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House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was countries.

Topics

JusticeOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, Olson is not personally in possession of any of the videotapes in question. Second of all, the lawyer in question is in possession of five of them. He has previously undertaken not to make them public, but in any event I am advised that legal action is being undertaken on behalf of the crown to regain possession of the tapes from Olson.

I further want to point out that registration of a copyright does not establish copyright but merely amounts in law to a claim. If

there is a certificate of such a nature, I am advised that this does not in law actually create a right in copyright.

Film And Television IndustryOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Shaughnessy Cohen Liberal Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Graduates from programs like communications studies at the University of Windsor want Canadian jobs in a Canadian film and television industry. What has the Department of Canadian Heritage done to help these talented young Canadians find work in this growing Canadian industry?

Film And Television IndustryOral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I want to inform the House that on November 27 the agreement was signed establishing the first contracts under the Canadian television production fund. There are a range of projects including: "B.C. Times" in British Columbia; "Cotter's Wilderness Trail" from Alberta; "Wind at My Back II" from Ontario; and "le Théâtre dans tous ses états du Québec". There are $160 million worth of applications.

Members of the Reform Party will be happy to know that this new fund will lead to 30,000 direct and indirect jobs in what is an incredibly vibrant and growing industry, the Canadian film business.

Un Secretary GeneralOral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Godin Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The United States refused to give a second mandate to current UN secretary general, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, whose term will end on December 31.

Since Washington used its veto power to go against the will of the 14 other countries forming the security council, and against the will of most members of the United Nations, what does the Canadian government intend to do to convince the United States to reconsider its decision?

Un Secretary GeneralOral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we expressed our support for the secretary general on several occasions. We did so multilaterally and bilaterally, and our Prime Minister expressed that support directly to the President of the United States. Unfortunately, we are currently not a member of the security council, which will make the final decision.

I hope a solution can soon be found, because, right now, the work of the United Nations is being hindered by the debate or the process relating to this issue. This is a concern for all involved, given how difficult it is to arrive at a solution. We will certainly continue to state our support for the secretary general.

ParoleOral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, with regard to parole, the auditor general's report states: "When the correctional services do not have enough information on the offender and the crime, the information usually comes from the offender". Now that is a dear, sweet, comforting thought. The auditor general goes on to say that there is a very high risk in this whole area, that there is a mess.

What is the solicitor general doing to fix this situation?

ParoleOral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general is referring to the difficulty of the corrections service in receiving information from provincial institutions, courts, local police forces, provincial corrections departments and so on. It has been working to get agreements with the provinces to get this information. I have asked that this be expedited and that this be put on the agenda for meetings with provincial ministers.

I want to use this opportunity to speak here in question period to urge my provincial counterparts to sign the necessary agreements as soon as possible so that the corrections service will have all the information required to enable the right types of decisions to be made.

In any event, I want to add that the auditor general strongly supported the concept of offenders spending part of their term in the community under supervision as the best way of protecting the public. It was also pointed out that the concerns are based on a relatively small sample. However, that does not mean that this is not a problem and I am striving to see it corrected as soon as possible.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, in the course of question period in a rather heated exchange, a serious allegation was made of the president of the Canadian Space Agency. I referred to a document. I would like to

table the letter from the Information Commissioner of Canada so that members may see it.

I must say that in the heat of the moment after the exchange, I may have been heard by the stenographers to have referred to the hon. member as a "menteur". Out of respect for the traditions and rules of the House I would wish to withdraw that comment.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

12:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I do thank the hon. minister for the voluntary withdrawal of that word. We will take the letter and it will be tabled.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

12:15 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, my point of order was precisely to have you ask the minister to retract what he said about me following the question I put to him.

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Saskatoon—Dundurn Saskatchewan

Liberal

Morris Bodnar LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's responses to eight petitions.

Ways And MeansRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 83(1), I have the honour to lay upon the Table a notice of ways and means motion to amend the Excise Tax Act, the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act, the Income Tax Act, the Debt Servicing and Reduction Account Act and related acts. I ask that you designate an order of the day for the consideration of the motion.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

November 29th, 1996 / 12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Shaughnessy Cohen Liberal Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.

Pursuant to the order of reference of Tuesday, June 18, 1996, your committee has considered Bill C-25, an act respecting regulations and other documents including the review, registration, publication and parliamentary scrutiny of regulations and other documents and to make consequential and related amendments to other acts, and your committee has agreed to report it with amendments.

Motor Vehicle Safety ActRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Ontario, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-356, an act to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

Mr. Speaker, unlike the case in the U.S., the federal government does not have the legal power to order a manufacturer to immediately recall a vehicle which has been found to have a serious safety defect or has actually caused injury or death.

This bill forces manufacturers covered by the Motor Vehicle Safety Act to notify in public in a specifically prescribed manner when they become aware of a design, construction or functioning defect in a vehicle which they sell or import.

It also provides the Minister of Transport with the power to order an immediate recall of defective vehicles and prohibit their sale until the defect has been duly corrected. This bill is the result of the tragic and entirely preventable deaths of Thomas Bonnici, Natalia Bajc and Stuart Herriot. These children died due to failures in the current system.

Whether it was the inability to identify defects or failure to adequately advise the public when defects become known or not recalling the vehicle models concerned, these questions are left best to the courts.

What is relevant from the government's perspective must be the current inability of Transport Canada to quickly identify vehicle defects even after people have been injured or killed and take immediate action with manufacturers to recall vehicles and correct the problems.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Patrick Gagnon Liberal Bonaventure—Îles-De-La-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to submit, in both official languages, a petition signed by residents of the Gaspé area, the riding of Gaspé, who want the passenger train service between Chandler and Gaspé to be maintained. They also point out that commodities transportation by rail is crucial to the current and

future economic development of the Gaspé area, including the intermodal port-rail transportation facilities in the port of Gaspé.

The petitioners urge the Canadian government to release funds to maintain the service between Chandler and Gaspé either to VIA Rail or to a potential partnership made up of the various levels of government and the private sector, as long as the majority interest remains under the control of the public sector and the passenger train service is maintained in this area.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by constituents in the national capital region calling on this House to declare Canada indivisible.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Saskatoon—Dundurn Saskatchewan

Liberal

Morris Bodnar LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, Question No. 76 will be answered today.

Question No. 76-

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

What are the financing terms and conditions for the proposed sale of two CANDU nuclear reactors to China, what proportion of the cost is based on loans and/or grants secured through the Export Development Corporation and/or other Government departments or agencies, what are the terms and conditions of these loans, and how do the loans and/or grants to China compare to the grants and/or loans given to other CANDU purchasers in the past, namely Argentina, Romania and Korea?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

I am informed as follows regarding Atomic Energy Canada Limited, AECL.

Loan agreements in support of CANDU sales abroad are commercially confidential documents to which AECL is not party. Therefore, AECL cannot provide information with respect to the terms and conditions of eventual loans to China, as the sale has not yet been finalized, nor can it provide comparative information in relation to past loans to Argentina, Romania and South Korea, for the first CANDU reactor. South Korea's purchases of three additional CANDU reactors on two separate occasions have not necessitated loans from the Canadian government.

The Export Development Corporation, EDC, is participating in export financing negotiations for AECL sale of two CANDU-6 reactors to China. However, all terms and conditions have not yet been finalized. It is important to note that there are no grants or subsidies involved. Any financing would be repayable with interest and normal fees would apply. In other words, any loan would be on a non-concessional basis and would respect the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, parameters.

With respect to comparisons to previous AECL CANDU sales, EDC does not disclose the terms and conditions of transactions or potential transactions it supports for reasons of commercial confidentiality. However, all transactions involved repayable loans and fees.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Morris Bodnar Liberal Saskatoon—Dundurn, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-29, an act to regulate interprovincial trade in and the importation for commercial purposes of certain manganese-based substances, be rread the third time and passed; and of the amendment and the amendment to the amendment.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is our last chance to speak to Bill C-29. Unfortunately, we have been gagged, but I still have a few comments to make on Bill C-29, hoping that the bill will be reviewed in the Senate, and that it might amend or defeat this bill, which would have a huge impact on Quebec oil companies.

The Liberal government is finally showing its true colours. Since the beginning, the government has lacked the will to be transparent and get to the bottom of this issue regarding the addition of MMT to gasoline.

The present environment minister and the former one, the deputy prime minister, have always refused to shed light on this issue. Instead of ordering scientific studies as we have asked, they simply caved in to the auto makers lobby and the Ontario Corn Producers lobby. By a strange coincidence, both lobbies are from the same province as the two ministers.

To put a damper on the controversy surrounding their bill and the strong opposition it is encountering, the Liberals have brought in time allocation at third reading. In other words, they are gagging us. The Liberal government is telling members: "Enough. Keep your mouths shut. We will decide and you have nothing to say about it".

Debating, the reason we sit in this House, is defined by the Webster dictionary as: ``To consider reasons for and against''. As parliamentarians, we are here to discuss bills at length. The right to speak is the Parliament's raison d'être. This is what democracy is all about.

The gag strategy that the Liberal government is imposing on us today with Bill C-29 goes directly against the very raison d'être of Parliament. Closure violates freedom of speech, it is unparliamentary and undemocratic.

We, in the opposition, still had some things to say about this bill. We wanted the Liberal government to listen to us so it would recognize that its bill is unfounded and without any sound scientific basis. Bill C-29 simply responds to the automotive industry. This proves once again that the Liberals are responding more to lobby groups than to the real issues. That is a disgrace. It shows all the weakness and lack of vigour of the environment minister in this matter.

The auto industry lobby systematically refused to reveal its studies and thus scientifically support its allegations that the additive was effectively clogging anti-pollution devices, particularly the OBD-2.

As for the Ontario corn industry, it congratulated the environment minister on his bill, seeing that the MMT ban would throw the door wide open to another additive, ethanol, which is produced from corn. Since Ontario produces 80 per cent of Canada's corn, this bill means an exceptional market opportunity for corn producers in that province. This would be a gold mine for Ontario corn producers.

Ethanol production is extremely expensive, both in terms of the environment and in terms of production costs. Fertilizers and pesticides play a major role in corn production. Moreover, the production of one litre of ethanol increases the cost of energy from oil products.

I must also remind members that production costs are so high that the excise tax is removed from this product at the federal level and that the provinces are doing the same, particularly Ontario, with a tax exemption of 22 cents a litre. This weakens the myth of ethanol as "green gasoline".

It is in Ontario that the biggest ethanol plant will soon be built. It is also the federal government that launched in 1994 an ethanol development support program. Are these all coincidences? Not very likely. The government should be looking at other alternative fuels instead, because ethanol from corn has shown obvious weaknesses.

The only scientific data based on the results of tests conducted on various automobiles were provided by Ethyl Corporation and oil companies. These data are the opposite of the allegations made by the auto industry, which has not provided any supporting data. The MMT lobby says it is ready to withdraw its product if independent tests, approved by all parties, prove that MMT gums up the onboard diagnostic systems. These tests could be conducted within a very short time frame and would clarify this issue once and for all. But the government says no, preferring to hide behind the anti-MMT lobby.

The majority of provinces strongly opposed Bill C-29. There was strong opposition to this bill even within cabinet, particularly from the Minister of International Trade, who sees this bill as an obstacle to free trade. As a matter of fact, Ethyl Corporation has given notice of its intention to launch a US$201 million lawsuit against the government, claiming that Bill C-29 is an obstacle to free trade and to the free trade agreement. Is the minister sure to win his case in court? Let us hope so, otherwise it will be very costly.

Bill C-29 is the reincarnation of Bill C-94, which died on the Order Paper during the last session. We would have thought that the new minister would do his homework more carefully, but no. That is not the way it is. The minister came up with the same bill without being able to justify it. We have every reason to be concerned. If the minister does not take his work more seriously and does not show more thoroughness in his decisions, the Prime Minister should replace him without delay, because he is a liability for the environment.

Having accomplished nothing and unable to fulfil their promises with regard to the environment, the Liberals had to do something. So they came up with Bill C-29. What a performance. As if there were nothing else to do for the environment.

Of course, there is Bill C-65 on endangered species, which the government recently scrambled to introduced recently to show that it is doing something for the environment. Let us not forget that the Liberals have been in office for more than three years. Before Bill C-65, the minister was seen last summer on a boat in the Gulf of St. Lawrence when the Irving Whale was raised. What an impressive record.

Manganese-Based Fuel Additives ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?