Madam Speaker, first of all, I wish to congratulate the hon. member sponsoring this motion for his tenacity, since I recall this motion being discussed in a previous session. He has now been faithful to himself and introduced it again, in light of the seriousness of the issue it raises.
A mine explosion in Nova Scotia raised the question of whether the legislation was or was not equal to the task of properly handling a similar situation. The government of the province mandated Justice Peter Richard to carry out a public inquiry in order to cast light on all of the circumstances surrounding this tragedy.
An extremely sizeable report, released in November 1997, provided a chronology of all of the events and a highly detailed analysis of the legislation. The judge primarily addressed provincial labour law, however, in keeping with the Nova Scotia ministerial order.
Hon. members will realize we will set aside that part of the report that addresses provincial legislation, because this is the federal level and we do not want to do what the federal government is generating complaints for doing, namely meddling in jurisdictions which are not ours.
The judge did make some comments on the Criminal Code and call for certain things. We should perhaps act on his observations in view of what he asked and show how seriously we take the report.
I repeat this, because I think it important: we support the motion of the Conservative member, but we would like it to be examined in the light of federal legislation. In order for this to occur, the motion has to be referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for consideration.
With what I heard today, members will understand, there is nothing much left for me to say, except to move an amendment to Motion M-79.
That the motion be amended by adding the following between the words “amended” and “in accordance”: “following study by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights”.
Once this study is complete, federal legislation may be really focused accordingly and in appropriate response to the judge in the matter.
I will quote what the judge said in this regard and more precisely recommendation 73 of the report, which the Conservative member's motion refers to. Recommendation 73 of the Richard report reads as follows:
The Government of Canada, through the Department of Justice, should institute a study of the accountability of corporate executives and directors for the wrongful or negligent acts of the corporation and should introduce in the Parliament of Canada such amendments to legislation as are necessary to ensure that corporate executives and directors are held properly accountable for workplace safety.
This recommendation gives us the opening I mentioned earlier to intervene in this matter and especially to do a detailed study of all aspects of mining safety. I therefore move this amendment.