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.