House of Commons Hansard #221 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.


Manganese-Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

8:15 p.m.

Victoria B.C.


David Anderson Liberalfor the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

moved that Bill C-94, an act to regulate interprovincial trade in and the importation for commercial purposes of certain manganese-based substances, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

8:15 p.m.


Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Madam Speaker, I am very happy to start off this debate on a bill concerning a fuel additive called manganese.

In English it is referred to in technical terms as MMT, nevertheless implying that we are dealing here with a substance called according to a technical name, MMT. It contains a chemical substance called manganese. It is well known in chemistry as well as in geology and in the mineral disciplines as being one that can be dangerous to human health.

This bill aims very simply at bringing about a decision in Canada that was launched and concluded successfully south of the border well over 16 years ago, more precisely in 1978. At the time the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington concluded as a result of studies conducted there that it was essential in the public interest to do away with manganese as an additive to gasoline.

This bill attempts today to bring to the attention of members and the public the importance to do the same now in Canada, not just for environmental reasons but also for technical reasons, not just for public health reasons but also because the automotive industry has by virtue of technological change reached a level where it actually depends on the elimination of manganese from gasoline.

It must be said for the record that Canada is probably the only country in the world that is still using manganese. As a result of that, for the reasons I have just outlined, the situation has reached a point where it is absolutely essential that we move on this issue and deal with it.

The engineers in the automotive industry are telling us that manganese impairs the performance of pollution control equipment in cars and trucks. The automakers in Canada and in the United States are now producing cars with systems that can tell the driver how well and whether the pollution control equipment is working.

Manganese in gasoline does not permit automakers to give the driver of the vehicle the benefit of using the pollution control equipment because manganese is incompatible with this kind of equipment. I am told that automakers will have to disconnect this kind of equipment in Canada if gasoline continues to contain manganese.

The consequences for consumers are manifold. First the warranty of the engine will be affected. It will not be extended as far as it could be extended with this kind of equipment to the benefit of the consumer. Second the performance of the engine could be affected because of the inability of the driver to know whether certain parts of the equipment are functioning. The third consequence is complementary to the second point: the driver will not know whether the catalytic converter is working or not, whether the anti-pollution devices in the car are properly functioning and therefore the driver will not know whether the equipment installed in the car is working in the manner it is supposed to in terms of pollution controls.

The scientists in our community are also informing us that manganese in gasoline means risking greater pollution in the form of smog, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons.

Automakers in Canada have told the government they want the elimination of manganese in gasoline. They are technologically ready for it. Actually they are well beyond this point. They all say that manganese adversely affects the onboard diagnostic

systems, which is a fancy word for indicating the types of devices that inform the driver whether the anti-pollution equipment is working or not. In other words, the driver will not have the ability to tell whether or not the pollution control equipment installed in the car is working or not.

Members will quickly realize therefore the importance in the public interest of this measure proposed by the Minister of the Environment, who has been working on this initiative for some time already and who has been behind the scenes pushing the interested industries, petroleum on the one hand and the automakers on the other-and the latter is being quite keen and cooperative-to bring this matter to a solution without legislation.

It is only fair to say that the federal government has waited for the automotive and the petroleum industries to resolve this problem without legislation. Unfortunately, the problem has not been resolved.

The automakers at the very moment as we have this debate are now manufacturing the diagnostic system for the 1996 models. We are now debating this matter at the eleventh hour, and the government finds it necessary to present and pass this legislation in the speediest manner possible.

The government is doing this with three purposes in mind: number one, as I mentioned earlier, to protect human health; number two, to protect the warranty of the car to the benefit of the consumer; and number three, to take advantage of technological change and reap the benefits offered by these diagnostic systems, which are higher efficiency for the engine, lower consumption, and of course, quite important, pollution prevention.

The question might arise as to who is opposed to this bill. Obviously the only opposition at this stage can be identified among those who are the suppliers of manganese, some multinational companies, which do not really have at heart the public interest.

Remember that MMT, the substance that contains manganese, was banned already in 1978 and for very precise health reasons. This issue has been on the agenda of publicly concerned legislators for some time.

Members remember leaded gasoline. Lead is one of the most poisonous substances which poses a danger to human health, particularly to children. It has been removed therefore from gasoline, from toys, from paints. Who was opposed at the time when lead was to be removed from these products? It was the very same people who now oppose the removal of manganese from gasoline.

It can be said in conclusion that in Canada there are 18 automobile companies that view this bill as needed and desirable. They see it of course from their perspective as being involved in the motor vehicle production centre. As a Parliament we have to take a view also to include health considerations and consumer protection considerations. It is therefore for these three reasons put together that we think this is a bill that commands the attention and positive reception on the part of colleagues and members of this House in the hope that they will consider it in a favourable manner tonight and give it speedy consideration so it can be passed and put at work for the benefit of Canadians from coast to coast.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

8:30 p.m.


Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Madam Speaker, today we start second reading of Bill C-94, an act to regulate the provincial trade in and the importation for commercial purposes of certain manganese-based substances. More specifically, Bill C-94 is aimed at banning the addition of a substance called MMT to unleaded gasoline in Canada. This bill would allow the Minister of the Environment to rid Canada of MMT, a substance which, I would like to remind you, has been added to our gasoline since 1977.

The minister is tabling this bill as the session is drawing to a close, and she appears eager to have it passed as quickly as possible. The minister's approach denotes a certain uneasiness in this matter, an uneasiness that may be due to pressure from automotive manufacturers who, coincidentally, are concentrated in her region. Far be it from me to think that the minister has decided to ban MMT in Canada for the sole purpose of addressing the automotive industry's concerns. I am convinced that she is acting in the public interest and that her first concern in making decisions is for the environment. At least, that is what we should expect from the minister.

However, in the case of MMT, the minister's intentions are not clear and she appears unwilling to disclose the real motivation behind this decision. Her arguments seem lame and questionable. The minister also acts in similar fashion in several other matters. What she is saying in this and other cases and the information she spreads are not likely to reassure the public, let alone environmental groups.

Her knowledge of the issues appears deficient and inadequate, robbing her of the credibility that is needed if not essential in such a position. This, incidentally, reminds me of the raising of the Irving Whale , the barge belonging to the Irving company, which has been lying at the bottom of the Gulf of St. Lawrence since 1970 with 3,100 tonnes of bunker C fuel oil on board. In this matter, the minister has said all kinds of things on how the barge will be removed. Recently, the minister and her press secretary even came up with their own raising technique, which is not mentioned anywhere in the bidding documents.

I listened to a recording of an interview with the minister on this subject on CBGA, a CBC radio station in the Magdalen Islands. What I heard was utterly ludicrous. Informed people must have shuddered when they heard the minister talk about using something like a rubber dinghy, a sort of enormous condom to enclose the barge 200 feet under water. That is totally ridiculous. Who will tell the minister to stop saying the first thing that comes to mind? Who will tell the minister to familiar-

ize herself with the issues, to look at them before spewing out incorrect information? Who from the cabinet or her department will ask the minister to be more careful in her rhetorical outbursts which are so nefarious for the environment?

I will now close my comments on the Irving Whale with my sincere wishes that its salvaging, which will take place this summer, will not turn into an ecological catastrophe. The devastating effects would be felt for years to come and, by and large, the minister would be held personally responsible. There are similarities between the Irving Whale, the MMT issue and many others. The links between all of these cases and decisions are haste and a lackadaisical approach.

Add to that a rather murky transparency and a lack of will to provide pertinent information, and we find ourselves in very worrisome situations and we find that the Minister of the Environment is increasingly challenged by specialists in the field.

Judging from the minister's actions, one would almost conclude that she is in a leadership race and that she is feeling ignored by the media. One would almost believe that she is suddenly suffering from a lack of visibility and that it was absolutely necessary for her to present us with something: statements from the minister, bills and new policies unexpectedly introduced in the House with no rhyme or reason. They are presented to us piecemeal with no real indication of any will on the part of the minister to draw up a game plan or to create a cohesive environmental policy.

Why is the minister acting this way? Why does she always want to introduce initiatives as if she were pulling a rabbit out of a hat? The answer is simple: the environment is not on the Liberals' list of priorities. The evidence is clear. Since the Grits came to power, important environmental issues have not been dealt with. The promises in the red bible have been thrown out in the garbage, hardly appropriate in this case.

In fact, this comes as no surprise, since the whole red bible has been shelved. The abdication of responsibility is deplorable. The Liberals, starting with the Deputy Prime Minister, have not done much to improve, preserve and protect our environment.

However, some hon. members opposite are very concerned about the environment. We know them well. The hon. member for Davenport, himself a former minister of the environment; the hon. member for York-Simcoe; and the Quebec member for Lachine-Lac-Saint-Louis, former minister of PCBs in Quebec, are all great environmentalists. Like us, they must be aware of their government's abdication of its responsibilities. But what can they do if their hands are tied and they do not have the ear of the minister and the cabinet?

Yes, the minister did shout right and left, and she did spout some high sounding ideas here and there. The minister even went so far as to believe and to say out loud that Canada was a world leader on environmental issues. Now that was rather unfortunate, because when we consider the Liberals' record in this area, it is clear all this is just window dressing. The minister creates a diversion to camouflage the government's lack of commitment.

For instance, the Sierra Club published its environmental report card at the beginning of this month. The result: The minister got a B+, the threesome consisting of the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Industry got an F, for failing, and finally, the Prime Minister got a D with a reprimand that he had failed to instruct his cabinet to achieve the red book's objective to reduce greenhouse gases 20 per cent by the year 2005.

All this confirms what we in the Bloc have maintained since the very beginning, which is that the Liberals are all talk but no action. The cabinet's strategy consists merely in putting the minister on stage to make a lot of high sounding promises. The cabinet has no compunction in sacrificing the minister and, what is worse, the environment as well.

The minister should feel somewhat embarrassed about playing this role at the behest of cabinet. In playing this role, which suits her very well given her verbal facility-she might be called a motor mouth-, the minister is losing a certain credibility, however.

In addition, however, given the rather mixed results in environmental matters, it is clear the minister is no cabinet heavy weight. The ministers who got an "F" from the Sierra Club are the uncontested leaders establishing the environmental agenda. The environmental cause is certainly not advanced by those with the lowest mark.

This inaction and lack of environmental will leads in the end to trivialities, essentially no results. It started off well enough with actions being chosen that required the government itself to carry out internal measures, if I can put it that way, but we have seen no external measures, which would have greater benefit.

Our government therefore shows little interest in the environment and lacks an overall vision and policy. We have a government and a minister that can act only within the system and, on a few occasions, outside it, as in the case of the bill before us today.

The Liberals are favouring a piecemeal environment policy, which is a definite step backwards and a shameful reduction on their part. The best example of their throwing in the towel is undoubtedly their dropping the green plan. This plan, which was introduced in 1990, was an overall action plan. It was spearheaded by the Department of the Environment, which was responsible for various aspects of its implementation, and inspired by an environmental philosophy. The dropping of this plan represents an unprecedented withdrawal. We are going back many years because of the lack of sensitivity and will on the part of decision makers who deal with the environment as if it were a fashionable issue. Polls reveal that the environment is no longer a hot topic. Decision makers react stupidly, putting this issue on the back burner and withdrawing from initiatives already under way.

By dropping the Green Plan, they are definitely saying no to a co-ordinated approach. The minister is replacing a coherent plan, which was spearheaded by a department with a specific budget, by a system which leaves every department free to do what it wants. It is as if someone had decided to scatter pieces from a puzzle all over the place. There would no longer be any relationship between them, and the final objective would become unattainable. This is what the government is doing now, it is dividing up the environment, much to its detriment.

I will remind you that the Green Plan, for which the initial budget was supposed to be around $3.5 billion over five years, never amounted to more than $800 million. This is far short of the initial goal. Those responsible for backing away from this ecological commitment are the people on the other side and the Conservatives who preceded them. The ministers, whether blue or red, did not have the will to pursue this innovative plan, to modify it and to perfect it, to make it responsive to the needs of the environment. Therefore, the budget melted like new snow in May, without anybody paying any attention. What a pity. What irresponsibility and lack of respect towards our environment. Sincerely, I do not believe that this is the way to proceed if we want to leave our children a sound and natural environment capable of answering their needs. The nice sounding principles of sustainable development, biodiversity, and ecosystemic approach people use when they talk about environment, are far from reaching the decision makers and therefore very far from having a chance of being implemented.

The bill we are considering today deals with something that will take place outside of government. With this bill, the government will be able to prohibit the importation and interprovincial trade of certain substances containing manganese. The first targeted product is MMT, a chemical added to unleaded gasoline to increase its octane rating. For a start, the bill raises a number of questions as to its appropriateness and timing.

Let us remember that on April 5 of this year, the Minister of the Environment announced in a press release her intention of introducing this bill as soon as possible. Indeed, it received first reading on May 19 of this year. In her press release, the minister said and I quote: "This initiative will allow Canadians to continue to enjoy the benefits of technical advances in the area of car emission control, and to receive a protection equal to the one received by citizens in the United States".

With this bill, it is obvious that the minister is specifically responding to auto makers who claim that MMT additive clogs up the pollution control equipment. And to bring more pressure to bear, auto makers said that if MMT was not banned, it could cost $3,000 more to buy a car, warranties could be reduced and the pollution control system could even be disconnected. We might see in this some sort of blackmailing by the industry but, according to the minister, it seems to be serious.

The Minister of the Environment then decides to take this prohibiting measure, not because of the polluting or toxic effects of MMT, but because of its effects on an anti-pollution system that will be incorporated into cars in 1996.

The proof that MMT in itself is not recognized as a toxic or dangerous product is that the minister cannot regulate this product under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the CEPA, which applies specifically to toxic products. So, she has no other alternative than to pass separate legislation.

In her press release of April 5, the minister indicated that this decision was taken after almost two years of discussions with the petroleum and automobile industries. We could question the relevance and value of these discussions, since the minister told the parties at the outset that failure to reach an agreement would result in legislation to ban MMT.

By disclosing this intention, did the minister not introduce a significant bias in the discussions? Had she not just told the automotive industry: It is not necessary to discuss everything at length, since I already support you and intend to introduce a bill. The minister showed her clear bias in favour of the automotive industry, which wants to get rid of MMT and all other additives. In that regard, I wonder what will happen to ethanol, a star additive for which the government has just launched a $70 million investment program.

If the automotive industry does not want any additives, why does the government want to develop this product? Is there not a flagrant inconsistency in the decision to ban an additive and the intention of developing a different one, when the automotive industry does not want any additives? Who can assure us that the automotive industry will not soon ask the government to ban

ethanol because of its negative effects on car parts and equipment? I think that prudence is called for in the development of ethanol.

Ethyl, the maker of this additive, has responded to the automotive industry's arguments on MMT with its own arguments, which seem quite valid. Let us have a look at them.

Removing MMT from gasoline would aggravate the urban smog problem by increasing nitrogen dioxide emissions by 20 per cent. According to Health Canada studies, MMT presents no notable danger to human health. Independent lab tests show that, contrary to statements made by auto industry officials, the MMT used in Canada is perfectly compatible with the new anti-pollution devices, including the OBD-II diagnostic system.

Again, according to Ethyl, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is about to reintroduce MMT in that country, following a decision made on April 14, 1995, by the U.S. Court of Appeal for the district of Columbia, which instructed the American agency to lift the MMT ban and allow its use in lead-free gasoline. The use of MMT at the refining stage results in fewer emissions of some pollutants. Replacing MMT will cost refineries about $100 million in capital costs, as well as tens of millions in operating costs.

These are the arguments put forth by the producer of MMT and the oil industry. Given all this, it is not easy to make a decision in favour of one party or the other. The arguments used by both sides seem valid. However, they are also hard to evaluate and verify.

These arguments give rise to a series of questions, and the answers to these questions are not obvious. This is why Bill C-94 generates so much ambivalence and reservations.

The first question we must ask ourselves, and this is very important, is whether or not the automobile industry will indeed go ahead and increase the cost of cars, reduce the guarantees provided, and disconnect the monitoring system and other anti-pollution devices as early as August 1996, if MMT is not removed from lead-free gas.

You can imagine the harmful effects of such a decision on Canadian consumers. That possibility is based on the position of auto manufacturers, who feel that the MMT clogs their systems and makes them less efficient. This malfunctioning of the anti-pollution systems is said to result in more pollutants being released, thus affecting air quality.

This is certainly not what we hope for, after making encouraging progress regarding exhaust emissions. According to a recent study sponsored by the Canadian Automobile Association, the new emission standards helped to significantly improve air quality. This study also showed that, over a distance of 1 kilometre, a 1970 car caused more pollution than twenty 1995 cars.

The credit for part of the progress made must go to the automotive industry. Through R and D, it has improved its pollution control devices. The industry knows everything there is to know about the devices installed on their products. So, if it tells us that MMT is bad for its systems, then, we must certainly agree with them or at least give them the benefit of the doubt.

But there is a snag. Ethyl Corporation indicates that some independent tests performed on cars have shown that MMT is not harmful to pollution control devices, despite what the automotive industry has said.

In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States has recognized that the automobile industry's concerns over the fouling of the devices were groundless. So, what should we make of the allegations made by the motor vehicle manufacturers? To the question, does MMT make the pollution control devices defective, the answer, Madam Speaker, is not that obvious.

We should also ask ourselves the following question. Is MMT a pollutant in itself and will its elimination from gasoline sold in Canada increase smog in urban areas, as the Ethyl Corporation would have us believe? First of all, according to a Health Canada study, dated December 6, 1994, MMT does not have any adverse health effect. Second, experts say that there is no evidence that the elimination of MMT from gasoline would increase urban smog. It seems that, in Canada, conditions contributing to urban smog, including sunshine and temperature, are not combined often enough for the elimination of MMT to cause an increase in this phenomenon.

According to Ethyl, MMT reduces by 20 per cent nitrous oxide emissions that contribute to the formation of smog. But here, in Canada, it is not clear that increased nitrous oxide emissions meet the necessary conditions to contribute to the formation of urban smog.

If MMT is so effective in reducing smog, why is it banned in large American cities where smog is much more of a problem than in Canadian cities? I think we should ask ourselves this question. Why would the United States ban a product that would be beneficial?

On the issue of increased nitrous oxide emissions, it seems that, thanks to a more sophisticated system, 1996 car models will help further reduce exhaust gas emissions, which, according to some people, would compensate largely for the increased

nitrous oxide emissions caused by the elimination of MMT, but this has yet to be proven.

It must be noted that all these arguments are put forward by the concerned parties. Therefore, it is not easy to make a fair evaluation of them since it is in the best interest of the parties to present them to us in a favourable light.

I mentioned earlier that urban smog is not a problem in Canadian cities, but the temperatures we have had these past few days certainly prove me wrong. Because of the heat wave, there has been a smog advisory in effect in Toronto for the last two days. The Montreal area has also been suffering from an increase in air pollution. The present situation in these two large cities is certainly food for thought.

If it were true that MMT reduces nitrous oxide emissions by 20 per cent, what would be the air pollution level in these large cities if this additive was not present in gasoline?

If Ethyl's argument turns out to be right, can we knowingly and legally allow the quality of the air we breathe to be adversely affected? Another important question is whether the Environmental Protection Agency is going to reintroduce MMT into gasoline in the United States in the very near future, as Ethyl claims? Preliminary indications are that the EPA may indeed allow MMT back on the market. In fact, the United States court of appeal for the District of Columbia has issued a mandate ordering the EPA to grant a waiver permitting the use of MMT.

However, certain sources tell us that concrete action is still far off and that, for a number of years now, Ethyl has been returning regularly to the charge with the EPA. Until now, Ethyl's demands were always turned down. This time, however, it seems that the chances are much better. Ethyl conducted a battery of tests on a significant number of automobiles and met the EPA requirements. According to Ethyl, the tests carried out prove that MMT does not clog the spark plugs, catalytic converters, or exhaust gas oxygen probes, nor is it dangerous to public health. It will be interesting to see where our neighbours to the south go with this issue.

The impact on the petroleum industry raises another important question. According to this industry, removing MMT from their unleaded gas will result in relatively high conversion costs. Furthermore, the industry claims that MMT is a good additive which is easily mixed with gas and is making no bones about its support for the additive.

Therefore, if we do away with MMT, what kind of additive will take its place? This is another interesting avenue of inquiry to consider. If we drop MMT, a very good additive according to the oil industry, we will have to replace it with something else. Currently, it appears that the Liberal government favours ethanol as the replacement. We know, in fact, that a big plant is being built in Chatham, in southern Ontario. This plant, which will be built in two phases at a cost of $270 million, would have a production capacity of 300 million litres of ethanol from corn annually.

It would appear that this construction project is just waiting for the go ahead from Treasury Board. An article which appeared in the London Free Press on June 14 clearly said the following: ``The paperwork sealing the federal government's ethanol policy, essential for the construction of a massive ethanol plant here, is expected to be signed imminently''.

There you have it. The ethanol plant in Chatham is waiting for federal assistance. But is this plant which will produce ethanol, an additive, connected in any way to the bill prohibiting MMT, another additive? Is the government favouring ethanol produced from corn grown in Ontario, the very red Liberal province in this Parliament? Please note that producing ethanol from corn is financially and ecologically costly. The government is cutting taxes associated with ethanol and is considerably reducing the production capacity of our land, all the while increasing pollution, given the fertilizers and pesticides used to grow corn. It is therefore most desirable that the Liberals make the right choice when opting for ethanol.

After thoroughly analyzing all of the arguments regarding MMT and all of the related issues, it is clear that we have to shed more light on the whole issue. I firmly believe that all hon. members who are evaluating this bill need more information, more details from all of the parties concerned and also from all concerned parties who have no stake in the issue. We would then be in a better position to weigh the pros and the cons. At this stage in the debate, despite everything, we look favourably upon this bill. However, we have many serious reservations which will have to be laid to rest when the bill is studied in committee.

In concluding, I would like to add, after having spoken to the hon. member for Davenport, that it is imperative that the chairman of the committee, assisted by his clerk make every effort to hear as many witnesses as possible, whether they are for or against the bill, and to give us enough time with them so that we can really find out what the best solution is from the environmental point of view.

Should we use MMT? Should we ban MMT? Should we use ethanol? Should we concentrate on another product? We need clarification. I ask that we be given enough time to meet all the witnesses concerned.

From what I have heard, it seems we will proceed with third reading very soon. I do not think we will be ready to start third reading unless we have shed some light on these issues and until we are really convinced that banning MMT in Canada-the United States may do so six months from now-is the right decision and that we are not merely putting the oil companies or

other businesses to additional expense just to pass a bill that looks good to the public.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.


Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order to inquire whether you are permitting questions and comments.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

The first three speakers will have a maximum of 40 minutes with no questions and comments.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

9 p.m.


Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, balance is needed and I hope this is what I can represent as I respond to the government on Bill C-94.

It is amazing how quickly the bill got to this stage. I take it the environment minister feels this bill is more important than Bill C-83, an act to amend the Auditor General Act, which was a red book promise. I suppose large companies like General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are not pushing to pass a bill that would create a commissioner to the auditor general's office like Bill C-83 would do.

Every Canadian knows of the power of the big three auto manufacturers. What they want they seem to get from the minister. In this case they wanted the help of the minister to ban the octane enhancer MMT from Canadian gasoline, and help is exactly what they got.

When the minister held her press conference on May 19 she said that the data the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association presented to her clearly convinced her that MMT was bad for automobiles and for Canadians. She did not comment on the evidence presented to her by Ethyl Corporation. When the minister was asked to comment on that she simply stated that she did not need to see Ethyl's data because what the MVMA presented was correct and there was no refuting it. Essentially what the minister was saying was that Ethyl's data was wrong and the data from the MVMA was correct, but she would not fully admit it.

The minister knows very well what the best solution would be to this entire debate. She knows that a series of independent third party tests are needed but she will not initiate it or facilitate it happening.

As members of the House and more important as representatives of all Canadians, it is important that we weigh and pursue every available option to come up with an accurate conclusion before we create any legislation. The Liberal government calls itself responsible but I ask what is really meant by the term responsible in view of Bill C-94. In these technical matters it certainly does not hurt to demonstrate and then legislate.

Some important questions should be asked on the banning of this substance. First, was the evidence brought forward based on accurate data and was it performed by independent testers? Second, who paid for the evaluators and who are they accountable to? Third, what will be the cost implications to consumers both in financial and in environmental terms? I think it is who pays is at the bottom of the government's capitulation to the MVMA lobby.

I want to deal with how the minister came to the decision to ban MMT. Apparently on September 12 last year representatives from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler met with the minister to discuss the banning of MMT.

They told her that if MMT was still in gasoline in August 1995, a time when all new model cars were released, they would do one of maybe three things. First they would raise the price of each automobile by about $3,000. Second they would void sections of their cars warranties and/or close down some high tech Canadian manufacturing facilities.

The minister got spooked in a big way. This was the big three as well as a few other importer tag-alongs telling her what to do. They threatened to close up automotive plants and most of the plants are located not too far from her constituency of Hamilton East and certainly in southwestern Ontario.

The political decision apparently was not too difficult: ban MMT. About a month following the meeting the minister told a reporter that unless the fuel industry moved MMT from its products voluntarily the government was going to impose a ban.

The MVMA could not have been happier: no more dealing with Ethyl and let the federal government work the whole thing out for itself. There was no need for a third party to come in to do testing. Negotiations and industry collaboration went out the window. This is where the minister failed.

There are two sides to the issue and she picked the one that seemed politically friendly. The decision was not based on science. It was based on short term political interest and money, certainly not because there would be any gains for the environment.

Both the MVMA and Ethyl have conducted tests. Both had apparent credible statistics and yet they were contrary to each other. Both sides were adamant that the tests they had brought forward were accurate. I am not a scientist and the environment minister has admitted the same in her background. I have seen the detailed test data and the chemical charts and tables. I am not going to stand here today to convince with a technical argument. All I am trying to do is to provide a reasonable solution like any responsible environment minister would do.

The solution should have been, and for that matter still can be, an independent third party series of tests to determine if MMT actually causes a problem to onboard diagnostic systems in cars. Certainly MMT is not hazardous to our environment as it greatly reduces knocks. Both sides were close to coming to a decision. Both sides were about to approve a third party evaluation. Ford

Motor Company recently did a test with MMT flavoured gasoline to see how it would affect its onboard diagnostic systems.

The minister has been touting the MVMA to be the expert and most accurate in its data collection. Ford conducted an in house fleet test composed of twenty 1994 Thunderbirds. Ten went to Toronto and were driven for about 50,000 miles of city driving. Five went to Florida and five to Nevada. Similar to the testing in Toronto, the ten U.S. cars were also driven about 50,000 miles each and were also kept to city driving. In the interim report Ford asserted that catalyst monitoring ratios generated by the OBD-II system in the vehicles were different in Canada and the U.S. mainly because of MMT.

Ford claims that this was the only difference between Canadian and U.S. vehicles. The U.S. EPA, on the other hand, concluded "it is difficult to distinguish small losses in catalyst activity" using existing OBT technology. The smallest change in emissions which is technologically feasible to detect for current production vehicles equipped with the OBD-II system is a hydrocarbon emission increase or decrease of about .4 grams per mile. Ford tests show an HE emission of only .02 grams per mile. Apparently Ford has not released any data that would verify if the OBD-II systems actually have the ability to measure such small changes in emission performance.

The testing that Ford did was in three very distinct areas: Toronto, Florida and Nevada. We are all aware that the composition of fuel will vary from region to region. With data provided by the National Institute for Petroleum and Energy Research, the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute and Environment Canada, basic differences in the gasoline between the three test sites were rather considerable.

Let us use for example summer gasoline in Toronto. The amount of sulphur in parts per million is about 400 and the percentage of ether is about zero per cent. On the other hand in U.S. gasoline sulphur content is about 248 parts per million in Florida and about 80 parts per million in the west southwest. As for ether, in Florida it is 1.8 per cent and in the west southwest it is 1.6 per cent.

The reason for my explanation of these data is to show that test parameters can vary significantly from city to city.

Why did Ford use these two U.S. cities to conduct its testing when it knew full well of the differences in the composition of gasoline? As politicians we are all very familiar with polls and the use of polls. One poll says this and another poll says something else. If one wants a polling company to get a favourable answer it is possible to do so by the way one words the questions.

I would assume the same was also true for the way testing was done on MMT. On one side Ethyl wanted to see tests which showed that MMT was not responsible for malfunctions with the onboard diagnostic systems in cars. On the other side the MVMA wanted to prove how MMT was hurting or interfering with its systems. Essentially each party got the results it wanted. How accurate are the tests and what are the implications for public policy?

The bill bans MMT in Canada. The way I read it there is no reference to Nevada or Florida in the bill, if the minister wants to believe the data provided to her of tests that were not even performed in this country on comparable fuels.

Some proponents of the bill will ask me for a better way of doing the tests. I can only think of one logical way. The ban is in Canada. Take cars and pair them up. Choose independent locations across the country. Use two cars in each location. In one car use gasoline added with MMT and in the other car use the same type of gasoline without the addition of MMT. Drive each car for the same distance and over the same terrain and in the same climate. For instance, if one of the two cars is driven in the city, the same should apply to the other. A wide variety of car models should be used in varied Canadian climates and conditions. This would seem to be the only available solution.

When people are charged with crimes and they know in their hearts they are innocent, they agree to any test, any independent investigation, lie detectors, DNA and so on. They are confident and therefore they have nothing to be afraid of, nothing to hide.

Since the beginning the Ethyl Corporation has wanted to settle the entire dispute using a comprehensive series of industry wide, third party tests. It was confident in the outcome. The same was not true for the MVMA. As soon as there was a hint that the minister would back it up all future talks were cancelled. Now it balks at the idea of independent testing. I guess its lobbying paid off.

Early last week the United States Court of Appeals issued a mandate ordering the EPA to grant a waiver to permit the use of MMT in unleaded gasoline in the U.S. The court found that MMT does not cause or contribute to the failure of any emission control device or system. It evaluated the evidence placed before it. I realize this does not mean that MMT will be in U.S. gasoline tomorrow but it does mean one large step closer.

Ethyl Corporation still has a hearing before the same court in September of this year to confirm final registration of MMT, which would then allow for the sale of the additive. It is interesting to note that in the above decision by the appeals court

neither the auto industry nor the Environmental Protection Agency appealed the court decision. Why? There was likely no grounds for appeal.

On Friday I received material from the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute that has been following the issue with great interest. The CPPI official who was in attendance in Washington for the decision stated:

EPA officials made it clear that, assuming Ethyl does win, the burden of proof for any future attempts to have MMT banned will shift from Ethyl to the auto makers. This is leading the auto makers in the U.S. to all of a sudden start talking about a joint testing program. This is what CPPI has been proposing for the last two years in Canada and what the auto makers have continually refused to support.

Maybe the auto manufacturers' lobbyists are not so confident of their position.

Even before Bill C-94 was introduced Reformers asked the environment minister to conduct independent tests. She has adamantly refused. Somehow the minister at least could have facilitated it. The MVMA knew it had the inside track with the minister. All it had to do was stall with Ethyl.

In the early stages I think the minister believed the U.S. courts would maybe side with the EPA. The bill will become the environment minister's legacy. There is a good chance that the bill will pass through the House about the same time that the U.S. begins using MMT in its gasoline again. What will the minister do then? Will she stick to her legislation and continue with the ban or will she flip-flop or succumb to some international pressure?

The industry minister has also said on numerous occasions that the key to banning MMT in Canada is to create a uniformity of standards between the U.S. and Canada so costs to the auto makers rather than environmental concerns are behind this move. According to this statement Canada will go back and forth like a lost puppy or maybe a lapdog.

The minister introduced this legislation with hopes it would get quick passage before the summer. She is on a deadline set by the MVMA. The 1996 cars were about to be shipped and they wanted to ship them with the OBD-II systems all hooked up.

It is clear now the bill will not get through all stages. The bill will wait until the fall to be reopened for debate. Even if the bill is passed before the end of the year manufacturers will have already shipped their cars. The 1996 cars will not have gone up in price and the warranties will not have been reduced, since all the warranty manuals will already have been printed and shipped with the cars. This is a perfect opportunity for the environment minister since she knows the passage of the bill is irrelevant to the timing of production for the 1996 cars.

It was once said the Liberal philosophy holds that enduring governments must be accountable to someone besides themselves, that a government responsible only to its own conscience is not for long tolerable. This is befitting of the government which occupies the benches today; to whom is it accountable?

Before the government goes through with this legislation I draw to its attention some of the information I have come across during the last several weeks. I raise it for the sake of discussion.

On several occasions the minister stated in the House and at the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development that if we do not curb global warming much of Prince Edward Island will be completely under water. The minister has stated that if action is not taken immediately thousands upon thousands of jobs could be lost.

I still have a lot of questions on the whole issue of global warming in relation to greenhouse gases, as do many Canadians. In the reading I have done on the topic lately I have discovered that according to scientists the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides, NOx.

Since we are dealing specifically with MMT we should concentrate on the NOx emissions. I do not believe anyone will deny that the additive MMT does reduce NOx emissions. However, I suppose the only argument may come as to how much NOx emissions are reduced with MMT in gasoline. It may also be important to point out that at the 1988 international treaty Canada committed itself to freezing NOx emissions at the 1988 level. This was all part of Environment Canada's NOx VOC2 management plan.

Since the minister's own department feels it is necessary to reduce these emissions it would be important for us to better understand how much MMT actually reduces NOx emissions and helps the environment.

This past June a month long cleaner air campaign was launched in Toronto after results showed the outrageous levels of smog in certain Canadian centres. The campaign was put together by pollution probe and included some major sponsors: Canadian Tire Corporation, Consumers Gas, Petro-Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Environment Canada, to name a few.

B.C.'s lower mainland, where I come from, parts of New Brunswick and the Windsor-Quebec corridor were found to be the three worst areas in the country for smog pollution. The people of Hamilton East, part of the Windsor-Quebec corridor, need to know their member of Parliament, who happens to be the Minister of the Environment, is banning a substance which would help to reduce urban smog. The minister needs to be

accountable to the well-being of Canada's environment. She should also be accountable to those who elected her to office.

Ethyl Canada claims that removing MMT from Canadian gasoline would increase NOx emission levels by up to 20 per cent. The CPPI has added to this and made the claim that removing MMT would be the equivalent of adding over a million cars to Canadian roads. Those are pretty substantial numbers for the environment.

On the other hand, Environment Canada did its own testing on MMT and found that removing it from gasoline would increase NOx emissions by only 5 per cent; again, two evaluations, two substantially different numbers. Which one is correct?

I want to look at how Environment Canada came to its conclusion of 5 per cent. Environment Canada used an EPA NOx benefit of .08 grams per mile, based on John Holly's 1994 analysis of all Ethyl and Ford testing data. Therefore the .08 grams per mile was divided by the average of summer and winter predicted emissions for a typical Canadian gasoline without MMT.

I point out something very important. John Holly's analysis is based on MMT testing data for late model passenger cars only, with vehicles accruing no more than 75,000 miles. Again Environment Canada is taking data based on U.S. gasoline which has completely different properties, most of which will affect NOx emissions. This was something I explained earlier when I referred to the testing done by the MVMA. We are relatively clear that our gasoline is different than that in the U.S. and that this would no doubt skew the results.

I am not a technical expert and so reading scientific data and making interpretations could only be general in nature. When we look at some of the ways MMT was tested it is clear there are many intervening factors and uncontrolled variables, the number one factor being the type of gasoline used in each of the tests.

Each side has an argument about what the other side did wrong, how its test design was inadequate or how unwarranted conclusions were made from the available evidence. I am sure if we were to bring both the MVMA and Ethyl together to debate their individual cases each would have no problem finding fault with each other's data and making circular arguments.

I now bring another player into this whole debate. All we have heard about so far are the auto makers and Ethyl. However, another key component to the equation is the refineries. Studies show the removal of MMT would significantly add to refinery costs for reformulating gasoline and increase the cost of the refining processes.

Refineries are required to achieve cleaner burning fuels but removal of MMT will cause refineries to increase refinery emissions and consume a greater amount of fuel which would require an expensive retrofitting process.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of the Environment and Resource Management stated in a May 1995 letter to Environment Canada:

We are also concerned with the impact this decision will have on Consumers' Co-Operative Refineries Limited in Regina. CCRL has Advised us that refining costs will increase in the order of $500,000 annually if MMT is banned. We have difficulty rationalizing this cost with no identifiable benefit to air quality by this action.

This is a dollar amount from only one refinery. If we take into account other refineries the number would be extremely high. In the recent Kilborn study, which I understand the environment department has still not released, it is estimated the cost to refiners of replacing MMT in Canada would be approximately $100,000 million in capital and tens of millions of dollars for operating. Perhaps the minister will release this report as soon as possible so all Canadians can see the real cost of the implication of this legislation.

The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, which represents the majority of the petroleum refining and marketing industry in Canada in the same way that the MVMA represents the Canadian Automobile Manufacturers, states:

The MMT controversy is a technical issue between the auto industry and the petroleum industry that should be decided on the basis of science-The CPPI has repeatedly offered to participate in either a joint testing program or an independent scientific evaluation program, and to abide by the results, but all offers have been rebuffed.

Why should they when there is the appearance that the minister is in the pocket of the MVMA?

I learned on Friday that the American Automobile Manufacturers' Association is considering doing third party testing. Apparently the recent decision by the U.S. court of appeals has made it think twice. The Minister of the Environment should put an immediate stop to her legislation and let the key players work this out among themselves. I do not believe anyone would consider the Minister of the Environment a key player. Putting it simply, she appears to be an all too willing politician at the behest of the MVMA.

I want to point out to the minister there is still time left before she may become rather embarrassed. If all goes well for Ethyl the United States may have MMT included in its gasoline by the fall. If the minister decides to scrap the bill in the fall, she will appear as the minister who has been hasty and not on top of her responsibility to protect the public interest rather than the interest of those who contribute to her election campaigns. There will be no way of making amends at that time.

My suggestion is for the government to scrap this legislation and begin immediately with independent third party testing. The Reform Party would support the minister if she decided to do this and would support subsequent government regulations when science so indicates.

It is time for the minister to be wise. However if the minister continues the stubborn course and proceeds with Bill C-94 we will have no choice but to oppose this legislation.

If the bill passes second reading the House standing committee must hear witnesses and provide a public forum for the scientific evidence to be displayed, not inside arguments made within ministries but out in the open. The merits of the bill must stand on their own. The bill must not be rammed through to respond to the government's friends and against available scientific evidence.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

9:25 p.m.


Ovid Jackson Liberal Bruce—Grey, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to participate in this debate tonight but I am dismayed with what I heard from the Reform Party and from the BQ. The fact they are not supporting our current producers of ethanol is very sad.

Both members accused our minister of not doing a proper job. I will probably clarify a lot of incorrect inferences they made about our minister. I will speak to the BQ critic of the environment from Laurentides. Are any cars produced in Quebec?

She talked about the lack of consistency with ethanol. Ethanol is a hydrocarbon. Petroleum comes from the Latin word petra, which means rock, and oleum, oil. These substances are extracted from the ground and cracked in refineries. My colleagues from the west would know all about that since they produce energy.

It has been said that one gallon of gasoline could actually take an automobile 460 miles if all the energy were utilized during that combustion process. We are moving closer to that kind of situation as on board diagnostic equipment kicks in, knowing how much fuel is coming in, exactly how to time the spark and exactly how to control the combustion in the engine.

With reference to ethanol discussed by the member for Laurentides, she was confusing an octane enhancer with a fuel. The member accused the Minister of the Environment of not acting in the best interest of the environment, which is exactly the opposite of what the minister is doing. The minister is protecting the environment. She is actually protecting customers. She is protecting humans from contaminants.

Contaminants from automobiles in places like Los Angeles, California, which is in a valley, are noticeable when there is a temperature inversion that causes photochemical smog. Photochemical smog is caused by an interaction of NOx gases from automobile tailpipes and certain atmospheric conditions with some sunlight.

If members opposite want to ask me a question I will be glad to answer any and all, including technical questions. I would be glad to tell them how a car works or exactly what the banning of MMT means.

I will explain to the House why we are taking action against MMT. It is a manganese based fuel additive used to increase the octane rating of gasoline. It has been used in Canada since 1977 as a replacement for lead in unleaded gasolines. The lead was phased out in virtually all Canadian gasoline engines by 1990. Octane rating is a unit of measurement established by the automative industry to determine the antiknock quality of a fuel.

When we talk about compression ratios in race cars it may be up to 10:1 or 11:1. In diesels it is about 20:1. In a diesel the air is compressed until it gets extremely hot, about 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, then fuel is introduced into that engine. In an automotive engine a spark plug is used to ignite fuel. In the case of a high compression engine the fuel becomes very unstable and will self-ignite.

If a car engine continues to run after the ignition has been turned off, it is called dieseling. The reason it diesels is that maybe a spark other than the gasoline in the combustion chamber triggers it and allows it to run. It becomes very unpredictable. In order to stop the unpredictability an octane enhancer is used. That is partially what an octane enhancer does.

Who uses MMT? Just about every Canadian motorist does because Canadian refineries use it. The exact amount of MMT used may vary depending on the batch of gasoline. However, premium grade gasolines generally contain a higher dosage than regular grade gasoline. Canada is the only country that uses MMT. The United States for example banned it from unleaded gasoline in 1978.

The automobile industry is convinced that gasoline containing MMT adversely impacts the operation of sophisticated on board diagnostic systems. These OBD systems are important because they monitor the performance of emission control components in vehicles.

The automotive industry has made the decision that it will not accept the risk of increased warranty repair costs caused by MMT related damage. Some companies have even indicated they will disconnect the OBD systems in whole or in part and may reduce Canadian vehicle warranty coverage starting in the 1996 model year if MMT continues to be used in Canadian gasoline.

The cost of maintaining these systems are to be passed directly on to Canadian consumers. This is where the federal government comes in. Last October the Minister of the Environment urged both industries to voluntarily resolve the issue of MMT in Canada by the end of 1994 otherwise the government would take action. This deadline was subsequently extended into February of this year to review the automobile petroleum industry proposals.

The matter was not resolved so the federal government had to step in. This action is Bill C-94. The MMT issue is no longer an industry dispute. Its outcome can affect the vehicle emission programs we are putting into place. In the long term it could also negatively impact the automotive sector.

Successful resolution of the MMT issue will ensure that the environmental benefits are realized through the use of the most advanced emission control technologies. It will ensure that Canadians are offered the same warranty coverage as in the United States and will ensure that Canadian motor vehicle emissions control programs do not diverge from those in the United States.

This means that Canadians continue to benefit from the cost and technological advances in North American harmonized fleets. It means good news to Canadians and jobs for Canadians in the Canadian automotive sector. That is because diverging emission standards and differing anti-pollution equipment on Canadian cars will negatively impact the marketplace and decrease the competitiveness of the automotive sector.

We would also be faced with a situation where cars built in Canada that go south of the border could have more advanced equipment than those sold in Canada with better pollution controls on them giving better atmospheric conditions. That clearly is not acceptable.

Let us be clear about the economic impact of removing MMT. It will be small for the entire petroleum industry. Estimates for the cost of MMT removal provided by the industry range from $50 million to $83 million per year. Yes, it costs a little bit of money to clean up the environment. It means an additional .1 or .24 cents per litre increase at the pump. I may add that the on board diagnostic equipment gives better mileage so that may not necessarily affect the car. In fact the car may give better mileage because the systems are designed to do that.

Permit me now to take a few moments to explain some key highlights of the bill. Bill C-94 would prohibit the import or interprovincial trade for a commercial purpose of MMT or anything containing MMT. It will give the minister the power to authorize exceptions for MMT that would not be used in unleaded gasoline, subject to the monitoring requirement.

Coverage of the act can be expanded by an order in council to cover other manganese based substances. The act is binding on all persons and entities, including the federal and provincial governments. The enforcement tools are similar to the ones in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

The penalties are strict. For the unauthorized import or interprovincial trade of MMT, the maximum penalty on summary conviction is a $300,000 fine and/or six months in jail and on indictment the maximum fine is $1 million and/or three years in jail. For knowingly providing false or misleading information on the importation or interprovincial trade of MMT, the penalties are the same but with a maximum of five years in jail instead of three on indictment. On conviction, as in the CEPA, a court can also order an additional fine equal to the monetary benefits resulting from the offence, prohibit conduct that may lead to a repeat offence and direct the offender to notify third parties about the contravention.

That gives members of the House an idea of what the government is proposing in Bill C-94. What does all this mean to our constituents?

I do not mind saying that I come from one of the most beautiful parts of Canada, the riding of Bruce-Grey. Thousands of others have said they enjoy driving up to beautiful Georgian Bay and visiting Owen Sound, Wiarton, Hanover, Walkerton, Flesherton or going across to South Baymouth on the Chi-cheemaun throughout the year. As happy as we are with the tourism that our region attracts, we are also very concerned with the toll increasing motor traffic is having on the fragile environment.

The people of Bruce-Grey want the government and the industry to take all necessary measures to make sure the thousands and thousands of cars and trucks that travel our highways and roads are operating as cleanly as possible. They want us to make sure that increased tourism and increased vehicular activity does not lead to an increase in environmental degradation. In Bruce-Grey we want to protect all we have, not just for our children but for their children, our economy and future generations of Canadian visitors.

The views and concerns of my constituents are no different from those expressed by other Canadians in all parts of Canada. Canadians expect us to do what we can to preserve the environment. They also expect us to protect jobs, consumers and Canadian automotive technology. That is what Bill C-94 does.

I would be glad and willing to answer any questions. There are no dumb questions on this subject because I know we are right to protect the environment. We are protecting our plants and animals. We are providing jobs in a sector that is extremely important to us and we are protecting the environment. We are protecting the air we breathe.

In California weather forecasting they talk about temperature inversions and harmful emissions from automobiles. In many forecasts people are told to stay off the streets because they could

actually suffer from eye irritation. This will not happen here if we allow these new technologies to be fed into the computer.

Just to recap, when we go into our modern cars and turn on the ignition we have these on board diagnostic systems that function. We have exhaust gas recirculation and a charcoal container that captures the hydrocarbons. At a gas station when someone puts the hose in the gas tank and drops of gas fall out, that is hydrocarbon emission. In the old cars there was a vent so they had to put in charcoal to stop it from getting into the atmosphere. They have PCV valves. They have catalytic converters. A catalyst is a device that will change the substances so we can manipulate what comes out of the tailpipe.

We are trying to protect the environment with the best technologies possible. We are trying to protect Canadian jobs. That is what the minister is trying to do.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, 1995Government Orders

June 19th, 1995 / 9:35 p.m.

Saint-Léonard Québec


Alfonso Gagliano LiberalSecretary of State (Parliamentary Affairs) and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wish to give notice that with respect to the consideration of Senate amendments stage of Bill C-69, an act to provide for the establishment of electoral boundaries commissions and the readjustment of electoral boundaries, at the next sitting of the House I shall move, pursuant to Standing Order 57, that the debate be not further adjourned.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-94, an act to regulate interprovincial trade in and the importation for commercial purposes of certain managese based substances, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

9:40 p.m.


Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, the member gave a very eloquent dialogue on MMT. He based most of his discussion on the environmental aspects of MMT and said that it was banned in the United States.

Last week the United States district court of appeals issued its mandate ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to grant a waiver to permit the use of MMT in unleaded gas in the United States because it is clearly not an environmental hazard. What does the member for Bruce-Grey have to say about that?

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

9:40 p.m.


Ovid Jackson Liberal Bruce—Grey, ON

Madam Speaker, I am not a lawyer and lawyers have fun with these topics. This will be in the courts forever.

I do know that in the United States the EPA reasons are that MMT will cause certain medical problems. That is the major thing it is going with now. We have to understand that billions of dollars are involved. I am sure there will be campaigns, full page ads and what have you. It is the scientific community that has to deal with this. Sure there will be things going back and forth. The jury is still out on it. This dispute has been around for a long time. It is a legal one and I do not have an answer to it. I am sure that in the end the United States EPA will win out.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

9:40 p.m.


Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, the member for Bruce-Grey talked about a number of issues. He talked about standards and harmonization. He talked about MMT being banned. I think he also touched on the issue that Canada is the only country that uses it.

Our industry minister said in April: "The member will know that MMT is not permitted in the United States by legislation. It is crucial that we have uniformity of standards". The U.S. court of appeals has now ordered the U.S. EPA to grant Ethyl Corporation's application for a waiver, paving the way for the use of MMT in unleaded gasoline in the United States. Several U.S. refiners have provided written notice of their intention to use MMT. Uniformity of gasoline additives within North America would now require Canada to maintain rather than restrict MMT.

The member also talked about it being banned. The environment minister on May 5, 1995 said: "The United States Environmental Protection Agency banned MMT in 1977 and since that time Ethyl Corporation has consistently tried to turn around the ban by court case after court case in which it continues to fail".

MMT was not banned by the EPA. It is still used in the United States in leaded gasoline and after market products. It was used in unleaded gasoline during the crude oil shortages of the 1970s. In 1977 the U.S. Clean Air Act established a process requiring new fuel additives not substantially similar to gasoline to obtain a waiver by demonstrating compatibility with vehicle emission systems.

Ethyl of course undertook the largest fuel additives testing program in history which resulted in the EPA's conclusion in December 1993 that MMT will not cause or contribute to the failure of any emission control device or system. Contrary to the minister's statements in May the U.S. court of appeals ordered the EPA to grant a waiver approval to Ethyl Corporation on April 14, 1995. The minister was fully informed of this decision but did not say anything to this House.

Another comment was made by an Environment Canada news release on May 19: "Canada is currently the only country in the world tht permits the use of MMT in unleaded gasoline". MMT is approved for use in Canada, Argentina, Bulgaria and Ukraine. It is being actively considered for introduction in Australia, New Zealand and other countries in southeast Asia and around the world. These countries have closely monitored Ethyl's EPA fleet testing program and have noted the U.S. court of appeals ruling ordering the U.S. EPA to grant Ethyl's waiver application. Several U.S. refiners have confirmed their interest in using MMT in the United States.

If MMT is considered bad for automobiles and the environment, why then does the minister not ban the substance under the schedule in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act? Why can we not use CEPA to ban MMT?

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.


Ovid Jackson Liberal Bruce—Grey, ON

Madam Speaker, first I would like to make a point of clarification. I forgot that I was sharing my time with the member for Simcoe North.

Some of the comments by the member for New Westminster-Burnaby were contradictory. He said that in the United States there is a court case going on with regard to the banning of MMT, yet he says that MMT is used. If MMT is used then we do not have a problem. I suspect that there are times when we would have to do that. There probably are old fashioned cars that do not use the highways as much. Certain facilities are made in order for those people to operate their vehicles. That may be one of the reasons they are using MMT.

The basic thing we are looking at here is as the member for Davenport explained, there are 18 automotive manufacturers that say that MMT will foul up the onboard diagnostic equipment. We are talking about Canadian consumers, and we must understand that the on board diagnostic equipment sends messages to the computer. These are all little electronic devices. If they become plugged and turn on the on board diagnostic lights, it will cause these cars to be taken in for repair. The manufacturer is going to get fed up with it and pull the plug, which they said they would do, and stop using the light, which is so important for these vehicles as the technology advances to the stage where you know when your car is starting to pollute the environment.

In the United States they have stickers and at certain times cars go in to be fixed. But the on board diagnostics show right away when there is a problem. The MMT will foul them up and render them useless. By doing that it impairs the pollution device it impairs the fuel economy of the car sputter, and it makes the car sputter and not function properly. It takes away that protection from the consumer.

That is what we are trying to do. The hon. member does not want to spend any money. If the manufacturers of MMT want to push this product and make it acceptable to the automobile manufactuers then let them get their scientists to make sure it works in a way that it does not do that. Let them do that, but the Government of Canada should not be spending money for that kind of stuff.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.


Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member for Bruce-Grey to comment on the fact that in 1991 auto research laboratories did a study on various fuel formulations and tests showed that an addition of a small amount of MMT to a 10 per cent ethanol blend will significantly enhance environmental benefits by reducing emissions that contribute to ground level ozone and urban smog. The test demonstrated that with an industry average fuel MMT and the 10 per cent ethanol it reduced NOx emissions by more than 30 per cent. How would the member respond to that piece of evidence?

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.


Ovid Jackson Liberal Bruce—Grey, ON

Madam Speaker, basically by using exhaust gas recirculation. NOx emissions are caused by high combustion chamber temperatures. Therefore by using exhaust gas recirculation, which is triggered by the computer, it drops the temperature in the combustion chamber and we can regulate NOx that way through the standards that EPA expects.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.


Roger Pomerleau Bloc Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Madam Speaker, Bill C-94, as most of my colleagues have already well pointed out, is intended to prohibit the use of the product MMT in the production of gasoline. This product is a manganese-based additive used in practically all unleaded gasolines in Canada since 1977.

Before I start, I think I should point out that the research done by Health Canada indicates that the fears expressed by a number of groups regarding the harmful effects MMT may have on health are unfounded. On its own, this product does not harm the environment. However, and this is the crux of the matter and the reason the minister is putting Bill C-94 before us today, automobile manufacturers claim that MMT in gasoline clogs the anti-pollution devices, impeding their effectiveness and thus, indirectly, of course, harming the environment.

I listened earlier to my colleague for Davenport say that the only people with any interest in opposing the bill were MMT producers or distributors. This, however, is not quite the case. The major oil producers also have an interest in opposing it, and we will see why in due course.

The oil producers claim in response to the automobile manufacturers that MMT means gasoline can be produced at a considerably lower cost in environmental terms at the refining stage. MMT requires less intensive processing and this means

less carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide from the smokestacks of gasoline manufacturing plants.

In addition, MMT allows refineries to reduce the aromatic cycles in gas and thus benzene emissions. Caught between these two industry giants, the automobile manufacturers and the big oil companies, which are fighting each other, is the product distributor, Ethyl Canada, which, according to several analyses, has passed all the required tests and is said to be ready to put its product on the market in the United States where it was, as my hon. colleague from the Reform Party put it, partly banned.

In fact, on April 14, 1995, the United States of America Court of Appeal for the district of Columbia, rendered its decision in the case involving Ethyl Corporation and the Environmental Protection Agency, in which Ethyl contested the refusal of the agency, on July 13, 1994, to meet its request to put an end to the banning of MMT in unleaded gas.

The court decided and I quote: "The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency has broken the clearly stipulated conditions of clause 211 by rejecting the request of Ethyl to put an end to the banning of MMT for public health reasons". The court added that since Congress had given the agency the mandate to evaluate, only in terms of emissions, what is implied by some of the requests to stop banning a product, and since Ethyl had met the requirements concerning the emissions, the administrator of the agency had exceeded his powers by rejecting the request made by Ethyl. Because of these facts, the court sent a direct order to the agency which will, as the court said, have to grant Ethyl its request to remove the ban on its additive.

Therefore we can see that, in any event, the United States is getting ready to put MMT back in circulation in a few months. The court's explanation was as follows: "As regards the arguments made by the American Automobile Manufacturers Association against the opinion of the Environmental Protection Agency according to which MMT does not affect in whole or in part the proper operation of the emission control system in vehicles, the American court ruled that those arguments had no value at all. First of all, the court emphasized that the agency had established that ethyl used as an additive had easily passed tests required in all the most stringent studies ever conducted". The court is referring here to statistics.

The court also noted that "the Environment Protection Agency has examined, using more restrictive criteria, Ethyl's data on the use of the additive in more technologically advanced vehicles", and the court found that the agency had detected no significant emission increase, that is no increase which could reasonably be attributed to a sampling error.

As for the allegation by automotive manufacturers that MMT interferes with the operation of OBD-II systems, the court said in its ruling that "the EPA had reasonably refuted the doubts of the three automotive manufacturers concerning the effect of MMT on these systems". The court went on to say that "under the Clean Air Act, the EPA still has the authority needed to establish these facts".

As a result, Ethyl intends to reintroduce MMT on the U.S. market very soon, once registration matters have been settled.

Faced with this, the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute has recommended-as have the hon. member from Davenport and my colleague from the Reform Party-that a committee of independent experts be asked to settle the issue.

Not too long ago, Claude Brouillard, president of the institute, said, and I quote: "We have solid scientific and technical data supporting MMT and its use in Canada". However, as some players question these facts, we are prepared to submit this issue to an independent committee of experts and to abide by their decision. We hope that the federal government, the automakers and the product manufacturer will endorse this proposal". This comes from the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute. Therefore, the manufacturer of MMT is not the only one dissatisfied with the decisions which are being made.

As well, Mr. Fisher, chairman of the board of this institute, sent the following letter to the Prime Minister. I will read some paragraphs in English. Mr. Fisher wrote this:

"The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, which represents the vast majority of the petroleum refining and marketing industry in Canada, is strongly opposed to the announced plan of the government to legislate a ban on imports of the gasoline additive MMT."

"We understand that the proposed legislation will be presented to Cabinet soon. This proposal is being justified under the banner of harmonization with the United States, but actions currently under way in the U.S. are leading towards the probable reintroduction of MMT into unleaded gasolines."

"The MMT controversy is a technical issue between the auto industry and the petroleum industry"-he is quite right-"an issue that should be decided on the basis of sound science. It does not require a legislative solution and it is not appropriate for your government"-the letter was addressed to the Prime Minister-"to be taking the action at this time. We submit that the process followed by your government has been seriously flawed." So wrote the petroleum producers, not the company producing MMT.

"When the Minister of Environment first spoke publicly on the issue, she prbably stated that the issue should be resolved by the two industries. The minister then went on, however, to declare that in the absence of an agreement she would legislate MMT out of gasoline. By declaring the outcome, any incentive for the auto industry to cooperate in a joint scientifically based testing program was removed."

"The CPPI has repeatedly offered to participate in either a joint testing program or independent scientific evaluation program and to abide by the results".

The chairman went on as follows:

"There are demonstrated environmental, economic, and energy efficiency benefits from the use of MMT. We do not believe these benefits should be lost to Canada without a sound database on information to demonstrate that the allegations of the automakers against MMT are valid. To date, this information has not been forthcoming. Indeed, as the U.S. Court of Appeals recently decided, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has accepted that automakers have not demonstrated their case against MMT."

"Given the probability of MMT being reintroduced in the U.S., the lack of a sound scientific case against MMT, the benefits of the additive and the flawed process of political development, we strongly urge the government to not proceed with the proposed legislation to ban imports of MMT."

Clearly, it is not only refining and marketing companies that find this bill premature, at least in its present state, as is now being submitted to us today.

In spite of all the adverse opinions, the minister is still presenting her bill which settles, or tries to settle the question by banning MMT. I think, as my colleague the member for Laurentides said earlier, that they want to give a chance to the ethanol program.

On December 21, 1994, the federal government announced a new program that would promote the extraction of ethanol from biomass. According to the Minister of the Environment, in accordance with her policy on agriculture and with the government's will to develop an innovative economy, the government will implement the national program on biomass ethanol to promote private sector investment in that industry.

Again according to the environment minister, the national program on biomass ethanol shows that the government is quite determined to encourage the production and the utilization of renewable fuels wherever it is advantageous from an environmental and an economical standpoint. Apparently, that would be a step forward in setting up, in Canada, a renewable energy industry. The program provides for the establishment of a reimbursable line of credit guaranteed by the federal government, to which a limited number of eligible applicants would have access. A total amount of $70 million would then be offered under certain specific conditions between the years 1999 and 2005. We can see that there is a real desire on the government's part to promote ethanol in any way possible.

However, my colleague from the Laurentides asked a very relevant question. What would be the point of banning MMT if we are to spend money to use ethanol as a new gasoline additive? I think that question deserves to be studied in committee. Indeed, this little bill, apparently quite simple and quite insignificant, might have an extremely serious and complex impact.

I was listening to my hon. colleague opposite who was telling us about technical considerations behind this project. The fact is that there is a complex technical problem with various consequences. My colleague was remarking that "there are billions behind this", and he is absolutely right. When billions of dollars are at stake, we should at least think about the reason why the bill is put forward.

The Bloc will reluctantly support this bill at second reading, with so many reservations that it will not be real support. We hope to review it thoroughly in committee.

I hope the committee, both the staff and the members, will take the time to make a careful study of this issue, as my colleague from the Reform Party was asking for.

We will conduct a study that will be as exhaustive as the government will allow, because there are too many different interests at stake in addition to technical points about which decisions must be made. To do so, we will need complete explanations from some players who are independent, in some way, in the analysis itself, because they are not part of it.

But during the whole time this bill is studied in committee, we will keep in mind that Quebec as a whole has often been a loser to date, in terms of investment in the energy sector, and in all possible ways.

I would like to give the establishment of the Borden line as an example. Those who sat in the House, or were interested in politics at the time, remember very clearly that, in the early 1960s, international oil prices dropped so dramatically after worldwide overproduction, that western Canadian oil prices far exceeded oil prices on foreign markets. Refineries in the east end of Montreal, almost all of which are in my riding or very close to it, refused to buy oil from western Canada because it was so expensive.

At that point, western oil producers complained and asked the federal government to find a solution to their problem. The government appointed the Borden commission. That commission, which had no representative from Quebec, decided that a line would be set, the Borden line, giving western Canada a captive market, that is the region west of the Ottawa River, and that a pipeline would come to Sarnia. It also decided that eastern refiners, that is Quebec refiners, would have to get their oil from that pipeline. Consequently, within a few years, the whole petrochemical industry was transferred from eastern Montreal to Ontario. Quebecers, who were refiners and sellers of finished oil products, became buyers of refined products from Ontario.

This is a clear case, in the energy sector, of Quebec being deprived of an economic activity which it had developed.

This morning, I was listening to the hon. member for Longueuil. He was quite right when he said that all the major investments made in recent years in the energy sector, including CANDU research, amount to about $12 billion. Indeed, billions of dollars are invested in projects such as Hibernia, but not one penny was ever spent on hydro projects in Quebec.

Before concluding, I want to remind this House that 23 per cent of the money invested elsewhere than Quebec comes from Quebecers. We want to look at every side of the issue, and we hope that the committee will give us the opportunity to meet all those concerned with this issue.

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10:05 p.m.


Paul Devillers Liberal Simcoe North, ON

Madam Speaker, the hon. member made reference to the District of Columbia circuit court decision, as have previous speakers.

I have a fax statement I would like to read and ask the member a question. It is fax from the EPA to Environment Canada that reads:

EPA has just learned of the D.C. circuit's decision requiring the agency to grant a fuel additive waiver for the manganese-based gasoline additive MMT. The agency is disappointed in the court's decision that EPA cannot consider health effects in deciding whether or not to grant these waivers.

This decision does not mean that unleaded gasoline containing MMT can now be sold. The Clean Air Act also requires that all new fuel additives, including MMT, must be tested and their health effects studied before they can be registered for use.

In 1994 EPA issued rules implementing this requirement that will govern the testing of MMT. MMT is not currently registered for use in unleaded gasoline. The agency will therefore require the testing concerning potential health effects of MMT be completed prior to its approval for this use.

I would like to know whether the hon. member is aware that tests will have to be completed before MMT can be used in the United States.

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10:05 p.m.


Roger Pomerleau Bloc Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Madam Speaker, I was not aware of that. A Health Canada study showed that MMT is not a threat to health and the environment. We will find that report for my colleague. Mind you, reports coming out of Health Canada are not always reliable.

For example, UFFI was supposed to be fabulous. People had to spend billions of dollars to remove the stuff from their homes. Let us remember also the thalidomide and silicone breast implant problems. I always take what comes out of Health Canada with a grain of salt. Health Canada tells us that MMT is not a health hazard.

My colleague's question underscores an obvious fact. We are dealing here with an extremely complex issue that has implications in health, technology, and chemistry. Those who will examine this issue in committee will have to rely on experts to understand all the aspects of it.

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10:10 p.m.


Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to mention a rather interesting phenomenon. Listening to this discussion in the House concerning additives to the gas used in cars is a reminder of where the federal government is at compared to Quebec. In Quebec the electric car has been invented. An inventor in Montreal by the name of Couture has reinvented the wheel.

He has developed an electrical system by equipping each wheel with a motor, making this car the car of the future. Pollutants will be eliminated because, as we know, the whole discussion around MMT involves whether or not it pollutes, whether or not it is detrimental to health. In Quebec, we will eliminate pollutants. We will eliminate exhaust pipes. This will be a car without an engine. This electronic car is a major step forward for the entire world, and it began in Quebec.

Once again, this shows how Quebec has made progress in this field, as it has in many others, in trying to come up with the best, environmentally friendly solution for a healthier society. I was curious to know if the hon. member agreed with me that Quebec is already a frontrunner in the search for a solution to all these questions of gas and pollutants.

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10:10 p.m.


Roger Pomerleau Bloc Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Madam Speaker, I found my colleague's remarks most interesting, as I was just speaking about this this morning. In fact, whenever we look at gas and additives to it such as MMT, ethanol or whatever, we are looking at chemical roducts, all of which, in one way or another, pollute. Take ethanol, which is not supposed to be a pollutant. Its manufacture from corn and fertilizers will damage the soil.

So the electric car, which needs no gas or other fuel, is an unprecedented opportunity for Quebec to take the lead in technology that does not exist anywhere else. I think that the people who are asking us for our vision of society see this as part of that vision. We could very well decide to electrify all our public transportation in Quebec, the buses travelling between cities and, gradually, all cars, and develop our own technology, which we could eventually export, especially now that we are the largest producers of electricity.

So I think my colleague is right, it is a key to the future, one which, in our case, will mean that in a few years we will no longer be wondering about chemical products, with their inevitable repercussions.

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10:10 p.m.


Ovid Jackson Liberal Bruce—Grey, ON

Madam Speaker, my colleague from Anjou-Rivière-des-Prairies poses an interesting question. I would like to ask him a question.

It is said that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to the next. Nothing is free. Electric technology is still in its infancy. Battery technology is getting better but only for short runs. However, when we build hydro dams there is environmental damage. If we move to nuclear, there are costs as well. There are no free rides. We cannot say that electric cars are a panacea. They may become part of the mix of transportation systems but there are costs.

For instance, in the 1960s the demand for hydro power was doubling every 10 years. There are costs. Nothing is free. The automobile will still be there and we will still have to contend with the way it performs and try to improve it.

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10:10 p.m.


Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this bill today. Bill C-94 proposes to regulate interprovincial trade in and the importation for commercial purposes of certain manganese based substances.

Before I go any further, let me clarify for the House what MMT is. MMT or methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl is a fuel additive. I am really pleased I had my two years of organic chemistry in order to be able to fumble through that. I will be using MMT for the rest of my speech.

MMT is a fuel additive which boosts the octane of gasoline and increases its efficiency. It has been used since 1977 in almost all Canadian unleaded gasoline.

MMT was introduced as an additive to gasoline when lead was banned and its addition has proven to enhance the effectiveness of fuel and has shown environmental benefits. This bill is designed to eliminate the use of MMT which is a lead replacement in unleaded fuels.

Bill C-94 allows the minister to authorize an exception for MMT. It will not be used in unleaded gasoline subject to monitoring requirements. Coverage of the bill can also be expanded by order in council to cover other manganese based substances and the bill will be binding on all persons, including the federal and provincial governments.

The penalties for unauthorized import or interprovincial trade of MMT are harsh and range from a $300,000 to $1 million fine and six months to three years in jail. That is pretty stiff.

I have several concerns with the bill. I am concerned about the government initiative in this matter in the first place. The government should not be interfering into private disputes between businesses. That is what this is. It should be resolved between the concerned parties and not by government legislation.

I am also concerned about the lack of research behind the bill. The government has refused to conduct an independent technical reviews to address the issues in dispute, as suggested by several provinces, gasoline refiners and the manufacturers of MMT. Instead the government is legislating a ban on a product without any proper investigation.

This is a technical industry issue which can only be resolved through an independent technical review, not by subjective government action. Reform has been very clear that it does not want to take sides on the issue. It has met with both sides, Ethyl and the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Associations, MVMA, and both sides appear to have credible arguments. Both sides have run exhaustive tests and come up with two different and contradictory results. This is why Reform feels that there is a need to run a third party independent test on the product before any conclusions are reached.

I am concerned that the bill is going ahead despite the fact that government does not have any conclusive evidence that MMT has an adverse effect on the environment. The minister's claim that MMT has been linked to increasing vehicle repair costs to the engine and emission control systems are unfounded. There is no external evidence to support any claim that the removal of MMT will decrease repair costs to the motorists.

The minister also claims that MMT causes on board diagnostic units to malfunction in the new 1996 cars. There is no evidence to support this either. The MVMA claims to have data to support this claim, but Ethyl says that test results from the largest EPA approved fuel additives testing program in history demonstrate that contrary to claims by the MVMA, MMT in Canadian gasoline is fully compatible with the new on board diagnostic catalyst monitoring systems.

Again, no independent third party testing has been conducted in Canada on MMT and the 1996 on board diagnostics. There is also no evidence to support claims that MMT damages the life of

emission control equipment or that the use of MMT in gas increases fuel consumption or pollution.

This legislatio is based solely on the evidence developed and put forward by the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers' Association, one of the parties directly involved in the dispute. Again, none of the evidence has been subject to third party analysis.

The Motor Vehicle Manufacturers' Associations has not made their evidence available to the general public. One has to ask why. Of what are they afraid?

When asked in the House of Commons for evidence to support this legislation, the minister side stepped the issue, refusing to bring the evidence into the open. Why? Clearly because the minister does not have sufficient evidence.

In fact there is evidence that appears to point to the contrary. Health Canada conducted a study in December 1994 which concluded that the current use of MMT does not harm Canadians. The report stated: "All analyses indicate that the combustion products of MMT in gasoline do not represent an added health risk to the Canadian population". Evidence provided by Ethyl Corporation, the manufacturer of MMT, also contradicts the conclusions of the MVMA.

It is important to note the method the government is using to implement this ban. The legislation proposes to ban MMT through a trade restriction, not an environmental ban. It is important. Why? Because the government has no legislative grounds to remove MMT for health, environmental or technical reasons. If there is something environmentally wrong with MMT then use the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Do not use a trade ban. There is something wrong with this picture. If the government is going to ban a substance it should have conclusive evidence that will support the ban which it does not have.

I am concerned about the precedent set by this bill of government interfering in business. The two concerned parties, industry and Ethyl, are both making contradictory claims and have been unable to smooth out their differences on their own.

Before the environment minister stepped in, the two sides were close to negotiating an understanding to bring in third party testing, which is what we want. However, the minister's interference in this issue has brought matters to a standstill. As soon as one side felt the minister was on its side, all talks were broken off. Rather than helping the situation the minister's interference hindered the course of events.

I am also concerned that Bill C-94 sets a precedent for business to drive the government agenda. The MVMA has threatened to raise automobile prices and to withdraw automobile manufacturers across the border if these companies do not get their way. This bill is clearly the response.

Government should not be responding to unfounded threats from the business community with legislation. This is no way to run the country, although it may now be the new way of Liberals doing business.

My concern with Bill C-94 is not who is right or wrong. I do not feel I can take a position on the issue because at this point there is not enough evidence to support one side or the other. My concern with the bill is the manner in which decisions are being made by government. Government should not be making decisions until there is clear third party, unbiased evidence on the table. There needs to be a fair and independent technical review of the facts.

Given that most automobile manufacturers are based in Ontario it is clear why the government has chosen to support the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers' Association in this dispute. Lobbying is the issue here, not MMT.

Government should not base its legislative decisions on lobbying or on where it feels its election interests may lie. MMT is the only gasoline additive available in Canada that is capable of reducing nitrogen oxide emissions by as much as 20 per cent. Nitrogen oxide emissions cause urban smog. A ban on MMT could have the equivalent effect of adding one million cars to Canadian roads by the year 2000 if we do not have an equivalent replacement.

If a replacement for MMT is not identified, its removal from gasoline will prove to be more environmentally detrimental than leaving it there in the first place. This should be of concern because it appears that environment department officials do not know what will replace MMT. This bill only allows six months for its ban to be effective. Six months does not allow enough time for industry to adjust.

Canadians should also be concerned about the cost of the legislation on the individual consumer. It is estimated that taking MMT out of gasoline will cost an estimated $109 million in capital costs and tens of millions of dollars for operating costs. These costs will be dumped on the consumer which will mean an increase in gas prices.

Several provinces have voiced their opposition to this bill. I wonder how the government justifies the restriction of import and interprovincial trade of MMT with Bill C-88 which proposes to remove interprovincial barriers to trade. Again it does not fit.

The spirit and intent of Bill C-94 represents a unilateral interference into provincial affairs. The province of Alberta has stated that Bill C-94 contradicts the energy chapter of the agreement on internal trade. Article 1209, section 1 states that

no party shall restrict, prohibit or hinder access to its petroleum markets or its petroleum products markets.

Alberta has questioned the environmental benefits of removing MMT and has demanded a fair and timely process to resolve the dispute. Saskatchewan's deputy minister of environment has stated the MVMA has not convinced Saskatchewan and the majority of provinces that there is any evidence to show MMT has an adverse effect on the on board diagnostic systems.

Why is the Minister of the Environment ignoring these concerns shared by Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick? Could it be that perhaps she is in the pocket of the auto industry?

I am also concerned that the environment minister's actions directly contradict what is currently taking place in the United States. The Americans have recently overturned the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association's evidence, the same evidence on which the proposed legislation is based.

Let me repeat that because it is important. The Americans have recently overturned the MVMA evidence, the same evidence on which the proposed legislation is based. The 19-year prohibition of MMT was recently lifted by an U.S. appeals court because the evidence of its effect on the environment has been shown to be inconclusive. Last week the United States district court of appeals issued its mandate ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to grant a waiver to permit the use of MMT in unleaded gasoline in the United States.

This reaffirms the findings that MMT does not cause or contribute to the failure of any emission control system or damage the environment. The order to grant a waiver follows from extensive program testing of the fuel additive.

I am concerned that the minister is jumping the gun with the bill. It appears that MMT will probably be reintroduced into the United States this fall. At the same time, the minister is taking action to ban the product in Canada. It simply does not make any sense.

Actions in the United States put a large question mark on the efforts of the environment minister to ban MMT in Canada. We have to ask again, why?

In conclusion, I would like to make it clear that I do not support this legislation. I do not support legislation based on lobbying and threats, and I do not support legislation that fails to obtain a fair and independent technical review of the facts.

If this legislation is to go forward, I agree with my colleague that it must go to the environment committee. Extensive witnesses from both sides should be called. The only way that this can be solved is a clear third party independent study to find out what are the basics.

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10:25 p.m.


Paul Devillers Liberal Simcoe North, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member a question. The hon. member for Westminster-Burnaby before him made the allegation that the minister is in the pocket of the motor vehicle manufacturers.

If that is the case, I would like to ask the hon. member why it is that MMT has been disallowed for use in leaded gasoline in the United States since 1978? Was the EPA in the pocket of the motor vehicle manufacturers as well?

Did he not hear the statement that was read containing the facts from the EPA to the effect that the granting of the waiver does not permit the use of MMT in unleaded gasoline? It was simply a technical decision made by the District of Columbia circuit court to the effect that the EPA could not consider health effects in deciding whether or not to grant these waivers. The issue of using MMT still will be the subject matter of extensive testing on health effects.

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10:30 p.m.


Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, on the first point, about the minister being in the automakers' pocket, clearly this whole process is coming forth through pressure from the automakers, many of whom are in southern Ontario. The pressure is there. The minister has bowed to the pressure, and that is unfortunate.

In terms of the waiver, the minister is making my point, in that what we require is a third party independent look at this situation. I will go back to my former life and use 2,4-D as an example. The member for Davenport will understand the background. No matter which side of the issue, whether the banning of 2,4-D or the use of it, either side could get as big a pile as they wanted of the evidence. It was very difficult to get a clear, independent, middle of the road decision. This is what is required. I believe this is what the Americans are fighting for on this waiver. Again they are just bowing to saying this is exactly what we want.

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10:30 p.m.


Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Madam Speaker, to the hon. member for Comox-Alberni, for whom I have the greatest respect, no matter where the automotive industry is located, the industry serves Canadians from coast to coast, regardless of their location.

Here we are talking, among other things, of meeting the requirements of the customers in terms of warranty and in terms of the ability of the car owner to determine whether through the diagnostic system the anti-pollution devices can work or not.

The hon. member is shaking his head, but that is a fact. If he has more information to add, I would be glad to listen to him in this debate.

The member for Comox-Alberni spoke about the importance of independent testing. I am told that independent testing has been carried out by both sides of the debate, by the car manufacturers as well as by the petroleum industry. How much more independent testing does the member for Comox-Alberni want? Does he realize that testing is expensive, that it takes

time? And while further tests are taking place, as proposed by him, the manufacturing industry is in the process of producing the diagnostic devices, which will then not be switched on or connected if the MMT additive is not removed from gasoline. Therefore everybody will be losing in the process.

Has the member for Comox-Alberni given any thought to all the consequences of his suggestion flowing from further independent testing?