House of Commons Hansard #229 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was mmt.


The House resumed from September 19 consideration of the motion 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; and of the amendment.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

10 a.m.


Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am continuing on from my speech which was interrupted by a vote on Tuesday.

The environment minister claims MMT contributes to sparkplug failures, in particular a type of sparkplug manufactured by General Motors. GM claims there were more warranty complaints against one of its single engine sparkplugs in Canada than in the U.S. and MMT was to blame. However, studies conducted by the Southwest Research Institute demonstrate that a short circuit problem occurs in the brand new plugs and it has nothing to do with MMT. It is also important to note that GM has since withdrawn the sparkplug in question from the North American market. Therefore, in short, that argument does not hold any weight.

What we seem to be missing on this issue are the facts. The Canadian Petroleum Producers Institute has called for the environment minister to allow industry to examine MMT and its impacts in a fact based joint assessment which would be conducted by PPI and the automakers; in other words, get the two players in the same room.

Why has the government refused to call for or conduct an independent technical review? The largest fuel additives testing program in history conducted over five years for the U.S. EPA concluded MMT poses no problems for vehicle emission systems.

In addition, the recent decision by the U.S. court of appeals determined that MMT does not cause or contribute to a failure of any emission control device or system. The EPA testing program looked at MMT's effects on catalytic converters, onboard diagnostic systems, exhaust systems and sparkplugs among a variety of other factors. The EPA concluded MMT passes the most critical of tests with a comfortable margin.

As a result of the U.S. EPA testing program, MMT may be introduced in the U.S. by the fall of 1995. Why then are we banning it in Canada when the government has stated it wants a uniformity of standards with the U.S.? The result of the U.S. court decision alone would be sufficient reason for the government to withdraw Bill C-94.

We need to look closely at why we are being asked to consider banning interprovincial trade in MMT. This proposed ban clearly contradicts Bill C-88 which is intended to remove barriers to international trade and constitutes unilateral interference into interprovincial matters. We need to have some solid evidence before making such a move.

Bill C-94 must be examined more thoroughly by the industry committee. As it stands we are still left with more questions than answers. Without any legitimate answer from the government the bill cannot be justified.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

10 a.m.


Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this debate on the second reading of Bill C-94 and more particularly on the Reform Party amendment proposed by the member for Calgary North who does not think we should proceed with Bill C-94, an act to regulate interprovincial trade and so on. She thinks the bill should be withdrawn and we should merely refer this issue for further study before a parliamentary committee. I would like to speak to that for a moment.

Every now and then the Reform Party in its wisdom tells us we should not procrastinate, delay things, debate them too long, that we should move on with things. I heard profound speeches from hon. members of the Reform Party yesterday, at least as profound as we can get from Reform members, admonishing the government and all of us, asking us to pass legislation more quickly. What is the first thing they do? They propose an amendment asking that we not proceed with this bill.

Let us get to the subject matter of the bill to determine whether the Reform Party is correct in what it wants. What does the bill do? The purpose of the bill is to prohibit the import or the interprovincial trade for commercial purposes of MMT or anything containing MMT. What does that mean? It means that particular additive to gasoline would not be permitted.

I suppose the next question is does everyone not use MMT? It is not used in hardly any country except ours, and I will get into more specific details in a minute. Could it be that if it is not good enough for anyone else then perhaps we should consider banning that product as well?

Some people will say it is used in a variety of countries. The Ethyl Corporation put an ad in newspapers yesterday or the day before saying it is used in some countries and gave the examples of Brazil and New Zealand, I believe. It is used there and let it not be said it is not used anywhere.

I did not keep the advertisement in question because I thought the corporation's own sales pitch made the reverse argument of what it was trying to prove. It was saying it was not true that it was not used anywhere, that it was not used just about everywhere. I thought that reinforced the argument most of us believed in.

MMT should be banned for a number of reasons. The product in question has been known to have effects which are offensive to the health of people. That is why it was not used in many countries. That is why it is still not used by most nations. The question we should ask is does it make it any better if we keep the product? No, that does not work either.

The hon. member for Bruce-Grey the other day gave us a very important speech on this issue. He is very knowledgeable in the area. He taught that subject matter as a teacher and knows much about it. He told us why the attitude of some people with regard to this product is totally wrong.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.

An hon. member

We should get Reform to read it.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.


Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Yes, we should get Reform members to read the speech of the hon. member, although I am sure most members would want to read all speeches from the hon. member for Bruce-Grey because they are so very eloquent.

Coming back to the matter in question of MMT, we in this country use that product. It is an additive to gasoline. It is an octane enhancer in effect but there are other octane enhancers we can use. For instance, ethanol can and has been used to provide the same kind of octane enhancement. I know ethanol cannot be a total replacement but that in itself along with other initiatives proposed by the Minister of the Environment assists the agricultural area, helps to clean up the environment and rids us of the product known as MMT.

I see that the member across from me disagrees; he says that is wrong. Well if the hon. member thinks so, he may be able to convince U.S. authorities and all the other jurisdictions in Western Europe, etc. All those countries are probably wrong while the hon. member is right. I am sure that many would have different opinions on this matter.

People ask whether sparkplugs are affected by MMT. Auto manufacturers have reported there is a greater incidence of sparkplug failure in Canada compared with similar product offerings in the United States. Sparkplug failure and other problems of that nature which are caused by the use of MMT affect automobile performance. Cars that do not perform well waste more gasoline, pollute more and so on; it is a chain reaction.

It is interesting to note that the maintenance schedule which includes tune ups and so on for the brand of car I drive is substantially different in Canada from the United States. Why does a car have to be tuned up less frequently in Minnesota than in Ontario or Manitoba? There is no logical reason save perhaps what is used to propel the car is different and maintenance may be required more in one jurisdiction than the other. We are told precisely by auto manufacturers in the instance of sparkplug failure that there is greater wear on sparkplugs and a greater incidence of failures where MMT is used compared with where it is not.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.


Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Why did we not do this years ago?

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.


Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

I do not know. The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands has put it very eloquently by asking why we did not do this some time ago because the product was banned in the United States a long time ago.

I do not know. Of course, for almost a decade, we had a government that was very much like the Reform Party in front of us, namely the Tory government, and that probably did not help.

Today, we have the opportunity to right this wrong by adopting measures to clean up the environment. I know that the former Minister of the Environment, the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean, who is a great environmentalist, will want to vote in favour of this bill, as will all other parliamentarians concerned about cleaning up our country's environment.

In conclusion, I ask all my colleagues to vote in favour of the bill tabled by the hon. Minister of the Environment and against the amendment put forward by the hon. member for Calgary North, who is once again demonstrating the Reform Party's systematic

and systemic efforts to block any worthwhile initiative aimed at cleaning up this country's environment.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.


Dave Chatters Reform Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak to this issue again. I listened to the members from the opposite side and I am absolutely amazed at the blatant untruths that are being spewed forth from members opposite. I have studied this issue very carefully and there is simply no independent evidence to support the statements we have just heard being made.

There is all sorts of evidence to support exactly the opposite. The Canadian Department of Health did studies and concluded there was absolutely no detrimental effect to the health of Canadians or anyone else by using MMT. That is simply factual evidence. The government continues to spew forth studies from the Canadian Automobile Association which it refuses to release to the public and so we can neither deny nor verify them. It is simply not true.

I fail to understand what is really driving the agenda. We heard some comments about the ethanol industry and how we should give the industry a leg up, which I suppose means subsidization of an industry that cannot compete on an equal playing field. We certainly do not support that kind of initiative. If the ethanol industry can exist viably without taxpayer subsidization then good for it. We wish the industry all the luck.

In speaking with the refiners in Canada that refine and formulate our gasolines, they assure me that even if MMT were banned ethanol would not replace MMT as a gasoline additive. The only thing banning MMT would do would force refiners to be more intensive in their refining process, to use more crude oil, to refine it further, causing higher CO2 emissions, higher benzene emissions and higher sulphur emissions. Again those facts simply do not back up what is being said.

There was some debate when I spoke the other day on this matter about whether the minister had met with Ethyl Corporation, the other side of the issue. I specifically said she has consistently refused to meet with both sides of the issue to discuss it and to listen to all the facts. After having spoken on it and after having had the debate with members opposite I checked to make sure I was correct. The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute wrote to me. It also wrote to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment. The letter reads:

I listened with interest to the second reading debate on Bill C-94 and while I do not agree with your position in this matter, I appreciate your interest in this subject. I would, however, like to address one issue you raised with the member from Athabasca, Mr. David Chatters, during the question and comment period following his speech.

Mr. Chatters quite correctly pointed out that Minister Copps has refused to meet with representatives of Ethyl. In reply, you stated twice that the minister met twice with CPPI as a representative of Ethyl, on this issue.

I want to be completely clear on this point. The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute does not now, nor has it ever, spoken on behalf of Ethyl Canada or Ethyl Corporation. Ethyl is not a member of CPPI, as membership is limited to producers and marketers of motor gasoline.

Representatives of Ethyl have met once with the minister's staff and have met on a few occasions with departmental officials. We have asked for, and been refused a meeting with the minister.

I would ask that you correct this statement at your earliest opportunity.

Clearly there is a lot of confusion, a lot of misinformation and a lot of untruth surrounding the issue. The government repeatedly claims to promote the reduction of interprovincial trade barriers and to promote trade between the provinces. On the issue the minister of the environment for Alberta said: "It is unclear that the removal of MMT from gasoline has a net environmental benefit. Alberta favours the design of a suitable binding process to resolve the dispute in a fair and timely fashion. An open multi-stakeholder review of the environmental and economic merits of MMT should be key to the dispute resolution mechanism to credibly solve the vehicle fuel compatibility issue".

I have a letter from Michael Shaw, deputy minister of the environment and resource management for Saskatchewan, to Mel Cappe, deputy minister of Environment Canada, which reads:

The Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association has not convinced Saskatchewan and the majority of the provinces that there is any evidence to show that MMT has an adverse effect on the onboard diagnostic systems.

It continues:

We are also concerned with the impact this decision has on the 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 benefits to air quality by this action.

I have a letter from the minister of the environment for Nova Scotia, Wayne Adams, which reads:

We have recently expressed concerns to the federal Minister of the Environment's stated intention to legislate a ban on the use of this additive.

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment has established a task force on cleaner vehicles and fuels. The mandate of this task group includes the development of options for setting minimum standards for reformulated fuels as a measure to improve air quality. The assessment will be done in such a way as to provide a national approach and the continued use of MMT in Canada will undoubtedly be one of the issues reviewed. The results of an independent study and the benefits and detriments of MMT would undoubtedly be considered.

David Wilson, the provincial minister of the environment for New Brunswick, said: "It seems there are two opposing views on the value of MMT to the environment. Perhaps an independent review is warranted".

Norman Brandson, Manitoba's deputy minister of the environment, said:

The potential negative impacts or positive benefits arising from the continued use of MMT as an additive to unleaded fuels seems to be an issue that includes comprehension of significant technical information. There needs to be a resolution that will be in the best interests of the environment and the consumer, for both the short and long term.

It would be much preferred that this issue could be resolved directly between the industries involved (the manufacturer of vehicles and those providing the fuels for those vehicles).

I would hardly deem that as support for the initiative from the provinces.

Again we go back to the statements that are being made on the issue continually from the opposite side of the House. Again I reiterate that I cannot understand what is driving the agenda because the evidence is so clear and indisputably against what the government has been saying on the issue.

The Minister of the Environment said:

Some companies have indicated that, rather than accept the possibility of increased warranty repair costs, they may disconnect OBDs or reduce vehicle warranty coverage unless steps are taken to remove MMT from unleaded gasolines in Canada.

That simply is not a valid statement. In blaming MMT for the onboard diagnostic problems the automakers have not disclosed that the automobile industry has experienced substantial technical difficulties in complying with the onboard diagnostic II requirements in the U.S. where MMT is not currently being used and has not been used for 18 years. It is not MMT that is causing problems with the onboard diagnostic equipment. It is simply that the technology has not been perfected and developed to the point where it is reliable.

Another statement by the minister reads that removing MMT "will ensure that the most up to date equipment used to reduce air pollution with will not be jeopardized by components in the fuel".

That comes from the Environment Canada news release on May 19, 1995 and is simply not true. The automakers are blaming MMT for onboard diagnostic problems with certification that I spoke about before. The government has blindly accepted that argument without any studies or without any facts, or at least without any independent studies of the auto making industry.

The next statement reads: "The automobile industry is convinced that MMT has an adverse effect on the operation of vehicle emission control components including sophisticated onboard diagnostic systems". That statement is also from an Environment Canada news release May 19, 1995. It continues: "The automobile manufacturers have failed to demonstrate any adverse effects related to MMT and have not disclosed onboard II certification problems in the U.S. Most of the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association information on onboard computers has been previously rejected by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. court of appeals".

Before the end of the year MMT will again be used in the United States, which would mean that if we are to achieve formulation compatibility between the two countries, as was the wish of the Minister of Industry, we would then be required to leave MMT in the formulation rather than remove it.

If one cares to look at the evidence-and it does not seem to be very important in the debate that is taking place-there simply is no strong independent evidence that MMT has caused any of the problems we spoke about.

It is very important that we step back, take another look and do some independent studies in the time we have before the product is again released in the U.S. to verify this argument one way or the other. That is a reasonable request and one based on the evidence before us.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.


Pierrette Ringuette-Maltais Liberal Madawaska—Victoria, NB

Mr. Speaker, first and foremost, following the Reform member from Athabasca, he should check his facts because when he refers to factual statements by the New Brunswick environment minister he should at least get his name straight.

The federal government took a decisive step to protect the environment, jobs and consumers and to ensure Canada remains a leader in automotive technology.

Bill C-94 will prohibit the import and interprovincial trade of MMT, a manganese based fuel additive manufactured in the United States. The proposed bill, to be known as the manganese based fuel additives act, will come into effect 60 days after it gains assent.

Only in Canada is MMT added to unleaded gasoline. The United States banned MMT from their unleaded gas in 1978. Bulgaria and Argentina are the only other countries interested in using it. Why is MMT not used in a larger number of countries? Because MMT impedes the functioning of emission control devices on modern cars and trucks.

Environment Canada has received and reviewed many studies on the effects of MMT on this kind of system. I agree with Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Nissan, Mazda,

Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo, Saab, Lada, Jaguar, Land Rover and Hyundai, who all say that MMT impairs the operation of state-of-the-art onboard diagnostic systems, or OBD systems, where the vehicle's emission control device is located.

These systems are extremely important for the environment. They are responsible for monitoring the vehicle's emission control and for alerting the driver to malfunctions. They ensure that the clean burning engines of today and tomorrow operate as designed. They ensure that automobiles are properly maintained, resulting in decreased tailpipe emissions and improved fuel economy.

In other words, it is one more important tool to help us address air pollution, including smog and climate change.

The government will not let MMT prevent the Canadian automotive industry from designing vehicles that are much less polluting. Our environment and Canadian consumers deserve that the best emission control systems be used.

Yet the Ethyl Corporation, the manufacturer of MMT, and its subsidiary Ethyl Canada refute the vehicle industry allegation about the ill effects of MMT on the vehicle emission control systems and make a counterclaim that MMT is environmentally beneficial.

What is certain is that our efforts to reduce motor vehicle pollution can no longer be addressed by just the petroleum industry, the auto industry or the federal government. Progress at reducing vehicle pollution requires simultaneous action by all. The petroleum industry needs to keep making improvements in the composition and properties of the fuels the engines burn.

The auto industry needs to keep making improvement in vehicle emission control technologies such as those offered through onboard diagnostic systems. The government needs to take decisive action such as Bill C-94, which removes a major obstacle to the introduction of these technologies.

However, our strategy to reduce vehicle pollution goes beyond just taking action against MMT. The federal government is doing its part because we know that automobiles are a major contributor to climate change and urban smog as well as some toxic pollutants like benzene.

In a recently released task force report done by Canada's deputy ministers of the environment, it is noted that even with the improvements in emissions technology, vehicles are still the largest contributors to air pollution. On a national basis gasoline and diesel powered vehicles still contribute some 60 per cent of carbon monoxide emissions, 35 per cent of nitrous oxide emissions, or smog, 25 per cent of hydrocarbon emissions and 20 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions.

The report stresses the need I talked about earlier to proceed on all fronts simultaneously. It states: "Vehicle technology and fuel composition, although two separate industry sectors, must be treated as an integrated system in the development of policies and programs in order to successfully reduce emissions from motor vehicles". This is good advice. It should complement our work in preparing a comprehensive motor vehicle emissions control strategy which includes the adoption of more stringent vehicle exhaust emission standards. To meet these standards we are counting on integrating improvements achieved in emissions control technologies and fuels.

Clearly we cannot hope to meet these standards without the kind of action we are taking against MMT in Bill C-94. It is not an action of impatience. Since 1985 the federal government has waited for the automotive and petroleum industries to resolve the situation without legislation. It was not resolved. The time for waiting is over. It is now time for the government to act.

The government will not wait any longer and risk compromising federal vehicle emission programs just because both sides cannot come to an agreement. The government will not sit back while auto manufacturers take standard diagnostic systems on 1996 models off line or refuse to have them covered under car warranties because of the damage caused by MMT.

It is decision time. 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 automobile and petroleum industry proposals. The MMT issue is no longer an industry dispute. Its outcome can affect the vehicle emissions program that we are putting into place and in the long term it could also negatively impact the automobile sector.

A successful resolution of the MMT issue will ensure that environmental benefits are realized with the use of the most advanced emissions control technologies. It will ensure that Canadians are offered the same warranty coverage as in the United States. It will ensure Canadian motor vehicle emissions control programs do not diverge from those in the United States. This means Canadians continue to benefit from the cost and technological advantages of a North American harmonized fleet. It means Canada's auto sector will maintain its competitiveness.

I know some have expressed concern with our plan to prohibit the use of MMT in Canadian gasoline given a recent U.S. court decision to grant Ethyl a waiver to use MMT in unleaded gasoline sold in the United States. However, let it be perfectly clear that MMT still cannot be used in unleaded gasoline in the U.S.

Let us move ahead. Let us do it because we need new emission control technologies like the onboard diagnostic system.

We will not tolerate that Canadian consumers be denied access to the same pollution control technologies as their American counterparts because gasoline in the U.S. does not contain MMT.

We will not allow such a discrepancy to exist between Canadian and American vehicles.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I am terribly sorry, but time has run out.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.


Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, the motion moved by my colleague from Calgary North is a logical one, a motion of practical sense.

I encourage members of the House to listen carefully to the debate. The motion is realistic and I urge the House to adopt it when it comes to a vote which I assume will be on Monday.

The title given the bill does not sound like one that should be sponsored by an environment minister. Bill C-94 is an act to regulate interprovincial trade in and the importation for commercial purposes of certain manganese based substances.

Why is the Minister of the Environment so keen on the passage of the bill? When one sees something this discordant it usually plays out in the end, when all the documentation is finally exposed, that a short term political deal has been struck. Someone has the inside track and then much puffery is used to hide the intent.

The bill presented by the environment minister has nothing to do with helping clean up the environment. Consequently one has to ask what is really going on here. Few believe the minister, yet she proceeds with justifications. It is embarrassing to watch.

In theory one would expect that a minister of the environment would have little in common with car makers. After all, cars are the leading cause of smog. I suppose that when we look at where the minister resides the notion becomes a little clearer. Hamilton East is right in the heartland of auto makers central.

Not long ago officials from the Department of the Environment came to my office to explain the background of the bill. When they were asked what impact the bill would have toward helping the environment they had to admit it was slim to none and at best maybe only indirectly.

Some time ago I received an explanation of the onboard diagnostic systems that are said to sometimes not work when MMT is included in gasoline. According to the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association the 1996 cars are to be equipped with the latest technology but because MMT is still in Canadian fuel they simply unplug the sensor lights for the systems.

Canadians need to picture this. Canada's environment minister is banning the use of a fuel additive because a little part on a car is said to create a premature warning light to go on. Where is the national environmental concern here?

I am not disputing that onboard diagnostic systems may be beneficial. Politicians hoped they would make car pollution equipment more reliable so they ordered manufacturers to put them on. Consumers sure did not ask for it and the reluctant car makers also balked.

Car makers kicked back and designed a scheme to blame someone else for their technical failures and shortcomings and their unwillingness to pay. Let us be clear: OBDs do not regulate or control emission systems, neither do they clean anything. I think some people are assuming these devices will reduce pollution from our environment. It is just adding warning lights, or as we used to say idiot lights, on the dashboard that signal that the existing pollution controls are normal.

Imagine it, idiot lights for cars are a legislative priority of the Minister of the Environment. The minister likes lights on her dashboard, so she brings a $1 billion disruption to the Canadian petroleum industry to get a little lighted colour in her driving experience. When the public absorbs what the minister is doing I know what they will want to do to her lights.

In the United States the Environmental Protection Agency placed a moratorium on MMT in 1978. It was a raw deal by some American politicians and regulators that will eventually be corrected in the courts. So far the United States court of appeals found that the EPA did not have the evidence to prove that MMT should not be used.

Banning MMT in Canada is not an environmental issue. However it could very easily have been had Health Canada found it harmful but it did not. It could not, no matter how hard it tried. In fact Health Canada on December 6, 1994 issued a report entitled "Risk Assessment for the Combustive Products of MMT". It reported: "All analyses indicate that the combustion products of MMT in gasoline do not represent an added health risk to the Canadian population".

I am sure the minister would have liked to put the substance on the listed schedule under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to please her friends, except Health Canada got in the way and made an unfavourable ruling.

If the minister could have banned MMT under CEPA she would not have needed this legislation. If the environment minister cannot prove this bill will directly affect the environment then I say this should not be an environmental bill.

The Minister of the Environment is telling Canadians the removal of MMT will significantly improve the quality of our environment. That is wrong, very wrong. The removal of MMT will increase nitrous oxide or NOx emissions by 20 per cent. That is why MMT is used. It is there to make gas burn cleaner, to help the environment. In case Canadians do not know what NOx creates, it is smog.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The sitting must be suspended until we find out what is going on.

(The sitting of the House was suspended at 10.41 a.m.)

The House resumed at 10.55 a.m.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Dear colleagues, as you probably know, there seems to be a problem in the basement.

The alarm system began. We have an extremely good alarm system, so we are all safe.

The hon. member has four minutes left in his intervention.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.


Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, constituents of Hamilton East should know their MP has created legislation that will increase smog over Hamilton. The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute recently made a claim that removing MMT would be the equivalent of adding over one million additional cars to Canadian roads. That is what this environment minister is doing.

It is said that the onboard diagnostic sensors are put in cars essentially for consumer protection. Industry Canada's role is to protect, assist and support consumers' interests. It would only make sense this bill be made an industry bill and dealt with in a more technical light. If the bill is industrial rather than environmental, it should then go to the appropriate standing committee.

Further, the problem addressed in this bill is essentially a commercial dispute between two industries, the automobile manufacturers and the petroleum refiners. It is about who pays to reach the next level. The Minister of the Environment really has no business stepping into the fray of this marketplace decision and the deals and the manoeuvres going on in another country.

Last year the minister was pressured by the MVMA and therefore found a way to make the issue an environmental bill. Apparently representatives from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler met with the Minister of the Environment to discuss the banning of MMT. They told her that if MMT was still in gasoline in August 1995, a time when all new models would be released, they would do one of three things: raise the price of each automobile by $3,000; void sections of their car warranties; and/or close down some high technology Canadian manufacturing units. She could not because Reformers were here, and they did not do what they threatened to do because they lied in the first place.

The minister did not know and for that matter probably did not care what effects MMT had on the environment. She knew the MVMA have tremendous power. When they said jump, she asked how high.

Our motion is to change the wording of the bill so it reads that the subject matter be referred to the Standing Committee on Industry. The House has heard the Minister of Industry rise on questions related to the issue. He realizes that it is closely associated with his department. However, the industry minister did not take it on because it was too embarrassing a proposal.

The Minister of Industry has said he wants a uniformity of standards between the U.S. and Canada. He stated in the House on April 25, 1995 that "it is crucial that we have uniformity of standards. The efforts we have put into trying to ensure there was a voluntary agreement between the two sectors has been well placed, but finally governments have to decide".

The Minister of Industry wants our fuel to be the same as it is for various parts of the United States. He wants some uniformity. He may not have to wait very long. The United States is set to have the American MMT prohibition lifted some time before Christmas of this year. However, the Minister of the Environment is too committed down a certain path to thoughtfully do what is right. She is on a direct course to please her friends, play with her Canada, and leave us with all the bills.

All members of the House are honourable enough to evaluate what is really going on here. The Liberal backbenchers know what is going on. If there were ever a time to blow the whistle on the boss, it will be on Monday when we have a vote on the motion moved by my colleague from Calgary North. It is eminently sensible and appropriate to send this bill to the industry committee.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

The Speaker

It being 11 a.m., pursuant to the standing order we will now hear statements by members.

MacedoniaStatements By Members

10:40 a.m.


Ted McWhinney Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the interim agreement just signed at the United Nations between Greece and FYROM, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, meets two key international issues raised by the Greek government: removal from FYROM's flag of Alexander the Great's star and removal from FYROM's constitution of apparent irredentist claims on Greek territory.

FYROM's name, a principal barrier to normalization of relations and co-operation between the two states, is agreed as a subject for further negotiation.

Canada's policy of non-recognition of FYROM until these issues should be resolved has contributed positively to the diplomatic negotiations now under way and should be maintained until a full, binding legal agreement is achieved, probably at the end of October.

Bell CanadaStatements By Members

10:40 a.m.


René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, after announcing that it would eliminate 10,000 jobs between now and 1997, Bell Canada refuses to use the voluntary departures of 328 telephone operators in Quebec to avoid having to lay off 100 other employees.

Bell Canada justifies its decision by pointing to the stiff competition which it must face since the CRTC forced the company to end its monopoly.

We can understand that Bell Canada must remain a profitable venture; however, it must not do so at the expense of many families and without any consideration for the economic survival of several Quebec and Ontario regions, which are severely affected by the company's decision.

While all of this is going on, the Minister of Labour remains silent. She does not do anything to reduce the negative impact of that situation on the families concerned. The centralizing approach of the federal government is now being copied by large companies and that is unacceptable.

TaxationStatements By Members

10:40 a.m.


Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadian taxpayers have been held up, held down, sand bagged, walked on, sat on, flattened out and squeezed by our income tax system and by the GST.

Every year Revenue Canada makes sure that as taxpayers we are inspected, suspected, audited, examined and re-examined to the point that we do not know who we are, where we are or why we stay here at all. All we know is that as taxpayers we are supposed to have an inexhaustible supply of money for every whim that suits high brow Liberals but not brow beaten Canadians.

Taxpayers are tired of being held up, hung up, robbed and darn near ruined by excessive taxation in this country. Many families are hanging on now fearful for what happens next. Our message to them and all Canadians consists of two simple words: flat tax.

For all those who have cussed, discussed and boycotted our convoluted Income Tax Act we say hang on. A simple, visible and fair tax system is on its way; so too is a Reform government for Canada.

TaxationStatements By Members

10:40 a.m.

The Speaker

I think we will have to put him down as a doubtful supporter of the tax system.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceStatements By Members

10:40 a.m.


Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, what is happening to Canada's finest?

Most Canadians were shocked to learn that the RCMP had joined with Disney in an effort to promote both of their images at home and abroad. However, what about the picture in today's Globe and Mail : six scarlet clad Mounties at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, rented by a private oil company to promote its new stock listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company also planned to use these rented Mounties to generate more publicity for its stock by having them chauffeur late night talk show host David Letterman to his studio. However this was nixed at the last minute, not by the RCMP but by Actors Equity which claims the Mounties were not professional actors.

Is the RCMP now renting out members of the force to raise much needed budget funds or is it spending time back in Canada fighting crime? While its members are on Wall Street they are not fighting crime in Canada which is their mandate.

Heritage RiversStatements By Members

10:40 a.m.


Herb Dhaliwal Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce the Fraser River has been proposed as the first candidate for protection under British Columbia's proposed heritage rivers program. This program will promote greater management of B.C.'s vital waterways and protection of B.C.'s finest salmon rivers.

A five member board will nominate approximately 20 rivers for protection under heritage status. Among the nominees are the Adams, Babine, Blackwater, Cowichan, Skagit, Similkameen and Stikine Rivers. All nominees are considered exceptional and are in need of heritage protection.

Due to its economic, historic, recreational and environmental significance the Fraser River is considered the jewel of the system.

In the U.S. 33 states have already adopted such a program. I am pleased to announce that British Columbia will be the first Canadian province that has adopted its own heritage river system.

Reform PartyStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


John Murphy Liberal Annapolis Valley—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, recently members of the Reform Party have been telling us they have all the answers for Atlantic Canada.

In my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants I am proud to say the government's policies are not holding people back as the Reform Party would claim. Instead, our commitment to youth, our emphasis on training and our focus on helping small business have all helped to create real opportunities and jobs.

It is time the Reform Party came clean with its plans for Canada. The complete dismantling of our social programs, the end of universal health care and the elimination of equalization payments to the provinces are all examples of that party's true national agenda.

The people of Nova Scotia recognize the Reform Party's slash and burn agenda for what it really is: simplistic and clearly out of touch with the views of Canadians.

Quebec ReferendumStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I realize the referendum will be conducted in Quebec by Quebecers. That is as it should be. Such activity is one of the privileges of our wonderful Confederation.

As the member representing the riding of Peterborough, I want to say something to my fellow citizens from Quebec. An overwhelming majority of my constituents want Quebec to remain part of Canada. Several of us have French as their mother tongue, while others attend French immersion schools. As well, some, like me, studied in the «belle province» and have children who were born in Quebec.

These examples clearly show the many strong links which unite us. Please stay with us.

Federal Public ServantsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


André Caron Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government is trying to intimidate federal public servants in Quebec who want to actively participate in the referendum campaign. In a letter to all his employees, the deputy minister for Treasury Board warns federal public servants in Quebec to think twice about the nature of their employment before making public statements.

Federal union officials are unanimous in denouncing this barely veiled threat because, notwithstanding the Liberal government's will to gag federal public servants, the Supreme Court recognized that they have the right to freely express their views during election or referendum campaigns.

Since when does the government threaten its employees with losing their job if they exercise their right to speak freely? As we saw earlier this week, the government is once again about to sacrifice the rights and freedoms of Quebecers for the sake of Canadian unity.