House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was goods.

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The House resumed from February 12 consideration of the motion that Bill C-9, An Act to amend the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
Government Orders

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Western Arctic.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
Government Orders

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-9, a bill to amend the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act. This is a bill that was introduced into Parliament yesterday by the government and which is a very important piece of legislation in many respects. I am very glad to see the legislation coming forward.

Yesterday we had a chance to start debate on a number of issues. I want to take the time right now to comment a little bit on one of the things that I found very pleasing yesterday.

As a New Democratic Party member of Parliament in my second term, I was pleased during the debate to have the counsel of two new NDP MPs, both skilled lawyers in their fields. I speak of course of the new member for Vancouver Kingsway, a person who has had decades of work, although he appears very young, in the labour legislation field and will be a great addition to the House of Commons in identifying issues that surround the rights of working people and the rights of all of us. I was very pleased to see that. That provided an element that perhaps I did not have as much of in the previous Parliament.

To my left I have another lawyer, a very skilled environmental lawyer, our new member for Edmonton—Strathcona, a person I have worked with personally on environmental issues for over 25 years, going back to the days when we worked on issues like the Slave River hydro project in northern Alberta.

These people are a great addition to the House of Commons. When we have new members in Parliament, I think it is incumbent on all of us to understand what they bring to Parliament, what they bring to this place to provide that additional knowledge and understanding that can do so much in making good legislation, ensuring that what we are doing is correct and will serve Canadians over a long period of time, as legislation should.

As to the background on the bill, the public consultation began almost five years ago. There have been meetings on a continuing basis with provincial and territorial governments. I am sure that there will be some continuing consultation after the bill has passed.

The bill is the result of a process that has gone on for quite a long time. The safe transport of dangerous goods will remain a shared responsibility between the Government of Canada, provincial and territorial governments and the industry. It will be based on agreements and understandings, and working together to enforce requirements for protecting the movement of dangerous goods on highways in Canada.

Transport Canada would remain responsible for enforcing regulations that govern transport by rail, ship and air. The federal government still has a very large role to play, not simply in making legislation but ongoing enforcement, ongoing consideration of how best to ensure that dangerous goods are handled and identified in a manner that Canadians can remain protected.

Identification is important as well. I refer to a previous experience I had with the illegal movement of dangerous goods when I was mayor of my small town in the Northwest Territories. We had a case once that came out of a practice in Alberta where there is a black market for the sale of hazardous products.

Individuals could take a 45-gallon drum of hazardous products away and have $1,000 given to them on the black market. If the hazardous waste is taken away, they do not have to send it to the disposal site. We found someone in our community who was doing that and mixing it with home heating oil, burning it in buildings and spraying it all over the community. The movement, identification and understanding of where dangerous goods are is very important. It makes a difference and can make a huge difference to the health and well-being of Canadians if it is not handled correctly or taken care of in a proper fashion. Of course, we are very interested in making sure that this bill does the job it is supposed to do.

However, much of the bill does not talk about safety. Much of the bill deals with security, which is another matter of great importance to people. The government has said that it wants this bill moving ahead for security, the Olympics and a variety of other reasons. Within the bill, it would set up a transportation security clearance system where Canadians would be reviewed for security clearance by the Canadian government. The process would include appeals and disclosure of reasons for denial of clearance, but at the same time the bill is very open on this issue. It is enabling legislation. It does not lay out the conditions for the security clearances. It simply provides that the government can do this.

According to the proposed bill, under transportation security clearances, we see:

5.2 (1) No prescribed person shall import, offer for transport, handle or transport dangerous goods in a quantity or concentration that is specified by regulation — or that is within a range of quantities or concentrations that is specified by regulation — unless the person has a transportation security clearance granted under subsection (2).

(2) The Minister may, for the purposes of this Act, grant or refuse to grant a transportation security clearance to any person or suspend or revoke such a clearance.

It is pretty open-ended. The bill has been presented to us in a fashion that says that, while we currently have inter-country transport between ourselves and the United States, the U.S. has very onerous provisions for security clearance. This would take the responsibility of performing clearances from the United States and put it in the hands of the Canadian government so that shippers who are working in the transportation of dangerous goods across borders would find that their clearance is established within Canada. That is, ostensibly, its purpose.

However, none of this was laid out in the bill. The bill enables the development of transportation security clearances for virtually any part of our transportation net that handles dangerous goods. Of course, that is pretty well the entire transportation net because every carrier, airline, train and ship carries dangerous goods at one time or another. We have an act that enables the minister to make some fairly large and unknown security decisions about Canadians. That, to us, is a bit of a problem within this act, because we have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Our sense of privacy here is much different than in the United States. It is much more held in trust by Canadians and by their governments.

This act creates a framework that enables the creation of regulations but gives the Minister of Transport enormous powers to control Canadians and the transport industry. The minister will also be able to enable the use of security measures, in secret, for any perceived situation where dangerous goods may be part of any particular criminal occurrence.

In other words, under this legislation the minister would be able to decide not to move something, not to allow a company to operate, many different things, without any recourse and without anyone understanding the reasons. Some strong powers would be given to the minister, powers that the minister would be able to wield in secret. We do not know how those powers would be defined.

The bill is not a prescriptive bill. It is an enabling bill. In some ways the law would allow the minister to create a secret national security system that would demand of people whatever the minister, through regulation, would set as a security clearance.

Do we know what those restrictions are? The government says it is not interested in doing anything except catching up to our U.S. obligations. This has been reported to me through the department.

The government is not interested in providing security clearance for somebody hauling dynamite from Ontario to Quebec. That is not what the government is doing here. That may not be what the government is planning to do, but the bill would enable the minister, through regulations, to set conditions on security clearances for every aspect of our transportation system that deals with dangerous goods. This is a pretty strong piece of legislation.

The argument against secret laws dates back thousands of years. In 449 B.C. the Romans published the Law of the Twelve Tables creating an official public legal code that had to be published so that ordinary people would know the law. The principle that laws must be public has been the foundation of our law system since then.

The government says we need flexibility to protect Canadians, and this really concerns me. What we need are laws that protect Canadians, that are laid out so that Canadians understand the limitation of the law. Giving ministers this kind of overwhelming control over a situation, I find difficult.

When things are done by regulation, the vital process of public review and debate is short-circuited. Parliament is removed from making the laws. As a democrat, as a person who believes in the rule of Parliament, I find this difficult. I do not believe in enabling legislation. I believe in prescriptive legislation that lays out what we want to accomplish.

Just yesterday Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart delivered a stern warning to the federal government saying she is strongly opposed to any legislation that would allow the mass surveillance of private emails and phone calls. That is part of the government's plan to update Canada's wiretapping laws with new police powers to monitor criminal suspects in the digital era of cell phones and chat lines.

What did the Minister of Public Safety have to say about this? He said:

The concerns of the Privacy Commissioner are quite legitimate. We don't want to have legislation that intrudes on privacy rights and I can assure you we wouldn't come forward with that kind of legislation.

Let me get back to Bill C-9. This legislation would create a situation where the minister would be able to impose, through regulation, conditions on Canadians that may interfere with their privacy rights. It is a difficult situation for any of us who believe in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, civil liberties, the protection of the rights of an individual, and the right to privacy. These are all things that are important to us.

If the security clearance that is required by the United States is put into place by Canada for our people who are involved in cross-border trade and movement of goods, I think we would all understand that. We all understand that we would rather have our Canadians being judged by Canadians rather than by Americans. That is a fair thing and it is good. When it is presented in that fashion and the scope of what can be accomplished by the bill is clear that that is what is at stake here, I do not think we have a problem with that.

I do not think we have a problem with giving those kinds of conditions within a bill, but when we do not have that clearly outlined, when we have a bill that would allow much more than that to happen without the will of Parliament behind it, that is not a correct situation.

There are things that we really need within the bill. This bill is important but it is not important enough to give up the concept of civil liberties, privacy rights and the concern of Canadians to work and live in an environment where their rights as individuals are not threatened. We need to work on the legislation.

To that end, I can see us going along with this legislation moving to committee, but at the same time we do have some serious concerns with the legislation. We do not see that this is a direction in which we want to go, giving a minister of the Crown the kinds of powers without prescription, which the bill represents.

As we move along with this bill, we will see what kind of willingness the government has to support amendments, to support clearly defining what it wants to accomplish. If the government wants to define what it wants to accomplish in this bill, it would make the bill much better and more complete. It would not simply be a way for the government or future governments to intrude into the important aspects of Canadian rights and freedoms.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
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10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, as I listened with a degree of interest as my colleague across the way spoke to a number of issues in the bill, I tried to get a real grasp as to his position on the bill. On the one hand, he said that it was a dangerous bill that would give the minister far too much leeway and sweeping powers, but, on the other hand, he said that it was a pretty good bill.

Not only since 9/11 in 2001, but over the past number of years I think Canadians have recognized the need for security, not just from terrorist attacks from outside but also security on our highways and in and around our country. Bill C-9 does deal with security for Canadians, security in regard to dangerous goods that are being transported around our country, not only the goods that are involved in some kind of a terrorist attack but goods such as propane, fuel and hundreds of other products that we see moving up and down our highways every day. Most parties here recognized that there is a real need for this legislation.

I have a bit of a concern with the New Democratic Party when, regardless of what type of bill we bring forward that would give Canadians more security and safety, it seems it is always throwing up roadblocks. This bill has come out of public feedback to the government. I think other parties have recognized that the Canadian public is on the side of protecting Canadians through the transportation of these goods.

What does the member opposite have against protecting Canadians and keeping them safe?

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
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10:25 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague's question is an important one. He wants to know whether the bill would change the way we deal with dangerous goods and propane on our highways? No, it does not because we have a very good system in place, one that is copied worldwide, for the movement and for the response to problems we can have with all measure of dangerous goods. It is written in a handbook that is reprinted over and over again and sent to people all over the world.

This is not about what we are doing with the product. The bill is about what we are doing with the people who are involved in the system. What we are doing is not going to change the way we deal with dangerous goods. The bill deals with what we are doing with the people who move those dangerous goods and who work in the industries, real Canadians. The bill is about Canadians. It is not really about dangerous goods. We need to keep on what the bill is about, not say that somehow we are standing in the way of a good, safe system of dangerous goods.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
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10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to congratulate my colleague on joining the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. I thank him for his speech.

My question is simple. On a couple of occasions he mentioned the culture of secrecy that the Conservatives again seem to want to keep in this bill, such ministerial powers that are not transparent and the lack of public accountability. I saw a Conservative colleague asking questions. The Conservatives themselves must be careful. When we talk about being transparent, we must mean it. I would like my colleague to talk a bit about his position on the culture of secrecy that the Conservatives seem to want to establish in this bill.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
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10:25 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, not only in the House but on the standing committee because we will be working together very closely on all these matters and I look forward to that as a parliamentarian.

The principle of secrecy is important with security, and I am not going to say that it is not and that there are no grounds to continue to look at ways to make things more secure for Canadians, but we need to put it in legislation. We need it in front of us so we know what we are talking about.

It is not to enable some minister, maybe not the current minister nor the government, to do things to Canadians that are not appropriate and do not match up to what Canadians stand for, not only in this country but everywhere else in the world. We need to ensure we do things right. I do not like enabling legislation because to me it shows that the thinking has not been done and that the process has not been completed.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
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10:25 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not think my colleague from the Conservative Party will have any concerns from this side about security and supporting security. After all, it was our party that supported the hiring of more RCMP officers and the government did not get the job done. We asked that the government not claw back the RCMP wage increase, which it is doing, not us. We support keeping a fair wage for the RCMP. We have no lessons to be learned from that side.

However, I want to ask my colleague from the north about his concerns about consultation and the importance of having real consultation. Is he satisfied? Some good work has been done, and we support the idea of the legislation, which the member has made clear, but when it comes to consultations, does he think we have met the test of sufficient consultations and should there be more consultations when it comes to this bill to ensure we get it right?

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
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10:30 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, we are in a situation where the government has introduced legislation that is open-ended. We need to understand, very well, what security measures would be enacted with this bill and we need to talk about them.

We do not need to show the terrorists where all our planning is but we do need to talk about what the parameters of the security are, and that needs to be done in committee. We need to understand, perhaps from the Privacy Commissioner or from human rights lawyers, where this fits in a spectrum. We need to know the kind of security clearance the U.S. is demanding of our people right now and how that information is being used.

Many of those questions need to be answered and they can only be answered through consultation. As parliamentarians, that is how we get the information and expert opinion on these bills that can actually guide us in making good decisions.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
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10:30 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have one other question for my colleague from the north. I just want his take on the privacy issue and his concerns around how this bill would affect privacy.

When it came to changes in the Elections Act for photo ID, one of the problems around the government's legislation when it came to privacy was that we did not have the Privacy Commissioner at the table. I wrote to her. There were concerns about birthdates on election lists that would be shared with political parties. That is in the amendments that some of the parties wanted. I was against that.

On this bill, does the member think it would be a wise idea to ensure that the Privacy Commissioner is actually consulted and that, when the bill comes to committee, we ask Ms. Stoddart to appear before the committee to hear her concerns and essentially give us the principles of and the criteria for privacy when it comes to this bill?

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
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10:30 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I could not have said that better myself.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
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10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am here today to talk about the act to amend the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992. I will talk bit about the threats and responses to deal with the problems of the transportation of dangerous goods.

I think most Canadians would find it very interesting to know that literally tens of millions of times every year dangerous goods are shipped somewhere in our country. Problems can arise either from a domestic accident or, as some of my colleagues have mentioned before, from a terrorist activity.

We have seen much in the way of domestic challenges at home. Basically, there are two factors in the response. The first is the people and the second is the infrastructure, and we use the word “infrastructure” quite liberally.

Let us talk about the response from the people. We have first responders, which are ambulance personnel, police forces as well as firefighters. Firefighters do not have the equipment, training or tools to engage in what we call hazmat. Hazmat training, material and infrastructure is what they need. They are the first people in line to address these dangerous situations. Part of the challenge is to ensure that we have some level of coherence in how things are labelled.

As everyone can appreciate, first responders, such as firefighters or RCMP officers, need to know what is in a shipment. That is part of the problem. When people respond, they do not necessarily know what they are up against. What the hazardous material is determines in many ways what one needs to do and how to respond to that threat.

I recommend that the government listen to what first responders say they need in infrastructure, training and personnel and let them have it. Them not having it compromises their very lives.

I want to talk about the RCMP. I think most Canadians would be shocked and appalled to know that before Christmas the government tore up the wage agreement that the Prime Minister announced in Vancouver. He stood in front of the RCMP and said that the government would give it a wage agreement, an agreement, I might add, that was nothing more than to provide parity between our RCMP, one of the finest police forces in the world, and provincial and municipal forces. That is all it was asking for. What did the government do, without any consultation? It tore that up.

This has huge implications. We know we have a manpower deficit in the RCMP across the country. In my riding of Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, many times our RCMP officer contingent is down by a third or more. How does officers respond to urgent situations, particularly in view of the fact that RCMP officers now have to respond in twos situations?

This means they are unable to respond on the ground to a number of call-outs important to the public, such as public security. The fact that the government has torn up this agreement is not only an affront to one of the finest police forces we have in the world, but it is also exacerbates the deficit because it will make it more difficult to recruit and retain RCMP officers.

When RCMP officers ask themselves why they should not get more money on a municipal or provincial force, with less risk, not having to move around as much, which is better for their families, they decide to do that. It not because they do not love the RCMP, but it is an affront.

On behalf of our front line RCMP officers, I ask the government to honour its wage agreement and its promise. I ask the Prime Minister to honour what he said and allow the wage increase to happen. It is a matter of honour and fairness to RCMP officers.

The Department of National Defence firefighters, and there are only about 400 of them in our country, respond to some of the most serious threats in hazardous spills. DND works with some very dangerous materials.

The average lifespan for a firefighter is about 59 years. The average lifespan for a male is 79 years and for female, it is 82 years. We can see there is quite a difference.

When we were in government, we negotiated a change with the firefighters in the accrual rate for their pensions, so they could increase the payments they made into their pension to make up for the fact that they retired early and they did not live as long as other Canadians, in part because of the dangerous work they do.

The government agreed to this. It was all signed. The problem is it has not been implemented. It is sitting on the minister's desk. We ask the minister, again, to do the right thing and honour the accrual rate for our DND firefighters and implement it today. There are only 400 of them. Again, it is a matter of fairness as they engage in very hazardous work. It is a matter of fairness and it makes actuarial sense.

On the other aspect of infrastructure, search and rescue operations are very important. We have Buffalo fixed-wing search and rescue planes. They are excellent, but they are old. We had an agreement that was to go cabinet. Unfortunately, there was a change in government and that sat there, and it sits there today.

The need is there and the process is there. The problem is the Conservative government will pursue a single-sourced contract. A single-sourced contract with who? With an Italian company. Why is the government doing this when we have Canadians, like Viking Air on Vancouver Island. It has the contract to build the a modernized version of the Buffalo fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft. Why can it not to compete? It is not asking for the contract, although it would like to have it. It is asking to have the chance to compete. A Canadian company is asking to compete fairly, openly and on a level playing field with other competitors, whatever they may be.

Why is the government preventing an open contract to bid for the replacement for the Buffalo fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft? My province of British Columbia has more than 50% of the search and rescue needs in Canada. It is very important for my constituents and my province. It is, in fact, a matter of life and death, not only for the citizens of my province but also for the brave men and women who work as SAR techs, the search and rescue technicians who do extraordinary things, under extraordinary circumstances, to save lives.

Again, we ask the government to honour the agreement. Do what is right and have an open contract, with a fixed period of time, with a simple statement of requirements so our Canadian companies can compete. Do not close the door on them and allow a foreign company to come in and take this contract.

The Internet is an area where there are many opportunities to buy and sell products, but it also has a black side to it. In other words, we can buy and sell all manners of things, including potentially illegal products. I ask the government, and this is a new area, to explore ways to work with Internet providers to prevent the trafficking, buying and selling of products that can be used by terrorists for terrorist activities.

A very sensible thing was done by eBay. On the issue of the trafficking of endangered species products, eBay took the extraordinary act and said that it would not allow that to happen because it would contribute to the destruction of endangered species in our world. Good for eBay.

I ask the Canadian government to extend the thinking on that and pursue, with Internet providers, a list of products that can be bought and sold and used by terrorist groups to kill people or those who simply want to kill people en masse.

On the issue of terrorism, last night I listened to an extraordinary speech by a former prime minister, the Right Hon. Joe Clark. If I may humbly say so, I strongly recommend that all members of Parliament, and in fact all Canadians, if they have the chance, to listen to Mr. Clark's speech. He gave parliamentarians and Canadians an option. He looked at where the nation would go in the future. He contrasted this with what is taking place south of the border and the changing administration in the U.S. in the way of governance.

Mr. Obama has recognized that we can no longer do the things we have done to provide our security. A military option will not solve these problems. We need to utilize our diplomatic skills, our development skills and our military skills as well. We need to use all those in an integrated fashion and intelligently. He is putting a much greater emphasis on the diplomatic and the development side of the equation to address the challenges and threats abroad.

Some people who blow themselves up and kill innocent civilians are simply terrorists. Others are Islamic fundamentalists. Others form a wide range of groups and individuals with varying interests. It is absurd for us to lump everyone into single group and suggest that their motivations and objectives are the same. They simply are not.

Mr. Clark posed the following. He said that there was a greater emphasis on diplomacy and development south of the border. Where is Canada? Where is the Canadian government? What is it doing? This is fascinating. In the last year the government has reduced spending in foreign affairs by 18%. It rightly increased spending for defence by 9% and it increased development spending by a whopping .68%. That is shocking.

One of the major tools and opportunities we have as a country are our extraordinary diplomats. Many other countries do not have this. We have an extraordinary foreign service. However, the government cannot eviscerate our foreign service and expect us to deal with the international threats before us today.

Because of the diaspora in our country, because of our linguistic capabilities, we have opportunities to do what few other countries in the world can do. We are an interface between our friends south of the border and the European Union. We are an Asia-Pacific country. We sit at the crux of major centres of power in the world. We are in some ways a sort of glue.

In this mix we have in our great country we have opportunity: diplomatic opportunities, development opportunities and military opportunities. The point is there has been an absence of foresight, vision and planning in foreign affairs and development, not because of an absence of skill in those areas in our public service, or an absence of NGOs in our country, or an absence of Canadians wanting to contribute and deal with the big global challenges that affect us in Canada and around the world. It is an absence of foresight on the part not of the ministers necessarily but on the part of the Prime Minister and the small cabal of people who surround him where decisions are made in our country. Therein lies the fault.

In my view the Prime Minister has to start changing his thinking in a big way. He must start reaching out in a meaningful way.

We have in my party, as in other parties, wonderful people with great skill sets. They can contribute to dealing with these challenges, and I will name a few.

There are enormous problems In Pakistan, which is the epicentre of what is driving terrorism today. We have Pakistani and a south Asian diaspora in our country that is willing to help.

Is the government reaching out to them? No. Why not? It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. These people have skills. They are Canadians, they are Indo Canadians, Pakistani Canadians, individuals who want to contribute and can contribute. Where is the reach out? Where are the initiatives to do that? They are not there. It is an absence of foresight.

Corruption is killing Pakistan. There is an interplay between the ISI, between the politicians, between al-Qaeda and between the Taliban that has refuge there. This will require significant diplomatic and development skill sets that are not being utilized by our country.

On the issue of Afghanistan, for two years now my party has been offering the government solutions to deal with Afghanistan. The government has turned a deaf ear to them. It has produced a military option. Our forces are doing an extraordinary job there. However, we will not enable our forces to do their job and we will not protect them and reduce their threat level unless we address the diplomatic initiatives that are required.

For example, why is the government not pursuing a grassroots, Afghan-led tribal reconciliation process? Why is it not doing that? Internecine conflicts have been taking place in Afghanistan for decades and across generations. Why is the government not working to pursue a regional working group with India, with Pakistan, with China, with Iran, with Afghanistan? Why is it not doing that? We cannot deal with the conflict in Afghanistan unless we have the regional players there. If we do not deal with that, then our threat levels are not reduced here at home.

Why is the government not doing that? Why is it not dealing with the opium crop, which is the substrate that feeds the financial abilities of terrorist organizations to fund themselves, by producing a plan that replaces poppies with the plant artemesenin. What is artemesenin? It produces a drug of the same name that is the drug of choice to treat malaria. Malaria kills three million people a year. Why does the government not do a crop replacement to replace poppies with artemesenin, a high-level crop that gives farmers a high rate of return, and in doing so undermine the financial underpinnings of terrorist groups?

Why does the government not help by working with people like former foreign affairs minister Flora MacDonald, who is doing an unbelievable job in the Bamyan province of Afghanistan dealing with the Hazara people? She is doing extraordinary work. When she asks CIDA for money, what does CIDA say? They do not have any. They are not willing to engage a former Progressive Conservative foreign minister, one of the extraordinary women of our country, who is doing wonderful, amazing work in a country that is a primary development interest of this government. They shut the door or her. Why is that so? This is absurd. The government has to start thinking out of the box and must start engaging with other countries.

I will close off with the Israeli-Palestinian situation. The Palestinians cannot keep living in a cage. That is what they are living in. Rockets cannot keep going over to Israel. Attacks cannot happen against Israel, but the Palestinians cannot continue to--

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
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10:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Crowfoot is rising on a point of order.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
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10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is more a point of clarification. I have listened with some interest to what the member has been saying. He has spoken about CIDA, about poppies and about Afghanistan, and now he is on a rant about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

I am just wondering whether we have moved off Bill C-9 or whether we are still on Bill C-9. If indeed we are still on Bill C-9, I would encourage the member to bring his speech back to some point of relevance that deals with transportation of goods here in our country and with providing safety and security here in our country, which is what Bill C-9 does.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992
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10:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

I thank the hon. member for Crowfoot for raising this point of order. I did ask for a copy of the bill so that I could see if the hon. member was tying in some of his remarks. The member for Crowfoot is right: we are still on Bill C-9, An Act to amend the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act. The member for Esquimalt--Juan de Fuca has a very short period of time, so perhaps he could use the remainder of it to address his remarks to the content of the bill.