House of Commons Hansard #201 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was broadcasting.

Topics

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Darrel Stinson Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today from many of my constituents calling upon parliament to condemn the creation and use of child pornography.

They call upon parliament to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that all materials which promotes child pornography are outlawed.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of my constituents and constituents in the surrounding area.

The petition states “that the creation and use of child pornography is condemned by the clear majority of Canadians; that the courts have not applied the current child pornography law in a way which makes it clear that such exploitation of children will always be met with swift punishment”.

The petitioners, therefore, call upon parliament to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that all materials which promote or glorify pedophilia or sadomasochistic activities involving children are outlawed.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Kitchener Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Karen Redman Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 152 and 154.

Question No. 152
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

With regard to the submarine Victoria: ( a ) when did the Minister of Defence first learn of the structural dent in the submarine; and ( b ) what structural assessments of the hull of the submarine were undertaken prior to its purchase, and by what firms?

Question No. 152
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

(a) A briefing note on various submarine issues, including the structural dent, came into the possession of the Minister of National Defence between 11-16 April 02.

(b) Canada accepted the Victoria based on Royal Navy standards, as reflected in the UK ministry of defence’s certificate of safety. This certificate included a structural strength assessment and hull surveillance documentation based on inspections and surveys conducted April 1999 to March 2000.

BAE systems, the original manufacturer, conducted the hull examinations when the submarine was docked during reactivation. This was done with UK ministry of defence oversight, as well as Canadian project staff observation and review.

Question No. 154
Routine Proceedings

June 7th, 2002 / 12:05 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

What was the full decision-making process that led the command at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier to consider closing down entirely downhill skiing at the Castor Centre; and in regard to this: ( a ) from what budget envelope were the funds for construction and development of the infrastructures at the Castor alpine ski centre originally taken; ( b ) from what budget envelope were the funds used to operate the Centre (e.g. electricity, heating) taken; ( c ) how and when was the public, both military and civilian, consulted, and using what sampling; ( d ) what recommendations were considered to avoid the decision to close; and ( e ) at what point did the Minister of National Defence endorse the decision?

Question No. 154
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

It was recognized in the early 1990s that a problem existed with aging downhill ski equipment at the Castor Centre, and that without significant investment, final closure of the facility would take place within six to eight years. However, there were insufficient non-public funds at Canadian Forces Base, CFB, Valcartier to allow for measures to extend the life of the equipment or to plan for its replacement.

In 1998 the commander of 5 area support group and the personnel support program manager produced a business case on the long term future of downhill skiing at Valcartier. The business case identified two options for the future of the Castor Centre involving either a massive investment of financial resources or closing the centre in the short to medium term. From a financial standpoint, the most optimistic scenario envisaged the need for a $1.1 million grant from a source outside the Castor Centre and the only outside source was the non-public funds at CFB Valcartier.

In 1999 the double chairlift was repaired at a cost of roughly $150,000 to correct problems noted during inspections.

In 2000, 503 Canadian forces members were surveyed on various personnel support program services and plans for the future. Downhill skiing ranked ninth of the fifteen projects presented, in terms of priority. Upon receipt of the survey results, the executive committee for non-public funds at CFB Valcartier, composed of officers and senior non-commissioned officers, requested an analysis of the options. This analysis was carried out by the construction engineering officer, the personnel support program manager and a senior officer of the ranges and training areas. Several possible replacement options were analyzed and the committee’s ultimate recommendation largely correlated with the conclusions of the 1998 business case. Another option, managed downsizing, was also analyzed, however the committee concluded that further extending the downhill ski operation would cost the base non-public fund roughly $80,000 a year and that the situation would probably have to be reassessed on an annual basis.

The analysis prepared in 2000 was submitted to the executive committee for consideration in 2001. The executive committee decided that funds should not be invested to replace the mechanical lift. The committee also decided that it was not prepared to spend $50,000 to $80,000 a year to retain downhill skiing. This decision was supported by the Conseil d’orientation des fonds non-publics Valcartier, Valcartier non-public fund advisory board. This decision meant that downhill skiing would cease almost immediately, since the existing lift cable had failed to meet industry safety standards.

The co-chairs of the Conseil d’orientation, that is the commander of 5 area support group and the commander of 5 corps mechanized brigade group, were aware of the impact this decision would have on the community and referred the decision to the Commander Land Force Quebec Area before making the closure official.

The Commander Land Force Quebec Area supported the local decision to close the facility, but at the same time decided to extend the operation for one more year to allow alternative solutions to be developed and to mitigate the impact on the community. Implicit in this decision was the need to purchase a new lift cable.

The community was informed of the decision in late 2001 and the various alternative solutions were outlined in the local newspaper.

(a) Non-public funds were originally used for the construction and development of the infrastructures at the Castor alpine ski centre. Non-public funds are a type of crown controlled funds established pursuant to sections 38 to 41 of the National Defence Act and to which the provisions of the Financial Administration Act do not apply. These funds are non-appropriated crown moneys that are separate and distinct from appropriated funds.

(b) The electricity and heating are paid for by the Castor Centre. The Castor Centre is a non-public agency of CFB Valcartier. With respect to the downhill ski operation, the necessary funding was obtained through fees charged to the customers. These revenues, however, were insufficient to effect repairs or to make major investments in the facility. The major repairs of recent years had to be subsidized by the Valcartier fund. These non-public funds were procured through other non-public activities, such as the Canex stores and the Sport Loisirs plan.

(c) In 2000, 503 Canadian forces members were surveyed on various personnel support program services and plans for the future. Downhill skiing ranked ninth of the fifteen projects presented, in terms of priority. In addition, the executive committee for non-public funds at CFB Valcartier consulted the members of their respective units regarding their needs to gain a clear insight into the views of the group they represented and to make informed decisions.

(d) Two options were entertained: either the replacement of the mechanical lift, which would have generated deficit of roughly $80,000 per year, or an average annual investment of $50,000 to $80,000 to prolong the life of the existing equipment.

(e) The decision did not require the approval of the Minister of National Defence.

Question No. 154
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

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

Question No. 154
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Question No. 154
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-53, An Act to protect human health and safety and the environment by regulating products used for the control of pests, as reported (with amendments) from the committee; and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Pest Control Products Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laurentides had the floor before oral question period. She has eight minutes left to complete her presentation.

Pest Control Products Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for giving me these eight minutes to address the issue of pesticides.

As I said earlier, this issue is very important to us. I am very pleased that we are revisiting the legislation through Bill C-53. It gives us the opportunity to better protect not only our environment but also, as I mentioned, the health of our children and pets, because pesticides are often used on lawns.

As this issue affects several jurisdictions, we need to find a way to work in co-operation with the various levels of government.

Earlier, I mentioned Hudson, the first municipality to make an important environmental decision to ban the use of pesticides.

I also mentioned that, in a riding like mine, if there is one priority that municipalities must have, it is to protect lake waters. It goes without saying that lakeside residents, those who live around lakes, love to have a beautiful lawn. They often use pesticides that can be extremely dangerous, not only for the water in our lakes, but also for the health of bathers and fishers who eat the fish that lives in these lakes.

So, if we pollute the environment with pesticides, we also pollute lakes, fish and ourselves, because we eat the fish. We must take this into consideration. We must have bylaws that protect the land around lakes. This is the case in several municipalities.

I have the good fortune of living on the shores of a lake where the municipality passed a bylaw banning the use of chemicals, not just pesticides, but also fertilizers, so as to protect the quality of our lake water. Very stiff fines are levied if people do not comply. This is one way to ensure that regulations and bylaws are well respected.

It was worrisome to see how the registration of pesticides was done here on the Hill by the agency responsible. An incredible number of pesticides have been registered in recent years. In this regard, we must be careful, because when a pesticide is registered, its impact is not always measurable in the short term, but often only in the mid term or the long term, with the result that we often realize after the fact that a product that was registered is in fact very harmful to health, or even to the environment.

So, we must be very careful when registering products. I think we should also invest in research to find products that will be less harmful to the environment and to health.

I know people who work in this area and they are increasingly looking at natural sources, at environmentally friendly products. Let me give an example. Some environmentally friendly products are now sold on the market to treat plants and rose bushes. These products are much less harmful to health. I have personally used them.

We can go to a garden centre and ask for these ecological products. Unless we do, nothing will happen. I think that there will have to be a new vision in the future with respect to pest control products. We have relied on them too much and now we must think of our children's future and go back to much more ecological products.

I will give another example. Just a few short years ago, in regions such as mine, I remember that it was very popular for golf courses to have absolutely perfect greens, and that is understandable. In fact, at one point, this was all the rage in the Laurentides, where people went for lawn care packages involving four or five treatments with just as many pesticides as fertilizers.

I recall vividly how, when these companies came to treat your lawn, they left little signs with the following warning “Keep pets and children off the grass for the next 24 hours”. If they leave a warning like this and instruct people not to use the lawn, there is some sort of risk.

I myself remember that my children had rashes after the lawn was treated, because the products used were very strong and could cause nausea or even rashes. One cannot keep children from playing on the lawn.

I mention all of this to make the point that it is high time that this legislation be reviewed. However, we said that we agreed with the bill, but that we would not support the amendments. Those listening already know why. My colleagues have spoken at length about this and I do not think that it is up to the Senate to make decisions. It is the job of those who have been legitimately elected to this chamber to make decisions, and to do so in consultation with the public. We are here to represent the public.

We must also take into consideration the fact that the production of pesticides is a big industry. There will be a lot of lobbying. We will have to stand fast and stand together to make sure this lobbying will not have an impact on our decisions on health and environmental issues.

A short while ago, Quebec was mentioned. Personally, I would really like us to work together and harmonize all regulations. Quebec has made regulations and passed laws in this area. There are also regulations or laws at the federal level and bylaws in many municipalities. I hope that municipalities in the regions, which have lakes, rivers and other important environmental assets, will eventually have similar regulations to really protect our environment in a consistent manner. We will have to work in harmony.

We see more and more products on which the public wants information. Somebody talked about GMOs earlier. People want to know what they are eating. More and more, they want to know about the mid term and long term impact of the products they buy. With a review of the legislation and Bill C-53, we will be able to deal with this in a practical manner.

Government members can count on our support for this bill, but we will vote against the amendments.

Pest Control Products Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate as the member for Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, but most of all as a citizen concerned with the future. I am 55 years old, but there are also younger people than us, and also our children who are the future of our society.

We talk about hazardous products and while the risk of using them is not always scientifically proven, I think we have an obligation to use products which we know for sure are not dangerous. In a way, this is the principle we should use for the consideration of this bill.

Two years ago, I replaced my colleague from Jonquière at a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Environment during which we reviewed the committee's report on this matter. The evidence we heard and the documents tabled on the risks of those products convinced me of the necessity to have more stringent legislation on pesticides.

Often, supporters or participants of the Liberal Party tell us “Members of the Bloc Quebecois are always against everything”. Amazingly, we are against things which are not right. In this case, we support the bill although we are against the amendments suggested. So, we can agree. We are not against everything as a matter of principle. First, we look at a bill and we assess its importance.

I for one believe that there are always two or three criteria. I admire my colleague from Hochelaga--Maisonneuve who, during the little time he has left in a week, studies law. The most remarkable thing in his case is that he often shares his knowledge. He truly does it by solidarity, and I say this because it is very nice to work as a team with people who have the desire to share.

Now, speaking about sharing and solidarity, if we believe in sustainable development, we have to be very vigilant and very cautious about products which can pose a health hazard.

This is a subject that concerns the current Bloc Quebecois environment critic, the member for Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, as well as my colleague, the health critic. We must rise above party politics on this issue. It is extremely important.

I come from an agricultural region, and my father was a farmer. I worked with the former minister of agriculture in Quebec, Jean Garon—

Pest Control Products Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

He is the mayor now.