An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act

This bill was last introduced in the 37th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2002.


Bev Desjarlais  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Not active, as of Feb. 5, 2001
(This bill did not become law.)


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Species at Risk ActGovernment Orders

March 21st, 2002 / 11:20 a.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to address my comments today to the amendments in Group No. 3. The amendments have been divided into several groups. Group No. 3 deals with amendments on the theme of socioeconomic interests and public consultation.

A great deal of the work I have done in putting forward amendments to the bill was based upon public consultations in which I engaged in my own constituency on the subject of Bill C-5. This is a bill which has a different kind of impact and a different kind of response in rural areas as compared to urban areas.

My constituency of Lanark--Carleton is divided almost 50:50 rural-urban, so it seemed appropriate to me to consult with people in my constituency and inquire on how they felt about the bill. I had a tremendous amount of feedback and many suggestions and ideas which I tried to incorporate as best I could into amendments to the legislation, including some amendments in Group No. 3 and in some of the other groups. I believe I have put forward more amendments to the bill than any other member of the House.

Rather than speaking directly to any one amendment I thought I might deal with the theme of this group of amendments as a whole and the government's general treatment of this theme. Then I will speak to how it could be improved as a general thematic discussion.

I will start by talking a bit about the government's approach and the minister's approach to the theme of the bill's impact on socioeconomic interests. To frame that discussion I will be quoting somewhat extensively from the hon. minister's commentary before the Standing Committee on the Environment on October 3 of the year past. On the issue of compensation he said the following:

We then got deeper and deeper into this and it became more and more of the proverbial swamp, more and more difficult to do partly because, of course, governments should not pass legislation which is open-ended in terms of funding.

Do we not wish that were true with some of the other things to which the government commits? He continued:

We have fiscal responsibilities which, as you can well imagine, are fairly strict on us. Forty-five million a year is what we've been given to run the process and that's what we can expect and that's it.

A few days ago in the House it took us about 10 minutes to pass $16 billion of expenditures, so one wonders why there is this tremendous concern about adding $45 million in potential compensation costs to the government's budget.

This is indicative of the whole attitude of the minister toward the bill. It is an attitude which clearly could be dealt with, by the minister's own admission, for the very modest cost of $45 million. That is modest for a government which measures its expenditures in the tens of billions of dollars and the liabilities it has imposed upon future generations of Canadians in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

Nonetheless, it is a matter that could be dealt with if we were to adopt some of the amendments that have come forward with regard to the bill. If that were done, the bill would transform from being something unpopular among farmers and rural landowners to something they could support.

We should not forget that no one is more naturally friendly to that environment than those who live in it. Those who live surrounded by our woodlands, our fields and our lakes are those who have the deepest and most profound attachment to woodlands, fields, lakes, plains and mountains. They more than anybody else want to enjoy the direct personal benefit of knowing they are husbanding and protecting endangered species.

The proposed solution can be found thematically described best in a piece of private member's legislation from a previous parliament. It was a piece of legislation proposed by Herb Grubel, former member of parliament for West Vancouver--Sunshine Coast. He was one of the most intelligent members of parliament to serve in the House in recent decades and one of four members of parliament when I was a researcher who I thought had the most profound grasp and intellect.

The other three included the current member for North Vancouver with whom I worked on issues relating to direct democracy; Preston Manning with whom I worked on issues relating to national unity; and our former national unity critic for the then Reform Party, Stephen Harper, who had an extraordinary intellect. He was a truly remarkable man and I am sure hon. members will appreciate having him in the House soon.

Herb Grubel and I worked together on a piece of legislation known as the balanced budget and spending limit act which in the 35th parliament was under the title of Bill C-213.

That piece of legislation contained a compensation provision which would serve as a thematic guide for the government in this piece of legislation or indeed in any similar piece of legislation where the government considers engaging in what the Americans refer to as a taking, that is to say, some kind of restriction upon property rights possibly in the form of actually taking that piece of property from the private owner and placing it in government hands, moving it to some agency or simply restricting the use of that piece of property.

In the case of environmental legislation the most difficult kind of taking is a restriction upon use. One cannot, for example, cultivate a field, clear a woodlot or develop a subdivision because it is perhaps a nesting site. These are not unreasonable restrictions if some form of compensation is provided. By the government's estimate around $45 million in compensation would be necessary to protect the various animal, bird, reptilian, plant, mollusk and fish species, et cetera.

Under the bill that Herb Grubel put forward this kind of obligation was referred to as a transferred burden, that is to say, a burden of expenditure which the government has taken and transferred to a private individual.

Shipbuilding Act, 2001Routine Proceedings

June 12th, 2001 / 10:20 a.m.
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Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-389, an act to promote shipbuilding, 2001.

Mr. Speaker, this bill revives a bill introduced earlier, which was within an hour's debate of third reading. It was Bill C-213 intended to promote shipbuilding. This bill is the same as the previous one, except that an election has been held in the meantime. I would remind you of the three components of the bill.

First, it would establishe a program of loans and loan guarantees for shipbuilding.

Second, it aims to amend the Income Tax Act to improve the tax treatment of lease financing, which would apply to the area of ships as well.

Third, it would provide for a refundable tax credit for ships, oil platform facilities and other things.

I waited until the end of the session to introduce this bill in the hope that the Minister of Industry would act on his commitment to introduce measures himself. As it appears he will not be doing so, I am introducing this bill as insurance.

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

Division No. 76Adjournment Proceedings

April 23rd, 2001 / 7:20 p.m.
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Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, on February 5 of this year, I asked the new Minister of Industry a question regarding shipbuilding. Without rereading the text of the question, which anyone may consult in Hansard , I asked him when he intended to develop a shipbuilding policy, as promised two days before the election was called.

Furthermore, given that my Bill C-213 on shipbuilding had been through all stages except one hour of debate, which was refused me in the very week before the election was called, I asked the minister if he intended to introduce a bill on shipbuilding.

Although he was sympathetic to the spirit of my bill, he hid, as it were, behind a committee he had created on October 20, two days before the election was called, to study the issue of shipbuilding.

On March 30, the National Shipbuilding and Industrial Marine Partnership Project released a report in Halifax. This report contained 30 or so recommendations having to do with some very important topics, such as financing and tax exemptions. To a certain degree, it improved on my bill with respect to such issues as training and all aspects of technological innovation.

Now that all this has been done and the report submitted, I would expect the minister's representative—the minister not being here today—to tell the House exactly when he will be following up on the committee's report.

It was two years ago, on April 15, that I tabled a bill along these lines and everyone knows the procedures. First of all, my name had to be drawn, and I got 100 MPs to sign so that the bill would be given priority. This bill made it through all stages, including second reading and clause-by-clause study in committee of the whole.

Six months have elapsed since the election and nothing more has been done for the shipbuilding industry. When he was asked to comment on the report, the Minister of Industry said “Since the committee that I set up took six months to table its report, you will understand that I will take some months to review it”.

Again, this is a committee that was set up by the minister himself. This means that committee members met him at various stages. Two years after I tabled my bill, we should expect to have more details as to when the government will table a shipbuilding policy.

Since the tabling of my bill, an additional 2,000 workers have been laid off and two major shipyards, those of Saint John and Marinestown, have shut down. The situation is even more urgent and critical than before.

Will the minister wait until every shipyard in Canada and in Quebec is closed before making a move?

Eight years after the promise made in 1993 to develop a shipbuilding policy, can the Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry tell us when the minister and the Liberal government will finally act?

ShipbuildingStatements By Members

April 5th, 2001 / 2:10 p.m.
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Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all Bloc Quebecois members, I wish to express our strong support for the report of the national partnership project committee set up by the Minister of Industry which is designed to make our shipyards more competitive.

This report is in response to the work of the shipbuilding coalition and to my Bill C-213. It is a major victory for Bloc Quebecois members, for the other members who supported me and for all the stakeholders in the marine sector.

While we are pleased that the government is finally doing something to make our shipyards more competitive with those of countries that subsidize this industry or continue to apply protectionist measures, we must deplore the fact that the minister intends to take six months to follow up on the recommendations contained in that report.

Since the Liberals have made a habit of postponing things, I will soon introduce a new bill to force the federal government to take quick and concrete action to help the shipbuilding industry.

Canada Shipping Act, 2001Government Orders

March 12th, 2001 / 12:50 p.m.
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Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I am pleased to comment on Bill C-14, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.

This bill modernizes the legislation that will improve the safety and economic performance of the commercial marine industry as well as ensure the safety of those who use pleasure craft. Key changes to the existing legislation include improvements to provisions to protect and support efficient crews, ensure passenger and vessel safety and protect the environment. A new administrative penalties scheme provides an alternative means for dealing with certain contraventions.

The enactment clarifies the marine responsibilities of the Department of Transport and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The enactment organizes the contents, updates the terminology and streamlines substantive requirements to make the law much clearer and easier to understand.

The enactment amends the Shipping Conferences Act, 1987 to inject greater competition within shipping conferences, to streamline the administration of the act and to ensure that Canadian legislation covering international liner shipping conferences remains in harmony with that of Canada's major trading partners.

There are 14 parts to this bill. The first defines certain terms and provides details on its application.

Part 2 includes provisions with respect to the registration, listing and recording of vessels. This part comes under the responsibility of the Minister of Transport.

Part 3 includes provisions with respect to the qualifications and conditions of employment of crew members. This part also comes under the responsibility of the Department of Transport.

Part 4 includes provisions with respect to the safety of passengers and crew members. This part also comes under the responsibility of the Minister of Transport.

Part 5 includes provisions with respect to navigation services, the creation of VTS zones and the obligations of vessels in search and rescue operations. This part comes under the responsibility of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Part 6 deals with incidents, accidents and casualties. It determines the right to claim for salvage services, the obligations of vessels in case of collisions and the authority to inquire into causes of death. This part comes under the responsibility of the Department of Transport.

Part 7 has to do with wrecks, specifically their ownership and disposition. This part comes under the responsibility of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Part 8 determines the responsibilities of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans with respect to pollution and establishes rules for prevention and intervention.

Part 9 determines the responsibilities of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans with respect to pollution prevention.

Part 10, which has to do with pleasure craft, comes under the responsibility of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Part 11 concerns the application of the act and the various powers given the Minister of Transport.

Part 12 includes a variety of provisions, including provisions on proceedings initiated under the act.

Parts 13 and 14 contain transitional provisions and amendments in co-ordination with other laws.

All that to say the this bill, which died on the order paper at the last session, remains, in our opinion, a fine example of the pointlessness of the latest federal elections. Good bills were being studied, of course. This bill on shipping was one, as was Bill S-2 on maritime liability.

Members have obviously understood that the government is reintroducing, with great show, a bill that gathered dust on the shelves of the last parliament and died on the order paper because the federal government decided to call an election that was too early, according to some, and unnecessary, according to others.

I hope that the government is not waving the flags over these bills that are bursting out in great pomp at the start of this parliament. The work was already done. I know that my Bloc Quebecois colleagues worked on the bill, which appears as C-14, identical to what was introduced in the last parliament and debated then.

I must also point out the Minister of Transport said in a press release on March 1, when this bill was introduced, that its intent was to promote growth in the shipping industry.

Obviously, the Bloc Quebecois mentioned on a number of occasions and reiterated its position that the only way to achieve this objective of promoting economic growth in the shipping industry was to establish a real federal shipbuilding policy and to act in support of the shipbuilding industry.

There is nothing in this bill, which is a carbon copy of the legislation introduced in the last parliament, to support the shipbuilding industry. We, the members of the Bloc Quebecois, have made numerous representations to indicate that the industry is experiencing serious difficulties all across Canada.

Shipbuilding used to be a thriving industry. Today, it is only operating at 25% of its capacity. This means that millions of dollars are not being invested in the regions, and that has significant impact, particularly where there is a shipyard, such as in Lévis, on Île-aux-Coudres and in Les Méchins.

Shipbuilding has become a high tech sector that creates thousands of well paid jobs. However, the number of these jobs keeps decreasing. There are currently 2,750 people working in the sector, compared to over 12,000 at one time. Canada's shipbuilding industry urgently requires new support measures. Canada must be able to face international competition and better position itself in this respect.

The frequent media reports on the problems at the Lévis shipyard may give the impression that this shipyard is the only one experiencing difficulties. We can see, both in Vancouver and in Halifax, the lack of federal involvement. The Lévis shipyard is but one example of the federal government's laissez-faire approach in the industry. The fact that all Canadian shipyards are experiencing problems and are already operating below capacity confirms the need for a true federal shipbuilding policy.

Here are the elements that are to the advantage of Canada's shipbuilding industry and that justify federal assistance to that industry.

First, Canada's manpower is qualified and less costly than that of most competing countries.

Second, the majority of Canadian shipyards use very modern equipment and advanced technology: two of them meet the ISO-9001 standard, while four meet the ISO-9002 standard.

Third, shipyard managers and other stakeholders in the industry have felt for at least ten years that the federal government has abandoned them and they claim that they are penalized compared to other sectors, including the aerospace industry.

Fourth, with direct access to three oceans and to the world's longest inland waterway, shipbuilders and shipowners wonder why Canada chose to let the industry down.

Fifth, marine transportation is the most economical and environmentally friendly means of transportation.

Sixth, a number of shipyards are surviving at the present time because of provincial government intervention, although this is an area of federal jurisdiction. Quebec has tax measures, including a tax credit; Nova Scotia has a specific program of financial guarantees; and British Columbia has encouraged the acceleration of its aluminum ferry program.

Seventh, Canada's shipbuilding industry is at a disadvantage compared to its Asian competitors who receive government subsidies of up to 30% of the amount of their contracts, the Europeans who receive about 9%, and the Americans who benefit from protectionist measures. Yet Canada has neither subsidies nor protectionist measures; we have missed the boat.

On October 14, 1999, the hon. member for Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière introduced a private member's bill, Bill C-213, on shipbuilding. His bill provided a clear illustration of the framework required to assist the shipbuilding industry, as indeed it must be assisted. It drew upon the consensual demands from the various stakeholders in the industry, from the unions to the Shipbuilding Association of Canada.

Believe it or not, the Liberal government succeeded in declaring Bill C-213 non-votable. This bill, intended as it was to promote shipbuilding in Canada and to enhance the competitive capacity of Canadian shipyards, was deferred and struck from the order paper by the government of the Liberal party.

Today, I would like to list the advantages that were offered by Bill C-213 and continue to be concerns for the industry and the major stakeholders.

First, Bill C-213 called for a loan and loan guarantee program, something for which the Bloc Quebecois is still calling. Canada's shipbuilding industry everywhere ought to be able to benefit from loan guarantees.

More specifically, the bill called for the establishment of a program whereby a maximum of 87.5% of the money borrowed by a company from financial institutions to purchase a commercial ship that would be built in a shipyard located in Canada would be guaranteed by the federal government in the event of default in the repayment of the loan, bear a rate of interest comparable to that available for loans from financial institutions to large and financially strong corporations, and be repayable on terms comparable to those usually granted by financial institutions to large and financially strong corporations for the repayment of their loan. Therefore, nothing beyond what other major industries in Canada could claim was asked.

Second, Bill C-213 sought to have new vessels excluded from the lend-lease regulations. Revenue Canada's lend-lease regulations eliminate lend-lease purchase of ships in Canada. Revenue Canada significantly reduces the amounts that may be deducted annually from taxable revenue as depreciation in the case of lend-lease financing. Under the terms of lend-lease, only the notional principal of the loan may enter into the calculation of the depreciation.

As interest primarily is repaid in the first years of the lease, the depreciation permitted is minimal. It is therefore carried over from the first years to the final years of the useful life of the ship, something that runs contrary to the economic realities of the owner operator, whose major expenses come primarily in the first years, with things improving in the final years.

By increasing from the outset the tax burden of shipowners who use the lend-lease option, Revenue Canada's lend-lease regulations make it rather unappealing if not squarely uneconomic to use a lend-lease option to buy and finance a ship built in Canada. More specifically, the bill proposed to amend the provisions of the Income Tax Act and of its regulations to make tax provisions on lend-lease more beneficial when buying a ship built by a shipyard located in Canada.

The third major component of Bill C-213 was the creation of a refundable tax credit as asked, again, by stakeholders and the industry.

In 1997, the government of Quebec announced tax incentives to stimulate the shipping industry. These incentives are based on a tax credit that the federal government should use as a model. The Quebec government raised the refundable tax credit for shipbuilding, around since 1996, from 40% to 50%. It also introduced a tax credit for the conversion or major refitting of ships, and it extended this measure to oil rigs, in addition to making some adjustments to the measure to reduce capital taxes.

The Quebec tax policy is essentially based on a tax credit. Eligible expenses include primarily salaries relating to the building of a ship, drawings and specifications, and also half of the costs of contracts relating to construction. This tax credit amounts to 50% of eligible expenses, but it cannot exceed by more than 20% the costs at the end of a taxation year that have been incurred to build the ship. A tax credit for similar eligible expenses is also provided for the conversion or major refitting of ships.

The Liberal government refuses to harmonize federal tax measures with those of Quebec, as it agreed to do, among others, for the motion picture and television production industry. By taxing provincial tax benefits granted to the shipbuilding industry, Ottawa eliminates the positive effect of the deductions granted by Quebec to stimulate the industry. Not only does Ottawa not bother to come up with more beneficial measures, it also adversely affects the policy put forward by the Quebec government.

People often say “If you are not able to help, quit always making matters worse”. That is what the federal government is doing right now: it is not helping the industry and it is making matters worse for this industry where Quebec's tax credit is concerned.

Bill C-213 specifically suggested amending the provisions of the Income Tax Act and the Income Tax Regulations in order to allow owners of vessels and shipyards a refundable tax credit for a portion of the costs relating to the construction or refit of a commercial ship in a shipyard located in Canada or the conversion of a ship in such a shipyard. Under Bill C-213, these people could have obtained tax credits.

Once again, I repeat, the Liberal government decided to reject this bill. It will not debate it and there will not be a vote. This wonderful initiative by the brilliant Bloc Quebecois member for Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière has therefore been put off indefinitely. It will not be used by the government. Once again, the Government of Canada is passing up a wonderful opportunity to breathe new life into the shipbuilding industry, which was the pride of Canada and which is now operating at only 25% of its capacity.

Although the Bloc Quebecois agrees with the reference of Bill C-14 to committee for discussion, we regret that the government did not take the opportunity to re-examine this text which had already been considered in the last parliament and which involved no work on the government's part. It could at least have used the opportunity to add a complete chapter on assistance for shipbuilding, which would have eased the plight of this industry in Canada.

Canada Elections ActRoutine Proceedings

February 5th, 2001 / 3:05 p.m.
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Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-213, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your position as Speaker of the House.

This bill is one that I am following up on for the hon. member from Kamloops, Thompson and Highland Valleys. It would lower the voting age to 16. I think Canadians were greatly surprised that our voter turnout in the last federal election was at probably an all time low. We have a very apathetic group of Canadians with regard to the electoral system. People just do not have faith in the democratic system any more.

This is an opportunity for young people who are still in school and still learning about our electoral and parliamentary systems throughout the country to be active participants in the electoral system. We often hear colleagues suggesting that 16 year olds, even 10 year olds sometimes, should be treated as adults through the adult court system. Certainly if anyone can suggest that young people be treated as adults through the adult court system, then young people should be given the opportunity to vote in federal elections. This is the time for it and Canada needs to address the issue.

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