House of Commons Hansard #27 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was institutions.


Bank ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

St. Paul's Ontario


Barry Campbell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on Bill C-15 at third and final reading in the House. This is the sort of workaday legislation that may lack drama but remains vitally important to Canada because it will enhance the safety and soundness of the country's world class financial system.

May I begin by reminding hon. colleagues that this legislation is the product of extensive consultation. I would like to take this opportunity to again extend the government's thanks to the many industry participants and other stakeholders that provided such constructive and insightful advice.

I would also like to thank the Standing Committee on Finance for having decided to hold hearings on the bill during the summer recess. The comments gathered by the committee constituted invaluable preliminary work prior to the clause by clause study of this major piece of legislation. We can rest assured that the bill we are going to pass will serve the best interests of consumers, financial institutions, our constituents, and the Canadian economy as a whole.

There is no question that sound, secure financial institutions are a fundamental requirement for national well-being. As I said at the start, Canada is blessed with a world class system. The financial sector is very much a part of a world of dynamic and dramatic accelerating change driven by new technology, globalization and new customer demands. All these factors culminate in heightened

competition. That is why we are moving ahead with the measures contained in Bill C-15.

This legislation is timely not because the system suffers from any critical weakness. It does not. But to make sure we maintain a dynamic, competitive financial sector and regulatory system we must respond to market trends and recent experiences without unnecessary delay. Bill C-15 will do this.

Let me emphasize that these are not patchwork, band-aid measures. They flow from a series of basic principles outlined in the white paper the government issued over a year ago. These principles include the following: first, that ownership of financial institutions is a privilege, not a right. Second, early intervention in and resolution of institutions experiencing difficulty should occur. Third, that financial institutions must operate with sufficient incentives to solve their problems in a timely manner. Fourth, there must be appropriate transparency and accountability in the system.

We have discussed the details of this legislation at some length in committee and the House. Today I simply want to remind us all of some of the more important changes that the House should approve.

First, the bill establishes an enhanced system of early intervention on behalf of troubled institutions. The legislation will allow the office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to take control of a troubled institution earlier than at present. It also provides greater transparency in the supervisory process by establishing guides to supervisory intervention. The intent here is clear, concrete and constructive.

Early resolution of an institution's difficulties is the best way to prevent substantial losses to depositors, policyholders or creditors and potentially to shareholders.

This legislation states clearly that if an institution is facing difficulties, owners do not have the right to continue in business until they hit the brick wall and cannot pay liabilities as they come due. Institutions will now understand that OSFI will take action if its concerns are not dealt with promptly. That is a major improvement.

This is not a punitive step. By increasing OSFI's scope for early intervention, the legislation provides a new incentive for managers and directors of troubled institutions to undertake early problem solving for themselves.

The second element I would highlight in Bill C-15 is the expanded role for the superintendent in the governance of troubled financial institutions. In this case, the superintendent will have the power to designate certain directors as affiliated and also veto the appointment of directors and senior officers in troubled financial institutions.

These additional powers reflect our appreciation of the importance of effective, independent corporate governance. They also stress that it is the boards of directors that represent the ultimate frontline for problem resolution and good management.

Before concluding I should address a criticism of the legislation levied by the official opposition related to jurisdictional issues.

The clear and certain benefits of this bill notwithstanding, the official opposition has chosen so far not to support its passage. The main criticism relates to the claim that the powers proposed for the Bank of Canada, to mitigate systemic risk in clearing and settlement systems, infringe on provincial powers over regulating security matters. This is not the case.

The opposition's problem and misunderstanding of the goal of this legislation begins with its failure to understand the nature of systemic risk itself. This is the risk that one institution's inability to settle a large value transaction could have a domino effect among other participants.

In the proposed legislation the government is acting to provide a formal oversight role for the Bank of Canada and to enhance its powers to require appropriate risk control in payment, clearing and settlement systems.

The bill provides the Governor of the Bank of Canada with the powers necessary to control systemic risk. This can be achieved by issuing directives to clearing houses, or where necessary, participants in a clearing house, requiring them to cease a particular course of conduct that results in systemic risk being inadequately controlled.

I want to emphasis that dealing with systemic risk issues is traditionally a matter for central banks, not just in Canada, but in other developed countries. If there is ever a day when the failure of a large financial institution at home or abroad threatens the stability of the financial system, it will be the central banks of industrialized countries, including the Bank of Canada, that will be called on to deal with the fallout.

I also want to note that in committee the government moved amendments to further clarify that the powers of the Bank of Canada with respect to systemic risk do not infringe on traditional areas of concern to provincial regulators about the health of individual securities firms.

Specifically, the bill now provides greater certainty that the governor may not issue directives in respect of matters directly related to the participation of securities firms or other individual participants in the clearing and settlement system. This includes the corporate governance of the participant, its relations with its customers, capital adequacy or the management of its investments.

We fully understand that these aspects of business fall under the purview of the principal regulator of the institution such as the provincial securities commissions. We have made it clear that these are not matters for the central bank. For these reasons I reject the notion that this legislation infringes on provincial jurisdiction. It does not.

In closing, I want to say that Canadians have come to expect a sound and stable financial system. This is one of our most enduring and sustaining economic strengths. That is why we must ensure that we sustain and evolve the appropriate mechanisms needed to manage and minimize risks. Bill C-15 honours that obligation with positive, forward looking measures.

I have no hesitation in calling on my colleagues to pass this important legislation. I hope that all members of the House will join with the members on this side of the House in doing so.

Bank ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.


Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today at third reading to speak to Bill C-15, an act which concerns several acts regarding financial institutions and the banking sector.

This bill concerns the Bank Act, the Trust and Loan Companies Act, the Insurance Companies Act, the Cooperative Credit Association Act, the Winding-up and Restructuring Act, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act, the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporations Act, the Canadian Payments Association Act, and the Canadian Investment Companies Act.

This is a wide-ranging piece of legislation. This is a preview of the major changes the Liberal government is getting ready to make to the Bank Act before March 31, 1997.

It is also, first and foremost, a bill that gave us a general idea, as early as June, as my colleague from the finance committee already said, so that when we began the clause by clause study of the bill in August, we had some indication as to the government's intentions. And these indications were confirmed, a few weeks ago, when the government made its intentions known in the throne speech and the budget speech.

With this bill, the government is intruding, roughly and high-handedly, in an area which comes exclusively under the jurisdiction of Quebec, Ontario, and all other provincial governments. The area I am talking about is that of securities.

With the single clause extending the regulatory mechanisms to the securities sector and implementing a Canadian clearing system controlled by the Bank of Canada, the government is betraying the 1982 Constitution. Not only did the government patriate the Constitution against Quebec's will, but now it does not even abide by the provisions of that Constitution any more.

Quebec's jurisdiction over securities is based on section 92(13) of the Constitution Act, 1982, which grants provinces jurisdiction over property and civil law. What complements these provisions? It is the case law of the Supreme Court of Canada, which has attached the securities market to this initial area of jurisdiction, through the provinces.

So, when we look at what is presented to us, when we look at the clearly defined intentions set out a few weeks ago in the throne speech and in the budget speech regarding the total and complete intrusion of the federal government in the securities sector, we can only confirm our opposition to this provision of the bill.

It is not that the bill's objectives are bad. The bill is aimed at, among other things, reducing what are known as systemic risks in the Canadian financial system, to avoid the so-called domino effect in the financial sector that would occur, for instance, when one institution is unable to meet its commitments towards another institution. There would be a domino effect on the financial sector as a whole. Everyone, sovereignists as well as federalists, Quebecers as well as Ontarians, people from the maritimes or from western Canada, agree on that: we must put in place a system that is efficient and that reduces the likelihood of a financial crisis and of systemic risks in the financial sector.

But we must totally reject the means taken by the government. When the government, under the pretext of reducing systemic risk, creates new and costly overlap for taxpayers as a whole-new overlap that Quebecers as well as Canadians will have to pay for-because it intrudes in a sector that is already very well served by provincial institutions, there is a problem.

The Commission des valeurs mobilières du Québec and the Ontario Securities Commission are completely disregarded and, through this bill, the federal government is allowed to interfere more and more in this area under the provisions of a bill enabling the Governor of the Bank of Canada to seriously interfere in this area. At the same time, there is talk of creating a Canadian securities commission, as mentioned in the speech from the throne but not in the bill. This will not do.

How can you justify having provincial and federal institutions that overlap like that? How do you expect to give a clear signal to the financial community?

Which policy directives should financial institutions in Quebec and Canada follow? Those coming from a federal entity, as set out in Bill C-15, or those coming from organizations and institutions already well-established in the securities industry, such as the securities commission, the Quebec inspecteur général des institu-

tions financières, the Quebec government or even the Montreal stock exchange?

How do you hope to create stability in this area when, by interfering this way, although such interference is allowed under Bill C-15, you are sending out potentially conflicting signals to the same institutions? That does not make sense.

What justifies the federal government in telling the Government of Quebec and the Government of Ontario: "We have decided to cast aside the institutions you are involved in, even though you have successfully controlled the securities industry for many years. In the future, we will be in charge". The federal government has no expertise in the area of securities since, under the very terms of the Constitution Act of 1982, this is an area that falls under provincial jurisdiction.

The second aspect of Bill C-15 that we cannot support has to do with using this bill to amend the prerogatives of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and the Winding-up Act. Bill C-15 gives more powers to the Canadian Superintendent of Financial Institutions, who, in the future, will be able to interfere directly in the business of provincially chartered institutions.

Such an extension of the prerogatives of the federal superintendent of financial institutions will result once again in costly duplication and inefficiencies in the system. On the one hand, according to the legislation and the remarks made by the minister and the parliamentary secretary, they want to introduce efficiency and reduce duplication, but on the other hand, they create duplication and inefficiencies with such a provision. Why? Because, once again, the Quebec inspector general of financial institutions as well as his Ontario counterpart are doing exactly the same work and have exactly the same responsibilities as the ones the government wants to give to the superintendent of financial institutions of Canada.

Why this duplication? Why create new structures when we should instead eliminate duplicating structures? When we ask the government to study and review duplication and overlap, we are not asking it to create some more but to eliminate what there is. Yet, with this legislation, it is creating more, with all the resulting additional costs to taxpayers and all the resulting problems in terms of signals on the securities market.

I believe Bill C-15, through this provision as well as the first one, will inevitably create instability and uncertainty on the financial markets. Contrary to what the government representatives say, I do not believe that stakeholders in the securities industry all across Canada generally want the federal government to get involved in that area, that they want it to set up a securities control commission or that they want that the federal superintendent of financial institutions to push aside the provincial officials working in this area of exclusive provincial jurisdiction in favour of federal authorities.

That is not the message I am getting from the financial sector, and more particularly from Quebecers and some Canadians in these institutions.

In the last fifteen years, I would say, provincial participantsin the securities sector have developed a great deal of expertiseand knowledge in this field. But most importantly, they have introduced a harmonizing mechanism in order to reduce systemic risks, and bring about efficiency gains in the securities sector. With the new SEDAR system, they will soon be able to reduce from eight or ten to only one the number of prospectuses required. That will make for a better allocation of funds available on this market, and a better use of financial resources on the securities market.

So why has the federal government chosen this time to introduce such a piece of legislation? Under the pretext of reducing the systemic risks that have already been reduced thanks to measures taken 10 or 15 years ago in this area, the federal government does not hesitate a minute to say: "From now on, I will oversee the securities industry and ensure that resource allocation is efficient". That is unacceptable.

You either believe in a constitution, as the Liberals tell us, or you do not. You either believe in the stability of our financial industry or you do not. You either believe in a better allocation of all the risks involved, and especially of systemic risks, or you do not care at all. And that is the impression we get from the actions of the current government.

When the only thing you do is increase the tension, the insecurity and the instability on the market, instead of reducing them, you either do not understand what is going on, and that shows how incompetent you are, or you want more powers or more visibility for the federal government. You are ready to give up efficiency in order to be more visible and that is not good. That is not what you need to do if you want to be up to the challenges awaiting you in the securities industry and the financial sector during the nineties and the year 2000.

The third reason why we cannot support Bill C-15 introduced by the government concerns the amendments to the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act. Bill C-15 proposes to change the current deposit insurance system. Right now, financial institutions pay deposit insurance premiums based on the volume of deposits, but under Bill C-15, premiums will be based on the risk that a financial institution represents.

Since first seeing the provisions of Bill C-100, which is now Bill C-15, last June, we have been questioning the secretary of state responsible and the finance minister who, ultimately, is also responsible for this legislation, about the impact of this new provision. Up until now, that is almost nine months after the first bill was introduced, our questions have yet to be answered.

For example, we do not know what criteria will be used to assess the risk that a financial institution represents. These criteria will be defined in the forthcoming regulations, and the government refuses to make these regulations public. One can wonder if these criteria will respect the specific character of Quebec's financial institutions. We have questioned the secretary of state responsible and the finance minister many times on this subject, but we still have no answer. We have no answer either to a question such as what impact will a federal risk assessment as proposed in Bill C-15 have on the financial community and how will this risk assessment be interpreted by the financial markets.

On the one hand, there is talk of interference, inefficiency, waste, duplication, overlap, all costly to Canadian taxpayers, and on the other hand, when a clause is unclear and we ask for clarifications, we get no reply. What kind of government are we dealing with here?

In short, this bill is another illustration, first and foremost, of the centralist dynamic inherent in the constitutional status quo. Bill C-15, particularly in its creation of Canada-wide clearing and settlement systems, encroaches on areas already covered by the Commission québécoise des valeurs mobilières and the Inspecteur général des institutions financières du Québec. This leads not only to an overlap that is costly to the taxpayer, but also to administrative inefficiencies, because financial institutions in Quebec, as in Ontario and the other provinces, will be subject to dual controls.

Second, Bill C-15 constitutes unacceptable interference in the securities area. The various governments of Quebec have always vigorously defended the prerogatives of Quebec concerning securities.

If I may, I would like to quote from a letter dated February 16, 1994, and addressed to the then President of Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister responsible for Public Service Renewal by former Quebec premier Daniel Johnson. Its subject is securities, for even that long ago the federal government had indicated its great interest in securities.

The letter starts as follows: "Mr. Minister, as I indicated in my letter of February 15 on the entire process of improving the efficiency of the Canadian federation, this letter more specifically concerns your proposal regarding the regulation of securities".

Mr. Johnson goes on to say: "Allow me first to remind you that the Quebec government never advocated-never advocated-an increased federal role in the securities sector, which is a matter of exclusive provincial jurisdiction. On the contrary, it has consistently expressed its opposition to federal initiatives in this regard".

These are not the words of the current premier of Quebec, of either Mr. Bouchard or Mr. Parizeau. They are the words of Daniel Johnson, written from one federalist to another.

He goes on: "In her five-year report to the National Assembly last December, the Quebec Minister of Finance, reiterated the concerns about the federal regulation of securities that would result from this legislation expressed by a number of other provinces at the time of the recent reform of federal legislation on financial institutions. She said-and we are talking about a current federal minister-that federal regulation would be inappropriate in constitutional terms and from the standpoint of efficiency. It would lead to duplication of rules of supervision and inevitably to a heavier administrative and financial burden for issuers, investors and intermediaries". End of the letter from Daniel Johnson to the current President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.

When you are reduced to quoting letters from federalists- It seems to me that the analysis presented by a federalist to another federalist should be understood. It seems just an excuse to say: "We know, you are a sovereignist. You want Quebec to be sovereign. You refuse all interference. You fight against all interference". Yes, it is our job to do so, and I think Quebecers are proud of that. But when one comes out with implacable arguments, the same as those used by great federalists such as Daniel Johnson, it seems to me that somehow the Liberal government should realize that there is a certain consensus in Quebec. Moreover, I think they are starting to get the picture as far as the homeland and the linguistic community are concerned. They should also understand that there is also a strong consensus to jealously protect Quebec's prerogatives concerning securities.

I also think that it should be easy to understand, when the president of the Montreal exchange himself tells us he does not agree either with the idea of federal interference in securities. As well, when we questioned the Minister of Finance, after the speech from the throne, and all the more so after the budget speech, in which he mentioned the federal government's intention, now openly admitted, to interfere in matters of securities, he told us the Quebec business community, major stakeholders in Quebec were unanimous on the need for federal interference in the securities market. After hearing several stakeholders, and the Montreal exchange's president for one, we have to conclude that the Minister of Finance has no idea what he is saying in this regard.

Let me quote Mr. Lacoste, the Montreal exchange's president, when he appeared, on February 20, before the Senate Standing Committee on Banking and Commerce.

Concerning a better harmonization among provinces and greater efficiency in the stock exchange, Mr. Lacoste said, and I quote:

"Yes, there must be better co-ordination, but better co-ordination must still allow for regional disparities. I always use the example that if we had a national or a single commission in Canada in the 1980s, there would not have been a QSSP type of program. There would not have been labour sponsored funds in Quebec. Now they exist, so there is a need to preserve that. However, I agree there must be better co-ordination".

Clearly, with such significant arguments, Mr. Lacoste, the president of the Montreal exchange, has just told the federal government in polite but firm terms to stay home. He has just told the federal government to mind its own business, not to interfere with the securities business.

I believe that when the president of the Montreal exchange says such a thing, adding that if it were not for the fact that the 1982 Constitution gave the Quebec government exclusive jurisdiction with regard to securities, we would not have had workers' funds such as the Fonds de solidarité des travailleurs et travailleuses de la FTQ, because there would have been a coast to coast policy, and major lobbies and decisions would have been increasingly concentrated in the Toronto area, he is contradicting in a big way what the finance minister has been saying so far.

There is definitely no consensus in Quebec to the effect that the federal government must interfere in this area. Indeed, there is a consensus in Quebec that the federal government should stay where it is, deal with its own affairs, and not create costly inefficiencies, overlaps and duplications for the taxpayers of Quebec and Canada.

This being said, and considering that the government did not respond in any way to our expectations, since it refused to accept any of the amendments we proposed, to avoid three of the negative aspects of the bill, I have to ask my colleagues from the official opposition to vote against this bill. We will do so with energy and conviction, and then start working against it, given that the federal government has firmly decided, first in June last year and then with the speech from the throne and the budget provisions, to interfere in a very cavalier and cynical way in the area of securities.

I am convinced that, over the next few weeks, the main stakeholders in Quebec, just like the official opposition, will oppose vigorously this interference by the federal government.

Bank ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.


Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-15, an act to amend, enact and repeal certain laws relating to financial institutions, is a continuation of the old Bill C-100 before Parliament prorogued. The government is bringing it back substantially in the same form as Bill C-100. That is why we are at third reading now.

The purpose of the bill is to make many amendments and changes to financial institutions and to do a lot of fine tuning. This act is a result of a review of the safety of financial institutions.

It comes about as a response to the failures of a number of financial institutions and is essentially the government's response to concerns regarding these same institutions. The bill is also a prelude to the Bank Act review due in 1997. That review promises to be much wider in scope.

I will go through some highlights, some objections and some deeper facts on some of the aspects of the bill. It is very complicated and complex. It covers a lot of areas. I will not touch on all of them, but I will try to hit on some of the points I feel the Canadian public should be aware of. I will also try to enlighten people interested in this debate.

The bill rejects deposit co-insurance, and we do not know why. Since the introduction in 1967 of 100 per cent deposit insurance up to a maximum dollar value which is currently $60,000, 30 financial institutions have failed, with 20 failures in the last 10 years. This has cost the CDIC, the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation, about $5 billion as of March 1994.

Interestingly, in the period proceeding 1967 there were no bank failures. Governments over the years have exhibited reluctance to institute market based measures of reform such as co-insurance, instead opting for more regulation and oversight. The use of the market through the implementation of co-insurance and market based criteria as early warning signals would alleviate the problems in the financial system in a less costly yet more effective manner than proposing further regulatory change.

Regulatory attempts to mimic the efficient results achievable only by the free market will always be more costly for all parties involved and will rarely if ever achieve the same quality of results.

Under the proposed system depositors are only encouraged to seek out the best rates regardless of the risk profile of the institution in question since they know they will be fully compensated by the CDIC in the event of a failure. This facilitates the entrance, growth and eventual failure of risky and recklessly managed institutions. It also discriminates against healthy, strong

financial sector players who minimize risk by conservative lending and borrowing policies.

I sure have a tough time making a loan. They are always tough on me.

The act does set the stage for risk based CDIC premiums. However, premium levels for different institutions will not be made public. Again this gives the appearance designed to protect weak institutions. As mentioned earlier, it also keeps the regulation of financial institutions under too large a veil of secrecy. A willingness to provide more information to the public would be a positive move.

The Reform Party does not support the bill because the government could have done much more in conjunction with financial institutions to make it an open system, an accountable system, a system that would work. Then Canadians would know what is happening and would have some faith in it.

The bill proposes rated premiums for the CDIC and the premiums will be according to the risk. As I mentioned, the bad thing is that the CDIC intends not to make the Canadian public aware of the particular potential risk involved in any particular financial institution. This is a veil of secrecy and the taxpayers will be left with the bill when large institutions collapse, as we have seen in Barings' $1 billion loss and in Alberta's Principal Savings and Trust Company.

That is why it is important for the government to consider what it has unfortunately rejected, co-insurance as a partial solution. By perhaps insuring up to only 90 per cent rather than 100 per cent of deposits, investors having a 10 per cent stake in what they are investing in, a 10 per cent stake in what is going on, would know they have a potential exposure.

The advantages of this exposure would make the public more interested in its money and it would do a little more research on the financial institution. The competition and knowledge that this would bring out would bring out the best in business among those institutions. Just to have a monopoly, big is not necessarily better.

Also recent claims, as I have pointed out, have cost. When they go into receivership these losses cost the taxpayers money, which gives this guarantee by the government and CDIC which is really backed by the taxpayers, and the big banks love it.

I will continue in this vein and discuss some facts on co-insurance basically for future consideration, to lay it on the record. There are some strong advantages in considering co-insurance.

One hundred per cent coverage creates an incentive to place funds with high risk institutions. With 100 per cent insurance risky institutions can attract deposits by offering slightly higher rates.

Depositors are willing to use these institutions because they know the CDIC safety net up of to $60,000 will be there if anything goes wrong. This has enabled risky and uncompetitive institutions to enter the marketplace, grow and ultimately fail and distort the marketplace.

The consumers who bear the cost of deposit insurance. Depositors of stable institutions suffer the most. They do not get the higher interest rates and yet they still have to pay for the damage caused by risky institution failures.

Therefore, as recognized in the just published study by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, the irony is that it is the very group that co-insurance is intended to benefit, the average consumer, that subsidizes the risky activities of the more sophisticated who know how to take advantage of the inefficiencies embedded in the system as a result of 100 per cent deposit insurance.

There is almost universal consensus and support for co-insurance. Talk about having committee meetings, listening to witnesses and acting in conjunction with what you hear, despite diverse interests from the banks, the insurance industry, both present and past superintendents, the chairman of the CDIC, the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, academics including most recently PIAC which studied the issue from the consumers point of view, and the Senate banking committee, all supporting co-insurance, this bill and these changes do not include it.

Consumers can judge risk. Consumers do not use the vast amounts of disclosed information because without co-insurance there is no incentive to do so. Why worry? Why bother? Why read? Why care? Just put in your money, it is guaranteed anyway. Look for the best advertisement, the highest rate of return and away you go.

The extremely high percentage of insurance deposits in failed institutions illustrates that consumers are making accurate judgments. For example, a recent failed institution, Income Trust, had 99 per cent of deposits insured versus the 50 per cent industry average.

Countries such as the United Kingdom and Ireland have forms of co-insurance with no evidence of widespread demand for 100 per cent coverage.

The secretary of state argued on August 15, when this bill was still Bill C-100: "The measures included in Bill C-100 flow from a series of basic principles as outlined in the white paper issued last February. Our subsequent consultations have left me more convinced than ever that these principles and the fundamental shift in the philosophy that some of them represent make this legislation a vital and valid turning point in our approach to regulation".

The secretary of state went on to point out there are are four key principles underlined in this bill: ownership of financial institutions is a privilege, not a right; early intervention in and resolution

of institutions experiencing difficulty should occur; financial institutions must operate with sufficient incentives to solve their problems in a timely manner; there must be appropriate accountability and transparency in the system.

Those are tremendous underlying key principles. How could one in the financial sector argue with those principles? I support satisfying those principles, but this bill falls far short of the accountability and transparency in the system. It is still veiled in secrecy and by not considering co-insurance it denies the consumer the opportunity to make some rational judgments for himself.

There has to be a greater review. Financial institutions of all types, the four pillars, must come under a serious review, not separately but collectively. We must do a massive evaluation. It is time to stop and take a good look at the financial sector.

My colleague, the hon. member for Okanagan Centre, who is the Reform Party's industry critic, wrote this brief paper. I would like to read it into the record to give him credit for it because if we truly wish to satisfy the four principles which the secretary of state has stated in terms of evaluating financial institutions, then I feel that my colleague's recommendations are worthy of consideration.

The paper states:

Finance Minister Paul Martin surprised many in his 1996 budget speech by assuring Canadians that banks would not be allowed to sell insurance through their branch networks this year. This softball so deftly tossed our way neither eased our concerns nor addressed the issue.

The real issue is not whether the banks should be allowed to sell insurance or enter into the car leasing business, but whether true competition exists within the financial sector and, thus, whether the consumer and the economy will benefit if banks are allowed to enter other markets.

The banks assure us that their own industry is competitive and not the oligopoly that Canadians suspect. This is difficult to believe when the six largest banks in Canada move en masse to raise or lower interest rates every time the bank rate so much as twitches. The only competition in this case is who will move first.

Yet none of them have moved very quickly to change interest rates down on the personal credit cards that everybody has through Visa and MasterCard, et cetera. One would think someone would drop the rate to get more business.

The four pillars of the financial sector, banking, insurance, trust companies and security dealers, have crumbled as deregulation and technological progress has blurred the lines of distinction. The banks have been applying pressure ever since to sell insurance in their branch networks, enter into auto leasing and increase their interest in the securities market. Further deregulation and the subsequent increase in the size of banks, however, could reduce competition in the financial sector and hurt consumers. These are perennial issues in the Parliament of Canada, particularly when a review of the Bank Act is scheduled. Major reviews are conducted every ten years, interspersed with minor reviews every five years.

1997 brings a minor review, but it is a major review that is required. We need to know a good many things. How do our financial institutions interact? How do they operate in relation to other sectors of the economy? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current regulatory structure? Not only will the answers reveal whether or not true competition exists within the banking sector and, thus, whether or not they should be allowed to expand into other financial services, the answers will determine the veritable strength of our financial sector as it heads into the 21st century. Until such a review is completed, a moratorium should be placed on making any further decisions about financial institutions.

Furthermore, Parliament must be the venue, perhaps in the form of a joint committee of the finance and industry committees. It is the only way we can assure that all interests will be recognized and the process will be both accessible and transparent. Canadians must be able to see the process in order to put their faith in it.

As lobbyists from all sides pressure members of Parliament to take sides and others try to frame the issue within the overtly political constraints of a war between big and small business, the challenge will be to keep our eye on the ball. That is, to ensure true competition exists and is free to function within the marketplace, that stability is maintained in the respective financial sectors and a prudent regulatory structure is in place to protect the consumer. If the bottom line is met, Canadians and the economy will indeed emerge as the winners.

Before I conclude, I have one thing to say about financial institutions and, more specifically, the banks.

There is concern among a lot of people, especially people who are left wing political animals, who feel that the banking institutions are taking advantage of them. I have some good things to say about big banks and some criticisms as well. Since we are dealing with financial institutions, I would like to take the opportunity to touch on two points.

A lot of people are criticizing the banks for not paying their fair share or they are saying they should be embarrassed by their huge profits. I know that the banks, although some may make a billion dollars in profits, also pay a billion dollars in taxes. Profit is not a dirty word. Profit means jobs. Losses mean lack of jobs. Losses means subsidies; grants from governments; subsidization by taxpayers; losses mean rewarding failure.

Let us reward and encourage profit and stop criticizing companies that make a profit. That is no business of the politicians. It is the business of businesses. Businesses should be encouraged to grow, prosper and expand the economy. They should be given compliments when they do so and government should stay off their backs and out of their pockets so that they can create jobs.

How many pages does this bill contain? All these regulations have to be read and interpreted by somebody. This is a cost. It is an expense to business. This is not an inducement to improve business or hire more people and increase employment. We need fewer regulations. Good regulations, yes, but fewer. We need to get the government out of the business of being in business.

There are many financial institutions. I am looking for a document that lists the number of institutions and their assets. I was shocked to see how much these institutions control. But it looks like I will not be able to find it at the moment so I will not be able to quote from it.

One criticism I have of the banks is that they are quick to fiddle with certain prime rates but have not looked at the rates of interest on consumer loans or credit cards. I feel that sometimes they encourage indebtedness by sending letters to university students giving instant credit of $1,000. I know that happened to my daughter when she graduated a couple of years ago. A bank sent her a credit card and guess what? Within 30 days she was in debt to the tune of $1,000. I do not feel that is a practice I would like to see. As a parent I know I did not like it but it is done. There is nothing illegal about it, but I feel that some people get themselves into financial difficulties when that happens.

The problem with government tinkering with regulations and trying to establish a level playing field among the four pillars of financial institutions is that it keeps attempting to amend the definition of a bank. In the Bank Act the definition of a bank is something like "a bank is what a bank does in Canada". Governments keep changing what a bank does. Therefore, other financial institutions have a hard time competing because they are at a disadvantage.

The thorough and proper review which is scheduled for 1997 should lead to some positive results. I sincerely believe that once again this is an example of a Liberal government which uses all the right words even when it describes the budget. It has the rhetoric down, but the reality and what it is doing does not match the words. The words are greater than the actions it takes.

As I have pointed out, the four key principles which the secretary of state believes he is accomplishing with these new regulations for financial institutions is honourable. But he is ignoring completely and avoiding the issue of co-insurance which would clean up a lot of the failures in these institutions and introduce responsibility to investors. It has so many advantages. With so much support from all the institutions and groups, at the very least this could have been done. I believe we introduced it either in the standing committee or in the House at an earlier stage as an amendment which was defeated. I know we talked about it as a party.

This measure would eliminate the burden on taxpayers. It would reduce the risk for high risk institutions. We must have high risk investments. We must have somebody to take them. We must encourage them. The best person to take that risk is a person who can afford to take the risk. We should not be putting all the taxpayers' money at risk.

Bank ActGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

This concludes the first round of 40-minute speeches. We now enter the next stage of debate which has 20-minute speeches subject to 10 minutes of questions or comments.

Bank ActGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.


Richard Bélisle Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-15 amending and enacting certain laws relating to financial institutions is, in our estimation, a new attempt by the federal government to control the provinces, and especially Quebec, which, for the last 30 years, has developed several original tools of economic and financial development.

On the economic and financial side, the federal government's control is increasing daily. On the constitutional side, the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party of Canada proposed last weekend that Quebec now be recognized as "the principal homeland of French language, culture and legal tradition in North America".

The distinct society concept, which was part of the political landscape since the Meech Lake accord and was the subject matter of a motion in this House last December, and which the government seemed to want to enshrine in the Constitution, is suddenly put off indefinitely following some prevarication by certain premiers.

After the second world war, women were sent back home. Some right wing groups still regularly send women back home. Optometrists will often tell us whether bifocals will improve our sight. But what does this vague concept of homeland have to do with the constitutional issue and the recognition of a people?

Today, no longer sure about what to do with it, the federal Liberals are sending the Quebec issue back home. Even the leader of the official opposition in Quebec City tells us this has no legal meaning; it is like saying that Newfoundland is an island and that the Rocky Mountains are in the west. There are no intellectual giants in this government.

This whole farce of a principal homeland in America shows once again the true face of the federal Liberals and how little they know and understand modern Quebec. Less than six months after the Quebec referendum, the Prime Minister is once again going back on his word.

What are we discussing these days in the House? Homeland rather than distinct society, the importation of cheese made from raw milk, our soldiers' lack of discipline, the Somalia affair, the lightning search for missing documents ordered by the defence minister. Once again, our play soldiers, who still cost Canadian taxpayers $11 billion a year, are once again making fools of themselves. It is a good thing that ridicule does not kill. Is this why

Canada still has armed forces, to protect the country from ridicule? If so, they are not doing a very good job.

After nearly three years in power, the Liberal government has gone back on its promises to Quebec. They are making fools of themselves in the rest of Canada, in terms of both imports and defence matters. The Prime Minister has lost control of the situation. There is no leadership left in this government. Worse, there is no vision as to the future of this country.

This government, which is unable to renew the Canadian Constitution, to manage its armed forces in a modern and professional manner, to set credible import policies in a globalization context, is putting forward Bill C-15, which shows its inability to manage the federation at the economic and financial levels.

This bill contains a number of scattered, apparently unrelated measures whose only purpose is to strengthen the monitoring and regulation of financial services in Canada. Once again, the federal government is trying to take control, to increase its powers.

The Bloc Quebecois is not opposed to the principle itself of Bill C-15, but rather to some of the proposed measures, which encroach on major areas of provincial jurisdiction.

The most important measure in this bill would extend the Bank of Canada's payment settlement mechanism to the area of securities.

In fact, this initiative duplicates the clearing systems already regulated by the Quebec securities commission and allows the federal government to interfere in the regulation of securities, which is an exclusive provincial jurisdiction.

Under this bill, the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation will be setting the participation premiums according to the risk a financial institution represents. This includes Quebec chartered institutions already regulated by the Régie de l'assurance-dépôts du Québec, where the deposit volume is the criterion. Thus, there will be two standards of evaluation, and the one based on risk could put Quebec institutions at a disadvantage.

The powers of the superintendent of financial institutions will be increased so that he may request the winding-up of Quebec chartered institutions. This duplication of services could lead to numerous disputes between the different bodies.

As we mentioned during the debate at second reading, this bill amends nine acts: the Bank Act, the Trust and Loan Companies Act, the Insurance Companies Act, the Cooperative Credit Associations Act, the Winding-up and Restructuring Act, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act, the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act, the Canadian Payments Association Act, and the Investment Companies Act, which is being repealed.

This bill is a new indication of Ottawa's centralizing attitude. By establishing Canada-wide compensation and payment systems, Bill C-15 infringes on the authority of the Commission québécoise des valeurs mobilières and of Quebec's Inspecteur général des institutions financières. This results in costly overlap and structures. Quebec's financial institutions will be subject to two monitoring systems.

Therefore, Bill C-15 is an unacceptable intrusion into the securities industry, which comes under provincial jurisdiction. In Quebec, the various governments have always strongly defended Quebec's jurisdiction over the securities industry. Even Daniel Johnson reaffirmed that position in a letter to the federal government on February 16, 1994, when he was Quebec's premier.

The authority given to the Governor of the Bank of Canada to issue directives or orders to financial institutions goes squarely against that traditional Quebec position.

This bill will result in even more unacceptable overlap. Beyond the issue of jurisdiction, the fact is that Quebec's financial institutions and individual savers will suffer from the duplication Ottawa is seeking to impose. This will result in additional costs and in a lack of consistency in government policies.

Let us now take a look at the clauses of Bill C-15 I feel will create the most serious problems.

The Bank Act will be significantly affected. Clause 12 of Bill C-15 provides that banks will have to disclose additional information. The various provincial securities commissions already request this type of information to banks and to other companies listed on the stock exchange. Therefore, this is a new type of duplication.

The Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act is also being amended. Clause 21 of this bill defines the notion of "affairs" and of the affiliates of the member institution. For example, if even one of the institutions affiliated to Desjardins is a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, the federal government is entitled to give direction to all of Desjardins' affiliates.

Clause 22 will give the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation the opportunity to be instrumental in the promotion of standards of sound business and financial practices for members institutions. This is a good thing in itself, but it is also a kind of duplication in the case of provincially chartered financial institutions that are part

of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, since the province of Quebec already has regulatory control over these institutions.

Clause 27 will allow the board of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation to establish a system of classifying member institutions according to the risk each of the institutions represents. Hence, the federal government will have no other choice but to set up a supervisory and monitoring system for these members institutions. Again, this will mean some duplication for the provincially chartered institutions, since Quebec already has a control and examination process in place for these institutions. Besides, such a classification system will put the smaller institutions at a disadvantage. We will have to see how the Mouvement Desjardins is reviewed. Will it be branch by branch or as a whole?

The purpose of clause 34 of the bill is to determine the parameters of the examination mentioned in clause 27. For the provincially chartered institutions, this is already done by the provincial authorities. Why the duplication?

Clause 60 of Bill C-15 specifies the circumstances under which the superintendent may take control of an institution in difficulty. Moreover, the superintendent has the obligation to notify the provincial minister responsible of the takeover of a central of a co-operative credit association which is incorporated under provincial legislation. Thus, the provincial authorities are completely pushed aside and the regulatory control a province has over its co-operative credit associations becomes practically irrelevant and even null and void.

The Insurance Companies Act is also affected by this bill. Once again, the bill gives more power to the superintendent to step in if an institution is in financial difficulty. Provincially registered insurance companies are not beyond the superintendent's increased powers of intervention.

According to section 66 of the same bill, the definition of businesses to which the law applies is also amended to include fraternal societies and provincial companies. The bill encroaches upon the powers of Quebec, which already regulates provincially registered institutions. Consequently, we are opposed to the bill's measures which apply to companies registered in Quebec and we are also opposed to all the sections relating to monitoring of provincially registered companies by the superintendent.

Section 93 will also allow the superintendent to make public the information gathered pursuant to the new law. It will force provincially chartered insurance companies to publicly disclose information concerning the compensation of their executives, as well as their business and internal affairs. Since provincial securities commissions already require that information, there will be more duplication. Furthermore, the federal government has no legal right to regulate provincially chartered companies.

Moreover, clause 95 provides that the superintendent will have his say on the composition of the board of directors of provincially chartered insurance companies in financial difficulty. There is already such a control system in Quebec. What then is the usefulness of clause 95?

The main objective of clause 103 is to allow the superintendent to impose standards of sound business and financial practices to provincially chartered insurance companies. Another unjustified encroachment on provincial jurisdiction.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act is also amended. Clause 105 clarifies the new objectives of the superintendent, stating in black and white that the purpose of the act is to ensure that financial institutions in all provinces are regulated by an office of the Government of Canada. This could not be clearer; the federal government has decided to gain the upper hand over the provinces.

As for clause 106, it gives more detail on the federal superintendent's objectives. No distinction is made between institutions with federal charters and institutions with provincial charters. Only federally chartered institutions ought to be covered by this clause.

Finally, clause 62 indicates that a totally new act, the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act, is being created here to allow the federal government to gain control over this area of provincial jurisdiction. The Canadian Payments Association Act is therefore done away with.

These amendments and creations of new acts, all of this legislative process is put into place in order to once again hem in the provinces. The government's throne speech could not have been clearer on this. It intends to create a national securities commission, one which will directly invade the area of jurisdiction and the activities of the securities commissions in the Canadian provinces. In this context, Bill C-15 lays the ground work for the arrival of this national securities commission which the federal government intends to create.

Once again, the government's firm intent is to establish wall-to-wall national standards, and financial institutions cannot escape from this unwavering trend. With Bill C-15, the government is expanding this principle of national standards to the financial institutions. It has now come full circle. The federal government has extended its grasp to the financial institutions, while on the constitutional level there are making a mockery of the historical demands of Quebec, by reducing it to the homeland of cultural survival in America.

Bank ActGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.


Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Bill C-15 and to talk about financial institutions.

This may seem like a fairly dry debate to many people but I think it is an important piece of legislation and it is important to talk about it. Perhaps it is important to talk about it in the context of what Canadians want with respect to financial institutions.

There is a lot of talk today about financial institutions. When the banks announce their profits we hear a lot about it when we go on our tours throughout our constituencies.

There are two things Canadians want with respect to their financial institutions. First is stability. They want to know their money is secure in those institutions whether they be banks, trust companies and so on. Second, they want to know those institutions are accountable, that they are open through the process of competition. There are a number of reasons for that.

People want to know that service fees for instance are as low as they possibly can be. They want to know they are getting the best possible return on their money. They want to know on the other hand that they are being charged the lowest possible interest rates when they borrow from the banks.

The idea is to balance the two as best we can so that we do not end up with the situation which occurred in the United States. There was the savings and loan debacle where a lot of people potentially could have lost billions of dollars until the United States government stepped in. On the other hand we want enough competition to hold all these various financial institutions accountable.

The one area where Bill C-15 really falls down in my estimation is that it simply does not offer co-insurance. Co-insurance is simply an insurance scheme which would replace CDIC insurance as it presently is now. It would on the one hand still provide insurance for possibly up to 90 per cent of people's money through the government but it would leave a certain amount that would have to be covered by the banks or the financial institutions themselves. In my judgment this would be very good. It would hold those financial institutions accountable.

It is interesting to note that before 1967 when CDIC insurance was put into place this country did not have a single bank failure. After 1967 when CDIC insurance came in, 30 financial institutions ended up failing in this country.

What CDIC insurance unwittingly did is it gave people a false sense of security in those institutions. Consequently, they were not held accountable. People did not really know what kind of inherent risk there was in putting their money into them. As a result they folded. The government was on the hook for them through CDIC insurance. The result was something like $5 billion being paid out. In fact at this very point something like $1.7 billion is still owed to the federal treasury from CDIC insurance. It is a very serious situation. In the past we have had many failures and it has cost taxpayers a lot of money.

The really important issue here is that this bill does not provide co-insurance. There is wide support for the idea of co-insurance. Several different groups have come out in favour of co-insurance, not the least of which are the banks themselves. People as diverse as those from insurance companies, the superintendents of financial institutions, the chairman of CDIC, the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and all kinds of academics have come out in favour of co-insurance, as has the Senate banking committee. There is widespread support for the idea of co-insurance. That is why it is very disappointing that Bill C-15 does not have any mention of co-insurance.

It is important when we are talking about something which is a new idea or concept that we be able to look either in Canada or elsewhere in the world for examples of whether or not this will work. There are some examples right now in the U.K. and Ireland where there is co-insurance and it works extremely well. We should use that as an example to guide us. Unfortunately, that is not available in Bill C-15.

One very positive thing in Bill C-15 is the fact that premiums are going to be charged on the basis of risk for CDIC insurance. The negative side of that is the public is not allowed to know which institutions are being charged higher premiums because of the degree of risk. If they have a riskier loan portfolio and people's money is more at risk, unfortunately, for reasons that are not very apparent to me, the premiums are not made available to the public. Therefore the public cannot take the proper steps to protect themselves, particularly if they have an investment of over $60,000 in one of those institutions.

What Canadians really want are institutions that on the one hand are safe and provide that security and on the other hand are competitive enough to ensure that all those service fees and interest rates on charge cards are as low as they possibly can be. People want to know they are being charged the lowest possible interest rates on all the various personal loans. This is a hot issue in the country today and it is an important issue for the government to deal with.

One thing we have been talking about lately is the issue of auto leasing and insurance and whether or not the banks should be allowed to move into those areas. The answer has to be no until such time as we see some real competition in the banking industry. We have to see some competition in terms of deregulating the banks and allowing some foreign competition so that there can be

real competition to hold those banks and financial institutions accountable. This is critical.

When the government looks at this again I do encourage it to seriously consider the issue of co-insurance. It would bring some real accountability to financial institutions and hopefully, would give the public confidence in those institutions.

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4:35 p.m.


Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have heard Reform members one after the other talking about co-insurance. The reality is that depositors are not interested in co-insurance, just the financial institutions. The reason is that co-insurance would require depositors to have knowledge of the credit worthiness of the institutions in which they are depositing their money.

That sounds fair and reasonable. But the reality is that the ability to understand a balance sheet, et cetera, is not well understood by some members of the public. I know this because my wife runs a financial company which sells GICs and uses a deposit insurance corporation for that reason. The average investor or depositor simply does not have that skill. If we brought in co-insurance, the reality is that those people would simply make their deposits with larger institutions and we would end competition in the financial sector.

Co-insurance is not something that is specifically desired by the average person, only by the large financial institutions. I would suggest that is who the member is speaking for. He is not speaking for the average Canadian who would not understand the concept of co-insurance and which would probably prevent them from making deposits.

The member also went on to say how co-insurance exists in a number of other countries and in Europe. He failed to mention that in United States the insurance is $100,000 per deposit, not $60,000. I only say this because the Reform Party is constantly saying how we should be like the United States, yet in this case the member decided not to use that example.

I would simply ask the member, can he not see that co-insurance is not something which is supported by the average Canadian?

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4:35 p.m.


Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member sells the public short on this issue. People buy all kinds of insurance for all kinds of reasons every day. I do not think the hon. member is saying that the public is too dumb to figure out insurance on their automobile or their homes or anything else. At least I hope he is not saying that.

The fact is that people make very sophisticated investments every day ranging from investing in the stock market where they certainly have to judge risk to investing in mutual funds. We have seen a tremendous growth in the investments in mutual funds. People are very well acquainted with the risk of investing in those things.

The member is selling the public short on this whole issue. The public has a very good idea of exactly what they would be getting into and are quite capable of understanding co-insurance. The Public Interest Advocacy Centre is a supporter of co-insurance. The public is very well acquainted with insurance and with putting money into investments that carry an element of risk. The member is way off base by making that judgment about the ability of the public to understand.

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4:40 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-15 is now at third reading stage. This legislation is practically a jumble of disparate measures aimed only at increasing surveillance and regulation of the financial services sector in Canada. This bill amends several acts relating to financial services and repeals the Investment Companies Act.

Though we do not oppose the principle of this bill, we have several concerns regarding the federal government's true intent. In fact, this legislation brings us one step closer to a control of the securities sector in Canada. This control will eventually be exercised by the Bank of Canada.

Bill C-15 uses the excuse of controlling systemic risk to allow Ottawa to impede on a purely provincial jurisdiction. We have discussed this point last year when Bill C-15 was Bill C-100. These are examples reported by the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot. This bill impedes directly on an area of jurisdiction which is exclusively provincial, namely the securities sector under which come all liquid assets, shares, certificates and also bonds, to name but a few.

Yet, two sections of the Canadian Constitution empower provinces to regulate securities. The first one, section 92.13, deals with property and civil rights in the provinces. In Quebec, securities are regulated under the Civil Code. The second one is section 92.16, which states that all matters of a merely local or private nature fall under provincial jurisdiction.

Quebec is already involved in the area of securities, through the Commission des valeurs mobilières du Québec and the Inspecteur général des institutions financières. Bill C-15 will create useless and costly new overlap-goodness knows how many instances we have reported already-by subjecting Quebec financial institutions to orders and directives from the Bank of Canada.

In addition, by implementing a Canadian clearing system, the Governor of the Bank of Canada retains the right to issue directives not only to clearing houses, but also to participating financial institutions, regardless of their charter. The bill will therefore enable the governor to issue orders and directives to institutions

such as the Fiducie Desjardins, and to some extent, this is a strange twist of fate.

It will be remembered that, if I am not mistaken, before founding the caisses populaires in Quebec in the early 1900s, Alphonse Desjardins had served as clerk in this House and later at the national assembly in Quebec. Alphonse Desjardins decided to start this co-operative system because there was a problem with the banking system in Quebec. The banks, which were predominantly English at the time, refused to make loans to French speaking Quebecers. Also, there were no banks in rural areas. All banks were concentrated in major financial centers. That is why Quebecers did not deposit their money in banks that refused to loan them money, and how the Quebec tradition of stashing one's savings in a wool sock came about.

In response to this situation, Alphonse Desjardins decided to establish a financial institution to provide Quebecers with those services not provided to them by banks. He came to Ottawa to apply for a charter, which he was denied, because the banks were afraid such an institution would be in competition with them. His application for a federal charter was therefore rejected. That is why Alphonse Desjardins finally established his caisses populaires under provincial charter. Banks resisted this idea for years.

I remember that, up until the early 1960s, banks refused to cash cheques drawn on caisse populaire accounts. It was a long battle before Quebec got a first-rate economic tool: credits unions, called caisses populaires in Quebec. We accomplished this all on our own. I recall that this was achieved with people getting fully involved, and working out of church basements.

A lot of people worked on a volunteer basis for many years to develop this economic tool. We did it on our own despite early opposition. Now that this tool is in place, the Government of Canada wants to regulate this tool we developed ourselves. This, of course, is unacceptable.

The bust of Alphonse Desjardins is now on display in the CN Tower in Toronto, since he is recognized as one of 10 great Canadians. The fact that visitors to the CN Tower can see it has not prevented the government from trying to regulate this institution, even though it was almost opposed to its founding.

May I remind you that the bust of Joseph-Armand Bombardier is also displayed in the CN Tower in Toronto, which did not prevent the federal government from taking over all his patents in 1945.

Another thing that bothers me in this bill is the concentration of power in the hands of a few individuals. This is what this bill does. It amends certain laws, including the Winding-up Act, to give the Superintendent of Financial Institutions even more powers. This bill and all the federal bills that have been tabled since this government came to office are aimed at concentrating even more power in the hands of those who already have it, be it a minister or the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

In any case, broadening the powers of the federal Superintendent of Financial Institutions will only lead to costly duplication, for which taxpayers will have to pay once again. Considering how long we have been talking about it, the government should have understood that federal intrusion in a sector which comes under provincial jurisdiction only generates inefficiency and useless costs. Not to mention the debates that will follow between the federal and provincial governments, at a time when constitutional talks are scheduled to take place in the months to come, at least according to the 1982 Constitution. The Prime Minister assures us that, under these conditions, the federal government is prepared to withdraw from those fields which come under the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces. Is it not true that the Prime Minister takes with one hand what he is willing to give us with the other? This situation is unacceptable.

What this government does is to stimulate competition between levels of government. But let us not forget that such competition between governments is never beneficial to ordinary citizens. Just think of manpower training, to which we refer daily because Quebecers notice it more and more. In Quebec, there is an obvious consensus regarding the need to patriate manpower training. This consensus among all the stakeholders goes back several years, but the issue remains unsettled. Meanwhile, this overlapping of jurisdictions costs over $250 million every year.

The expanded authority delegated to the superintendent provides boundless power to a single person and could well trigger a legal battle between Ottawa and Quebec. Should this be the case, it would adversely affect financial institutions that are in difficulty as well as individual investors.

I cannot understand what motivates the federal government. Why does it want to control a sector which has been very well monitored in Quebec for a long time now? I conclude that the federal government wants to find a way to interfere in the administration of the various provincial institutions, particularly in Quebec, for it clearly senses that federalism as it currently exists is about to become uncontrollable.

It is also preparing for the next round of constitutional talks, which will come along eventually, by seeking out powers it can later return to the provinces, saying: "Look how generous we are, giving you what you want". They are withdrawing from certain areas of provincial jurisdiction, while on the other side of the coin they will in fact have lost almost nothing, because they will have

acquired other means of control, other levers of power, taxation in particular. Such is the case with the bill we are looking at today.

We can, therefore, predict that there will, in fact, be nothing but cosmetic changes. The Bloc will never agree to give up an area of jurisdiction that is, and always has been, exclusively provincial. As my colleague has already pointed out, even Daniel Johnson, when he was premier of Quebec in 1994, said there was no question of the Liberal government in Quebec's accepting encroachment by the federal government in securities matters.

He added that the Government of Quebec would refuse and would jealously guard its prerogatives in this area. As we saw very recently, Mr. Johnson is opposed to what is happening in the House. Today he is dissociating himself from the idea being promoted in recent days of Quebec's being a homeland.

The government in Ottawa appears to stuck in an impasse where it cares little about contradicting its allies in Quebec, who, are increasingly in agreement-and are forced to be-with the claims of the sovereignists, regardless of what the Prime Minister and his ministers may say.

But, worse yet, the government is mocking the basic provisions of the Constitution, the very Constitution it so often preaches and talks about. The cost of Bill C-15 goes even beyond areas of jurisdiction. As I said earlier, the financial institutions of Quebec and investors will be the victims of the duplication of roles Ottawa wants to impose, because securities officials need coherent and stable legislation, as in the case of other sectors involved in financial markets.

Instead of maintaining stability and consistency, two attributes highly prized by global financial markets, the federal government tells us, through Bill C-15, that it wants to establish its own institutions and allow the Bank of Canada and the federal Superintendent of Financial Institutions to intervene in the area of securities. The government's attitude is unacceptable.

When the secretary of state responsible for Canadian financial institutions testified before the finance committee last August, he failed to answer the Bloc Quebecois' questions about the federal government's encroachment on the area of securities, which, according to the Constitution, comes under the exclusive jurisdiction of Quebec, as we pointed out earlier. He tried to evade the issue, as can be seen from the minutes of the committee proceedings. It seemed to us that the secretary of state did not even know what was in his bill.

The secretary of state denied at the time that his government intended to encroach on the area of securities. We were sold a bill of goods, as the recent throne speech clearly referred to the establishment of a Canadian securities commission.

We opposed the government's amendments, because they did not meet expectations in any way, just as Bill C-15 does not meet Quebec's expectations. This bill is written in a very technical language, of course, because it deals with technical matters, and it is very thick. This leads us to believe that the government is trying to confuse the opposition and the public, since the amendments in this bill, which are supposedly minor in nature, in fact have very serious consequences.

We can only lament the fact that, almost every time a government bill is introduced, we in the Bloc are always led to condemn the same things. The government is using every means available in an attempt to centralize ever more. There is always a good excuse: market globalization, international competitiveness, systemic risks or what not. It is a real shame to see that, at a time when the government claims publicly that agreements can be reached with the provinces, it is doing exactly the opposite in legislation. They are not entering into any agreements with the provinces, they are centralizing.

Four times already since the last federal budget was tabled, Ottawa has introduced a bill affecting federal-provincial relations, without even consulting the provinces. I am referring here to Bill C-76, implementing the budget and imposing national standards; Bill C-88, to implement the agreement on internal trade, which gives retaliatory powers to the federal government; Bill C-91 on regional development, which enables Ottawa to sign agreements with local authorities directly, without regard for provincial governments; and of course the bill before us today, Bill C-15.

It is incredible. The government says agreements can be reached with the provinces and it talks about decentralizing, while its actions are to the contrary, and history has taught us these past 30 years or so that actions speak louder than words.

We will recall the commitments made by Mr. Trudeau in 1980. There is no need for me elaborate on this, since we are all quite familiar with these promises. "We are putting our seats on the line to ensure changes take place", they said. It is now 1996. In the meantime, the Constitution was patriated in 1982, but nothing changed for Quebec. These were all empty words and meaningless commitments. Today, they are talking about decentralizing, but every bill they introduce in this House contradicts the commitments they had made.

We all remember the commitments made by the current Prime Minister in the final days of the referendum campaign, when he said: "We will see to it that Quebec is recognized as a distinct society". Already this promise has been forgotten. Through all this, we realize that commitments are meaningless, because there is never a real will to honour them.

The only things that are decentralized are of course the cuts. I want to talk about one of them, in the energy sector, since it was mentioned yesterday and today. Over the last 20 years, the federal government has invested $12 billion in Ontario for atomic energy research. It is also investing, of course, a few billions in the Hibernia project, in Newfoundland. However, in Quebec, the government cut the Tokamak nuclear fusion research project, in Varennes, in which $7 billion was invested annually until now.

So, the government invests billions elsewhere, but any cut made affects Quebec of course. The government uses words which are meaningless or which say the opposite of what it intends to do.

Remember, in 1980, we were told: "If Quebec becomes sovereign, you will end up with a huge debt, high taxation and high unemployment. You, little Quebecers, cannot achieve sovereignty". And what did we get since 1980? That year, the federal debt stood at $80 billion. Today, it is close to $600 billion, in spite of the fact that taxes and unemployment have never been so high. In other words, what we feared we would lose in 1980 by becoming a nation we lost by remaining in the Canadian confederation.

Recently, before the last referendum, we were told: "If you become sovereign, you will lose all your dairy subsidies". Yet, we were just told in the last budget that all dairy subsidies in Quebec would be eliminated over the next five years.

So, these are meaningless commitments. The government uses the pretext of a systemic risk to introduce Bill C-15 and get involved in the securities industry, even though the Governor of the Bank of Canada himself stated last summer that such risk could be controlled through increased monitoring of the major payment transfer system.

Obviously, this bill is totally unacceptable to us, since it merely seeks to allow federal intrusion in areas which come under Quebec's jurisdiction.

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4:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Before moving to questions and comments, it is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Shefford-Canadian armed forces; the hon. member for Bourassa-immigration.

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4:55 p.m.


Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member about his understanding of the whole area of international trade, exactly what is the reality of our joining the WTO and what that means to us in the world for the future. Obviously our future will be as a trading nation in dealings around the world.

Whenever I hear somebody talk about the need for supply management and actually believe that will be something we could

ever hold on to in the future and still be a world trader, I am very surprised. Does the member not feel the dairy industry in Quebec would not be able to modernize and become a competitive producer in the world market without depending on government subsidy?

I would like him to address that in the context of the World Trade Organization and what that will mean to us as Canadians, particularly if we have 30 million Canadians dealing in an international global market.

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5 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat taken aback by the question of my colleague from the Reform Party. Basically, he is asking me whether Quebec could survive without the dairy subsidy. We all know the Canadian government announced in its last budget the elimination of this subsidy. In the last two years, it has already been reduced by 15 per cent, and it will be completely eliminated within three to four years.

In the meantime, billions of dollars have been invested in western Canada, where the elimination of the grain transportation subsidy has been compensated by other payments.

The hon. member spoke about international relations. When Quebec becomes a country, it will have to make international commitments just like any other country, just like Canada, Singapore, France or Italy. It will then need the necessary tools to do so.

For the time being, Quebec is under the Canadian Constitution and is a part of Canada, and it has to abide by federal regulations. Ever since Confederation, the federal government has felt the need for a complete centralization of economic and political powers in Ontario. It may be a fundamental need for Canadians, and a matter of survival for them. But this centralization is effectively depriving Quebec of its economic infrastructure and political power.

Surely, my colleague realizes that a country can have, on international markets, facilities a province cannot have.

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5 p.m.


Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, I come back to this concept that Quebec is paying out so much more. In Alberta, for example, we have paid $145 billion more than we have ever received as a province.

Talking about the Crow rate being a subsidy, the Crow rate is an agreement made with the agricultural sector and the farmers now will not receive any transportation subsidy.

The $1.6 billion was a pay-out of this contract negotiated to be worth somewhere in the neighbourhood of $18 billion. Therefore $1.6 billion is simply a one time pay-out. It is gone. They will now

have to compete in the international marketplace in the World Trade Organization.

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5 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, of course, this amount of money, $1.6 billion according to the hon. member, is to replace a subsidy previously granted to the farmers, but the milk subsidies will be completely eliminated in the province of Quebec. They will completely disappear.

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5 p.m.

An hon. member

Without any compensation.

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5 p.m.


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

Without any compensation, as one of my colleagues puts it. So, 25 per cent of the $1.6 billion paid to western Canada comes from Quebec. We provide money to pay compensation elsewhere in Canada, while cuts are being made in our province, as was the case with the Tokamak project. We paid $3 billion or $4 billion out of the $12 billion granted to the province of Ontario. We paid 25 per cent of the $3 billion spent on Hibernia. In the meantime, cuts are made to the Tokamak project. The province of Quebec is a net loser under the Canadian Confederation.

A lot of people in Canada believe in those three assumptions, some for good reasons. If we are a bunch of trouble makers politically speaking, which is absolutely true, if we receive in Quebec much more money than we put in, then support the sovereignty of Quebec because the day we leave will solve the problem and you will make money from it. That is the reason.

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5 p.m.


Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, this debate could very quickly leave Bill C-15 and get on to areas of national unity. I will refrain from doing that and I will get back to the topic at hand, recommendations in terms of changes to financial institutions.

More specifically, I am interested in the CDIC aspect of the bill and where the bill proposes rate premiums for the CDIC. The premiums will be according to risk. We, the public, will not be able to know what the risk rating is at the various institutions. It is covered by a veil of secrecy. I want to know if this member believes that is a just action.

Also, if it is the objective of the government to make financial institutions more transparent and hold them more accountable, how does he feel about the speech I gave earlier this afternoon on co-insurance? Perhaps there is a need to look at co-insurance. Rather than having 100 per cent deposit insurance, perhaps there should be a 90 per cent guaranteed share along with a 10 per cent share by the investor.

There is a perverse sense of fairness in the current system where lower risk or more successful institutions that do not go into receivership, that do not go broke, that do not cost the taxpayers money actually have to help pay for the ones that do and ultimately taxpayers end up paying.

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5:05 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, first, on the issue of co-insurance, I must say that I am not sure I understand what my hon. colleague meant to say. Unfortunately, I did not listen to the speech he made earlier this afternoon and I do not feel I have all the information needed to answer his question.

However, as regards the government's transparency, we have noticed not only in this document but also in the debate surrounding the upcoming tax reform, scheduled for the end of the year, that there is no transparency. For example, tax reform will be considered behind closed doors by a committee made up of the biggest users of tax havens in the world, who have institutions in all of these tax havens.

The hon. member is right to remind us that, where transparency is concerned, the government has not seen the light so far, if I can put it this way. It is kind of opaque. You only have to remember the recommendations made on the Pearson airport, where everything was to be resolved in the minister's office behind closed doors. These last few years, we have criticized the government for its lack of transparency, and I think my hon. colleague has every right to do the same.

As for co-insurance, I am sure my colleague and I will probably have the opportunity to meet in the future to review this technical issue in detail and in private.

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5:05 p.m.


Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, the subject of Bill C-15 certainly is not the area of my expertise. I want to approach this from the standpoint of the lay person, talking about the banking system, the insurance system and what they mean to Canadians.

We all recognize the value of a stable banking and insurance system. That is necessary in our society. If we look at the disruption the United States has in its fiscal system, none of us would want to ascribe to it.

When we look at this bill we find that there are a number of key problem areas. The key to monitoring our financial institutions and ensuring their financial health is the question we should be addressing.

Ensuring Canadians do not get conned into putting their money into shaky financial institutions which go on to collapse is of extreme importance to us. Every time one of these financial or insurance institutions goes under we all feel the repercussions. It costs millions of dollars to insure this does not happen, and over the years there have been a great many problems.

The CDIC has often had to step in to cover the $60,000 insured limit on deposited moneys.

I think back to my experience in Alberta. When the Principal Group went under the grandmothers, the farmers and the general public that had put their money into that institution were left not knowing if they would get 10 cents on the dollar or 50 cents on the dollar or what would happen to them.

Many people at that time said that was greed, that those people invested in the Principal Group because it paid one per cent more or one-half per cent more. I would not call that greed, I would call that human nature. People will look at institutions with a view to putting money into them based on what kind of return they can get. Seniors are most affected, as they were in my community by the collapse of the Principal Group. That is what we have to address. We must ask how much information the general public should have on all our financial institutions.

Let us examine Bill C-15. It seeks to improve the rules regarding financial institutions. Unfortunately it does not deliver on this very well. Like so many of the bills we have had before us in the House, it goes part of the way in doing the job but does not go far enough. That is either because of political reasons or because of lack of information. Perhaps there is too much reliance on the bureaucracy and not enough on the hard work of committees and of the minister.

Anyone leafing through the bill will notice it is quite complex. It runs 136 pages. When we take this amount of legal jargon and add it to the existing legislation we get an almost indecipherable collection of material nobody except a few lawyers really understand.

Over the three years I have been here I have noticed that when we do this to bills, we leave things open to interpretation, we leave things open to confusion. Many people will look at it differently. The government has to return to communicating with people in people's language. Lawyers, accountants and bankers have created an industry out of complexity.

Whether our tax system, our banking system or any of these systems, we are looking at getting legislation back to the people so the people can understand it and can deal with it. We should not have to hire experts. When we do that we leave ourselves open to the abuse we so often hear about from our constituents.

The bill is very complex. It is an opaque bill and does not address the fundamental problems surrounding financial institutions. That is why my colleagues and I are not supporting the bill. We do not think Bill C-15 is evil or malicious, but we do not think the government has taken the right approach of putting it in language people can understand. I do not believe it could be that difficult to express the bill in a legalese we could understand and approach.

What is this simple approach we are talking about? It is very important the system be understandable, open and accountable to Canadians. This is the exact opposite of what I see when I try to read Bill C-15.

The current system is so arcane that no ordinary person can make head or tail of it. Even if some brave soul wanted to find the various ins and outs, the information simply is not available. It is confidential, it is off limits, it is out of bounds and it is something individuals should not have. In other words, there is no transparency and no accountability. It is no wonder Canadians do not have much faith in the way things are going and are currently being done.

I come back to the tax laws as an example: 2,100 pages of gobbledegook. I look at our Constitution and see more gobbledegook. We have to relate to clause this and clause that as of this date and that date and so on. Businesses and individuals cannot understand it. Accountants have to take courses every month just to understand the changes that are being made.

Let me relate one of the proposals in Bill C-15 that has some potential. It suggests that risk should be a determining factor in assessing premiums for the CDIC. That seems to be a really good idea. Everyone in this House understands that a high risk company should pay higher premiums. The inverse of this is true as well. The more secure the institution, the less the premium should be. This is common practice when it comes to insurance.

Unfortunately though, the CDIC would not make these risk assessments available to the public. If this were open, transparent and made available, then people could plan their investments accordingly. They would know the level of risk they were taking and it would be totally up front. They would have no one to blame but themselves if they decided to make that riskier investment with the higher premium rates.

There is no transparency. The way it is now is secretive which makes it impossible for Canadians to make informed decisions. I think we hear that no matter what area we talk about. Canadians need things to be transparent and open.

I know many of the hon. members on the government side have a fair amount of money. We have heard that mentioned on occasion. Many of them are even what we might call wealthy. I would like to ask those people, if they were putting their hard earned dollars into a particular bank or trust company and they knew the CDIC had done a risk assessment on that institution, would they not want to know what the assessment said? Does it not make common sense that it would be public information that one institution was riskier than another?

That sort of thing should be public information. That is why the public loses confidence and trust in politicians and in politics itself. We do not seem to open up this information to assessment. The

public has a right to have that assessment and to have it made public. We need to know who is reliable and who is not.

When there is one of these big financial collapses and the taxpayer is left holding the bag, would those people who have made that decision not be angry if they realized that CDIC had known all along the company was a risky bet? Would people not wonder why the CDIC had kept that secret?

I think back to what I talked about earlier, the example in Alberta where the grandmothers, the farmers and so many other people lost their savings. We heard that the experts knew it was risky, but that little grandmother out there sure did not know it was risky. How could she know since that information is confidential? It is secret information. As I pointed out at the start, if nothing else, just to get this into the layman's language so the layman understands it we have to open it up and make it transparent.

I would like to go back to what I earlier called a simple approach to this. It involves a transparent and accountable system. One of the best ways to build accountability into a system is through co-insurance. This has been introduced but has not been followed up on. It is not part of the bill and was rejected.

How can this be? It would seem everyone agrees that we need transparency, accountability and a right to know when a company is a risk and when it is not. What is wrong with co-insurance? Why is it not there? Again it comes back to the fact that we are not going far enough. We are just touching the edges.

Many of the things we do are little political decisions where we said we would do a little bit, so we do a little bit. There is no vision, no long term plan. There is nothing there.

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5:20 p.m.


Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Where are they on the GST?

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5:20 p.m.


Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

A member mentions the GST. Obviously we had a promise on the GST. A major change was promised, but what is going to happen? The name is going to be changed. It will be called the ABC tax and will be 15 per cent. That certainly sounds like a major change to me. It certainly destroys the accountability we are all talking about. Again I come back to mistrust of politicians and the political system.

Canadians are responsible people and they would make sure they knew about the risks of particular financial institutions if some of their savings and retirement money was on the line. Under the current system though the first $60,000 is 100 per cent covered if a financial institution fails. What incentive is there to find out about these institutions? We must look at the whole area of co-insurance.

With a 100 per cent guarantee it only makes sense for Canadians to put their money where they get the best deal and where they will receive the highest interest rate regardless of the financial health of the institution. It would only be human nature that when most of the members on the other side get their MP pensions they will put them into any kind of institution because of this 100 per cent guarantee. Believe me, we on this side will have to be much more careful because we are not getting the MP pension. We are not at the trough, as are so many others.

With co-insurance we would have a shared risk and it would encourage accountability. It would force people to choose between the higher interest rate or the security. Those of us who have been in business have had to make those choices. We are saying that the bill should reflect this.

It is not greed that causes people to go for the highest interest rate. Much of it is a lack of understanding of the system. Many people risk their life savings. They are not greedy; they are simply following human nature.

Choice is good. Personal responsibility is also a good thing. I know some of my colleagues opposite would disagree but I feel strongly about this. I know the tradition of this place is to legislate away all choice to protect Canadians who were arrogantly assumed to be incapable of looking after themselves.

Many of us came here because we got angry. We would send good people here and they would come back in six months and say: "We know better than you because the party told us that this is how we should think". There is a member opposite who after yesterday I am sure will go back and say: "Well, I voted against my party because I was honourable, because I did what I knew I had to do".

We often hear this message coming from on high, here in Ottawa. It is called Ottawa fever. That is where the party runs the show, not the people; the people do not bring the message this way, it goes in reverse. We are sick and tired of that.

Canadians say: "Be accountable. Put in some legislation. Do some of the real changes we have been demanding". The people are ahead of the politicians. They are way ahead of the politicians. They understand risk. They understand the banking system. They are where it is at.

Let us get back to the bill. Much of what we have been talking about is wound up in complexity, the banking industry, the legal industry, the bureaucracy. We are saying instead of the 136 pages, we can solve the problems much more easily. Bill C-15 should be scrapped and the whole issue should be looked at in a totally new light. The underlying principle for any future legislation should be openness, accountability and choice.

Some members across the floor will say that I am saying competition is not good. I am saying that competition is where it is at but there has to be a level playing field. The problem with banks is they do not have a level playing field. There is no openness. There is no accountability. That is why we have the present problems. That is why the people have such doubts about banks, about insurance companies and about politicians. They have those questions because of the lack of accountability.

It is good to go home and realize the support we have is from the grassroots. It has grown dramatically in terms of membership and in all kinds of ways. It makes us feel really good because we know we have taken the message the right way. The message has come from the people to this place. They are demanding that we put it into a much simpler, understandable way.

In closing, Bill C-15 is too complex. It does not deal with the issues of accountability and transparency which people demand. We are voting against this bill.

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5:25 p.m.


Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, first I want to stand in defence of grandmothers. It seems to me that the members have been castigating grandmothers. I have met many grandmothers in my life who are very astute investors.

Beyond that, it is getting back to the whole question of CDIC and the purpose for CDIC insurance. CDIC is not a bond rating company. Reformers want the CDIC to divulge this information to the general public. That is not its purpose. If a bond rating is wanted, they would go to Dunn and Bradstreet.

Finally, I want to quickly say that the whole concept of co-insurance in the member's argument is in defence of the large financial institutions that allow them. The junior financial institutions will not be able to compete if the concept of co-insurance is brought in.

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5:25 p.m.


Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, that was a fairly confused question but I will try to deal with it. First, we are all for grandmothers. We all agree with that so let us clear that away.

With respect to CDIC, we do not expect it to be a bond rating agency. However when problems are found in a financial institution, we do expect that to be transparent. We do not expect to have a situation which occurred in our province with the Principal group. The company went under and the information was known but was not made public. It is not fair to the very grandmothers we are trying to protect. That is what we are talking about. We could have bond rating agencies. We do not expect CDIC to do that. CDIC is an insurance company. It is important to get this back to a transparent and accountable situation.

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5:25 p.m.


Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to compliment the member for Red Deer on his speech. He said that this was a topic about which he really did not know much. However, after listening to him I find that his comments and opinions even improved on the speech which I gave on this topic. He did an outstanding job. It just shows the quality of the members over here in the Reform Party.

I would like to ask the hon. member for Red Deer-

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5:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Centre will be sorry to know that his time is up.

It being 5.30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.