This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was safety.

Topics

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Call in the members. And the division bells having rung :

Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

The recorded division is deferred until 5:30 p.m. today.

Tobacco Products Control ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Scarborough East Ontario

Liberal

Doug Peters Liberalfor Minister of Health

moved that Bill C-24, an act to amend the Tobacco Products Control Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Tobacco Products Control ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure today to speak on second reading of Bill C-24 which will amend the Tobacco Products Control Act. Action on the proposed amendment is a key element of our strategy for reducing the consumption of tobacco products in Canada. Before I address the specifics of Bill C-24, I first want to take a few moments to touch on the historical and policy context of this legislation.

When the Tobacco Products Control Act became law in 1989 it set a number of important public health precedents. It phased out tobacco advertising. It restricted the promotion of tobacco products. It required health warnings and toxic constituents information on packages. Finally, the act required manufacturers to report information on tobacco constituents and sales to the Minister of Health.

In passing this legislation, Parliament acknowledged the hazards inherent in tobacco use. It acted to protect all Canadians but especially youth from inducements to the use of tobacco products. To this day Canada is recognized as a world leader for the action it took in 1989 to regulate tobacco marketing and promotion.

Since the implementation of the Tobacco Products Control Act, Canada has been viewed as a model in terms of tobacco control measures. Australia, New Zealand, France and Thailand are among the countries which have used aspects of the Canadian model, including advertising bans, prominent health messages on packaging and increased health promotion activities. In some cases these countries have gone further than Canada with various components of their policies and legislation. Their non-smoking policies are based not only on Canada's experience but also on the recommendations of international health organizations such as the World Health Organization.

As countries co-operate on tobacco control, these international agencies have an increasing wealth of data and models to draw upon. The World Health Organization for instance recently released a report indicating that three million people a year now die prematurely from tobacco related causes. If the current trend continues, the body count would reach some 10 million deaths per year within one generation.

Last September the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Parliament had the power to control advertising and promotion of tobacco products under the criminal law power of the Constitution. The court also found unanimously that the purpose of the act, specifically to reduce tobacco consumption, was a valid and important health objective, one sufficiently important to warrant the limiting of the freedom of expression.

However, the court was also of the view that the government had failed to demonstrate that some of the measures in the act, in particular the total ban on advertising, the restrictions on promotion and the inability to attribute health warnings to the government, were justified under the charter. As a consequence, the majority ruled that large portions of the act were without force and effect, including provisions requiring health warnings and toxic constituents information.

The government accepts the responsibility conferred on it by the Supreme Court of Canada decision. It will not allow the unrestrained marketing and promotion of a product that kills so many Canadians.

Tobacco Products Control ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

We will not hold it against you personally. I know there are some jobs a parliamentary secretary must do, however distasteful.

Tobacco Products Control ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

I welcome the commentary of the hon. member opposite. It is favourable to the introduction I am presenting. Rarely has there been such a clear and compelling case for government action, as the member acknowledges.

To put matters as simply as possible, smoking kills. The supreme court recognized this fact. The warning labels are entirely accurate, scientifically correct and vital to Canada's health strategy on smoking. They cannot, however, tell the entire story.

Tobacco is the only consumer product that has absolutely no known benefits, none whatsoever. When used as intended, it can cause irreparable damage and can kill those who use it. A couple of my colleagues opposite in the medical profession will attest to that as well. They will also attest to the fact that research tells us a smoker's life expectancy decreases by some seven to eight minutes for each cigarette smoked. That is a terrible price to pay.

Between one-third and one-half of Canadians who now smoke will die prematurely as a result of tobacco use. This means that over three million people will die an early death because of tobacco use. When the Tobacco Products Control Act was introduced in 1987 some 72 Canadians died each day of tobacco related causes. Today, as we debate some minor amendments to the act, the toll has risen appreciably. Today, tomorrow the next day and each day in this year on average 110 Canadians will die of tobacco related causes. Sadly, we have every reason to believe this toll will continue to increase for some time.

Tobacco addiction does not take its toll immediately or quickly. It often takes some 20 to 30 years for the consequences of smoking to manifest themselves. That is why deaths attributable to smoking continue to escalate, even though fewer people are smoking now than 10 or 20 years ago. From 1989 to 1991 Canadian deaths attributed to smoking increased by some 8 per cent to more than 41,400.

Even those who do not smoke can be affected. The United States centre for disease prevention and control published some alarming findings recently about second hand smoke in a journal of the American Medical Association. I point to the study because the study is noteworthy for not only its findings but for its sample size and its methodology.

It involved some 10,642 people over four years of age and older randomly selected at 81 different sites in 26 separate states. It was the first centre for disease prevention and control tobacco study to combine blood samples, physical examinations and questionnaires.

Using the blood tests of the 10,642 people, the centres for disease prevention and control were able to confirm almost universal exposure to tobacco smoke even among young people and people who never smoked and who do not work or live around people who smoke.

Their tests showed 87.9 per cent of non-smokers in the group had a blood chemistry that indicated exposure to cigarette smoke. Their blood tested positive for cotinine metabolic residue from the body's processing of inhaled nicotine. There is virtually no other source of that chemical than inhaled tobacco smoke.

We know from other scientific studies that second hand smoke can have 20 to 30 times the carcinogens found in smoke inhaled directly through the filter by the smoker. This study confirms those carcinogens find their way into the lungs and bloodstream of almost everybody, including non-smokers.

The centres for disease prevention and control estimated that in the United States second hand smoke caused 3,000 deaths annually among the non-smoking public and 150,000 to 300,000 cases of respiratory infections among children.

This is generally consistent with the data available in Canada. Here it is estimated that about 330 people each year die from the effects of second hand smoke. Almost half of all Canadian children under the age 15, some 2.8 million, are exposed to second hand smoke on a regular basis.

These data provide clear and compelling evidence that tobacco use is not a personal choice issue, as the tobacco industry would maintain. It is clearly and irreputably a public health issue.

The American study clearly shows no one is safe from the effects of tobacco smoke. A smoker's decision to use tobacco products has demonstrable and negative impacts on the health of those with whom the smoker lives and works.

This year about 50 billion cigarettes will be smoked in Canada with tragic consequences for public health. In addition to the human consequences I have already noted there are hidden costs. The health care costs of tobacco use are estimated at some $3 billion per annum. Another $8 billion is lost in absenteeism and productivity loss. In short, the personal and public costs of this addiction are tragic, pervasive and wholly preventable.

If this product were discovered today it would not be allowed for use in the marketplace. The government realizes, as did the Supreme Court of Canada, it would be impractical and unrealistic to ban a product that is part of the daily lives of almost 7 million Canadians.

At the same time, it would be irresponsible and callous to allow unfettered marketing and promotion of such a lethal product. The government has an obligation to take appropriate action. The government is prepared to act, it is determined to act. It is determined to take action, although the solutions to this national public health problem are complicated and difficult.

Tobacco use is an integral part of the daily life of almost 7 million Canadians, roughly one-third of the population aged 15 and over. Each day in films, magazines and on television tobacco products are portrayed as normal consumer products associated with contemporary lifestyles. This benign portrayal of tobacco products ignores that tobacco is inherently hazardous and addictive.

The length of time between initial experimentation and the onset of adverse health consequences is typically between 20 and 30 years and results in the loss of immediacy that has prompted dramatic public reaction to other less threatening public health issues. Its addictive qualities make it difficult to quit even when smokers know the toll is exacting on their health. Many smokers would like to quit but are unable to.

Government efforts to reduce tobacco use in Canada involve powerful and competing interests in a highly complex social, legal and economic context. The debates on the various pieces of legislation regulating tobacco have elicited strong reaction from such diverse interest groups as tobacco farmers, manufacturers, retailers, printers, artists, cultural groups, health groups and average Canadians whose health or families have been affected by tobacco use.

Because of tobacco's unique hazards, the enormous profits generated from selling it and the many competing interests involved, reducing tobacco consumption and its resulting adverse health effects is a challenging task indeed. It involves shared responsibilities among the various stakeholders and partners: the different levels of government; employers promoting smoke free environments among their employees; schools through the education of their students on the hazards of tobacco use; parents by encouraging their children not to start smoking; and of course the smokers themselves.

Tobacco Products Control ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

You will have the floor right after question period. As it is about 2 p.m., we will now proceed to Statements by Members.

Ludwig StrahStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Devillers Liberal Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to pay tribute to Ludwig Strah, a resident in my riding of Simcoe North, for his work as a volunteer with Canadian Executive Services Organization.

CESO is a non-profit, volunteer based organization which transfers Canadian expertise to businesses, communities and organizations in Canada and abroad.

As a volunteer with CESO International Services, Mr. Strah has put forth great efforts in Romania, helping a company which manufactures water treatment equipment, and in Ghana working with mining equipment.

Speaking on behalf of all Canadians, I commend Mr. Strah on is selfless efforts, helping the citizens of Romania and Ghana in rebuilding their countries.

Canadian Armed ForcesStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Jack Frazer Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian forces have been under intense pressure of late with problems of scandal, senior leadership, aging equipment and the demands of frequent overseas rotations.

Despite these adversities, the individual men and women of the Canadian forces and their units stand out amongst others. Their performance is exemplary.

At a recent multinational military skills competition in Valika Kladusa, Bosnia a team of about 60 Canadian soldiers in competition with their British and Czech compatriots emerged as overall winners.

The six event competition was intended to sharpen performance and military skills while building team spirit and confidence. The competition included a 18 kilometre timed march, an obstacle course, a relay and a tug of war.

The training, commitment, team work, physical fitness and pride of our soldiers made the difference. They deserve our recognition, our praise and, most of all, our full support.

Occupational Health And SafetyStatements By Members

June 4th, 1996 / 1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Canada, two workers die every five working days. On the occasion of Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Week, we must reflect on the situation and try to find innovative solutions to this important problem.

To this end, all workers have a vital role to play. It is a question of collective and individual responsibility, where the risk of accidents and intoxication in the workplace cannot be reduced unless everyone becomes involved.

The federal government must look at what it has done so far and find ways to improve existing legislation.

In 1996, our workers are entitled to working conditions conducive to their health and their safety.

DisarmamentStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, on this, the seventh anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, one cannot help but marvel that the Liberals, who in opposition professed to be outraged, now kneel alongside the multinationals in search of lucrative contracts, kowtowing to the very men who ordered the massacre.

The Liberals are showing the same hypocrisy on disarmament as they are in human rights. Yesterday the Minister of Foreign Affairs announced the opening of the Canadian Disarmament Digest web site on the Internet. It is not surprising that this web site contains no mention of the decision to permit the sale of CF-5 fighter jets to Botswana, for this fact would certainly give readers of the digest a serious case of indigestion.

With Canada alone among the G-7 nations lending financial support to the Three Gorges dam project in China, and about to

provoke a made in Canada arms race in southern Africa, Liberal sanctimony on human rights and disarmament is becoming exceedingly hard to stomach.

Club RomaStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate the Club Roma organization, which is located in St. Catharines, on the occasion of its 35th anniversary and the grand opening of the organization's expanded facilities.

For the last 35 years Club Roma has worked in the community to support families, seniors, sports and culture. They have developed wonderful green spaces for sports events for both visitors and residents to enjoy.

The club also supports local non-profit organizations and promotes the rich multicultural heritage of St. Catharines in the Niagara peninsula.

I want to extend congratulations to the Club Roma and Club Roma president Angelo Mirabella on the 35th anniversary and grand opening, and thank the club for its continued contribution to the community of St. Catharines.

Apple Blossom FestivalStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

John Murphy Liberal Annapolis Valley—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend I had the privilege of participating in the 64th annual Apple Blossom Festival in my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants.

The Apple Blossom Festival is the largest family festival of its kind in Canada. It draws people from far and near and showcases the beauty of the Annapolis valley and the warmth of the people who have made it their home. This year 150,000 people came to enjoy the festivities.

Highlights of this year's events included the crowning of Chérie Marie Riggs from Canning, Nova Scotia as Queen Annapolisa, the annual apple blossom parade, a concert and a magnificent fireworks display to cap of this weekend.

I wish to pass on my congratulations, sincere appreciation and thanks to all those people who made this such a special event.

National Transportation WeekStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the citizens of Quebec are well aware of the importance of transportation. Much of our history was written by those who travelled by water, rail, road or the airways.

With one of the largest cities in Canada, we understand perfectly the choice of this year's theme for National Transportation Week, "The Urban Link". Just visit Montreal, a busy shipping hub, to see the importance of our urban centres, and how it is essential that they be linked to the rest of the world through a reliable and effective transportation system.

Canada's ports are vital links in the transportation chain. They link Canada's urban economies with each other and with the rest of the world. They are indispensable to the growth and development of urban centres, trade and tourism.

Montreal is also served by one of the most effective public transportation systems in Canada, the metro. On the occasion of National Transportation Week, I ask members of this House to give thought to the great importance of a reliable and effective urban and interurban transportation network.

VolunteerismStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, today is my opportunity to pay a public tribute to volunteers in Canada. In particular, I focus on volunteers in the field of health.

My job as the Reform Party health critic has taken me to many Canadians hospitals and clinics. Invariably I have been greeted by cancer clinic volunteers returning their unselfish labour, time and talents to our health system. Many of them are cancer survivors. Some, sadly, have lost loved ones to this serious disease and have been comforted by knowledgeable volunteers themselves. With compassion and love, volunteers sit with lonely patients dying of AIDS, supportive and caring.

On Saturday I watched a telethon conducted by volunteers to raise money for the children's hospital in Calgary. Millions of dollars were raised for the research and treatment of our precious youth.

To volunteers in Canada I simply give to you my heartfelt thanks.

Transportation WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, this week marks transportation week. Unfortunately there is not much to celebrate.

Since the Liberal Party took office, Saint John has lost most of its transportation infrastructure. When the Conservative Party was in power, a new air traffic control tower was built. Now the Liberals have closed it and privatized the airport.

When the Conservative Party was in power, it maintained VIA passenger rail service from Saint John to Sherbrooke and built a new VIA terminal in Saint John. The Liberals ended VIA service and the new terminal is now a hockey training centre.

Planes and trains. What next? I guess it is the ports, of course. The government is privatizing ports with the idea of ending grants in lieu of municipal taxes and terminating the ports police, meaning more crime and less money to fight it. As well, ports must pay for navigational aids, dredging and ice breaking. This was all implemented before a full socioeconomic impact study was completed.

Before the government decides to celebrate transportation week, it should look at how it has undermined our essential transportation services. It might realize it has nothing of which to be proud.

ItalyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anna Terrana Liberal Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, June 2 was the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the Italian Republic. On June 2, 1946, in fact, as a result of a referendum held throughout Italy, the monarchy was replaced by a republic.

This marked the end of a war Italy had lost and which had destroyed one of the most magnificent countries in the world, but also the beginning of a new area for Italy, during which, thanks to a lot of hard work, perseverance and joie de vivre, Italians helped rebuild their country, which has now become one of the seven major world powers.

Italians had to struggle to get out of the depression. Many had to leave Italy to look for a better country which could give them a new beginning, a new life for them and for their families.

Canada was one of those countries. Italians found their promised land here. They were well accepted and were given an opportunity to provide for themselves and for those who depended on them.

Today I would like to pay tribute to all those Italians who dared cross the ocean, and to Canada for giving them a new home. I am sure that my numerous Italian Canadian colleagues sitting in the House with me feel the same pride I feel as a Canadian with roots in Italy. I invite all to join us to celebrate this important day.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Chamberlain Liberal Guelph—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians should be concerned about the underground economy. It costs us in lost tax revenues but most important it costs us jobs.

I have worked with representatives of the building trades in offering suggestions to the Minister of Finance to help to reduce the negative effects of the underground economy in Guelph-Wellington and elsewhere in Canada. During our discussions I was told time and time again that we must all work together.

The underground economy is more than not paying taxes. It costs my community and every community in Canada jobs: jobs for those who want to work, jobs that support our families. I urge the government to continue to work with the building trades and others in order to find solutions to this silent killer of jobs.

Minister Of Human Resources DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were all shocked last week by the comments made by the Minister of Human Resources Development concerning the political options open to those who choose to come to this country.

It seems there is a price to pay in return for Canada's hospitality. That price is political conformity. Immigrants must espouse the majority viewpoint. Their democratic rights, guaranteed by the charter of rights and freedoms, do not include the right to choose a sovereignist party.

The outrage provoked by these comments was shared by many federalists in Quebec and I am convinced by all English Canadians who respect fair play and democratic values. But where was the outrage by the Liberal Party in Ottawa? The Prime Minister endorsed the comments of his minister and the press in English Canada was silent on the matter.

I urge all English Canadians concerned about the future of their democracy to take this matter seriously and to call for a public retraction and an apology by the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Human RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 12th anniversary of the senseless and brutal attack by the Indian army on Sikh region's holiest shrine, the Golden Temple at Amritsar and 37 other places of worship. The attack resulted in the deaths of many innocent worshippers.

It would be timely for the new Indian government to apologize for the massacre. More recent examples of human rights abuses include the mysterious disappearance of prominent human rights activists, including Mr. Jaswant Singh Khalra.

I invite colleagues to view the photo exhibition in the Commonwealth Room from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. organized by the following Sikh temples: Dixie Road, Malton, Scarborough, Pape Road, Hamilton, Oakville, Nanak Centre, Rexdale, Weston, Baba Budaji, Guelph, Kitchener, Windsor, London, Lachine and Montreal, Quebec, and the local Ottawa Sikh society.

Canadian Wheat BoardStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, once upon a time there was a Liberal government that broke many promises to western grain producers.

Western grain producers remember Liberals promised a plebiscite on the operation of the Canadian Wheat Board and blatantly broke that promise.

Western grain producers plan, prepare and grow their product on the assumption that they will be supported by the Canadian Wheat Board in selling that product and now know the support is as much of an illusion as promises by this Liberal government.

The Canadian Wheat Board states it cannot find markets when world supplies are at an all time low, prices are at an all time high and demand for top quality wheat and barley is climbing.

Producers want accountability and input into the wheat board, not a continual parade of political hacks and political paybacks for those who have no idea how grain should be sold to a wanting market.

Western grain producers will remember this Liberal government cannot be trusted and they will act accordingly.

Minister Of Human Resources DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Minister of Human Resources Development told me to look for another country if I did not like his government's policies and if I kept on promoting Quebec's sovereignty.

Reaction was swift. In addition to the many francophone journalists who were incensed by the minister's remarks, and the personal show of support I received, I also have the support of the Parti Quebecois, the Quebec NDP, the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations, the Black Coalition of Quebec, the FTQ, the CSN, B'Nai Brith Canada, the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Spanish Canadian Congress, to name just a few.

Far from withdrawing his discriminatory comments on all new Canadians and new Quebecers, the minister added to them.

In such a context, I see no other alternative for him but to resign. As for me, I will keep on striving to find another country, Quebec.

Quebec PremierStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, do you know who is the new godfather of Quebec politics? This new francophone Michael Corleone made his first appearance in New York City yesterday with a lot of hoopla.

Unfortunately for movie lovers, it was not for the launching of the fourth film in the prestigious series, but for the casting of Lucien Bouchard, the Pequist leader, in the new role he is taking on.

Comparing himself to the main character in the "Godfather", the Pequist leader tried to convince his audience that it was the Canadian government, not he, who wanted to keep on talking about the Constitution and Quebec sovereignty.

Lucien Bouchard probably chose the best possible character, when he compared himself to the infamous godfather. After all, is he not the one who thought he was making "an offer Canada could not refuse", with his project of sovereignty-association?

Canadians will not be hoodwinked into accepting offers from Don Bouchardo.

Economy Of QuebecStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a speech yesterday to the Foreign Policy Association in New York, the separatist premier of Quebec reiterated that his priority will be to focus on public finances and economic development in Quebec.

We are happy to see that the pequiste leader has finally seen the light in deciding to look at the economy rather than continuing to waste money and energy to promote a separatist dream.

People in Canada and in Quebec want their governments to work on economic recovery, job creation and putting their fiscal house in order.

If he wants to be taken seriously by investors both on Wall Street and in Quebec and Canada, the separatist leader must put an end to

the separatist threat looming over Quebec. This is a necessary step to economic recovery in Quebec.