House of Commons Hansard #73 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was dangerous.

Topics

Immigration
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

New Brunswick Southwest
New Brunswick

Conservative

Greg Thompson Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 2006 annual report on immigration.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group respecting its participation at the 61st annual meeting of the Midwestern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments in Chicago, Illinois from August 20 to 23, 2006.

As well, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group respecting its participation at the 2006 annual meeting of the National Governors Association: Healthy America, in Charleston, South Carolina from August 4 to 7, 2006.

Government Operations and Estimates
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Diane Marleau Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.

The committee has considered the matter of procurement policy changes by the Department of Public Works and Government Services and has agreed to send a message to Senator Fortier to appear before the government operations committee in the next two weeks.

Industry, Science and Technology
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology in relation to its study on the policy direction to the CRTC.

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-376, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (impaired driving) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege and an honour to table a bill to amend the Criminal Code, impaired driving, and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

The bill would reduce the blood alcohol concentration limit to .05% from the current .08% without being unduly punitive or creating greater burdens on the police and the courts.

Impaired driving remains the number one cause of criminal death in Canada, more than all other causes of homicide combined. Our youth are particularly vulnerable.

The legislation would not punish people who enjoy consuming alcoholic beverages and it would not impede one's ability to drive. It does say, however, that our laws need to reflect the true risk to ourselves and others of drinking and driving.

I urge all members of the House to carefully consider the bill and to lend their support.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Climate Change Accountability Act
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-377, An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change.

Mr. Speaker, this bill seeks to ensure that Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change.

It is clear that climate change represents a serious threat to Canada's economic well-being, public health, natural resources and environment. The impact of climate change is already being felt in Canada, especially in the Arctic.

This bill, once established, calls on the government to bring into place, very rapidly, regulations on the emission of greenhouse gases. It will also set interim and long term targets for Canada that meet the scientific basis on which such objectives must be established. It also instructs our government to pursue these objectives and goals in international negotiations. It provides an ongoing role for the environment commissioner to report to the House and the people of Canada on progress and on plans.

I am very pleased to table this legislation on such an important issue facing all Canadians, indeed, all citizens of the world.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Food and Drugs Act
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-378, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act and the Food and Drug Regulations (drug export restrictions).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to introduce the bill, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act and the Food and Drug Regulations. In view of the recent law enacted by the U.S. Congress after October 4, President Bush has opened the border to prescription drugs which has caused the U.S. customs service to stop seizing these purchases entering America from Canada.

We believe this is a first step to the full legalization of prescription drug imports from Canada that could come by the end of this year. We need to protect ourselves from this dramatic expansion of importation. We need to ensure that we avoid becoming America's drug store and yet we believe that since coming to office the new Conservative government has taken no action and, in fact, the health minister has said that he is not worried and that he will only respond when drug shortages occur.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canadian Forces Superannuation Act
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-379, An Act to amend the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act (increase of allowance for surviving spouse and children).

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth for seconding the bill. Unfortunately, in this country when a veteran or RCMP officer passes on, his or her spouse is entitled to only 50% of his or her pension benefits but, alas, when a member of Parliament passes on, his or her spouse is entitled to much more. We think that must change and with Veterans Week coming up next week it is a timely opportunity for the House to move on this very quickly.

We are asking that when veterans or RCMP members pass on that at least 60% of their pension be contributed to their spouse until that spouse passes on as well. That would be more fair for the people who serve our country with bravery, distinction and courage. It is time to update that pension legislation so they in turn can leave more for their surviving spouse.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

First reading of Senate Public Bills
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, at the same point in routine proceedings, tabling of Senate public bills, I rose as the sponsor of Bill S-202 and asked if I could briefly explain the bill. The Speaker responded:

We do not normally speak on Senate bills. The hon. member for Mississauga South is asking for unanimous consent to give a brief explanation of the bill.

Unfortunately, unanimous consent was not forthcoming.

Mr. Speaker, I refer you to Marleau and Montpetit, chapter 21 under “Private Members' Business”, at page 900 under “SENATE PUBLIC BILLS SPONSORED BY PRIVATE MEMBERS”, which I believe this is the case. It states:

Some private Members' public bills originate in the Senate and are sent to the Commons after passage by the Senate. When the Speaker calls “First Reading of Senate Public Bills” during Routine Proceedings, the Member sponsoring a Senate bill in the House is permitted to give a brief explanation of its purpose, without engaging in debate. The motion for first reading is then deemed carried without debate, amendment or question put, and the bill is automatically added to the bottom of the order of precedence for Private Members' Business without having gone through the draw process.

All bills coming before this place have a very important matter to consider by hon. members either in this place or from the other place. I believe this particular bill is excellent and I was hoping to have the opportunity to make a brief explanation on Bill S-202 for the benefit of all hon. members.

First reading of Senate Public Bills
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I have to say to the hon. member for Mississauga South that I appreciate him drawing this matter to the attention of the Chair. In my experience in this House, which has gone on for some time now, I have never seen a member rise on the introduction of a Senate bill and give a brief explanation, so I am surprised to see this in Marleau and Montpetit.

However, I accept the citation that the hon. member has referred to in our practice and I apologize for not having allowed him to give this explanation yesterday. Perhaps he would like to give the House the benefit of his wisdom now in telling us what the bill concerns since, obviously, I made a blunder yesterday in suggesting that he required unanimous consent in order to do what he now wishes to do.

Statutes Repeal Act
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to sponsor in the House of Commons Bill S-202, which was proposed by the hon. senator, Tommy Banks, and which was passed by the other place on June 22.

The bill seeks to establish appropriate provisions to repeal any legislation that has not come into force within 10 years of receiving royal assent. Failure to proclaim a bill passed by Parliament is simply unacceptable.

I trust that all hon. members will give speedy passage to this responsible piece of legislation from our other place.

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

moved:

That the third report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans presented on Tuesday, October 24, 2006 be concurred in.

Mr. Speaker, I first want to thank the House for the opportunity to speak on what I consider a very important matter related to people who live in our northern territories: Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and of course the northern part of Quebec.

I also want to thank my hon. colleagues from the Bloc Québécois, the Liberal Party, and the fisheries and oceans committee for helping me get this through the committee and report it in the House of Commons.

I will provide a brief history of this issue. We are basically talking about the marine service fees that had an exemption in 1997. Unfortunately, the exemption was never implemented. These fees are having quite an economic effect upon shippers and users of shipping services, plus consumers in the far north.

The statutes are already on the books. We are asking the government members, who supported it when they were opposition, to support the exemption of 1997. We are asking to remove the additional fees that the people in the north have to pay.

For those who are watching, it is quite simple. If a ship transits from Montreal to Iqaluit, it has to pay additional service fees for the privilege of sending freight or cargo up to the far north. If a ship comes from Antwerp or Amsterdam to Iqaluit, no fees are applied. That is unfair and it is time to change it.

I am going to read the motion of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. I thank the hon. member for South Shore—St. Margaret's, the chair of the committee, for presenting it to the House as a report. It states:

The Committee on Fisheries and Oceans recommends that the Government:

1. Not apply Marine Service Fees on Canadian commercial ships transiting to and from waters north of 60° based on the socio-economic conditions of the North consistent with the fee exemption established in 1997;

2. That the exemption be appliely without any further ded immediatelay and that the Canadian Coast Guard's cost recovery policy with respect to the North be subject to further review in the development of a national Future Approach to the Marine Services Fees;

3. Whereas the Marine Service Fees collected by the Canadian Coast Guard on the provision of sealift services to the Eastern Arctic is not consistent with the current exemption based on the socio-economic conditions of the North, specifically the reality that the Eastern Arctic is dependent on re-supply by way of the south given its unique socio-economic conditions;

4. Whereas the peoples across Canada's North including remote communities experience the highest costs of living in Canada; and

5. Whereas the communities and residents of the North maintain and exert Canada's Arctic sovereignty across the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik and Northern Quebec, and Labrador.

These people are the ears and eyes of our north. There has been a lot of talk lately about Arctic sovereignty. We think that the people of the north have a right not only to live in the north of course and have economic opportunities, but we also believe the exemption should remain in place. We think it is inconceivable that the government in 1997 placed the exemption but never enacted it. We could not help but notice that when the Conservatives were in opposition they supported this particular indication.

I would like to read a couple of quotes by someone we all know. A letter was sent to Dennis Fentie, Premier of Yukon; Joseph Handley, Premier of the Northwest Territories; and Paul Okalik, the Premier of Nunavut. I will let you guess who said this, Mr. Speaker, on January 6, 2006. The letter states:

We recognize the unique circumstances faced in the north regarding the delivery of programs and services to residents and we are prepared to discuss the challenges regarding the costs and circumstances for the delivery of those services.

It also states:

3. the need to simplify the spiderweb of federal regulatory authority which threatens economic development in the north;

Mr. Speaker, guess who said that ever so eloquently? It was none other than the Prime Minister himself when he was in opposition. We thank the Prime Minister for recognizing the unique economic conditions of the north. We would like to thank him one more time by accepting this report and removing the fees immediately.

Again, if the government members wish to follow through on their own commitment to the people of the north, we would be glad to support them. Unfortunately, in the estimates we do not see anything of that nature in this regard. Thus, the opposition needs to get the issue back on the table in the House of Commons.

It is time that the government fully recognize the exemption of 1997. That is basically all we are asking for and if we do that I honestly believe we could help the people in the north develop their economies even better.

We cannot sit down here in the south and say one thing and then tell the people in the north another thing. It is simply unacceptable. As a person who lived in Yukon for nine years, I understand quite uniquely the conditions under which the people live in terms of trying to compete with its southern neighbours, and trying to have health and educational services, transportation services and economic opportunities. We need to assist them.

The overall cost to the government is really peanuts when we look at the big budgets it talks about. This would go a long way in assisting the three premiers of the north and their constituents, and the three members of Parliament who represent those areas from Yukon, Northwest Territories and of Nunavut. I thank all three of them for helping us in this discussion and moving this issue forward.

We honestly think that this is something that would be very helpful. I want to thank a couple of people for their assistance, Mr. Richard Selleck from the office of Senator Willie Adams who has been very helpful. Senator Willie Adams represents the north in the Senate. I also thank Mr. Francis Schiller, who has been working very hard and a long time on all aspects of marine service fees trying to get them in line, so that the people of the north, and the people who do business and trade with the north, will be able to have a competitive level playing field when it comes to the same aspects of the economy that we have in the south.

This is a very proper and opportune time for this debate to happen in the House of Commons. I thank all my colleagues here, but I especially want to encourage my Conservative colleagues to move forward on this, especially the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, who himself is from Newfoundland and who has commented before about the unique situations in the far north. He knows the unique conditions of outports in the beautiful province of Newfoundland and Labrador and how we need to help those communities and assist those businesses in creating economic development in the far north.

If the exemption gets into place immediately, we are then as a Parliament telling the north, everybody north of 60, that we understand the situation they go through, the complications that they have, and we will do everything in our fiscal power to assist them.

At this time I would hope that the House would seek a fairly quick recommendation on this and pass it unanimously, so that we could collectively tell the north it is trick or treat time and today, here is a treat and no tricks.

I wish to thank the hon. member for Cape Breton—Canso who understands the great challenges that we have in helping out the north. I look forward to the debate and I thank the House for the opportunity to speak on this issue.

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of comments and a couple of questions.

The hon. member talked about saying one thing and doing another. It kind of reminds me of his position on supporting the troops in Afghanistan, and yet he stood in the House and voted against the mission. That is the first thing I want to get off my chest.

The second thing is, what is it worth? The NDP talks about stifling the northern economy. What would the cost be? My understanding is that the marine service fees for north of 60 amount to about $100,000 a year. We do not have the same deal for any other provinces like P.E.I. or Newfoundland. The amount of $100,000 a year is not going to stifle the northern economy. Are we going to offer this same reduction of fees to all the land routes that cross 60°? Are we going to offer the same reduction of fees straight across the board? What about the diamond industry? It is a fairly lucrative industry. Should we be assisting it? Should we be assisting oil and gas exploration industries in the high Arctic. Can they not afford to pay service fees?

I would like to know the cost and to have a rational debate about this instead of a political debate because we can all be guilty of that. What is the cost and why can the north not afford to assume those costs on its own? Is it stifling the northern economy? I think there was a reason the bill was enacted and there was a reason that it was not brought in because I think cooler heads prevailed and they took a look at it. I do not think this is about holding the north back at all, but I think that we have to be fair throughout the country. What is the cost? That is my question.

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, first of all, on the member's first question, if he thinks that the lives of the troops and billions of dollars of expenditures toward the country of Afghanistan is only worth a six hour night debate and then a rush vote in the House of Commons, without fair and proper consultation with all Canadians, it is absolutely unacceptable. I would never support that.

On the member's issue of the service fees for the north, I cannot stand in the House and say here is the exact figure because if those fees were removed, we may have even more additional services to the far north.

I remind my hon. colleague from South Shore—St. Margaret's that it was his Prime Minister who stated what I quoted here in the House earlier. It was the government when it was in opposition that supported the implementation of the exemption. If the member wants to know the true figures, he can easily ask the parliamentary secretary who is sitting right next to him or the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

He has had ample time to learn about these figures. These figures change all the time. We do not know the exact costs. We do know that the north has asked us for this. The north has been asking since before 1997 for the removal of these fees. If the member wishes to have an exact penny to the count, hopefully by the end of the day I will get him those figures. I believe his $100,000 figure is way too low.

The fact is that the member cannot compare southern operations to that of the north. It is simply unacceptable. The member knows better than that.

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Fitzpatrick Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I will follow up on those excellent questions from the government member. I am curious because I hear the Bloc members and the NDP very often talking about subsidies and tax breaks for the oil industry and some of the big companies, such as De Beers, and other diamond companies and so on.

Is the member seriously telling us here that when it comes to major oil and gas developments in the north or mining ventures by companies such as De Beers or building the Mackenzie Valley pipeline by Exxon, one of the biggest corporations in the world, that he is actually advocating that we give them a reduced arrangement on fees for transporting products and stuff to the north? Is that what the member is saying? Is he talking about another subsidy to the oil and gas industry which his party seems to be preoccupied with? Is he talking about another one?