House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was security.

Topics

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Charleswood—St. James, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured today to introduce a petition on the subject of autism spectrum disorder. The petition draws the attention of hon. members to the fact that there are treatments, ABA and IBI therapy, for children with autism from which they may greatly benefit.

The petitioners encourage Parliament to amend the Canada Health Act to include IBI therapy as a medically necessary treatment.

The issue of autism is very important. As Canadians, we need to do better in supporting children with autism.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition today. With these 10,000 signatures, there are now 130,000 who have stated their objection to the decision to close Quebec City's postal sorting station. We know that this decision will have a very negative economic impact. We are talking about the loss of 500 jobs, which means a $15 million shortfall for the Quebec City region.

I have here in this box about 20,000 of those signatures. My colleagues will continue to table the rest of the signatures this week, to show that the Quebec City region is mobilized in its opposition to the closure of the Quebec City sorting station.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure today to table two petitions on behalf of my constituents.

The first one is with regard to constituents who are concerned that the community access program, CAP, is currently in its last year of existence. Given the enormous success that it has known right across Canada, and specifically in everyone's communities, they call upon the government to renew this critically important program.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is with regard to a group of people in my riding who are working extremely hard to represent the people of northern Uganda.

They note that 100,000 adults and children have perished in the 18-year-old civil war in northern Uganda, that 30,000 children have been abducted and that there are close to two million displaced citizens living IDP camps across the nation.

They are calling upon Parliament to take action by fulfilling the goals, as outlined in a Winnipeg communiqué that was established at the International Conference on War Affected Children in September 2000. They are asking us to take a leadership role at the United Nations to protect the people of northern Uganda.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post's decision to close down the Quebec City sorting centre has raised a furor in our region, from both the socio-economic and political stakeholders and the general public. I have proof of their support in this petition bearing the signatures of 130,000 people who are demanding that the mail processing operations and the jobs connected with them be kept in Quebec City. Today I am presenting a portion of this, with several thousand signatures.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to present a petition, as I have on every occasion this fall, this time on behalf of residents of Cobourg, Port Hope, Smiths Falls, Dundas, Stoney Creek, Kingsville, St. Thomas, Thornhill and a number of other communities too numerous to mention.

All these citizens are concerned that on average about 2,000 children are adopted from other countries and brought to Canada each year, and that despite this fact, other countries, namely the United States of America and Great Britain, provide automatic citizenship for these young children and our country does not.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to immediately enact legislation to grant automatic citizenship to minors adopted from other countries by Canadian citizens with this citizenship being immediately granted upon the finalization of the adoption.

I note that the minister said that he would bring forward stand alone legislation to actually accomplish this and I think it is high time he acts upon that commitment.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Cleary Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, 130,000 people have signed a petition calling for immediate suspension of the plan to close the Quebec City mail sorting facility and transfer Quebec City operations to Montreal. Today I am presenting a portion of this, with several thousand signatures.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Simard Beauport, QC

Mr. Speaker, I too am presenting a portion of a petition initiated by the local section of the Quebec postal workers union. It is signed by 130,000 people in opposition to the closure of the Quebec City sorting facility and transfer of its operations to Montreal. Ontario has six sorting centres. There will be just one for all of Quebec. There is no plan for modernization. They are just doing this for the advantages offered by a move. They want to pack everything up and head for Montreal instead of relocating and modernizing the Quebec City sorting facility. This is an absurd idea and the petition says so.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present the petitions contained in this box on behalf of several thousand signatories. In them they express their concerns and their rejection of the Canada Post decision to close the Quebec City sorting facility.

As we know, this decision would have very negative impacts on the economy, as well as on the quality of service the people of the greater Quebec City region are entitled to expect. In this operation we are carrying out today and the rest of the week, we are the spokespersons for over 130,000 people who have voiced their opposition to this decision. I am pleased and extremely proud to present these thousands of signatures on behalf of the population of the greater Quebec City area.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

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

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Telecommunications Act, as amended, be read the third time and passed.

Telecommunications Act
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Werner Schmidt Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Newton—North Delta.

In discussing the bill, a couple of things need to be said, some complimentary and some that are perhaps not quite as complimentary.

The bill came to the committee before second reading. It had sort of a framework but there was nothing in it. We did not know exactly what the bill would actually be doing. All the parties came together and looked at the bill. We listened to witnesses and to what our constituents were saying about the do not call list for people soliciting merchandise, opinions or whatever by telephone. The committee looked at what could be done. In a short time it became very apparent that the bill was sadly deficient. The bill lacked certain provisions.

However something happened this morning that really shows the irony of this place and, in particular, the fickleness of the Liberal government that is in charge of this place at this time. I believe it was on Thursday of last week when the hon. member for Edmonton—Leduc presented a motion to the House to add to the list of those who were to be excluded from the do not call list certain solicitations by newspapers using a telephone. At that time the hon. member asked for the unanimous consent of the House because clearly the amendment had not been made in committee but was being made to the House at the report stage.

The Liberals decided that because it came from the hon. member for Edmonton—Leduc, who is a Conservative and on the opposition side of the House, they refused unanimous consent. Lo and behold, a weekend passed and the first thing Monday morning when the House resumed, the parliamentary secretary said that they would like to have the unanimous consent of the House to introduce a motion. What was the motion? The motion was identical, even to the wording, to what the hon. member for Edmonton—Leduc had presented to the House.

It must have become apparent to the Liberals that the member for Edmonton—Leduc had once again demonstrated the wisdom of listening to constituents so that over the weekend suddenly the Liberals realized this was a good motion. Today, lo and behold, they presented the motion and it was unanimously accepted by the House. It is amazing what a weekend will do. I just hope the Liberals will recognize over the years that these weekends can be very significant.

It is the one exception, I think, that has happened in this House. I have a list here of about 19 different promises that have been made by the Prime Minister to bring about democratic reform. Over and over again the House has passed motions and has agreed to take certain actions but what happened? Nothing. I believe the time has come for us to realize that we need to do the things we say we are going to do and live up to our promises.

While this is a good thing that is happening, there are also some very negative things that happened. On the good side, it should be noted that all the political parties in the House worked very cooperatively together to build the legislation to set up a do not call registry. In fact there is no dissension among the political parties. I and my party will be supporting the legislation. In fact, it will not be necessary to call for a standing vote, as far as I am concerned, on the legislation

I would also like to refer to another thing in this bill that we want to look at, and that has to do with the definition of existing business relationships. A number of presentations were made and one of the bones of contention concerned the definition of an existing business relationship. We know the do not call registry exists in the United States and that it has defined an existing business relationship in its legislation. The Americans have said that one of the criteria of an existing business relationship is that the relationship has been in existence for 18 months. After that it is no longer considered to be an existing relationship.

If this kind of thing is legislated and the proposal now is that this be legislated, this causes certain hardships in certain cyclical businesses. I would like to read what the Canadian Marketing Association said on this particular subject. What I am going to read is in reply to a particular request from one of the small businesses to the president of the Canadian Marketing Association. This particular concern was raised in the spring of 2004.

Mr. John Gustavson, the president and CEO of the Canadian Marketing Association which, by the way, is the largest marketing association in Canada, has been one of the most well-known proponents in favour of creating a federal do not call list in Canada. He concurs that the cyclical nature of businesses should be looked at. Mr. John Gustavson said:

Thank you for taking the time to write respecting our position on a national do not call registry.

“Our position” being this particular business. He said:

We agree entirely with your position. Every piece of legislation passed in North America on this subject so far (in 26 states prior to the U.S. federal legislation taking effect) has provided an exemption for business to contact existing customers. While there have been variances on the definition of “existing customer”, we believe it is important to include in the exemption customers that would only be contacted during a normal buying cycle.

That is very significant, a normal buying cycle. He continued:

Similar to your situation, these contacts may be several years apart.

What is being proposed is 18 months. That is not several years. That is less than that. He added:

In fact, our own Code of Ethics contains such an exemption.

That is the Canadian Marketing Association. He concluded:

Unfortunately, in trying to summarize our position in a few words, the details of our position were omitted by the reporter. I can assure you however that we consider such an exemption to be fundamental and may even be protected constitutionally.

Thank you again for your comments and I can assure you we will vigorously advocate for the right of business to contact its own customers by telephone.

We are not saying there should not be a definition for an existing business relationship. We are suggesting that when legislation is so specific as to require 18 months as the maximum duration of a business relationship, that makes it impossible for the regulating body to exercise any judgment. It seems to me that on the three year review, which is definitely part of the legislation, that may very well come up for review and consideration at that time.

I would like to encourage us to be very cognizant of the fact that in order for legislation to meet the real needs and requirements of business and to support small businesses in particular, we be cognizant of that particular fact.

I suppose I should recognize that some legislation that we have before the House now and that exists in our books is so general as to make interpretation so broad that no one knows for sure what is meant. In this particular case, the legislation is so specific that it provides absolutely no discretion or judgment on the part of those who are implementing this legislation.

Every once in a while we ask ourselves when are we going to develop a concern that in fact creates a situation that allows businesses to prosper, and allows the concerns of our constituents to be expressed and adopted and included. It is time for some common sense to prevail, both in the writing of legislation and in the actual implementation of it.

My appeal is for us to work on principle, but at the same time let us also exercise judgment, so that we do not have a biased position that works against the particular group and in favour of others.

Business of the House
Government Orders

October 24th, 2005 / 3:30 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Discussions have taken place between all parties concerning the debate scheduled for later this day, as well as tomorrow, in committee of the whole, pursuant to Standing Order 53.1. I believe you would find consent for the following motion:

That the debates scheduled for Monday, October 24, 2005, and Tuesday, October 25, 2005, on government business No. 18 and No. 19 respectively, pursuant to Standing Order 53.1, be a maximum of five hours rather than four hours.