House of Commons Hansard #90 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was marriage.

Topics

Civil Marriage Act
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Civil Marriage Act
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4:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Civil Marriage Act
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4:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Civil Marriage Act
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4:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Civil Marriage Act
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4:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Civil Marriage Act
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4:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Civil Marriage Act
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4:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Civil Marriage Act
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4:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Civil Marriage Act
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4:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Civil Marriage Act
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4:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

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4:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The chief government whip has asked that this vote be delayed until 5:29 p.m. tomorrow.

Patent Act
Government Orders

May 3rd, 2005 / 4:55 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard for the Minister of Industry

moved the second reading of, and concurrence in, amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-29, an act to amend the Patent Act.

Patent Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Chatham-Kent—Essex
Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, as hon. colleagues will recall, Bill C-29 proposes remedial technical amendments to both the Patent Act and the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa.

The Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa, which received royal assent on May 14, 2004, implements an August 30, 2003, decision of the World Trade Organization allowing developed countries such as Canada to adopt legislation authorizing the production of low cost generic versions of patent medicines for export to least developed and developing countries unable to produce their own.

Those who are familiar with the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa may recall that the legislation contained four schedules, which are to be annexed into the Patent Act. Schedule 1 sets out various pharmaceutical products which are eligible for the export licences under the regime and schedules 2, 3 and 4 set out various classes of the least developed and developing countries which would be eligible for these products.

However, because of an oversight in the drafting of these various schedules, they became divorced from the enacting clause, with the result that there is no legal authority by which to annex them to the Patent Act. If this oversight were not fixed, the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa could still come into force but there would be no products eligible for export and no countries to send them to.

In other words, unless the schedules are properly annexed, the Patent Act and the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa cannot be made operational. This oversight, although fundamental from a policy perspective, is a simple technical one from the legal perspective and it lends itself to the simple technical, albeit legislative, solution. The amendment setting forth that solution was introduced and adopted during the examination of Bill C-29 by the committee at the other place.

As a result, the text of the bill now before us differs from the one that appeared before the House in two very minor but critically important ways. First, new section 2.1 provides that the Patent Act shall be amended by adding schedules 1 to 4 of the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa to the end of the legislation, that is, after section 103. Second, new subsection 3(1) provides that both of the provisions in Bill C-29 that deal with the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa would come into force on the same day as the latter instrument.

I should add that the oversight that gave rise to the need for these changes was discovered only very recently and not in sufficient time to bring forward the necessary amendments while Bill C-29 was initially under examination in this House.

In fairness to the government on this point, it will be recalled that the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa received royal assent only three months after it was introduced in the House in the last Parliament. That was a very busy period during which there were a number of amendments made to the bill by all parties.

Quite simply, no one involved with this legislation, from the legislative drafters and the stakeholders who were intimately involved to the members of Parliament examining the bill in committee, caught the technical oversight. Even Carswell's 2005 edition of the Patent Act overlooked it.

While the version of Bill C-29 which we are considering today differs marginally from the one seen and approved in this House earlier, the underlying technical remedial objectives remain the same. I encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting Bill C-29 as amended by the other place so that it may enjoy the swift passage that characterized the progress of the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa through both Houses during the last Parliament.

Patent Act
Government Orders

5 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to what my colleague had to say .

I would like to remind the people listening to us that last year, at about this same time, the bill was very urgent. It absolutely had to be passed and all the parties worked together on passing it.

Last fall we made technical amendments that should have been made earlier. Now we have another delay, thanks to what a Senate committee has done, with recommendations that may be justified in the end.

However, the government and even all the parties have been criticized somewhat in the papers this week about the fact that a law that was leading edge a year ago is still not in effect. This is not something frivolous. This is about major health problems in very poor countries, developing countries. We are speaking about people with an urgent need for the medicines to be made available.

I would like to ask my colleague how he can explain why it has taken such a long time before—finally I hope—passing the bill, making no more amendments and allowing it to come into effect.

In the comments made by the newspapers this week, people from the generic drug industry said, among other things, that there were some aspects that discouraged putting the law into effect.

There were also some amendments proposed in the Senate. Public servants explained a bit of the reasons for this delay to us.

In the end, however, we are in a situation where we wonder, if the same tragic situation had arisen here in Canada, would we have taken so long to deal with it?

It is important for the government to tell us why it took so long to add to what already existed last year and what had already been introduced as a bill. It will be remembered that we were on the eve of an election call. We went through several stages very quickly, thinking we were doing the right thing. What we have before us now is the same bill, or the same bill slightly modified, as we know. Can anyone explain why it took so long?

Patent Act
Government Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague and all colleagues in the House for trying to move this forward as expeditiously as possible.

There is no question that sometimes fundamental mistakes can be made. In this case, a drafting error was made. In order to ensure that there was no loss of time, we put those amendments forward in the Senate, had them adopted, and then brought them back to the House at the first opportunity.

We have tried to move the bill forward as quickly as possible without delay. That is why we are back in the House today, looking for the kind of support and the goodwill that we have had from Parliament over this issue.

My colleague from the Bloc asked a very good question. We have attempted to move this as quickly as we can, without delay, by reaching out to the Senate to get the approval of that amendment. We have brought it back to get the approval of the House of Commons, rather than delaying the issue from moving forward.

I believe we are now in a position where we can enact the bill quickly with the amendments before the House. We can look at a technical drafting problem where the schedules were not put into the bill. In a perfect world, that would have been done. In this case, our drafters missed it and everyone who examined the bill missed it. I believe that even all opposition parties that had an opportunity to examine the bill missed it.

However, the goodwill and good spirit of all of my colleagues in the House and all of my colleagues in committee has been very much appreciated. Everyone has worked to ensure the bill goes forward and I do appreciate that.