An Act to amend certain Acts and instruments and to repeal the Fisheries Prices Support Act

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

Sponsor

Don Boudria  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Elsewhere

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.

Pest Control Products ActThe Royal Assent

June 13th, 2002 / 4:45 p.m.
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The Speaker

I have the honour to inform the House that when the House went up to the Senate chamber, the Deputy Governor General was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:

Bill C-43, an act to amend certain acts and instruments and to repeal the Fisheries Prices Support Act—Chapter 17.

Bill C-10, an act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada—Chapter 18.

Bill C-50, an act to amend certain acts as a result of the accession of the People's Republic of China to the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization—Chapter 19.

Bill S-41, an act to re-enact legislative instruments enacted in only one official language—Chapter 20.

Bill C-27, an act respecting the long-term management of nuclear fuel waste—Chapter 22.

Bill C-47, an act respecting the taxation of spirits, wine and tobacco and the treatment of ships' stores—Chapter 22.

Bill C-59, an act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2003—Chapter 21.

Protection of the Unborn ChildPrivate Members' Business

May 23rd, 2002 / 6:25 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, it should be pretty obvious by the debate that has taken place and the 300 to 400 letters per day that I have received in support of my motion that the debate is not over. It should be obvious that the government's contention that the debate is over is absolutely not true. Before today's one hour debate is over we need to review a bit of the history on this life and death issue before we let it drop.

Prior to 1969 all abortions were illegal. From 1969 to 1988 Canada had a law in our criminal code providing for an abortion only when a therapeutic abortion committee of three doctors agreed that the continuation of the pregnancy would cause harm to the life or health of the mother and the word “health” was not defined or limited. In 1988 the supreme court struck down the abortion law as unconstitutional.

The supreme court ruling commonly referred to as the Morgentaler decision provided constitutional parameters for a new abortion law. Based on the instructions from the supreme court justices in 1990 the government of the day introduced, debated and passed Bill C-43 in the House of Commons but the bill was defeated by one vote in the Senate.

Since that time the government has not restricted abortions in any way and all unborn children have been without any rights. Since then more than one million babies have been aborted.

Most politicians were hoping the issue would just go away. I sensed that from the government again today. In 1988 the supreme court said that this was an issue best left to parliament. I say it is time for parliament to assume its responsibility.

Many key moral and legal issues such as reproductive technologies, rights of the unborn and a mother's duty of care for her unborn hinge on when the law says a child becomes a human being.

In May 1991 Bill C-43, an act respecting abortions, was debated in parliament. That was the last time there was any serious debate about the rights of the unborn in the House. That is a disgrace and it should change.

The unwillingness of the government to even debate or study the issue or to ask Canadians what they think about the issue is negligence on a grand scale. If the United Nations contends that babies need the government's protection before as well as after birth, then this 14 years of government neglect amounts to a clear case of criminal negligence.

Every time I raise this life and death issue in the House I am always asked what about a woman's right to her own body? It happened again today. People ask if approval of my motion results in a change in the definition of a human being in Canadian law, whose rights come first, the baby's or the woman's? I agree that everyone has a right to their own body until it interferes with someone else's right to their own body.

The problem is that under Canadian law the human being growing inside the woman has no rights until he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal. I maintain that at some point during the pregnancy the unborn baby's rights are equal to the woman's rights. Even the United Nations agrees that every unborn child has rights and that these rights need the protection of the Government of Canada.

Passing my motion would start a debate in parliament and in public to determine at what point during the pregnancy the helpless unborn child deserves some protection, any protection under law. Perhaps those who are heckling me right now would like to support my motion and start that debate rather than just heckle.

I respectfully request that the House give consent to refer this motion to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights so that parliament can hear what Canadians really think. I would like that to be done at this time. If consent is given I would be pleased to do that.

There are questions that face us right now. What is the unborn? Does the size of the human being matter? Does its level of development define its essence? Does its environment affect its humanity? Does its degree of dependency determine its value? Those are all questions that we should be talking about and it all hinges on this. That is why I am asking for consent to refer this motion to the standing committee.

Protection of the Unborn ChildPrivate Members' Business

May 23rd, 2002 / 5:45 p.m.
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Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Paul MacKlin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the motion brought forward by the hon. member for Yorkton--Melville.

The motion calls for the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to review the current definition of a human being in subsection 223(1) of the criminal code. The motion raises the issue of the point at which a fetus becomes a human being and whether the current definition of human being complies with the United Nations convention on the rights of the child.

I cannot support the motion. The views of Canadians diverge significantly on the rights of the fetus. The very question raises a whole host of issues with moral, social, economic, health and legal implications. Achieving consensus on an issue that touches on so many fundamental values in Canadian society is an extremely difficult task.

The hon. member for Yorkton--Melville raises the issue of whether the current definition of a human being is consistent with the United Nations convention on the rights of the child. The United Nations convention on the rights of the child, which Canada ratified, does not address the issue of when a child's life begins. It was not an oversight but rather recognition of the fact that each country must determine the issue for itself based on a balancing of a number of fundamental values.

The Supreme Court of Canada commented on the rights of the fetus in two key decisions: the Dobson decision and the Winnipeg Child and Family Services decision.

In the latter decision, the supreme court questioned whether a pregnant woman could be confined and treated against her will in order to protect the fetus. The court held that child protection was an area of provincial responsibility, particularly if the decision affected provincial child welfare laws. The court also held that any attempt to address the rights of the fetus must be balanced with the rights of the pregnant woman.

We have reached a delicate balance in Canada. The definition of a human being in the criminal code states that:

A child becomes a human being with the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother...”

The criminal code provides a certain degree of protection to the fetus by stating that a person commits homicide by killing an unborn child in the act of birth, under certain conditions. For example, section 238 creates the offence of killing an unborn child in the act of birth. This offence applies even though the child has not yet technically met the definition of a human being.

These provisions properly balance the need to protect the fetus and the circumstances of the pregnant woman, her rights, interests, and claim to protection in Canadian society. Any change to the definition of human being in the criminal code could have the effect of criminalizing abortion.

When the provision of the criminal code dealing with abortion was struck down by the supreme court in January 1988, parliamentarians endeavoured to find a basis of agreement that respected differing opinions and constitutional guarantees. Members will recall that Bill C-43, an act respecting abortion, was defeated in the Senate on January 31, 1991, on the basis of a 43:43 vote.

The absence of a criminal law on abortion does not mean that a legislative or legal vacuum exists. The delivery of abortion services is currently regulated by provincial governments who are responsible for the delivery of health care services, and by the standards set by the medical profession itself.

The majority of Canadians are satisfied with this division of regulatory responsibilities and that abortion is regulated as a health and medical matter, and not a criminal matter.

Motion No. 392 clearly touches upon some of the most fundamental moral, social, economic, health and legal questions. These questions often come down to our own fundamental and personal values. It is the responsibility of the government to examine these fundamental questions and strive to achieve some balance between the competing views.

This is what parliament and the provincial legislatures have done since 1991 on the issue of abortion. This is precisely the same approach of the government on the issue of when a child becomes a human being. We believe that a majority of Canadians are comfortable with this approach. We have balanced the rights of the fetus with the rights of the pregnant woman. We have done so in a way that is consistent with our international obligations. We have also committed not to criminalize a woman's right to make choices regarding her physical and mental health.

Given the delicate balancing that was required to get to where we are today, I cannot support opening up the definition of a human being in the criminal code. For these reasons I am unable to support the motion.

An Act to Amend Certain Acts and Instruments and to Repeal the Fisheries Prices Support ActGovernment Orders

April 12th, 2002 / 10 a.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of Bill C-43 is to make minor technical amendments and corrections to various statutes and to repeal the Fisheries Prices Support Act.

The enactment would make technical corrections to the Access to Information Act, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Act, the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, the Public Service Staff Relations Act, the Yukon First Nations Self-Government Act, and a number of acts that come under the jurisdiction of the Departments of Canadian Heritage and Finance.

The government announced in December 1994 that it would streamline government agencies, boards and advisory bodies. Much of the so-called streamlining simply removed appointments from parliamentary scrutiny by what had been order-in-council appointments. Following the December 1994 announcement the board ceased operations on March 31, 1995.

This is the third time the repeal of the Fisheries Prices Support Act has been before parliament. It was first introduced in June 1996 as Bill C-49 but did not get beyond second reading prior to the call of the election. The repeal was reintroduced as part of Bill C-44 in June 1998. Once again Bill C-44 did not get beyond second reading and was not reintroduced prior to the last election. The repeal of the act has had a low priority for the government as have all matters relating to the fishery.

The Fisheries Prices Support Act was passed in 1994 establishing the Fisheries Prices Support Board which was responsible for investigating sharp declines in fish prices and, where appropriate, recommending price support. The board was empowered to purchase fish products, to sell or otherwise dispose of these products, and to make deficiency payments to producers. The intent of the act was to protect fishermen against sharp declines in prices and consequent loss of income due to causes beyond the control of fishermen or the fishing industry.

The board has not undertaken any significant price support activities since 1982 except for the purchase of fish as food aid for distribution by CIDA.

Bill C-43 can be considered a hybrid of the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act. Bill C-43 contains a number of provisions omitted from the draft of the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, MSLA, Bill C-40. The miscellaneous statute law amendment program was initiated in 1975 to allow for minor, non-controversial amendments to federal statutes in an omnibus bill. A draft version of Bill C-40 was submitted to the standing committees on justice of the House and the Senate.

The MSLA process requires any item objected to by a Senate or House committee to be withdrawn from the bill. To be included, the proposed amendments must meet certain criteria. They must not be controversial, not involve the spending of public funds, not unfairly affect the rights of persons, not create a new offence, and not subject a new class of persons to any existing offence.

The procedure is designed to eliminate any potential controversial items ensuring quick passage of the bill. Bill C-43 contains items objected to in Bill C-40 and also contains new items regarding the repeal of the Fisheries Prices Support Act as well as items that did not make it into Bill C-40 on time.

While Bill C-43 contains minor technical changes similar to an MSLA bill it cannot be treated as an MSLA bill since a few of the amendments did not meet the criteria for an MSLA bill. Quick passage could not be granted and a committee hearing was deemed necessary.

Both the House and Senate committees objected to clauses in Bill C-40 that appear in Bill C-43 as clauses 2, 3 and 4 because they allowed the minister to enter into agreements with the government of any province or provinces in Atlantic Canada respecting the carrying out of any program or project of the agency. This is a change from cabinet authority to ministerial authority.

The Senate and House committees objected to a clause in Bill C-40 that appears as clause 21 in Bill C-43 because it would require royal recommendation. Clause 21 would repeal a section of the National Film Act that limits the National Film Board's ability to appoint staff with salaries of over $99,000 without seeking the approval of cabinet. The clause is viewed by the film board as an unnecessary administrative requirement. The original intent of the provision dates back to 1939. The change would not increase the film board's budget that is approved by parliament.

We in the official opposition support Bill C-43. However it is the first fisheries legislation the government has enacted since coming to office in 1993. It would repeal the defunct Fisheries Prices Support Act that has been little used since 1982 and whose board was shut down in 1995.

The Canadian Alliance would support a fisheries policy that protected the public fishery, fish stocks and fish habitat. We would support a policy that provided for a fishery with equal access for all, healthy sustainable stocks, and a habitat that ensured stocks for the future. The CA supports the strategic purchase of surplus fish products by CIDA for use as part of Canada's food aid programs. The continued existence of the Fisheries Prices Support Act with its defunct board has not contributed to nor has it been a necessary precondition for a healthy fishery.

Bill C-43 is a reminder that fishermen, fisheries legislation and fisheries policy have not been a priority for the government.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

April 11th, 2002 / 3 p.m.
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Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I first want to congratulate the member for Saskatoon--Rosetown--Biggar, a fellow Saskatchewanian, upon her appointment as deputy House leader for the official opposition.

This afternoon we will be continuing with the debate on Bill C-15B, the legislation relating to cruelty to animals. When that is completed, I expect to move on to Bill C-15A, the legislation relating to pornography. If there is time after that, we will go on to Bill C-53, the pest control bill, followed by Bill S-40 respecting financial clearinghouses.

Tomorrow the business will be Bill C-43, the miscellaneous technical amendments legislation, followed by the consideration of the Senate amendments to Bill C-33, the Nunavut legislation.

On Monday I would expect to begin the day with Bill C-53 but after 3 p.m. we will turn to Bill C-54 which relates to sports in Canada.

Commencing on Tuesday we will return to the report stage debate of Bill C-5 respecting species at risk.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

December 13th, 2001 / 3:10 p.m.
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Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon we will continue with the third reading debate on Bill C-27, the nuclear safety bill.

Then we will proceed to the consideration of Bill C-15B, the criminal code amendments, at report stage, followed by the third reading debate on Bill C-43, the technical amendments bill. Consideration of these bills will continue tomorrow.

For next week, which of course commences on January 28, we will resume the budget debate and we will proceed, as quickly as possible after the budget debate concludes, to the legislation emanating from the budget, in other words, the budget implementation bill or bills.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all hon. members and, in particular, the House leaders of various political parties, including those who have gone on to bigger and better things, for their continued co-operation during the entire year 200. They have made this year a productive legislative year. As a matter of fact it has been the most productive year in the five years that I have been House leader. It has been a banner year. I thank all hon. members for making it possible for the House, this parliament and this government to legislate in such an effective way on behalf of Canadians.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

December 13th, 2001 / 12:45 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure for me to rise and get this opportunity to address the motion before the House concerning the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Finance ironically called “Securing Our Future”.

In referring to the report itself, at the start of my remarks I would like to pay a special tribute to my colleague in the coalition from Kings--Hants and all the work he does as our finance critic in trying to hold this government accountable. Trying to do that is a huge job, as I am sure people out in the real world fully understand.

I would like to point out and perhaps read just a couple of excerpts from the report itself into the record. They show a clear difference of opinion between the approach taken by the Liberal government with its free spending ways, which the latest example of which is contained in the budget of this week, and the approach advocated by the PC/DR coalition. One of the recommendations states:

The PC-DRC strongly supports recommendations to significantly increase resources for the Department of National Defence, the RCMP and CSIS.

I want to say that at the outset because the government did move in that area. All of us are aware that it has spent a considerable amount of time over the last few days bragging about what it calls its security budget. In a few moments I will to get why we have concerns about that.

While we support the general approach that we obviously need and have been calling for money to be funnelled to especially our armed forces for a number of years now, we have some concerns about the way in which this government will be held accountable for that spending. Another recommendation states:

The PC-DRC recommends implementation of an annual “Red Tape Budget” in addition to the annual spending budget. This would afford Parliament the opportunity to debate the regulatory burden on both Canadian business and individuals. The regulatory budget would detail the estimated total cost of each individual regulation, including the enforcement costs to the government and the compliance costs to individual citizens and businesses. A regulatory budget would help hold governments accountable for the full costs of their regulations and could prevent the current patchwork of redundant regulation that can stifle Canadian enterprise.

That is in direct response to pleas that we hear constantly from the private sector about the increased costs of regulation, yet we see all too often that the government does not move in that area to eliminate red tape to reduce the costs of doing business in Canada.

We have a number of other recommendations that came forward, as I said, from our finance critic, the hon. member for Kings--Hants. I strongly recommend that people read not just the report of the committee but the supplementary report contained at the back, which puts forward some ideas from our critic.

Specifically on the issue of the budget, as I said in my remarks, we support the specific targeting of some of the hard-earned tax dollars that are sent to Ottawa to areas of law enforcement, border, port and airport security, and increased funding to replace the cuts from CSIS and RCMP, as well as to try to replace at least some of the funding that has been slashed from our armed forces budgets over the years.

I would like to perhaps just remark briefly, again with a touch of irony, that this budget, for which we waited almost two years, follows the latest report from the auditor general by about a week.

Some of the issues the auditor general raised are very interesting. In connection with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, she said that it needed to improve the way it looked for smuggled or dangerous goods entering the country, obviously highlighting some of the problems that she has identified with that particular agency. It is interesting that contained in this budget is an additional $1.2 billion of new money for that area.

That is a concern because, while I think there is general acceptance across the nation of the need to spend increased dollars in these areas to secure our country and our citizens, there is great concern about the accountability or lack of same from the government.

On the employment insurance surplus, she noted that the surplus grew by about $8 billion last year to roughly $36 billion, even though the government's own actuary said the fund needed no more than a maximum of $15 billion to cover any potential downturn, which we all know we are already into. Obviously the government is using the dramatically inflated employment insurance fund as its slush fund to funnel money into programs that it deems important. I stress it deems important. It is quite likely not shared by a lot of citizens out in the real world.

I also noted one other area, which is the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. The auditor general noted that ACOA failed to inform the public about $400 million in loans. Why that jumped out at me is because another piece of legislation which is currently before the House of Commons is what is referred to as a housekeeping bill, technical amendments to a variety of acts, Bill C-43. One change the bill would make to the act which deals with the governance of ACOA is that the board of directors of ACOA, once Bill C-43 is passed into law, will only meet once a year rather than four times. This will occur despite some obvious concerns being expressed by the auditor general about the accountability of that organization.

What else has the auditor general said? I am sure some of the numerous quotes will be of great interest to the viewing public. On the big issue of the undermanagement of grant and contribution programs, the auditor general said:

A lack of diligence in designing programs, assessing project applications, and monitoring recipients' performance meant that public funds were placed at risk. But the attention paid to grants and contributions has not yet been translated into overall improvement in the way they are managed across the federal government. As this report shows, all programs we audited had one or more significant shortcomings.

The auditor general went on to say:

The government still has a lot to do to fix the chronic problems in the way it manages grants and contributions.

I assume this is despite the so-called human resources development minister's much vaunted six point plan. She went on to say:

Our most recent audits found a government-wide control system for grants and contributions that is not yet rigorous enough to ensure the proper management of public funds. We are concerned that serious and correctable problems remain unexamined and uncorrected.

She went on to say:

Grant and contribution programs tend to be undermanaged—departments pay too little attention to their design, delivery, capacity, and performance and to the training of staff who manage them. Until the Secretariat and departments meet all of their responsibilities and manage grants and contributions rigorously, these programs will have chronic problems and run an ongoing risk of using public funds ineffectively and inefficiently.

I would suggest that this is a pretty damming report by the auditor general about the spending habits of some of the departments of this Liberal government. Yet we see dramatic increases in spending in the budget.

It is interesting to note that one would have to question why the finance minister did not address some of the issues brought forward by the auditor general and try to clean them up. Perhaps part of the reason is the very real worry, which I am sure he has, that with an upcoming leadership race in the Liberal Party of Canada he cannot afford to alienate or anger any of his caucus colleagues, especially his cabinet colleagues who wield certain influence within the Liberal Party of Canada.

I wonder how much of the government's inattention to the auditor general's report and correcting the problems she has identified is attributable to that rather than oversight and sloppy bookkeeping.

During question period this week, the hon. finance minister made some sort of remark about the importance of a budget being how it is received by the public. What is important in a budget is the proper care and maintenance of the sanctity of tax dollars of hard-working Canadians, not what the public might or might not think about how the government puts its budget together.

Points of Order

December 10th, 2001 / 11:10 a.m.
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The Speaker

Before we begin today's sitting I wish to rule on a point of order raised by the hon. member for Elk Island in the House on Friday, December 7 when the question was put on the motion for concurrence at report stage of Bill C-43, an act to amend certain acts and instruments and to repeal the Fisheries Prices Support Act.

A number of other members also intervened and the Chair is grateful to them for putting forward their arguments.

The Chair has reviewed very carefully the broadcast tape of the House's proceedings for that day as well as the Hansard record. The Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole, who was in the Chair at the time, having called for the yeas and nays stated:

In my opinion the yeas have it.

However, in pronouncing those words, she motioned to the side of the House from which it appeared the nays had issued, in this case the opposition side of the House. When members from that side sought clarification the Chair then stated:

In my opinion the nays have it.

Although a viewing of the tape only reveals what the camera captures, it seems that considerable confusion ensued. At this point five government members stood to demand a recorded division. However, to address this confusion, the Chair then sought clarification from the House by calling again for the yeas and nays.

Here again, unfortunately, the confusion continued with both yeas and nays essentially being called at the same time. In the event, the Chair declared this time that the yeas had it and fewer than five members having stood to request a recorded division the Chair declared the motion carried on division.

When the hon. member for Elk Island rose to question the result of the vote, the Chair acknowledged that, and I quote:

--it was not clear who was standing and who was not standing in the House.

She invited the member to take it up with the Speaker.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

December 6th, 2001 / 3 p.m.
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Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we will continue this afternoon with Bill C-24, the organized crime legislation, which is currently before the House, and at least consider the Senate's amendments to Bill C-24.

This will be followed by Bill C-15B, the criminal code amendments, as I announced yesterday to the House leaders of the other parties.

Then, if there is any time remaining today, we will continue with Bill C-27, the nuclear safety bill.

Tomorrow, we hope to pass Bill C-46, the ignition interlock device bill sponsored by the Minister of Justice, at all stages. I thank the leaders of all parties for having consented to move this through all stages before the holidays.

We will then call report stage and second reading of Bill C-23, the competition legislation. If there is any time left tomorrow, we will turn to report stage and third reading of Bill C-43, the technical amendments bill.

On Monday, we will return to the bills I have listed, and those that have not been completed, that is unfinished business from today and tomorrow.

I would remind hon. members that the budget will be presented at 4 p.m. on Monday, of course, and the budget debate, that is the debate on the amendment to the amendment—in the improbable event of some hon. members wishing to propose an amendment to the amendment—would take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, with division at the end of the day, on Wednesday.

The business scheduled for Thursday and Friday of next week, if the House is sitting, would be Bill C-42.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

December 5th, 2001 / 3:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Ovid Jackson Liberal Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, as chair of the Standing Committee on Transport and Government Operations I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the eighth report of the committee.

Pursuant to its order of reference of Friday, November 20, the committee has considered Bill C-44, an act to amend the Aeronautics Act and reports the bill with amendment.

As well, pursuant to its order of reference of Friday, November 20, the committee has considered Bill C-43, an act to amend certain acts and instruments and to repeal the Fisheries Prices Support Act and reports the bill, in both official languages, with amendment.

An act to amend certain acts and instruments and to repeal the Fisheries Prices Support ActGovernment Orders

November 30th, 2001 / 1:30 p.m.
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The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

The question is on Bill C-43 at second reading. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

An act to amend certain acts and instruments and to repeal the Fisheries Prices Support ActGovernment Orders

November 30th, 2001 / 1:20 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

The junior minister of finance says it does not bother him a bit, but I am sure he does not speak for all of his colleagues. It does bother some of them. The way this government is continuing to govern with its dictatorial and arrogant manner I think it is of great concern to a great many Canadians. That is the simple reality of the situation.

When the government perceives the least bit of opposition from Canadians and from the opposition parties to try to improve a piece of legislation, instead of trying to work with those groups and those political parties, it just brings down the heavy hammer and after there has been a couple of hours of debate it rams it through the House of Commons. It does not matter that certain parties did not even get a chance to speak at third reading. It does not matter that some amendments did not even get a minute of debate on the floor of the Chamber. The reality is the government rams it through using closure or time allocation.

These are the same members in many cases, because of their longevity, who ranted and railed against those uses of power by the preceding government. Yet now that they are in power they have used it far more than the government before them.

Why Bill C-43 is before the Chamber today? In some cases there are legitimate errors, or omissions or adaptations that were necessary to this myriad of statutes and laws. However in some cases, as my colleague from the Canadian Alliance already pointed out, it is sloppy work. One of the trademarks of this government, over the eight years that I have been in this Chamber since the fall of 1993, is sloppy work. We hear this from a great many people. Certainly a great many parliamentarians who have a lot more history either in this Chamber or in the other place than I have are remarking that never before in their political history have they seen such sloppy work from a government. It brings forward legislation, amends it before it almost gets to the House, then it changes it.

Bill C-36 is a prime example. There were 100 amendments, it was still deeply flawed and the government had to rush it through. It will still be a mess and create problems when it gets to the Senate. The senators will probably amend it and send it back.

The government seems intent upon forcing through legislation, whereas if it just took a bit more time, worked in a more co-operative manner with the opposition parties and seriously considered some of the amendments that are brought forward both at committee and at report stage, we would see a lot better legislation passed through this House. We would see a functioning parliament. We would see a legislature working for the people instead of against the people. That is the reality of the government and a sad legacy for it.

An act to amend certain acts and instruments and to repeal the Fisheries Prices Support ActGovernment Orders

November 30th, 2001 / 1:15 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

My hon. colleague from Manitoba mentions Bill C-36. Of course the whole country if not the whole world is now aware that the government brought forward the dictatorial power it has to enact closure and time allocation and crush any debate.

I pointed out yesterday that the coalition had amendments that did not get one minute of debate on the floor of the Chamber before those amendments were put to a vote. That was at report stage.

Then at third reading of that legislation, both the New Democratic Party and the coalition did not get the opportunity to put up even one speaker before the government shut down debate. It basically eliminated the opportunity for Canadians to have their elected representatives bring forward concerns about the legislation. That is completely unacceptable.

There is more than a touch of irony that today, a couple of days later, we are debating Bill C-43 which makes, as the hon. House leader quite rightly identified, technical or minor amendments to a myriad of other acts.

I was going to end my comments at this point but one of the government members took it upon himself to say that it was so unacceptable that the coalition, or at least the majority of our members, voted for Bill C-36. That bears a bit of explanation and I thank the hon. member for his heckling from across the way to remind me of that.

On controversial issues like that, clearly there are parts of an omnibus bill that we believe are going in the right direction. This is true for so much of the legislation that comes before the House. Then there are other parts that we are vehemently opposed to and have very serious concerns about. Members, and I would suggest not just opposition members but indeed members of the governing party as well, are constantly caught in a quandary of whether to support the legislation as brought forward by the government or whether to vote against it. Oftentimes there is some good and some bad in the same legislation and we have to weigh the pros and cons.

Unfortunately, what inevitably happens, and the same would be true of a bill like the one we are debating today, Bill C-43, is that there may indeed be some good and some bad in a bill like this. It is an omnibus bill. It is making, as I said, a whole range of amendments, termed as minor amendments by the government, to a whole range of laws and statutes. The reality is that often times we are caught where we have to make a judgment call as to whether there is some good, some bad and which way to go on a particular way of legislation.

The only way to get around that is what the government is at least at this point willing to do with Bill C-42, the next omnibus so-called anti-terrorism bill. The government brought it forward. Then, within a day, it was before the opposition party claiming it needed to draw out one or several clauses and get them through the House, such as the clause dealing with airplane manifests and passenger lists, and then just let the remainder of Bill C-42 sit there for the time being and not debate it in the House. Rather it would have the House rising early, as the House leader for the opposition stated. Nine times so far in this fall session the House has adjourned early for lack of legislation put forward by the government.

This is a growing concern, I believe, not just to the opposition but indeed to a number of government backbenchers as well in the sense that the--

An act to amend certain acts and instruments and to repeal the Fisheries Prices Support ActGovernment Orders

November 30th, 2001 / 1:10 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Madam Speaker, it is a distinct pleasure to rise on a Friday afternoon to direct some comments on such an important and momentous bill as Bill C-43. To the hon. NDP member who just spoke, I would like to say at the outset that I do believe there is nobody further to the left of him other than perhaps the heritage minister. I would like to clear that up right at the beginning of my remarks. Although we are physically located to the left of him, we certainly do not believe on the political spectrum that we are.

This is quite an issue that has seized the House this afternoon. As has already been noted, Bill C-43, an act to amend certain acts and instruments and to repeal the Fisheries Prices Support Act, is an omnibus bill, perhaps a bit like so many others in the sense that it addresses many different issues all in one bill. As has been noted by the hon. government House leader and the House leader for the official opposition and other members before me, primarily it brings about technical amendments to a number of acts. The list is quite long.

The bill affects the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Act, the Canadian Film Development Corporation Act, the Energy Monitoring Act, the National Energy Board Act, and on and on it goes. Bill C-43 is quite comprehensive and makes what has been referred to as minor housekeeping amendments.

The issue I want to address in my remarks on Bill C-43 stems from how we got to this point with this piece of legislation being brought forward by the government. It might interest members and the viewing public to know that amendments similar to these were contained in a previous bill, Bill C-40, which passed through the House. However, because quite a number of concerns were raised by opposition members at the justice committee, these particular amendments were dropped out of Bill C-40. That bill then progressed through the House and went on to the Senate. To my knowledge, Bill C-40 is still currently before the other place.

One of the things that is of interest, and I just say one, is that both the House and the Senate committees raised concerns, not specifically to the amendments themselves in some cases, but to the lack of background information being provided for the rationale for the amendments themselves. During his brief remarks the hon. government House leader referred to that. He duly noted that this time around when Bill C-43 was brought forward, additional information and material was provided to parliamentarians to support the necessity for some of these amendments.

The one amendment I wish to pick up on in the bill deals with clauses 17 and 18. Clause 17 is an amendment to the Lieutenant Governors Superannuation Act which is just one of the myriad of acts Bill C-43 addresses. Clause 17 states:

The definition “deferred pension” in section 2 of the Lieutenant Governors Superannuation Act is replaced by the following:

“deferred pension” means a pension that becomes payable to a person at the time he or she reaches sixty years of age.

What is interesting to note in this regard is that the Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs in its report on Bill C-40, the forerunner to Bill C-43, raised a concern. It asked why in clauses 17 and 18 the government decided to lower the age from 65 to 60 for a deferred pension for lieutenant governors.

It believed it might be a minor change, but it behooves all of us to understand the rationale behind that. Is it to bring it into line with other pensions and if so, did there at least appear to be a reluctance on the part of the government to provide that rationale? Would it not have been appropriate to have that brought forward at that time?

I picked that one example because clearly what the committees in both houses have targeted in this type of legislation is that to do a proper job of overseeing these types of amendments, they clearly want to understand exactly the rationale and perhaps from time to time have an expert witness come before the committee to provide testimony. For example, when a particular clause is being dropped from an act, they want to make sure that is an appropriate thing to do.

In the time I have remaining I want to refer to the whole issue of why we are debating this bill today. Yesterday, as the House leader for the Canadian Alliance noted, the House rose with two hours of time remaining for debate. We could have been debating legislation, Bill C-43 which we are debating today or other bills.

An act to amend certain acts and instruments and to repeal the Fisheries Prices Support ActGovernment Orders

November 30th, 2001 / 1:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Madam Speaker, it should have been part of Bill C-43 but my point was accountability. That is the whole point of this particular bill.

I could not help but notice that the term ACOA is in the bill. We have been asking that ACOA, which is very important in my region of Atlantic Canada, become more transparent and more accountable to the taxpayers of Atlantic Canada to ensure that the funding dollars are definitely meant for job enhancement and infrastructure enhancement.

We also noticed that the National Capital Commission is in the bill. We are asking the government House leader to ensure for example that the cities of Ottawa and Hull will have more consultation and more openness and transparency in what happens at the National Capital Commission. That is all we are asking.

With respect to the National Film Act, the National Film Board is a great institution in Canada. Anything that diminishes this in any way, shape or form would not be a good thing for Canada.

Lastly, regarding nuclear safety and speaking strictly for myself, the greatest way we can protect Canadians from concerns about nuclear power plants is eventually to start dismantling the power plants across the country and start bringing in alternate forms of energy for Canada.

We still have not decided what to do with nuclear waste. When we hear that there could be missiles surrounding Point Lepreau in New Brunswick to protect it, that accelerates the danger and anxiety for all Canadians. What the government should be doing, what we all should be doing, is looking at alternate forms of renewable energy so we can enhance our power capabilities and reduce the risk to all Canadians.

Basically what we are asking for is full, open transparency on all the acts in the bill. If the government does that, we will look forward to supporting the bill as it is. We look forward to the bill going to committee if at all possible for further discussion where my other colleagues in the party will have an opportunity to elaborate on it further.