House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was species.

Topics

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

London—Fanshawe
Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, vis-à-vis softwood lumber the United States can take any approach it wants but it will not change the process of the government or the policy of the government to proceed on two tracks.

Discussions with the United States apparently finally are going to be more serious starting tomorrow.

Also, we will continue to pursue our legal options at the WTO. If necessary we will go right to the end of that process and win once again.

Highway System
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, today secondary students from Dégelis, Cabano and Edmundston, along with students attending the Rivière-du-Loup Cegep and the University of Moncton, have been demonstrating at Cabano in order to get the federal government to decide to invest the necessary funding in upgrading highway 185 between Rivière-du-Loup and Edmundston, which has recorded 30 fatalities over the past three years.

What is keeping the Minister of Transport from investing the necessary money to upgrade highway 185 in keeping with the commitment made by the Prime Minister nearly two years ago?

Highway System
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member is well aware, highways are a provincial responsibility.

If this is a priority for the Government of New Brunswick or for the Government of Quebec, there are funds now available in the program for assistance with major highways. The Minister of Finance gave $600 million for this two years ago.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. The failure to resolve the softwood lumber dispute is devastating workers, Canadian companies and forest dependent communities.

In negotiations, one normally reduces the number of issues on the table while continuing to strive for a comprehensive solution. There is agreement on both sides of the border that coastal products like western red cedar and northern hemlock are not in dispute.

Why, then, have Canadian negotiators not been instructed to reach an interim agreement where one is possible?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

London—Fanshawe
Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as for the main part of the question I will have to take it under advisement and report back to the member, but she did mention workers. As we know, the Government of Canada takes the plight of laid off workers very seriously.

There is a plethora of programs available. The government is in wide consultation with the industry representatives in B.C. to assist workers who are laid off and facing in a very serious situation resulting from punitive U.S. trade action.

Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

February 18th, 2002 / 3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, I wrote the Minister of Health a week or so ago regarding pressure treated lumber in New Brunswick and other parts of Canada that uses a chemical called CCA, which is going to be eliminated or restricted for use in the U.S. and which would of course restrict our exports to the U.S. and to Europe.

I would ask the minister whether there has been any movement on the approval of CBA and what she looks forward to in terms of a timeframe for approval.

Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Health is reviewing alternatives to CCA pressure treated wood.

While I cannot speak directly to the timing of any application for approval that has been or will be made, let me reassure the hon. member I have heard about this matter from a number of interested members of parliament from across the country and we are taking this matter under active advisement.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I also wish to inform the House of the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Abdeslam Zenined, Minister of Transportation and Shipping of the Kingdom of Morocco.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Edmonton Centre-East concerning statements made in the House by the former minister of public works.

I would like to thank the hon. member for bringing this matter to the attention of the House and also the government House leader for his comments.

In raising this question, the hon. member for Edmonton Centre-East charged that the former Minister of Public Works had on a number of occasions deliberately misled the House concerning the relationship between the Minister and the operations of crown corporations. In support of his charge, the hon. member referred to statements attributed to a former chairman of the Canada Lands Corporation in various newspaper reports.

Let us first recognize that this case makes allegations about the conduct of a former minister who is now no longer even a member of the House. I want to remind hon. members of the need for caution in framing remarks concerning individuals outside the House. With respect to members' freedom of speech Mr. Speaker Fraser stated on May 5, 1987, at page 5766 of Debates :

Such a privilege confers grave responsibilities on those who are protected by it. By that I mean specifically the Hon. Members of this place. The consequences of its abuse can be terrible. Innocent people could be slandered with no redress available to them. Reputations could be destroyed on the basis of false rumour.

Since statements in this place are protected in an absolute sense by privilege members must be extremely judicious in their comments. I think all hon. members will agree that this caution takes on an even greater significance when applied to a former colleague who is no longer able to rise in the House to defend himself.

Obviously, the Chair must view seriously any charges of deliberate falsehoods or dishonesty, either of which may affect the ability of individual members to carry out their duties as parliamentarians and the dignity of parliament itself.

I have carefully reviewed the statement made by the hon. member for Edmonton Centre-East and I agree with the hon. member that there are distinct views on the matters he has raised and a fundamental disagreement about the relationship that existed between the minister and the Canada Lands Corporation. While such differences can be readily acknowledged it is more difficult to reach the conclusion that they represent instances of deliberate dishonesty.

Our rules concerning disagreements as to fact are longstanding and previous speakers have been consistent in their application of them. As an example I cite Mr. Speaker Fraser from Debates of December 4, 1986, at page 1792 where he stated:

Differences of opinion with respect to fact and details are not infrequent in the House and do not necessarily constitute a breach of privilege.

The Hon. Member in his question was addressing an important matter which was acknowledged to be important by the Minister. However, whatever the differences might be, a dispute as to fact does not constitute a breach of privilege and the Chair cannot adjudicate on that dispute.

This ruling I note was given in response to an issue raised by the then hon. member for Saint-Léonard--Anjou, Mr. Alfonso Gagliano, in response to comments made by the then minister of national revenue, Mr. Elmer MacKay.

There is an additional ruling that I thought hon. members might note and that was by Mr. Speaker Lamoureux on November 16, 1971, at page 923 of the Journals of the House. He said:

--the pertinent precedents tend to establish in the main that statements made outside the House, or documents published elsewhere, ought not to be used for the purpose of questioning statements made in this chamber by hon. members from either side of the House.

He went on to cite examples in support of that proposition. Therefore, on the basis of the arguments presented by the hon. member for Edmonton Centre-East, I have concluded that while there is clearly disagreement as to the interpretation of events surrounding a serious issue the Chair can find no evidence that a prima facie breach of privilege has occurred.

Library of Parliament
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I have the honour to lay upon the table the performance report of the Library of Parliament for 2000-01.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the 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 several petitions.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34 I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, a report from the Canadian branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association concerning the inaugural session of the Canadian Parliamentary Seminar which was held in Ottawa from November 18 to November 24, 2001.