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.


Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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Some hon. members


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The Deputy Speaker

I did not hear anyone from the Reform Party or the Bloc. On division, or is it agreeable to go without division?

It is not a debatable motion. I am asking whether it should be on division or by unanimous consent.

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1:05 p.m.


Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, could I just have some clarification as to what we are on? There is some confusion here.

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The Deputy Speaker

We are at concurrence in report stage of Bill C-87. Can we do this by unanimous consent?

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Some hon. members


(Motion agreed to.)

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Saint-Léonard Québec


Alfonso Gagliano Liberalfor the Minister of Foreign Affairs

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

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Parkdale—High Park Ontario


Jesse Flis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to take too much time on the bill because I spoke on it before it went to committee.

This bill could probably set a model for future bills to be passed expeditiously. When the bill came to committee we asked the chemical producers and other witnesses to appear. Because the chemical producers and other interested parties monitored this problem during the convention they did not see any need to appear before the committee other than to endorse the legislation. Canada showed leadership in trying to convince other countries to accept this convention against the development, production, stockpiling and use of any chemical weapons or their precursors.

All three parties were very co-operative. We all saw that we are making the planet safer for future generations. We are very fortunate to have a member on this side of the House who actually witnessed the signing of the convention. He will be one of our speakers in this debate.

It is important to get the legislation through the House and the Senate before the summer because Canada would like to be one of the first 65 signatories to ratify this convention. With the kind of co-operation we have been getting from the official opposition, the Reform Party and independent members, I think we will have this legislation passed very quickly through this House and then hopefully passed just as quickly in the Senate.

The reason this convention was so successful is that companies which are producing chemicals were involved. Canadian manufacturers were even used as a test ground to see if this is the kind of convention that will work. It is a convention that is doable. Canadians can be proud that here again when it comes to the security and environmental cleanup of our planet, Canada always shows the lead.

In closing I thank all parties and the private sector for helping us to get this legislation passed as quickly as possible.

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1:10 p.m.


Jack Frazer Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to again address Bill C-87 which, when proclaimed, will enable Canada to implement laws prohibiting the production and use of chemical weapons and providing for the regulation in Canada of certain chemicals which could readily be turned into chemical weapons.

This new law will fulfil Canada's obligation under the United Nations chemical weapons convention signed by Canada and over 130 other states in Paris in January 1993. Almost a quarter century of negotiations have taken place at the conferences on disarmament in Geneva to bring this initiative to fruition.

This is a major achievement and the first multilaterally negotiated treaty to abolish an entire category of what can only be called weapons of mass destruction. Not only will all chemical weapons and their production facilities be destroyed under international supervision, all government and industry activities falling under the convention's objectives will be liable to international monitoring and possibly inspection. This is a mammoth undertaking and the success of this important milestone in world affairs is dependent upon each participating state or country ratifying the convention and then abiding by their treaty obligations.

Canadian negotiators have done a tremendous job and can take great pride in the instrumental role government in co-operation with the private sector has played in the successful negotiation of the convention. An important multilateral process has taken place. Its success can fuel even greater co-operation among nations so that even larger strides can be made to make our world a safer place in which to live.

Because trade with nations which have not signed the agreement will be prohibited, our ratification of the treaty will ensure our chemical industry remains competitive. Additionally, speedy passage of this bill will make it possible for Canada to be among the first countries to ratify the treaty. It is fitting that Canada be among the first 65 nations to ratify the treaty. After all our nation has worked diligently to ensure its success.

The treaty will come into force 180 days after it has the validation of 65 of the 160 signatories to the agreement. Should some member nations require more than the 180 day period to meet the criteria, there are provisions to extend this period but it may not be extended beyond two years.

Because of the implications and complexity of this convention, every avenue has been sought to ensure that all obligations under the convention are fully met. It is important that we

recognize those who have dedicated their efforts to ensure that implementation will go smoothly for our industries.

With the co-operation of the Canadian Chemical Producers Association, the Canadian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, Merck Frosst and government officials conducted a trial inspection of the Merck Frosst facility in Quebec to test the verification provisions. These results were presented by both associations to the annual industry consultations with negotiators in Geneva. This ongoing private sector co-operation was instrumental and invaluable in ironing out the wrinkles during the negotiations and in drafting the legislation.

The Canadian Chemical Producers Association played an integral role by submitting one of the first papers on the issue of confidentiality to the conference on disarmament. This preliminary private sector involvement provided valuable constructive support and all participants are to be applauded for their contribution.

Additionally, officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs deserve commendation for their extensive preparatory work initiated to ensure the legislation will be effective while at the same time minimizing any negative impact on or interference with the affected industries.

By choice and representing the views of Canadians, Canada does not possess chemical weapons or chemical weapon production facilities. Therefore the overall impact will not be as difficult or significant for us as for those nations that do produce these instruments of war.

The greatest impact within Canada will arise from the provisions dealing with industry activities. The underlying thrust of the legislation is, as dictated by the chemical weapons convention, to completely prohibit any activity relating to the production of chemical weapons.

The most toxic, destructive and dangerous chemicals are listed in schedules 1 and 2. These chemicals will have the least impact on Canadian industry because production in Canada of chemicals on these lists is negligible. They have little or no commercial use. The more commonly used industrial chemicals noted in schedule III will have the greatest impact on our industry. Because of the commercial value of schedule 3 chemicals, industry production will proceed without inspection up to a limit of 30 metric tonnes.

As for Canadian industry, the initial and annual declarations will be mandatory for all plant sites that were in production the previous year and/or those plants expected to produce in the following year more than 30 metric tonnes of schedule 3 chemicals.

The initial declarations where necessary must be made within the 30-day period after the treaty comes into force. Chemical amounts exceeding 230 tonnes will be subject to verification and random onsite inspections to ensure compliance. They will require an initial declaration followed thereafter by mandatory annual declarations. Such declarations must include aggregate national data from the previous year on quantities produced, imported and exported of each schedule 3 chemical. Also each involved country must provide a quantitative itemization of each product exported and imported. This information will be declared no later than one month after the convention enters into force.

Reporting will commence in the calendar year following ratification of the treaty. Canada will be required to submit annual declarations within 90 days after the end of each calendar year. Also annual declarations on past activities are to be presented no later than three months after the end of the previous year.

Should production estimates exceed the projected threshold a new declaration must be submitted within a two month period. Should projected production be greater than the reported estimates such new activity must be reported at least five days before such production commences.

To allow some flexibility for industry declarations may not be necessary for any schedule 3 chemicals that are mixed in low concentration with other substances. The guidelines dictate that if these chemicals could be easily recovered from the mixture or if the total weight represents a risk factor reporting could be required.

Reports for production exceeding the 230 tonne threshold will include the purpose, the chemical name, common or trade name used, the structural formula and chemical abstracts service registry number if one has been assigned. The declaration of anticipated activity will be indicated in ranges starting for example between 20 and 200 metric tonnes and extending all the way to ranges above 100,000 tonnes.

Production levels for previous years will be similar in nature to the outline just mentioned. Verification within Canada will be carried out by onsite inspections. Using mechanisms such as specially designed computer software, the technical secretariat will randomly select plant sites for inspection. Such selection will be based on factors such as the identified chemical designation, as provided for in the legislation, plant site characteristics and the nature of activities carried out at the plant.

Every effort will be made to ensure there is an equitable geographic distribution of inspection activities. As a note, provisions clearly stipulate that no more than two inspections per year will take place at any one plant although special provisions pursuant to article IX will permit more inspections.

The combined number of inspections in any one country shall not exceed three plus 5 per cent of the total number of plant sites declared by a state or the maximum number of 20 inspections, whichever of these two figures is lower.

The general aim will be to verify that activities are consistent with the information reported in the declarations and ensure that no chemicals indicated on other schedules are being produced or used. Inspection teams will be authorized to demand access to records, particularly in situations where it is determined this information is needed for verification.

Sampling and on site analysis will be conducted to check for the presence of undeclared chemicals. If on site analysis is not possible, analysis may be required at a designated laboratory. Plant areas to be inspected will include storage sites, delivery sites, reaction vessels, feed lines to the reaction vessel valves, flow meters or other equipment associated with the production. There will be an external inspection of reaction vessels and ancillary equipment as well as any lines leading to long term or short term facilities for the chemicals, areas for waste, effluent handling and disposition of chemicals not meeting specifications.

Inspections are not to take more than 24 hours but in some cases extensions may be sought and negotiated. At least 120 hours' notice of an inspection must be given prior to the arrival of the inspection team. Industries producing chemicals such as phosphorous, sulphur and fluorine, which can be readily adapted to produce chemical weapons, will have to report their activities but at least at this stage will not be subject to random inspections.

Inspection data will then be compiled and forwarded to the International Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, OPCW. Our government must also control and report the import and export of these chemicals ensuring the confidentiality of the data collected.

For the most part the necessary structures are already established in Canada. The national authority will be set up within the Department of Foreign Affairs. Our current export and import permits and laws will facilitate the monitoring of the products.

Domestic enforcement is to be conducted under the Criminal Code. Industries must co-operate with inspectors or be subject to conviction if indicted and found deficient. The most serious infractions can make industry liable for up to five years in prison and a $500,000 fine. After five years an international conference will take place to evaluate the success or failure of measures implemented to monitor the agreement. If necessary new methods or requirements may be established at that time.

In establishing mechanisms to bring this convention into effect, every effort must be made to ensure the paper burden and costs do not become so prohibitive that smaller industries will be adversely affected or even forced out of business. Government must also continue to be sensitive to the financial implications of administrative costs. Extreme care must be taken to ensure the decision making will be streamlined and effective avoiding the creation of an excessive bureaucratic machine to track these chemicals. Already business in Canada has far too much bureaucracy and red tape to contend with.

The collection of data and conduct of inspection should be cost effective and any industry feedback must be heard and receive due consideration. Hopefully the co-operative relationship established between government and industry during the preliminary development stage will continue.

Although some of our veterans were subjected to it most Canadians are fortunate to have been spared the horrors of the use of chemical weapons such as were experienced with the use of mustard gas or nerve gases in wartime. Chemical warfare in the Iran-Iraq conflict brought vivid pictures of the terrible lethality of these weapons. The indiscriminate and massive loss of human life convinced the international community that every effort has to be taken to outlaw these terrible weapons of human destruction.

Our world has changed. The cold war is over but recent events in Japan bring home the necessity of continuing to work toward the elimination of these terrible weapons. That event proved it does not take a war to result in chemical weapons intruding into our lives.

At the time when the nerve gas assault on Tokyo's subway system took place, leaving 12 dead and 5,000 sick, it was not illegal to make or possess sarin and other nerve gases. In the days and even weeks after the nerve gas attack, a series of frightening incidents affecting defenceless civilians continued. The cult's top scientist was fatally stabbed in front of reporters. Burning bags containing a form of cyanide were found in a public washroom in a huge train station. Mysterious noxious gases were released several times in train stations and other public places making hundreds of people ill.

Police raids on cult sites yielded tonnes of chemicals and equipment necessary for the manufacture of sarin. There is even further evidence that research was taking place on biological weapons. Because of the cult attacks, Japan recently enacted laws to prohibit these chemicals.

Moving to another region, there is now very conclusive evidence that chemical and biological weapons were present in the theatre of operations during the Persian Gulf war. In this instance the introduction of low levels of such chemicals may have resulted from bombings of either Iraqi chemical weapons facilities or caches of Iraqi weapons on the Saudi border.

The Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association in Victoria has been approached by field engineers who were involved in operation axe. One of their duties was to destroy objects that could not be specifically identified and some are now suffering from what appears to be exposure to highly toxic substances. Their reported symptoms include severe headaches, bleeding gums, rashes, joint pain, memory loss, dizziness and breathing difficulties.

Collectively these symptoms, first traced to their origins by the doctors examining American veterans, had become known as the gulf war syndrome. Not only is this of great concern to those directly affected, a molecular toxicologist at the University of Maryland, Dr. Ellen Silbergeld, told a congressional hearing last fall that scientists now know that those exposed to these toxic chemicals can pass the poison on to their children.

Dr. Francis Waickan, an environmental pediatrician, has compared birth defect statistics between gulf war babies and other children. His findings reveal that abnormalities among children of gulf veterans is probably tenfold that of the normal population.

There is additional evidence that some of these toxins are released from the body during night sweats experienced by these veterans thus transmitting the chemicals to their spouses. This explains why many veterans' spouses are reporting similar rashes, fatigue and other symptoms of this ailment.

Clearly the effects and tragedies connected with chemical warfare do not end at the time of their use. The ramifications persist even being passed on to the future generations and causing untold harm to the human race.

The passage of Bill C-87 is just the first step on the way to eliminating future tragedies such as these. The real test will come when we are able to measure the willingness of the major powers of this world, those having the greatest number of production facilities and the largest stockpiles, to indicate their commitment to accept and institute these measures.

It is my fervent hope that the obstacles facing the international community can be overcome and that we can look forward to a day when both biological and chemical weapons will be no more.

To reiterate, we now stand at a pivotal junction on the road to eliminating these cruel, indiscriminating and devastating weapons. Let every nation accept the challenge by agreeing to continue to further the implementation of co-operative approaches and multilateral efforts to promote world peace and security.

The Reform Party supports Canadian agreement to and execution of Bill C-87.

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1:25 p.m.


Warren Allmand Liberal Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will split my time with the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra.

This bill provides for the ratification and implementation of the chemical weapons convention which I have supported for a very long time. In January 1993 I had the good fortune to be present at the signing of this treaty in Paris, where I chaired a parallel conference of parliamentarians. The purpose of the parallel conference was to mobilize parliamentary support for the ratification of this important treaty. As a result I am now part of an international task force working toward this goal.

Unfortunately the ratification process has been very slow. Of the approximately 160 countries which signed the treaty since 1993, more than two years ago, only 27 at last count have thus far ratified and deposited its ratification. This is a very small number if we consider the great number of about 160 that have signed the treaty. I should point out that the treaty can only come into force six months after the ratification by 65 countries. We still have a long way to go.

The chemical weapons convention is the most comprehensive disarmament treaty ever developed. It is the end product of a quarter of a century of negotiations and culminates 100 years of international effort to eliminate chemical weapons from the world.

Many Canadians will still remember the horrifying experience of the chemical poison gas attacks of World War I which caused 1.3 million casualties and 100,000 fatalities. Many Canadians were killed in the gas attacks at Ypres in Belgium. Following World War I, great effort was made to ban these weapons. There was agreement in the 1925 Geneva protocol but this treaty only banned the use of chemical weapons in war and did not provide for inspection and verification.

This protocol, however, was never adequate. As members will know such weapons were used by Iraq 10 years ago and were threatened to be used during the gulf war. Fortunately they were not used. They have been described, because they can be delivered by missile, as the poor man's nuclear weapons. Without this treaty they would cause a serious threat to many countries in the world.

In comparison to the 1925 Geneva protocol, the chemical weapons convention, which is before us, bans the use, development, manufacture, distribution, transfer and stockpiling of chemical weapons. It also provides for the monitoring, inspection and enforcement of the treaty and provides for penalties when the treaty is broken. One provision provides for the destruction of current stockpiles.

Part of the enforcement machinery is the establishment of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons known as the OPCW in The Hague as well as the establishment of national

authorities in all countries to monitor the internal enforcement as well as the import and export controls of these chemical weapons.

There is also the provision of criminal penalties for those who violate the treaty as implemented by this law. Consequently some cost is involved, such as the cost of the national and international authorities to monitor and enforce. However we understand that this is essential if we are serious about banning these cruel and horrible weapons.

There is also the cost of destroying existing stockpiles. This could be a considerable amount for those countries which have such weapons. In particular, I refer to the United States and Russia. Under the treaty, if these countries sign and ratify, they will have up to 15 years to destroy those stockpiles. Unfortunately neither the United States nor Russia have ratified although both have signed the treaty.

In conclusion I want to congratulate the Canadian government for its work in developing the treaty and now for its ratification through this bill. It is hoped that with this ratification by Canada impetus will be given to other countries to ratify as well. As I said at the beginning, 65 countries have to ratify before the treaty can be put into force.

I also want to congratulate those Canadian companies that manufacture chemicals and are co-operating with the government in the implementation of this treaty. This is the most advanced, complete disarmament treaty ever developed and I am extremely pleased to stand in the House and support it.

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1:35 p.m.


Ted McWhinney Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in support of my colleague, the distinguished member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, in support of this bill.

It is a subject that has occupied the world community, as a general subject, since The Hague conventions of 1899 and 1907. In fact one of the most significant acts of international law making was the act referred to by my colleague, the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, the Geneva protocol of 1925. The protocol prohibited the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases and of bacteriological methods of warfare.

The Geneva protocol reflected the spirit of its time. You dealt in general prohibitions. You established the legal norms. There was not the same attention that, by bitter experience, we have given in recent years to the machinery for concrete implementation of general principles. This is one of the significant features of Bill C-87. It is not merely the prohibition of chemical weapons, it is prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling as well as use and it includes measures for destruction.

It follows on the experiences that we derived most recently from the INF treaty of 1987, the Reagan-Gorbachev treaty on the destruction of intermediate and shorter range nuclear weapons, that general principles without supporting implementing machinery and sanctions are like tinkling cymbals. They are noble but they do not bring us down to concrete reality. I welcome this measure.

I also welcome it as another step in the process of development on a pragmatic, empirical, problem oriented, step by step basis of general universal disarmament. The Sermon on the Mount in the large, general treaties is too often ignored. It is the poetry of international law. It is not the material substance of it.

If you follow through the period when the cold war was giving way to detente and eventually ended, it was by this step by step progression: the banning of nuclear tests above the ground and in the atmosphere in the Moscow test ban treaty on through the non-proliferation treaty, on through various treaties on banning of placement of weapons on the seabed, eventually culminating in the INF treaty of 1987. It is a process and this particular treaty is a very distinctive and very happy part of that whole process. Congratulations to all the officers who have been involved.

My colleague, the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce referred to the issue of ratification. This is one of the problems with international treaties. There is an attrition rate. Perhaps 100 countries sign a treaty but then when the officials go back home perhaps half of those only will proceed to ratify or ratify in a timely fashion. If the treaty is non-self-implementing, even fewer countries will introduce legislation to adopt it. We have signed, we have ratified and we are implementing. Thus attrition is avoided.

In terms of the treaty becoming general international law, some would argue as to what sanctions, what controls should there be. If I may, I will cite the general opinion of doctrinal authorities, of legal text writers. It is part of general international law as it now stands that the use of chemical weapons is against international law. This is the view expressed, as based on the evolution of customary international law through a number of international acts.

I have referred to The Hague conventions. I have referred also to the Geneva protocol. The view was advanced by the late President of the World Court, President Nagendra Singh and myself in a joint work on general disarmament we published in 1989 that the use of chemical weapons in warfare is against international law. In the gap between the signing of the treaty and ratification in good faith and implementation by individual countries like Canada, and the treaty finally becoming general law because of the necessary minimum number of state ratifications, that principle of international law applies.

Canada, in communicating its ratification of the treaty and implementation for other countries, might draw attention to the fact that it is not necessary to wait for the ratification by the minimum number of states joined by the treaty to have recognized the principle of the use of chemical weapons in warfare being banned.

The treaty itself goes well beyond that. It follows in the spirit of the INF treaty. It is part of this step by step progression toward a system of general international law and humanizing warfare-the oxymoron that is there-temperamenta belli is what it is called, reducing the agonies of war if it has to be conducted but moving toward a general system of interdiction of armaments.

The issue has been raised with this treaty, as with other treaties, of whether it is missing some of the major problems. One of the most serious problems today is the resumption of nuclear weapons tests. It may interest the House to know that in the same volume in which we suggested chemical warfare is already outlawed under international law, the same learned authors expressed the opinion that nuclear weapons tests, as such, are against international law today.

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1:40 p.m.


Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the bills tabled in this House, whether they are government bills or private members' bill, do not always have the same impact. Some legislation is merely technical, without any reference to principles or values.

From time to time, however, bills do affect us personally because they reflect our values and are for us an opportunity to contribute to the progress of human kind and strengthen our solidarity with the rest of the world.

Consequently, I welcome this opportunity today to speak to Bill C-87, an Act to implement the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction. The bill before the House today is a response to Canada's obligations to implement, at the national level, international commitments made by the Canadian government.

This convention, signed in Paris in January 1993 by more than 160 countries, was the result of 20 years of negotiations. In fact, I want to take this opportunity to note the leadership role played by Canada in the negotiations leading up to this convention.

Unfortunately, by January 1995, only five countries had ratified the convention, and today, only 28 countries have proceeded with ratification. At least 65 signatures are needed for the convention to come into force. The Bloc Quebecois is therefore pleased to support the Canadian government on the passage of legislation to implement the convention so that it can come into force as soon as possible.

To explain our position, I would like to provide a little background information on the use of chemical weapons in warfare throughout the ages and their capacity for massive destruction.

First of all, we must realize that the use of chemical weapons is not exclusive to the twentieth century. In antiquity, certain forms of chemical and biological weapons were already in use, although on a very limited scale. I am thinking for instance, of the custom of poisoning the wells of cities under siege or throwing plague corpses into the enemy camp.

However World War I marked the tragic advent of the science and technology of chemical warfare. On April 22, 1915, at Ypres in Belgium, the Germans used chlorine gas for the first time as a lethal weapon.

The result was horrible: 15,000 soldiers out of commission, including 5,000 dead. Sadly notorious, this gas now bears the name of the town where the slaughter took place and is still widely used.

Once this new weapon had been developed, there was a rush to improve it and make it even more deadly. At the time, since the wind, which was the main vector of the gas, could suddenly shift and turn against the user, science went on to develop projectiles that provided a better guarantee of hitting enemy targets. Bombs and mortar shells were used to accomplish this deadly task. Developments in aviation further increased the threat to civilian populations and the military. Meanwhile, science also tried to overcome the protection afforded by the gas masks in use since 1915. From now on, toxic gases were to become an increasingly devastating weapon on a massive scale.

During the Second World War, chemical and biological technology became even more sophisticated. Worse still, as increasingly toxic products were discovered, it also became possible to manufacture them on an industrial scale. The gas chambers and the thousands of Chinese gassed by the Japanese are examples of the horrifying consequences of this new deadly technology. After 1945, not only was the development of chemical weapons unprecedented, their low cost and ease of manufacturing also made them readily available.

Effective and deadly, chemical weapons soon became the poor man's atom bomb. In recent years, the use of chemical weapons has been most widespread in developing countries. Industrialized countries had already decided that chemical weapons no longer had any use strategically or as a deterrent because they had the necessary detection and protection technology. In addition, the two most developed blocks struck a

balance of terror at the beginning of the 1950s with the stockpiling of nuclear weapons.

The tragedy is that the have-not countries which use chemical weapons do not have access to the same kind of protection as industrialized countries. Since poor countries are unable to acquire the hydrogen bomb, they are using chemical weapons as a means to deter and to threaten. The balance of terror below the tropic of Cancer depends on mustard gas, which is dubbed the poor man's atom bomb.

The most recent demonstration of this was the Gulf war, which was an immense laboratory to fine tune chemical weapons. People all over the world were able to see on television the innocent victims of chemical warfare. On March 16, 1988, within a few seconds, 5,000 people from the Kurdish town of Halabjah died after neurotoxins were dropped on it. Unfortunately, Saddam Hussein did not stop there. In June 1988, he bombed the Iranian Majnoun islands with mustard gas and phosgene, killing between 10,000 and 15,000 people. Some 40,000 Iranians are still suffering from the after-effects of the many chemical attacks made by Iraq. In addition, according to a report issued by the Senate of the United States, tens of thousands of allied soldiers who fought in the Gulf war were exposed to Iraqi chemical weapons and now are showing pathological symptoms, referred to as the Gulf war syndrome.

Do not forget that this terrifying arsenal was built with the help of industrialized countries who, up until yesterday, continued to export large amounts of products which can be used to create chemical weapons. One of the reasons for the spread of chemical weapons is the fact that industrialized countries produce some of the substances used, certain pesticides for example, for civilian uses.

As I stressed earlier, western countries stopped using certain chemical substances for military purposes some time ago and continued producing them uniquely for civilian uses. I would like to remind you that Canada has already destroyed its chemical weapons factories.

This tacit abetment and lack of care in exporting toxic substances on the part of western countries have helped certain third world countries to amass a huge arsenal.

Libya is one of the countries that traded with the West in order to build up a supply and then began exporting this deadly technology.

This is how the government in Khartoum ended up using mustard gas against the people in southern Sudan, and how Somalia got hold of neurotoxins. Other countries where there is fighting, such as Afghanistan, Egypt, the former Yugoslavia, Laos and Cambodia are suspected of using these toxic gases, which quickly attack the nervous system causing convulsions, paralysis and suffocation. As states cannot be forced to submit to investigations, they cannot be condemned by any evidence, and international sanctions cannot be used against them.

Many of these countries have yet to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention. Iraq is one of them. For the moment, however, its chemical industry is not functioning, having been destroyed by a commission of the United Nations. Its arsenal of bacteriological weapons, the size of which we now know, did not, unfortunately, suffer the same fate.

In response to the horrors and destruction of chemical warfare, a number of countries in the international community decided to take measures to prevent the manufacture and use of chemical weapons. These countries had already tried to limit the use of biological weapons as early as the middle of the 1970s with a convention on biological weapons. However, as the convention did not establish a verification regime, it was not particularly restrictive and therefore of little use for disarmament purposes.

In 1925, with the Geneva convention, the international community prohibited the use of gas in wartime, but did not prohibit its possession or manufacture. Great thinking, Mr. Speaker. Prior to the 1993 convention, there was nothing in international law to prevent the acquisition and manufacture of chemical weapons.

I would first point out that the 1993 convention will benefit everyone and is in the interest of all developed and third world countries, even though it is in the latter that chemical weapons are most often used, as I mentioned earlier.

Canada, unlike other countries, does not have equipment for its armed forces capable of rapid detection of the dangers caused by chemical or biological weapons. However, Canadian peacekeepers are serving in countries which have or are supposed to have these deadly weapons. It might be more relevant to equip our peacekeeping troops with detection equipment rather than buying four submarines, as the defence minister is planning to do.

The convention is very far-reaching since it sets up a stringent inspection system aimed at discouraging states which might overwise be tempted not to abide by the terms of this international agreement.

In fact, certain provisions allow for the control and monitoring of the destruction of the weapons and civilian chemical industry of the signing parties, anywhere, anytime. Inspections and verifications will be carried out by teams of international inspectors reporting to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, created under the convention.

In this sense the signatories to this multilateral agreement are going beyond wishful thinking. They are equiping themselves with the means to ensure that the terms of the convention are abided by and to facilitate the implementation of the convention.

In brief, the convention prohibits the production, acquisition, stockpiling, transfer and use of chemical weapons. This ban covers not only chemical products manufactured for military

purposes, but also vectors and equipment used in connection with such weapons.

A planning commission has already been set up in The Hague to oversee the creation of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Several panel of experts have been reviewing different instruments and means to implement the convention. This commission is to ensure the transition to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

With Bill C-87, Canada is giving itself the means to meet its obligations under the convention, namely to gather information for the benefit of the organization, by setting up a national authority. Under its terms of reference, that national authority will also have to maintain a direct link with the organization and facilitate international inspections on Canadian territory.

Some information leaflets have already been printed on the subject and distributed to Canadian chemical companies to inform them of their new responsibilities and obligations under the terms of the convention. This shows how important the Canadian government considers the national implementation of the multilateral agreement on chemical armaments.

This commitment also does credit to the mostly pacifist attitude of Canadians in general. Let me explain to the House how much Quebecers are interested in world peace and security. Quebec sovereignists have already included specific commitments to that effect in the Parti Quebecois platform.

In the chapter on international relations, the Parti Quebecois promises to declare Quebec a nuclear weapon free zone and, consequently, not to permit any research, production, testing, stockpiling or deployment of nuclear, chemical or bacteriological weapons, or of any of their vectors, on Quebec territory.

This commitment is totally in line with the intent of the convention on chemical armaments. Also, there is no doubt possible about the intentions of Quebecers who definitely want their country to be party to that convention once Quebec is sovereign. Quebec supports this collective action on the part of the international community, which aims at the complete eradication of weapons of mass destruction.

Therefore, let me reiterate my support, and that of my Party, for Bill C-87 which will allow Canada to ratify the convention on chemical weapons as soon as possible. After all, we must not forget this is the first multilateral disarmament agreement which comes with an effective control plan.

Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

It being 2 p.m. we will now proceed to Statements by Members.

LacrosseStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


John Bryden Liberal Hamilton—Wentworth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to add my voice to those imploring the Minister of Canadian Heritage to restore funding for lacrosse, a uniquely Canadian sport.

I would remind my colleagues that lacrosse is central to one of the most famous stories in Canadian history, the capture of Fort Michilimackinac during the Indian uprising of 1763 led by the great Indian chief Pontiac. Members will recall that the Ojibway, allies of the French at the time, played lacrosse just outside the fort, much to the amusement of the British garrison. When the ball was deliberately flung over the palisade, the British made the fatal mistake of opening the gates to allow the Indians to retrieve it.

Thus the balance of power, despite the fall of Quebec, shifted away from the British and toward the French. So it has happened in Canada from time to time ever since.

It would be a great disservice to Canada's founding peoples, aboriginals, francophones and anglophones, to allow lacrosse to perish. It is a vital part of our shared history and culture as Canadians.

BosniaStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were relieved to learn yesterday about the release of the last 26 UN peacekeepers and observers, including 12 Canadians, detained by Bosnian Serbs.

This further hostage-taking incident, which shows incredible defiance, followed three years of ethnic cleansing, mass destruction and carnage by Bosnian Serbs that have claimed more than 200,000 victims.

Although today we salute the release of the Canadian peacekeepers and observers, we must still vigorously condemn the Bosnian Serbs' ruthless behaviour.

We also remain deeply concerned about the fate of some 700 other Canadian peacekeepers deployed in Visoko and Kiseljak, as the Bosnian government forces are mounting a vast offensive against the Bosnian Serbs to break the siege of Sarajevo.

Special OlympicsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Special Olympics organizations all across Canada provide opportunities for the mentally handicapped to develop their physical, social and psychological abilities.

I have been involved with Special Olympics for a number of years now and can attest to the benefits that result from these Special Olympics programs.

On July 16, I will be hosting a fundraising golf tournament in my riding in support of the B.C. chapter of Prince George Special Olympics. I invite all members to come out and support this tournament but if they cannot come out I will be happy to take a donation back to the tournament on their behalf.

I also take the opportunity to urge all members of the House to support local organizations that participate in Special Olympics programs. Let me end my statement with the motto of Special Olympians: "Let me win but if I cannot win, let me be brave in my attempt".

The Late Mr. Justice William TrainorStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Ted McWhinney Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Justice William Trainor of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, who died last Friday, was one of Canada's most distinguished jurists, senior adviser to several federal justice ministers and author of our law governing the legality of wiretaps.

As judge he had extensive and varied experience in the Yukon Territory and on the courts martial appeal court before going to the Supreme Court. He had a deep knowledge of legal history but recognized in his judicial opinions the need to up date old legal doctrines to meet new societal conditions and needs.

Our sympathy goes out to his wife of 50 years standing, Betty, and to his family.

The Late Mr. Justice William TrainorStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

CyprusStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of welcoming His Excellency, Mr. Andreas Jacovides, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus, to our country and to our capital city.

I take this opportunity on behalf of 200,000 Cypriots who to this day find themselves refugees in their own country and on behalf of 1,619 persons who to this day are still missing and unaccounted for to denounce the July 1974 brutal invasion of Cyprus by Turkish forces.

Twenty-one years later and despite various resolutions from the United Nations, the Commonwealth heads of governments and the European community condemning this brutal invasion, the Turkish regime refuses to come to the table and negotiate a peaceful and just solution for the island of Cyprus. Why? Because no solution is the solution for the Turkish regime.

Cyprus is not looking for pity. Cyprus wants what we all want as civilized human beings. Cyprus wants what all progressive institutions are advocating, justice.

Elizabeth BishopStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Dianne Brushett Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, on June 10 I had the distinct pleasure to attend the outstanding day of celebration for our home made poet, Elizabeth Bishop.

We celebrated the life and work of Pulitzer prize winning poet Bishop in Great Village, Nova Scotia. Bishop was born in New England in 1911 and spent her early childhood in Great Village with her grandparents. Her experiences as a child in rural Nova Scotia influenced, in fact dominated, her prose and poetry with the theme that all people are home made.

Elizabeth Bishop died in 1979. However, her literary works grow and are ever more popular. She is classified in the top five modern poets and is taught in virtually every department of modern literature in universities throughout the world.

The Elizabeth Bishop Society is a rapidly growing international association with memorabilia in Nova Scotia and at Vassar College, Bishop's alma mater.

Today in the Parliament of Canada I salute the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia and the organizers in Great Village for recognizing her literary works.

Federal-Provincial RelationsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Louise Beaudoin, the Quebec Minister of Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs, took stock of the first nine months of federal-provincial relations since the election of the new government in Quebec. Social program reform, the Canada social transfer and the national forum on health are all examples of centralization and encroachment on Quebec's jurisdiction over education, health and income security.

By closing the military college in Saint-Jean, reducing transfers to Quebec for health and education, restricting access to UI benefits-which has doubled the number of new welfare recipients Quebec must look after-and stubbornly refusing to transfer prime responsibility for job training to Quebec, the federal

government shows how little it cares about Quebecers' interests. That is flexible federalism for you.

Expo 2005Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Jan Brown Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, last Friday we learned that Quebec City lost its bid to host the 2002 Winter Olympics. We all agree Canada lost a tremendous opportunity to showcase its talents to the world when it lost that bid.

However, Canada can still showcase its talents to the world by hosting Expo 2005. Calgary has a volunteer corps that will guarantee Expo is a tremendous success. It has the financial backing of the city and the province and would be a great Canadian showcase for a world's fair.

Let me remind everyone the heritage minister promised to follow the recommendation of the Reid committee, which recommends Calgary as the best choice to host Expo 2005.

Over three months ago the heritage minister promised to make a speedy announcement. The minister's dithering has tainted the selection process and is jeopardizing Canada's chances of winning on the international scene.

I strongly urge the heritage minister to finally keep a promise, to announce Canada will sponsor an Expo bid and to choose Calgary as the city that all of Canada supports to host Expo 2005.

Industrial Research And Development InstituteStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Paul Devillers Liberal Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, on June 1 the finance minister officially opened the Industrial Research and Development Institute in Midland, Ontario, in my riding of Simcoe North.

The IRDI epitomizes the approach to research and development needed in the new economy and reflects the strategy called for in the red book.

The IRDI is a partnership between the federal, provincial and municipal governments, industry and universities. From the work done at IRDI Canada will derive major benefits that will help make our manufacturers more competitive on the international market.

I congratulate Mr. Robbert Hartog and Mr. Reinhart Weber, two industrialists in Midland whose vision was the genesis of the IRDI concept and whose hard work made it a reality.

Support for Messrs. Hartog and Weber represents an important investment in Canada's future.

Employment EquityStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Barry Campbell Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadian businesses understand that to remain competitive in a global economy and grow stronger at home they will have to use all of our human resources as productively as possible. Employment equity programs are tools designed to help Canadian businesses to do so, not hinder them.

It is heartening to hear many businesses and institutions have realized equitable participation by women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities and aboriginal people enhances the profitability of business.

Employment equity laws provide a minimum standard for employers. They do not constrain innovative leading edge employers who want to tap into existing and emerging markets. The Conference Board of Canada made it quite clear in its recent report that diversity is a bottom line business issue.

Employment equity is not a mystery. It is not a threat and it is not a drag on the economy. Just ask business leaders in Canada who understand Canadian customer demographics.

Halifax G-7Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Mary Clancy Liberal Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, last Friday the member for Rimouski-Témiscouata attacked the city of Halifax on the successful G-7.

Halifax has just delivered one of the best summits in recent history in French, English and in other languages as well.

Halifax gave visitors and delegates from every country a warm welcome in their own languages. We in Halifax celebrate what unites us, not what separates us. We in Halifax appreciate Canada in all its cultural diversity.

When the member opposite made her statement she accused the mayor of not having enough pride in Canada to fly the Canadian flag over city hall. The member owes Haligonians an apology and should check her facts before she makes accusations.

As the member made her claim, the Canadian flag was flying high over Halifax city hall. We are a military town. We raise the

flag at dawn and we lower it at sunset. We also raise our flag over business, schools, vacation spots and community meeting places because we are proud of our flag, proud of our country and proud of all our people.