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House of Commons Hansard #109 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was taxes.

Topics

Income Tax Act Amendments, 1999Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

At the request of the chief government whip, the division on the motion is deferred until later this day.

The House resumed from June 6 consideration of the motion that Bill C-11, an act to authorize the divestiture of the assets of, and to dissolve, the Cape Breton Development Corporation, to amend the Cape Breton Development Corporation Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts, be read the third time and passed.

Cape Breton Development Corporation Divestiture Authorization And Dissolution ActGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

It being 5:30 p.m. the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage on Bill C-11. Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 1352Government Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

(Motion No. 11. On the Order: Government Orders)

June 5, 2000—Consideration of a Ways and Means motion to amend the Income Tax Act, the Income Tax Application Rules and certain Acts related to the Income Tax Act.

Ways And MeansGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

Pursuant to order made earlier today the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred division on Ways and Means Motion No. 11.

Ways And MeansGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Kilger Liberal Stormont—Dundas, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think you would find unanimous consent for the members who voted on the previous motion to be recorded has having voted on the motion now before the House, with Liberals voting yea.

Ways And MeansGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there agreement to proceed in such a fashion?

Ways And MeansGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Ways And MeansGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian Alliance members present this evening wish vehemently and unanimously that their vote be recorded as opposed to this motion.

Ways And MeansGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc Quebecois oppose the motion.

Ways And MeansGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, members of the New Democratic Party vote no on this motion.

Ways And MeansGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Progressive Conservative members are opposed to this motion.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 1353Government Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-25, an act to amend the Income Tax Act, the Excise Tax Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 1999, be read the third time and passed.

Income Tax Amendments Act, 1999Government Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

Pursuant to order made earlier today, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at the third reading stage of Bill C-25.

Income Tax Amendments Act, 1999Government Orders

6 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Kilger Liberal Stormont—Dundas, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe you would find consent to apply the results of the vote just taken to the motion now before the House.

Income Tax Amendments Act, 1999Government Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there agreement to proceed in such a fashion?

Income Tax Amendments Act, 1999Government Orders

6 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 1354Government Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

Division No. 1354Government Orders

6 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona was not present for this vote.

Division No. 1354Government Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

It will be recorded.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

Division No. 1354Government Orders

6 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. It being 6.07 p.m. the House will now to proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's order paper.

The House resumed from April 11 consideration of the motion and of the amendment.

International Circumpolar CommunityPrivate Members' Business

June 7th, 2000 / 6:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to thank the member for Churchill River for presenting to the House a motion which increases our awareness of the various issues concerning Canada's and Quebec's circumpolar community.

He did it through Motion No. 237, which reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should recognize the 55th parallel as the identified Canadian boundary for participation in the international circumpolar community.

Let me explain the substance of this motion. Right now, Canada uses the 60th parallel as the boundary of its circumpolar region. However, most countries bordering on the Arctic use the 55th parallel as the boundary of their circumpolar region. In other words, for them, the international circumpolar region is north of the 55th parallel.

Almost 30 years ago, Louis-Edmond Hamelin, the founding director of the Centre d'études nordiques at Laval University, a unique research centre in Quebec, said, and rightly so:

Definitions of the north mainly depend on the criteria used to assess the situation. Many tests have shown that the boundaries and the main elements of the north are not perceived the same way by those who live there. Some still believe that the north can be confined within specific isolines, such as the arctic circle. As for the federal, provincial and territorial governments, they are using, between Alaska and the Hudson Bay region, the 60th parallel, which has little natural meaning and makes little sense.

Mr. Hamelin then proposed to set a number of criteria to define what would become the “Hamelin line”, which defines the boundaries of the north according to various factors such as climate, population, latitude, precipitation, means of transportation and economic activity. That boundary is generally well below the 60th parallel.

We know that political relations in that area have been deeply affected by the cold war. Since the end of the cold war, co-operation mechanisms have been developed to improve relations between different countries in the circumpolar region and address various issues on a multilateral basis.

I am thinking here about things like the Canadian initiative to create the Arctic Council, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the strategy to protect the Arctic environment, the Nordic Forum, the Canadian Polar Commission, and the International Arctic Science Committee.

Canadian communities in the northern part of our provinces, beyond the 55th parallel, cannot take part in these great forums where are being discussed issues that are their concern in many ways. Like the hon. member for Churchill River said, we have forgotten people in that part of the Canadian north.

All these communities very often share the same concerns and aspirations. They have the same environmental problems generated by the south. The arctic environment is particularly vulnerable, and many dangers are already present there, like transborder air and water pollutants.

Why could these people, who know their territory so well, not take part in these discussions, offer solutions and make their views known? We have a lot to learn about sustainable development from the traditional knowledge of the people who live in these areas.

Moreover, north of the 55th and 60th parallels, there are important mineral and mining resources, and the economic development of the Arctic is vital to better living conditions of people in these areas. Why could they not be full participants in the dialogue on resource management?

Finally, I would like to speak about international co-operation in science and technology, which started afresh after the end of the cold war. The International Arctic Science Committee, or IASC, is made up of the national scientific organizations of the eight Arctic countries, including Canada, and other countries engaged in research in the Arctic.

It would be unfair, to say the least, if the provinces' northern regions between the 55th and 60th parallels could not be included in the research carried out by these organizations because, territorially speaking, they are not considered part of the circumpolar region.

I do not believe the sponsor of the motion, the member for Churchill River, intends to survey the far north and put markers or stakes every six feet. Nor is it his intention to alter the borders of the provinces through a possible change to the circumpolar territorial limit.

No, the noble principle behind the motion by the member for Churchill River is rather to allow communities living between the 55th and 60th parallels to be full members of the international circumpolar community. If passed, the motion will mean that Canada will finally accept the limit internationally recognized by the northern community.

I also wish to point out that we are debating a motion, not a bill. As I said at the beginning, the great merit of Motion No. 237 is to raise the Canadian and Quebec circumpolar issue, to evaluate the challenges involved, to solve the existing problems and to promote sustainable development in this area.

In conclusion, I want to stress once again the importance of adopting the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Mercier to replace, in the French version of the motion, the term “frontière” by the words “limite territoriale”. At first glance, the nuance may seem subtle, if not insignificant. Yet, there is a clear difference between “frontière” and “limite territoriale”.

Indeed, the French dictionary Le Petit Robert partly defines “frontière” as a “ligne idéale, au tracé arbitraire, généralement jalonnée par des signes conventionnels (bornes, barrières, poteaux, bouées”. The word “limite” seems much more appropriate, since its first meaning is “ligne qui sépare deux terrains ou territoires contigus”.

It is therefore imperative, so as to avoid any confusion, to adopt the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Mercier in the French version of the motion. As she said so appropriately, we completely change the meaning of his motion if we change the border of the provinces. Tis is not at all what the member for Churchill River intended with his motion.

During their study on Canada and the circumpolar region, all the members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade came to realize that the communities living north of the 55th parallel have a unique environment and culture. There can be no sustainable development and economy without their contribution and without the concrete knowledge that these people have of their milieu.

This is why the Bloc Quebecois will support Motion M-237, with the amendment we proposed.

International Circumpolar CommunityPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Mancini NDP Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Motion No. 237, brought forward by my colleague the member for Churchill River, which deals with the international circumpolar community. I will read the motion for those who are not familiar with it:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should recognize the 55th parallel as the identified Canadian boundary for participation in the international circumpolar community.

The motion sounds a little complicated but I think for those who read it carefully its meaning will be fairly clear.

We recognize the hon. member from the Bloc Quebecois and her amendment to the motion. She raises a valid point and an interpretation for a greater understanding of the honourable intent behind Motion No. 237.

The motion calls for leadership and a vision for the future of this country. Canada is a large country with diverse regions and economies. This diversity includes our varied cultures and histories. One need only look at the House, at some of the artwork and some of the names of the members of parliament to understand how diverse and rich our culture is.

This land is based upon shared values and a common sense of purpose in the face of geographic challenges. This point is often missed by those who would compare us to our neighbours to the south.

In the debate on this motion we have listened to the different policy spins and an apparent refusal for parliament as a whole to demonstrate leadership and vision in this new millennium.

However, we do acknowledge and thank the members who have spoken in favour of this motion. The members recognize this motion for its intent to include a very marginalized sector of Canada, the northern regions between the 55th and 60th parallels. Broadening the participation and opportunities for these northern regions and communities can provide a better socioeconomic future for current and future generations.

One has to ask the question, why should these northern areas of Canada be delegated to base resource extraction where material shipped south is processed and value added goods and services are repurchased by the north?

Coming from the east, from the island of Cape Breton, I understand all too well what happens when raw materials are shipped to one part of the country to be processed and sent back for us to purchase again. It is ironic that we should talk about that on the night that we will vote on the Devco bill, which was an attempt to diversify the economy after years of doing exactly what has been happening to the people in the north.

The House surely can recognize an opportunity for a region to find greater self-sufficiency and move forward on its own. In turn that would create less dependency on traditional revenue sources and greater equality. There are pockets of the country which are extremely wealthy and are doing extremely well, and there are other regions, and certainly the north is one, where that wealth is not shared. It is time to allow the people in the north greater self-sufficiency and to move forward in that regard.

We have listened as the government commits to one progressive northern circumpolar policy and then does the exact opposite in action. As I have said in the House over the last few days, the government's actions certainly speak louder than its legislation and its words and rhetoric.

If we look at some of the findings on file, the government's response to the 1997 report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade is almost exclusively in relation to DIAND definitions of the north, that being north of the 60th parallel. The response includes the following points at page 10, recommendation 32:

The government is committed to involving northern stakeholders, especially aboriginal peoples, in international discussions of Arctic issues and Canada has played a lead role within the Arctic Council to ensure that this commitment is met.

This landmark committee report was based on an overall circumpolar community, not on a limitation to a 60th parallel boundary of convenience. The standing committee recommended:

—an explicit goal of federal government circumpolar affairs policy should be to facilitate community based local, and regional level contacts, in close co-operation with provincial and territorial governments and their Arctic constituencies—

We are talking about involving the people who live in the communities in decision making.

—as well as in ongoing consultation with indigenous peoples' organizations, the private sector, and NGOs working on circumpolar sustainable development issues. A concerted effort should be made to avoid the duplication of initiatives, while at the same time assisting co-ordination among the various Canadian actors working towards common circumpolar objectives.

That recommendation is exactly what this motion is intended to expedite. This is not some flighty idea; it has come forward after real thought, consideration and a report.

Decisions are being made not by the circumpolar communities and regions affected, but are based on multinational interests content with maximum development profits with as little interference as possible.

In September 1998 the Minister of Foreign Affairs published his vision for a northern foreign policy. He postulated on core Canadian values and long term national objectives, and “a greater focus in the north itself on self-reliance and sustainable development”. Again we are asking the community to be involved in decision making.

Let me return to the circumpolar community report. I am quoting from page three of the government's response:

For the most part, the Government of Canada accepts the recommendations of the Standing Committee, especially the underlying themes of renewing commitment to northern issues and circumpolar relations, and to the pursuit of domestic and foreign policies that will enhance sustainable opportunities for aboriginal people and for other northerners.

If that is what the government wants, then why should we not support this motion? It is not a bill; it is a motion.

At the 1999 World Summit on Nordicity held in Quebec City last February, there were open and frank discussions on the north and future options for northern communities. It was stated at the summit:

The question of the boundaries of the frigid zone has not yet been settled. A proposed indicator comprising 10 factors establishes the limit of this zone at between 50 and 70 degrees north latitude. Southeastern Russia and southeastern Canada are the two places in the world where polar conditions extend the farthest south.

Varying definitions for the north include temperature factors, geological indicators, and as many of my NDP colleagues have indicated, ecoregions.

The concrete answers and directions for northern participation and involvement in circumpolar affairs vary, as they shall in perpetuity. It is a disservice and unfair to northern Canadians to place limits based on a federal government department's arbitrary boundary.

As my colleague from Churchill River stated, the 60th parallel is a boundary of convenience drawn up by dominion surveyors without credence or comprehension of the peoples and the circumstances through Canada's great north. Shared international circumpolar community resources, culture and sustainable concerns should not be limited by outdated policies. As my colleague from Churchill River, Saskatchewan, likes to say, the south forgets that Canada's north is indeed inhabited.

During discussions with foreign affairs on this motion, the hon. member stated repeatedly that northern interests and stakeholders must be included and indeed encouraged to participate in northern and circumpolar activities and initiatives.

There is nothing radical in this motion. It has been studied. It has been reported. It is a call by northerners to be involved in making their own decisions and a call to recognize that they have a substantial contribution to make in developing their own economy. I fail to see why anyone in the House could not support the motion.