House of Commons Hansard #126 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was students.


Special Import Measures ActGovernment Orders

10 a.m.

Sudbury Ontario


Diane Marleau Liberalfor the Minister of Finance

moved that Bill C-35, an act to amend the Special Import Measures Act and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Special Import Measures ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.

Stoney Creek Ontario


Tony Valeri LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Madam Speaker, today it is certainly a privilege for me to begin debate on Bill C-35.

Essentially this bill contains amendments to Canada's anti-dumping and countervailing duty law, known as the Special Import Measures Act, or SIMA. It responds directly to the recommendations contained in a 1996 parliamentary report on Canada's trade remedy system.

These amendments will fine-tune the law by rationalizing the investigative process, increasing transparency and procedural fairness, and in fact enhancing the system's ability to consider representations from various segments of Canadian business.

The bill also includes certain technical changes that clarify existing provisions and practices under SIMA and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act.

SIMA is an important component of Canada's trade remedy legislation. It authorizes the federal government to impose anti-dumping and countervailing duties to offset injury to domestic firms caused by foreign dumping and subsidies. In this regard it implements Canada's rights and obligations under the World Trade Organization agreements on subsidies and anti-dumping.

Two federal government departments and one independent tribunal are directly involved under SIMA. As actions taken under SIMA result in the imposition of duties on imported goods, the Minister of Finance is responsible for the legislation.

Revenue Canada and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal share responsibility for investigations under the law and Revenue Canada enforces anti-dumping and countervailing duties at the border.

With respect to international implications and negotiations, it is foreign affairs and finance which work together on trade remedy policy to co-ordinate Canada's import and export interests and develop our international trade negotiating positions.

Before discussing the merits of Bill C-35, I would like to provide some background as to why these amendments are being proposed.

Canada has a long history in the use of trade remedies. In fact in 1904 Canada introduced the world's first anti-dumping legislation.

Since then our trade remedy system has undergone various refinements due to changing economic conditions and the evolution of international trade rules. These international rules are governed by the World Trade Organization, or the WTO, which sets out detailed rights and obligations of member countries in administering trade and remedy protection.

As the imposition of anti-dumping or countervailing duties represents an exception from a country's WTO commitments not to raise tariffs and not to discriminate in its treatment of imports, the right to impose these special duties is carefully circumscribed.

In general, the Canadian SIMA system is comparable to the systems of other major users such as the United States and the European Union. The WTO does, however, provide some latitude in the administration of trade remedy laws. As a result, there are some variations between systems, largely reflecting differing legal cultures and economic circumstances.

There are, of course, important domestic interests on both sides of the trade remedies equation.

One of the key challenges associated with the Special Import Measures Act was to strike the right balance between the interests of industries seeking trade remedy action and the interests of consumers and other manufacturers who may be negatively affected by the imposition of anti-dumping or countervailing duties on imported goods.

First and foremost, this law is intended to assist Canadian enterprises by offsetting the injurious economic effects resulting from dumping or underpricing practices of foreign exporters, or in the case of subsidies, to remedy the injurious effects of the subsidy practices of foreign governments. However, the downstream economic interests cannot be ignored.

As markets operate increasingly on a global basis, market openness becomes a critical factor in attracting investment and maintaining the competitiveness of our domestic firms.

Canadian manufacturers often have to rely on imported inputs, for example, to meet specific quality and technical needs of their customers.

According to the OECD, the operations of Canadian manufacturers rely more on imported inputs than their G-7 counterparts in the U.S., France, Germany, Japan and the U.K. This reflects the relatively smaller size of the Canadian economy, as well as its high level of integration with the United States.

Given this, SIMA must represent a balancing act. It must provide effective relief to Canadian firms injured by foreign dumping or subsidies while not imposing unnecessary or excessive burden on downstream producers or consumers. This was the key challenge for lawmakers when SIMA was first developed in 1984 and it certainly remains the challenge today.

When the Minister of Finance requested the House of Commons Standing Committees on Finance and Foreign Affairs and International Trade to jointly review SIMA in 1996, he noted that significant changes had taken place in the global trading environment since 1984 and that it was time to reassess whether the law continued to reflect the interests of Canadian producers.

Two subcommittees were asked to undertake this review. They heard from a broad range of interests, including domestic producers, importers, retailers, academics, trade practitioners and government officials. These parties gave evidence and submitted proposals for changes based on their experience with the SIMA system.

It was based on these submissions and their deliberations that the subcommittees concluded in their report that Canada's trade remedy system under SIMA continues to respond to the needs of Canadian producers that seek protection under the law, while affording downstream producers and consumers an opportunity to have their interests considered.

They also identified areas where improvements could be made to the system to make it more efficient and more responsive to Canada's economic needs.

Generally, the recommendations represented adjustments to the SIMA investigation process that allow the system to more adequately consider the views of various parties which have a stake in this law.

I want to be clear that it was for this reason that the government supported virtually all of the subcommittees' recommendations. What we have before us today is Bill C-35, which essentially reflects the subcommittees' recommendations and the requirement that the subcommittees put forward in asking the government to review these recommendations and build them into legislation.

There are key changes in Bill C-35, the first being the rationalization of investigative functions of Revenue Canada and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal to better reflect their respective areas of expertise.

The second would enhance procedural fairness and transparency by bringing Revenue Canada's treatment of confidential information more in line with the tribunal's practice respecting the disclosure of confidential information.

The third would ensure that the tribunal, in its fact finding, would benefit more fully from expert evidence by permitting expert witnesses to play a more effective role in tribunal inquiries.

The fourth would establish new penalty provisions to deter any unauthorized disclosure or misuse of confidential information by legal counsel or expert witnesses in the context of SIMA investigations.

The fifth would improve the provisions which allow the Deputy Minister of National Revenue to accept an undertaking from exporters to raise prices as an alternative to the imposition of anti-dumping duties and to ensure that all interested persons are afforded an opportunity to provide views when undertakings are being considered.

The sixth would require the tribunal to cumulate the injurious effects of dumping or subsidizing from more than one country consistent with the single price effect in the Canadian market of such practices.

The final change would clarify the conditions under which the tribunal can consider issues of broader public interest and the types of measures it may recommend in a public interest report.

The discussions that took place in the recent parliamentary review of SIMA reflected the changes that have taken place in the structure of the Canadian economy since the law was established in 1984. These changes will ensure that the Special Import Measures Act remains a strong trade instrument which truly protects Canadian producers injured by dumped or subsidized imports, while at the same time allowing an opportunity for other producers and consumers to have their interests considered.

It certainly introduces important changes to Canada's trade remedy system which take account of the interests of all stakeholders. It is for the reasons that I have outlined that I would urge all of my colleagues to support its passage.

Special Import Measures ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.


Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Madam Speaker, it is unfortunate that the official opposition has to look at the existing trade world and support Bill C-35, updating the Special Import Measures Act and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act, although we believe that this government needs to give much greater and earlier consideration to the impact on Canadian consumers when it is weighing the merits of imposing countervailing duties.

After all, the first principle of government is to protect the well-being of its Canadian citizens, which to me includes law-abiding Canadian companies.

Why do I say unfortunate?

As long ago as 1904 Canada developed the world's first anti-dumping legislation. Over the years since then Canada has evolved into one of the world's leading trading nations. Canada's trade legislation has been changed many times, including changes to the Special Import Measures Act, or SIMA, needed to implement the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Uruguay round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT.

But after those piecemeal changes there has been no overall public review of the legislation to ensure that it still serves the needs of Canadian businesses and industry, as well as the needs of the Canadian consumer.

It has been a couple of years since the finance minister asked two standing committees of this House, namely the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and also the Standing Committee on Finance, to review the Special Import Measures Act and make recommendations to the government regarding any changes needed.

Although this was not my critic area during this period of time, I understand that fairly extensive joint hearings were held by subcommittees of both groups, which reported back to their committees. The government has now acted on the committees' recommendations by bringing forward the legislation before us, namely Bill C-35.

Some of the major interested parties which attended the hearings of the subcommittees were representatives of the steel industry, which has recently been subjected to major dumping by steel producers outside North America.

At a time when large parts of the world are suffering major economic reversals, we can expect many nations to export whatever commodities they can, including steel, and to sell to countries like Canada and the U.S.A. in a desperate attempt to prop up their sagging economies at home.

During the subcommittees' hearings Canadian steel producers wanted the Canadian government to get tough with American producers. It is certainly within the power of the Canadian government to do so. It could make it more difficult and costly for U.S. importers to meet SIMA demands and it could get the Canadian international trade tribunal to find in favour more often of Canadian firms for example through making new rules or changing the emphasis and the interpretation of the existing rules.

The question has to be raised as to who will benefit and who will be hurt. If Canada moves toward tougher laws and stronger restrictions on international trade versus easing restrictions and working toward not only so-called free trade but, more important, fair trade , nobody can be certain which way our major trading partners will jump if Canada starts getting tougher with anti-dumping and anti-subsidy laws. Would legislators be likely to recognize how counterproductive such measures could be? Or would they, as appears to be happening today with the American states of Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota and Minnesota, see such actions as an excuse to retaliate against this or that sector of the nearly $1 billion per day of trade between our two countries?

Given that Canada is more dependent on exports than the U.S.A. it could be foolhardy to try to find out, creating what would amount to a head on collision between a logging truck and a motorcycle. I do not need to spell out to my colleagues in the House which vehicle would represent Canada or the relative amounts of damage which Canada and U.S. economies could suffer.

I am not an economist but I am very definitely a free trader. In the long run I believe it would be very effective to identify downstream U.S. users of Canadian imports to identify who gets hurt by U.S. anti-dumping and subsidy legislation. Let us take for example the softwood lumber deal which was instrumental in raising U.S. housing prices. The problem is that certain groups are very well organized and can mount a much more effective U.S. lobby effort than other groups can.

In the case of Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota and Minnesota if lower Canadian pork and beef prices at least partly due to our lower dollar were to save money for American consumers it is safe to bet in the real world that the American state governments and the American federal government would hear a lot more quickly and a lot louder from U.S. pork producers than from the U.S. consumer.

This situation reveals another reason why it is unfortunate that we are here today with regard to Bill C-35. For more than a week now state governments across the northern U.S.A. have been using state troopers to stop transport trucks carrying live Canadian hogs and steers to U.S. markets.

When I first came to parliament in 1993 in my riding of Okanagan—Shuswap there were to the best of my recollection about five commercial hog producers around the community of Lumby alone. Today I am sad to say the last one is closing.

Recently television reporters have been pretty well making a joke out of the fact that hog growers in the province of Quebec are so desperate that they blockaded Highway 20 between Quebec City and Montreal with hay and a number of pigs in an effort to call attention to their plight and to get some help from their provincial government.

From the Fraser Valley in B.C. right across Canada to Quebec it is no light decision, it is no small or laughing matter when pork producers are shut down. For one thing these folks are not just a bunch of good old boys in bib overalls chewing on a stick of hay. Today's commercial hog barns involve quite major capital investments with a large size and computerized feeding and record keeping. If you wanted to buy a couple of so-called piggies to raise in your small family farm you could drive your pick-up truck to one of those growers and he could take you along the cement floor pens where each age and weight from the little wieners right up to the finished hogs are grouped by themselves. He could tell you from his records exactly how much feed and other costs he has committed to each of those groups and what price he needs from you to cover the costs and to make a little profit.

Sadly today he can also tell you that for all his hard work he is no longer able to make any profit. Therefore many hog producers are bringing all those animals to market weight and selling off their breeding stock and going out of business. Their one hope may be to order a big transport truck, load the live animals on board and ship them across the border into the United States where the higher U.S. dollar might offer our farmers some hope of saving their farms.

That is going to leave Canada open to the same kind of charges. Bill C-35 was designed to allow us to charge non-Canadian businesses for dumping and selling the product in the country for less than it costs to produce. Such charges are going to take time to investigate. Meanwhile Canada's only apparent choice will be to bring charges against the U.S.A. under dispute resolution mechanisms of NAFTA or the World Trade Organization.

Meanwhile what is happening to all those animals and the farmers who own them? If those closely monitored hogs are brought to finished weight, their owners are going to have to lay out even more cash to keep paying for feed while the dispute drags on. Now the farmers are going to have to face bills from their transport companies because they cannot drive a truck for free, and even though many farmers have already achieved some virtual integration by raising the feed for the animals, they are not likely to own a transport truck.

One thing to be learned from the situation is that the Canadian industry clearly has a major interest in helping U.S. consumers get better organized. It is American consumers who could be the major beneficiary of cheaper Canadian commodities entering the American market, if we really do have free trade. Perhaps the Canadian government has a role to play in helping to accurately inform consumers both in the U.S. and in Europe. Certainly that would not be an unfair trade practice to tell the truth about Canadian products.

Let us look at the Canadian exports of forest products and the nasty role played by certain so-called environmental groups trying to destroy European markets for Canadian forest companies. These so-called environmental groups are subsidized by the Canadian government with tax dollars paid in part by the forest industry and its employees. Despite our world leading expertise by many sectors of the Canadian economy, for example, forestry, mining, communications and aerospace, many times our federal government can act like babes in the woods over international trade deals. If we are going to run with the so-called big dogs, we have to do more than just bark once in a while.

Specifically, the federal government did not look down the road and accurately assess the implications if we stood up and challenged the U.S.A. on the softwood lumber deal, facing the worst case scenario and saying almost anything is likely better than this massive bureaucratic meddling in our multibillion softwood industry by a bunch of folks who are more at home dealing with chicken or egg marketing boards.

Today we have literally millions of dollars in added costs for softwood lumber producers as they have to ensure such non-market related factors as their exports do not exceed 28% of their entire year quota in any one quarter. This is regardless of the fact that we can face burning hot, dry summers like this summer where loggers were banned from the British Columbia forests for months due to the extreme fire hazards. Loggers can be banned from the bush for many weeks every spring because logging roads are so soft when the frost is coming out and the load restrictions have to be enforced. The softwood lumber deal only applies to exports from four provinces so producers can move a plant to a neighbouring province and not be subject to any quota whatsoever. This is a bad deal.

In the bill before us today both the SIMA and international trade tribunal will be amended in line with the recommendations produced after the joint committee hearings. My colleagues in finance and international trade heard testimony from the departments, academics and industry.

I want to praise one important aspect in the legislation before us today. It is the clarification of provisions on disclosing confidential information that is revealed in the course of investigations about dumping and subsidies and new penalties for making wrongful use of that information. The kind of expert testimony which could be revealed in the course of these investigations could do major damage to the companies involved. It is critical for the information to be protected. Trying to determine when bad trade practices have hurt existing Canadians producers or have prevented development of a Canadian industry can be extremely complex.

For an example, the city of Vernon where I have my riding office used to be the site of major canners of fruits and vegetables and also for the major production of jams and jellies. This is no longer the case. It would certainly be a major project trying to determine whether these industries died due to unfair international trade or because of unfair policies created by politicians from Ontario and Quebec who have stacked so much federal legislation against the interests of the west.

For another such example in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia a lot of growers produce tree fruits. American fruit growers are allowed to export into Canada certain fruits with some allowable residues of pesticides which Canadian fruit growers are not allowed to use at all. Is that a fair trade practice? I do not think so. The tree fruit growers tell me nothing is being done to help them. Should they blame the growers in the U.S.A. or should they blame Ottawa? I do not have too much doubt as to who they should be blaming.

Both the provincial and federal governments are now being pressed to provide subsidies to B.C. tree fruit growers. Instead many of their problems are due to bad policies made right here in Ottawa.

Let us take another example of the pinewood nematode. It is a little bug that lives in Canadian softwood and can be carried between trees by beetles. Our climate is such that this pinewood nematode basically cannot multiply enough to kill any trees. In the 1980s British Columbia was exporting in the vicinity of a billion dollars worth of softwood into the European market every year.

Suddenly several European nations, which by curious coincidence also produced softwood lumber, decided to start demanding that Canadian companies must kiln dry softwood lumber exported to Europe. This added enough cost that our softwood exports to Europe now amount to less than $200,000 per year. Every dollar of lost exports to the European market means fewer jobs in the Canadian forest industry.

My hon. colleagues might believe that surely plant health constitutes reasonable grounds for making such a demand for kiln dried softwood, and I might agree with them but for a couple of facts. First, the Canadian forestry industry has done the scientific investigations to prove that it is virtually impossible for the Canadian pinewood nematode to multiply and create any hazard in Europe.

Second, and this is the catcher, European nations import softwood lumber green, which is to say not kiln dried, from parts of Europe that have been infested with the European pinewood nematode.

In my mind and according to representation from the B.C. softwood lumber producers, this constitutes a non-tariff trade barrier which has been in place for several years. However, rather than going to bat for the B.C. softwood lumber industry and pushing the complaint through the World Trade Organization, this government took absolutely no action until this summer.

Meanwhile, British Columbia's coastal lumber manufacturers, who have been the hardest hit in all of this by the recent economic downturn in Asia, are seeing layoffs that run as high as 50% of the forestry workforce in coastal communities. When one combines those forestry layoffs with the destruction of the west coast fishing industry, also due mainly to the politics of this government which has done such outrageous things as close fish hatcheries inland in British Columbia, including one in my riding, while the American state of Alaska in particular has strongly supported and expanded its hatcheries, we have an entire region, west coast, which today is experiencing a major recession.

I sometimes have to wonder where the thought process is when we start doing things like this. Does anybody here in Ottawa care that B.C. is in a recession? Does anybody here even know? Since parliament began sitting again this week where is the legislation this government has brought forward to assist British Columbia in its time of need? Have my hon. colleagues seen a piece of legislation that I missed? No.

I believe it is totally irresponsible for the government to allow the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates to prop up our sagging dollar while B.C. is already in a recession rather than bite the bullet, cut taxes and pay down our enormous federal debt. Instead, just like the APEC scandal, the Prime Minister washes his hands or again blames somebody else.

Is the government responsible for setting fiscal policy? Of course it is, just like it is responsible for setting defence policy, for setting trade policy to be enacted through such legislation as we have here before us today. Instead the Prime Minister shrugs the responsibility off on to the governor of the bank.

The crazy reality of international trade in Canada today is that we must have legislation setting out the rules and procedures for anti-dumping and countervailing duty action. We have to maintain federal departments which are supposed to determine when another country has a subsidy that does an injury to a Canadian company.

If politicians and bureaucrats here in Ottawa were to look out into the real world they might recognize that this entire exercise, including Bill C-35, is almost like a sick little joke. What is an unfair trade practice? Which is an injury to a Canadian business? When is a subsidy a subsidy and when is it not a subsidy? Is it a subsidy when American business can purchase gasoline for a trucking fleet at about half the cost of Canadian business? Is it a subsidy when an American business can pay its employees less but have the employees end up with significantly more take home pay for several reasons, including that Canadians pay the highest personal income tax in the entire G-7 and that the policies of the Liberal government, added to the policies of the Mulroney government, have seen the value of the Canadian dollar falling against virtually all other major currencies in the world for many years? Is that a subsidy?

Is it a subsidy when an American business does not have to hire an extra accountant or an extra secretary to complete the GST returns or to handle the extra mountain of paperwork which is required by the unbelievable red tape that federal and provincial governments impose on anybody brave enough or foolhardy enough to try to operate a business in Canada today?

Is it a subsidy when a mining company can know who is going to be its landlord for a given property in the U.S.A. but in British Columbia especially the federal government still has not successfully completed even one modern land claim? Is it a subsidy that investors in British Columbia do not know who their landlord may or may not be because Ottawa cannot get land claims settled? Is that a form of a subsidy?

Is it a subsidy when an American company can pay its employees in American dollars whereas Canadian companies pay our employees in Canadian dollars? I have to wonder about that.

I can well remember when the Canadian dollar was valued well above the U.S. dollar. Canada still has great natural resource riches. We still have an educated and willing workforce. The trouble is Canada now has suffered for many years under federal governments which believe they can spend us, using our own money, to riches rather than recognizing that we have a federal debt to GDP ratio that is second only to Italy among the G-7 nations.

Is it a subsidy when an American company pays its employees in American dollars? It is a serious question, because Canada's high tech industries in particular, whose trained personnel may account for a majority of their capital, are finding it nearly impossible to get and to keep the well trained employees which are their single greatest assets right here in Canada. Is it a subsidy? We train them, they get them.

Instead of facing that basic economic problem I have received letters from high tech companies in Canada which now want the federal government to increase grants and subsidies to help our companies pay for the costs of research and development. They are struggling to survive, and this government can only treat the symptoms of an illness that threatens their very lives.

The policies of this government and the Mulroney government before it have raised our taxes so high and dropped our dollar so low that I understand both the current Prime Minister and his predecessor have been named business people of the year by several American states. The two of them together have instituted and followed policies which are hammering the last few nails into the coffins of many Canadian companies.

Let us just look at my own personal field of mining. Canada is losing market share of worldwide mining investments. Is it unfair trade practices that account for that harm being done to Canadian mining companies?

For example, I have been alerted that the state of Alaska has asked the American government to request a hearing by the International Joint Commission, or IJC, of the Tulsequah chief mining project being advanced by the Canadian company Redfern Resources.

This is a project which has passed multimillion dollar environmental assessments by both the federal government and the Government of British Columbia. If Ottawa agrees to ignore our own provincial and federal hearings in which the state of Alaska—and I want to make it clear that the state of Alaska had every opportunity to raise any concerns it had during these hearings and never did. If Ottawa refuses to listen and goes ahead with putting a delay in place on this process too long for the investors to remain interested, will this constitute an unfair trade practice? You bet it will.

The state of Alaska does not have to subsidize its own mining companies in order to deal a death blow to a Canadian mining company. It just has to ask this federal government to jump and wait for Ottawa to answer “Just how high would you like us to jump?”

Would such a request ever come before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal being amended by Bill C-35? Not likely. Canadian mining companies today not only have to cope with the falling commodity prices but they have to cope with the high cost of doing business in Canada.

What will the Canadian International Trade Tribunal do about that problem? I suspect nothing.

This past spring I was fortunate enough and had the pleasure to travel with my wife through the state of Oregon. While down there, we met a number of business people, including mayors and councillors in different towns. They actually thought our Prime Minister was the best thing since sliced bread because we have driven so many investors to the state of Oregon and they have created so many jobs.

As an example, I was in a little town out of Lincoln, Oregon. I met with a couple of mayors from other communities. Six new businesses in six months have been started by Canadians right out of British Columbia. Six new businesses created 138 new jobs because they could not do it in their own country. I have to wonder what is going on here.

Members can see that we are driving many investors and many jobs out of Canada. I am in a difficult position here today because I am a strong supporter of free trade. But free trade has to be fair trade.

I look at the condition of the Canadian economy with our high taxes and our once proud Canadian dollar reduced to 66 cents U.S. I look around today and I see that not even one person blinks. We have come to accept it. We have come to accept that maybe it will get worse before it gets better.

I would have to be an extremely religious person with a firm belief in miracles to think that Canadian businesses today can compete fairly with their American counterparts.

Introducing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy laws are like putting on a little band-aid after cutting a major artery.

I want to state very clearly that I do not believe the proper long term solution to these problems is to institute protectionist measures, including some of the very things put forward in this legislation which is before us today.

Instead I would like to call upon this government to change its high spending, high taxing ways. It needs to institute profound changes to greatly shrink the size and cost of the federal government. It should not just pay lip service by keeping highly placed Ottawa mandarins while laying off front line employees who provide the real services to the public, and not just cough up costly buyout packages only to hire the same people back on a contract basis.

The only solution is to greatly reduce the number of things being done by the federal government. Slash the red tape and use the savings to pay down the debt and reduce taxes.

It has also been my pleasure recently to talk to a number of students in my riding of Okanagan—Shuswap. If members think some of the things I have said here today might be a little hard and a little harsh, I am serving warning to this House that when these young grade 11 and grade 12 students get out on the street and they have the time to vote, be worried of your jobs my friends because they do not think we have done a very good job at all.

These students know there are no jobs out there for them. We had just better be worried. And remember that I said this. The students are rejecting the image of cradle to grave coddling from government. Students want the government out of their faces. They want jobs. They want dependability. They want some form of security. And the government is not supplying it. We can bet on that. Students are sick and tired of being over-governed.

Back to the sad fact of this whole matter of anti-dumping and anti-subsidies international trade regulations. They cannot compensate for the grossly irresponsible behaviour of politicians whom the Canadian people elected and once trusted to put the best interests of the Canadian people first and foremost.

It is with some concern that we will support Bill C-35. I will go back to what I said at the very beginning. The government's first and foremost responsibility has to be to the Canadian public as a whole, to our law-abiding Canadian companies and to Canadian consumers.

One day hopefully the Government of Canada will wake up and find out for a change that we were sent to this place to govern for the people and not to the people. I await that day.

Special Import Measures ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.


Lee Morrison Reform Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I note that we are vastly outnumbered by the people in the gallery. That is shameful. Perhaps a quorum call would get a few Liberals out of bed.

Special Import Measures ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

We do have a quorum.

Special Import Measures ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.


Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to start out by thanking my Reform Party colleague for asking for a larger audience for my speech. He likely anticipated how very interesting it would be and I thank him warmly.

More seriously, I am pleased to speak today in the House to Bill C-35. The purpose of this bill is to amend the Special Import Measures Act and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act.

A serious and exhaustive examination shows this to be a complex, technical bill. It is a very important bill because it will greatly simplify life for our companies, but particularly because it marks the first attempt by the government to tidy up a complex, technical bill, one which needs to be brought up to date quickly, because of the increasing number of free-trade agreements being negotiated with various countries and also because we now live in an era of globalization.

Quebeckers, Canadians and the Bloc Quebecois have long been calling for less bureaucracy and more efficiency for our companies, especially those engaged in exports.

Despite certain reservations, my Bloc Quebecois colleagues and I will be voting in favour of Bill C-35. We have noted these reservations in a report produced by the International Trade, Trade Disputes and Investment Subcommittee of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, tabled in the House in December 1996. Moreover, the government responded favourably to this report in a document tabled in the House on April 18, 1997.

This bill is therefore in response to the report. Current legislation governs the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on dumped or subsidized goods where this dumping or subsidizing has or may have an injurious effect on producers in Quebec and Canada.

Amendments have also been made to some provisions of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act dealing with inquiries related to this injury in antidumping and countervailing duty cases. These amendments should hopefully improve the Canadian trade remedy system so that it will better take into account the new economic context and the evolution of international trade rules.

Unlike our colleagues across the way, who changed their tune all of a sudden after they took office in 1993—just think of their anti-free trade rhetoric—we in the Bloc Quebecois have always been in favour of free trade. We can therefore only applaud any steps taken to help ensure businesses in Quebec and Canada are full participants in this globalization era, but in a well-structured context based on appropriate legislation. This is the intention behind Bill C-35. It contains marginal changes, which will nonetheless streamline the system.

An extensive review of the report has revealed a number of areas that we feel ought to be improved. Some of these changes have been included in the report. For example, the Bloc Quebecois succeeded in improving access to the investigation process for small and medium size producers through recommendation no. 2, which reads as follows: “The subcommittees recommend first of all that Revenue Canada take concrete steps to ensure that small and medium size Canadian producers have fair and equitable access to the recourses set out in the Special Import Measures Act”.

The major industries, such as sugar, steel, aluminum or asbestos, are not the only ones that can make use of an act like the Special Measures Act. As well, increasing numbers of small and medium size businesses and producers require easier access to these laws, these privileges, which are sometimes a bit complex for new exporters. Like the other parties, the Bloc Quebecois has tried to simplify access for small and medium size producers, as well as making other changes in connection with the way the Canadian International Trade Tribunal operates.

The Bloc Quebecois also proposed that recommendation no. 10 make cumulation mandatory, when the tribunal is determining damages, and the government party agreed to this.

A section on avoidance was also included in the report, at our request. Finally, recommendation No. 12 reads as follows: “The subcommittees also recommend that section 76 of the Special Import Measures Act be amended, so as to compel the Canadian International Trade Tribunal to evaluate the cumulative adverse effects of dumping or subsidizing, during provisional reviews and at expiry”. That recommendation was improved following our representations.

The Bloc Quebecois succeeded in having major changes and improvements made. Unfortunately, several of our recommendations were rejected by the government, and it is regarding these that we disagree. A number of witnesses raised concerns when they appeared before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

The Canadian Steel Producers Association was among those witnesses who were worried about certain provisions in the legislation. The Bloc Quebecois expressed these concerns in a dissenting opinion, during the review by the committee.

Let us go over the arguments put forward by the Canadian Steel Producers Association. The Bloc Quebecois agrees with the association, which is asking that Revenue Canada do not take into consideration the spontaneous presentations made by parties other than the complainant before an investigation.

This would mean that Revenue Canada would only take into account the information provided by the complainant, and would therefore not have to take unsolicited comments into consideration.

This seems reasonable to us, since it would only apply to the period preceding the opening of an investigation. Unfortunately, the government does not seem to care about our requests or those of such an important industry for the Quebec and Canadian economies as the steel industry. It rejected that proposal, which is therefore not reflected in the bill.

We feel that the definition of material harm also poses a problem. The Bloc Quebecois is asking that a definition of “material harm” be included in the Special Import Measures Act. Such a definition, along with the criteria suggested in the current regulations, would clarify this important notion for everyone.

Another Bloc Quebecois proposal ignored in this bill concerns the future or retroactive method of imposing duties. We want Revenue Canada to continue using the future method. However, we would, in cases where prices or costs are likely to fluctuate significantly, like to have Revenue Canada authorized to use the retroactive duty imposition method. This method would be used only exceptionally and only when Revenue Canada considered it necessary.

The Bloc Quebecois considers that Bill C-35 should not contain provision for the minimum duty. We think it is premature to include the concept of a minimum duty in the Special Import Measures Act. We think the government should stop approving policies that reduce the protection afforded Quebec and Canadian businesses when our main trading partners are not doing the same thing.

The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade recommends including the concept of a minimum duty in section 45 of the legislation on public interest.

As you can see, the Bloc Quebecois worked very hard to improve the bill. Nevertheless, certain conditions were not accepted. The Bloc Quebecois will, however, support Bill C-35.

Special Import Measures ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

The Speaker

I must advise my colleague that he will have the floor after oral question period. He still has time to speak, if he so wishes. We will give him the floor then.

The House will now proceed to statements by members.

Waterloo Safe Communities ProgramStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.


Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week I attended a reception honouring, acknowledging and recognizing the achievements of the participating Waterloo businesses on their huge efforts and success in attaining the Waterloo Safe Communities Program's goal of reducing injury in the workplace.

Mr. Paul Kells initiated the Safe Communities Program after the tragic death of his son Sean in a workplace accident in 1994.

Waterloo was one of the first cities to get involved in the program in 1996. We now have 72 businesses that are members. Due to their minimal injuries and improved safety awareness, about 48 of them received a rebate of $350,000 in saved insurance premiums from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

Congratulations to Waterloo's Safe Communities Program and congratulations to Mr. Paul Kells for his initiative. He is a true Canadian hero.

Year 2000 ProblemStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.


Philip Mayfield Reform Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, the clock is quickly running out before the start of the new millennium. The year 2000 computer bug will cause serious problems for those with electronic chips unable to read the four digit year 2000.

Are we ready? Hardly. Every sector of the economy from energy, to health care, to business, to transportation will be affected. This includes everything from computers to life saving medical equipment, to elevators and washing machines. In recent tests some machines stopped functioning completely after the clocks were turned past January 1, 2000. We can expect more of this.

Many are aware of the problem but believe it is not serious. Some even believe it is simply a ploy to make Microsoft even richer. This is a ludicrous misconception.

What we need is leadership on this issue. This government has been largely silent. The Prime Minister and his ministers must speak out now about the consequences of not acting to solve this widespread problem. It is serious. Time will not wait for any of us.

Grandparents' RightsStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, article 5 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that a child has every right to spend time with members of their extended family, and these family members have an obligation to provide appropriate direction and guidance.

Unfortunately, grandparents, as a consequence of the death, separation or divorce of their children, are often denied access to their grandchildren by guardians. This constitutes discrimination, abuse and injustice.

We have a responsibility to ensure that our children continue to enjoy the emotional support of their grandparents. Several jurisdictions, including Quebec and Alberta, currently contain provisions to ensure the right of access of grandparents to their grandchildren.

It is now time for us to take action.

Via Rail ConductorsStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I call on the Minister of Transport to address the plight of many former VIA conductors who lost their jobs when the position of conductor was recently eliminated.

I refer specifically to the conductors who went to VIA from CN originally and had an agreement that they would be able to go back to CN if they ever needed to. This agreement, shamefully, is not being honoured by CN, leaving those who were too young for early retirement without a job.

This is patently unfair and I urge the transport minister to speak to CN about honouring its commitment, a commitment made when CN was publicly owned and which should be kept. Fairness demands no less from CN and from the Minister of Transport.

Stratford FestivalStatements By Members

11 a.m.


John Richardson Liberal Perth—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the cast and crew of the Stratford Festival for another excellent season of theatre.

The talented cast of veteran and new actors made us feel a gamut of emotions as we sat enthralled by the political intrigues of Julius Caesar , saddened by the heart-wrenching Cherry Orchard , enraptured by the musical mayhem of Man of La Mancha and left laughing by Much Ado About Nothing .

As many of the members of this House can attest, the Stratford Festival is boundless fun. I urge all theatre goers to attend the festival as it will run until November. If not this year, maybe next year.

In closing, I want to extend my best wishes for great success to two Stratford Festival plays that will begin showing in New York City this coming November.

Autumn In Renfrew—Nipissing—PembrokeStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Hec Clouthier Liberal Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, after so much inflammatory language during the first week of this new session I invite my colleagues to enjoy a wonderful spectacle from the great Upper Ottawa Valley.

The Flaming Leaf tour in my riding is a tremendous display of autumn colours that will simply take one's breath away. Travel along the Opeongo Line where pioneers worked tirelessly to build a caring community and where lumber barons made their fortunes floating logs down the Ottawa River.

The people who live in the great riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke come from all cultural backgrounds. We come together and live in harmony, a lesson that could be learned by the people of this House.

Our Canadian maple leaf is a symbol that has earned worldwide respect and admiration. The changing colours provide a portrait of panoramic pride in this celebrated country called Canada.

Come to the valley and enjoy the vista.

Quebec's Journées De La CultureStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Hélène Alarie Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, bonne journée, have a good day: that is the theme of the second edition of Quebec's Journées de la culture, which will be taking place today, tomorrow and Sunday. Artists, artisans and cultural organizations all over Quebec will be offering their fellow citizens nearly a million activities free of charge.

Last year, 163,000 Quebeckers took advantage of these days to sample the culture of their neighbourhood, their village or their city. This year, people will have the opportunity to watch a play in dress rehearsal, to visit a television studio, to help a composer write and then record a song, or to contribute an article to their local paper. These special days will afford them an opportunity to integrate culture into their everyday lives.

My best wishes for success to all those involved directly or indirectly in the defence and promotion of Quebec culture. May they indeed have a good day.

Apec SummitStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, the peaceful protesters gathered, charged with a fervent belief in democracy. They stood tall and voiced their opposition to tyranny, dictatorship and the denial of fundamental human rights. When the risk of embarrassment was too much to handle, the dictatorial leader ordered the police to move in and use excessive force to silence those students who dared speak out against the regime.

I am not talking about Tiananmen Square, I am talking about Vancouver. We cannot take the incidents that transpired at the APEC conference lightly, for the precedence they establish is frightening. Canadians gathered to use their fundamental human rights to raise the awareness of atrocities taking place in other countries. Rather than extol the virtues of democracy, the Prime Minister and the foreign affairs minister decided to make the dictators feel at home by sanitizing the scene and shutting down protesters.

The Prime Minister is concerned about what legacy he will leave Canada. He will be remembered as the leader who called a democratic election in his own country a joke and revoked Canadian civil rights in order to satisfy a brutal dictator. What a legacy.

Human RightsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Shaughnessy Cohen Liberal Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, recent events in Malaysia should be of concern to all of us who value democracy.

While most of us know of the imprisonment of the Malaysian deputy prime minister for disagreeing with his prime minister, few have heard of the plight of Lim Guan Eng. Lim Guan Eng is an opposition member of parliament who is spending 18 months in jail because he spoke out against a powerful minister and friend of the prime minister of Malaysia.

Malaysia wants international respect, but its government fails to respect the rule of law and the fundamental principles of freedom of speech. It is time for all democratic nations to join in speaking out against these violations of human rights and it is time for the Malaysian government to free Lim Guan Eng.

Multilateral Agreement On InvestmentStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, for several years now, the 29 OECD member countries have been trying to conclude a multilateral agreement on investment, known as the MAI. At the request of France, the negotiations, interrupted last April, will resume October 20.

The Bloc Quebecois cannot subscribe to MAI unless it includes certain protections, cultural ones in particular. In addition, the Bloc Quebecois believes that the agreement should be negotiated within the World Trade Organization.

Although it may be harder to conclude the agreement within the WTO, the Bloc Quebecois is convinced that the outcome, once signed, will be a better one, because it will represent the positions of both developed and developing countries.

The Bloc Quebecois is therefore committed to keeping a close eye on the minister in order to ensure that he does what he has said he will do, and that any agreement takes into account the interests of the entire population, not just those with money.

University Of Ottawa's 150Th AnniversaryStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House to tell you about the festivities that will take place this weekend, here in Ottawa, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of a great institution, the University of Ottawa.

This reunion will provide an opportunity for alumni to get together and share memories and achievements that are partly the result of the high quality education they received while pursuing their university degree.

As the member of Parliament for the riding of Ottawa-Vanier, where the University of Ottawa is located, I am very pleased to welcome all those who will come this weekend to take part in this event.

I take this opportunity to salute my alma mater and I hope it will continue its tradition of excellence “ad Vietnam aeternam” as Les Cyniques used to say.

Unemployment In NewfoundlandStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle Progressive Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the dictionary defines “decimate” as kill or remove one in every ten. Since 1986 Newfoundland has lost 60,000 through out-migration. Given that our population is below 600,000 people, it is fair to say that Newfoundland has been literally decimated by out-migration since 1986.

Our unemployment rate is 19%, more than double the national rate, and I shudder to think what the rate would have been had these 60,000 people not left.

Newfoundland's chronic unemployment problem is very much a local tragedy, but it is also a national tragedy. Not until Canada helps Newfoundland solve that problem can she truly deserve the United Nations title of best country in the world in which to live.

We appreciate our right as Canadians to seek work elsewhere in Canada; however, after nearly 50 years in Confederation it is time we had a share of these jobs at home.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, this summer I had the pleasure of hosting an aboriginal round table discussion in which 70 aboriginals from four provinces travelled to meet with the Reform Indian affairs critic team. Their message to us was very clear. They feel the Reform Party is the only federal opposition party that is speaking out on behalf of disenfranchised, grassroots, aboriginal people across the country.

They told us they are suffering at the hands of corruption and financial mismanagement. The conditions of the Stoney Reserve in my constituency and the injustices faced by Bruce Starlight are typical. Their lives are not improving and with the Liberal's callous indifference they have no hope for the future.

Today I have compiled the names of close to 100 Indian bands that are demanding accountability. As the newly appointed Indian affairs deputy critic for the Reform Party, my pledge today is to help them achieve this goal and settle for nothing less than the quality of life all Canadians deserve. Reform will be their voice.

Jacques ParizeauStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.


Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not know if, yesterday, we were back in the good old days of the Soviet regime, or if Brutus was once again trying to become Caesar, but Bernard Landry told us there is a new federalist in our ranks. His name is Jacques Parizeau.

They tried to silence him, especially when he said that—but we already knew this—Bouchard was not transparent, that he lacked courage and, more importantly, that he had become the chief waffler of the Quebec government.

It is time for an election in Quebec, so that we can get rid of that bunch of separatists.

President Of South AfricaStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.


Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, we were honoured to welcome to this House Nelson Mandela, one of the most illustrious defenders of human rights.

A driving force for peace and development in Africa, and a pioneer in the struggle for the rights of his people, his battle took him all the way to the office of President of South Africa.

Since the first free elections were held in 1994, South Africa has continued in its role of economic engine of the continent. Africa as a whole owes much to Mr. Mandela, at a time when this continent is moving towards deeper self-understanding, giving us all hope that there will be an improvement in the material, social and political conditions of its peoples.

Yesterday evening, Mr. Mandela, you became the first head of state to become a Companion of the Order of Canada. This is an honour signifying for Canadians and Quebeckers how important a beacon for humanity your struggle for freedom, dignity and democracy is and will continue to be.

You are a model of courage and tenacity for us all.

Minister Of Fisheries And OceansStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.


Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, just yesterday it was announced that the Atlantic Salmon Federation will be awarding the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans with the prestigious Atlantic Salmon Federation International Award which recognizes achievement in the field of Atlantic salmon conservation in the North Atlantic.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has been very active on domestic and international fronts putting conservation first, with precautionary conservation and management decisions affecting Atlantic salmon in Canada and Greenland.

I congratulate the minister for his leadership in conservation.

1999 March 21 Anti-Racism CampaignStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.


Carolyn Parrish Liberal Mississauga Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women is launching the 1999 March 21 anti-racism campaign at the “Mandela and the Children” event today at the SkyDome in Toronto.

This will be the 11th annual public education campaign to raise awareness of racism in Canada and encourage Canadians to act forcefully to end racial discrimination.

President Nelson Mandela of the Republic of South Africa is the honoured guest at the launch.

As members will remember, March 21 commemorates the massacre in 1960 of peaceful demonstrators in Sharpeville, South Africa. President Mandela has many times expressed his appreciation to Canada for supporting the United Nations in the proclamation of March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The 1999 March 21 campaign is direct and hard hitting. It encourages all Canadians to join the fight against racism and racial discrimination. A key element of the campaign has become the “Stop Racism” national video competition which involves—

1999 March 21 Anti-Racism CampaignStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary East.