House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was airlines.

Topics

Genetically Modified Organisms
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, while consumers, farmers and scientists are concerned about the long term impact of GMOs, the Minister of Health claims that all products undergo an exhaustive risk assessment.

How can the minister make such a statement when a study shows that, out of 27 products approved as GMOs, only 10 were tested for toxic effect, and none were tested for potential allergenic effects?

Genetically Modified Organisms
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bellechasse—Etchemins—Montmagny—L'Islet
Québec

Liberal

Gilbert Normand Secretary of State (Science

Mr. Speaker, the government has mechanisms in place to monitor food quality, which have always proven effective and which Canadians trust.

As I said, we have set up a committee of experts to prepare for the future. The government has put in place a system to regulate biotechnology, including GMOs, but the already existing system has always proven effective and we will work to improve it even more.

Environment
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Joe Jordan Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the new Canadian Environmental Protection Act comes into force today. Given that there is a shipment of U.S. military waste containing PCBs destined for Canada, can the Minister of the Environment tell Canadians how the new CEPA will strengthen the government's ability to deal with this type of situation?

Environment
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the new CEPA builds on the authority that we have to issue regulations on the export and import of hazardous waste, including hazardous recyclable materials. Specifically, we also have the power under the CEPA for the import and export of prescribed non-hazardous waste and, in addition, we have the ability to develop more stringent criteria to assess the environmentally sound management of transboundary waste between provinces, as well as to refuse permits for import or export if criteria are not met.

Western Grain Transportation
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government is blocking a $300 million benefit from flowing to western Canadian farmers. The majority of producers demand change.

In a recent letter to the minister, prairie grain buyers stated that the status quo is not acceptable or sustainable. The only thing blocking the required transportation reforms is the western Canadian Wheat Board.

Why is the transport minister allowing the wheat board to dictate transportation policy?

Western Grain Transportation
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is not in possession of the facts. We have to find a balanced solution that deals with the rights of producers, that deals with the efficiencies and the viability of the grain companies. We have to look at the viability of the railways. We also have to look at the role that the wheat board has played in the last 60 years in ensuring fairness in the system in western Canada.

It is unfair to talk about one particular component in this debate without relating it to all of the others.

Western Grain Transportation
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, that particular component is the largest single expense. What is killing western farmers is the heavy duty freight rate. Half of the producer's cheque on his produce goes to freight and elevation. That has to change. Three hundred million dollars in gained revenues for farmers is real money. It is not smoke and mirrors public relations money that these guys always talk about.

Producers want to know who is in charge of transport reforms. Is it the transport minister or the wheat board minister?

Western Grain Transportation
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the government works collegially, but it is quite obvious from the tone of the questions that the Reform Party is a mouthpiece for only a couple of the interests in this debate. What it is doing is siding with the railway companies, siding with the grain companies and it is not thinking about the producers. This party thinks about the producers.

Environment
Oral Question Period

March 31st, 2000 / 11:45 a.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, the ship containing 90 tonnes of highly toxic waste is now 24 hours closer to the port of Vancouver. We have already heard in this question period that the Alabama company, TCI, has received more than a million from HRDC to extract domestic PCBs in the Kirkland Lake site, not offshore PCBs.

My question is for the environment minister. Is this the government's idea of good green job creation, which is disposing of highly toxic waste that other countries will not accept while endangering the health and the lives of Canadians in the process?

Environment
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the hon. member has been. It is well known from the questions that were replied to yesterday, both in the press and also in the House, that the shipment in question cannot go to the facility at Kirkland Lake as originally proposed. That was the decision of the Ontario government. It is there and it is clear for everyone to see.

It is also well known that we do not have a desire to import this waste into Canada. We obviously will not import this waste into Canada unless there is a location to which it can be sent for proper disposal in accordance with all Canadian environmental requirements.

Environment
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, given the minister's answer, why does he not simply tell the ship's captain today to turn the vessel around and head it back to Japan instead of allowing it on Canadian shores at the Port of Vancouver?

Environment
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I really do like the powers that the opposition assigns to ministers of the crown. I can declare that ships will not come to Canada. If I could do that, we would have no problem with illegal immigration. We would have no problem with toxic waste coming to our ports.

When it comes within our waters, we will have some control. It will not come here for another six days. We are currently discussing, with the United States Department of Defence, alternatives to the proposal that has been put forward to ship this waste to Canada.

The hon. member simply does not understand that ministers of the crown cannot, by waving their fingers, have ships turn around in mid-ocean.

Trade
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Minister for International Trade is aware that a company in my riding, Oxford Frozen Foods, has been for some months seeking relief from a duty that was imposed on February 28 on processed cheese products. This duty is charged even though the binding tariff decision in 1994 said there would be no duty and even though an American product comes to Canada with no duty.

Has the minister resolved this situation, or could he give us an update on it?

Trade
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Cumberland—Colchester for calling my attention to this very important question. He had the courtesy to come to see me this morning with his letter.

I want to tell him that I have already asked my department to look into it very carefully. It is a technical difficulty around a classification problem. I will get back to him next week for sure because this is very important for us. My department is already looking into the case of this classification difficulty that Oxford Frozen Foods is encountering.

Trade
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his answer and I appreciate his attention. However, I want to emphasize how important this is because the company has already lost a contract that would have meant 50 full time jobs in my riding and it prevents the company from an expansion which might develop 150 full time jobs.

I would ask the minister to commit the full force of his department to this issue to get it resolved.