House of Commons Hansard #77 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was registration.

Topics

Transportation Amendment Act
Government Orders

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Guy Carignan Québec East, QC

Mr. Speaker, I vote yes on the motion.

Transportation Amendment Act
Government Orders

7:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I vote no on the motion.

Transportation Amendment Act
Government Orders

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, I believe my vote was not recorded for the last motion. I would like to have my vote recorded for the motion before us this evening.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Transportation Amendment Act
Government Orders

7:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Transport.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

The House resumed from March 21 consideration of the motion that Bill C-20, an act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children and other vulnerable persons) and the Canada Evidence Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

March 25th, 2003 / 7:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment by the hon. member for Vancouver Island North on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-20.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe you will find consent in the House that the vote on the main motion on second reading of Bill C-26 be applied in reverse to the amendment at second reading of Bill C-20.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

7:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

Criminal Code
Government Orders

7:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(The House divided on the amendment, which was negatived on the following division:)

Criminal Code
Government Orders

7:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the amendment lost.

The House resumed from March 20 consideration of the motion that Bill C-206, an act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (persons who leave employment to be care-givers to family members), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Employment Insurance Act
Private Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Pursuant to order made on Thursday, March 20, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-206 under private members' business.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)

Employment Insurance Act
Private Members' Business

7:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion lost.

I wish to inform the House that because of the delay, there will be no private members' hour today.

The order is therefore deferred to a future sitting.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Adjournment Proceedings
Private Members' Business

7:25 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, on December 12 of last year, I rose in the House to ask a question of the Minister of Health concerning the promise that the government had made some time previously. In fact it was the former minister of health, now the Minister of Industry, who made a promise to ban light and mild labels on cigarette packages.

Since then, I pointed out that big tobacco companies threatened the government to sue under chapter 11 of NAFTA if the ban went ahead. I asked the Minister for International Trade when the government would stand up for the health of Canadians, ban these deceptive labels and get rid of NAFTA laws that allowed big corporations to threaten to sue the Canadian government under chapter 11 for protecting the health and environment of Canadians.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health stood up and gave one of the most incomprehensible replies that I can recall in my years in the House. He basically said that this was a very complex question, it was a difficult issue and he would look into it.

Today, the hon. parliamentary secretary is here in the House and I hope he has had an opportunity over the course of the last three months to enlighten himself as to the seriousness of this issue. What we are talking about is the need to ensure that tobacco companies are unable to engage in deceptive advertising. The European Union has already moved on this front and as I understand it the European Union is banning these labels of light and mild on cigarettes this year. I believe Brazil has already banned these labels as well.

We in the New Democratic Party have to ask for what the government is waiting. Why is it allowing the tobacco lobby to push it around at the expense of the health of Canadians? The fact of the matter is that the cigarette industry is a killer industry. Far from backing off on this, health groups across Canada have urged the government to toughen up the regulation, which was proposed many months ago. In fact it was in December 2001 that the former minister of health proposed a regulation.

However, what is happening is that Canadians are dying as a result of the false belief that light and mild products are safer than full strength cigarettes. The Non-Smokers' Rights Association and many other organizations, including Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, have urged the government to finally move ahead on this. It promised to take action. What is the delay? Why is it? Is it knuckling under to the threats of the tobacco companies that it will be sued under NAFTA's chapter 11?

We want answers to these questions and Canadians want answers to these questions today. There are major lawsuits underway already in the United States and Israel which accuse the tobacco industry of consumer fraud for its mislabelling of cigarettes. A major landmark decision just in the last few days in Chicago reaffirmed this.

I am calling on the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health to stand up on behalf of the health of Canadians and to have stronger regulations to make it clear that this is not about high tar and low tar. We should get rid of this deception, these illusions, this dishonest, deceitful advertising by the tobacco industry, ban it once and for all and stand up and protect the health of Canadians.

Adjournment Proceedings
Private Members' Business

7:30 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche
New Brunswick

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, obviously I will have a little more time to answer than I had during oral question period. I will try to shed some light on this important issue raised by my colleague.

While scientists agree that cigarettes labelled light or mild are as harmful as regular cigarettes and do not reduce the number of tobacco-related deaths, we know that approximately 18% of Canadians continue to believe that they are less harmful. Tobacco producers have spent millions of dollars to promote this comforting but misleading impression regarding a dangerous product.

Obviously this is a very important issue and I agree we must act. However, as I said in my answer, it is also a very complex issue and we need to learn more about the effects these labels have on patterns of tobacco use.

On December 1, 2001, Health Canada held public consultations on the government's intentions to establish regulations that would prohibit using labels such as “light” and “mild” on tobacco product packaging.

Briefs were received and reviewed. Health Canada sponsored three studies to better understand consumers and their feelings, and to establish the effects of these labels.

Now, even if there are grounds to believe that, in the past, these labels stopped some people from quitting and that banning these labels might have beneficial effects for public health, more research is required, and it is underway.

In the meantime, Health Canada has continued its public education activities using the media, newspaper ads, pamphlets for Canadian physicians and information on the anti-tobacco web site, in order to continue to reduce tobacco use.

We continue to monitor developments and to gather information. Because we are determined to protect the health of Canadians, we will take steps as soon as we are sure they will be effective. It is important to take steps, but equally important that they be effective.

Our research continues and we want to be sure we have all the necessary information for a successful defence against the tobacco industry, should it challenge our regulations. For the moment, we will continue to inform the public on the dangers associated with use of this product.

It must be kept in mind, however, that it is essential to have a solid foundation before taking any action, and to ensure that the steps taken by Health Canada are effective and achieve our objectives.

I hope that this sheds some light on the matter. Instead of making blind decisions, I think we need to take the trouble to seriously consider all of the implications that this could have, so that when we do come up with a position, we are on solid ground.