House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.


Civil International Space Station Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel Québec


Alfonso Gagliano Liberalfor the Minister of Industry

moved that Bill C-4, an act to implement the agreement among the Government of Canada, Governments of Member States of the European Space Agency, the Government of Japan, the Government of the Russian Federation, and the Government of the United States of America concerning co-operation on the civil international space station and to make related amendments to other acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Civil International Space Station Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.

Scarborough Centre Ontario


John Cannis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Madam Speaker, today I have the honour to speak at second reading of Bill C-4, the legislation governing Canada's participation in the greatest science and technology project in the history of humanity, namely the international space station.

I will begin my remarks by quoting one of Canada's foremost pioneers, John H. Chapman, who once said: “In the second century of Confederation the fabric of Canadian society will be held together by strands in space, just as strongly as the railway and telegraph held together the scattered provinces in the last century”.

These inspiring words were initially pronounced by John H. Chapman in the late 1950s, at the early stage of space exploration. With his vision, Mr. Chapman is now considered the father of the Canadian space program. Chapman went on to state: “The technological advances which are the outcome of space spill over into the more normal activities of our world”.

That is what Bill C-4 is all about. We are talking about space exploration for the benefit of all Canadians and humanity. Bill C-4 enables Canada to become a full partner in the greatest endeavour, the construction and the operation of the international space station. It formalizes our participation as a nation. Without it Canada can no longer be considered a partner. Without it this nation would lose a tremendous opportunity for the development of Canadian space research in science. Without it Canada would also jeopardize hundreds, even thousands of jobs all ready created in this high tech environment.

Our investment in international space science and technology projects, like the international space station, positions Canadian scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs on the world market. It allows this nation to continue contributing to scientific discovery and our understanding of the entire universe. That is what Bill C-4 is all about.

The international space station is a symbol of international co-operation and the joint effort of the world's leading industrial nations, including Canada as a key partner.

In its final form the station will cover an area as large as a football field and will accommodate a permanent international crew of seven astronauts, including Canadian astronauts dedicated to advancements in the areas of biotechnology, engineering, Earth observation and telecommunications.

The bill before us relates to the implementation of Canada's obligation under the agreement concerning co-operation on the international space station and extends the application of the Canadian criminal code to Canadians on board.

All parties to the agreement have undertaken to establish a framework for mutual international co-operation in relation to the detailed design, development, operation and use of a permanently inhabited space station for peaceful purposes.

The bill before us brings Canadian law in line with the international obligations negotiated in the agreement and thereby reaffirms Canada's strong commitment to participate in this most historic project.

The history of Canada's participation in the international space station project dates back to the year when Canada's first astronaut, Marc Garneau, travelled in space. It was in 1984 when President Reagan invited friends and allies to join the United States in the building, operation and use of a space station within the Earth's orbit for peaceful purposes.

In March 1985 Canada accepted the invitation and notified NASA that Canada's contribution was to be based on the concept of the mobile servicing system. The system is nothing less than the next generation of the Canadarm, which would help assemble and maintain the space station once in orbit.

In 1988 Canada, the U.S., Europe and Japan formalized a partnership with the signature of an international intergovernmental agreement on the space station. This set out the broad principles and legal basis for co-operation in the space station program.

Following the redesign of the space station in 1993, the partners finally invited Russia to join the partnership in what became a truly international space station.

On April 8, 1997, during a press conference with President Clinton, the Prime Minister of Canada reaffirmed Canada's participation in the international space station program with an announcement that Canada would provide the special purpose dexterous manipulator. This appendage-like robotic technology, often referred to as a robotic hand, is designed to operate with a new robotic arm for delicate assembly and repair operations.

Following three years of negotiations, all parties signed the revised international agreement on the space station on January 29, 1998, officially bringing Russia into the partnership. This agreement stipulates a two year ratification period to January 29, 2000.

Bill C-4 allows Canada to ratify this international agreement and legally endorse our commitment to this partnership.

Over and over again in international discussions about this country's many accomplishments in space, Canada's role with respect to the Canadarm is often mentioned. Clearly, our space robotics and automation technologies have become symbols of Canada's great success in the field of high tech and a source of price for all Canadians. Moreover, for the global high tech community our robotic technologies have become a showcase of what this nation is capable of doing here on Earth and out in space.

Most importantly, the success of the Canadarm has given Canada the credibility to venture even further, with the full confidence of the world's space-faring nations, to undertake the next step in advanced space robotic systems.

From the outset, Canada's involvement has capitalized on its expertise in space robotics. Canada maintains its position as a world leader in this specific field. It also provides Canada's scientific communities privileged access to the unique microgravity environment and creates new technology spinoffs for the entire country.

Today Canada is already reaping the benefits of its participation in the project in terms of contracts to Canada's space industry and the prestige of being part of one of the greatest engineering feats in our history. Overall, Canada expects returns of three or four times the original investment, along with many high tech positions.

Canada's participation in the assembly of the international space station began with flying colours. Last December, we watched how the Canadarm and the Canadian artificial vision system were brought together to assemble the first two modules of the space station, the American module “Unity” and the Russian module “Zarya”. Canada's knowhow was instrumental in getting this incredible project started.

It goes without saying that the very act of Canada playing a role unifying these two modules is quite symbolic. In May of this year, we watched with great pride as Julie Payette became the first Canadian to board the first two modules of the station.

Next year, Marc Garneau will participate in his third mission as a crew member of the STS-97. The mission will be devoted mainly to installing the international space station's solar panels and will require two space walks, co-ordinated by Mr. Garneau. Among his other duties, Mr. Garneau will operate the Canadarm for assembly purposes.

Following Marc Garneau will be Chris Hadfield on his second mission. Canadians will be watching Chris Hadfield make history by becoming the first Canadian to perform a space walk to install Canada's new robotic arm on the international space station.

Once the arm is installed, Canadians and the rest of the world will watch with pride as the Canadarm and the new arm of the space station working in concert to build the largest space structure and microgravity laboratory ever built.

Once the entire mobile servicing system is operational, with the installation of the helping robotic hand functioning on the end of the arm, astronauts will be able to perform complex on-orbit tasks quickly, safely and cost efficiently from the relative comfort of the space station modules. Simply put, without the use of the Canadian robotic technologies the station could not be built nor maintained efficiently and effectively.

In March of this year, the Government of Canada provided the Canadian Space Agency with stable ongoing funding for the Canadian space program. The funds demonstrate the government's strong commitment to promoting advanced sciences and technologies that are driving the global knowledge based economy and helping Canadians remain leaders in the field.

Our investments in space support our international commitments to the environment as in the case of the Montreal protocol and agreements signed in Kyoto. Canada, the creator of the RADARSAT, the remarkable satellite that has given this nation world leadership in managing the Earth from space. Today, RADARSAT is being used to manage floods as it did in the Manitoba Red River floods, support disaster management operations as it did in Kobe, Japan and provide a greater understanding of the effects of war on local populations and environments as it did in Vietnam. Our investments in space advance science discovery. Through experiments being performed by the world's space science community, in which Canadian scientists are recognized for their decisive role, we are learning more about the universe, the effects of the sun on the Earth and how to exploit the unique microgravity environment to obtain invaluable insight into the cardiovascular system, bones, brain and effects of radiation on human organisms.

Canadian space science experiments, for example, are addressing human disorders including cancer and bone diseases such as osteoporosis, an ailment that affects over one million Canadians.

Our investment advances innovation and spinoffs in our everyday lives. Today, we seem unaware of the fact that each time we turn on the television, listen to the weather forecast, visit the doctor, turn to our portable computers, pick up our car phone or lace up our shock absorbing running shoes, we access products and services that space has helped to advance. The list of products and services is long and the positive contribution to the quality of our lives is indeed real.

Our investment therefore also promotes a space industry which employs thousands of Canadians and registers revenues of well over $1.4 billion, of which, let me point out, 45% is in the form of exports and is the largest among our space-faring nations.

As a result of Canada's industrial strategy whereby space robotics and automation has become a strategic niche, our industry has responded with innovative technologies that are making their mark on the world all over. For example, a Newfoundland company has developed a sensitive skin originally developed for space robotic manipulators and is applying the technology to prosthetics and the bumpers of cars to control the deployment of air bags. All this is thanks to Canadian innovation and the Canadian space program.

Other leading industrialized nations are turning to Canadian expertise to help make their contribution to the space station project a reality. EMS Technologies of Ottawa recently won a $9.5 million contract from Mitsubishi of Japan to supply electronics to Japan's contribution to the international space station. Additional orders could bring the total contract up to $24 million.

Above all, our commitment to the vibrant space sector is a commitment to the nation's youth, our future scientists, engineers and even our future astronauts.

The ratification of Bill C-4 is an important step to what has been a long and beneficial international engagement for our country. The third nation in the world, Canada was the first non-super power to have a satellite in orbit. That was 35 years ago.

Canada was the first nation in the world to have its own domestic satellite telecommunications system linking Canadians in every corner of our vast land.

Canada was the creator of the RADARSAT, the remarkable satellite that has given Canada world leadership in managing Earth from space.

Canada is home to an astronaut team whose expertise in space exploration is recognized throughout the world.

Canada was the architect of the world famous Canadarm, a technological marvel which has become a worldwide trademark for Canada's excellence in high technology.

The legacy of Canadian achievements goes on and on, a legacy of which all Canadians can feel justifiably very proud.

What of the future? In many ways, space is the national railroad of the next century, linking all Canadians from sea to sea, uniting Canadians throughout space.

As we usher in Bill C-4, we direct attention to Canada's remarkable history of achievements in space and future of boundless opportunities. The Canadian space program and Canada's active participation to the international space station will continue to be an essential building block and indeed a highlight for the future of our country's social and economic well-being.

Civil International Space Station Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.


Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Madam Speaker, it is indeed my pleasure to speak on Bill C-4 which implements an agreement that Canada signed last year with the United States, Japan, Russia and 11 countries of the European Union.

The agreement formulates Canada's participation in the international space station. The space station is a bold and exciting project which has nations around the world working together in a spirit of co-operation rather than rivalry.

It is the largest science and technology project in the history of humanity and Canadians should be proud of the role we are playing and that we will continue to play a key role in its development.

In its final form, the space station will cover an area as large as a football field. My colleague was just asking whether it was an American or Canadian football field size. I do not know the answer to that question, but I know that it will weigh over 450 tonnes and orbit the Earth at an average altitude of 400 kilometres. It will be clearly visible in the night sky as it orbits the Earth. I am not sure whether Canadians will be able to see the new generation space arm and hand that is going to be there, but they will certainly see it assemble the space station as it is being constructed.

The habitation models and laboratories will accommodate a permanent international crew of seven astronauts dedicated to advancements in areas of biotechnology, engineering, Earth observation and telecommunications.

I am pleased to say today that the Reform Party will be supporting the speedy passage of the bill. I recognize there is some urgency in getting the bill passed quickly to meet the commitments that we have already made to our partners on the project.

The leader of the Reform Party is a keen follower of space technology. He expresses keen interest in the project and I know he wants it to go ahead. Many of my colleagues have the same kind of keen interest in this area. I have had the opportunity of touring the Houston Space Science Centre two years ago. I really enjoyed that experience and marvelled at the technology that we have achieved in the world in just some 30 years.

I will go back to a comment made by the parliamentary secretary when he talked about national railways. A distant relative of mine, George Stephenson in England in the early 1800s, was the man who invented the first steam locomotive and the railway that opened up the world. The innovation that happened as a result of the railway is what we are seeing today in a new forum, the new forum being space technology and a very exciting one at that.

Before I get into a bit of the background, I just want to say that if the bill were to come to all stages today we would be very much in favour of it passing quickly. Reform will be supporting the bill.

I will provide listeners with a bit of background as to when and how the space station got its start. Back in January of 1984, the President of the United States directed NASA to develop and place in orbit a permanently manned space station. At the time, President Ronald Reagan invited friends and allies to participate in its development and share the benefits.

At the Quebec Summit in March 1985, Canada accepted this invitation and confirmed Canada's interest in co-operating at the summit meeting in Washington the following year. At the same time, various other countries expressed interest in the project and over the years signed memorandums of understanding.

It was recognized that Russia could greatly enhance the capabilities of the space station because it had a long list of accomplishments in the area of human space flight and long duration missions. On December 6, 1993, Russia was invited to take part in the project. Arrangements were then made for co-operation on human space flight activities, including the Russian-U.S. Mir shuttle program, to prepare for the the building of the space station.

On January 29, 1998, these countries got together and signed the Civil International Space Station Agreement which established a framework for the design, development, operation and utilization of the space station.

Today we have Bill C-4 at second reading which seeks to implement the agreement that we signed last year to make this possible.

I will speak for a moment about the agreement itself and the bill that implements it. The international agreement was signed by Canada, the United States, Japan, Russia and 11 European countries. It contains 28 articles and an annex which summarizes the tasks of the various countries that they have committed themselves to. In Canada's case, the Canadian Space Agency will provide three elements: a mobile servicing centre, a special purposes dexterous manipulator, the hand, the new generation Canadarm and space station-unique ground elements.

The articles lay out the objectives and scope of the agreement, international rights and obligations, ownership of the elements of the equipment and the management of the space station itself. As well, aspects of the design and development are covered: the right to provide qualified crew, transportation, the right of access to the space station and the provision of a communications network.

Each partner will bear the cost of fulfilling its respective responsibilities under the agreement, including sharing, on an equitable basis, the common systems operation costs, the activities attributed to the operation of the space station as a whole.

An important article in my view is article 19 which deals with the exchange of data and goods. Each partner to the agreement agrees to transfer all technical data and goods considered necessary for the fulfilment of the partners' responsibilities.

Bill C-4 contains provisions in clause 7 that give the government the power to force companies, individuals and third parties who are not in direct contractual relationship to the crown to release information related to the space agency. This power is necessary in the event that a company working under contract to the government on the project gets bought out by another company and is unwilling to honour the company's contractual obligations. This would severely affect its ability to operate. Therefore there is a need for clause 7.

Clause 8 provides safeguards to ensure the documents that are so produced are not unduly communicated to other parties. While the exchange of information and scientific data is crucial to the success and successful development of the entire project, the protection of intellectual property rights is also important. To ensure that intellectual property rights are protected, the agreement contains article 21 which states:

For the purposes of intellectual property law, an activity occurring in or on a space station flight element shall be deemed to have occurred only in the territory of the partner state of that element's registry.

This gives some protection to those countries that are conducting research and development there with new products. They will have some legal parameters around the product they produce in space. It will belong to them.

Normal patent procedures will apply. That means that a person or entity first filing a patent is the owner of that intellectual property. That is a very important point. With so many partners working on this space station, it is important that there is protection for those partners in regard to their research and development.

The bill also contains amendments to the criminal code. These amendments ensure that any criminal act which is committed in space by a Canadian crew member falls under Canadian law. That Canadian would not be tried under the law of the United States or Russia for example.

That brings me to Canada's involvement in this station. Recently Julie Payette became the first Canadian to board the space station but that will not be the end by any means. In 2000 Marc Garneau will participate in his third space mission as a crew member of a shuttle mission. He will be followed by Chris Hadfield who will install Canada's space station robotic manipulator system, the next generation Canadarm and the main element of the mobile servicing system called MSS for short. This goes to the building of the space station itself and enables the space station and its partners to construct the space station once the new robotics is in place with the new Canadarm and hand. That will provide the necessary infrastructure to do the work to put the space station together. Once installed, the MSS will move around the space station doing assembly and repair work.

Canada is also contributing to a vision system for the operators of the remote manipulator who must operate the robotic arm from inside the windowless space station, no small task I would suggest. On the ground, the MSS operations complex at the Canadian Space Agency in Saint Hubert, Quebec will plan missions, monitor the condition of the remote manipulator and train space station crew in its use.

The cost of designing, developing, operating and launching the MSS into orbit is approximately $1.4 billion over 20 years. That covers the period of 1984 to 2004. It costs approximately $3 per Canadian taxpayer per year. Canada's contribution is relatively small at just 2.5% but it is important nonetheless.

The 1999 federal budget provided the Canadian Space Agency with $430 million in new funds over three years which stabilized the agency's budget at $300 million per year starting in the year 2002-03.

That brings me to the present and future benefits the Canadian Space Station and our involvement might bring Canadians. The scientific benefit for Canadians from the space station will be our ability to monitor Earth, to study our environment including agricultural crop monitoring, that is, if there are any Canadian farmers and farm crops left to monitor in the future. However, it is an important aspect and I think it will deliver important benefits. It will have the ability to monitor the Canadian Arctic ice pack so that there will be aid to Canadian ships navigating in Arctic waters.

Close to 90% of Canada's investment is going out in contracts to Canadian firms. The rest is going to universities. Since 1987 over 150 contracts have been let for automation and robotics technology development.

During the space station's estimated 10 year lifespan, Canada will be able to expand its research in microgravity with applications to human disorders such as osteoporosis and cancer. Canada will also continue its research into protein crystallization in space which will be a big aid to medical research in Canada.

The technologies that already resulted from our space involvement include the first robotic refuelling station. This was developed by a firm in British Columbia in partnership with Shell. As well, a Quebec firm has applied space expertise to develop a digital imaging system for X-rays which eliminates the need for photographic films. In addition, a company in Newfoundland has developed a sensitive skin which was originally developed for space robotic manipulators and is now being applied to artificial limbs.

Many Canadian firms have successfully entered international markets by landing contracts based on the expertise they gained on the various aspects of the space project. Other firms are helping partners in other countries with their own contribution to the space project. For example, EMS Technologies of Ottawa recently won a $9.5 million contract from Mitsubishi to supply electronics to Japan's contribution to the space station. There is an ongoing benefit.

It is clear that Canada's involvement in space is producing tremendous returns. On our own we would not be able to develop or fund a project of this magnitude, but in co-operation with our peace-loving partners the potential for a meaningful contribution and rewarding spinoffs is great. I suggest it will be no less important than technologies in the industrial revolution such as the innovations which led to the discovery of the steam locomotive and the railway itself.

Perhaps most important of all is that Canada's young people will follow Canada's achievements in space, thereby sparking their interest in the fields of science and technology. We do not need to be reminded that our future prosperity lies in our ability to encourage pursuit of knowledge for those that follow behind us.

On that note, I will end my speech. I want to inform the House that the Reform Party is supporting this bill in all stages. We do not want to delay its speedy passage in any way.

Civil International Space Station Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.


Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, it is my turn to speak to Bill C-4, an act to implement the Agreement among the Government of Canada, Governments of Member States of the European Space Agency, the Government of Japan, the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the United States of America concerning Co-operation on the Civil International Space Station and to make related amendments to other acts.

Here we are at the end of a millennium, and when we stop to think about it, the rate of progress of space research and the discovery of space has been phenomenal, especially in recent years. From the moment man first started to go into space, it was only a matter of decades before a space station was built, as well as an orbiting station, permitting astronauts to go into space for months at a time to conduct tests and experiments.

Obviously that advances our research considerably and provides opportunities for important discoveries. It also raises—we have to be honest about it—questions by people about the cost of these projects and results.

It remains very difficult to measure, but it is clear that the effects are very significant. The potential for discoveries there remains infinite.

The research done on the orbiting station will be carried out in a specific climate of research in which the law of gravity does not apply in the same way and where the work will be done in a context other than that on Earth. Therefore, it is very clear that this opens windows of opportunity for incredible research.

In addition, all of the technology needed to build a station, to do this work, to go into space, is clearly becoming transmittable and reusable for other purposes, I would say in a more down to Earth fashion.

In order to put into perspective the progress that has been made possible by this use and discovery of space, let us look at the whole field of communications. It would be hard to imagine how information could be moved rapidly without all those satellites we now have.

A great deal of money had to be invested in the technology for launching these satellites, putting them in service, recovering them if necessary, ensuring they are operating properly, determining their lifespans, and so on.

Now, a new window has opened with the international space station, the lifespan of which is predicted at ten years or so, although according to some sources, it could be much longer than that. It must be remembered that the MIR station was expected to last about five years, but was in service for over ten. It is fairly obvious therefore that the space station will last longer than the predicted ten years.

The involvement of the Government of Canada has been considerable, compared to our country's financial capacity. Clearly, the main contribution comes essentially from the U.S., which plays the lead role in this project. Russia also is heavily involved, which raises questions about the future, knowing the very hard times Russia is going through financially.

Obviously, the initial participation required of them was much greater than it will be in the future, but there are still some grey areas, particularly because of Russia's role and its financial difficulties, which are raising some questions.

Assembly has now started and we are very, very proud that a fellow Quebecer went on the mission and played a part—I am referring to Julie Payette—and we want to congratulate her on her amazing career. We are very proud of everything she has done.

Nor would we wish to forget another Quebec astronaut, Marc Garneau, who also went into space, as well as the Canadian astronauts, including those who will soon help to install the orbital station's Canadarm, which will play a key role in assembly operations. A Canadian system will also play a pivotal role in the repair and maintenance of the orbital station.

So, even though our participation is modest and scaled to what we can do as Quebecers and Canadians, we can take pride in contributing to a project such as this one, which is furthering the development of technology. No one knows yet how significant the discoveries made at the station will be.

With all these partnerships, the next step is to adopt some very down to Earth legislation, such as this bill stipulating which criminal law will apply in the case of an incident, or offence as it would become, inside the orbital station. This brings us to the question of which legislation will apply in space. This is one of the issues addressed by Bill C-4.

I also wish to point out that Bill C-4 flows from an agreement signed by several countries that appears as a schedule to the bill. In this connection, however, I have one criticism to make of the government. Even though we are in favour of the bill, it is still a bit regrettable that these agreements were not approved by parliament.

Since we support the bill, we therefore cannot say that the agreement should not have been debated in this place. It should have been approved by the House of Commons and not simply signed.

The Liberal tendency in this area since they have been in government is somewhat deplorable. Moreover, my colleague from Beauharnois—Salaberry has introduced a private member's bill, C-214, the purpose of which is to ensure that treaties are passed and ratified by parliament. Clearly we would have liked this to have been the case for Bill C-4.

To describe the contents of the treaty appended to this bill as its schedule, I could list the signatory states. schedule Obviously, there is the Government of Canada, and the governments of the Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, the French Republic, the Italian Republic, the Kingdom of Norway, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, all of these being member states of the European Space Agency, the Government of Japan, the Russian Federation and the United States of America.

In all, there are about fifteen signatories. The agreement was signed nearly two years ago, and calls for its terms to be implemented within two years of initial signature, and for the necessary legislative measures to be passed within two years.

At the present time, not all countries have initiated the process. Russia is one of these, which is why I referred just now to questions and concerns being raised about its future role in the space station. There are already very specific agreements with Russia; the partnership is not the same as with the other member states. Russia has its own space in the space station.

For example, Canada's laboratory time will be a percentage of the non-Russian space. The Russians have their own space, their own module, laboratory and equipment. There is, however, an agreement on co-operation between the Russians and the other partners, but Russia still represents a potential cause of delay because of its participation and the related funding.

The articles of this agreement—I will not read all of it, as members will find it appended to the bill—first define the purpose and scope of the bill.

Subsequently, they set out the international rights and obligations. Definitions are given. The following are also mentioned: cooperating agencies, registration, jurisdiction, controls, ownership of elements and equipment—which must be defined in such a partnership—management, detailed design and project development, station utilization, as well as operation.

There are also references to rules governing the crews, transportation, telecommunications relating to the orbiting station, project evolution, funding, which in all projects, is a key element, a cross-waiver of liability—the countries have agreed to sign such a waiver—and so on. Then we move on to the sections on customs, a convention on responsibility, data and goods and exchange and the conditions for withdrawing from the agreement, should a member ever decided to withdraw.

There are other sections on intellectual property, since this is very important where research is concerned. In space, there is a notion of intellectual property which may be debated and become the subject of litigation on occasion. However, many applications of research done in space will be used in additional research on Earth. Discoveries will be made there for basic research too, which will find application in other research projects that will be carried out here, back on Earth.

It must also be understood that, even though the astronauts will be there for periods of between three and six months, this is a short time, since research is being carried out over the longer term. Some research will be done there, tested and carried out, but it will be developed much further back on Earth.

There are also provisions on criminal justice. This is what I was talking about earlier and they are to be found in the bill as well. The measures on criminal justice pertain to any incidents that might occur on board the orbiting station. It is fairly straightforward. If ever a Canadian astronaut were to commit an offence, he would be subject to Canadian law, except in the case of homicide.

In the case of a sponsored astronaut, such as a Brazilian sponsored by the United States, American law would apply. That is our understanding of the bill, anyway. There are also sections on the entry into force, amendments, and operative effect between the parties.

That about sums up what is in the agreement signed almost two years ago. As 1999 draws to a close, its adoption is near.

Since some time has passed, the signed agreement probably could have been introduced here first and formally adopted, after which Bill C-4, which establishes the related measures, could have been passed. Parliamentarians could thus have commented on the obligations with which they agreed and those with which they did not agree.

We are not challenging the obligations. We are saying that we do not like the precedent, which has denied the House an opportunity to comment. It is true that we are having our say now with respect to the agreement included in the schedule to the bill, but the bill per se has to do with its own clauses. The agreement as such is contained in the schedule.

Earlier, I mentioned costs and the involvement of the federal government in the orbital station. The space agency itself has an annual budget of about $300 million. This is the funding the agency receives from the government.

Here, we are talking about a forecast of $1.4 billion. One could always argue about the spinoffs, but it is believed that they could reach $6 billion and include some 70,000 jobs, on a yearly basis, for the duration of the project. That is a lot of money and a lot of jobs.

Even if the spinoffs are not as great as anticipated, we are still talking about significant amounts of money that would help businesses, in Quebec and in Canada, achieve some degree of success. Quebec is doing rather well in the aerospace industry. The space agency, which is located in Saint-Hubert, is a very good thing for the aerospace industry.

The work done by companies in these sectors and the contracts that they can get with regard to orbiting station projects allow them to develop a critical mass of researchers and people to do the work. It also allows these companies to use their products for civilian applications.

Some members alluded to numerous technological, medical or scientific achievements and discoveries resulting from initiatives that were originally funded through aerospace projects, whether past ones or the one that we are discussing.

Very clearly, we will support this bill. I know that discussions took place to proceed quickly. We certainly have no intention of delaying the adoption of Bill C-4. However, it would be good to still have the legislation go through the normal process, in other words, to have it referred to a committee after second reading, so that members can get answers to their questions.

Some of us here took part in Space Agency and departmental training sessions on the bill. The Standing Committee on Industry committee will be able to go into the matter further, examining everything related to it, such as timeframes and budgets. It is normal after all to take the time needed in order to ensure that it is passed.

It is therefore normal for the bill to go through the regular stages. If the government had wanted the bill passed more quickly, it ought to have convened the House earlier.

I will conclude now by telling hon. members that we will be voting in favour of Bill C-4 on second reading. We also intend to support it on third reading. There are a few questions we will want to go into in committee, including the meeting of deadlines. We will have the opportunity to discuss matters with those who appear before the committee, particularly Space Agency and departmental officials. This bill will eventually come back to us for the third reading stage. I believe the committee will ultimately move to accept it and return it to the House. It is our intention to again support it.

My congratulations to all those who work on projects relating to the development of the space station, whether Quebecers, Canadians, Americans or others. Who knows, one day one of us, or a friend or family member, or one of our constituents, may benefit from the discoveries resulting from these research projects. Science will show us all the potential future effects of this undertaking, and I must say that the possibilities are endless.

In conclusion, I wish to again indicate our intention to vote in favour of Bill C-4.

Civil International Space Station Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, I see you seeking the floor. You will have the floor when we return to the debate.

It is almost 11 o'clock and rather than have you begin and break up your speech, if you do not mind, we will go to Statements by Members.

Canada's EconomyStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.


Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, more good economic news this morning.

Statistics Canada reported that economic activity continued to grow vigorously during August, by .5%. This is the 13th consecutive monthly increase.

Since October 1993, when the Liberal government returned to office, over 1.7 million jobs have been created.

The opposition parties obviously do not like to hear good economic news for Canada.

We must not lose sight of the fact that governments have, among other things, the mission to create favourable conditions to encourage new investment and promote job creation.

In conjunction with other news along the same lines as the stable and sustainable revival of Canada's economy, the results made public by Statistics Canada confirm one fact: the Liberal government is doing a good job.

Robert MundellStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.


Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to Dr. Robert Mundell from Maple Ridge, British Columbia, in my riding of Dewdney—Alouette.

After graduating from Maple Ridge High School, Dr. Mundell went on to earn his BA from the University of British Columbia and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is now a professor at Columbia University in New York.

Earlier this month the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Dr. Mundell the Nobel Prize in economics, in recognition of his analysis of exchange rates and their effect on monetary policy. The academy described his work as inspiring generations of researchers and forming the core of teaching in international macroeconomics.

I hope all members of the House will join with me, the city of Maple Ridge, and all Canadians in congratulating Dr. Robert Mundell on his extraordinary achievement.

Breast CancerStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.


Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, one in nine Canadian women can expect to develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Today, the last day the House will sit during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is an excellent opportunity for reflection on our successes and on the work still ahead.

This year Burlington hosted its third annual Run for the Cure. Our most successful run yet, 3,000 people ran, walked and volunteered. Some $200,000 was raised for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to support research, education, diagnosis and treatment.

Our community has a wonderful organization with breast cancer support services, making a difference for families living with breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an important opportunity to celebrate the survivors and remember the ones we have lost. Their strength and courage is an inspiration.

The message is clear. Early detection is vital, especially when accompanied with annual mammographies. We must remind the women we love. We must support them in the difficult days of treatment, and we must support research. Together we can beat this disease.

Port ColborneStatements By Members

11 a.m.


John Maloney Liberal Erie—Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all residents of the city of Port Colborne in my riding of Erie—Lincoln for that city's recognition as being one of the best in Ontario in which to raise a family. This municipality of 19,000 people has the smallest proportion of children falling through the cracks, according to health and academic measures.

A recent article from The Globe and Mail confirmed that Port Colborne has “the highest proportion of students meeting or exceeding provincial standards in mathematics, reading and writing”. In fact, over 97% of our grade 3 students are at or above the provincial standard for reading.

Port Colborne has a “woven-ness”, a strong sense of belonging, where young and old work together for common goals, where people look out for their neighbours and where one does not have to look far to find a helping hand. Port Colborne residents are Canadians in the true sense of the word. It is a caring and sharing community.

Royal Canadian DragoonsStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Hec Clouthier Liberal Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a distinct honour to speak on the eve of a monumental milestone in the apocalyptic annals of Canadian history.

One hundred years ago tomorrow, on October 30, 1899, 1,000 Canadian soldiers left Quebec City to fight in the South African Boer War. It was Canada's very first overseas mission. There were soldiers representing all seven provinces at the time.

The Royal Canadian Dragoons, who are now based at CFB Petawawa, in my great riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, represent one of this country's oldest military units. Just last week the RCDs received millennium funding to restore the 116 year old King's Banner which was used to rally the troops during the Boer War. It will be on display at the Base Petawawa Museum.

I cannot begin to describe the diligent dedication of those Boer War veterans, and the thousands of Canadian men and women who bravely represent Canada as peacekeepers throughout the world.

UnicefStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Sunday is Halloween and again this year UNICEF will have over two million tiny volunteers collecting coins in support of less fortunate children around the world.

The money collected empowers our kids by enabling them to take action and help other children. Funds collected in this country will support programs like children's immunization. Since 1980 this program alone has saved the lives of over 20 million children.

Other programs include registering children at birth, providing access to safe drinking water and nutritious food. Children will also be given the opportunity to learn to read.

Canadians are generous and I ask that this tradition continue on Sunday night when people see a volunteer child of UNICEF. Every bit helps to save the life of a child in need. Together we will make a difference.

Public ServantsStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Gurmant Grewal Reform Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of our federal public servants to raise their concerns about wrongdoing, corruption and waste in our government. There are numerous complaints about corruption in our foreign missions, and allegations regarding immigration fraud, money laundering and drug trafficking.

Our hard-working and caring federal employees have nowhere to turn except to pass on their information in a brown envelope. There is no incentive or motivation for these people to speak out. In fact, I have numerous examples where they are punished, their careers are ruined and even the health of the whistleblowers and their families are affected.

Canadians want our public servants to be not only protected, but rewarded for uncovering and putting a stop to waste and corruption. Canadians know that this government does not protect our civil servants. I will soon be introducing a private member's bill to protect and reward whistleblowers.

The Ottawa SenatorsStatements By Members

11 a.m.


David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Ottawa area residents were generally pleased by yesterday's re-announcement that the province will allow property tax relief for the Corel Centre. That will provide some, but only some, tax relief for the Ottawa Senators.

However, as Senators' owner Rod Bryden has said, “This issue is all about tax fairness”. Where is the fairness in requiring the Senators to pay for their own exit ramp off Highway 417? Where is the fairness in declaring a Senators game non-Canadian and subjecting it to a 10% amusement tax? Where is the fairness in using their games to make money on a lottery without giving them a share?

Local provincial minister John Baird should get his facts straight when he says that the federal government has not put anything on the table. This government has contributed $6 million to the Senators, along with allowing the benefits associated with “distress preferred shares”. Come on, Ontario, you can do better.

Minister Of TransportStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Ghislain Fournier Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, highway 389 runs through part of the riding of Manicouagan. The construction in its present state puts those using the road at risk.

Twice—in November 1997 and November 1998—the Minister of Transport has mentioned that an agreement could be renewed to complete the construction work on this road, if funds were available.

There is no shortage of surpluses. If the minister had the political will to act, the money could be available, especially since the minister invested $300 million on the highway through Labrador, which is, in a way, the extension of highway 389.

The people of Manicouagan are entitled to safe highways. This House must be aware of their impatience at the minister's inaction in this matter.

The PhilippinesStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Rey D. Pagtakhan Liberal Winnipeg North—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne, which opened the second session of the 36th Parliament, speaks of Canada's place in the world as an outward looking country with a trade oriented economy.

It gives me a special sense of pride when my country of birth, the Philippines, experiences Canada's broadened economic vision at a time when our two nations are celebrating half a century of diplomatic relations.

Recently team Canada '97, led by the Prime Minister, was in the Philippines. This past August the Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific led another trade mission to the country and witnessed the official opening of the Canadian consulate in the city of Cebu, a beautiful place where my wife spent her formative years.

Officials from Cebu were in Toronto yesterday to sign a twin city agreement. We acknowledge their presence, along with Philippine Consul General Susan Castrence, in the gallery and welcome them to watch our proceedings in the House this morning.

Conditional SentencingStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Chuck Cadman Reform Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, in 1995 the government introduced conditional sentencing and despite warnings from the Reform Party it refused to limit the “serve your sentence at home” policy to first-time, non-violent offenders.

Despite the inconsistent and lenient treatment of the provision by the courts, the government still refuses to restrict this legislation. Like most problems with our justice system, the government prefers to force the courts to resolve issues without direction from parliament.

This week a 42 year old individual pleaded guilty to conspiracy in trafficking cocaine. Mr. Justice Norman Douglas called cocaine an insidious drug which ruins people's lives and results in more spinoff crime. But did he remove the individual from the community to protect the citizens? No, he imposed an eight month sentence at home. The individual must obey a 9 p.m. curfew, unless working, and report to police every Saturday morning. That sort of punishment does nothing to discourage individuals from trafficking in serious drugs. I even wonder if that individual can avoid the curfew by arguing that the selling of cocaine is a form of work.

Canadians have waited for over four years for the government to address its screw-up on conditional sentencing, but unfortunately the government fails to admit its mistakes.

Canada CustomsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday several Latin American labour leaders were detained at Pearson airport as they tried to enter Canada to attend the Labour Forum of the America's, a conference hosted by the Canadian Labour Congress.

Many of those who were detained were people of colour and workers who appeared to have been deliberately singled out, pulled from lineups at customs and then detained, grilled, badgered, harassed and spoken to in an abusive way by immigration officials.

Meanwhile, leaders of the business community entering Canada to attend the business forum on free trade had their visas and fees waived so they could enter the country hassle free.

What a blatant double standard. What an insult to our guests from the international trade union movement and what an insult to working people in general.

I am outraged and embarrassed that the government has treated my international colleagues so shabbily at our international customs points.

Nuclear EnergyStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, within the Liberal government, there is an apostle of things nuclear who would like to see more nuclear power plants and waste.

However, this is an unexpected apostle. It is not the Minister of Industry, nor the Minister of Natural Resources, as one might expect. It is, instead, the Minister of the Environment, the very person who should be concerned about sources of clean energy and sustainable development.

At a meeting of environment ministers at the beginning of the month, the Canadian minister presented nuclear energy as a reasonable solution to the problem of greenhouse gases. He even advocated the export of Canadian technology to the rest of the world.

At the moment, there are over 23 million kilograms of uranium waste no one knows what to do with. In order to fulfil his mandate as the Minister of the Environment, the apostle should start worrying about the management of this waste, rather than promoting nuclear energy.

Young OffendersStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of tougher penalties for young offenders.

In the spring of this year two young men, aged 16 and 17, forced their way into the home of Stuart and Ruth Hebb. One viciously beat 90 year old Mr. Hebb, stopping only after he was unconscious. Both then turned their abuse upon 74 year old Mrs. Hebb, who was struck and threatened with the same fate as her husband.

Because these young offenders tore the phone from the wall the elderly couple waited, one victim too injured to move and the other too traumatized to leave her husband's side, until help arrived many hours later.

The punishment in this case has been a mere slap on the wrist, with one of the offenders getting three years in custody and the other two years in custody and a year of probation.

The Hebbs, on the other hand, have received a life sentence. Their lives can never be the same. The sanctuary of their home was invaded and their safety in the community questioned. They live in constant fear of future retaliation; not a pleasant way to spend what should be their golden years.

Youth Criminal Justice ActStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.


Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's crime rate has decreased for seven consecutive years. In 1998 the crime rate was 22% lower than in 1991 and the lowest it has been in 20 years. This decrease is reflected in all major categories of violent and property crimes.

This is great news for Canadians and it confirms the fact that Canadians are safer in their homes and on the streets today.

The reason I stand to remind the House of these statistics is to counter the impression that the official opposition consistently tries to spread across this land, a view that would frighten Canadians, a view that they hope will improve their declining political fortunes.

The facts speak for themselves and Canadians will not be fooled. Our government will continue to work vigorously to prevent crime. The youth criminal justice act will enhance accountability in our system and ensure that youth who violently and repeatedly break the law will be dealt with.

I would like to thank our Liberal government for its hard work to ensure the safety of all Canadians.

Employment EquityStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.


Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, back in 1994 we warned the government that its employment equity bill would cause reverse discrimination because it relied on the voluntary self-identification of minorities in the public service.

In March I had a call from one of my constituents who was told by the Public Service Commission that job applications were only being accepted from visible minorities. Although she was very distraught and upset at the time, my constituent had the presence of mind to ask for a telephone number for a supervisor, so I was able to confirm that this serious and unwarranted reverse discrimination had taken place.

How can this be employment equity? The Liberals' ill-advised legislation now has men pitted against men, women pitted against men, women pitted against other women, and all of it based on ethnic background. It is a guaranteed recipe for disharmony. The government refused to see it at the time and it still cannot see it.

There are none so blind as those who cannot see.

Community Economic DevelopmentStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.


Karen Kraft Sloan Liberal York North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the York Region and the municipalities of East Gwillimbury and Georgina, in partnership with Human Resources Development Canada, have established the East Gwillimbury-Georgina Community Investment Council.

The investment council has been established to foster local economic growth by providing financial assistance to community groups and local businesses. Many businesses in these communities in my riding of York North have benefited from financial support and are starting or growing their businesses.

Human Resources Development Canada, York Region, East Gwillimbury and Georgina should be congratulated for their innovative and creative approach to supporting community economic development.

Visible MinoritiesStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.


Gordon Earle NDP Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the hiring of visible minorities within the federal public service has been at crisis proportions for some time. But is it improving? No. This Liberal government, for all of its good words, seems to be intent on making matters worse for Canadians of colour.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission's analysis of this government's performance in 1998 shows an abysmal record. Out of 12,420 term staff positions filled last year, only 418 were visible minorities. That is only 3%. Out of 2,800 permanent jobs filled, only 184 were visible minorities. But with 685 visible minority positions lost, the Liberal government has had a net loss of 501 employees, or a decrease of 18%.

This is a slap in the face to all Canadians of colour. It flies in the face of the throne speech's words of support for diversity. It is yet another invisible barrier thrown up to prevent visible minority youth from aspiring to serve their community and country in the federal public service.

Finally, what is the government's response? More task forces, more boards, more inquiries and less visible minorities in the public service. Shame, shame.

FisheriesStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gilles Bernier Progressive Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, for years tensions have been escalating over who has the right to participate in the lobster fishery.

The historic 1990 Sparrow decision recognized the rights of aboriginal people to conduct a food fishery. This important supreme court decision should have forewarned the federal government of the likely success of further aboriginal challenges based on the 1760 treaties.

It would seem to me and most Canadians to be totally incomprehensible that the Liberal government would not have had an alternative strategy prepared in advance to respond to the recent supreme court ruling in the Donald Marshall Jr. decision.

The Liberal government had well over six years to prepare for any possible supreme court verdict and the fact that it was ill prepared for the violent reactions that were witnessed within New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland is nothing less than a dereliction of its duties.

The federal fisheries minister has a duty to protect the industry and as such the future livelihoods of both native and non-native fishers. His failure to act decisively and impose new regulations that would address the supreme court decision has led directly to the violence we witnessed over the past few weeks.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.


Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, for six years the Reform Party has stood in the House and demanded that the government cut taxes. Its standard response is “We are doing it”. All the while it has been raising taxes for Canadians every year.

The Toronto-Dominion Bank is only the latest to agree with us, that the government has been gouging Canadian taxpayers.

Why does the government continue to take more and more and more taxes from Canadian workers and businesses every year? Why does it do it?