant to Canadians.

When the government had a choice between corporate handouts and hospital closures, why did the government choose hospital closures?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Reform Party has not read two documents. The first document is the series of budgets brought down by this government. Subsidies to businesses have been cut by 70 per cent. Crown corporations have been privatized. The Canadian National Railway has been privatized. Air navigation has been privatized. The funding to crown corporations has been cut.

The Reform Party does not seem to understand that when we chose the priorities we put the money back into health care in this budget. We put the money into research and development. We put the money into education.

As well, there is a second document which Reform has obviously not had a chance to take a look at. It happens to be its own fresh start.

Where does the leader of the Reform Party get the nerve to stand up in this House, having recommended over the last three years that old age pensions be cut further, that health care be cut further, that the basic social fabric of the country be cut further and then say that the first thing Reformers would do on taking office is cut the Canadian health and social transfer by a further $3.5 billion. That is what they said. Now stand up and justify it.

Hostage From Quebec In Niger
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

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

Yesterday, we learned that Serge L'Archer, a Quebec volunteer with the Canadian Centre for International Studies and Co-operation, was captured on Friday, in Niger, by Toubou rebels. When the incident occurred, Mr. L'Archer was with four local people at an oasis in the Sahara located 1,200 kilometres from Niamey, the capital of Niger.

Can the minister reassure this House and tell us, without any doubt, that Mr. L'Archer is safe?

Hostage From Quebec In Niger
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, officials from my department and from the Canadian International Development Agency had a telephone conversation with

Mr. L'Archer. I personally had an opportunity yesterday to talk to Mr. L'Archer's sister. I telephoned her, at her house, to inform her of the communication between her brother and departmental officials.

It goes without saying that the Canadian government is demanding that those who are detaining this Canadian volunteer release him immediately, so that he can continue the good deeds and the humanitarian work that he is doing, as are all those who do this kind of work for the good of humanity.

Hostage From Quebec In Niger
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to point out that we did not get any information about whether Mr. L'Archer is safe.

Therefore, as a supplementary, I ask the minister whether he can tell us why Toubou rebels are holding Mr. L'Archer hostage and what demands have been made for his release.

Hostage From Quebec In Niger
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, at this point we do not know why Mr. L'Archer is being held hostage.

Of course, there has been some speculation in the media. For example, some newspapers wrote that the rebels seized Mr. L'Archer to use him as a bargaining tool in their negotiations with the country's authorities. These are merely allegations reported by the media. The hon. member probably read these reports but, at this point, the Canadian government still has not met personally with Mr. L'Archer, who is being detained as an hostage. We managed to talk to him once and we are doing our best to reach him again.

Again, the Canadian government is demanding that those who are holding Mr. L'Archer hostage release him as soon as possible, so that he can continue his humanitarian work.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if we could table our parliamentary document to show what the fresh start really says about health care-$4 billion back into it, by the way.

The new hospital closings in Ontario are being announced today. Yet the Liberal government continues to give, for example, $323,000 to the Canadian wine development program and $300,000 to friends at the Shawinigan Industrial Centre. It is straightforward. That money should be going back into hospitals.

Why does the Liberal government continue to waste health care dollars by subsidizing business and its corporate buddies instead of putting money into hospitals?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, in September 1993 the leader of the third party said that his party supported user fees or deductibles and would eliminate universality when it comes to health care.

On March 5, 1996 the leader of the third party was asked point blank his position on transfer payments. He said: "There's going to have to be continued reductions in social transfers".

We have just seen the fresh start that has been referred to by the Minister of Finance. In it another $3.5 billion cut is being advocated by the members of the third party. I wish they would stop the hypocrisy.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

I would much prefer that we stay away from words like hypocrisy because it triggers reactions that we might not want to have. I would ask members to refrain from using that word and being very judicious in their comments.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the health minister voted for the Liberal cuts he voted for the closure of the hospital in Sudbury. He voted for the closure of the Wellesley. He also voted for a closure of the hospital in Thunder Bay.

Why does the health minister not stand up in the House of Commons and publicly admit that the cuts he voted for are closing hospitals across the land and they are in fact a Liberal legacy?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the unholy alliance continues with the Harris government in the province of Ontario. The hard core reality is that Canada has the second most expensive health care system in the OECD countries. As report after report have said, the issue is not one of funding, it is one of management.

The gall of the hon. member, to stand in his place and to suggest that we on this side are responsible when it was he and his party just one year ago that, by way of amendment put forward by the leader of the third party, was asking for additional cuts to transfer payments.

Zaire
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bourassa, QC

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

Early this week, we learned that the Liberal government has finally listened to reason and announced a six month moratorium

on removals to Algeria; a moratorium that the Bloc Quebecois has long been calling for.

In recent weeks, the media have been reporting daily on the extremely serious situation in Zaire. Now that it has finally seen the light in the case of Algeria, what is the government waiting for to announce a moratorium on removals to Zaire?

Zaire
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Beaches—Woodbine
Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Lib.

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, the Advisory Committee on Country Conditions for Removals monitors countries and decides and recommends to the government what action to take on different countries.

It recommended that there be some assistance with Algeria. That is why we requested that all removals to Algeria be suspended for a six-month period until CIC officials are in a position to assess more accurately the dangers.

Rwanda, Burundi and Afghanistan are three other countries which are covered in addition to Algeria. At this time Zaire is not a part of this list but it is being monitored very closely and the government will make a decision at the appropriate time.

Zaire
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, in many respects, the situation in Zaire is worse than that in Burundi, Rwanda and Afghanistan. The government seems to be unaware that there is a civil war in Zaire and that even mercenaries that plagued Bosnia are apparently there.

How can the parliamentary secretary justify her government's failure to act and the continuation of removals to Zaire?

Zaire
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Beaches—Woodbine
Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Lib.

Mr. Speaker, I have explained many times that the advisory committee is monitoring the situation. A decision will be made at the appropriate time if it is deemed to be necessary. At this time it is not but the situation is being monitored very closely.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, we had a major announcement today about 10 hospital closures in Ontario. That is a fairly significant matter with respect to health care.

The health minister seems utterly indifferent to that fact and seems unable to see any connection between that and a reduction of $1.2 billion in transfers from the federal government to Ontario.

Does the federal health minister accept any responsibility at all for the hospital closures that are occurring in Ontario today?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member opposite cannot have it both ways. One day he stands up and says to the Government of Canada "you do not have any role to play with regard to the delivery of health care in this country, it is a provincial responsibility". Now he stands in his place and says to the Government of Canada "now you have a role to play in terms of the management of hospitals within provincial jurisdiction".

The hon. member has to realize, and perhaps an early course or a quick course in constitutional law would allow him to understand, that this a provincial jurisdiction, a management decision which the province of Ontario had to make and it made that decision.

The question is does the Reform Party support Michael Harris in his closures of hospitals in the province of Ontario.

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, all members in the House know that the federal government has a responsibility with respect to funding of health care and the broad framework. It is the funding aspect that we are talking about.

We are wondering where this minister was in the prebudget discussions when the government decided to subsidize crown corporations and businesses to the tune of $7 billion a year and decided at the same time to cut health care by almost $4 billion.

Where was the minister when that decision was made? Why did he not stick up for health care in that circumstance, as he obvious did not?

Health Care
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member opposite just does not get it. Does he support the Conservative Government of Ontario? In view of the fact that he has not taken a position, I can only assume that he does support the closure of hospitals in the province of Ontario. That is a decision that the Conservative government in the province of Ontario had to make, and it made the decision. I charge that the leader of the third party supports the decisions of Michael Harris in the province of Ontario.

Financial Institutions
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

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

Bill C-82, which amends the Bank Act, does not address the issue of globalization of markets and financial institutions. The government has formed the Baillie committee to look at these particular issues, but the committee will not be tabling its report until September 1998. Yet next month, on April 10, the World Trade Organization begins negotiations on this vital issue in Geneva.

What position will the government take in these negotiations, which begin in a few days, because in principle it does not expect the conclusions of the Baillie committee until 1998?

Financial Institutions
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, we have taken some measures recently by introducing the legislation. We announced in a press release that we will be allowing foreign branching in Canada. That is something we have been pressured to do by various countries, including Britain and the United States.

We have answered that question by issuing a press release that we would be bringing legislation before the public within this year.

Financial Institutions
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I put my question to the Minister of Finance, a senior minister, so that I would get a real answer. Because when we ask the secretary of state questions, he skates around, is so forthcoming that the financial community quakes in its boots. It is dreadful.

So I direct my question to the Minister of Finance, because billions of dollars are involved. The deregulation of financial institutions is involved. Can he table in this House, as quickly as possible in order to reassure the financial sector, the position the Canadian government intends to take in Geneva next April 10?

Financial Institutions
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, when the position that the Government of Canada is taking in Geneva is made public, we will be happy to table it in the House.

Mexico
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Chamberlain Guelph—Wellington, ON

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

In 1994 Canada contributed to a $50 billion U.S. international bailout package for Mexico. My constituents in Guelph-Wellington were concerned about Mexico's ability to repay Canada.

As vice-chair of the Canada-Mexico Parliamentary Friendship Association, my question for the minister is this. Has Mexico repaid Canada and did the rescue package work?

Mexico
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to respond to the hon. member who has taken a great interest in this in her capacity as vice-chair of the Canada-Mexico parliamentary association.

As she knows, Canada contributed a currency swap facility of up to $1.5 billion as part of the overall international assistance package for Mexico in which the United States and the IMF obviously took a major role.

I am delighted to say that Canada was able to help Mexico when it ran into trouble with the peso in 1994. Our help has paid off. Inflation is down and the Mexican economy is growing again.

I am also delighted to say that Mexico has been able to repay the United States three years ahead of schedule. It is ahead of its repayment schedule to the IMF. And quite some time ago Mexico repaid Canada in full.

This is good news for Mexico, good news for Canada and good news for the world.

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance claims that Canada pension plan premiums are not a tax on Canadians. His own department has disagreed with him again.

Another finance study dated March 13, 1996 called CPP premiums a payroll tax and said that they will reduce jobs. That is the third finance study at least that we have uncovered that contradicts its own minister.

Will the minister admit that his CPP tax hikes in fact are killing jobs, not creating them as he has hinted, and how many?

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the advice that I have from the department dated approximately the same date, within about a month of the date that the member said, is that if the federal and provincial governments move quickly, which we have done, and take the steps that we did to improve the

overall financing and management of the fund, very clearly this, which was not a tax, would not be seen as a tax but as what it really is, a contribution to people's pensions.

The basic question that Reform members have to answer is this. Is it their intention to abandon current seniors and those who are about to retire? Is it their intention to renege on the $500 billion liability in the Canada pension plan? If it is not, how do they justify the 13 per cent increase in Canada pension plan contributions that will result from their plan?

How do they think, in that weird little mind where they do their own arithmetic, 13 per cent is lower than 9.9 per cent?

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister said that if the government moved quickly on this thing it would not be seen as a tax. Any Canadian who gets their T-4 in the mail this week is going to have a really hard time saying they do not see this as a tax when they see CPP premiums go up by 70 per cent. It is just ridiculous.

The minister's non-answers in the House day after day on this topic point to a very serious problem with this government, the issue of trust. The minister continues to ignore his own department and denies again and again that these payroll taxes are killing jobs.

Again, how many jobs will be killed by the CPP premium hike? How could Canadians trust this government with anything, let alone their cash?

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member refers to trust. One should talk about the obligations that a political party has to lay all the facts on the table when engaged in an important debate.

In the world of the super RRSP that Reform recommends, who will protect Canadians who are seriously injured and disabled and no longer able to work? There is $2 billion in the Canada pension plan to provide that money, none of it to be found in the super RRSP.

In the world of the super RRSP who will protect the person who has all of their money invested in the RRSP when the market suffers a major downturn just when they are about to retire?

In the world of the super RRSP who will protect the single parent or the mother who has to take maternity leave or the mother who decides to take some time off?

Bovine Somatotropin
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Frontenac, QC

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

We learned recently that last year, on at least three occasions, Canadian customs officer stopped individuals trying to bring into the country hundreds of syringes containing bovine somatotropin.

In view of the fact that a Health Canada inspector has acknowledged how easy it is for dairy farmers to get this hormone, what action is the government contemplating to prevent it from entering Canada in large quantities and eventually finding its way into the dairy supply system and onto our plates?

Bovine Somatotropin
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. gentleman will know, the responsibility for conducting the necessary scientific reviews in terms of health and safety matters rests with the department of health. The department of health is conducting its work and has been since about 1990. No decision has been taken, meaning that no notice of compliance has been issued. Accordingly, the laws of Canada stand in terms of preventing the importation and sale of rBST in Canada.

The responsibility for watching the border in terms of illegal importations or potentially illegal importations of course rests with Canada customs. They duly exercise their responsibilities and carry out their duties at the border to make sure that products which are not legal in Canada are not allowed into Canada.

We will always do our very best to enforce the law and maintain the health and safety of Canadians.

Bovine Somatotropin
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is very optimistic, but this is not what is happening in the field.

Will the Minister of Agriculture commit to holding a public debate on the use of bovine somatotropin before it is allowed, should the study conducted by his department result in the licensing of this hormone?

Bovine Somatotropin
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member has suggested is an interesting idea. In fact, a variation of that idea was put forward a couple of years ago by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. The type of investigation, the type of debate, that the hon. gentleman has suggested was conducted before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food at least two years ago. The results of all of that are a matter of public record.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Assad Gatineau—La Lièvre, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. The minister is to lead an agri-food trade mission in the Asia-Pacific region.

Could the minister tell us what the objectives of his mission are and what its impact on Quebec farmers and the agri-food industry in this province will be?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Regina—Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, 1997 is Canada's year for Asia-Pacific and my agri-food trade mission to Japan and Indonesia is part of our ongoing Team Canada effort to build on our export success in that region of the world. Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing economic zone on the face of the earth and we have to be there vigorously and persistently to get our share of the trade action. That is what this mission is all about. It probably involves the largest ever Canadian agri-food trade delegation from the private sector and the provinces.

In 1996 we set an all time record of $18.8 billion worth of export sales in agri-food, and this mission will make that total higher.

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us do a simple comparison. The MP pension plan will pay out a maximum of $48,300 a year after 19 years of service, while Canadians have to work 35 years for a mere pittance of $8,800 a year. Not only that, but if a senior only has the new seniors benefit and the CPP, the Minister of Finance will take back half the CPP, which is blatantly unfair.

Will the Minister of Finance promise this House that he will introduce legislation now to clawback the MP pension plan on the same basis as the CPP?

Pensions
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the question of MP compensation is one that has been debated in this House. There are several different ways to go at it. When the government brought in its legislation it substantially cut the MP pension plan which had existed prior to the legislation. It did this in a number of ways. The cut approximates some 25 per cent to 30 per cent for certain MPs.

The basic issue is that we decided to go at it that way. Reform suggested that MP salaries should be doubled. We said no.

Ultramar
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade. The minister knows that Sharjah Oil Refinery Company in the United Arab Emirates has applied to the Federal Export Development Corporation for export financing in order to buy and dismantle the Ultramar oil refinery in Eastern Passage.

Nova Scotians, in particular those who lost their jobs when Ultramar shut down its refinery in 1994 in breach of its commitments, are outraged that the EDC would even consider helping this foreign company to dismantle its Canadian assets.

Will the minister insist that the EDC respect its legislative mandate and will he ensure that not one cent of taxpayer money goes to support this fire sale of the Ultramar refinery?

Ultramar
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I have sympathy for the position that many people in Nova Scotia have expressed with respect to the closing of this refinery. But it was to be closed some three years ago. It is no longer producing jobs for the people of Nova Scotia.

The package that the Export Development Corporation is looking into is much broader than that one refinery. It is looking at a package that will involve some 700 person years of employment for Canadians and some 150 person years of employment for Nova Scotians.

Notwithstanding all that, the matter will be examined at the next board meeting of the Export Development Corporation.

Regional Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development in Quebec.

On February 18, amidst great pomp and circumstance, the Minister of Finance announced the creation of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, with the election only months away. Yet, with less than a month to go until the end of the fiscal year, the federal government has still not turned over to the Parc technologique du Québec métropolitain the promised $250,000 in funding.

The Government of Quebec, as well as the cities of Sainte-Foy and Quebec, have made their contributions to this complex. What is the federal government waiting for, and will it commit to paying over this promised funding, in its entirety, that is $250,000, within the next few days?

Regional Development
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Secretary of State (Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, Quebec City is indeed in the process of making an absolutely remarkable economic turnaround, and the Parc de développement technologique is one of the tools of development in the forefront of that turnaround.

Nevertheless, the Parc owes is existence today in large part to the Canadian government, which believed in it and provided funding right from the start.

Now, concerning the Parc, which belongs to the Government of Quebec, it is true that its representatives have applied to the Canadian government, more specifically FORDQ, for funding. We are analyzing this request at the present time, and a statement of our position will be forthcoming shortly.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

Two years ago we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II and people from all around the world thanked our vets for the role they played.

Since then the government has cut the last post fund. It has taken our vets out of the war museum and put in young people. It has even taken the poppy making industry away from them and privatized it.

Can you justify, Mr. Minister, how you are going to close Ste. Anne-

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I ask the hon. member to put her question through the Chair.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Would the minister advise the House how the government can justify the closure of the Ste. Anne Veterans Hospital, taking 600 vets out of that hospital and putting them out into the community for there are no other rooms in any other hospital? Is this part of a $61 million cut to veterans affairs?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst
New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the question from the hon. member. It must be spring; she is back.

As far as the question she has just posed, all the decisions that are being taken with respect to veterans take into account the service the hon. member has made reference to. We will try to make sure veterans who require help, whether it is in hospital or in other facilities, get the support they need from the Canadian people.

It is one of the reasons we believe Canadians from coast to coast to coast still have great confidence in the Canadian forces today, regardless of all the difficult things we are going through just because of the service of the veterans. We will continue to take care of veterans in the future as we have in the past to the very best of our ability.

Youth Employment
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Beryl Gaffney Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Co-operation.

All Canadians, and certainly young people in Nepean, are worried about getting a good education and then facing the prospect of not getting a good job.

Could the minister let the House know what is going on? What is he doing to create international opportunities for young Canadians?

Youth Employment
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that earlier today I announced my department's international youth internship program which is part of the government's youth employment strategy.

CIDA, the Canadian International Development Agency, will allow some 850 young Canadians the opportunity to work in developing countries in economic transition around the world, in partnership with the private, public and non-governmental organizations.

Young people are anxious to be involved. I am glad my department and our government will be giving them the opportunity to shape the future of Canada in the world.

Business Of The House
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to tell us what is on the legislative menu for the coming days.

Business Of The House
Oral Question Period

3 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 now want to provide the House with the weekly business statement.

This afternoon we will complete third reading of Bill C-71, the tobacco bill.

Friday, Monday and Wednesday shall be allotted days.

Next Tuesday we will consider Bill C-66, the labour code amendments, at third reading; Bill C-67, the competition bill, at second reading; Bill C-46, Criminal Code amendments, at second reading; and Bill C-49 regarding administrative tribunals at second reading.

A week from today it is my intention to call report stage of Bill C-32, the copyright bill.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rose to put my question to the hon. minister and in his reply I understand he made the statement that it must be spring because she is back.

My understanding is that it is incorrect for any member to refer to whether or not another member is in the House, and I ask that he withdraw.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

In the response I could not discern anything about a member being or not being in the House, and because it was open to interpretation I did not intervene.

I indicate to all hon. members that statements like that are not welcome by members of the House. I hope we would refrain from making them in the future.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-71, an act to regulate the manufacture, sale, labelling and promotion of tobacco products, to make consequential amendments to another act and to repeal certain acts, be read the third time and passed.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak in favour of Bill C-71, the government's tobacco control strategy.

Over the past few months I have been part of a group of concerned caucus members encouraging and providing support to the Minister of Health in his efforts to introduce the legislation. I am pleased to see his efforts have finally been realized.

It is estimated that more than 40,000 Canadians die each year due to the effects of smoking, mostly due to lung and heart disease. Twenty-one per cent of all deaths in Canada can be attributed to smoking. This makes smoking the number one preventable cause of death and disease in Canada.

We are all well aware of the links between the use of tobacco and serious disease. We can also assume that as tobacco use continues to rise among Canadians the death toll will increase accordingly.

It is not only by reducing the demand for tobacco now that we will be able to reduce the number of Canadians who will die painful tobacco deaths in the future. This is why the health minister's new tobacco control strategy is so important.

When the Supreme Court of Canada struck down certain elements of the tobacco producers control act in 1995 it left the Canadian government, representatives of the Canadian people, with too little control over tobacco regulation. Alternative control measures became a necessity. This is not an entirely new initiative.

The government has been exploring its options ever since the Supreme Court ruling. Many of my constituents have been critical expressing their disappointment with how long it has taken for the government to act. I shared some of their concerns but it was important that all available options were studied thoroughly. This time we had to get it right.

Late last year the government released a blueprint on tobacco control outlining the various options available. Since then we have received comments from many different Canadians, doctors, business people, the tobacco industry, consumers, parents and various credible advocacy groups. These new regulations are a product of this ongoing study.

I am confident they will arm us for a successful battle to curb future tobacco use in Canada. Tobacco use is not simply a problem for the individual who smokes. Tobacco use is costly to every member of society in a number of ways. It is estimated that in 1991 the cost of smoking in Canada totalled $15 billion in direct health care costs and lost productivity.

Smokers visit the doctor more than non-smokers. They spend more time in hospitals and they occupy more spaces in long term health care facilities. In total smoking alone costs the health care system $3.5 billion.

Smokers are absent from work more than non-smokers. It has been estimated a smoking employee costs over $3,000 year more to employ than a non-smoker due to lost days. In addition, lost productivity from smoke breaks, waiting for smoke breaks and thinking about smoke breaks cannot be calculated.

Finally, 40,000 smoking related deaths amount to about $10.6 billion in lost revenue for Canada. Compare this figure to the $2.6 billion the federal excise tax and duty on tobacco products generates. In the end smoking costs the Canadian economy billions in lost productivity, health care and social assistance to the families of those who are incapacitated by smoke related diseases. The new tobacco legislation will see many positive improvements. It will limit youth access to tobacco products to fight tobacco use before it becomes an addiction.

I recall visiting the Woodlands Secondary School in my riding as the local trustee the year we banned student smoking rooms and

smoking areas in schools. I was asked by students why we were banning smoking rooms for kids and allowing the teachers to smoke in the staff room. At the time I gave a very facile answer. I said: "They are adults and they are old enough to kill themselves if they choose to".

The real answer was that they were all addicted. By banning student smoking areas we were trying to stop the influence of one smoker over another and stop young people from smoking.

Immediately after the visit to the school, though, we put a proposal before the board of trustees to ban all smoking on all school property for adults as well as students, and those rules still stand today. The interesting part is that teachers have to put on their coats in the bad weather and walk up and down the street to smoke. This is not a very glamorous image. The kids are beginning to see how horrible it is, how addicted the teachers are, and how foolish they look walking up and down the street.

Almost 30 per cent of 15 to 19 year olds and 15 per cent of 10 to 14 year olds are currently smokers. This is both frightening and unacceptable. Eighty-five per cent of smokers begin their addiction before they are 16 years of age when they are most susceptible to peer pressure and the desire to fit in. The new measures introduced in the legislation will specifically target youth prohibiting self-service displays, banning vending machine sales and requiring photo ID to confirm age.

The new legislation will also limit the marketing and promotion of tobacco products including restrictions on tobacco advertising, packaging, sales promotions and promotions through sponsorships. Promotional materials containing tobacco brand names will be restricted to publications with primarily adult readerships.

Some will argue that these regulations unfairly hurt the tobacco industry as well as the events they sponsor. However this concern must be tempered with the concern for the health of our children. We cannot afford to sacrifice the health of the country by allowing another generation of smokers to begin this life threatening habit.

Marketers of tobacco products use a range of lifestyle advertising to sell their products. They are very appealing methods to attempt to create a link between tobacco and an attractive lifestyle. They are particularly fascinating to children and youth. "Smoke Marlboroughs and be a real man". "Smoke Slims and men will fall in great stacks at your feet".

The government has no intention of telling tobacco companies what they can or cannot sponsor. Nor is it prohibiting the sponsorship of a whole category of events. The government is simply restricting the extent to which companies can relate tobacco brand names to activities which convey a desirable, glamorous and exciting lifestyle.

The new tobacco strategy in Canada will also see increased health information on tobacco packages, the establishment of an enforcement mechanism to regulate the chemical contents of cigarettes, control of the practice of supercharging with addictive nicotine and the adding of other chemicals to enhance the effects of nicotine. Altogether I am confident these measures will eventually have a significant impact on the consumption of tobacco products in Canada.

This is not the end of government action in this area. In addition to the actions of the Department of Health other ministries will be taking part in this initiative. The federal and some provincial governments will raise their taxes on tobacco products to a combined rate of $1.40 a carton, together with an extension of the federal surtax on tobacco manufacturers at the rate of 40 per cent for three years.

Many of my constituents have been calling for such measures. They serve the dual purpose of increasing the price of tobacco products as well as increasing government revenue to pay for some of the costs associated with tobacco use. This tax increase will be accompanied by anti-smuggling initiatives to make sure the increase does not result in the resumption of cigarette smuggling. In fact, it is estimated that since the government began its anti-smuggling initiatives in 1994, enforcement has prevented $2 billion worth of illegal products from reaching the streets in Canada.

The final element is also one of the most important. Fifty million dollars over five years have been committed to enforce this legislation and to provide health education programs. I can say from experience that education programs are essential in fighting tobacco use among young people.

As testimony to that fact, the government is focusing its initiatives where they most matter, to prevent Canadians, particularly youths, from becoming addicted to tobacco products. Retailers will only be marginally affected by the legislation. Retail displays will be limited and photo ID will be required for purchase but the government will not regulate who can sell tobacco products at this time. This is very reasonable legislation.

I am pleased to have had the opportunity speak on behalf of this long awaited legislation. I am particularly proud of the Minister of Health, the Prime Minister and the parliamentary secretary for their diligence in the face of so much organized and well-funded opposition.

Tobacco use in Canada is a health problem. We must ensure that the health of the country is not lost to this addictive product. We already have one of the best records in the world and we must strive to make it even better.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, as I listened to the hon. member's comments about Bill C-71, I was reminded of travelling and talking with a number of constitu-

ents when I was last back in my riding about the legislation and other issues.

One thing was brought home to me by small business people who, among other things, sell tobacco to consumers. They were wondering why it is not illegal for young people to possess and smoke tobacco. If the government is as concerned as it says about the health risks posed by cigarettes and tobacco to young Canadians, why would the government not make it illegal for minors to possess and smoke cigarettes?

If it is looked at in the context of alcohol, for example, the shops, bars or liquor vendors who sell product to minors are held accountable for that action and can be charged and fined, or perhaps lose their licence or permit. In the case of cigarettes vendors can be fined, and rightly so, if they sell this hazardous product to young people. But it is not illegal for young people to smoke.

I wonder why the hon. member has not added her voice to those who are calling for that type of action by the government.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am continually amazed and appalled at the desire of members of the Reform Party to criminalize as many people as they can. Their net is now including 14-year-olds which I find appalling.

It is illegal to sell cigarettes to kids. We should be going after the adults who are doing this and making a profit off the health of young people. But to collect a bunch of 14-year-olds, charge them, take them to court and turn them into criminals is not the idea of the government or any other government.

Again, I find it appalling that the Reform's law and order goes beyond all limits when it wants to see 14-year-olds arrested.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is the inconsistency that bothers us on this side of the House. The government is quite willing to charge 14-year-olds for the possession of liquor. It is going to charge and convict store owners for selling to 14-year-olds or 16-year-olds inadvertently, but it is not going to charge 14-year-olds for possession.

Dealing with tobacco, this situation is being advocated by our hon. colleague who just responded to my colleague's question. On the other hand the government is charging 14-year-olds and anyone under age for the possession of liquor. Where is the consistency in the Liberal policy? There is none.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are being very consistent. The consistent desire of the Liberal government is to increase health protection for the youngest child to the oldest senior. We are consistent in wanting to charge adults who lure children into smoking. We are consistent in that the penalties are for the crass people who purposely sell to children without asking for ID. We are very consistent in being very concerned about their health.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mary Clancy Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is with great amazement and chagrin that I rise to take part in the debate today.

When I was 13 years old I took up smoking. Yes, both my parents smoked, as did most adults I knew. It was 1961 and in spite of the U.S. surgeon general's report some eight years earlier, smoking was still the norm.

Five years ago, after numerous tries, I finally managed to quit. I thank God daily that I did so. During those pretty awful weeks that followed my last cigarette, I brooded considerably about why I had taken that first step as a teenager. The answer, actually, was fairly easy. It was considered grown up. It was considered sophisticated. It was considered cool, an adjective or attribute as desirable in 1961 as it is in 1997.

I do not know why we have not succeeded in killing this image of smoking for our young. I suspect the reasons are complex and manifold, but I do know that the advertising of cigarettes is part of the problem.

I truly cannot believe the commentators, the pundits and the Bloc Quebecois who somehow pretend to believe that the advertising of tobacco is unrelated to increased smoking by young people. I actually heard one person, no doubt just off the shuttle from Mars, say that young people's smoking was unrelated to advertising, but particularly unrelated to arts advertising. That makes me sick.

Smoking cigarettes kills people. It is not a theory, it is a fact. Smoking is a cause of lung cancer. It is a cause of emphysema. It exacerbates asthma. It is a cause of heart disease and it is a cause of strokes. Recent research has made strong links to the incidence of breast cancer being caused by smoking or exacerbated by smoking.

Smoking is dangerous. It is deadly. Take any smoker in the country and beleaguered as he or she may be by being forced to congregate in the cold or in small ghettoizing rooms, lectured constantly by the medical profession and by the converted like me, I will bet that the most militant smoker does not want his or her child to take up this habit. It is not because of any social stigma. It is not because of the cold porches. It is not even because your clothes and your hair stink. It is because no loving parent wants a child to place his life in jeopardy.

Let us look at the issue of advertising and consumption-the consumption of any good-and let us make it really simple.

Companies that want to sell their goods spend massive dollars on advertising. Why do companies spend massive dollars on advertising? To sell their product and to make a profit.

We all know that is true, but for some reason, as I noted with surprise yesterday, the editorial writers of the Globe and Mail were having a problem with this. I hope what I have said today may be of some help to them.

Just in case there is any further doubt, people do not buy cigarettes for decoration or bookends or ballast. They buy cigarettes to smoke them and smoking them makes them sick. The difficulty here of course-I do not minimize it-is the question of arts funding. Let me state, unequivocally, my long time devotion to the enhancement of Canadian cultural endeavours.

In my previous life I was an actor, first in amateur and later in professional productions. I have served on the boards of theatres, dance, music and other arts organizations. I have maintained an active interest in the visual and performing arts in my city, my province, my region and my country. This is something that is very close to my heart.

I want more and better funding for artists and artistic endeavours, from Halifax's wonderful Shakespeare in the Park to CBC Radio and I will work my fingers to the bone to help find it. But I will not, I cannot, say that money earned from a dangerous product is okay.

Tobacco must not be the saviour of the arts in Canada. There are other sources and we must each work together, all of us on all sides of this House, and with the people in our constituencies to find them.

I know from personal experience what it is like to sit around a board room table late at night in the face of government cuts, in the face of private sector cuts, desperately searching with other devotees and volunteers for alternative sources of funding; scrambling, scrimping and scraping to maintain this festival or this theatre company. I know.

I also know what it is like to watch a friend walk around carrying a portable oxygen tent, unable to walk up stairs, unable to pick up a grandchild because of the emphysema that is choking off his life.

I have spoken many times to hard pressed artists, producers and artistic directors about this terrible dichotomy that we face, but not one of them suggested that tobacco was benign. The artistic community is in a terrible position. I understand the position of the people in Quebec and across the country who are terrified for their jobs. However, this issue goes beyond that. It is a question of right and wrong.

I do not blame people for fighting but I say to them that while we do not have all or even some of the answers with regard to funding in these days of financial restraint and cutback, the answer is not to turn a blind eye to a hazardous, dangerous product.

The legislation gives us and them two years. I pledge my strongest efforts, and I know millions of other Canadians will as well. We cannot afford the status quo. I cannot in all conscience indulge my passion for the theatre, for the ballet, for the music I love, if always in the back of my mind I see teenagers trying to be cool, trying to be grown up in a corner of the schoolyard, beginning an addiction that will lead them ultimately to an early grave.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a question to the member for Halifax. She said that this bill is a question of right or wrong. Could she elaborate on whether it is not also a question of individual rights and responsibilities?

We are here as politicians assuming our responsibility of trying to do what is in the greater interest of a greater number of people. The target of this bill is youth and trying to prevent them from becoming addicted to this habit.

In so doing, how far does one go before ending up stepping on individual rights, freedom of choice, freedom to choose to smoke or not to smoke, to drink or not to drink? These are, after all, legal products. How far does one go before ending up having to conclude that, if it is so bad, if all the statistics being put out today are true, why is smoking legal?

I submit that it is also individual rights and responsibilities. We are trying to address our responsibilities here. I am supportive of the bill because of its target. It is just a question of the other element.

I see what is happening in our society. Legislatures are trying to be so good at looking after all the problems that they end up going too far, intruding into people's lives and tramping on their rights.

What if we sort of twisted this and said maybe parents are responsible for their kids a little as well? Would she elaborate on the issue of rights and responsibilities?

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Mary Clancy Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Calgary Centre for his question because I know that it was heartfelt and well meant. I am glad he asked it.

I do not know the exact dates because I am far too young, but there may be others in this House who do, but many years ago when we had prohibition in this country, I had a great uncle by marriage who made a great deal of money from prohibition because he owned a number of boats that sailed from St. Pierre de Michelon down through the St. Lawrence before the seaway right into Chicago. He was a rum runner. He sat at a desk in an office in Cape Breton and made a whole lot of money being a rum runner because, as we learned then, one cannot prohibit by law certain things. There are certain laws that cannot be enforced.

This legislation that I am advocating here does not prohibit the sale or the purchase of cigarettes. That would not work. I wish it would and I wish it could, but it does not.

What does work, however, is chipping away at the idea of young people that smoking is somehow a good thing. I go back to the words I used in my original speech, that it is cool, sophisticated and grown-up. The hon. member knows, I know and all of us in this House know that what smoking leads to ultimately is lung cancer or emphysema or asthma or heart disease, all of these terrible things that we want our children to avoid as much as possible.

Consequently, we are not going into the area of restricting rights. People still have the right to go, if I may use the word, to hell in their own direction and in their own way. They can walk into any store if they are of age in the relevant province and buy cigarettes. I wish they would not and I wish they could not but I know, as the hon. member knows, we cannot prevent that by legislation.

However, we can and we have a duty and an absolute responsibility to do whatever we can not to make it look as if it is either benign or a good thing that people should smoke.

Most particularly in this debate, when we tie cigarette advertising to one of the most glorious manifestations of our joint culture and society, that of the performing arts, it absolutely inflames my heart that we have to do this, that we have to have this kind of a debate. It is wrong that we let a product that hurts people and that can hurt our children be one that puts us into a debate on the future of our magnificent artistic endeavours.

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3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will share my speaking time with the hon. member for Mercier.

First of all, I want to say that as a member of the Bloc Quebecois, this is my proudest moment in the past three or four years. Last time, in 1993, we campaigned under the slogan: "On se donne le vrai pouvoir". I remember the taunts of our opponents across the way who said: "Listen the real power is the government, not the opposition".

Yesterday we clearly saw how that power could be exercised at the expense of Quebec. Yesterday, the power of Liberals was a sorry sight. It was pitiful how Liberal members from Quebec who tried to get out of a tight spot, extend moratoriums and find money elsewhere, were finally crushed under the weight of their caucus. If that is the real power of the Liberals, we can do without, and the people of Quebec, I am sure, will re-elect those who defend their interests.

I am fed up with the sentimental rhetoric dished up by members opposite who tell us: "Listen to these people who can no longer bend over to pick up their grandchildren without falling down, because they smoked too much".

At second reading, we agreed with the health objectives of the bill, but now at third reading, when we look at the way sponsorships have been cut, $60 million in Canada, which includes $30 million in Quebec, there is a major problem. There is no compensation.

We heard the Minister of Health say that perhaps the banks could take up the slack. His colleague at Heritage Canada told us there was no way the government could take over the tobacco companies' sponsorships because it would cost far too much.

So the government is getting no for an answer everywhere. The only way was to leave the sponsorships as they are now. There are statistics. The government brandishes its statistics, and we have ours. As the Leader of the Opposition explained yesterday, when young people go to watch the Tennis Canada championships in Montreal, the Players open, will they say on the way home: "I am going to buy a carton of Players?" They are more likely to say they wished they were able to play tennis at that level.

It has not been clearly proven to my satisfaction that advertising automatically creates a need to smoke and automatically induces young people to smoke. I have not seen that happen so far.

I also want to condemn the procedure for getting this bill through the House. We were pushed to adopt this bill very quickly. The government took a very cavalier attitude, which will prevent us from having a debate on the substance of the bill, and even if we have a chance to do so this afternoon, we would have needed far more time to consider how to deal with the health issues and at the same time protect sponsorships. But the government is dead set on having its way. There will be a political price to pay for the government, especially in Quebec.

What sets Quebec apart is its series of festivals. It is something we see everywhere in Quebec, especially in the Montreal area, the French speaking capital of America, where there are many festivals, and their impact is considerable.

The elimination of sponsorship hits the festivals broadside. I will give you a few figures: the Just for Laughs festival, $1 million or 10 per cent of its budget; the Montreal and Trois-Rivières Grand Prix and the Montreal film festival, $1.5 million or 16 per cent; the Montreal jazz festival, $1 million or 71.4 per cent; the Benson and Hedges International, the fireworks festival that lights up Montreal once a year; the Players tennis open, half a million dollars or 11 per cent; and the Quebec City summer festival.

It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that all the festivals will be hit hard. They are being threatened by the bill before us. La Presse mentioned a survey taken on September 6 that revealed that 81 per cent of young people would not take up smoking just because they realized an event had been sponsored. Young people are going to start smoking for all sorts of reasons, but certainly not because of sponsorship. It is a matter of education. Rather than take this approach and set up anti-smoking campaigns, the government has gone on a witch hunt. And, as I said before, the festivals in Quebec and in the greater Montreal area will bear the brunt.

Sixty-eight per cent of these people opposed the prohibition of sponsorships, because they could see quite simply that this was not the way to resolve the problem of smoking among young people, or adults, for that matter.

I would like to bring a new argument to the debate: the impact on other festivals. In my region, in the riding of Saint-Jean, we have the Haut-Richelieu hot air balloon festival, the most beautiful of the balloon festivals in Quebec and Canada. My colleague says there are others. There is one in the Outaouais as well, but unfortunately, it lacks the prestige and grandeur of the Festival de montgolfières du Haut-Richelieu. The festival receives $1.5 million in sponsorship. I might perhaps give you some figures before I present my argument.

The number of people going to the hot air balloon festival has substantially risen since its beginning. Attendance was 130,000 in 1993, 160,000 in 1994, 190,000 in 1995, and 250,000 in 1996. Just as the festival is becoming big enough to attract this type of sponsorship, this bill is pulling the rug out from underneath it. The bill says that, from now on, sponsorships will not be allowed, therefore the festival will never be able to get that kind of sponsorship.

Worse than that. This bill will affect not only the hot air balloon festival, but all the other, smaller festivals in Quebec. With $30 million less in sponsorships in Quebec, major festivals are going to turn to the sponsors of smaller festivals, such as the hot air balloon festival in the Haut-Richelieu region, which generates $8 million in economic benefits. This bill has an adverse impact on sponsorships.

This bill is not about health. Personally, I think it is true that in Canada smoking kills many people, the young and the not so young. However, the government should not go as far as prohibiting sponsorships. This threatens not only the major festivals that I mentioned earlier, but also the one in my region.

With economic spinoffs of $8 million and a sponsorship of $1.5 million for the festival in my riding, we cannot afford to be told, in two years from now: "We were thinking of sponsoring your event, but the World Film Festival approached us and we will have to transfer our sponsorship". Sponsors always choose the most prestigious events, and this is understandable.

The big festivals are not the only ones to be affected. I invite the minister, the Prime Minister and all of my colleagues to the hot air balloon festival. I would be very pleased if the Minister of Health did come next summer. Not only will I promise him a ride in a hot air balloon, but we will certainly have a welcoming committee explain to him why the bill is unacceptable and how it is a threat to festivals that are the pride of the regions.

My colleague from Trois-Rivières showed me a message from one of his constituents who is extremely proud of the festival there. She could see that the Trois-Rivières Grand Prix was in jeopardy.

It is the same thing everywhere. In Saint-Jean, we are worried. We ask the minister to back down. If he does not, I hope he will come to Saint-Jean this summer. We will give him an interesting welcome. We will send him up in a hot air balloon and hope that he never comes down.

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3:40 p.m.

Hamilton West
Ontario

Liberal

Stan Keyes Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to the member opposite and other members of the official opposition.

The member said he is tired of listening to the demagoguery of the government members who support Bill C-71. He contends that there is no link between sponsorship promotion and tobacco consumption. It is his party's only argument to justify its position on Bill C-71.

How does the member opposite respond the mounds of studies and information, the substantial evidence that establishes that there is in fact a link between sponsorship promotion and the consumption of tobacco?

The National Cancer Institute of Canada stated: "There is substantial evidence that young people are aware of and respond to cigarette advertising. Advertisements present images that appeal to the young and are seen and remembered by them. Images are used in tobacco marketing rather than information to portray the attractiveness of the function of smoking. The human models and cartoon like characters used in advertising convey independence and strong self-concepts, helpfulness, social acceptance, adventure seeking, attractive role models and youth activities, thus appealing to youth and tapping into area relevant to important development tasks".

What about the information that we receive from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that says: "Evidence from social, psychological and marketing research shows image based advertising such as employed by the cigarette and smokeless tobacco industry is particularly effective with young people and that the information

conveyed by imagery is likely to be more significant to young people than information conveyed by other means in advertising".

The American Psychological Association provided expert opinion with specific citation to numerous studies to show that tobacco advertising plays directly to the factors that are central to children and adolescence and thus plays an important role in their decision to use tobacco. How does the hon. member refute this evidence?

I would be glad for the hon. member's perusal to table this evidence that I am speaking of. The World Health Organization-

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3:45 p.m.

The Speaker

I know the member inadvertently put some papers on his desk and he is going to take them off.

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3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Keyes Hamilton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was just indicating that I would like to table these documents and I was getting them ready for the page.

The World Health Organization states: "The tobacco industry uses the sponsoring of sports and entertainment to complement and/or replace other marketing activities to reach large audiences and to associate their products with positive images", maybe like balloons-

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3:45 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. member. I know that he wants to get into it but I am going to give the other member a chance to answer.

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3:45 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to answer. I was wondering if I had enough time left to do so.

Look, this is not the Canada Cancer Foundation. I, for one, am interested in finding out how people start smoking. In my case, it happened in my backyard. Somebody who was already a smoker came and asked me if I wanted to try. I said yes. There was no psychological trigger, as the North American psychologists association would say. It was not because I saw this brand of cigarettes during the Player's International Tennis Championships or the hot air balloon festival. It had nothing to do with that. We did not care what brand it was. I was not coerced into smoking by tobacco sponsorship.

I thank God that I choked on the first puff and never tried again. This has nothing to do with seeing one brand or another on a billboard. As a matter of fact, some studies prove the reverse of what my colleague said and indicate that it may influence smokers to switch brands.

Those who start smoking have quite a choice of brands: Player's, Du Maurier, Benson & Hedges. Does this mean that young people who go and see fireworks will smoke Benson & Hedges, and those who watch tennis will smoke Player's? That is not the way it works. I beg to differ with my colleague and think that the government has gone too far in banning sponsorship. For us it is a health issue, but is also a sponsorship issue.

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3:45 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the member for Saint-Jean, is generous enough to share his 20 minutes with me.

What I feel like saying about this provision on sponsorships is that the government missed its mark. We agree, the Bloc has always agreed with the purpose, the principle of the bill which is aimed at curbing tobacco use. But as regards these provisions on sponsorships, it seems there is no correlation between them and the stated purpose of the bill or the arguments offered.

Especially since Montreal's cultural and sports events are directly affected, the city having already been dealt a serious blow at the social and economic level as a result of the policies implemented by this government since it came into office. I would be remiss if I did not review them with you. Montrealers are angry because this is like the last straw. This measure would have a devastating impact on Montreal, not only economically but also culturally and socially.

Here is the list. As a result of this government's drastic cuts to unemployment insurance in its very first budget, Montreal was hit with $290 million in cuts in 1995. With the new employment insurance scheme, Montreal will lose another $125 million this year. Benefits will be reduced by $415 million in the Montreal area alone, and by more than $800 million for all of Quebec.

Who is affected by Bill C-29 aimed at banning the additive MMT in gasoline? The Montreal refineries. Who will be affected by the ports' user fees? All the ports on the St. Lawrence River, which will have to pay more than other ports on the Atlantic and the west coast for ice-breaking and dredging. Montreal will be particularly hard hit.

There are as many poor people in Montreal as there are in all the Atlantic provinces combined. Where is our Hibernia project, in which the federal government invested over $2 billion? Where is our bridge to the mainland, our Confederation bridge, built at a cost of $800 million for the 130,000 residents of Prince Edward Island?

Did the federal government build the proposed fast train link between Dorval and Mirabel? No. That was too much money for Montreal.

Given this situation, the government, which has been in power since 1993, comes up, on the eve of the Grand Prix, with provisions that put it in jeopardy. You have seen the outcry from the people involved when that decision was made in Ottawa, in this House,

where the Prime Minister shed a tear for the young Quebecers who smoke more and earlier.

Does he know that there is a strong link between poverty and smoking and does he realize that his government is contributing to the impoverishment of Montreal and Quebec? Will the bill ban clips by their favourite performers if they are smokers? No. Does it prohibit models? And it could not do so anyway. We know that Montreal and Quebec, as well as regions with a high unemployment rate, are those that bore the brunt of the deficit reduction, whether through employment insurance cuts or the Canadian social transfer.

There is a relationship between poverty and smoking. This is true for young people and also for people in other age groups. Yes, Montreal is poor. And it is humiliating to have to come here, to Ottawa, to plead or to be angry with a government that does not care about the plight of people in Montreal, which has an unemployment rate of 15 per cent. Montreal is one of the poorest major cities in Canada and, when the governments stopped funding these cultural and sporting events, we managed to get some sponsorships and to keep alive and vibrant. Now these are being cut under the pretext that young people will start smoking.

I do not want young people to start smoking, but I do not want them to be used as a pretext for a policy that says it is aimed at protecting health, but that, in fact, is an attack on the economy of Montreal and Quebec.

I repeat, it is humiliating to have a decision imposed on us, as the president of the Montreal chamber of commerce said, without any consideration of its immediate impact. The government cannot say that it does not see the economic impact this will have on Montreal.

If the government had been concerned with not creating such an impact on the economy, it would have tried to find some solutions. All the suggestions that were made by the official opposition have been rejected, swept aside and abandoned. No one will convince me that the desired effect is not to harm the economy of Montreal. No one will be able to convince me of that. There is no urgent need for these harmful provisions.

Young people do not start smoking because of advertising, but because of peer pressure.

Sponsorships are being targeted, singled out. The leader of the official opposition asked a very simple question, which is worth repeating. He said: "What will a young person coming back from a tennis tournament ask his parents for: a tennis racket or a pack of cigarettes?" He will ask for a tennis racket and, on top of that, he will be aware of the fact that, if he wants to be any good at a sport that requires so much speed, he had better not smoke. Young people are aware of that.

We feel the joke is on us, a joke of monumental proportions, which is not funny at all, because health is no joking matter. We do agree with the health related principles, but not with the means. We are being forced to choose between what would be a health related objective and events that help young people get by in a context where jobs are scarce, cultural events that attract tourists and promote a degree of economic development without which Montreal would do ever more poorly than it is doing.

Montreal is not doing as well as it should. It used to be the metropolis of Canada, it is the metropolis of Quebec, but it has suffered terribly from this unresolved issue between Quebec and Canada. No metropolis can develop properly without a State with full powers behind it. Montreal does not have this State with full powers behind it and both Montreal and Quebec as a whole are badly off because of it.

This bill is a hit and miss bill. What is hits is Montreal and cultural and sporting events in Quebec, and it hits them hard.

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3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians would want to ask the member if she really believes what she says. Does she really believe that advertising does not have any influence whatsoever on the decision of anyone to use a product? Why would the tobacco companies spend $60 million a year?

She also said that children smoke because other kids smoke. That is a total copout. It is basically saying that is the way it is and that is the way it is always going to be so let us not do anything about. She offers no solutions. She asks why the bill attacks the economy of Montreal. If she is concerned about the economy, and I think she should be, she should be concerned about the 40,000 Canadians who will not be part of the economy next year because they will have died as a result of tobacco. They will not have those jobs. They will not be productive contributors to society for the rest of their lives. That is the part of the economy the member has not recognized as important. The jobs are no good to children when they are dead.

I have a very simple question for the member. If she cannot answer a simple question there is no point in posing others.

Just for Laughs is one Montreal festivals that has said: "Isn't this awful? If we lose our sponsorship we will be gone and all the jobs will be gone". The Montreal Just for Laughs comedy festival receives 10 per cent of its revenue from tobacco. Will the member tell the House today if she honestly believes that Just for Laughs will totally disappear from the face of the earth if the 10 per cent from tobacco is not included in sponsorships?

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4 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I said that I agreed with the objective to fight tobacco use. This fight should, first and foremost, include prevention, and it does.

However, what does this government, which is supposed to be concerned about these 40,000 deaths, propose? A measly $10 million, while the Canada Information Office and others are getting about $67 million per year. If this government really cared about Montreal's economic situation, it would have found ways to make up for this loss.

Needless to say, I care about the health aspect, but I also react to demagoguery and to the fact that young people who are poor smoke more than others. It is not a matter of choosing between poverty and health.

We have to find a successful approach, and such an approach must be based on prevention. Montreal must continue to hold its events. To say that this bill is necessary to avoid 40,000 deaths is simply ridiculous. A solution, a real solution must be found. Until then, I will keep thinking that the goal pursued is really to hurt Montreal and the Province of Quebec.

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4 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the hon. member for Mercier for her very eloquent and sensitive testimony on the harmful effects of this legislation on Montreal's economy.

Do I really have only one minute left?

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4 p.m.

The Speaker

More like 17 seconds.

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4 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Trois-Rivières, QC

I will rise again later, because there is something interesting I am eager to tell you. Again, I congratulate the hon. member.

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4 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I know what the hon. member for Trois-Rivières wants to tell us. It concerns a letter from one of his constituents, who worked for the Trois-Rivières festival. That person is a non-smoker, but she fully supports our position, because, as she puts it: "The festival provides me with a job and I do not understand why the Liberal government is going after this".

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4 p.m.

Liberal

John Murphy Annapolis Valley—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Scarborough-Rouge River.

Throughout the debate on Bill C-71 we have heard compelling evidence about the dangers of smoking. Tobacco use puts the lives of millions of Canadians at risk every day. Canadians are increasingly aware of the dangers of tobacco use. Consensus has been building for some time on the need for strong, well co-ordinated action to meet this public health challenge head on.

The announcement by the Minister of Health of a comprehensive federal strategy to help protect Canadians from the harmful effects of tobacco is a step to be applauded and supported by all members of the House.

Bill C-71 is an indispensable tool for regulating tobacco advertising and promotion and ultimately for reducing tobacco consumption.

We must recognize that the legislation has as its ultimate goal public health. It is our responsibility as members of Parliament to ensure that it receives quick passage through the House.

This debate has given us a clear picture of the devastating effects of tobacco use on the current generation of Canadian smokers. Just as alarming, however, is the potential devastation awaiting a whole new generation of young Canadians who are taking up smoking at an alarming rate.

I will read a letter I recently received from a grade 5-6 class at L. E. Shaw School in Avonport in my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants. The teacher wrote:

The grade 5-6 students are very concerned about the effects of smoking on our bodies and the environment. We have also looked at the advertising and the influence it has on people, especially young people.

In their letter they urge me not to support any measures that loosen the restrictions on advertising tobacco products.

As a parliamentarian I have a responsibility to protect their rights and their health. I am pleased to report that the measures included in the bill are an appropriate response to the health threat that smoking poses for the young people of Canada.

Let us begin with what we know about youth and smoking. One in three Canadians smoke. Half of them will ultimately die prematurely of tobacco related diseases. In my own family I have certainly seen this devastation. Youth are the most tragic casualties of tobacco use and addiction. Youth are the most vulnerable to tobacco promotion.

That is why the government's priority in developing the legislation and the overall strategy has been young people. I think we can all agree that young people are certainly the future of the country. We must invest in them by protecting them and by ensuring the safest and healthiest environment for their growth and development.

The statistics, however, show that we have our work cut out for us. Twenty-nine per cent of 15 to 19 year olds and 14 per cent of 10 to 14 year olds are current smokers. Smoking among teens 15 to 19 years of age has increased 25 per cent since 1991. According to the 1994 youth smoking survey, 260,000 kids between the ages of 10 and 19 years were beginner smokers that year.

Figures like these are being replicated in all other countries. These statistics have promoted the World Health Organization to classify youth smoking as a global pediatric epidemic.

What is striking about the evidence on youth smoking is the knowledge among youth about the effects of tobacco use. More than 90 per cent of people between the ages of 10 and 19 believe that tobacco is addictive. A similar percentage believe tobacco smoke in the environment can be harmful to the health of people who do not smoke. I certainly I can attest to that. Despite being clearly aware of the hazards over a quarter of the young people still smoke.

Research indicates a strong association between the smoking habits of youth and the number of friends who smoke. The most common reason cited for starting to smoke is the influence of friends or peer pressure. Eighty-five per cent of all smokers surveyed say they began smoking before they were 16 years of age. A critical time for the smoking decision process appears to be between the ages of 12 and 14. It is no surprise the tobacco companies know this statistic. They need new customers to replace the legions of those who are dying every year from smoking.

Currently the tobacco industry has a voluntary code that prohibits advertising to young people or using advertising with young people pictured in it. However the industry has breached this code time and time again.

The tobacco industry says it does not advertising to encourage youth to take up smoking. It claims it is only to encourage older, established smokers to switch their brands. Young people like those in our gallery are sophisticated enough to understand the point of tobacco company marketing tools.

Some 85 per cent of young smokers and 83 per cent to non-smokers agree that advertising for events sponsored by tobacco companies is a means to directly advertise cigarette brands. I am sure the group of young people in our gallery would agree with those statements.

Despite the claims of the tobacco industry it is clear people in young age smoking groups are more likely to start smoking and to switch brands than older people. Otherwise, why would the tobacco companies support events that are so popular with young people, from sporting events to popular music festivals, to entertainment events? Young people tell us that the use of brand names in tobacco sponsored events acts as an advertisement for tobacco products and smoking as well as for the specific event.

Bill C-71 will respond to the realities and to the tobacco industry's indirect focus on youth. Bill C-71 will restrict the association of tobacco brand names with sponsored events while still allowing tobacco companies to sponsor whatever events they please. The legislation will also control the extent to which young people are exposed to tobacco advertisements and promotions by banning broadcast, billboard, bus panel ads, and counter top displays in stores. In addition, it prohibits the use of tobacco brand names or logos on non-tobacco products that are youth oriented or have lifestyle connotations such as baseball caps and knapsacks.

The legislation will also reduce youth access by banning vending machines and mail out sales and by requiring photo identification to confirm minimum age.

These measures and others in the bill are designed to protect the health of Canadians, particularly young Canadians. Collectively they form a balanced and reasonable piece of legislation that addresses the broad range of factors which contribute to a young person's decision to smoke.

Since the bill was introduced the Minister of Health has consistently reiterated that he would listen to the views expressed in consultation on the bill. The minister has subsequently tabled a series of amendments that demonstrates our government is giving serious consideration to what all parties have to say on this complex issue.

The proposed amendments are straightforward and fall into three categories. Six of the proposals are technical amendments. They simply bring greater precision to some of the terms used in Bill C-71. Four amendments respond to requests by representatives of the tobacco industry that the government clarify its intentions. We have done so in the interests of providing greater certainty to affected parties.

The final amendment responds to the requests made by the arts, cultural and sports community and groups. Some groups expressed concern over what might happen if subclauses 24(2) and (3) took effective immediately upon proclamation. These subclauses restrict the display of tobacco related brand elements and the placement of permanent materials.

The government recognizes that many sponsored events bring important economic benefits to communities. We have therefore agreed to a one-year or two summers implementation period for this portion of the bill only to give affected groups more time to adjust their promotional strategies.

We have introduced these reasonable amendments in a way that will not compromise the integrity of the bill or the government's health objectives. As I said earlier, this bill is about protecting the health of Canadians, particularly young Canadians.

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4:15 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be able to rise during the question and comment period following the speech made by the hon. member for Annapolis Valley-Hants, who stressed the so-called pernicious

effects of sponsorship on our youth and on their decision to take up smoking.

I just received this morning a very nice letter from a resident of my riding who is 18 years old, whom I have never met, whom I do not know and who took the time to e-mail me a letter at 8.45 this morning.

Let me read you the letter sent to me by Lisa-Marie Dupont from Trois-Rivières:

"Mr. Rocheleau,

I saw the position you have taken on the issue of tobacco company sponsorship and I had to tell you that I support it. I am an 18-year-old woman who has lived all her life in Trois-Rivières, which hosts the annual Player's Grand Prix, and I have never smoked a cigarette in my whole life. Moreover, I have volunteered to work in the press room these last two years, an experience which will be very useful when I have to find a good job. It is nonsense to think health depends on sponsorship; the decision to take up smoking or not, especially among the young, is more a matter of education and guidance.

For a city like Trois-Rivières, this kind of event is very important. Tourism picks up considerably, the whole city comes alive with pride and hundreds of volunteers enthusiastically give a helping hand to make this event successful.

Such events give national and international visibility to cities. Is that not a sure advantage in this era of market globalization?

Please do not succumb to the pressures and keep defending your point of view. It is very important to our region.

Signed, Lisa-Marie Dupont".

There is one sentence that I would like to read again for my colleague: "It is nonsense to think health depends on sponsorship; the decision to take up smoking or not, especially among the young, is more a matter of education and guidance". This is quite a change from the shortsightedness, the partisanship and the kind of intolerance shown by government members and also by the health workers lobby-because it is indeed a lobby. I think such a testimony reflects good faith, intelligence, wisdom, balance and common sense.

Common sense is exactly what is lacking in this bill, 80 per cent of which we agree with. The members opposite seem to forget that. What we are opposed to are the sponsorship provisions in this bill, which will have a devastating effect on economic development.

If smoking kills-and I would like my colleague to comment on this-can the lack of jobs, as has been demonstrated, have the same effect? Is it possible that someone who is unemployed will have a tendency to smoke more, which will also contribute to killing him or her? So the public interest will not be served by these shortsighted policies that create more problems than they solve. I would like my colleague to comment on this.

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4:15 p.m.

Liberal

John Murphy Annapolis Valley—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. First, let me applaud the young person who did not start smoking.

If members remember my speech, we are talking about a health issue here, not one of economics and not one of one-letter lines that indicate one individual.

I put this to my hon. colleague. Why would the tobacco companies spend all these millions on fancy logos for tobacco advertising if they were not trying to entice people to smoke? These people are doing a good service in the sense that they will still be promoting, but, believe me, they are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. They are doing it mainly because they want to draw young people into the web because others who are dying are leaving the web due to tobacco related diseases.

His argument is not compelling. As a matter of fact it only applauds that one individual who decided to stop smoking.

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4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this bill on behalf of my constituents. I realize that the bill contains many contentious issues, but its over-arching principle relates to the fact that people are dying in Canada as a direct result of tobacco consumption.

There are lots of ugly statistics related to tobacco consumption. The 1991 figures indicate that 41,000 Canadians died of tobacco related diseases. In Ontario over 12,000 deaths per year are attributed to tobacco. It is projected that over half of today's smokers will die of a tobacco related disease.

It has been said that tobacco is the only product legally available on the market which is lethal when used as the manufacturer intends it to be used. The statistic that half of people smoking today will die from it produces a 50 per cent kill ratio. We do not use them much any more, but there are weapons of war that have a lower kill impact than 50 per cent. This kind of toxicity rates right up there with weapons of war, perhaps with cyanide, perhaps with the depletion of the ozone layer, perhaps with bullets. These are all things that society has to regulate for the general well-being of its citizens.

Principally the bill does four things. It will further limit youth access to tobacco. It will restrict the promotion of tobacco products to youth. It will increase the health information on packages related to tobacco consumption. Finally, it will establish powers to further regulate the sale and consumption of tobacco products.

Much of that regulatory activity already exists in legislation. However, the bill will improve or refine existing legislation.

A lot of discussion has taken place about the impact of this legislation on public events which are sponsored by tobacco companies. These events are sponsored as part of the advertising campaigns of the tobacco companies. As someone said earlier, why would tobacco companies spend $66 million a year on advertising if there was not a benefit? They advertise because it enhances the profitability of their enterprises.

With respect to the impact on public events which are currently sponsored by tobacco advertisers, it is not just an Ontario issue, it is not just a Quebec issue, it is not just a Toronto issue or a Vancouver issue. I am disappointed that the tobacco companies and the lobbyists are wrapping themselves in the flag of Quebec. I do not think it is helpful to us in the House. I do not think it is useful for Canadians to see an issue that way.

I accept that a large amount of money is spent in the city of Montreal on these events. As a representative of my area, I have been shown the large amount of money spent in the Toronto area on these events. People do come from all over the place to see and to participate in the events. We have heard the names: the Benson & Hedges Symphony of Fire, the du Maurier Jazz Festival.

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4:25 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Calgary Centre, AB

Good advertising for them.

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4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

I am not afraid. I am going to speak to that later. I am not embarrassed to mention the name of a tobacco company. I am not even afraid to hold a cigarette in my hand. I do not smoke. We have to be careful that we do not demonize in our society. We do not want to demonize things the way we did with firearms. Good people have firearms. Good people smoke and let us recognize that.

There happens to be a jazz festival in Toronto. There happens to be jazz festivals in Montreal and in Vancouver and a tobacco company happens to sponsor part of the costs. It is a good thing that the jazz festival happens. I want to see those events continue. The government recognizes that there could be a difficult period of adjustment. It has allowed two summers of adjustment. Technical provisions in the bill may further complicate the adjustment. Perhaps the minister's regulatory authority will be able to smooth that over.

As an MP I will be working with others in my community to make sure these events can continue without the high level of tobacco advertising support that they currently have. That does not mean that there cannot be any tobacco advertising support, but under this bill a lot of that support will be reduced.

We have two seasons to work on this. I hope we will have some success. I commend the tobacco companies to the route that says get creative, work within the law and advertise their product to the extent that it is legal. I exhort them to stay away from our youth, but I do not have any problems with attending a festival that happens to have a tobacco company sponsor.

I found it disappointing to hear references in the media over the last couple of days about the impending cancellation this weekend involving an Australian auto racing event. It is almost unbelievable to think that an advertising agency would consider doing this.

This bill has not even left the House yet, let alone to get into the other place. It is not even law yet and someone is saying we are going to have to punish the people of Canada for considering this. We are going to punish the people who are fans of driver Villeneuve. We are going to victimize Canadians because they are considering this legislation.

I was very disappointed by that. Shame on those who conceived of this as a way of influencing us. Hopefully the event will still be publicized and the fans of Jacques Villeneuve will get to see him.

I want to comment on the insertion in the bill of a provision that allows the House to review regulations put in place by the minister. This is the first bill that I recall in some time that has such a provision. I want to commend the member for Lambton-Middlesex for her drafting and moving of this provision. It is a concurrence provision that may be the precursor of others which we may wish to make use of in the House of Commons, given the extremely high volume of delegated regulatory authority not just in this bill but in many other bills. Once we delegate that authority rarely do members see the regulations again. This amendment will allow the regulations created under this bill to come before the House for our approval.

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4:30 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

You had better give credit where credit is due.

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4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

I am giving credit to all members who participated in this initiative.

Having been goaded by some members earlier, I raised that fact that I was little uncomfortable with the atmosphere that demonizes people who smoke. I know we are not trying to do so, but in an effort to spin up the politics and get the bill passed we can say smoking is bad for our health. In fact it is lethal. We must recognize that there are many good people out there who are addicted. We must look for soft landings for people who are addicted.

I close by saying that tobacco is now seen as an enemy of the people. It has taken us 400 years since Sir Walter Raleigh to get that far. Let us realize what it is. Let us recognize other countries

such as France and the United States care about the health of their citizens and are doing the same. I am prepared to support the bill.

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4:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by reminding my colleague of what he just said, about being disappointed, about being shocked, about the media being used to underline the impact of the bill on events and economic activities, about how people are going around attracting attention.

The actions of his own colleague, the Minister of Health, have been raised in the House, and this is in the hands of the Speaker. Even before the bill has been passed, the minister has filled pages in the newspapers with his references to the "act", not the "bill" but the "act". He is referring to Bill C-71 as though it were already enacted. What is shocking is not so much that people are attracting attention, but that a minister is using the word "act" when the bill has not even been passed here in Parliament. That is what is shocking, not the other way around.

I would like to remind members that not only did the official opposition vote in favour of the principle of the bill at second reading, but that it worked in committee and presented no fewer than 32 amendments in order to take a proactive stance in the fight against smoking. What did the government do? It rejected our amendments. It did not see the worth of our proactive amendments to combat smoking, did not think they could be useful to it. Why? Because it rejects everything out of hand. This government is intransigent and rejects the contribution of others out of hand.

The other extremely important point is that we tried to draw this government's attention to the direct consequences of $30 million in economic spinoffs for events, not in order to distract it from the fight against smoking, and to get it to see that in many countries provision has been made for transition. It is possible to negotiate, to allow transitional measures.

Australia did and France is preparing to relax its bill to make an exception for major events. Austria is doing likewise. In Hungary, an exception is made for major events. In Belgium, a bill has just been introduced that makes an exception for sports and related events. This government has demonstrated its intransigence in this regard and it is here that we would like to see the government take a more responsible attitude.

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4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raises the issue of transition as an important part of legislation which requires adjustment. That is a very good point. It is a very good point. We need transition for our tobacco farmers and there is something happening now for them in terms of transition.

On the advertising issue, the hon. member will recognize that the bill has a two-summer delay before implementation to allow for

adjustment on some of the advertising prohibitions. I know the frustration of an opposition member when the government does not seem to move. I sat over there for a long five years. Sometimes we win and sometimes we do not.

I am delighted to know the official opposition endorses the bill in principle. It is up to the official opposition whether or not it gets hung up on all the details. The principle is very much there and I am pleased to see the opposition endorses it and hopefully will vote for the bill at third reading.

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4:35 p.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I believe there have been consultations among the parties for the following motion. I move:

That, when the House adjourns on Thursday, March 13, 1997, it shall stand adjourned until Monday, March 17, 1997.

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4:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is there unanimous consent for the parliamentary secretary to move the motion?

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4:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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4:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

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

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4:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

The House resumed consider of the motion that Bill C-71, an act to regulate the manufacture, sale, labelling and promotion of tobacco products, to make consequential amendments to another act and to repeal certain acts, be read the third time and passed.

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4:35 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Calgary Centre.

I rise on behalf of my constituents from Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt to state our opposition to Bill C-71, the Liberal government's proposed tobacco act. My constituents and I have discussed the bill at length. We have talked about it at town hall meetings and I have had a great deal of correspondence on the issue. People called with their views when the Liberals introduced the bill. I also conducted a poll in my riding.

The poll confirmed that a statistically significant majority of respondents do not believe that tax increases will cause people not to smoke. Most important, 70 per cent of the respondents who

were less than 18 years of age said that taxes were not a deterrent to smoking.

When I recently visited the Keremeos Secondary School we discussed the bill. We held a classroom poll. The students agreed that they would not be deterred from smoking because of the contents of the bill. They felt that negative impacts of the bill would cause more harm than good.

The students listed the problems they predicted if the bill were passed. They felt the black market in cigarettes would be encouraged and incidents of theft would increase. They were concerned there would be a rise in youth crime as a result of the bill.

I have received a great deal of telephone calls and letters by mail and fax from businesses in my riding concerning the bill. These retailers are already doing everything in their power to prevent the sale of tobacco products to young people. The following retailers are furious the measures in the bill target them directly: Lai Wah Lok, owner of Courtesy Corner in Lower Nicola; Adam Eneas, owner of the Snow Mountain Market in Penticton; Denis Bissonette, owner of the Osoyoos Duty Free Shop; and Dennis VanRaes of the Super Save Gas Bar in Penticton.

All of them wrote to me outraged about the bill. They spelled out the hardships their retail outlets would experience as a direct result of Bill C-71. They are furious with the Liberals. They have told me about the construction costs they will have to pay to modify their retail outlets to satisfy the tobacco display requirements of the bill. Their businesses will suffer once Bill C-71 becomes law. Their businesses will be left with virtually a clandestine method for selling tobacco products.

The Liberals should be creating and developing a climate that encourages growth for small and medium sized firms. Instead, the Liberal approach is to penalize entrepreneurs with red tape, restrictions and bureaucracy.

Bill C-71 is creating a special police force responsible for patrolling small businesses to ensure they are not in contravention of the bill. This is unbelievable in Canada, not to mention that it is very costly.

With Bill C-71 we see that the Liberal solution to a problem is to impose restricting regulations, laws and tax increases. The bill will not solve the problem. The Liberals have let us down again.

The real answer to the problem of young people smoking is education. My constituents and I want to see the government educate our youth with respect to the effects of smoking.

Children are not stupid even though the Liberals think they are. I have talked to many young people, students and very young children in every corner of my riding. They are all very eager to learn. It can be seen in their faces. The Liberals should throw away the bill and all the things in it and focus their efforts on talking directly to children.

The bill makes it clear the Liberals have totally disregarded the option of spending federal government time, effort and resources on delivering an anti-smoking message directly to the young people of Canada.

My constituents do not want the federal government to be given more power and control over our lives. We do not want the government to interfere further into our lives.

Therefore the Liberals are not deterring smoking with the bill. They are making older Canadians pay more for a substance to which they have become addicted, tobacco, which has been legal all their lives. It is not fair to tax senior citizens who began smoking decades ago and cannot quit.

The bill should not seek to punish smokers. It should seek to help prevent people who do not smoke, especially young Canadians, from smoking.

The bill imposes a de facto ban on tobacco company sponsorships but the Liberal health minister says that is okay. He talks about the high profitability the banking industry is enjoying and that it should be sponsoring events the Liberals are preventing the tobacco companies from sponsoring.

Is the minister making a threat? Are the banks the next industry to be punished by the Liberals in their attempt to address the problem of smoking? How much of a punishment tax will the Liberals make the banks pay to finance the sporting and cultural events that have been stripped of funding by the same Liberals?

Who else will the Liberals tax to pay for these events? Will it be other financial institutions? Maybe communications firms or telephone companies. I predict the Liberals will pick a prosperous industry, one that provides jobs for Canadians. Then they will proceed to kill those jobs. They will assault that industry with a tax grab and force it to pay for lost funding of cultural and sporting events. The Liberal solution to every problem is tax, tax, tax, which kills jobs, jobs, jobs.

The bill imposes a de facto ban on tobacco product advertising. In my previous career I sold advertising. The bill makes clear that the Liberals have made a serious error in their understanding of how advertising works. They have seriously overstated the influence of advertising on the Canadian public.

The Liberals believe we can lead a horse to water and make it drink. The bill and its emphasis on advertising is an insult to the intelligence of Canadians.

I do not smoke. I have never smoked. I am not influenced by tobacco advertising. When I was young I was not influenced by

tobacco ads. Nor was I influenced by one of my parents, three of my siblings and most of my peers who smoked.

Who are the people the Liberals think are affected and influenced by tobacco advertising? The young people to whom I have spoken do not feel that they are influenced by tobacco ads either. Products are sold through advertising efforts that are aimed at the people who use the product. Companies pursue a market share. They are chasing a piece of the pie and that pie consists only of people who smoke. Tobacco advertising is focused on the people who smoke.

Tobacco companies are concerned about increasing the sale of their brand by securing a larger percentage of the market. Their advertising effort is not aimed at non-smokers. Such campaigns do not work. There is no getting people to smoke. The results from that kind of effort are not worth the cost of such a campaign. From a sales and advertising campaign perspective, teenagers are not the target, smokers are the target.

For example, if you are selling Cadillacs, you are going to starve if your strategy is to sell a Cadillac to a person that drives a compact car. Your advertising should be directed at the consumer in the luxury car market. A Cadillac can be sold to a person that drives a Lincoln.

The Liberals think that Canadians are stupid. This bill is so typical of virtually all the legislation the Liberals have proposed and passed during the course of this Parliament. The Liberals support big government supported by big taxes and their policies have resulted in high unemployment. This bill continues the legacy of Liberal mismanagement.

Products that assist Canadians to quit smoking are becoming very popular. Devices such as the patch and other therapies designed to help smokers quit is a boom industry. What did the Liberals do to help Canadians quit smoking? They raised taxes on smokers and promise to raise them even higher and higher in the future. What a pathetic effort.

My constituents and I are amazed at the parallels that can be drawn between this legislation and the Liberal's Canada pension plan contribution changes announced last month. The Liberal's proposed Tobacco Act is not the solution to the problem and it will punish Canadians who do not deserve to be punished.

In the case of the Canada pension plan the Liberals are punishing young Canadians because successive Liberal and Tory governments have mismanaged the Canada pension plan. Young Canadians have to pay through the nose because of the largest payroll tax grab in Canadian history. The Liberals promised Canadians jobs, jobs, job. Their proposed Tobacco Act will kill thousands of jobs as soon as its blade slashes through corner stores, cafeterias, truck stops and gas bars across the country.

My constituents and I believe that young people are not going to be prevented from starting to smoke as a result of this bill and therefore I am very proud to stand on their behalf and vote against Bill C-71.

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4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was really quite taken aback when the member started his speech and announced that he would explain why he is not going to support the tobacco bill, Bill C-71, after the vast majority of his colleagues have risen in their place and have spoken so eloquently on the fundamental health impacts of tobacco and the cost to our society, not only in dollar terms but also in terms of lives.

The member said he went to kids and asked them whether or not they thought advertising affects them. He concluded from this interaction with these children that since they said it would not impact them that is it. The irony here is that the research that has been done over the last 25 years has concluded very clearly that if you do not start to smoke by age 19 then likely you will never be a smoker. Everybody in the tobacco industry, as well as the health industry, knows that very well. This member knows that the tobacco companies spend about $66 million a year on advertising. He knows they do things like putting out slim packages of cigarettes and calling them slims to attract young women. We heard the statistics about lung cancer being the biggest cause of deaths among women.

I do not have to explain to the member the impact that advertising has because the member was in advertising. That was his profession. How can he stand here and say that advertising has no impact? It cannot be both ways.

I would like to ask the member to explain again to Canadians why he thinks that tobacco advertising has no impact on the preferences of children.

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4:50 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question. I would like to address the first part of his comments when he said he was surprised that a member of the Reform Party would stand and speak against the thoughts that others in his party have voiced. That is the difference between this side of the House and the other side. Reformers are not afraid to stand in opposition. When we oppose something we can vote against the party if we so choose and support our constituents.

I can understand why he is surprised and probably a little envious of the position that I have taken today because it one he cannot possibly take in the Liberal Party of Canada or this government.

Yes, I have spent a considerable time in advertising and I can say that advertising is designed for those people who are in the market for a product. People will not buy something they do not want.

In my example I made it quite clear that a person who sells Cadillacs cannot sell a Cadillac to someone who drives a compact car. It would be a waste of money to attempt that. The advertising is targeted to the people who are in the market for luxury cars. They

are after a market share. It is naive of this member to assume that any form of advertising can influence people to change their lifestyle or their attitude toward something.

I will use the example of people in the auto supply business who are trying to sell anti-freeze in the middle of a hot summer. It cannot be done. It is a market share and there has to be a need for the product. The companies are trying to increase their market share among the ones that are competing for the business.

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4:50 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the bill is teaching me a lot about life in general. In Canada we have guaranteed rights and freedoms-

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4:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I apologize to the member, but I have to read this before five o'clock. Would he permit me to do it and then we can go back and he will get an extra 20 seconds on his speech?

It is my duty, pursuant to the Standing Orders, to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Parry Sound-Muskoka-small business.

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4:50 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, in Canada we have guaranteed rights and freedoms except when it comes to any activity ending in i-n-g. Then we have governments that interfere in our every day lives in the name of a better good with new regulation and laws.

Bill C-71 is an example of a much bigger issue than just tobacco and smoking and who and where it can be used. It is also about rights and responsibilities.

Before I elaborate, let me state that because I agree with the intent and target of the bill to help care for, educate and protect one's minor children, a big responsibility of all levels of government, I will vote for and support the bill.

It will restrict advertising in magazines with less than 15 per cent youth content. No advertising will be allowed on billboards and bus shelters, but it will be allowed in areas and places restricted to minors. Displays will be restricted in retail outlets and no vending machines will be allowed in public places.

Finally, the one that bothers the tobacco industry and of course the Bloc members, is the limitation being placed on sponsorships where the space occupied by an ad cannot exceed 10 per cent of the surface area.

These regulations will not stop young people from smoking. They will be a deterrent, but they are only a step in the right direction. What is needed is education.

There should be funding for legitimate organizations, such as the Neighbourhood Tobacco Recovery Network, which is active across Canada. It reaches out to aboriginals. We must teach young females that smoking does not keep them thin. I believe that is why a lot of young females smoke. They believe it keeps them thin.

I encourage the minister to start investing in schools, in groups, in hospitals and in other places where we can educate and give all concerned the proper facts from which to make an informed decision.

That brings me to the bigger issue. I quote from a paper on civic responsibility in Canada which was prepared by the Library of Parliament on August 22, 1994. It states:

In Canada -individual rights are both entrenched in the Constitution and safeguarded in legislation at the federal, provincial and territorial levels. While it is generally accepted that with these rights come corresponding duties, individual responsibilities do not appear at the forefront of Canadian society to the same extent as individual rights. Moreover, it is not simply the protection and advancement of individual interests which form the basis of civic responsibility. There is also the broader type of public duty to advance the common interest or good. Responsibility from this perspective involves contributing to the construction, maintenance, transformation and improvement of the community as a whole.

Given that both rights and responsibilities are an essential condition for the normal functioning of any society, many people feel that more emphasis must now be placed on public responsibilities in order to recognize, preserve and strengthen Canada's social fabric.

This is the part I like:

A balance must always be maintained between individual liberty, the liberty of other individuals and the reasonable demands of the community.

Seeking this balance is what divides Canadians. Seeking this balance is what is pitting tobacco industry manufacturers, retailers, political parties and provinces against one another. It is a tough problem to solve. The bigger issue is encroachment into the area of rights and freedoms. However, sometimes we forget about responsibilities.

I submit that while young people are definitely influenced to smoke through advertising and accessibility, this bill has not and cannot prevent the two biggest causes. I believe that my colleague from Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt who just spoke has underestimated the value of advertising. It has a huge influence on people. That is why companies and retailers spend billions of dollars on advertising. They do not just target the people who use their product, they target non-users to show them the kind of lifestyle they could live.

Advertising is a big factor which the bill addresses. I support that measure. However, the two biggest reasons that cause young people to smoke, which the bill does not and cannot address, but which I will mention because it pertains to the responsibilities of people in society, are the adults and parents who smoke. Kids see adults smoking everywhere. The adults tell their kids: "You cannot smoke. Do not smoke. You are too young. It is not good for you". However, when the children see adults doing it, what influence does that have? I do not know how to combat that, but it is there.

The second reason young people smoke is peer pressure, to be in, to be accepted. Every generation goes through that. We all went through it when we were younger. We all rebelled against the older generation, to which I now belong. Young people like to rebel. I am 50 years old and in the three or four generations I have been aware of smoking was one way to rebel. That will continue.

However, we can combat that through education and better information on the effects of smoking and the higher degree of addiction for cigarettes versus alcohol. All those statistics are important. Maybe one good cure is to take an underage person out behind the barn somewhere and give him a cigar or make him smoke a half a pack and let him get green in the face. That will cure that person. According to one Bloc member if you have one cigarette you are addicted for life and you have to have another one after five minutes.

Those are some of the issues in terms of this bill that will not really be able to solve youth smoking. We know it is going to continue to exist. It is important to find that balance especially with something that is legal. Smoking is legal and we have to remember that. The government is trying to both huff and puff and suck and blow at the same time. When it is doing that it has to be very careful to balance all aspects of individual rights, corporate rights, citizen responsibilities, civic responsibilities and the cost to our society in terms of the health, opportunity and the loss of freedoms.

This issue is also about money. There is a thriving and healthy industry called the tobacco industry. It generates huge profits and it also pays taxes. Governments collect these taxes and reinvest them.

I had one constituent write to me on this issue and I said I would mention it the next time I spoke to this bill. The problem is that some of these things like smoking and drinking have an impact on those taxpayers who do not smoke and drink because it is their tax dollars that are going to subsidize those who are sick in hospitals, those we have to pay for because of the greater number of diseases that smoking and drinking cause over and above what we eat, because eating also causes diseases. As I said, everything that ends in i-n-g seems to have a problem with it.

We do have a responsibility as politicians. I believe that this bill for the very reason that it targets a specific area, youth smoking, has tried to balance and finish a job that a prior government did in terms of regulating something that is legal. It is better to make it legal, to monitor it and regulate it than to ban it. If smoking were banned, then obviously there would be a lot of underground activity in that area. We would have a lot more criminals in the streets and people committing crimes. We do not want to make criminals out of people who want to smoke.

It is a tough act to debate. I am in favour of the targeting of better education for youth, making it less accessible for youth and so on. However, I in my heart of hearts as a businessman I do not like it. I feel very threatened by governments that try to tell me how I can market my product, how I can sell my product, when I can sell it, where I can sell it and how much advertising I can do. All these things that get to the other side of it bother me.

On balance I feel that the government and the health minister have made a very commendable effort to resolve all the differences. Listening to the debate today I was almost scared. If it is that bad maybe we should be doing something more serious about it. I guess we will keep it legal. We will continue to monitor, regulate it and try to keep it out of the hands of those people who are the most easily influenced, who can become addicted the quickest and the longest, thereby shortening their lives.

Therefore factoring in all these things, I submit that this is a bill that should be passed and certainly the majority of the Reform Party will be supporting this bill. I would like to congratulate our critic on this issue from Macleod who has listened to debate within our caucus very often and very reasonably. There were a lot of us who had different opinions and differing points of view. He certainly welcomed the debate and did a good job of bringing out all aspects of this complicated issue.

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5 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for Calgary-Centre for his speech.

He dealt in his own way with the major objection we have to this bill, although we agree with much of its substance, that is, the effect of the abolition of sponsorships on smoking, particularly among the young people.

With the disappearance of sponsorships, there will be no sponsoring of sports and cultural events. Quebec receives $30 million out of the $60 million spent for sponsorships. It will be greatly affected, and this will create unemployment. Unemployment is a source of problems. It has been demonstrated that when there are problems, smoking increases.

I would like to ask my colleague a question about that. Following a study by Statistics Canada, we read this in the press, and I quote:

Studies show that young people smoke first and foremost to imitate their friends. But this does not account for the fact that their consumption has increased in the last few years.

According to analyses, the fact that teenagers rebel against "the system" may have something to do with it. The data indicate that 53 per cent of the young people who drop out of high school smoke. Disheartened by the gloomy prospects for the future, they are all the more inclined to challenge the increasing prohibition on smoking.

When we see what the government has done on unemployment insurance, it is clear that these prospects are even more gloomy. As the people's sufferings increase, so does their smoking.

Here is another quote:

We have seen however that peer pressure or restrictions such as those imposed by governments do not encourage smokers to quit. Two times out of three, that is, in 66 per cent of cases-health concerns prompt smokers to butt out.

Does the hon. member believe in the equation that the government makes between the abolition of sponsorships and the reduction in the smoking?

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5:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would answer that question in this way. First, it has been quite clear, if one reads the bill, that sponsorship has not been banned or abolished. I wonder if the member understands what is in the bill. Sponsorship has not been abolished. The amount of space that can be put on a sign has been reduced. The fact that one cannot have the whole sign but only a bit of the sign does not mean that sponsorship is abolished. The tobacco companies can still sponsor these races and participate. Therefore, that issue has been somewhat misrepresented.

The quickest way to get people to do something is to tell them they cannot do it. I do agree with the member on that issue. If we tell young people they cannot do something, their curiosity is perked and they will want to know why. They are curious and therefore will tend to try it. We can never stop that because it is human nature. However, the only way to combat that is to educate the children and make the product more unavailable and inaccessible to them until they are adults.

We must tell those parents and anyone listening to me now that if you smoke and you have children, let your children know what is good or bad about smoking and do not let them smoke until they are of age. If the parents do that then they will have done their part. The children are then making an informed decision. We should have the right to chose the poison of your ilk because that is, after all, what we get if we are Canadians. We have individual rights and human rights. We are born with certain rights and we have the freedom of choice.

However, we have to educate people that by choosing this way or that way, these are the consequences. I am sure that the minister will also spend some money in education. Just like Alcoholics Anonymous, there are tobacco recovery networks out there that will help those people who want to quit. It is an addictive, strong habit and those who want to quit cannot. We have to help those people as well. That is our job and the job of government.

This is one example where I see that this bill is a much bigger issue than just tobacco. It is a balancing act. With respect to all the sponsorships to all the sporting events in Quebec-

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Sorry to interrupt the hon. member. The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Pierrefonds—Dollard
Québec

Liberal

Bernard Patry Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak again on Bill C-71, for it seems to be that the debate has grown out of all proportion to the reality of the situation.

It appears that, as a result of the regularization of tobacco advertising-and not a total ban-almost all cultural events and associations are going to disappear from Montreal. I must, therefore, point out a few things.

First of all, the bill before us is the result of a Supreme Court of Canada judgment. Prior to that judgment, there was a total ban on tobacco company advertising, yet cultural and sporting events did exist in Montreal and elsewhere in the country.

Second, let us look at the percentage of revenues coming from tobacco sponsors compared to the total revenues of the various cultural groups. Mr. Speaker, were you aware that tobacco sponsorships account for only 1 per cent of the total revenues of the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal, 0.4 per cent of the revenues of Montreal's Grands Ballets canadiens, 0.8 per cent of the revenues of Centaur Theatre, 0.4 per cent of the revenues of the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, and 0.3 per cent of the revenue of the Opéra de Montréal? I have a much more detailed list here, but those few examples are enough to lead me to my next point.

The question that inevitably arises is this: why do tobacco companies contribute such minimal amounts to support cultural events of this calibre? Why? The answer is simple: because the people who go to these events are adults, not teenagers.

I would like to explain how tobacco advertising during a cultural or sporting event can influence our young people, since the sports media, manipulated by the tobacco companies, give the impression

that watching or attending a sporting event has no impact on the consumption of tobacco.

I would like to quote Francis Thompson, who said the following in the monthly magazine Info-Tabac:

To sell a product as repugnant as cigarettes, you have to invest massively in marketing. It is no coincidence that for more than 70 years, the tobacco industry, which is quite small, has invested more in advertising and promoting its product than any other industry, with the exception of the automobile industry. The marketing budgets of cigarette manufacturers are a long-term investment in what we could call "social seduction". Remember that expression "social seduction".

The primary objective of tobacco companies is not to sell a product outright as in the case of a car or another product but to influence the social or cultural image of the product, the shared perception of what it means to be a smoker.

One element has not changed: the vast majority of new customers are recruited among young people, because almost no one starts to smoke once they reach adulthood.

Although manufacturers say they do not aim their advertising at non smoking teenagers, they nevertheless have to design their advertising so as to reach young adults. Obviously, ads aimed at 19-year olds may very well have an impact on 16-year olds or 17-year olds.

Most boys know perfectly well they will not become racing car drivers by smoking Rothmans; girls also realize that Matinée cigarettes will not make them look like Claudia Schiffer.

Teenage girls also know they will never be as rich as Madonna, but that does not prevent millions of teenage girls from imitating her look. Adolescence is a time when we seek ways to create a new identity, symbols that we can flaunt, that show we belong to a certain group and set us apart from the world of our elders, our parents or our teachers who impose a list of don'ts which, paradoxically, are also part of the rites of passage.

It is also peer pressure, not advertising, that leads a person to his first cigarette. So, what role does marketing play? It adds a little impetus to peer pressure.

Over the years, a fairly extensive list has been compiled of the risk factors found often among adolescents who take up smoking.

Among the most important are poverty, change in social status, the perception that smoking is what everybody does, identification with peers rather than family, lack of self esteem, failure in school, aggressiveness or shyness and, finally, difficulty in turning down a cigarette.

Those just starting to smoke have no doubts about the dangers of smoking, because they almost universally think the risks do not apply to them, since they will not become addicted. You know, when you are an adolescent you are invincible. This brings me to the subject of marketing.

As the industry can hardly affect poverty levels or promote failure in school, it focusses on making cigarettes the norm and on personal freedom. Tobacco is at times associated with, believe it or not, happiness, even health, because the ads depict dynamic individuals, who appear to be in great shape, sociable and well off, often in settings involving sports.

We must not forget that brand identities have been created. In an Ontario study done in 1992, anthropologist Grant McCracken showed-

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Unfortunately, the hon. member's time is up.

It being 5.15 p.m., pursuant to order made Tuesday, March 4, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of third reading stage of the bill now before the House.

Is the House ready for the question?

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

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

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

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

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed.)

Tobacco Act
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Kingsway, BC

moved that Bill C-304, an act to amend the Criminal Code (aiding suicide), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, each year in Canada more than 190,000 Canadians die. We know that some 40,000 Canadians die each year of tobacco related causes and I am very pleased that this House has just passed Bill C-71 which will have an impact on health, in particular young Canadians.

Of those 190,000 Canadians who die each year, some die of heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases, AIDS and other infections. They die of trauma, genetic illness or a host of degenerative diseases.

Among those Canadians who die each year are a small number of Canadians who unfortunately and tragically suffer terribly. The purpose of the bill before the House today is to amend the provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada, specifically section 241 of the Criminal Code, to allow individuals who are terminally or incurably ill, who are suffering terrible anguish, pain or indignity who cannot be assisted by palliative care, to seek the assistance of a doctor to end that pain and suffering.

The last time I introduced this legislation was September 21, 1994. Earlier that same year, on February 12, 1994, Sue Rodriguez died. Sue had fought a long and courageous battle, a long and courageous battle in Parliament through parliamentary commit-

tees, in the media, publicly through a variety of public fora and of course in the courts to change the criminal law.

On September 30, 1993 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against her petition. By the narrowest possible majority of five to four, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the constitutionality of section 241 of the Criminal Code of Canada. Before that the British Columbia Court of Appeal, again a deeply divided court with the chief justice of the court dissenting, upheld the constitutionality of that law.

What every judge of the supreme court clearly argued, what each of the three judges of the B.C. Court of Appeal powerfully and eloquently stated, was that this issue, this complex, difficult and in some cases agonizing issue, is one which must ultimately be resolved by the Parliament of Canada, which must ultimately be decided by the elected representatives of the people of Canada.

In the days following the death of Sue Rodriguez the Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Justice both promised in this House and elsewhere that there would be a free vote in the House of Commons, that each member of the House of Commons would wrestle with their conscience, would listen to the arguments of their constituents and others and would be allowed to vote on this change in a free vote.

In my speech on this bill previously in September 1994, I reminded the government of that promise. I reminded the government of the commitment that was made, the solemn commitment of the Minister of Justice, the Prime Minister and of many other members of the government to allow this House to vote on that issue. I suggested that there might be a vote on that issue hopefully by June 1995.

Here we are over two and a half years later, and after those promises were made what we see is once again betrayal, once again another broken Liberal promise.

There is a very important and fundamental principle here. Canadians are entitled to assume that when a minister of the crown, when the first minister, the Prime Minister, promises that the House of Commons will be able to vote, surely they are entitled to believe that promise, to take the Prime Minister at his word, to take the Minister of Justice at his word.

That has not happened. When I questioned the Minister of Justice last fall on this issue it was very clear that the House would not be allowed to vote in a free vote or any other vote on this issue in this Parliament. Shame on the government of Canada.

I hear one of my colleagues from the Reform Party agreeing, the member for Elk Island. Whatever one's perspective on this issue, surely we as members of this House should be given an opportunity to voice that perspective, to vote according to our conscience on this issue of how we live and how we die.

What has happened in the meantime since the last debate in this House in September 1994? Too many terminally or incurably ill patients have suffered, in some cases terrible pain or anguish or indignity, or they have been sedated to the point of pharmaceutical oblivion, or in some cases they have chosen to take their own life prematurely because they did not want to face those terrible choices. In some cases they have been assisted, assisted by a loved one, by a family member or by a doctor to end their life in some cases in defiance of the criminal law.

I recall the case of a gentleman from Windsor, Austin Bastable, who chose to leave his country. I say chose to leave his country. He felt he had no choice other than to leave his own country because he was not able to obtain the assistance he sought to end his suffering at the end of his life.

Under the present provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada for an individual who is one of those individuals, and I believe it is a very small number, who is terminally or incurably ill, who has sought the assistance of a physician, who has sought palliative care, pain management, that individual for whom palliative care or proper pain management simply and unfortunately did not respond to their suffering, what are their choices?

Yes, there are Canadians in that situation. Fortunately through good palliative care there are only a small number of Canadians who cannot be assisted. But even the Canadian Association of Palliative Care Physicians and others acknowledge that there are a small number who cannot be assisted by palliative care, who will suffer pain, anguish, profound indignity.

Under the existing provisions of the Criminal Code, those people, in the final few months of their lives, face one of two choices. I remind this House that suffering in many cases is shared by their families and loved ones. Either they continue to suffer or be sedated into a state of complete stupor or pharmaceutical oblivion, as one of the witnesses to the Senate committee recently said.

For some Canadians those choices are simply not acceptable. It is for that small number of Canadians that I believe another option should be made available. One of those Canadians was Sue Rodriguez. It is because I believe the other option, the other choice should be made available, with very strict safeguards to be sure, that I am presenting once again this private member's bill to amend section 241 of the Criminal Code.

I believe it is profoundly unjust and inhuman to force people to make that choice between suffering and anguish on the one hand and complete stupor and sedation on the other.

There have been some developments both in the law and in Parliament since the last debate in this House. The Northern Territory legislature in Australia became the first jurisdiction in the world to legalize, again with strict safeguards, changes in the law to allow for choice in dying.

Circuit courts of appeal in the United States, the second circuit, the ninth circuit, both ruled in favour of choice in dying.

A special committee of the Senate studied this issue in great depth and came to the same conclusion on the issue of assisted suicide as the Supreme Court of Canada. Again, by the narrowest possible majority, four to three, the Senate committee recommended against a change to section 241 of the Criminal Code.

However, I think it is particularly significant to note that the dissenting senators were Senator Joan Neiman who chaired the committee, a very distinguished senator who no longer sits in that place, Senator Sharon Carstairs and Senator Wilbert Keon, one of the most distinguished heart surgeons in Canada, who in the end supported the change in law which my bill would seek to achieve.

The committee members heard from many witnesses and made a number of profoundly important recommendations. Many of the recommendations I agree with. They recommended that governments make palliative care programs a top priority in the restructuring of the health care system. They recommended that the Criminal Code be amended to clarify the practice of providing treatment for the purpose of alleviating suffering that may shorten life. They recommended that the Criminal Code be amended and necessary legislation be enacted in order to explicitly recognize and clarify the circumstances in which the withholding and withdrawal of life sustaining treatment is legally acceptable. They recommended that provinces move ahead on advance directives.

As I said, a minority, three of the seven senators, recommended changes to section 241 of the Criminal Code as well as voluntary euthanasia for competent individuals who are physically incapable of committing assisted suicide.

Recently Senator Sharon Carstairs presented a bill in the other place, Bill S-13. I commend Senator Carstairs for her leadership on this issue. Her bill would provide that no health care provider who honours the wish of a competent person for the withholding and withdrawing of life sustaining treatment would be guilty of an offence under the Criminal Code.

We are told by a number of people that is the existing law and yet Dr. Wilbert Keon, who seconded Senator Carstairs and who strongly supports her bill, has said that there remains great uncertainty in the law in this area. He said that many doctors are looking for more definition and more direction from society as to how the subject should be addressed. He said that dying patients are suffering needlessly because their doctors do not want to provide adequate sedatives to reduce pain just in case the drugs themselves cause death and they find themselves facing criminal prosecution.

We should listen to the very powerful plea of Dr. Keon and others to at least take this modest step. When the bill ultimately comes to the House of Commons I hope members will see fit to support that change.

I am somewhat discouraged. If members of the government were not prepared to support a very straightforward proposal to effectively codify the existing law, it is clear to me the proposal to amend section 241 of the Criminal Code is still some way off in terms of support from the Government of Canada.

The Liberal politicians in this case and others are way behind the public. I commend the leader of the Reform Party, the member for Calgary Southwest, who some time ago canvassed the opinion of his constituents. In his survey he found that 82 per cent of his constituents supported this change in the law. The leader of the Reform Party has said that he would vote in respect of the recommendations of his constituents on the issue.

The fundamental issue is one of personal autonomy, the right of a competent adult to make this choice for himself or herself. There are a variety of models before the country. I do not have the time to outline them now.

The Right to Die Society, for example, has put forward a proposal by Dr. Eike-Henner Kluge that warrants serious examination. Dr. Stanley Rosenbaum on behalf of Choice in Dying and a number of people in Ottawa put forward another option. Dying with Dignity has yet another suggestion. There are a variety of proposals. There must be strict safeguards, but at the end of the day choice should be available.

Many doctors believe the law should be changed. A study presented last September to the annual conference of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada by two Calgary doctors, Dr. Douglas Kinsella and Dr. Marja Varhoef, found that a significant majority of doctors supported a change in the law to facilitate and allow physician assisted suicide. That survey was very extensive.

Dr. Marcel Boivert, a very respected palliative care physician at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, said:

We are playing ostrich if we do not believe that covert, active euthanasia is being practised right now. On Fridays, people who are near dying are having their doses of morphine increased by 50 per cent, 100 per cent or 150 per cent.

Surely it is time to take this issue out of the shadows. It is time to listen to the doctors, other health care workers and social workers like Russel Ogden who pointed out the extent to which this is

happening without any safeguards. It is sometimes horribly botched in the community of people who are dying of AIDS.

Sooner or later our laws will change to end this cruelty. I hope it is sooner. It is clear we cannot rely on the courts. Perhaps it will take a brave doctor to challenge the law. I do not believe in the narrow circumstances that any jury would unanimously convict. We recall it was another doctor who challenged the law on abortion which ultimately led to the Supreme Court of Canada striking down the law.

I urge Canadians who are concerned about the issue to ask candidates in the upcoming federal election where they stand on this important issue.

In closing, I remind members of this House that in her final public words Sue Rodriguez said:

I hope my efforts will not have been in vain and that the Minister of Justice will introduce legislation into Parliament soon so that terminally ill people will have another option available, thereby permitting physician assisted suicide for the terminally ill.

I quoted those words in concluding my remarks in September 1994. I wanted to quote those words again and leave the House with them. As I said at that time, I profoundly hope Parliament will respond to this plea.

I have to ask how much longer we must wait before the law changes. How much longer must we wait before the House is allowed to vote on the issue? How many more people and families must suffer in some cases unspeakable pain, anguish and indignity before the law is finally changed?

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Prince Albert—Churchill River
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Gordon Kirkby Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to comment on Bill C-304, an act to amend the Criminal Code (aiding suicide), introduced in the House by the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway.

Let me begin my remarks by recognizing that the hon. member has on a number of occasions attempted to bring the issue before members of the House for discussion and debate. Clearly it is a matter of particular concern to our colleague. I commend him for his efforts in trying to deal with what he perceives as weaknesses in the current provisions of our Criminal Code which deal with aiding suicide.

Before I turn to the specific provisions contained in Bill C-304 I would like speak of the work undertaken in the Senate to examine this and relate issues. The matter of assisted suicide and a variety of subjects related to the end of life care and decision making such as palliative care, cessation and withdrawal of treatment and euthanasia were examined in great detail by members of the Special Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. The special committee issued its report on life and death following many months of hearings and deliberation.

The Senate currently has before it Bill S-13, an act to amend the Criminal Code (the protection of health care providers), which is now the subject of second reading debate. The purpose of the bill as stated by the hon. senator who sponsored the bill is to implement the unanimous recommendations and chapters 4 and 5 of the Senate report which deal with pain and pain control and the withholding of and withdrawal of life sustaining treatment.

Senator Carstairs has taken great care to point out when discussing the subject matter and merit of the proposed amendment to the Criminal Code that it does not deal with either assisted suicide or euthanasia. Why is that? I suggest that it is because the members of the special Senate committee were not unanimous with respect to the matter of assisted suicide.

After months of study and deliberation they were unable to agree that the Criminal Code should be amended to remove the prohibition against aiding suicide. I further suggest this lack of unanimity may well reflect the views of many Canadians with respect to the issue. There is great public interest in issues surrounding the end of life. These are issues which every one of us must face. We must bear in mind, however, that there are many perspectives from which to examine these issues, be they medical, legal, social or ethical.

In addition, we must remember these issues are not confined solely to an analysis of assisted suicide or physician assisted suicide.

I would like to take a few moments to provide a brief overview of the analysis of the particular provisions contained in the bill proposed by the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway.

Bill C-304 provides that no qualified medical practitioner commits an offence of counselling, aiding or abetting suicide or any other criminal code offence where the practitioner aids a terminally ill person to commit suicide at the request of and with the voluntary consent of that person, with the approval of at least one other qualified practitioner.

Some may think at first glance that this provides concise and sufficient guidelines. I am of the view that if we were to agree at any time that such an amendment is required more work would be necessary to give Canadians the appropriate legal framework within which to reach this kind of decision.

Save for the exception presented in the proposed subsection 241(2), aiding suicide would remain an indictable offence with a maximum of 14 years imprisonment. The circumstances in which the protection would operate must be clear. I suggest that a number of clarifications would be required.

First, the term terminally ill is not defined. There is no generally accepted medical definition for this term, only operative definitions, for example, for placement in palliative care. This would prove problematic.

Second, as set out in Bill C-304 the patient must provide voluntary consent without spelling out what constitutes voluntary consent. One potential difficulty is that there is no requirement that the patient be competent to consent. I suggest by way of example that persons suffering from depression may not be competent and may still provide voluntary consent.

Third, there are no provisions in the bill regarding the situation of the incompetent patient. This was an issue raised during argument in the Rodriguez case before the Supreme Court of Canada, that is how the case of the incompetent patient would be dealt with if competent patients were permitted to request assisted suicide.

Fourth, the bill does not deal specifically with children. Though the general language of the bill would include children, there are no provisions dealing with substituted consent in the bill. Are children who may be able to give valid consent to be permitted to request assisted suicide? If substituted consent is to be provided who may validly give that consent?

Fifth, we are all aware that family and friends of patients are sometimes prevailed upon to assist the patient in dying. As written Bill C-304 would provide no protection even to the most sympathetic cases of this kind. It would provide protection only for those in the status of a physician. While it is not suggested that this is or is not the manner in which the House may decide to deal with the issue, it is important to ensure that when we do so we are cognizant of and discuss all situations where the need to address the question of assisted suicide may arise.

As the Prime Minister has indicated this is a highly complex social and moral issue. Assisted suicide, euthanasia and cessation of treatment are difficult matters for all Canadians. The Senate committee after many months of consultation produced a very thoughtful report which must be considered by everyone concerned with these issues. They were unable to agree on how the matter of assisted suicide should be addressed.

We have been assured by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice that it is the intention of government to provide through Parliament at the appropriate time a forum for informed discussion to allow members to consider matters relating to the end of life decisions.

Therefore, while I commend the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway for the steps he has taken to see that parliamentarians turn their minds to these issues, in my view it would be inappropriate for members of the House to deal with the amendments proposed in Bill C-304.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Bernier Mégantic—Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in this debate on Bill C-304 introduced by our colleague, the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway, and I have several reasons for that, the main one being that the debate stirred by our colleague is one that has been going on for years in our society. I am convinced-and I will get back to it later in my remarks-that a great many people wish the government would move on this.

First of all, I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway and commend his courage on this issue and others in the past, particularly what he did for Sue Rodriguez. Through his courageous actions, he keeps the debate alive and gives it credibility. This is much to his credit.

As he pointed out, assisted suicide is a serious issue that deserves consideration. Again, this is a moral issue and, as such, it necessarily calls for a free vote in this House and, as hard as it may be to deal with psychologically and emotionally, it needs to be addressed and solutions need to be found.

In debating bills in this House, it is often argued that, when a government at any level adopts legislation, there is already a broad public consensus on this issue. Governments always act after the fact, because governments are seldom proactive, and this issue is a perfect case in point.

My hon. colleague from Burnaby-Kingsway mentioned surveys, and several could be quoted here, all of which clearly show that the public is far ahead of politicians, and government members in particular, because, so far, they have not had the courage to fulfil their commitments in this respect. They are way behind because there is a broad public consensus that this issue should be addressed not only on a legal level but also on a human level.

We all recall that, just a few years ago-I am sure it must have been the same in the rest of Canada as in Quebec-one would go out of his way to maintain anyone who was ill, especially the terminally ill, by any therapeutic means available, whether drugs or technology.

The medical community, and particularly the public, protested against what was then called aggressive therapy. The expression became widely known. Eventually, a stop was put to this practice, except for rare isolated cases. Now, the medical community and the public at large recognize the need to respect the individual.

This is a fundamental notion that comes into play when a person reaches the end of his life. I believe an individual has the legal right, but should also have the opportunity to die with dignity,

when faced with a disease that leaves him no hope and nothing to do but wait for a lingering death.

We can think of the physical and psychological pain of the person who is going to die, but let us not forget the psychological torment of the close ones. That pain too must be taken into account. This is why, in Quebec, the lawmakers introduced a legal provision with a very limited scope, whereby any individual can make what is called a living will. This means that the person can, in an official legal document, decide how he wants his life to end, should he find himself be in a situation where he is unable to make that decision, particularly if faced with an incurable disease that could unduly prolong his life in excruciating pain.

Although I do not have with me figures to support my contention, I know through my family and the people I meet, that an increasing number of people have a living will. In other words, more and more people not only hope, but demand to die with dignity.

It is strange to have a debate on one's right to die with dignity, considering we usually make sure of this for our pets.

Indeed, anyone who owns a sick cat or dog will immediately seek to put an end to its suffering. I am not saying that measures must be adopted blindly that would lead to decisions being taken lightly. I am saying that, when it comes down to it, it seems a bit odd-ridiculous even, I would say-for there to be a discussion of the need to die with dignity. This ought to be an automatically recognized right, which does not need to be proven.

Our present system involves hypocrisy, as the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway has said. At the present time, the practice in Quebec-and in the rest of Canada, I understand-is to relieve the suffering of patients who are headed inexorably toward death by stepping up their medication, even if this hastens their end. This cannot, however, be done openly. Physicians or nurses who do so could be brought before the courts at any time, unless the Criminal Code were amended along the lines the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway wishes. Let us put an end, then, to this hypocrisy, given the public consensus on this.

I will close on this point. A new term would also have to be adopted to replace "assisted suicide". It is true that, in reality, if someone asks to have his life shortened, this is a form of suicide, but I believe that presenting it in this way is putting it in a negative light, whereas all the person is asking is to die with dignity. Everyone ought to have that right.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the speeches today and I must admit that the arguments are seductive. I listened to the member for Burnaby-Kingsway say that very few people in Canada would require these mechanisms.

I have up to date research from a country that has practised euthanasia and assisted suicide. This study from the Netherlands is brand new research which I received last week. This discussion has engaged the Netherlands for some 20 years. Although it is not legal, for about 10 years in the Netherlands there have been no sanctions against euthanasia and assisted suicide, if certain criteria are met. These are the criteria that the Netherlands required for euthanasia or doctor assisted suicide to take place.

It must be voluntary. It must be a well informed, well considered request. There must be a persistent wish to die. There must be in the patient intolerable and hopeless suffering. The procedure requirements are such that another physician must be consulted so that not just one doctor is involved. Finally, a report of the case must be sent to the coroner's office. Those are the tight, nice strict criteria that doctors in the Netherlands must follow.

What has happened in Holland? I am going to be selective in the information I give here. The information is quite vast. About 2,000 people per year have been euthanized in the Netherlands following those criteria supposedly.

In the survey of the family physicians in this study it was found that 9 per cent of those individuals had on one or more occasions deliberately terminated the life of a patient without the patient's explicit request. Let us round out the figure to 10 per cent. About 200 people per year are euthanized in Holland, and I am being very specific, without the patient's consent.

One of the first criteria for euthanasia was that it must be voluntary, then well informed, then well considered, then a persistent wish to die, intolerable and hopeless suffering. For 200 people in Holland none of those things existed. A physician, by himself or herself, decided that the quality of life was no longer worth living. It is the only country in the world where there is this sort of experience.

I believe that the criteria were well meant, were well discussed, were well laid out and failed. The colleagues of mine in the Netherlands who debated this, set down very strict criteria. They failed. They flopped.

I am going to give two examples of how I think this path is the wrong path. The first one is from my own practice experience. I had a terminal cancer patient in hospital. She was suffering all the bad things at the end of life. She said to me in the evening: "Doctor, could you just give me something to end my suffering?" I said to her: "I anguish for you. I feel for you. My heart goes out to you. I think we might be able to find an alternative". I talked to the nurses on the station telling them my patient was really down. "We need to change her medication. We need to alter her treatment. Instead of giving her shots, we need to give her some

intravenous medication". We changed the palliation that I had been giving her. My palliation was not good enough.

I got the nurses to stay with her. She needed some personal support that night. Then I phoned her family and said: "Grandma is really, really tough tonight. Could anyone from the family please come and be with her. She needs some support". Things did settle down. The medication worked better and she was no longer suffering so badly and I went home. When I went back the next day to the hospital I found her sitting up, playing chess with her nephew. This was a different woman over this span of time.

The next day she said to me: "Dr. Hill, thank you so much for not listening to me two nights ago". From that I took it her plea to me was based more on depression and intolerable pain. The change I had made was a palliative change.

I will give another example that is much worse. It is from the Dutch experience. A doctor I know had a compatriot with an 85-year old patient with congestive heart failure, treatable only in a hospital and needing a shot of a medication called Lasix. She did not want to go to the hospital because, she said, they performed euthanasia on 85-year-olds in that place. The physician promised to look after her, so she agreed to go to the hospital.

She received her shot of Lasix which makes the kidneys more effective. She voided all this extra fluid in her lungs and felt much better the next day. It was a Friday and her physician was off duty. He had left to do the normal things a doctor does on weekends.

He returned on Monday to find that the covering physician whom he did not know well had needed a bed for a younger patient. He just went down the list and found the 85-year-old and determined that she was the least likely to live a worthwhile life. Members know the rest of the story. She was gone on Monday when he got there.

He will never be able to face what he did. He had promised her that she would be fine. The best intentions, the best safeguards and the best ideals did not work for that 85-year old individual. It was the wrong way to go.

I can quote my own constituents on the issue. I have polled them and it was fascinating. Thinking there would be a free vote on the issue I did a quick poll. I asked: "What do you think of doctor assisted suicide?" The poll came back with 55 per cent in agreement.

When it became obvious I had more time and it would not be a sudden thing, I polled my constituents in a much more specific way. I laid out the options of palliative care, the options that are available, and the switch in my constituents was dramatic. They no longer supported doctor assisted suicide when it was educationally explained to them.

My stand was very plain to them on both surveys. I am against doctor assisted suicide from my personal experiences and my view from international experience. It is the wrong way to go and I do not support any move toward doctor assisted suicide. I will do everything in my power while I am in the House to move down the road toward palliative care, the road toward care for those who are dying rather than snuffing them out.

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Private Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

There being no further members rising, the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway is entitled to sum up the debate fairly briefly.

He has indicated he does not wish to do so.

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Private Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

The Deputy Chairman

As there are no more members wishing to speak and as the motion was not selected as votable, the time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired and this item is dropped from the Order Paper.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

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Adjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Mitchell Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Mr. Speaker, further to my question to the Minister of Industry, I do not think there is anything quite as important or quite as critical for us as a government than our support of small business.

It is absolutely essential that as a government nationally and as individual members of Parliament in our ridings we have a strategy to help the small business men and women who every day go out there and risk everything they have to create wealth and jobs in our ridings.

I see a strategy for small business consisting of three components: access to information, access to capital and a streamlining of regulations as we talked about with the minister during the question.

In terms of access to information, in my riding we have had the opportunity to host three economic development forums to give the business community the opportunity to explore new strategies, to see new opportunities and to pursue new initiatives.

We have had an opportunity to have two access to capital seminars where we have had a chance to talk with our business

community and our providers of financing and to explore ways they could have better access to capital.

I make a point to regularly communicate with my business constituents so that they know about the programs and initiatives we are undertaking as a government.

A number of initiatives in terms of access to capital, both nationally and locally, in ridings like Parry Sound-Muskoka have been undertaken. First of all, through work that I was able to do on the industry committee and on the access to capital task force, we worked with the Canadian chartered banks to introduce five tools to help individual business people obtain capital.

We have in rural Canada and particularly in Parry Sound-Muskoka the Community Futures Development Corporation. In my riding we have three branches of that corporation which are providing small businesses with loans up to $75,000.

The Business Development Bank also operates in my riding. The government has raised the lending limit for the bank from $3 billion to $15 billion. New tourism initiatives have just been added for the Business Development Bank. They have loaned millions of dollars to the small business men and women in the riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka.

We have also seen an increase in the small business loan limit, which went from $4 billion to $14 billion in the most recent budget.

Of course in northern Ontario, in the Parry Sound portion of my riding, FedNor, the regional development agency, has seen its budget increase to $60 million.

Finally, a third component of the strategy is streamlining regulations. The minister mentioned in the reply to the question that a 15 per cent decrease in regulations has taken place. The new hires program introduced by the government will provide a tax holiday on new hires for EI premiums. We have seen a move to quarterly remittances instead of monthly remittances. These are all attempts to streamline regulations.

I urge the Minister of Industry to continue the government's initiative to support small business both across Canada and in my riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka.

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Adjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Pierrefonds—Dollard
Québec

Liberal

Bernard Patry Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the House that Statistics Canada is actively working with small business to choose the best time of year to complete survey information.

For example, in the tourism sector, an area of concern for the hon. member, the traveller accommodation survey has been changed to a mail-out in March instead of the end of April, as was recent practice, to avoid burdening business during the start of their busy season. The retail travel survey is always mailed out in January or February.

Statistics Canada is firmly committed to reducing paper burden and has taken a number of specific initiatives. By using existing data collected by other departments, small businesses are receiving tens of thousands of fewer questionnaires. Many surveys use a simpler, shorter questionnaire for small business. Rather than survey all businesses, the smallest possible samples are used.

These measures have enabled Statistics Canada to move in the last two years to reduce the burden it imposes on small business by over 15 per cent.

As a further measure to assist small business, Statistics Canada has in the last month created the position of ombudsman responsible for response burden reduction. The ombudsman will review individual cases to assess how businesses can be helped most effectively.

The government has been listening to the small business people from across Canada and their concern about the extent and number of requests for information they have been receiving. Because information burden is a government-wide issue, the President of the Treasury Board has established the joint forum on paper burden reduction. The is a unique partnership comprised of small business and federal government representatives and is a tangible measure of the government's commitment to breaking down barriers to small business growth.

The seven departments represented include Industry Canada, Human Resources Development Canada, Revenue Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada, Finance Canada, Statistics Canada and Treasury Board Secretariat-

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Adjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member's time has expired.

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at ten o'clock.

(The House adjourned at 6.39 p.m.)