House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was products.

Topics

Canada Consumer Product Safety Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, there has to be transparency so that consumers know what is in products. They are not labelled, which is the problem. If consumers do not know what is in front of them, it is hard for them to report. This is why it is important for the government to do the kind of enforcement that is necessary. The government needs to make sure the regulations and the law are being followed.

The government talks about being soft on crime. We do not want to see the government being soft on corporate crime, soft on crimes that are committed on our children when they put things in their mouths that contain lead, for example. The sum of $113 million over two years is not--

Canada Consumer Product Safety Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Thunder Bay--Rainy River.

Canada Consumer Product Safety Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

NDP

John Rafferty Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to Bill C-6.

Hundreds of products have been recalled in the last couple of years, many of them from offshore. In fact, 65% of the products sold in this country are imported. Not many are made here.

I want to speak about children's products. When my children were little, I remember seeing labels on toys, blankets and so on, mainly children's products, that indicated they were made from 100% unknown fibres. I used to smile at that. I knew what it meant. They were probably clean and new fibres, but they were unknown fibres. Hopefully this bill will address that kind of label, as well as counterfeit labels.

Canada's Hazardous Products Act is 40 years old this year. It has not been very effective in identifying or removing dangerous products. It leaves Canadians at the mercy of product recalls which mainly originate in the United States. We take action later.

Bill C-6 will enable us to recall products in a timely fashion. It addresses some of the weaknesses. It will empower the government to order a recall of dangerous products. It will increase government authority to require information and action from manufacturers and importers. It will require mandatory reporting by manufacturers and importers of incidents involving death or injury from a product's use, and to inform Canadians of any potential harm. It also will apply heavy fines to violators.

There are some good parts in this bill and I am certainly supportive of it. Despite these changes, however, improvements are still needed if the bill is to be effective and supportable. I will talk about some of those proposed amendments in a moment.

Right now there is too much discretion for inspectors, and action is pretty well optional, even when it is believed that human health might be at risk. The government is not required to inform consumers of safety issues that have been identified. This area needs to be tightened up.

Sometimes it is just a question of language. Instead of stating that something “may” be done, the legislation should state that there is a responsibility to do something, or that something “must” be done. The bill must have a more proactive, aggressive approach to product safety.

With respect to consumer protection, the previous Liberal government had 12 years to do something and as of 2005-06 nothing had been done.

I would like to make a quick comment concerning a business in my riding, because it is relevant in this particular situation regarding consumer protection and harm to Canadians.

GRK Fasteners is an importer and exporter of fastening products. Ninety-six per cent of the products that GRK Fasteners produces and repackages in Canada are sent to the United States and only about 4% of the products are sold in Canada. It is very harmful to Canadians and harmful to this company, and the 40 or so people who work for GRK Fasteners, that the company has been hit with a 170% SIMA duty. That needs to be reconsidered and dealt with soon. This company is doing absolutely no harm to Canadians, as 96% of its products are exported to the United States.

It is very interesting that the government can overlook some things that harm Canadians, but it is really harming Canadians, small business and jobs such as those at GRK Fasteners in Thunder Bay. That company's only option may be to move its operations to the United States. We are talking about 40 manufacturing jobs in Thunder Bay. It is interesting to make that contrast.

Getting back to the bill at hand, the public is hungry for reliable product safety information. Companies in Canada manufacture high-quality safe products. Quite frankly, we expect others to do the same and to be able to prove it.

There are some proposed amendments to the bill for when it gets to committee.

The first is concerning health and the environment. The general “prohibition” in the bill should be expanded so that no consumer product can be imported or marketed if it is a danger to human health or safety either through direct exposure or via the environment.

A section should be added prohibiting substances on the list of toxic substances from consumer products, with a very few exceptions, for example, when the substance is not a hazard in the consumer product itself. I think we could be reasonable on that kind of amendment.

The legislation should include a duty for the government to act when the government is made aware of a risk regarding a consumer product. I think everybody in this House would agree that would be a reasonable amendment. There should be a duty for the minister to inform the public when he or she is made aware of a risk regarding a consumer product.

In deciding whether a danger to health or safety exists, the legislation should require the government to consider: the release of harmful substances from products during use or after disposal, including to house dust and indoor air; the potential harm from chronic exposure to the substance; the potential harm to vulnerable populations; the cumulative exposure to a substance Canadians receive from the products of concern and other environmental exposures; and the substitution principle, that is, whether safe substitutes exist.

The legislation should create a hot list similar to that for cosmetics, listing carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxins and neurotoxins. These substances should be prohibited in products with temporary exceptions granted only to the extent that the product is essential and only when alternatives do not exist. At a bare minimum, any product containing such chemicals should be required to carry a hazard label, as is required in a number of states, including California and Vermont, and in the European Union as well.

The legislation should establish a list of product classes at highest risk of containing or releasing hazardous substances. There should be explicit guidance prioritizing the routine inspection of these product classes. The legislation should require labelling of all ingredients, as is already the case with cosmetics and some other products.

I prefaced my remarks by saying that I certainly support sending this bill to committee. I have just outlined some of the amendments we would like to see to the bill. I am certainly open to any questions that may come from the floor.

Canada Consumer Product Safety Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

I think we will conduct the questions and comments portion after question period. We will move on to statements by members.

Class of 2009
Statements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, as the end of the school year is upon us, I would like to take a moment to congratulate the students in our riding of Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar who are graduating in 2009.

Graduation is a time for students to look back and celebrate their successful completion of this important chapter in their lives. It is also a time for each graduate to look forward with anticipation to the opportunities that are awaiting him or her in the future.

I know families, friends and communities are very proud of their hard work, diligence and perseverance. I look forward to hearing stories of how the members of these graduating classes have changed our world.

I would like to offer my best wishes for a bright and prosperous future, as well as a safe and worry-free graduation.

Nova Scotia Provincial Election
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia has a new premier and a new government following Tuesday's election. I want to congratulate all the candidates who ran for office from all parties, showing their commitment to Nova Scotia.

I want to personally congratulate the re-elected MLAs from my own riding: Marilyn More, Trevor Zinck and Becky Kent. I look forward to continuing to work with them to improve our communities.

I am thrilled to see Andrew Younger win my home provincial constituency of Dartmouth East. He is an outstanding advocate for Dartmouth East and will be a fabulous Liberal MLA, as will Kelly Regan, the wonderful new MLA in Bedford-Birch Cove. I also want to salute Steve McNeil, our leader in Nova Scotia, who fought a tremendously strong and honourable campaign.

I want to congratulate our new premier, NDP Premier Darrell Dexter, somebody I have known longer than either one of us would care to admit. He is an honourable public servant who has well earned this victory. While we belong to different political parties, I know him to be a dedicated, honest person who will put the province first.

I join all Nova Scotians in wishing him well as he takes on the difficult task of governing in uneasy times.

Gilles Tremblay
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Nicolas Dufour Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to pay tribute today to one of our own, a man from Repentigny, Gilles Tremblay. On May 20, the sports complex in Repentigny was renamed Complexe sportif Gilles-Tremblay, in honour of this former player for the Montreal Canadiens.

He skated with the Habs from 1960 to 1969, winning two Stanley Cups. When his career on the ice came to an end, he did not leave the hockey world, but became one of the first retired players to sit behind the microphone, joining the legendary René Lecavalier. He spent 27 years working on La Soirée du hockey, CBC's French-language version of Hockey Night in Canada, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a sports commentator in 2002.

As the member for Repentigny, I am very happy to be able to pay tribute to this passionate man. I congratulate Mr. Tremblay for his important contribution to the Repentigny community, and thank him for all the years he dedicated to promoting our national sport.

Labour
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 90th anniversary of the historic Winnipeg General Strike and the completion of the Ukrainian Labour Temple, recently designated a national historic site.

The temple stands in my constituency of Winnipeg North as a symbol of the courage needed always to defend the rights of working people who, like today, are often made to bear the brunt of a nation's economic ills.

The spirit of 1919 lives on through Danny Schur's musical, Strike!, and it lives on through concrete efforts today to build community and pursue social justice. It lives on in the Spirit's Call choir, which just donated the proceeds of its annual concert to the North Point Douglas Women's Centre, whose director is Elaine Bishop, a recent recipient of the YWCA's Woman of Distinction Award.

It lives on in this weekend's celebration of the first anniversary of Pollock's Hardware Co-op, which has proven that the spirit of cooperation and collective action can overcome.

Happy 90th Birthday, Winnipeg General Strike, the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians and the Ukrainian Labour Temple.

Sarnia-Lambton Committee against Trafficking of Women and Children
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today to pay tribute to a dynamic trio of women from my riding of Sarnia—Lambton.

The three women, Wilma McNeil, Vera Lawlor and Margaret Cushman, started a local group, the Sarnia-Lambton Committee against Trafficking of Women and Children.

From its humble beginnings of just three members a little over two years ago, these three women have persisted in bringing attention to this urgent issue and are now the proud founders of an organization that has membership from the Sexual Assault Survivors' Centre, the Sarnia Police Service, Sarnia-Lambton Crime Stoppers, the Salvation Army and a team of compassionate and dedicated volunteers.

They recently produced an info-pamphlet for distribution that identifies the signs of human trafficking and outlines actions for the public to take.

I invite all members of the House to join me in paying tribute to Wilma, Vera and Margaret for their selfless and tireless work in promoting human rights in our community.

Lobster Industry
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, lobster fishermen from Quebec, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador are reacting to the federal government's recent announcement with disappointment, frustration and concern.

For an industry that should be netting $5 billion in value to those provinces over the next five years, the government has extended $15 million in income support. That $15 million is to be spread over five provinces for 10,000 lobster fishermen.

The FFAW, the MFU and several Quebec-based fisheries organizations have all come out and said that the federal government's response is far too little and far too late. Some have said that the program is a good start, but for it to be a good start, there would have to be more on the way.

Little concrete information is out yet about the program, but here is a portion of what we do know: $15 million will be spread among 10,000 lobster fishermen; no applications or specific eligibility criteria have been established yet; and since it is based on a comparison of 2008 lobster earnings versus 2009 lobster earnings, it will not be until at least the fall of 2009 before one dime is spent.

Rogers TV
Statements By Members

June 12th, 2009 / 11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate Rogers TV Simcoe and Grey Counties, which took top honours at the 2009 Impression Awards.

The station was named TV Station of the Year and was honoured for its programming and community commitment to Simcoe and Grey Counties. The local channel produces substantial, quality and daily local programming that is so important to our communities.

The local Rogers channel also picked up the Impact Award for its documentary series, In Focus: Beating the Bully, one of two awards earned by Rogers TV producer Steve McEown.

The community channel earned three awards and two finalist nominations for its local news show and its coverage of the federal election in 2008.

I am very proud to have a group of television producers and journalists so dedicated to local television production in my community. The people of Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound are well served by this station and the committed people who make this station work day after day.

Congratulations to Rogers TV.

Conservative Stimulus Plan
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, we believe that the progress report on the Conservatives' stimulus plan, which the Prime Minister presented yesterday with great fanfare, is a con. Most of the infrastructure projects announced in the Liberal-supported plan are not even underway yet, even though the crisis has been going on for months.

The presidents of the Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités and the Union des municipalités du Québec are unanimous. They have not seen any money yet, and they are beginning to wonder if the crisis will be over by the time the work finally begins.

The fact is that barely 6% of the funds have been distributed. This government's stimulus plan is a failure, and more and more people are losing their jobs.

And what has the government decided to do? It has decided to delay employment insurance reform until the fall, thereby depriving thousands of unemployed workers of income. This government should have acted on the solutions proposed by the Bloc Québécois, solutions that communities support.

The Economy
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister reported to Canadians that 80% of our economic action plan initiatives are already being implemented.

Conservatives are delivering results and creating jobs. The Conservative government's unprecedented effort to accelerate job-creating investments is working for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We are creating jobs, stimulating the economy, and helping those hardest hit by the global recession.

In Cambridge yesterday, the Prime Minister said:

In just 72 days, our government has eighty per cent of the largest economic recovery program in Canadian history under way.

We are providing tax relief and improved access to financing for Canadian households and businesses; assisting unemployed workers through extended EI benefits and improved skills training; creating jobs through a massive injection of infrastructure spending; and investing in the jobs of tomorrow through new supports for research and technology.

At actionplan.gc.ca, Canadians can view all the new job creation projects that the economic action plan and this Conservative government are delivering for Canadians.

Dominic Giroux
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, on June 2, I had the pleasure of attending a ceremony to install my friend Dominic Giroux as the ninth president of Laurentian University.

I would like to begin by congratulating him, as well as his wife Barbara, herself a graduate of Laurentian University. I also want to wish him every success. His impressive record suggests nothing less.

At 18 years of age, he was elected as a school trustee here in eastern Ontario. Two years later, he became the youngest school board president in the country. He is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and the École des hautes études commerciales de Montréal. He began a career in education administration and climbed the ranks so quickly that, in his early 30s, he became the Deputy Minister of Education for the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, where he championed French-language education and an education strategy for aboriginal peoples.

The university's Board of Governors has made a judicious choice in Dominic. With his energy, enthusiasm, creativity and sincerity, the next 10 years should prove very successful for Laurentian University and the Sudbury area.

I wish Dominic continued success.

The Economy
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government has taken unprecedented and extraordinary action to accelerate the job-creating investments in Canada's economic action plan. Because of our unprecedented action, families and businesses in every region of Canada are now paying less tax, we are helping the unemployed, and major job-creating projects are already breaking ground.

This is in very sharp contrast to the Liberal plan of raising taxes. The leader of the Liberal Party announced a few months ago, “We will have to raise taxes”. This harmful policy is in addition to his promise to impose a job-killing carbon tax and increase the GST. Canadians do not want that, and that is why they trust our Conservative government to manage the economy.

Because of our government's prudent management of the country's finances and economy, we have managed to retain the smallest deficit compared to GDP of any G7 country.

Canada's economic action plan is internationally recognized as the right response to this economic challenge.