House of Commons Hansard #156 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was vote.

Topics

Criminal Code
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Kilger Stormont—Dundas, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe you would find unanimous consent that the members who voted on the previous motion be recorded as having voted on the motion now before the House, with Liberal members voting yea.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc members will be voting yea.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, Reform Party members present will vote no.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, new Democrats vote yes.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Criminal Code
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Milliken)

I declare the motion carried.

When shall the bill be read the third time? At the next sitting of the House.

An Act To Amend Certain Laws Relating To Financial Institutions
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Richmond
B.C.

Liberal

Raymond Chan for the Minister of Finance

moved that Bill C-82, an act to amend certain laws relating to financial institutions, be read the third time and passed.

An Act To Amend Certain Laws Relating To Financial Institutions
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

St. Paul's
Ontario

Liberal

Barry Campbell Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to present Bill C-82 for third and final reading. The legislation before us has three main objectives: to strengthen protection for consumers of financial services, to ease the regulatory burden on financial institutions, and to fine tune certain provisions of the financial institutions statutes.

This bill is the product of extensive consultations. We started our review of the financial institutions legislation in 1995 by consulting with a range of stakeholders, including consumer groups, industry representatives and other interested parties.

In June 1996 we released a consultation paper entitled "A 1997 Review of Financial Sector Legislation Proposals for Changes". The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance and the Senate standing committee on banking, trade and commerce held hearings on this paper last fall. Their views and the views of other stakeholders are reflected in the measures in the bill before us today.

Since we tabled Bill C-82 on February 14, we have received comments from interested parties imposing some modifications. In addition, the House of Commons finance committee has conducted a clause by clause study of the bill and passed amendments. As a result, there have been several modifications to the bill since second reading. They are largely technical, mostly helping to clarify the language contained in provisions. As a result of the review, the legislation we have before us will ensure that the best interests of consumers in the financial sector are served.

I would like to elaborate on key measures in the bill. I will begin with a subject of tremendous importance to all of us and that is consumer protection measures. There are several.

First, consumers have made it clear they want better privacy protection in their dealings with financial institutions. Accordingly, the bill before us provides authority to require that financial institutions establish procedures governing the collection, retention, use and disclosure of customer information, implement complaints handling procedures and report annually on complaints. Once the legislation is passed, regulations will be introduced to implement these requirements.

Following up on the recent federal-provincial agreement to harmonize the cost of credit disclosure regulations, the bill enhances the disclosure provisions of the financial institution statutes. As a result of these changes in similar amendments to provincial statutes, disclosure practices will be improved and made uniform throughout the country.

Hon. members on all sides of the House are aware of the concerns about the potential for financial institutions to exert undue pressure on consumers when selling financial products. The government takes these concerns very seriously and is taking preventive action. Bill C-82 includes an amendment to the Bank Act to prohibit coercive tied selling. The government intends to bring the amendment into force on September 30, 1998. But before that date, the government wants to see two things achieved. First, it wants all financial institutions to adopt a policy on tied selling.

Under the policy, financial institutions will be expected to ensure that their staff clearly understand and do not engage in unacceptable sales practices. The policy would seek to maintain high customer and staff awareness of procedures for reviewing tied selling complaints. These procedures must be transparent, timely and fair if they are to be effective. In the case of the major banks, they have internal ombudsmen, all of whom will deal with and report on tied selling complaints.

Second, the government will be seeking guidance from the House finance committee. That committee has been asked to review tied selling concerns across the sector and the progress of financial institutions in addressing concerns through their policies. The committee will also consider how to differentiate between beneficial and anti-competitive forms of tied selling. The government has also asked the Senate banking committee to undertake a similar review of the tied selling matter. This process should enable the government to assess how the self-regulatory procedures have been working.

In the consultation paper, the government resolved to work with financial institutions and consumer representatives to improve access to basic financial services for low income Canadians and information about fees for all Canadians.

While the government is not proposing legislative changes in these areas, the major banks have made a number of commitments to address consumer concerns. For example, to improve access they have agreed to ensure that only two pieces of signed identification will be required to open accounts or cash cheques. This is decreased from the current requirement of three.

Also, employment will not be a requirement for opening a bank account and staff will be trained to follow these policies and be sensitive to the needs of low income people. The banks will also ensure that clear and understandable information about products and services, including low cost banking options and ways of minimizing service fees, is readily available in publicly accessible areas in branches.

Moreover, the banks are working with Industry Canada using Industry Canada's Internet site to provide information to help Canadians choose the right financial services for them, minimizing costs.

During the consultation process we heard convincing testimony about regulatory burden. We want to act on what we heard. Bill C-82 contains important changes for foreign banks, changes that will lower costs and improve operational efficiency which will benefit many Canadians. In particular, regulated foreign banks which own a schedule II bank will no longer be required to hold other financial institution subsidiaries through a schedule II bank.

The bill also proposes changes to ease regulatory requirements for near banks. Near banks are those entities which do not generally take deposits, that are not regulated as banks in their home jurisdiction, but do provide one or more banking type services.

The approval requirement for near banks will be reduced. Once they receive an initial approval to enter the market, they will not need further approvals. The condition is that their unrelated activities not include taking retail deposits.

In addition, the government plans to develop a new framework for the entry foreign banks, including a new branching regime. This regime will encourage new banks to enter the Canadian marketplace and allow existing foreign banks greater opportunity to compete. It should be noted, however, that this latter initiative will continue on a separate track from the legislation before us today.

Until the new entry framework is developed, foreign companies offering a limited range of financial services and now operating unregulated in Canada as well as new entrants that meet certain criteria will be allowed to continue operations as unregulated financial institutions.

Another element of the bill recognizes that banks are not all the same. Some do not need the retail deposit insurance offered by the CDIC. This is the case for banks which deal mostly in the wholesale market. The government will permit banks that do not take retail deposits to opt out of CDIC coverage, provided they are not affiliated with another CDIC member. This will reduce their costs and streamline regulatory requirements.

The bill extends the in house powers of financial institutions. Currently financial institutions can engage in certain types of businesses only through subsidiaries. After reviewing the types of business that must be carried out through subsidiaries, the government has decided to permit financial institutions, with the approval of the Minister of Finance, to carry on both information processing and specialized financing activities in house. These changes will reduce the operating costs associated with those activities by promoting effective management. Furthermore, the increased flexibility for specialized financing activities will improve access to venture capital for Canadian small businesses.

A number of changes are proposed to streamline the self-dealing regime. This regime implements control over transactions between financial institutions and persons who are in positions of influence over or control of the institution.

While the government believes that the basic framework remains sound, certain provisions of the regime impose unnecessary costs. Bill C-82 therefore streamlines the operations but the conduct review committee narrows the range of related parties and allows subsidiaries of the federal financial institution to transact with each other.

These are all important initiatives aimed to cut down regulatory burden. The initiative before us does not stop there. We are proposing to fine tune legislation.

Changes have been introduced in the area of corporate governance to encourage financial institutions to adopt appropriate processes to manage risks. For instance, the duties of the audit committee will be clarified. The rights of policy holders of insurance companies will be enhanced. For example, the bill proposes to reduce the number of policy holders' signatures needed to allow for a proposal nominating directors to be circulated in advance of the meeting.

Regulatory adjustments will be made to provide more flexibility to financial institutions seeking to enter into joint ventures. These adjustments will enhance the ability of financial institutions to make alliances, enter new markets and compete more effectively at home and abroad.

The legislation also includes a number of amendments to enhance access to capital for mutual insurance companies. First, such companies will be permitted to issue participating shares and second, flexibility will be added to the demutualization regime and it will be extended to apply to all mutual life companies, not just

the small ones. It should be noted, however, that a large mutual insurance company will be required to remain widely held once it is converted into a stock company.

A few days ago, the opposition raised the issue of transferring policies. This is an important issue and I would like to say a few words about it.

A solution to this problem will require more studies and consultations. The mechanisms of supervision and the contractual rights of those insured must both be taken into account. Consultations are already under way between representatives of the federal government and of the Province of Quebec. Following these consultations with the provinces concerned, we will be able to arrive at a satisfactory solution in the near future.

But I must add that Bill C-82 contains a great number of favourable measures. All major stakeholders and myself want to see this bill passed as quickly as possible.

There you have it, Mr. Speaker, a pretty significant package of changes, important to the well-being of consumers of financial services and that is just about all of us. It is important to the financial sector and this too is significant for all of us because this vital sector underpins the whole economy.

I urge the House to move quickly to pass this important legislation.

An Act To Amend Certain Laws Relating To Financial Institutions
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with some pleasure that I debate this bill at third reading. I am also very disappointed by the results of the vote held a few minutes ago in the House.

Let us begin with the few positive notes to be found in Bill C-82. The official opposition is happy to have helped remove two important sectors from this revision of the financial institutions act.

The first of these sectors is the sale of insurance through chartered banks. You will recall that about two years ago the banks asked the federal government, specifically the Minister of Finance and the secretary of state responsible for financial institutions, to allow insurance products to be sold by chartered banks, thus creating undue, not to say unfair, competition with insurance brokers and underwriters in Quebec and in Canada.

The Bloc Quebecois fought very hard to have this provision dropped from the bill before us, and we won. It is, in our view, one of the great victories of the official opposition and of the Bloc Quebecois since the beginning of this term of office.

The second sector of Bill C-82 where there is some cause for satisfaction is the leasing sector.

Once again, the Canadian chartered banks claimed, a few years ago, to be accredited to offer car leasing arrangements to consumers. Car dealerships in Quebec, as in Canada, rose up in opposition to this. The Bloc Quebecois took up arms over this both in the House and in the finance committee on their behalf, and we won the day.

Why did we share the dealers' opposition to the banks' offering car leasing? Purely and simply, because the dealerships did not have the guarantee of the financial institutions, nor of the federal government and the Minister of Finance, that the banks would be prevented from owning fleets of automobiles.

The second major reason for our opposition, and that of the dealers of Quebec and Canada, was competition-related. Let me explain. The banks lend money to dealerships, and if they were also involved in selling car leasing services, the free play of competition would be somewhat distorted.

The banks would have had a major lever for unfair competition with dealers; for instance, they could have cut back on their lines of credit. We had no guarantee on this, and that is why we did not hesitate in the least, right from the first weeks, to support the car dealerships in Quebec and in Canada that were calling for these guarantees, before the banks could be allowed to offer leasing. So those are the two good things about Bill C-82.

On the down side, I have just referred to the vote taken in this House a few minutes ago at the report stage, when the three amendments proposed by the Bloc Quebecois were defeated by the Liberal majority-by the Reformers as well, but that is less important. The Liberal majority defeated our three amendments.

And what were those amendments? The first one objected to a provision in Bill C-82 under which financial planning, which is strictly a provincial matter, will be regulated by federal legislation through the chartered banks.

In other words, the banks may offer financial and financial planning services, which come under provincial jurisdiction, and those which offer these services will not be subject to Quebec law or Ontario law or any other provincial legislation. However, those which offer financial planning services through bank branches will be subject to federal legislation.

This is the kind of intrusion we always felt was entirely unacceptable. In our amendment, which was defeated unanimously by the Liberals, we suggested a form of opting out.

When provincial laws to that effect exist in a province, the provincial legislation applies to financial planning services offered through banks and other institutions. Where such legislation does not exist, the federal legislation applies.

From the outset, the intent of our amendment was to provide for opting out, so that provincial jurisdictions would be respected. The Liberals turned down a reasonable proposal. They said no and preferred to add to the regulatory burden.

From now on, in Quebec, Ontario and the other provinces, there will be not one legislation to regulate financial planning services but two. We have become accustomed to this tendency which, instead of removing or relieving the burden on the financial sector, favours adding more regulations, resources and all manner of things which, in the final instance, merely increase inefficiency and create uncertainty, which includes passing this kind of legislation and turning down reasonable amendments that allow for opting out in areas under the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces.

The second amendment we proposed concerns tied selling, in other words, putting pressure on the consumer to buy services in addition to those he is seeking from a financial institution. In fact, the issue of tied selling comes under the Consumer Protection Act. The Consumer Protection Act is provincial and covers an area under provincial jurisdiction.

Once again, the Liberals preferred to drop our amendment which suggested opting out as a possibility where the provincial legislation provides adequate protection for the consumer.

I think our colleagues opposite and this government generally do not know the meaning of exclusive. Exclusive jurisdiction means there is only one player, not two or three. Instead of abiding by the definition given in the dictionary, they prefer to add more bureaucracy. They go overboard on regulating, protecting and developing the system, wrapping it in the Canadian federalist flag.

Federalism, according to members opposite, is supposed to be synonymous with greater efficiency, certainty and stable markets. When we talk about the financial sector, stability is important. Instead, in the past two years, and especially in the case of this bill, the government has proved the very opposite is true by trespassing on provincial jurisdictions and adding new levels of regulations.

The federal regime is synonymous with overlap, inefficiency, duplication, over regulation, uncertainty and instability. So much so that the players in the financial sector-and, as finance critic for the past two years I have met people in the financial sector in both Quebec and Canada-do not know whether they are coming or going. They sometimes wonder what sort of crazy world they are in, since everywhere else there are two watchwords: deregulation and performance.

What we have seen in the financial sector for two years is over regulation, administrative sluggishness and reduced ability to compete among the businesses in the various sectors, including finance. Speaking of competition, and the competitive strength of businesses operating in the financial sector, this was the focus of our third amendment, which was roundly defeated by the government for no apparent reason.

I have so much to say, and since you are giving me the time to say it, I must be able to get out my arguments. I was saying that there is a third amendment concerning competitiveness, the ability of a company operating in the financial sector to compete. Under Bill C-82 and federal legislation on insurance companies, which we thought this bill was amending, a provincially chartered insurance company cannot acquire either all or part of an insurance company that is federally chartered.

I will give the example of Quebec, because we have a blatant example of companies being blocked from becoming fully competitive. A Quebec insurance company operating in the Quebec insurance market cannot acquire blocks of insurance policies from another company that is also operating in the Quebec market, if the latter company is federally chartered.

On the brink of the 21st century, when we should be talking about unrestricted competition, free markets and efficiency, this provision in Bill C-82, uncorrected in federal legislation on insurance companies, is incongruous to say the least. I would say it runs counter to the spirit of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which talks of unrestricted competition and economic and financial integration.

It is also contrary to the spirit of the last treaty, in 1993, of the World Trade Organization, which already contained provisions to liberalize the financial sector internationally and which is continuing-starting a few days ago in Geneva-to talk about greater liberalization, a more permissive environment if you like, with respect to international financial transactions, regardless of their nature or the country of origin of businesses operating in the financial sector.

We have here an obvious case of barriers that are not commensurable with the effective operation of the insurance market. It is something that is a bit strange and that has the effect of making it easier for foreign companies-French, Brazilian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Finnish, you name it-to buy operations, in whole or in part, from Canadian insurance companies, something that provincially chartered insurance companies in Quebec are not allowed to do. It is complete craziness.

Like most branches of insurance companies operating in Canada, branches of foreign companies are federally chartered. Federal legislation therefore makes it easier for them to do business in Canada and in Quebec than for Quebec entrepreneurs. This state of affairs is quite simply unacceptable.

I will take the example of L'Entraide. This is a company whose head office is located in Quebec City. It is average in size. It hopes to take advantage of the development of the insurance market and the great rationalization now taking place. It wants to grow and improve its performance and its presence, and it has the chance to do so by buying up a block of insurance policies from a federally chartered company, whose clientele is located entirely in Quebec, for $1.3 million.

This may sound like a huge amount to taxpayers listening today, but in the field of insurance, where certain transactions run in the billions of dollars every week, it is not all that much. Compared to the transaction we saw last weekend in Les Affaires, this is not going to shake up the insurance sector. We will come back to the other acquisition I mentioned, which appeared in

Les Affaires.

So the insurance company L'Entraide, a Quebec company with a provincial charter, wants to acquire a block of $1.3 million of insurance in order to expand, to enhance its efficiency and competitiveness in the broadened North American and international markets. The federal government says it is not allowed to do so. It is not allowed to do so because it is a provincially chartered company, and a provincially chartered insurance company is not allowed to purchase, in whole or in part, the activities of a federally chartered insurance company. Even if this federally chartered company is involved in the Quebec market, has Quebec insurance policies, the provincially chartered company it is not entitled to acquire those $1.3 million in insurance blocks. That is utterly unacceptable. That is discrimination, pure and simple.

This is all the more discriminatory in that most insurance companies, which are Quebec subsidiaries of foreign companies, are federally chartered. The four major Canadian insurance companies, with head offices in Toronto, are federally chartered.

So, by continuing this discrimination and rejecting the amendment we proposed at the report stage, the government is offering the insurance companies and subsidiaries of foreign companies an opportunity on a silver platter to expand in the Quebec and Canadian market, to increase their profits, and their shareholders' dividends, through policy holders in Quebec and Canada.

Moreover, the four major Toronto-based federally chartered insurance companies are allowed to expand in Quebec by acquiring blocks of insurance, and they are entitled to do so because of their federal charters. Yet a Quebec insurance company operating within Quebec cannot do the same. If being ridiculous were fatal, there would be no one alive on the other side of the House. It is a mental aberration to maintain such discriminatory treatment toward Quebec insurance companies.

We heard all manner of things during the debate on continuation of this restriction. One of the arguments presented by the government-I was going to say the opposition, since they are the opposition as far as our amendment is concerned, you understand what I mean-one of the major arguments presented by the Minister of Finance, by the Secretary of State responsible for financial institutions, by the assistant to the Minister of Finance as well, was that consumer protection came first and foremost.

Consumers would not be sufficiently protected if provincially chartered insurance companies were allowed to acquire blocks of insurance from federally chartered companies. They are more protected when the one acquiring such insurance holds a federal charter, even if it is a subsidiary of a foreign company with its head offices way off in God knows what country. In that case, the consumers are properly protected.

On the other hand, if the acquiring company is a Quebec insurance company, regardless of how good the consumer protection is, no way. But the Minister of Finance, the secretary of state and senior officials go into a blue funk when you mention anything that would promote the expansion of the Quebec insurance sector.

Whether they operate under a provincial or federal charter, insurance companies in Quebec must apply annually for a licence to the inspector general of financial institutions of Quebec. Every year, the inspector checks the solvency of all insurance companies operating on Quebec soil before issuing a licence that must be renewed every year. federal body.

Second, the inspector general of financial institutions requires all insurance companies, under provincial or federal charter, to be members of the Société d'indemnisation d'assurance de personne, which is also involved in providing maximum protection for the consumer.

When we have a situation like this where we are watertight as far as solvency is concerned, whether the charter is provincial or federal, and where plenty of checks and balances are provided by the inspector general of financial institutions and the Société d'indemnisation d'assurance de personne, using consumer protection as an argument no longer makes any sense.

If that is the main objection, it no longer exists because whatever their charter and whether they operate in Quebec or Canada, insurance companies cannot be faulted on consumer protection.

Consumers can depend on the system, and policy holders are protected on the Quebec market by the inspector general of financial institutions and within the Canadian context by the Société d'indemnisation des assurances de personne. So what is the problem? Why are they so reluctant to move? They are in such a funk that a golden opportunity was missed for a company like L'Entraide d'assurance-vie du Québec to acquire a block of insurance worth $1.3 million.

They are so reluctant to move, although they have run out of arguments to prevent this kind of company from expanding, from becoming more efficient and a bigger player in a very competitive insurance market and even more so with the liberalization of the financial sector throughout the world.

On the weekend, I read an article I mentioned earlier, in Les Affaires, which said that Royal Life Canada had acquired an interest in Gerling Global. For your information, Mr. Speaker, Royal Life is a branch of a British insurance company. Gerling Global, which sold the blocks of insurance, is a branch of a German company. On the weekend, these two branches of foreign companies operating on Canadian soil, both under a federal charter, concluded a transaction in which Royal Life acquired part of the life insurance portfolio of Gerling Global for $12 billion. Twelve billion dollars, Mr. Speaker.

Two companies, subsidiaries of foreign insurance companies, one British and the other German, were allowed to acquire a block, to carry out a transaction involving a transfer of $12 billion worth of insurance business. Federal legislation permitted this, but it does not permit Entraide, a Quebec insurance company, to buy a $1.3 million block of insurance policies from a federally chartered Canadian company. That is ridiculous.

On the other hand, we keep hearing that we must look out, that there are consumer protection problems. My eye, Mr. Speaker. On April 8, I wrote the Minister of Finance to remind him that there was a problem here. The Quebec minister of finance has also said there was a big problem in this area. I think the government's inertia is hiding something.

It is not that this is a complex issue. It is straightforward. The government had only to accept our amendment today instead of rejecting it, and the matter would have been resolved. The problem is one of pure discrimination against Quebec insurance companies. It is so discriminatory that the Quebec minister of finance even offered to amend the Quebec law on trusts and savings companies, which discriminates to some extent against federally chartered trust companies. But he was turned down.

Mr. Landry said he was prepared to amend the Quebec law on trust companies so long as the federal government were quick to do the same thing to legislation on financial institutions to enable provincially chartered insurance companies to acquire blocks of insurance from federally chartered companies. The Minister of Finance turned up his nose at this attractive proposal, made in the spirit of free trade and aspirations for the future of the financial sector in Quebec and Canada. He preferred to continue to discriminate against Quebec insurance companies.

Two questions arise: First, is this not a way of eliminating provincially chartered companies? Second, is this not a way for the federal government to say: "It is true that insurance comes under the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces, but we want to change that".

And the backhanded way to change things is perhaps to make it increasingly less profitable to have provincially chartered companies. Insurance companies will need federal charters in order to benefit from globalization, in order to achieve a more competitive position in the insurance market.

Is that it? If so, let the federal government tell us they want to restrict us in a field that supposedly comes under our exclusive jurisdiction, according to the Canadian Constitution that the members opposite say they respect and that they ignore every day. If they want to take this field of jurisdiction away, let them come right out and say so, because that is what it looks like.

But if that is not the case, what is behind this sullen attitude of the government and of the Minister of Finance toward an amendment that is and should have been logical, if the members opposite had indeed been logical?

We think there is perhaps another explanation. I was speaking earlier about the four or five Toronto-based Canadian insurance companies that dominate the market. I would remind members that these companies all have federal charters. The top four companies are being left lots of room so that when another insurance company wants to cease operations they can buy up insurance policies and continue to grow, to make profits and to pay dividends to their shareholders, while our provincially chartered insurance companies in Quebec cannot do what they wish in their own market with respect to Quebec policy holders.

We sometimes wonder if it is not these very companies, Canada Life, London Life, Sun Life Insurance Company of Canada and Manulife Financial, all great contributors to the coffers of your charming Liberal Party to the tune of $50,000-not bad as contributions go-that the government wants to help in future and for which it wishes to maintain privileges that are unjustified and

discriminate against Quebec's provincially chartered insurance companies.

The opposition is sorely disappointed with the government's attitude on this matter, but is, in a way, pleased that the Minister of Finance has, at least, agreed to meet the key shareholder of L'Entraide, the official opposition critic-myself-and a representative of the Government of Quebec, next Thursday in his office for a discussion of this matter.

It is most unfortunate, however, that our amendment, which would have settled this question for once and for all, has not been accepted. Our expectations of the meeting with the Minister of Finance this week, after the rejection of the official opposition amendment, encompass two possibilities.

The first is that he will assure us that he will be prompt in introducing a private member's bill from his department to remedy the injustice and discrimination being experienced by Quebec insurance companies. The second is that he will announce that he will be shortly tabling a notice of a ways and means motion clearly setting out his intention to move quickly, when we are back after the coming election, to pass a bill amending Bill C-82, to ensure that this discrimination toward provincially chartered insurance companies no longer exists, as it does in the current legislation on insurance and the current bill.

An Act To Amend Certain Laws Relating To Financial Institutions
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

My dear colleague, it being nearly 2 p.m., I wonder if you would consider resuming your speech after oral question period, when you would again have the floor.

An Act To Amend Certain Laws Relating To Financial Institutions
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

I was just winding up, Mr. Speaker.

An Act To Amend Certain Laws Relating To Financial Institutions
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Very well. You have about 15 seconds.

An Act To Amend Certain Laws Relating To Financial Institutions
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was saying that it is a sad thing to have to face the music, but I hope that the government will listen to common sense and that, starting Thursday, provincially chartered insurance companies will be allowed to do exactly the same as other insurance companies, that is to have a certain latitude in their areas of jurisdiction and to be able to hold their own in an increasingly competitive field.

House Of Commons
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently members of the American Congress from both Democratic and Republican ranks spent a weekend together, the objective being how to do their political business and be civil to each other at the same time.

I am not advocating a weekend getaway but there are two important points in all of this. First, other legislative bodies are aware of behavioural problems and, second, they are attempting to do something about it.

Canadians do not want near fist fights or porcine comparisons in the House. They want debate and ideas presented in an atmosphere of civility.

Before Barnum and Bailey take possession of this place, we of whatever political stripe should stop, look and listen, just like those much younger than us, before we engage in classroom antics.

Member For Calgary Centre
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, as this is my last member's statement I would like to mention things I remember as the MP for Calgary Centre.

It was a chance to get to know MPs from all across Canada; to listen for the melancholy bells which bring us into the House to vote; to play musical chairs in the House of Commons; to work on my tan while playing football on Parliament's front lawn; to be affectionately referred to by the Liberals as the $150,000 man; to have the Speaker rule my definition of a bribe out of order; to need an extra two minutes to finish a 40-minute speech; to refuse, along with 50 of my colleagues, to take the gold plated pension plan as a display of leadership by example; and to represent and vote the wishes of my constituents as opposed to always having to vote the party line, proof that free votes work.

Finally, I will always remember the phrase I used when I was Reform Party whip.

"Mr. Speaker, members of the Reform Party vote yea, except for those who wish to vote otherwise".

National Volunteer Week
Statements By Members

April 15th, 1997 / 1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on the occasion of National Volunteer Week to pay tribute to the millions of women in Canada who volunteer their time and energy to help others and to support causes dear to their hearts.

National Volunteer Week was first proclaimed in 1943. The leadership role that women's organizations such as the Women's Voluntary Service played back then can still be felt today.

In Montreal, the Centro Donne Italian women's centre continues to work hard. Happily, we are seeing more and more men joining women in volunteer activities, as can be seen from their presence

in organizations such as Moisson Montréal, the Ahuntsic-Sud volunteer centre, the Ahuntsic Lions' Club and the Knights of Columbus.

Let us applaud the efforts of these women and men for the contributions they make to the well-being of our country.