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House of Commons Hansard #137 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I respect your decision, unless the government House leader has come to the same conclusion as I did after reading the document I just sent him. If you ask him, maybe he has come to the same conclusion. This is obvious to me.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

As I understood the hon. government House leader, he had not been apprised. This is my interpretation. He has said he does not want to answer in the name of the Minister of Health.

At this point on this question of privilege I will wait until I have more information.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

March 4th, 1997 / 3:05 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, as you know the House rules are set by precedent. Earlier today during question period you referred to some questions that would appear to come close to encroaching on the orders of the day. I think you also indicated that you would intervene if you believed that the questions encroached on the orders of the day.

Beauchesne's citation 428 (v) says a question must not "anticipate an order of the day or other matters" and (r) says a question shall not "refer to debate or answers to questions of the current session".

Citation 428 of Beauchesne's refers to written questions. I am asking you to advise the House on any guidelines you feel are appropriate that would give direction to the opposition parties that formulate questions, so that we can abide by the rules and know exactly what the rules are when we formulate questions in so far as they may or may not encroach upon the orders of the day.

There does appear to be a different interpretation by the Reform Party compared to the Bloc Quebecois on what is and is not allowable and our assumption of what you would or would not allow as far as questions are concerned.

Therefore, since there is nothing specific in Beauchesne's or in the standing orders that would give us specific direction regarding oral questions, I ask that you come back to the House to give us guidance.

Points Of OrderOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The request of the hon. member is a reasonable one in the sense that although the Chair can surely give an opinion

on the general direction of questions, I want to give colleagues every latitude in answering questions. When the questions were posed today I listened very attentively that they did not encroach on or refer to the specific bill.

The preambles give me a great deal of difficulty. I have appealed to the House before that if your preambles could be quite concise and then you get into the questions, I am better able to respond. I try as much as possible to listen as you get down to the question or at least to know the direction in which a member is leading. If I feel that a preamble is taking us irrevocably toward a specific section of a specific bill I will intervene.

I would hope on days such as today where Bill C-71 is being debated all day that hon. members would consider perhaps a different line of questioning. I always leave that to members. In my view if a question is of a general nature and not hitting on the bill directly I would tend to allow the question as I have today.

However the point is well taken. I commit myself to reviewing all the questions asked today in question period to satisfy myself and perhaps satisfy the House that the questions were indeed in order. If I find upon reflection that I perhaps was a bit too lenient I will come back to the House and give that direction.

I prefer to give a general direction to members because you know what want to ask and I try to give you as much room as I can. I commit to coming back to the House if it is necessary.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-71, an act to regulate the manufacture, sale, labelling and promotion of tobacco products, to make consequential amendments to another act and to repeal certain acts, as reported (with amendments) from the committee; and Motions Nos. 2, 4, 5 and 30.

Tobacco ActGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the second group of motions, Group No. 2, the Bloc Quebecois had Motion No. 5. This part concerns access to tobacco products. This part maintains the ban on selling tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age. What is new in this second part of the bill is that retailers will now have to ask for an identity card with a photograph.

On many occasions, the Bloc Quebecois has criticized the fact that the Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act was not enforced. According to certain investigations carried out in the year just ended, 50 per cent of convenience stores did not enforce the legislation and cigarettes were still being sold to young persons under 18 years of age. Worse yet, cigarettes were still being sold individually. This new provision requiring an identity card with a photograph is very laudable.

It is a measure welcomed by the Bloc Quebecois, because it can truly be effective. We have some questions, however, about how this measure will be enforced. Right now, there are only about 40 public servants throughout the country inspecting convenience store owners, merchants and retailers selling tobacco products. So how can we enforce this measure, although, I repeat, the Bloc Quebecois is in agreement with it? Who is going to report those who have no social conscience and who, for financial gain, will continue to sell cigarettes to those under 18 years of age?

This clause mentions regulations that will follow. It is like signing a blank cheque. We do not know how they will proceed. They are still working out the regulations not mentioned in this bill that, following the master plan tabled by the former health minister, took one year to reach first reading in the House. We have not yet seen the regulations to follow. This is all very laudable and we applaud this measure. We hope that it will be introduced, but we also want this legislation to be enforced.

This part also contains a ban on selling a tobacco product by means of a display that permits a person to handle the tobacco product before paying for it. Goodbye to self-service displays. We also applaud this measure.

The ban on furnishing a tobacco product by means of a dispensing device. It must be understood here that the prohibition concerns access to the products sold by vending machine, not the vending machine itself. This means, more or less, that the machines will have to be kept behind the counter in a restaurant, for example, and the staff will have to go and get the products.

It will also be prohibited to cause a tobacco product to be delivered from one province to another, or to be sent by mail, for a consideration. The obligation for retailers to post signs prohibiting sales to persons under the age of 18 years will be retained, as will the prohibition of sales of packages containing fewer than 20 cigarettes. But that was already in place.

How can it be that there are still corner stores and other businesses where unscrupulous merchants will sell tobacco to young people? According to the statistics and surveys, moreover, these children are often between the ages of 8 and 11. This is how our young people get hooked on nicotine and the taste of cigarettes, and are unable to quit afterward, and the reason why we are so concerned.

The applications or measures they want to put in place are actually quite laudable, as I have said, but there are already measures in place which are not being enforced. There are no inspections, no one making sure the laws are being adhered to. How can we then believe there will be a decrease in smoking by young people? How can we believe that the government has the will to do it? It has the will to put effective measures down on

paper, but when the time comes to enforce them, there is nobody around to do it. That is what we are finding fault with.

The bill contains other measures regulating labelling. Essentially, manufacturers are forbidden to sell a tobacco product if it does not bear a message on emissions and on health risks. Since the recent Supreme Court judgment, however, the message may be attributed to a body or individual determined by regulation. Thus, manufacturers will be able to attribute health-related messages to Health Canada, which they could not under the old legislation.

In short, Bill C-71 contains measures which could have a positive impact on tobacco use in Quebec and in Canada. This is worthy of applause, but as I was saying, only if these measures, this legislation, are enforced and not left up in the air, or set out in a bill which does not have the manpower to back it up, the inspectors to enforce it. One wonders how some forty inspectors are going to be able to look after all of Canada and all of the convenience stores across Canada. That is where the ridiculous part of the whole thing lies.

What is of interest to us in Group No. 2 is the Bloc Quebecois Motion No. 5, which refers to amending clause 12, so that vending devices, even without security mechanisms, are allowed in places to which young persons are denied access. The clause as amended would read as follows: "No person shall furnish or permit the furnishing of a tobacco product by means of a device that dispenses tobacco products except where the device is in a place to which the public does not reasonably have access or where that device has a security mechanism that is activated before each transaction or that is in a place to which young persons are not permitted by law to have access".

This is just a matter of common sense. The purpose of this clause is to prevent young people from buying their own cigarettes. We quite agree with this measure and with all other measures aimed at restricting access by minors to tobacco products.

If the vending machine is in a place to which young people do not have access, a bar, for instance, obviously they would not be able to use it. You cannot get anything at all from a vending machine unless you are in front of it, whether it is chocolate, gum or cigarettes.

If our laws are enforced, young people under the age of 18 should not be in bars and certainly not have access to cigarette vending machines.

The Bloc Quebecois received a memo from an association of operators of automatic cigarette vending machines. Its members are all small businesses that create jobs, and they informed us that in its present form, clause 12 in Bill C-71 would cause them to close, because these businesses would no longer be profitable. They said that the bill was unfair to operators of cigarette vending machines and, as such, discriminatory. "Our members are retailers as defined in clause 2 of the bill, and as such we ask, no more and no less, to be treated like other tobacco retailers, in other words, on the same level as corner stores, drug stores, grocery stores, and so forth".

I would draw your attention to what this group finds so illogical. Time already!

Tobacco ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Yes, time flies. Only ten minutes this time.

Tobacco ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lachine—Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think we are debating a societal value here. We are talking about the difference between short and long term.

What should we do in our society about smoking? What action should we take? Whenever a law involves tobacco, be it in the House of Commons or in the provincial legislatures, there is always a huge outcry and a great discussion. I know, because in 1986, when I was the Quebec minister of the environment, we introduced the first legislation to protect non smokers, Bill 84.

At that point in Quebec, people smoked in hospitals, in clinics, in restaurants and in classrooms. Today, things have improved considerably, I must say, but a lot remains to be done. That was the first step. However, when we introduced Bill 84, there was a whole discussion. The entire tobacco industry opposed the very introduction of the bill.

A debate was held in parliamentary committee. The subject was then discussed in the newspapers. It will go on so long as an attempt is made to reduce the effect of smoking, because the tobacco companies know very well that every country that signs on to fight smoking further restricts the market.

The statistics are alarming: 256,000 new smokers in Canada, with 30 per cent of them in Quebec; 14 is the average age of new smokers; 40,000 deaths in Canada, with the highest proportion-11,841-in Quebec; and $536 million in health care costs in Quebec. If we add on all the economic costs such as absenteeism from work, all the economic costs of smoking, we reach a figure of $4 billion in negative costs.

I heard our colleagues in opposition say: "Young people do not smoke. If they do, it is not because of a poster or advertising on a car or the like". And if it were? Why then put so much importance on this advertising? Why do the tobacco companies put so much importance on having their brand name appear on a car, a tennis court or at a festival, like the Montreal fireworks festival?

If there is no element of cause and effect, if it is not true that young people are attracted by this subliminal advertising, why then are the tobacco companies so opposed to this bill? Do we believe for one single minute that the tobacco companies would invest if they were not expecting profits at the end of the line? Do the tobacco companies not invest precisely because they know full

well that young people are influenced by subliminal advertising? Otherwise, why would they do it?

If there is not an element of cause and effect in sponsorship, why are the tobacco companies fighting so hard against legislation like Bill C-71? If there is no link whatsoever, how do we explain that France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, and in 1998 the United States all passed legislation to either ban or restrict sponsorship?

To those who say that the Montreal Grand Prix is going to disappear I would read an article published in December 1992 in the daily Le Monde. It says that the IAF, International Automobile Association, is announcing the withdrawal of the French Grand Prix because of the restrictions imposed on sponsorship. And yet today, four years later, the French Grand Prix is alive and well.

I remember when Air Canada started its smoke free flights. It created an uproar: "Air Canada is going to lose a lot of passengers". Not only did the number of passengers on Air Canada not decrease, it actually increased.

I remember the uproar when Bill 84 was introduced in Quebec, when representatives of the bus company Voyageur came before a parliamentary committee to tell us that they would lose all their clientele if we banned smoking on buses. We gave them a few years' extension to gradually introduce the change.

In the end, the management of Voyageur told me that it was the best decision that could have been taken, that it was a lot cheaper nowadays to maintain buses, that passengers were now used to a non-smoking environment. There is no longer any argument, any discussion on the issue.

The tobacco companies and their allies are engaging in this heated debate because so much at stake, for them. Of course there is something at stake. Profits, clients, younger clients who get addicted to tobacco.

They say it has nothing to do with health. If it is not a question of health, then what is it? If advertising does not promote smoking, why do tobacco companies insist on using it?

There are so many examples where tobacco companies were replaced by others as main sponsors of international events. There was the Virginia Slims women's tennis tournament. Virginia Slims was replaced by Corel. There was an outcry in the United States, people were asking how a tennis tournament could be sponsored by a tobacco company. The Australian tennis tournament formerly sponsored by Marlborough cigarettes is now sponsored by Ford.

In 1988, when we tried to convince the managers of the Canadian Open Golf Championship not to accept du Maurier as their sponsor anymore, they told us that without du Maurier the Canadian Open could no longer exist. It is doing fine thank you. This year it will be held in Montreal and will be sponsored by Bell Canada.

Tobacco ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

And by du Maurier.

Tobacco ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lachine—Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

It is sponsored by Bell Canada; you will have the opportunity to speak later on. What is happening today is that people want to use petty politics to make political hay before the election, they want to make a big issue of this, they say it is not a question of health, that advertisements have no impact on people, that they do not encourage young people to smoke.

However, Minister Rochon himself said there is a direct link and he should know because he is a medical doctor and Quebec's health minister. In November 1996, he proposed even tougher legislation than Bill C-71 which is now before us. In November 1996, he said to the media in Quebec that he wanted that legislation passed. And now we are being told that it is the federal Liberals who are trying to push this.

All these festivals and events that have benefited from these sponsors must be given some room to manoeuvre. That is why the minister has agreed today to extend the period until October 1st, 1998. This will give event organizers two full years to find new sponsors.

My colleague, the president of the Liberal caucus in Quebec, has appealed to the Canadian bankers association. It says that it does not have enough money, that it already gives a lot to charities. The chartered banks have made $6 billion in profits on the backs of Canadians. It would be nothing for them to give some to the Jazz festival in Montreal, the Montreal Grand Prix or the tennis open. It would be nothing for them. They have made $6 billion in profits on the backs of all Canadians. I appeal to their corporate spirit, to their corporate conscience, so they will replace these millions that may be lost from tobacco sponsorships.

As the minister has pointed out, nothing prevents a tobacco company from sponsoring an event in the future, but there certainly will be restrictions on advertising. I support the minister's bill entirely. If choices have to be made, human lives are a lot more important than advertising by the tobacco companies.

I support the minister entirely, because I think we do everything we can to reduce the use of tobacco in our society, whether it is in Quebec or elsewhere.

Tobacco ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak today on the motions in GroupNo. 2 that were put forward by my colleague from Macleod. We are faced with a difficult dilemma.

The dilemma in this bill is how we address decreasing consumption, particularly among youth and dealing with the purchase of cigarettes in shops. Is it fair to criminalize those individuals who unknowingly sell cigarettes to minors or is it fairer to put the responsibility on the individual who goes into the store with the knowledge they are committing an illegal act? My colleague from Macleod and I feel it is more important to put the responsibility and the onus on the child who buys cigarettes and who knows full well he is committing an illegal act.

That is why the motions in Group No. 2 were put forward by my colleague, putting a $75 dollar summary conviction fine on underage children who buy cigarettes.

We have heard a lot today on the issue of sponsorship. The ultimate goal of this bill should be to decrease tobacco consumption with all Canadians, particularly youth. We know we can have the greatest effect in decreasing consumption in youth. Tobacco consumption and the addiction to tobacco products occurs when somebody is a child, particularly around the ages of 11 to 14. The consumption of as little as one pack of cigarettes or sometimes even less can ensure that a child is addicted for life.

Over the term of this government, the statistics have been very interesting in a number of areas. One area is the decrease in cost this government effected when it decreased tobacco taxes in February 1994, a move we vehemently opposed. We opposed this because decreasing the tobacco tax was the single most important negative health move that any government in the past 50 years has made.

The negative effect of this move cannot be underestimated. Lowering the cost of cigarettes has introduced 250,000 children to cigarettes each year. They will be addicted for life. Half of them will ultimately die an early death. A great percentage will suffer morbidity from a wide variety of diseases, from chronic obstructive lung disease to angina to a number of other malignancies, which there is not enough time to speak of today.

This is the fate that awaits those children in the future and that is the legacy this government has given to the Canadian people. This is what it has done for their health.

This government was warned by Health Canada. A Health Canada study was conducted by Drs. Morrison, Mao, Wigle and Villeneuve entitled "The Impact of Cigarette Price Rollback on the Future Health of Canadian Adolescents". I will quote from the summary:

Government tobacco control in Canada has had three main components: health promotion campaigns, high tobacco taxes and restrictive policies on public smoking. Even the temporary abandonment of high cigarette taxes will likely lead to a large number of teenagers becoming and/or remaining smokers. The health consequences of the recent tax decrease will continue for decades.

That study, which was given to the minister in 1995, illustrated very clearly, succinctly and scientifically that the impact of a tobacco tax rollback would be utterly devastating to the health and welfare of Canadians, but in particular to the health and welfare of Canadian children. The government has also been inactive in the area of advertising.

The Supreme Court in its wisdom, and I use that very sarcastically because I cannot think of a greater affront to Canadians and a greater lack of responsibility than the Supreme Court has demonstrated through twisting the charter of rights and freedoms, turned down the advertising ban on smoking advertising. What has been the effect of that? Let us take a look.

The data of the last year show in 1996 alone that the lack of a ban on tobacco advertising has been enough to support 250,000 new smokers in this country. The per capita increase has been anywhere from 3 to 4 per cent in this country as a result of not allowing the ban on tobacco advertising itself.

To colleagues from the Bloc Quebecois, I ask them to take a look at this very clearly and it will demonstrate without a shadow of a doubt that the ban on advertising that has been removed has caused an increase in consumption. They should be more concerned than anybody else because the children in Quebec take up smoking earlier and smoke more than children in any other province in this country. Those are the facts.

We have to do something in this House. We have to deal with the epidemic of smoking. The tobacco sponsorship provisions in the bill are okay. We are holding our noses and supporting the bill only because nothing has been done on the tobacco issue in this country for three years. For three years while a quarter of a million kids pick up the habit the government has been diddling around doing nothing.

The health minister would rather deal with banning certain types of soft cheeses than with a health epidemic that claims 40,000 lives every year. What does that say about the commitment of this government to the health of Canadians? If I were them I would be truly embarrassed.

Certainly back in 1994 we had a smuggling epidemic but here is another problem that the government failed to deal with properly. Instead of dealing with the smuggling issue which actually occurs unfortunately on many aboriginal reserves in Quebec, instead of dealing with the smuggling conduits which deal not only with tobacco but also deal with guns, with alcohol, with drugs and with tobacco and people, the government has chosen to put its head in the sand and not address the criminals and the thugs who are

engaging in this and who are associated closely with the gangs in the United States.

Instead of dealing with the thugs, the government has chosen to compromise the health and welfare of all Canadians and in particular the children of this country by rolling back the tobacco taxes. The government has put its tail between its legs and said "we are not going to enforce the law, we are going to compromise the health of Canadians and make it look like we are doing something".

A plan for the health of Canadians and a plan to decrease consumption and a plan to address the smuggling was there and it is as follows. One, bring the tobacco taxes back where they were in January 1994. Two, put forth an export tax which would decrease the smuggling of tobacco. Three, enforce the law to address and arrest those individuals who are committing crimes and who are smuggling all across this country.

The government fails to recognize the law-abiding aboriginal people who live on these reserves who have to put up with thugs in their midst who are engaging in these illicit, illegal practices. No one talks about the culture of fear that many of those people live in. It is an abrogation of the responsibility of this government to not address that problem. It is an abrogation of the responsibility of this government to put its own political fortunes ahead of the health of Canadians.

The government should be ashamed of itself and the Canadian people should understand what is going on here. The plan was there but the government chose to ignore it.

I hope that our colleagues from the Bloc Quebecois will unite with our colleagues in the Reform Party and I hope some members of the Liberal Party to put forth a better solution to address the smuggling issue, decrease consumption of cigarette smoking in this country and enable us to all live in a healthier and happier environment, if not for ourselves then in particular for the health and welfare of our children.

Tobacco ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the report stage motions in Group No. 2 of Bill C-71.

I was a member of the standing committee on health of the House of Commons in 1994 and this was an issue that was before the committee on a number of occasions for a number of reasons. I recall when the committee held public hearings with regard to the issue of plain packaging for tobacco products. We also, as members know, had hearings with regard to the proposed legislation, Bill C-71.

There was a common element in both about which I want to advise the House. I do not think many people realize what happened. The tobacco companies did not, and I stress that, appear before the standing committee on health on either occasion. They demonstrated what we must all accept as one of the most brilliant strategies in terms of an economic strategy for a failing business.

Tobacco companies had to do something to deal with the fact that the health care industry: doctors and nurses, medical officers of health, the communities in which we live, the social agencies that have to deal with the aftermath of problems associated with tobacco consumption and addiction, the Addiction Research Foundation, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, were saying very clearly: "Tobacco hurts Canadians and we have to do something about it".

The tobacco companies had virtually everybody against them. There was absolutely no future for the tobacco industry in Canada. There was no place for them to go. They had to find some way to continue to be in business but they had to insulate themselves from the real people of Canada.

They used their influence to manipulate people. That was their brilliant strategy. They took a position with their resources, with their money. They bought people. Everybody has a price, so they say.

Who appeared before the committee? Cultural groups, recreation groups, sports groups, all came to say: "This is terrible. If you do this, we are going to lose our tobacco sponsorship and we are going to lose these events". That is the brilliance of the strategy. The tobacco companies said to the groups that they were sponsoring: "Let's go-"

Tobacco ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

I can understand the hon. member's flash of anger, but I think stating in this House that witnesses were bought by tobacco companies is a bit excessive. I sat on the committee, I saw individuals earnestly make their point, and it seems to me that to say they let themselves be bought is excessive.

Tobacco ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, it is very likely that these words are excessive, and I would ask our hon. colleague not to use such words in this debate. The hon. member for Mississauga South.

Tobacco ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the groups that came before the health committee were a number of cultural groups, recreational groups, sporting associations, and they said: "This is what the impact will be on our organizations and on our events if tobacco advertising is banned".

We knew exactly what was happening. These organizations were approached. Their sponsors, the tobacco companies said: "Let's go and fight the tobacco bill in front of the health committee. By the way, if I do not show up, you start without me". That is exactly what happened.

The tobacco companies did not appear during the hearings on the plain packaging issue, even though we found out subsequently the CEO of RJR-MacDonald was actually sitting there. He refused to come and sit at the table to answer questions or to address the issues before the committee. They did buy the consulting services of certain people to speak on their behalf. They came before the committee. One witness was a gentleman from the U.S. with a Ph.D. He came before the committee to talk about the impact of advertising on children. He basically concluded on behalf of the tobacco companies that advertising has no impact on children.

I asked him quite explicitly if he thought that the figure of Joe Camel on Camel cigarettes, because of its cartoon character nature, had any influence on children. He said: "Who is Joe Camel?" This is a consultant, an expert witness, speaking on behalf of the tobacco companies and he admitted before the committee he did not know who Joe Camel was. Then he was asked a rhetorical question: Did he know who Mickey Mouse was? He said: "No, who is Mickey Mouse?" It is clear you can get anybody to say anything if he is working on your behalf.

We saw the same thing before the committee with Bill C-71 and the sponsorship issue. All the groups that we know have a vested interested in seeing events continue appeared. They all found themselves in bed with the tobacco companies, totally addicted to tobacco money. They were relying on blood money and it really was a problem because we had no way of knowing what the real issues were for these people. We asked them if the government made up the additional funding they needed for sponsorship would they support the bill? They said: "No question, it is a good bill".

I would like to remind the House of the kinds of things that tobacco companies have done in the past to support their events. They have advertised in comic books for children. They have held rock concerts where the admission fee was two empty packages of cigarettes. They have had scantily clad women go to high schools to hand out individual cigarettes. These are the kinds of tactics they use. It is all about attracting young people to their products, the 250,000 young people a year who are becoming addicted.

The facts are clear. If you do not start smoking by age 19 it is very unlikely that you will be a smoker in your lifetime. The tobacco companies know it, the health industry knows it. The targets of the tobacco companies are the young people of Canada and of the world.

Other members and the Bloc would say this is awful. We are going to lose all these sponsorships. We are going to lose the races.

We are going to lose Just for Laughs. Where are they going? There is no ban. They can still advertise, they can still promote, they will still have exclusivity. What are the options?

They cannot move the automobile race to the United States. The Americans are going much further than Canada. They are going for a full ban.

It is absolute hypocrisy to argue the benefits of commercialism over the health benefits to Canadians. The consequences of tobacco products cost Canadians $15 billion a year. I remind members of the Bloc that the right thing to do-and that is why we are here-is to care for the health of Canadians, not for the health of the commercial sector.

In conclusion, I believe that many groups unwittingly have come to members of Parliament: constituents, retailers and all of those who benefit in some small way from the tobacco money, and have unwittingly been put between the health of Canadians and the needs or the demands of the tobacco companies.

The history is clear. The tobacco companies are not prepared to come face to face with the House of Commons. Therefore, we have to do the right thing and protect the health of Canadians because that is why we are here.

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3:50 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. members that we are now at report stage. Yet, the speeches I heard before I rose myself sounded identical to those I had heard one, two or three years ago, in the debate on the principle of the bill. This issue of the principle of the bill has been resolved, and the principle agreed upon, at second reading.

At this stage, we must ensure the bill is viable and contains realistic and adequate provisions. The Bloc voted for this bill.

And having come this far, they would have us throw out the baby with the bath water, in the sense that we are being gagged for making constructive remarks to improve on the bill. We are being told that we will not be allowed to debate the bill later than5:15 p.m. and third reading will be on Thursday; we are prevented from debating the bill fully the same way we were at second reading.

There is an amendment put forward by Bloc Quebecois in the group under consideration. Let me explain briefly, to show you it is a matter of plain common sense.

The bill provides for a security mechanism to ensure those under age cannot use cigarette vending machines in restaurants or other public places. The bill provides that the same type of security

mechanism will have to be used in bars, where minors are not allowed in any case.

This is like wearing both a belt and suspenders. In any case, it lacks logic. It looks like overkill. In small communities where one person mans the bar, this will be an additional obstacle that will adversely affect business. It is not true that a 10, 12, 14 or 15-year old can go into a bar to buy cigarettes. In any case that person does not have the right to go into a bar.

This is the type of amendment we feel is important at this stage, to avoid impossible situations. You will see the kind of details the government should be concerned with, and the type of amendments that should be made, so as to not unduly bother people in their everyday activities.

This is important, because we are trying to see why the government is so intent on ramming this legislation through. It is true that this bill is based on the four pillars of marketing: the ability to influence the price, the product, the promotion and the advertising. This is an approach that can make sense. However, one must see if each of the measures based on these four elements is appropriate. Above all, we must avoid giving way to demagoguery.

The government tells us that sponsors will have until 1998 to adjust, but it does not tell us that they will have no leeway as regards the broadcasting of events outside the country. On the one hand, something is given, but on the other hand, we prevent the sponsorship from having its expected impact. This amounts to prohibiting the event, as the members opposite are well aware.

Then, we are told that the tobacco companies did not appear before the committee. It is not up to me to defend the tobacco companies, but the House should not be misled in this way. Representations were made by the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers' Council to the committee. So, representations were made.

Finally, some more or less realistic comments are made, which have nothing to do with the stage we are at now. We are trying to improve this bill as much as possible. For instance, the Bloc Quebecois is not against the amendments providing for a photo ID card, but we would like to know how this will be implemented in real life.

This bill gives a lot of regulatory authority to the minister. With this kind of legislation, it would have been very useful to find out what the regulations will be and how they will work. But there is no mention of that in the bill.

We also agree with the principle that consumers should not have direct access before paying, as long as it is workable. Representations were made by a coalition of cigarette vending machine owners. These people agree with the measures to further restrict access to tobacco products for young people, but they fear the government might go too far and bring about the demise of their businesses, and I referred earlier to the concerns of bar owners.

I would ask the government to take into consideration the amendments put forward, especially those of the Bloc Quebecois

which appear in this group, and to also take whatever time is needed to discuss the issue so that we can end up with an interesting bill and not have to completely overhaul the regulations and the bill just a few years down the road.

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The Speaker

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

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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Some hon. members

No.

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The Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

All those opposed will please say nay.

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Some hon. members

Nay.

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The Speaker

In my opinion the nays have it. I declare the motion defeated.

I therefore declare Motion No. 30 defeated.

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Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, which motion was just negatived? I am sorry, but I have a problem with my earphones.

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The Speaker

Motion No. 2 in Group No. 2, and the recorded division also applies to Motion No. 30. Agreed?

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4 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

No. 30. Agreed.