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House of Commons Hansard #158 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was wheat.

Topics

Farm Debt Mediation ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

All those in favour will please say yea.

Farm Debt Mediation ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Farm Debt Mediation ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

All those opposed will please say nay.

Farm Debt Mediation ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Farm Debt Mediation ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

In my opinion, the yeas have it.

Farm Debt Mediation ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

On division.

Farm Debt Mediation ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

I declare the motion carried, on division.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.)

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

April 17th, 1997 / 4:40 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau Liberalfor Minister of Foreign Affairs

moved that Bill C-77, an act concerning an order under the International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Don Valley West Ontario

Liberal

John Godfrey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Cooperation

Madam Speaker, I rise before the House today to table the second reading of a bill that will authorize payments made to the multilateral fund for the Montreal Protocol and the Global Environment Facility.

These organizations were established in 1990 as primary international financial mechanisms to protect the global environment. Since then the multilateral fund for the Montreal Protocol or the MFMP has served as the main financial mechanism for projects aimed at reducing ozone depletion in the developing world.

Similarly, the Global Environment Facility or GEF is the principal international mechanism through which donors can support developing countries in the areas of biodiversity, climate change, the ozone and international waters. It was endorsed as such at the landmark 1992 Rio conference on the environment and development.

As you know, Madam Speaker, we honour our commitments to international institutions in full and on time so that they can carry out their vital work unencumbered by financial shortfalls. To do so in this case it was necessary to add the GEF and the MFMP to the schedule of financial institutions under the International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance Act. An order in council to this effect was approved on November 15, 1994 and published in the Canada Gazette on November 30, 1994.

The international development act also stipulates that the order in council be tabled before Parliament no more 15 sitting days after it is approved. Due to an administrative oversight this obligation was not met within the specified time.

The bill I am tabling for second reading today will correct that oversight. On this matter I am sure that I have the full support of members on both sides of the House who know the value of environmental protection and want to see Canada continue to meet its financial obligations uninterrupted.

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

The hon. member for Terrebonne has the floor.

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Madam Speaker, you are right. It is still Terrebonne for a few weeks because, as I mentioned to your alternate a few days ago, after June 2, or thereabouts, it will be Repentigny.

I made an omission I want to correct before addressing Bill C-77. The last time I rose, I thanked the residents of the five municipalities in the riding of Repentigny, but I forgot to also thank the residents of the two former municipalities in my riding, namely Terrebonne and Bois-des-Filion, for the good times spent together during the past three and a half years. These are people with whom, under Irénée Forget, in Terrebonne, and Paul Laroque, in Bois-des-Filion, we were able to co-operate, work and bring several issues to a successful conclusion, and thus improve the quality of life of the residents of these two municipalities. This was achieved with a great deal of enthusiasm, drive and interest.

The last time I rose in this House to speak, I forgot to thank the mayors and the people of these two municipalities. I just wanted to correct this oversight.

That said, as my hon. colleague pointed out earlier, the purpose of Bill C-77 is indeed to remedy an omission. In February 1994, the federal cabinet agreed to contribute to the Global Environment Facility Fund and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

The implementation of this decision required that the institutions in question be included in the International Development Assistance Act. An order in council to that effect was therefore approved on November 15, 1994, and published in the Canada Gazette on November 30 of the same year.

By law, an order has to be tabled in Parliament within 15 days of its signing. Earlier this year, after the standing joint committee of which my hon. colleague is a member discovered the omission as part of its regulatory review, the Department of Foreign Affairs was notified. An order was indeed published in the Canada Gazette , but the legislation was never implemented so that the two organizations mentioned previously, namely the Global Environment Facility Fund and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, could receive the money it was supposed to get from the government.

Oversights happen even in the best of families. Several very important issues are before this House, and we understand the need for urgent action to restore funding to these two organizations.

As the previous speaker said, he will ask the House to fast-track Bill C-77 so that the two organizations mentioned earlier can receive the money they need to improve the environment and even encourage developing countries to become more environmentally conscious.

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate on Bill C-77. This act has been designed to correct an oversight that happened in 1994. I can understand how that can happen and we agreed to participate to support this bill and to correct that error.

I want to take the opportunity to talk about the bigger picture in terms of Canada's foreign policy and the government's role in that. Foreign policy does not just belong to the government in power, it belongs to Parliament. There have been numerous incidents in which the Liberal government ignored Parliament and failed to inform it properly. In the area of foreign affairs Reform has raised many issues in the past years and almost all of them have been completely.

In October 1993 a private member's motion was put forward to address the important issue of peacekeeping, which would go on to consume a fair amount of time of the House later one. What did the governing party do at the time? It voted it down because it was not interested in the opinions it seemed of other members on this side of the House. There have been other occasions when that has happened as well.

This happened in spite of the fact that when the present foreign affairs minister was on this side of the House he was very critical of the Tories for showing a lack of respect for the parliamentary process. I would think he would be very sensitive as the foreign affairs minister to that very criticism he raised when he was on this side.

We know that this Parliament has probably had more closure and use of time allocation than any other Parliament including the one the minister of foreign affairs was so critical of, the Mulroney government of nine years.

When we look at the foreign policy of this government we can see that it has lacked vision and has failed in some areas. It is clear to us that the Liberals want to use foreign policy as their own political agenda, and that is a fairly serious charge.

What can one think when the Prime Minister makes his first trip to our friends in Washington, to visit the president of the United States, our most important trading partner, three and a half years into the mandate? Some would say it was a photo op, a good chance for the Prime Minister to have his picture taken with the president, on the president's knee, shortly before the election campaign. Canada and the United States have a very close trading relationship, which has grown to something like a billion dollars a day of two-way trade.

I am a little cynical about his motives. However, I want to talk about an area that the Liberals have come full circle on. I give them full credit. That area is free trade.

When the Liberals were on this side of the House in the opposition benches they were very critical of the free trade agreement with the United States. They fought it tooth and nail in 1988. They were very critical of it in the 1993 election. They said they would rip up or renegotiate the accord unless it got a subsidies code and an anti-dumping code. Of course that did not happen.

The Prime Minister has led a number of trade delegations around the world. That is a good move. They are the Team Canada missions.

I wonder about our exporters, what they are thinking. It seems our exports to most of the countries that the Prime Minister and his entourage have visited in the last three years have actually fallen off as a result of these trade missions. How can that be? The reason I put forward is that Canada has done our homework at home to make possible the opportunities for our businesses to take advantage of these important trade missions that have developed.

I would suggest that the Prime Minister concentrate more on the trade mission at home to correct some of the problems for our companies can take advantage of.

The committee has certainly heard the high cost of doing business in Canada. We have payroll taxes, taxes, interprovincial trade barriers where we have made very little progress. These are very big problems to trade within Canada.

We know that there are something like only 100 companies in Canada that are responsible for over 40 per cent of Canada's exports. We would like to see it be a great deal more than that. The Minister for International Trade has suggested that we should get to about 4,000 companies doing business. I agree.

When we cannot even trade effectively across our own provincial borders, how can we be exporters around the world? How can our companies get the economies of scale that are required to get out there and compete in the world market?

The federal government has to show leadership in breaking down the provincial barriers we have. That will resolve a lot of our problems.

We heard at our committee in foreign affairs and international trade when we were doing a study on small and medium size enterprises what is holding them back from exporting. Some said they are moving into the United States. They have better access to the Canadian market from the United States than they have from their Canadian locations. That is a big problem.

In any case, I am glad to see that the Liberals have been born again, if you like, free traders. It is the right approach. Canada is a trading country. Forty per cent of our GDP is derived from exports along with one job in every three. It will be a very important area for us in the future.

The initiative that the trade minister has developed to try to bring more countries on in the southern hemisphere will be good for Canada. Let us concentrate on correcting some of the problems at home so that we can take advantage of these very important initiatives.

Although they are born again, I welcome it. I hope their hearts are in the right place and that this will continue into the future.

I want to talk about a couple of other areas that we have identified in terms of peacekeeping. The government has not taken into consideration the long term consequences in some cases of Canadian involvement. I cite Haiti as an area where United States went in with a lot of fanfare. Guess who gets to do the mop-up operation. Canada.

We seem to continue to extend that mandate. We have RCMP officers there who are trying to help in training Haitians in terms of policing. We have the problem in Canada where we have lack of police forces. We seem to be taken in by United States. It makes the big initiative, gets the fanfare and then we do the mop-up afterwards. There are long term consequences that have to be anticipated.

What is wrong with a full scale debate in the House, as one of our members suggested in a private member's motion in 1993? Let us involve the House a bit more to hear more of what other people are thinking in that regard.

With regard to Bosnia, the government has allowed itself to be dragged into a mission it was not equipped for. We have to reassess the whole idea of whether we are in peacekeeping or peacemaking.

There was the initiative to go to Zaire. Things changed pretty rapidly, but it was an ironic situation. Our peacekeepers were pinned down. They could not even get their weapons out of the airport. They were supposed to help police the area but they could not get their weapons out of the airport. It was a fiasco. It is a good thing there was a major turnaround in the situation and people started to return of their own accord.

There are a lot of things which need to be changed. The United Nations has to go through a reassessment in terms of its effectiveness. We are concerned that the United Nations is being forced to downsize in terms of bureaucracy.

I am concerned about some of the organizations which were put in place shortly after the second world war which were well intended and have done good work such as the World Bank, the IMF and the United Nations. Many are trying to reinvent themselves to stay in existence. If there is no role for them or if there is a reduced role, we have to recognize that.

Reform in many of these institutions is badly needed and Canada has to show leadership in these areas.

We will support the motion to clean up this oversight, but let us involve all of Parliament when it comes to foreign policy because there are some good ideas which we should have an opportunity to debate.

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Madam Speaker, I suggest, with the agreement of the House, that this matter now be referred not to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade but rather to committee of the whole.

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Is that agreed?

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time, by unanimous consent considered in committee and reported.)

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Liberal Fundy Royal, NB

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think you will find unanimous consent to go now to third reading.

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Is there unanimous consent?

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau Liberalfor the Minister of Foreign Affairs

moved that the bill be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to.)

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

When shall the bill be read the third time? By leave, now?

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau Liberalfor the Minister of Foreign Affairs

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.)

International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Liberal Fundy Royal, NB

Madam Speaker, I understand there is unanimous consent to permit the commencement of second reading stage of Bill C-95 this afternoon, as well as to agree that after second reading the bill will be referred to committee of the whole.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Liberalfor the Minister of Justice

moved that Bill C-95, an act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal organizations) and to amend other acts in consequence, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Madam Speaker, in moving second reading of the bill, I think I should begin by thanking the Bloc Quebecois and the Reform Party for their co-operation in enabling us to move it through the legislative process in the House as quickly as possible. I look forward to co-operation of this kind through all stages of the bill, including committee of the whole and third reading. I say this because we are dealing with something very important.

The bill involves a package of tough new measures to target criminal gang activity, activity of organized crime. The proposals developed through extensive consultations with police across Canada will give them and other law enforcement agencies better tools to investigate and prosecute those who participate in criminal gang activity.

The proposals provide a new approach to fighting gang activity, in other words organized crime, by creating a new offence of participation in a criminal organization. This offence does not criminalize mere membership in a criminal organization. Rather the new offence along with new definitions in the Criminal Code will lay the groundwork for the targeted use of proposed new investigative tools and Criminal Code provisions.

These include a new peace bond designed to target gang leadership and make it difficult for criminal organizations to carry out their criminal activities. New powers will allow police to seize the proceeds of organized crime activity and with a judge's order to access income tax information related to gang activity. New Criminal Code offences and penalties will target the use of explosives in criminal gang activity. New sentencing provisions in the Criminal Code will be aimed at criminal gangs, including the delay of parole eligibility for certain criminal organization offences, and measures will support increased police surveillance of gang activity.

Last September there was a National Forum on Organized Crime hosted by the Minister of Justice and me. The proposals we see here today are based in large measure on the recommendations made to us by the participants in the forum including representatives of police organizations from around the country, legal scholars and lawyers who have studied the matter.

Following through on a specific recommendation from the national forum that I have not yet mentioned, I will be setting up national and regional co-ordinating committees to address police concerns about the need for co-ordination and leadership on multi-agency enforcement operations. In addition to the national committee there will be five regional co-ordinating committees. If I am not mistaken, two have already been set up: a committee in British Columbia and one in Ontario.

This underscores the point that the legislation is not aimed only at one part of our country. There have been particular concerns in

Montreal and Quebec and surrounding areas about the operations of biker gangs, but I am told biker gangs operate in every province of Canada except for possibly Prince Edward Island. There are organized crime activities of other kinds all across the country. This is important national legislation to help add to and improve protection of the public.

Again in response to a recommendation by police organizations at the National Forum on Organized Crime, the solicitor general of the day will make an annual statement on organized crime in the House of Commons. Likely the first one will come in late 1997. Time will tell who will give it. I have my views on who will form the government, but I will not get into that in this relatively non-partisan second reading debate.

Working with the police we have achieved two objectives. We have given law enforcement agencies better tools to help in their efforts against organized crime.

In the same vein, I can quote my hon. colleague, the Minister of Justice, Allan Rock, because he has said:

Thanks to collaborative efforts with the police, we have attained two objectives: we have equipped law enforcement agencies with better tools to combat criminal gangs, and we have developed a series of measures that ought to stand up better in court. These measures represent a first step in the right direction. The federal government had promised to inaugurate measures against criminal gangs, and the present government has kept its word; in order to be effective, however, the battle requires the federal government, the provinces, and the law enforcement agencies to join forces.

Organized crime gangs have increasingly become a threat to the safety of many communities all across the country. Police officers have made it clear they need improved tools and a mechanism to better co-ordinate and integrate their efforts to get the job done.

I am confident this package can help. I am not suggesting it will end the problem overnight as soon as the measure becomes law, but it will give important and effective new tools to police authorities across the country to make some important breakthroughs in fighting organized crime wherever it is in the country.

I am confident this package can be of great help to the police authorities in ensuring public safety. These proposals are the results of consultations with provincial and municipal officials across Canada, including the province of Quebec as well as law enforcement organizations across the country.

I do not intend to go into these matters at length. I understand there is a disposition on the part of the Reform Party and the Bloc

Quebecois to co-operate in moving the bill through the House quickly. Again I thank them for that co-operation.

By working together in the House we can help create greater safety for Canadians in their neighbourhoods, on their streets and in their business dealings across the country. I commend the bill to the House for second reading and early passage.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Madam Speaker, at the request of the solicitor general, the Bloc Quebecois, the official opposition, will co-operate in expediting the second reading of this bill. We agree with the principle of the bill which, as the Quebec Minister of Public Security admitted today, is a step in the right direction and the kind of legislation he had in mind.

However, he would have liked the bill to go a little further and be more specific, especially considering the problems in Quebec, both in the Montreal area and in Quebec City. In my own riding of Lévis, on March 16, the residents of Saint-Nicolas held a demonstration following an incident. When a jeep exploded, this caused considerable public reaction in the neighbourhood where the Hell's Angels clubhouse is located. Citizens said they were fed up with the biker war which was and still is a cause for concern among many residents.

As long as this war was strictly between members of the gangs, it did not really matter, but when the quality of life and the very lives of citizens are at stake, public perception changes. We saw, for instance, the dedication shown by the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve in dealing with this problem, following an incident in his riding in which young Daniel Desrochers was killed.

All this led the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve to ask for anti-gang legislation. On the initiative of the hon. member, the Bloc Quebecois examined these issues and, like the Quebec government, requested legislation to deal with biker gangs engaged in criminal activities.

I remember that on several occasions in the House, the former parliamentary leader of the official opposition, who is now the leader of our party, asked the Minister of Justice and the government to act as soon as possible. Finally, the Minister of Justice went to Quebec City for a meeting with the Minister of Public Security, the Quebec Minister of Justice, mayors from the Quebec City area and representatives of the police forces concerned to look at ways to deal with this problem.

The opposition reserves the right to engage in a more thorough analysis when the bill is considered in committee. However, at the second reading stage, a parliamentary tradition, we will support the motion and hope it is considered in committee as soon as possible. We will co-operate. You can count on us.