House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chapter.

Topics

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

May 1st, 2001 / 10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul MacKlin Northumberland, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to present a duly certified petition to the House today. The petitioners are from three high schools in the Cobourg area who showed their interest in the recent trade agreement negotiations. The high schools are St. Mary's, CDCI West and CDCI East.

The more than 600 petitioners are concerned about the manner in which the agreement is being negotiated. They call upon parliament to consult Canadians before entering into that agreement so the environmental, social and cultural consequences can be considered.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Madam Speaker, I have another petition from citizens of the Peterborough area who would like VIA Rail commuter service re-established between Peterborough and Toronto.

The petitioners point out the environmental benefits of this, for example, the reduction in greenhouse emissions. They also point out the reduction in accidents and costs on the highways and the way in which such a commuter service would improve Peterborough as a business, educational and tourist centre.

The petitioners call upon parliament to re-establish VIA Rail service between Toronto and Peterborough as soon as is humanly possible. The petition has support in five federal ridings.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Madam Speaker, my second petition concerns the bioartificial kidney, a research project which at present is being conducted in the United States. It is supported by Canadians from coast to coast to coast as an alternative to kidney dialysis and kidney transplant for treatment of those with end stage kidney disease.

This petition is now into the tens of thousands of signatures. It was developed by Ken Sharp in my riding and has already resulted in a meeting to be held very soon between leading researchers in the United States and researchers in Canada on the topic of the bioartificial kidney.

My third petition also concerns kidney research and is from citizens of the Peterborough area.

The petitioners call upon parliament to encourage the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to explicitly include kidney research as one of the institutes in its system and to be called the institute of kidney and urinary tract diseases.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor Palliser, SK

Madam Speaker, I am presenting a petition from farmers in the southwest part of Saskatchewan who are concerned about changes made by Health Canada after 1992 regarding strychnine, which is used to control the Richardson's ground squirrel. They allege that the amount of strychnine allocated now by volume is at a level that is not having much effect.

The petitioners call upon parliament to amend the relevant regulation so as to permit the sale of concentrated liquid strychnine to registered farmers until such time as an effective alternative can be found.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Madam Speaker, it gives me pleasure to rise in the House to present a petition on behalf of the good people of Bras d'Or—Cape Breton who are very concerned about the decision of Marine Atlantic possibly moving its entire operations to Newfoundland.

The petitioners pray that parliament ensure Marine Atlantic at least maintains equality between Newfoundland and Cape Breton.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Madam Speaker, my second petition is on behalf of the great people of Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, in my particular riding, who believe that the Senate is unconstitutional.

The petitioners believe it is a waste of $50 million a year and they pray that parliament will take measures to abolish the Senate.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Scarborough—Rouge River
Ontario

Liberal

Derek Lee Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 20 and 23. .[Text]

Question No. 20—

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

Could the government provide: ( a ) the amount in the transitional jobs fund that was not utilized in the fiscal year 2000-01 and was redirected on June 22, 2000, toward the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the regions of Quebec; and ( b ) a list of all amounts paid out in grants since June 22, 2000, by the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the regions of Quebec through the Canada jobs fund, indicating the date each such grant was made?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Scarborough—Rouge River
Ontario

Liberal

Derek Lee Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

I am informed as follows: (a) The transitional jobs fund, TJF, ended March 31, 1999. Therefore no funds from TJF were redirected toward the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the regions of Quebec for fiscal year 2000-01.

TJF was replaced by the Canada jobs fund, CJF, which came into effect on April 1, 1999. On June 22, 2000, the Government of Canada announced that CJF would be closed down and that, in order to more strategically and effectively meet the unique needs of those regions where unemployment remained high, the CJF funds would be transferred to the regional development agencies. This would include the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Western Economic Diversification Canada, the federal economic development initiative in northern Ontario, the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the regions of Quebec and the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

The Government of Canada also advised that all project proposals received in HRDC offices on or before June 22, 2000, would be assessed and all existing financial commitments would be met.

No funds were transferred to the regional economic development agencies in fiscal year 2000-01. At the time of the announcement of the close down of CJF, there were close to 500 CJF proposals under review at either the local, regional or national level. From June 22, 2000, to the present, just over 130 CJF projects have been approved, including 52 from Quebec.

(b) The moneys allocated to the CJF have not yet been transferred from HRDC to the various regional economic development agencies.

A portion of these funds will be transferred to Canada economic development at the beginning of the 2001-02 fiscal year.

These additional funds will be channelled into Canada economic development's regular programs. These will provide additional means to enhance our ability to develop the potential of Quebec's regions and its enterprises.

Question No. 23—

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

What were the total estimated tax expenditures incurred by the government under mining provisions of the Income Tax Act for: ( a ) the Suncor Energy Inc. $2.8 billion project millenium oil sands development project; and ( b ) the Shell Canada $3.5 billion Athabasca oil sands project?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Etobicoke North
Ontario

Liberal

Roy Cullen Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

It would be a breach of the confidentiality provisions of the Income Tax Act to reveal information about an individual taxpayer.

However, the Department of Finance has developed a model to calculate the value of the tax incentives available to all new oil sands projects in Canada. The model results are described in a working paper that will be released soon. A draft version of the report estimated that on average a new oil sands project in Canada will receive federal income tax incentives worth 4.6% of the total capital investment of the project.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

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

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Is that agreed?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Supply
Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

moved:

That this House calls upon the government to respect the spirit of the evidence given by the Minister of International Trade before the Foreign Affairs Committee, who stated “I can assure you that we are not seeking an investor-state provision in the WTO or anywhere else”, by refusing to sign any trade agreement, such as the FTAA or the GATS, that includes a NAFTA Chapter 11-style investor-state clause.

Madam Speaker, let me indicate at the outset that I will be sharing my time with the member for Burnaby—Douglas.

Two images come to the mind of Canadians on the subject of Quebec City: the wall, this reinforced concrete fence all around the old capital to prevent people from getting in and another wall, a wall of tear gas, or 5,000 tear gas grenades thrown everywhere, blinding everyone, demonstrators and residents.

Who could imagine more potent symbols for the squalid secrecy that surrounded international trade talks than that ugly wall and that haze of gas?

While the Liberal government trumpets its success at advancing the corporate driven globalization agenda, millions of Canadian now get the picture: fortress walls and noxious gases for ordinary citizens, privileged access and security passes for the corporate elite, rights and rewards for the rich, rhetoric for the rest of us. For the Liberals apparently that is what democracy looks like.

Quebec was the high water mark for irony and for hypocrisy. The official line was that the FTAA was about spreading democracy, but the chain link fences, the tear gas, the water cannons, the plastic bullets and mass arrests that prevented citizens from getting anywhere near the summit made the case more effectively than anything else could that democracy is threatened by the corporate model of globalization.

Behind the wall around old Quebec the threat to democracy became more ominous as information leaked out that the NAFTA drafters had every intention of extending the most anti-democratic provision of NAFTA, chapter 11's investor state clause, to the rest of the Americas.

Last year Canadians dared to hope that their objections to corporate globalization were getting through to the government. The Minister for International Trade once called NAFTA “primarily an exercise in the economic disarmament of federal governments”.

At the international affairs committee in April, just a year ago, the minister declared his opposition to any form of investor state mechanism, such as the one enshrined in NAFTA being included in any future trade agreements. He assured parliament that his officials were working with Washington to have NAFTA chapter 11 reconsidered. “Take the good news and run with it”, he told the foreign affairs and international trade committee.

In December the trade minister reiterated his concerns. He stated starkly that he would not sign any deal that contained the offensive clauses, period.

Following the Quebec summit the Prime Minister was calling chapter 11 of NAFTA a good clause. “It is one that works reasonably well”, said the Prime Minister. His trade minister has been faithfully parroting the line ever since.

To concerned people throughout America, however, chapter 11 is not a good thing. It is the Trojan horse of so-called free trade in the style of big business. Chapter 11 is the clause that ends the debate over whether globalization threatens the sovereignty of countries.

Under NAFTA, chapter 11 established a new system which enables foreign investors to bring injury claims against democratically elected governments. It allows multinational corporations to usurp the sovereign powers of government and the democratic rights of citizens and communities. Foreign capital investing in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. may demand compensation if profit making potential of their ventures is injured by government decisions.

Foreign based companies are given rights greater than domestic businesses operating in their home country. Canada's baptism of fire began with the Ethyl Corporation's challenge to Canada's right to control the use of MMT in this country.

MMT is a gasoline additive, a neurotoxin which interferes with automobile exhaust systems banned in several U.S. states, but under NAFTA's investor state provisions Ethyl took the Canadian government to court and sued for lost profits. To avoid an arbitration panel the Canadian government settled out of court, withdrew its legislation and paid $19.6 million in damages to Ethyl. To satisfy Ethyl's commercial interests, Canadian parents today have less control over the quality of air their children breathe.

To date at least 15 chapter 11 suits have been launched. No one really knows for sure. Apparently it is not really the public's business. There is no requirement to inform the public, even though public laws are under attack and taxpayer money will pay the fines.

Unlike other trade agreements, chapter 11 gives global corporations freedom to litigate on their own without having to ask national governments to act on their behalf. With status to challenge other governments as legal equals, this clause allows NAFTA to end run governments and even constitutions.

Chapter 11 of NAFTA has become the defining issue for FTAA negotiations. In Mexico a U.S. waste disposal company, Metalclad, was awarded $16.7 million in damages when a state government took steps to protect its water supply. Metalclad's victory established that NAFTA's dispute mechanism reaches to subnational governments, including municipalities.

Then there is Sun Belt Water of California. Who knows what is next? Who would have guessed that UPS would launch a lawsuit to challenge the operation of Canada Post? Who would have believed that the Canadian government would have left us so vulnerable or that, even in the face of this challenge to Canada's right to deliver its own mail and the right to keep public services in the public domain, the Canadian government would decide chapter 11 is a good clause that is working reasonably well?

As chapter 11 damage awards accumulate, more and more Canadians are starting to press more serious questions about exactly what is at stake under the new world order. Who voted to destroy national sovereignty? Who gave corporations the right to decide public values?

Why elect governments that hand their powers over to big business?

In conclusion, I implore the government once again to find the courage to oppose chapter 11 and refuse to sign any international agreement that contains this pernicious provision. The very foundations of our democracy are at stake.