House of Commons Hansard #202 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was producers.


Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.


Jack Frazer Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to be able to speak today to Bill C-87, an act to implement the convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction.

Questions on chemical and biological weapons were first placed on the United Nations agenda in 1969. On September 3, 1992 the conference on disarmament reached a significant milestone in its negotiations with the completion of the draft text of the convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons for presentation to the United Nations.

After more than 20 years of long, often difficult discussions on negotiations at the conference on disarmament and its predecessors in Geneva, the triumph was an agreement finally arrived at as a result of genuine, multilateral negotiations.

Approval by the United Nations general assembly paved the way to the signing ceremony in Paris in January 1993. Canada, a strong advocate of multilateral efforts, can take pride in being

one of the 160 signatories of the chemical weapons convention. The convention completely outlaws an entire category of existing weapons of mass and indiscriminate effect and provides for a system of multilateral verification, thus setting a new precedent at the global level.

As one of the 65 nations that has promised to ratify the treaty and bring it into force, Bill C-87 is our commitment to implement this convention. Impetus causing responsible nations to move toward this agreement was provided by the gulf war which provided a heightened awareness of the dangers of proliferation.

The international community learned important lessons in the disarmament of Iraq involving the destruction, removal or rendering harmless of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. This poignant lesson played an important part in convincing the international community that it was imperative for nations to put aside differences and to work together to outlaw these terrible weapons of human destruction.

When I was a military officer in Germany, I was required for several days every month to live and operate in a chemical suit with a gas mask close by hand. This was a very traumatic and very deeply held experience because while we, the military people on the base, had our chemical suits and our gas masks, we were fully aware that our dependants did not. Should there be an attack, and we were aware that the former Soviet Union regularly used this type of weapon in their exercises, our dependants would be very vulnerable.

There was an evacuation plan but this was a tremendous undertaking and would take a tremendous amount of time. Thus, we were very much aware of the risk that they were under. As a result, I feel as strongly as anyone can feel that we must do our utmost to rid the world of chemical weapons.

Since they have the greatest number of chemical industries, the willingness of the United States and Germany to co-operate was vital. Germany ratified the agreement in August last year. The United States, with the second largest chemical stockpile in the world, is expected to ratify the treaty this year. This will hopefully send out a hurry up message to other countries that have pledged their support.

We too must move without delay to implement Bill C-87, thus signifying our commitment to ratify the treaty. In this spirit, I support this legislation.

During the January 1994 joint summit meeting in Moscow, Presidents Yeltsin and Clinton declared their intention to promote ratification of the treaty as rapidly as possible, thus enabling the convention's entry into force this year.

However, the real work lies ahead. Costs of implementation will be high. As a rule of thumb, it costs 10 times as much to destroy chemical weapon production facilities as it does to build them in the first place. With each country bearing individual responsibility for the destruction of their chemical weapons, undoubtedly there will be financial problems for some members, particularly emerging countries and Russia. Both financial and technical assistance to those countries seeking to destroy their chemical weapons must be provided by member states and this will include Canada.

A universal system of verification to monitor and ensure the destruction of stockpiles will be carried out by the Organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons, OPCW. The scope of its activities is complex and its mandate is to verify: first, the destruction of chemical weapons; second, the destruction of chemical weapons production facilities; third, to verify non-compliance, ensuring that activities prohibited under the convention are detected and traced; fourth, to verify permitted production in the chemical industry, to ensure that only activities not prohibited under the convention are carried out; and fifth, to perform investigations concerning non-compliance, that is, challenge inspections, to ensure that the cost of cheating will outweigh its benefits.

Estimates indicate that the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons will have up to 1,000 staff and will operate with an annual budget of $150 million to $180 million. Who will pay for this? International inspection expenses will be met by Canada and other members, according to a United Nations scale of assessment, in addition to the cost of eliminating our own chemical weapons and facilities.

For emerging member countries, the price of compliance will have to be added to the chemicals they export. That will make them less competitive.

There are other problems, as noted in the book An End to Chemical and Biological Weapons? by Richard Latter. It states:

It is unclear whether major countries, for example the United States and Russia, will be prepared to fund the CWC sufficiently, given their other commitments-The U.S., which calculates that incinerating its 30,000 ton stockpile would cost $6 to 7 billion, have also agreed to foot part of the bill for destroying the 40,000 tons of Russian weapons stock. Even so, the problems of getting a destruction program under way means Russia will almost certainly have to invoke treaty provisions allowing an extra five years to complete the task.

No doubt Canada will be asked to shoulder some of this burden but the overall costs are still largely unclear.

In Canada, information from a 1988 survey indicates our chemical industry does not use prohibited chemicals listed in schedule 1, which includes the toxins sarin and soman, used in the war between Iran and Iraq, and the various mustard gases used during the first and second world wars. Some of the chemicals on the list are used by a few research organizations.

Once Bill C-87 becomes law, such users will be required to obtain a licence and be subject to two inspections per year to ensure they are following the rules.

Chemicals listed in schedule 2A and 2B may not be used to any great extent in Canada, but this has yet to be determined. Schedule 2 chemicals are used for commercial purposes and if production exceeds the listed thresholds, two yearly inspections will be required.

All substances noted on these lists will be banned for export to countries that do not participate in the chemical weapons convention.

The more commonly used industrial chemicals noted in schedule 3 can be produced without inspection under the 30 ton threshold. However, amounts exceeding 230 tons will be subject to random inspections.

Without complete data, the number of companies affected and the precise cost for implementation of the new law remains unknown. Unquestionably the disposal of chemical weapons, facilities and international verification costs to be paid by individual member countries will be expensive.

In this time of financial constraints the government must avoid creating a cumbersome bureaucracy and rather should establish a slim, trim and effective agency to inspect and monitor the chemical industry. Assumptions are that five full time staff will be required for Canada's national authority, plus one staff within the foreign affairs department.

Using Australia as an example, the bureau of statistics gathered data on chemical production relevant to the chemical weapons convention which assisted in the determination of resources required for its national authority.

The Australian chemical weapons convention office, the chemical weapons control organization, as it is called, will be closely associated with its safeguards office, also responsible for the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The director of the Australian safeguards office, who is directly responsible to the foreign minister, will also be the director of the new chemical weapons convention office. This allows for effective use of available senior executive and administrative support resources. There will be a director, two full time staff with part time support drawn as required from experts in other areas of government or at times from the private sector. Hopefully our government will examine the Australian model for its efficiency and application in Canada.

Although there is no binding legislation giving government authority to demand information, the Department of Foreign Affairs has attempted to collect data by initiating a survey of 2,100 Canadian businesses. About 500 companies have responded to the voluntary questionnaire. There is still no clear indication as to how many companies will be affected by the legislation. Until government has these data it will be difficult to establish projected costs for our clean-up, verification and inspection.

Bill C-87 closely adheres to the requirements of the chemical weapons convention and has the support of the Canadian Chemical Producers Association as well as the Canadian Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers Association. Officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs deserve credit for taking industry concerns into consideration during consultations over the past eight years.

Without Canada's participation in the treaty and industry support we would have difficulty competing in the international marketplace. Canadian industry imports chemicals for the production of many commercial applications and under the convention chemicals identified for control will be banned or restricted for non-participating countries. Care must be taken to ensure regulatory costs do not become so prohibitive that they force smaller industries out of business.

Additionally we should not impede industry by increasing red tape and creating a complex decision making hierarchy. Undoubtedly industry will be required to make detailed declarations of production and be subject to stringent inspections within Canada. These extra costs will have to be borne by industry as well as the Canadian taxpayer.

The international secretariat based in The Hague will police international compliance. This area was the most controversial in achieving a consensus. The general guidelines state the inspection teams are to be granted unimpeded access rights. They will verify destruction programs, inspect all military facilities and civilian plants producing chemicals which could be used for armaments in addition to carrying out routine monitoring and random checks on other civilian chemical installations.

Bill C-87, section 13(1)(c) dealing with international inspection states: "Where appropriate, install, use and maintain in respect of any place monitoring instruments, systems and seals in a manner consistent with the provisions of the convention and any facility agreement applicable to the place".

It would seem appropriate or necessary to institute some protection to ensure this authority for international inspections is not abused.

Section 14(1)(b) states: "Permit the international inspector to examine anything in the place being inspected". Section 14(1)(c) states: "Permit the international inspector to make copies of any information contained in the records, files, papers or electronic information systems kept or used in relation to the place being inspected and to remove copies from the place".

Further clarification and expansion would seem to be in order. Commercial espionage is a recognized reality and industry understandably fears the disclosure of valuable commercial information to competitors. Every effort must be made to ensure our national security is not put at risk. Some form of checks and balances should be put in place as under the current legislation it appears Canada would not have the right to restrict inspection teams. Reasonable management procedures should be identified and implemented so that national security is not jeopardized.

Effective implementation of the treaty's provisions will pay off in long term world security dividends. It is important these national protection issues be addressed now.

We stand at a pivotal juncture on the world stage. We can succeed or we can fail in this effort to lower the risk of inadvertent or impulsive use of chemical weapons.

Our success in this instance will reap great benefits and assist by setting the example in the larger task of implementing co-operative approaches to problems in other areas, regionally or globally.

Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.


John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to speak at second reading on Bill C-87 concerning the prohibition of chemical weapons.

The Reform Party supports the chemical weapons convention which Canada signed in 1993. We will also support this legislation allowing us to be among the first groups of countries to implement the convention's terms of agreement.

As all members of the House are well aware, Canada has been a world leader when it comes to the promotion of peace. We have given steadfast support to the UN, provided peacekeepers in times of need and promoted international agreements and regimes to limit the dangers of war.

In the case of the chemical weapons convention we are dealing with a particularly important issue. Not only is the use of chemical weapons highly illegitimate against combatants who at least have some protection against them, but the threat of their use against civilian populations is an intolerable breach of civilized conduct by any nation.

Most of us will remember with horror the terrible scenes of the Kurdish villages gassed by the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the late 1980s. This is the kind of tragedy that must be avoided at all costs in the future. By ratifying Bill C-87 Canada will be doing its part toward this end.

In the news today we see the arrest of the person in Japan allegedly responsible for the gas attack in the subway station in Japan. I hope Bill C-87 would go a long way to ensure that type of terrorist activity is never allowed on any part of the planet.

Bill C-87 prohibits the production or use of chemical weapons and provides for the regulation of certain chemicals that can readily be turned into chemical weapons. As we speak, similar pieces of legislation are being prepared throughout the world. Hopefully by this fall the convention will come into force. As things now stand, a large majority of countries have signed on, which is quite promising. The fewer countries outside of this convention, the more pressure there will be to adhere strictly to its goals and provisions.

Unfortunately several middle eastern countries are refusing to join the convention. They argue that because Israel is not willing to join the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, they cannot sign on. While I hope they will reconsider, I also hope the Government of Israel will bring its nuclear program out of the closet and join the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The chemical weapons convention and the NNPT are agreements in the best interest of the people and governments of the world. Therefore they should not be used for tactical advantage by any government.

Moving on to the substance of the bill, while the Reform Party supports the bill, we are looking at it closely to see if there are constructive amendments that should be made to it during debate and in committee. High on the list for Reform are the costs to the taxpayer and to Canadian industry. While we acknowledge the bill has some legitimate costs, according to our preliminary investigation the government does not yet know the price tag on Bill C-87.

As Bill C-87 works its way through the legislative process, we should try to determine how best to improve it so implementation will be as cost effective as possible. For example, we must avoid the creation of a huge new bureaucracy to monitor and regulate the Canadian chemical industry.

Officials at foreign affairs have advised us that a full time staff of five as a national authority plus one additional staffer at foreign affairs might be needed. We should make sure it does not go beyond this. At any rate, during committee the question should be carefully addressed.

Another key question for the committee will be the inspection powers used to monitor the industry. As we have seen in another government bill, Bill C-68 on gun control, the government can be very heavy handed and intrusive if it is left to its own devices. Reform wants to make sure this case is not repeated on Bill C-87.

More important, Reform has some serious concerns about the privacy of businesses which will fall under the auspices of Bill

C-87. Industries subject to inspection must fully comply with inspectors or be subject to summary conviction or conviction on indictment. Under the more serious category persons will be subject up to five years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Considering these serious penalties, business people will be forced to comply even if they feel their legitimate rights to privacy are being violated. Under sections 14(1)(b) and (c) the inspectors can examine anything in the place being inspected and make copies of any information contained in the records, files, papers or electronic information systems kept or used in relation to the place being inspected and to remove the copies from that place.

Although I know the intent of the legislation aims to fulfil the obligations of the convention, I am slightly worried these investigations could be used as a fishing expedition by the government to sift companies through a fine tooth comb.

Parliament should be sure such inspections are required to directly investigate whether companies are breaching the chemical weapons convention. Fishing expeditions should be specifically prohibited.

Under section 15(3) the bill says search warrants would not be required even if an inspector were refused entry to a premises if there are exigent circumstances. Although the justice department likes the wording and argues it is necessary so inspectors can have a freer hand, I am not convinced. As we all know, there are no industries in Canada that currently make chemical weapons or use them. What circumstances would be so pressing that a warrant could not be obtained? If this provision is only to be used in extreme emergencies where inspectors must take immediate action it should state so explicitly. If on the other hand it is intended to be used for the convenience of inspectors it should be removed from the bill.

Section 20 reminds me of the government's gun control bill. It states every person who contravenes any provisions of this act is guilty of an offence and is liable to either an indictable or summary conviction. Once again I realize the government is casting a wide net in order to avoid loopholes. However, this means to me that a business which incorrectly reports its activities or fills out a form incorrectly would be guilty of an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. If a clerk makes the mistake would that employee be convicted? Would the owner? What about the board of directors? Would it be the clerk's supervisor? Surely this must be cleared up.

While I do not have anything against seriously punishing a company secretly making or selling chemical weapons, I think the bill may be going too far. Just like Bill C-68, we have to target the criminals and those who are willfully breaking the chemical weapons convention, not ordinary Canadians or business people who get caught up in the government's web.

Another section which caught my attention is 23(1), which talks about how the government can at the discretion of the minister in charge dispose of items seized under this act.

As I looked through the act, however, I did not see exactly where the government was given authority to seize property or what the limits were on that seizure. I would certainly want this point clarified in debate and during committee.

As I read through the details of the bill, I eventually came to the three schedules of chemicals that are being regulated. All prohibited chemical weapons are listed in schedule 1. According to my understanding, these chemicals are not used by any industry in Canada. However, there are a few research organizations that do require them. If Bill C-87 passes, these researchers will be required to obtain a licence from the government to continue with their activities. They will also be subject to two inspections per year to ensure that they are following the rules. A fee will be charged for this licence.

I do not have a problem with any of this, subject to the following two conditions. First, my concerns about privacy and the targeting of this legislation should be addressed to ensure that we are not whittling away at legitimate freedoms and liberties of Canadians. Second, the fee charged for this licence should be reasonable. Perhaps a maximum fee could be decided on during the committee stage or it should be made explicit that the fees would be on a cost recovery basis only.

Moving on to the chemicals in schedule 2, these are known as precursors and are one step removed from being chemical weapons. They are used for some commercial processes but not too extensively.

Companies producing or using schedule 2 chemicals in amounts beyond a certain threshold will be required to report this to the government. Beyond a second threshold, those companies will also be subject to an inspection of up to two per year maximum. While there is no licensing for schedule 2 chemicals, certain new chemicals will be added to the Export Permits Act.

In addition, three years after Bill C-87 passes, the export of schedule 2 chemicals will be banned to countries that are not signatories to the convention. Until then, importers in non-signatory countries will be required to produce end use certificates for schedule 2 chemicals.

As for the schedule 3 chemicals, these are more commonly used industrial chemicals. Companies producing schedule 3 chemicals in amounts beyond a certain threshold will be required to report this to the government. Beyond a second threshold those producers may be subject to infrequent random

inspections to ensure compliance with the convention. In addition, facilities that work with discrete organic chemicals must report this to the government.

Export of schedule 3 chemicals to non-signatory countries will require end use certificates, and after five years further measures may be imposed.

Looking at Bill C-87 as a whole, I believe Canadians will support this bill strongly. Canadians have always been strong supporters of multilateral efforts to promote peace and restrict arms proliferation. This is especially true with respect to the prohibition of the use of chemical weapons. By asserting leadership in this area, Canada is standing up for the extension of a rules based multilateral system to defend our interests and promote common norms and values with like minded countries.

In conclusion, Reform will support this bill, and throughout the legislative process we will seek to improve it. These improvements will make its implementation as pain free as possible for industry while still upholding Canada's commitments under the chemical weapons convention.

Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Is the House ready for the question?

Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Some hon. members


Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Some hon. members


(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to committee.)

Canadian Dairy Commission ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Richmond B.C.


Raymond Chan Liberalfor Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

moved that Bill C-86, an act to amend the Canadian Dairy Commission Act, be read the second time and referred to committee.

Canadian Dairy Commission ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings Ontario


Lyle Vanclief LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak today in support of Bill C-86, an act to amend the Canadian Dairy Commission Act, and to urge speedy passage of this important bill and the amendments it brings forward to this act.

This government is strongly committed to building our vision of a growing, competitive, market oriented agriculture and agri-food sector. Canada's dairy industry is a key component of that sector. Trade and market development, both here at home and abroad, are crucial to achieving the sustainable growth necessary to allow this vision to materialize for dairy producers, processors, and further processors in the industry.

In recent years value added exports have grown steadily in importance for the dairy sector. I would like to add as well at this time that I commend those in the dairy industry for the approach and the actions they are taking in meeting the challenges that are coming forward, the competition that is there, and the way in which they are able to meet that competition and competitiveness in the export markets with the use of these amendments.

Market realities call for changes in the way dairy stakeholders do their business. It is essential to facilitate industry driven marketing approaches in the new GATT environment. With the passage of the amendments before us in this bill, we will enable the Canadian dairy sector to meet some of these new challenges. These amendments will allow for the maintenance of a successful, effective, and equitable framework for the orderly marketing of milk and other dairy products in Canada and beyond our borders, a framework developed and supported by the industry. I repeat that it has been developed and supported by the industry itself.

Bill C-86, along with this amendment, to the Canadian Dairy Commission Act was given first reading here in this place on April 28. It will provide the necessary federal legislative authority to permit the Canadian Dairy Commission, in close co-operation with the provinces, to implement a national milk pricing system with the pooling of market returns from different classes of milk and use. No cost to government is involved in these amendments.

This new strategy conforms with Canada's trade commitments under NAFTA and the WTO agreements. It will provide a mechanism for the Canadian dairy industry to continue to supply important export and domestic markets for dairy products and products containing dairy ingredients, while at the same time maintaining the equity that is inherent in the current supply management regime.

Under the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement, which has been incorporated into the North American free trade agreement, or NAFTA, as we know it, export subsidies are not permitted on bilateral trade in agricultural products. Also, under the World Trade Organization agreement, which was implemented on January 1, 1995, the definition of export subsidies includes producer-financed export assistance. Therefore, as of August 1, 1995, the current system of using producer levies to finance dairy product exports to the United States will be prohibited. The ability to use levies to finance dairy product exports to other destinations is also gradually being reduced in volume and dollar terms under the WTO agreement.

Currently, through levies, milk producers across Canada share the costs associated with the export of dairy products not required for domestic consumption.

These levies also currently provide the funds that are needed to facilitate the payment of rebates to further processors of products containing dairy ingredients. Such rebates have been

necessary to assist further processors using dairy ingredients to successfully compete in domestic and export markets and to assist exporters of primary dairy products to be competitive on the export market.

The Canadian Dairy Commission administers these export and rebate initiatives on behalf of the dairy industry. These costs have always been considered to be a necessary part of managing the milk marketing system in Canada as a whole. The issue of equity between producers is central to the current milk marketing system in Canada and is preserved in the new pricing and pooling approach that will be enabled by this bill.

Equity is currently maintained through the payment of levies on every hectolitre of milk produced in Canada. Each province's current levy obligation is calculated by the commission on the basis of total fluid and industrial milk production. Levies are collected by provincial marketing boards and agencies through the deductions from producer milk payments and are remitted to the commission.

If Bill C-86 is not implemented by August 1, important dairy exports to the United States using producer financed levies will be in jeopardy. Furthermore, while export subsidies by levies to other destinations could continue for now, these subsidized shipments will also have to be reduced over time.

Canadian further processors, such as Hershey Limited in the nearby city of Smith Falls, De Tomasso Limited in Montreal, or McCains in New Brunswick, which use dairy inputs and products such as condensed milk, butter, and mozzarella in their chocolate and pizza products, for example, rely on U.S. exports to maintain the competitiveness of their Canadian production facilities. These companies, which employ thousands of Canadians, must continue to be able to obtain dairy ingredients at world price levels if they are to continue to successfully compete on the export market and to be competitive with the imports on the domestic market.

Pricing these dairy inputs at the producer level at U.S. competitive prices would eliminate the need for charging levies to producers and paying rebates to processors and would thus be a GATT-WTO acceptable method of maintaining this U.S. export activity. However, without the approach of pooling producer returns, which is enabled by this bill, Bill C-86, there would be no way of maintaining the producer equity that is achieved through the current levy system.

Without being able to pool returns on a national basis, milk producers in provinces where more Canadian processing and further processing activity takes place would be particularly impacted by the reduced market returns involved.

Under the amendments proposed in this bill, the levy system as it applies to milk marketed in interprovincial and export trade would be replicated through the creation of special milk classes where prices would be set at competitive market of destination levels and through pooling of the returns from those markets.

To maintain equity among producers across the country, milk revenues will be pooled and redistributed to producers through the Canadian Dairy Commission and provincial authorities according to terms agreed upon by the industry and the provincial authorities and set out in federal-provincial agreements.

In order to enable the Canadian Dairy Commission to administer such a pooling system for producers, certain federal and provincial administrative powers must be dovetailed legislatively. Most provinces currently have legislation authorizing pricing and pooling of returns on milk sold within their boundaries. The Canadian Dairy Commission requires similar pricing and pooling powers for milk sold across provincial boundaries and for exports. The commission must also be provided with the authority to both delegate and receive these new pricing and pooling powers from the provincial authorities. Such dovetailing of federal and provincial authorities does not involve any encroachment on current provincial powers.

The principal amendments to the Canadian Dairy Commission Act contained in this bill provide the commission with the legal administrative authority to calculate the average national price level for the milk classes whose returns will be pooled. Also it allows them to obtain the returns from sales to processors through the provinces and redistribute the returns to producers through provincial authorities on an equitable basis as per the terms of the formal federal-provincial agreements.

As I indicated earlier, the same effect is now being achieved through the producer levy system which finances such initiatives as the Canadian Dairy Commission's dairy product export assistance program; the rebate program for further processors and the butterfat utilization program.

Other amendments contained in Bill C-86 enable the dairy commission to recover pooling administration costs from funds generated by the pool itself; to establish a special bank account to deal solely with the producer moneys entering and leaving the pool; allow the commission to return any excess fees or levy funds to producers; permit the commission to establish a line of credit to ensure continuity of producer payments and strengthen the enforcement provisions of the act.

The price discrimination and pooling system approach that it will enable by Bill C-86 was developed through extensive dairy

stakeholder consultation and negotiations and is supported by provincial agriculture and agri-food ministers.

I have a number of letters of support from provincial governments, milk producers, organizations and provincial boards from across the country, from Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, B.C., the Dairy Farmers of Canada, the UPA and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. They all support this bill and ask us to move it through this place and the other place as quickly as possible.

For the past two years stakeholders have dedicated extensive time and effort to develop a means of keeping in step with and responding successfully to all of the changes taking place in the domestic and international marketplace. Several working groups and committees, including the diary industry strategic planning committee, the negotiating subcommittee and the policy and all milk pooling committees, have all been established under the auspices of the Canadian milk supply management committee.

The committee oversees the application of a national milk marketing plan, the federal-provincial agreement which governs milk supply management in Canada. Chaired by the Canadian Dairy Commission, the Canadian milk supply management committee has representation from producers and governments from all provinces except Newfoundland, which is not a signatory to the national plan because it does not produce significant amounts of milk used in the industrial product sector. National processor and consumer groups also participate in the nationwide forum.

The federal-provincial task force on orderly marketing also reviewed the progress made by the dairy sector in defining a new framework for sustainable, orderly marketing. Last December ministers of agriculture and agri-food were advised of the industry's recommendation that national price discrimination be endorsed as the only viable option to continue current programs designed to export to the United States and maintain domestic markets facing import competition, and that the preferable method of sharing returns from price discrimination at the national level. The method that is equitable and GATT acceptable is the pooling of returns from all milk classes.

Ministers subsequently supported this approach and directed that amendments to the Canadian Dairy Commission Act be developed to provide for a national pooling of milk returns to delegated administrative functions.

The bill before us today is the culmination of this comprehensive, consultative process. Through the system enabled under Bill C-86, the dairy sector is adapting to a changing business environment. I congratulate it for doing that.

Dairy stakeholders have developed a flexible and more market oriented approach that will set the industry on a viable course for the long term. The approach will also encourage greater co-operation among provincial milk marketing boards, agencies and processors in developing new markets for Canadian dairy ingredients and products.

I urge all members and all parties in the House to give these amendments speedy consideration and passage so that we can continue to have a growing and strong dairy industry in this country.

Canadian Dairy Commission ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Before giving the floor to our colleague from Frontenac, I wish to advise him that the Chair will have to interrupt him to allow oral question period to proceed but that he will get to complete his speech afterwards.

Canadian Dairy Commission ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac, QC

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the clarification. I will of course comply.

I would like mention right away that five of my colleagues will join me in debate on Bill C-86, a bill of major importance for Quebecers in our view. I will be supported by the hon. members for Champlain, Lotbinière, Québec-Est, Matapédia-Matane and Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead throughout the day and tomorrow, if need be, as I put across our views on Bill C-86, which, I must tell you right away, we will be supporting. We do not have any amendment to put forth at this time. I can therefore assure the hon. member for Prince Edward-Hastings of our full support.

The GATT negotiations in Geneva led dairy producers a merry dance. Negotiations concerning article XI in particular, as well as discussions about maintaining a supply management system did not give much comfort to dairy producers.

I remember attending, in December 1993, a few weeks after this government took office, a large meeting with some dairy producers from my riding. The meeting was held in Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, in the riding of the independent member for Beauce. There were between 500 and 600 farm producers in attendance, and they sounded quite worried. This meeting was chaired by the chief economist of the UPA in Quebec, Yvon Proulx, assisted by two other persons.

I must say that three questions were asked over and over by our dairy producers. The first question of particular interest to them was this: Will supply management with respect to milk be maintained?

I clearly remember the answer chief economist Proulx gave them at the time, as it left me wondering. He said something like this: "My friends, if you want supply management, you can

have it. If you exercise self-discipline, we can have a well-disciplined dairy policy in Quebec and Canada".

He managed to give some reassurances to the producers, who feared among other things that producers could decide overnight to increase their dairy herd, or that those running a cow-calf operation could suddenly decide to start dairy production to supplement their income.

Another matter of concern to producers was quota value. I remember one producer saying: "I could have sold my farm for $1.5 million last fall. Will I be able to sell it for the same price with these declining quota values?" Of course, the question remains unanswered. It was not answered in October 1993. Just this week, I read in La terre de chez nous an article by none other than the president of the union representing agricultural producers in the Châteauguay valley, Peter Bienz, who figured out that his dairy quota was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and who is most interested in what will happen to the value of his quota.

A milk quota is only a work permit, a piece of paper, a certificate which says, for example, that so-and-so has the right to produce 12,000 kilos of milk fat per year. Our agricultural producers are extremely concerned about the monetary value of this piece of paper, which is now so valuable in Quebec, because many of them see it as their pension fund. They are not like MPs who, after sitting in the House of Commons for six years and reaching the age of 55, as provided in the new bill under consideration, can receive a pension for life, which, all in all, is quite reasonable after spending six years in this House. Unfortunately for them, farmers do not enjoy the same perks. They equate their pension fund with the value of their quotas, so I hope that this value will not be slashed.

Finally, another question of concern to farm producers was the following: Will the proposed import tariffs ranging from 181 to 350 per cent remain the same?

Mr. Speaker, I see that the time is passing very quickly and, with your permission, I would like to stop now and resume my speech after Question Period.

Canadian Dairy Commission ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Yes, my dear colleague, you may resume your speech after Question Period. You will be first.

It being 2 o'clock, pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to statements by members.

Street Kids InternationalStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Barry Campbell Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, I met recently with four high school students from my riding representing Street Kids International, an organization which raises awareness about human rights abuses perpetrated against the most defenceless segment of society, our children.

During our meeting, these young students pointed out Guatemala's, Brazil's and Colombia's flagrant violations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. For a government to order that homeless children be killed because they are seen as harmful to society is totally unacceptable to Canadians.

As a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Canadian government must make every effort to ensure respect for the rights of children whatever their nationality and wherever they live. It is a matter of justice and human dignity.

Minister Of LabourStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Réjean Lefebvre Bloc Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, now we know what cynicism really is. After relentlessly condemning the federal government's interference in the health sector, and after strongly criticizing the national standards imposed by that same government, the Minister of Labour is now making an about face and claiming that Quebecers want national standards.

She says that the government must make sure that everyone can benefit from the social programs which give Canada its distinct character.

What irony. After defending the idea of Quebec as a distinct society, which implied the rejection of Canada-wide standards, the minister now claims to want to protect Canada's distinct society with these same standards.

This is mind boggling.

Gun ControlStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the more Ontarians learn about the Liberal gun control bill the more they oppose it. They oppose the bill because gun registration has never proven to decrease crime. It failed in New Zealand and Australia. They oppose the bill because it contains draconian search and seizure measures like those of a totalitarian state. They oppose the bill because the consultation process was non-existent at worst and haphazard at best. They oppose the bill because it will cost between $100 million and $500 million of scarce taxpayers' money. They oppose the bill because they want real reduction in crime and not a made in Ottawa solution that will not work.

If Ontario MPs fail to represent their constituents and oppose Bill C-68, the old saying about safety in numbers will fail to apply to Ontario's voice in Ottawa.

TechnologyStatements By Members

May 16th, 1995 / 1:55 p.m.


Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton—York—Sunbury, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to the business and professional organizations of my riding that assembled recently in an attempt to explore opportunities to enhance democracy through the use of new technologies.

I have made a personal commitment to consultation in my riding and this initiative is another step in refining the process. The brainstorming session that took place covered all areas of technology with representatives from cable, computer, software, hardware, communications and telecommunications industries.

I anticipate great things as a result of the gathering with more access available to the public policy development process and a real economic development benefit to the high tech centre of Atlantic Canada, Fredericton, New Brunswick.

I thank everyone who came out and look forward to future developments as we continue to explore technological opportunities to our mutual advantage.

Recombinant Bovine SomatotropinStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Karen Kraft Sloan Liberal York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is difficult to understand why rBST is needed in Canada, a country that produces dairy products of the highest international quality.

The National Dairy Council of Canada is strongly opposed to rBST. It refers to it as being an unneeded and unwanted intrusion into its business that offers no benefits whatsoever to consumers and processors.

Dairy cows injected with rBST are at greater risk of developing mastitis, a condition requiring the use of antibiotics. This will increase the dumping and waste of milk and potentially can lead to increased levels of antibiotic residues in milk for antibiotics that escape current detection methods.

Some researchers are concerned with the possible link between rBST and human health risks. I urge Health Canada to extend the moratorium on rBST. By waiting until conclusive independent studies have been completed Health Canada will have protected the health of Canadians.

Research In MotionStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Andrew Telegdi Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House of the Canadian Advanced Technology Association 1995 Award of Distinction being awarded to Research in Motion of Waterloo.

The CATA award for outstanding product achievement was presented to RIM in recognition of its exceptional contribution to the growth and competitiveness of Canada's advanced technology industry. The award was presented to RIM at the Global Connections Conference on May 3 to May 5, 1995 in Calgary.

Research in Motion represents the best that Canada has to offer in the new economy. RIM is a 100 per cent Canadian owned, export oriented, high technology company operating in the wireless data communications sector.

RIM's CATA award is the second award given to a Waterloo company in as many years. Mortice Kerns Systems won the 1994 award for its Internet anywhere software which eases access to the Internet.

The federal riding of Waterloo is in the heart of Canada's technology triangle and is a critical mass for technological innovation. Research in Motion is to be congratulated for its achievements as a leading edge Canadian company competing in a global stadium and bringing home the gold.

Program For Older Worker AdjustmentStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, while Ottawa keeps procrastinating regarding the Program for Older Worker Adjustment, the Quebec government is taking concrete action. Yesterday, Quebec labour minister, Louise Harel, announced that her department would help older workers who are victims of mass layoffs but are not eligible to POWA.

For five years now, the Quebec government has been asking that the program be amended, since many older workers are not eligible because of criteria which are too restrictive. When they were in opposition, the federal Liberals strongly supported Quebec's claims. However, now that they are in office, they are not following up on their stance.

Once again, to ensure fair treatment to all Quebecers, the provincial government is forced to go ahead without federal financial support, in spite of the fact that Quebecers pay close to $30 billion in taxes every year.

Trans-Canada HighwayStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, in the prairie provinces 113 kilometres of Trans-Canada Highway from Gull Lake, Saskatchewan, to the Alberta border is still two lanes. In the last 15 years that

stretch of winding hilly goat paths has claimed 23 lives and 320 people have been injured.

Twinning would cost $35 million. Last fall Saskatchewan had its money on the table but Transport Canada would not pony up its share.

Each year the federal government collects $5 billion in road fuel taxes and puts only 10 per cent of it back into the national highway system. There seems to be no limit to funds for hockey rinks, swimming pools and silly bureaucratic projects like universal firearms registration but nothing for this long overdue investment in essential infrastructure, an investment that would save lives.

Priorities, boys and girls, priorities.

Bill C-72Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Rex Crawford Liberal Kent, ON

Mr. Speaker, once again Henri Daviault, the man charged with sexual assault of an elderly disabled woman, was acquitted by using drunkenness as a defence.

After consuming an enormous amount of alcohol this man dragged the victim out of her wheelchair and sexually assaulted her. Despite the fact that the crime was committed, the courts determined that Mr. Daviault was too drunk to know what he was doing.

His acquittal has rightfully angered many Canadians. I have received a petition of several hundred names from the Sexual assault crisis centre of Chatham-Kent. Every signature demonstrates the frustration with the justice system and proves that Bill C-72 is needed and applauded by many.

Each time Mr. Daviault was acquitted of this hideous crime the dissenting judges commented that Parliament was free to deal with the matter of intoxication and criminal fault. That is exactly what the government is doing.

I rise in support of the bill and hope its passage will help in strengthening our justice system.

Professional Women's NetworkStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, in Etobicoke-Lakeshore many women from diverse business backgrounds have come together to establish a network to help women in business.

The Professional Women's Network will provide a much needed forum for local business development and for the needs of professional and business women. These women representing a broad representation of professions will meet regularly to exchange ideas, share information, and work together to create opportunities for each other and for our community.

The growing prominence of women in professions and other sectors has proven to be a major factor in Canada's future growth, and the Professional Women's Network in Etobicoke-Lakeshore is testament to that fact.

The Liberal government recognizes the women of Canada have the imagination and determination to participate fully in the growing world economy. I support, commend and encourage the ingenuity of these and all women across Canada.

Ontario ElectionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Brent St. Denis Liberal Algoma, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, Ontario voters will soon elect a new provincial government. By most accounts it will be a Lyn McLeod led Liberal government. I say it is about time.

Soon after the campaign started the Lyn McLeod Liberals released their plan to get Ontario back on track. York University economist Fred Lazar said:

I have had a chance to review the assumptions and the numbers in the Liberal balanced budget plan. This plan to balance Ontario's budget in four years while providing stable multi-year funding to the transfer partners in health, education and the municipalities is a realistic doable approach to re-establishing fiscal responsibility in Ontario. A balanced budget is key to creating a healthy economic climate that will in turn stimulate investment and bring jobs to Ontario.

Only a plan that aims to balance a budget within the term of a government can be considered to be a balanced budget plan.

Ontario needs a new provincial government; it needs a Liberal government led by Lyn McLeod.

Human RightsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Nic Leblanc Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has announced that Canada is preparing to start trading with certain countries regardless of their human rights violations. According to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the liberalization of trade is the best means of promoting the respect of human rights.

These words will be of no comfort to those on death row in Indonesia, China, Saudi Arabia, Burma and Iraq. The most ironic thing about the whole situation is that the Liberal government, with the Prime Minister showing the way, is so happy with this development that it is actually bragging about it. Money has no smell. As for the Liberal government, it has no scruples. It has traded them in for several million greenbacks.

Human Resources DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development cannot even get a piece of legislation past his own cabinet colleagues.

Every day another article appears stating that the grand schemes proposed by the minister last year have been scrapped. His own discussion papers on unemployment insurance state that 26 per cent of UI claimants have filed four or more claims in the last five years. First he says this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, and now he is saying it is not a problem and does not need to be addressed. The minister just cannot seem to make up his mind.

Today the minister is reported to have said that the social reform proposals have had to take a backseat to cutting the federal deficit. Reducing the number of repeat users of unemployment insurance would help cut the federal deficit, and still he will not implement the needed reforms.

If the minister cannot make the tough decisions, he should turn the administration of UI over to the workers and the employers who pay the premiums. The minister flails and fails again.

World Kite FestivalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Raymond Lavigne Liberal Verdun—Saint-Paul, QC

Mr. Speaker, when I think of kites, I think of the sheets of newspaper which children used to glue to slats of wood and then try to send up into the sky. Recently, my eyes, and those of hundreds of thousands of other people, were opened.

In 1993, the municipality of Verdun inaugurated the world kite festival. Since then, some 20 countries have begun coming to the event in Verdun to compete and to show off their talent. Each year during the festival, the sky is filled with kites of all colours and of all imaginable forms. Last year, the festival won Quebec's award for tourism-the Meritas prize.

I invite all of you, and your families, to come to the world kite festival which will be held in my beautiful riding of Verdun-Saint-Paul from June 1 to June 4. We promise you a good time and a show that you will not easily forget.