House of Commons Hansard #235 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Bonwick Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise today to address what very well could be one of the most important pieces of legislation the House deals with. I make that statement due to the fact that there is no greater issue any government could address than that of our environment.

There are few pieces of legislation that touch every facet of Canadian life and this is one. I would hope that all members of the House recognize this indisputable fact. If we recognize this, I would then suggest that the debate be centred around the support of the legislation and the responsibility that we have to Canadians. To do otherwise simply states that we are not prepared to safeguard our country nor our planet for future generations.

The buck stops here. If we cannot demonstrate the vision necessary to ensure our children are provided with a better and healthier environment, we should ask ourselves what we are doing here.

There are groups that will try to convince members, through misleading statements, accurate facts and through nothing more than fear-mongering, that the legislation is not necessary. They are wrong. They are not doing a service to the country or to future generations by opposing such an important and critical piece of legislation.

Since 1988 the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, commonly known in the House and across the country as the CEPA, has been the cornerstone of federal environmental and health protection legislation.

One of the most critical components of the bill allows for the control of toxic substances, a topic that many members are well aware is near and dear to my heart. It will be in this area that I will concentrate my remarks.

It is in regard to Bill C-32 that they take full advantage of the advancements in environmental science, policy and law over the past decade. Concepts like sustainable development and pollution prevention have been widely accepted and needed to be incorporated in our laws. We are quite simply strengthening the CEPA in line with these concepts so that the government will be better able to protect the environment and the health of Canadians from the dangers of toxic substances.

Many toxic substances do not stay put once they are released into the environment. Toxic substances, such as mercury and PCBs for example, have been found in the blood of aboriginal peoples in communities high in the Arctic located far away from industrial development. One might ask how this could happen. Substances are transported to remote areas and pristine environments through air currents. They have long term adverse effects on the health of the people and wildlife who breath the air, drink the water or consume the food contained therein.

Canadians are concerned about the risks that toxic substances pose to their health, to their children's health and to the long term environment of Canada.

What will Bill C-32 do to reduce or eliminate this threat? The good work that is already underway to identify and manage toxic substances will continue. The bill will introduce innovations to allow more efficient and effective government action in carrying out these activities.

As a result of the amendments made during the committee stage, the bill requires the Ministers of the Environment and Health to conduct research on hormone disrupting substances. I should add that the government has already acted to meet the requirement under a $40 million toxic substance research initiative, a commitment the government is very proud of.

The legislation requires that all 23,000 substances in Canada are looked at to determine if they are toxic. Committee amendments require the first stage, and the biggest step of this mammoth undertaking, to be completed within seven years. It also incorporates into the legislation key features of the federal toxic substances management policy which sets out precautionary, proactive and accountable rules for dealing with toxic substances; an absolute must, I suggest.

Bill C-32 incorporates the precautionary principle. This means that the government will not have to wait for full scientific certainty before acting to prevent an environmental harm. Quite simply, our aim is to take all reasonable precautions to reduce or eliminate the exposure of Canadians to toxic substances.

Bill C-32 will impose new deadlines for the development of preventative or control actions. It will require the Minister of the Environment to propose concrete actions to prevent or control the release of substances within two years of declaring a substance toxic. These preventative or control actions must be finalized within the following 18 months. These are the kinds of checks and balances we must have and they are the kinds of checks and balances that the Liberal government puts forward.

The goal of virtual elimination is a new term to the CEPA. The Government of Canada recognized in its 1995 toxic substances management policy that our traditional approach of managing the release of toxic substances into the environment through their life cycle is not sufficient in the environment today. Toxic substances that require stricter management actions result primarily from human activity. They persist in the environment for long periods of time and are referred to as bioaccumulative. They are toxins that are stored in living tissues. Quantities of these substances may build over time to levels that have serious, long term adverse effects to the environment and to human health. Once in the environment—

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

It is almost 2 o'clock and you still have four minutes left in your time. I wonder if you would prefer to have four minutes after rather than just one or two minutes now. If you agree with that, we could go to Statements by Members and then you would have the floor when we come back to debate.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Bonwick Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will resign myself to your direction. If that is most comfortable for the House, I would be more than happy to take part in the debate after question period.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

We will now proceed to Statements by Members.

World Population Day
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, July 11 is World Population Day, a day for us to reflect on the issues that challenge us globally.

A key issue of population and development is access to education for the 1.06 billion people, almost 20% of the world's population between the ages of 15 and 24. This is the largest generation of young people ever in history.

These young people have enormous potential to effect the development of their countries and we must support efforts that encourage their positive involvement in building strong societies. It has been demonstrated that in emerging nations, access to education results in slower population growth, better hygiene and improved economic circumstances.

I therefore encourage the Government of Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency to support initiatives to ensure that young people, especially in developing countries and in our native communities, receive adequate primary education.

Bill C-55
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-55 is going through the Senate now with last minute amendments to reflect a so-called deal reached with the Americans to provide subsidies to the Canadian magazine industry.

However, there is one thing the government seems to have forgotten. We have commitments under NAFTA and the World Trade Organization which promise something called “national treatment”. Any subsidy we give to the Canadian publishers must automatically be made available to American and foreign publishers that are operating in Canada.

I find it absolutely ludicrous that the government would seriously commit to throwing away hard-earned taxpayers' dollars in this fashion. Does the government not understand the international agreements that it has signed?

I say we should forget the subsidies. Let the magazine industry compete on its own merit. We should have more confidence in the abilities of our Canadian publishers to carve out lucrative Canadian markets for themselves without coming to Ottawa cap in hand.

The Environment
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, we celebrate Canadian Environment Week, and tomorrow will be the first Clean Air Day in Canada.

The theme this year is Community Action on Clean Air and Climate Change. This day relates to two priorities of the government, those of improving the quality of the air Canadians breathe and of fighting climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Yesterday, the Minister of the Environment announced proposed new regulations to give Canadians cleaner air and better health protection by reducing air pollutants from gasoline vapor.

The proposed regulations would limit the flow of gasoline to a maximum of 38 liters per minute during vehicle refueling, thereby cutting down on the release of gasoline vapor and limiting environmental damage.

In order to celebrate Clean Air Day—

The Environment
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

The member for Whitby—Ajax.

Leukemia
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judi Longfield Whitby—Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, June is Leukemia Awareness Month. An estimated 3,300 Canadians will be diagnosed with leukemia this year and an estimated 2,100 Canadians will die of leukemia in 1999.

Unfortunately relatively little is known regarding the causes of leukemia. Health Canada is currently studying the causes of leukemia as part of the department's ongoing enhanced cancer surveillance system.

Leukemia accounts for almost one-third of all new cases of cancer in Canadian children and teenagers and is the most common cause of death. Cancer is the second leading cause of death after injuries in Canadian children and adolescents aged one to nineteen.

Health Canada's childhood cancer surveillance and control program will contribute substantially to improved childhood cancer control in Canada through an ongoing surveillance of treatments, outcomes and studies of cancer patients and healthy controls.

The initiative to have June declared Leukemia Awareness Month comes from the Leukemia Research Fund of Canada.

1999 Galien Canada Awards
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 13, three Galien Canada awards were given out in Montreal honouring excellence in pharmaceutical research in Canada.

The 1999 award for innovative drug product went to Lipitor—atorvastatine calcium—developed and marketed by Parke-Davis Canada.

The award for research went to Dr. Jack Hirsh, Director of the Hamilton Civic Hospital Centre and Vice-President, Research of Vascular Therapeutics Inc. for his work in epidemiology and management of venous thrombo-embolic disease.

Finally, the Belleau-Nickerson award, presented to a product that has distinguished itself by making a significant contribution to pharmacotherapy and a social and economic impact, was given to Eli Lilly Canada for its product Prozac—Fluoxetine.

I would like to congratulate all the winners and encourage them in their research.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I regret to inform the House that the farm income crisis on the prairies has resulted in tragedy.

Today I was informed that a Saskatchewan farmer who was struggling to keep his farm operation going committed suicide. That is how bad it is on the prairies. This farmer was willing to take his own life and leave behind his family including two young boys because he could not no longer deal with the struggles of farming.

Our agriculture minister has said that his new farm aid package, AIDA, as well as NISA and crop insurance were enough to get producers through this crisis. Evidently it was not enough for this farmer.

The farm income crisis is far from over. Grain prices are not improving and input costs continue to rise. The number of calls coming into the Saskatchewan farm stress line in 1999 is already well above the monthly average for 1998.

It is time for the government to wake up. Help is needed on the prairies and its current solutions are not working. How many more tragedies does it take before the government realizes that its farm disaster program is not helping the farmers who need it?

Canadian Economy
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Statistics Canada announced that the gross domestic product rose 0.3% in March, in part because of a solid performance in most sectors.

The net result of such a performance was a strong economy, which meant job creation in all regions of Canada, and an improved quality of life.

Such statistics also indicate that the Liberal government is assuming responsibility for managing the Canadian economy. As the bottom line, Canadians will be the ones to reap the benefit of the wise decisions our government has taken.

I would remind hon. members that we have continued to work at eliminating the deficit and have encouraged investment in order to stimulate regional economies and job creation.

This is a demonstration, backed up by figures, of the performance of the Liberal government in the areas of finance and—

Canadian Economy
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Charlesbourg.

Khalid Butt
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be the host, today and tomorrow here on the Hill, of the MP for a day from Charlesbourg, Khalid Butt. He will be with us for 24 hours.

Khalid was the big winner in the second MP for a day contest in the riding of Charlesbourg. He won out over close to 1,200 competitors.

During his time in Ottawa, Khalid will be able to see what being an MP is all about, and will have a taste of the hectic life on Parliament Hill. He and his father, Mahmood Ahmed Butt, will have the opportunity to meet with the leader of the Bloc Quebecois and all of our caucus members. Tomorrow morning, Mr. Speaker, you too will have the pleasure of meeting with this young man.

Khalid, on behalf of all of my colleagues in this House, welcome to parliament. Enjoy your visit.

Rural Communities
Statements By Members

June 1st, 1999 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, in April of next year, my riding of Brome—Missisquoi will host the Canadian conference on rural communities.

People from all regions of Canada will gather in Magog-Orford to exchange views on the concerns and needs of our country's regions. The conference will deal with important issues relating to rural life which, as members know, is very different from living in urban centres.

I am pleased that an event of that magnitude will take place in Magog-Orford, and I have no doubt that the participants will appreciate our hospitality and our beautiful region.

Rural regions are the soul of this country. They are often the cradle of a rich heritage, a way of life and a mentality that truly reflect the values that have shaped our nation.