House of Commons Hansard #153 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parties.

Topics

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to lay upon the table this petition from constituents in my riding.

The petitioners pray that Parliament pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being a lifetime union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today and present a petition that was sparked by a young fellow from Alberta, Timothy Wishewan, and his cattle drive to Parliament Hill.

He has collected in excess of 10,000 signatures that support the beef industry across this country asking for better and quality interventions by the government in its dealings with federal governments in other countries in getting our trade back on track and getting the cattle industry back to some sense of normalcy.

Tim collected over 10,000 signatures in various spots across this country in his cattle drive to Parliament Hill.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Madam Speaker, I have three petitions to present today.

The first petition is from the community of High Prairie in my riding of Athabasca and two from the community of Fort McMurray. All three petitions concern the same subject.

The petitioners are urging Parliament to take action to protect the charter right of religious freedom for Canadians in the issue of Bill C-250.

The petitioners are pleading with Parliament to take some action, not only to protect gays and lesbians under the bill, but to also protect the religious freedom of Canadians.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Lanark—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, petitioners in my constituency have submitted a petition drawing the attention of Parliament to the continued problems of Canadian farmers due to the BSE import restrictions by the United States and other countries.

In addition to pointing out the hardships that Canadian farmers face, the petitioners draw the attention of Parliament to three proposed suggestions for rectifying the problem. The first is that Parliament ought to instruct the Minister for International Trade to renegotiate Canada's international trade treaties in order to ensure that restrictions placed for health care reasons cannot be maintained when in fact health care reasons have been dealt with. Therefore, these restrictions take the form of trade barriers.

Second, that Parliament provide for a public education program to alert Canadians to the safety of Canadian beef.

Third, that Parliament look at creating a new BSE compensation recovery program that will be more thorough than the previous one.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to table a petition in support of rural route mail couriers. This petition was signed by citizens of Lanaudière.

Rural route mail couriers are calling on Parliament to repeal subsection 13(5) of the Canada Post Corporation Act, which prevents them from bargaining collectively to improve their working conditions.

I want to congratulate the postal workers union on having successfully forced Canada Post to include the organizing of rural route mail couriers in the settlement of the collective agreement.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have a petition from people around my riding who call upon Parliament to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that materials which promote or glorify pedophilia and sado-masochistic activities involving children are outlawed.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Bras D'Or—Cape Breton, NS

Madam Speaker, I present a petition today from many residents of Cape Breton, from Glace Bay, Waterford, Sydney Mines and Dominion.

The petition has been signed by over 3,500 constituents who voice their concern over a decision taken by Devco, the federal crown corporation, to seek court action on the situation surrounding the pension surplus.

The petition has been signed by many former miners, the families of miners and miners' widows. They state that there has been a contravention of the Pension Benefits Standards Act and they call upon the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada to intervene in this situation so that the miners can obtain what is rightfully theirs.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I have a petition signed by hundreds of people from all over British Columbia: Vernon, Kelowna, Salmon Arm and Surrey. They are calling upon government to recognize that same sex couples form loving and committed relationships but are denied the equal ability to celebrate those relationships through marriage.

They point out that the protection of true family values requires that all families should be respected equally. They call upon Parliament to enact legislation providing same sex couples with the equal right to marry.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Bras D'Or—Cape Breton, NS

Madam Speaker, I stand to present a petition on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and his constituents who are from Morris Island, Pubnico, West Pubnico and the Surette Island.

They call upon the Government of Canada to uphold the traditional definition of marriage that stands between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Bras D'Or—Cape Breton
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

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

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Patent Act
Government Orders

November 7th, 2003 / 12:15 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria for the Prime Minister

moved that Bill

C-56, an act to amend the Patent Act and the Food and Drugs Act

, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Patent Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Beauharnois—Salaberry
Québec

Liberal

Serge Marcil Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Madam Speaker, I think that yesterday was a historic day for the Canadian government. One of the best parts of the legacy the Prime Minister will be leaving is Bill C-56.

For many years, stakeholders in the non-government organizations and the developing countries have asked western governments to help in the fight against debilitating illnesses, epidemics and other illnesses found in these areas.

It should be noted that these countries cannot take charge of their own destiny. We know that on this planet, with its billions of inhabitants, the western and northern countries are living in opulence. We are developing all sorts of services for our populations. We are trying to improve our fellow citizens' quality of life as much as we can. It really is a shame to see that we are only looking north and that we are totally ignoring our friends in the south, the whole of Africa and many countries in Asia, which are appealling for help because they are facing major health problems.

Once again, Canada is playing a leadership role in assisting developing countries. The commitment of our government and our Prime Minister to Africa has taken the form of an extraordinary initiative. Canada has become the first G-7 country to make its knowledge, research and medical products available to developing countries.

I am very happy to speak to this bill. I congratulate the Minister for International Trade, the Minister of Industry and the Secretary of State for Science, Research and Development on the exceptional effort they made in so little time. I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate the officials of the industry department who worked tirelessly seven days a week to prepare a bill and implement a government decision to help developing countries by providing them with the drugs they so urgently need.

So, I want to congratulate them on an extraordinary bill which they prepared in very short order. This bill is very well articulated, and it really reflects the philosophy of the Canadian government on humanitarian assistance.

This bill was introduced yesterday, and we are already proceeding with second reading today, because we want to pass the bill as quickly as possible. But we do not want to botch the job. We did think we had done our work before the bill was introduced, but it is important that the bill be referred to committee as quickly as possible so we can hear witnesses. Many agencies, like Doctors without Borders, want to be heard and give their opinions on this bill. There is also the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association. I would like to quote just one paragraph from the letter it wrote to the leader of the Government of Canada. This letter is from the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association:

The CGPA and its member companies strongly recommend that Bill C-56 not be passed without further consultations with our industry and other stakeholders. We believe that, at the very least, it is necessary for the legislation to be referred to Committee so that amendments can be made to increase the likelihood that the goals of the legislation will be realized.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that organizations who share the same concerns as the government have a chance to speak up and share their views on how to improve the bill and enhance it so that it is not just a token gesture, but a tool to provide real assistance to developing countries.

We held consultations. The bill was not established in a contextual vacuum. Again, I congratulate officials in the Departments of Industry and International Trade. We cannot thank them enough for their hard work. They went to great lengths to consult as many Canadian organizations as possible to ensure that the bill, at least at first reading, is consistent throughout, and facilitates Canadian government action for the benefit of developing countries.

These last two months, a special group made up of officials and both ministers concerned has been working on the bill. I can say, as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, that we have been closely involved in the drafting of this bill.

Today, the Government of Canada is at the forefront of a worldwide movement to promote access to pharmaceutical products needed by developing countries to address public health problems such as AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other epidemics.

During my short life I have had the privilege of working in developing countries, and I hope to get back there. I had the privilege of working in Senegal, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. I either worked in the field or took part in training sessions in these countries. I had to deal with these health issues on a daily basis.

We talk about AIDS, but two of the leading causes of death among children are malaria and diarrhea, both of which are the subject of considerable research. We Canadians, as citizens of the world, must take part in this kind of research and work toward improving the quality of life of people in developing countries.

We cannot and must not ignore the problem, be navel gazers and only criticize what happens at home. While striving to improve our own lot, we forget about the needs of people in the rest of the world.

If we took the six billion people living on this planet and tried to determine where the wealth is, we would easily find that the wealth is controlled by less than one-sixth of the population. More than two thirds of human beings live in totally unacceptable conditions.

Today, we are setting an example, but we are also inviting other western countries to imitate Canada and do what we are doing today. Hopefully, we will get the support of the United States, France, Germany, Great Britain and others countries, all members of the World Trade Organization and the G-7 who like to make a great show of their economic power every year. I hope that from now on these countries will start to reflect on the fact that the planet does not belong only to a minority, but to everyone. Everyone has a place on this planet.

All those who have the privilege of living in a healthy environment should turn to those in need and help them. These people have a right to the same human respect, they need our help and they need to live.

Of course, we cannot buy respect, and Africans do not want to beg from western countries. They want to be recognized as true citizens of this world.

Today, acknowledging the call of those people, we have converted our thoughts into an exceptional act. It is true that we are acting through CIDA and international trade programs. It is true that we are acting through the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. CIDA spends hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to developing countries.

Today, all Canadians, through these agencies and departments, approve this action and congratulate the Canadian government because it had the courage to take the lead on this issue and call on other countries to imitate Canada's action for communities in need.

Essential agencies are playing a role in developing countries. There are hundreds of NGO's in Canada. Quebec is very much involved with NGO's. I have had the opportunity to work in education for the Fondation Paul Gérin-Lajoie, which was founded in the 1980s.

As I said earlier, I witnessed some totally unacceptable situations. Every year, many Canadians and Quebecers go to work as volunteer cooperants with other NGOs, like Oxfam Quebec or CECI, to share their knowledge and help the underprivileged to learn to look after themselves. Doctors Without Borders is another organization that plays a remarkable role.

Today, I want to pay tribute to Dr. Thomas, from Doctors Without Borders, who worked hard to ensure that the Government of Canada would show some leadership on this issue.

I do not want to go into this further, but I would urge all members of Parliament, regardless of their political affiliation, their origins and the regions they represent in this House, to support this initiative. This bills ought to be referred to a committee as soon as possible. I would also encourage them to meet with the organizations and the workers who are in contact with the people in need. Listen to them and see to it that this bill does not come back to us in a year or two to be amended. Let us draft a good bill right away so that we do not have to revisit its purpose constantly and that we can give the front line workers a badly needed tool and reach out to those who really need our help.