Madam Speaker, I am pleased to say a few words about Bill S-21. The NDP supports the bill. We see these provisions as a good thing for Canada and for all OECD countries. Certainly the extension of anti-corruption measures around the globe would be a good thing.
Members and particularly the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs will know the NDP has recently come out of a fairly successful battle to prevent something from being adopted at the OECD, namely the MAI. Here we are standing in favour of something being adopted at the OECD. I wanted that to be noted because it is not that we are against a rules based global economy or rules for that matter. We are in favour of rules, rules that prevent the wrong things from happening. In this case when it comes to corruption and bribery, we feel the imposition of rules to prevent corruption and bribery is a good thing.
What we did not like about the MAI, that other thing being perpetrated by the OECD, were the rules which were put forward to protect investors and corporations at the expense of workers and the environment and the ability of democratically elected governments to act in the public interest.
There is a role for rules. There is a role for conventions. There is a role for international law. That role is to prevent undesirable things from happening, whether in this case the existence and the spread of corruption and bribery or other undesirable things like the exploitation of workers, the exploitation of the environment, the setting up of corporate profit strategies as somehow superior to the common good and to the legislation which democratically elected governments might want to pass from time to time in the public interest.
We see the very opposite of what we have here in this kind of legislation, not a convention but nevertheless an international agreement that Canada has entered into in respect of NAFTA and that Canada wanted to enter into in respect to the MAI. We see the interests of a corporation like Ethyl Corporation being held up as more valuable than the ability of the Canadian government to legislate environmentally or the health of Canadians insofar as it is related to MMT and other environmental goals the government might have from time to time and might want to legislate in respect of.
Here we have finally the OECD, after having spent all this time trying to do the wrong thing in terms of the MAI, doing something right. Just so nobody thinks we think the OECD is always wrong, we stand here today to say this bill we would like to support and we have co-operated in the easy passage of it.