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House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was foundation.

Topics

Motions For PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Scarborough—Rouge River Ontario

Liberal

Derek Lee LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers be allowed to stand.

Motions For PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Motions For PapersRoutine Proceedings

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from March 23 consideration of Bill C-4, an act to establish a foundation to fund sustainable development technology, as reported (with amendment) from the committee and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Canada Foundation For Sustainable Development Technology ActGovernment Orders

March 28th, 2001 / 3:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

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Some hon. members

Question.

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The Speaker

The question is on Motion No. 1. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Canada Foundation For Sustainable Development Technology ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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Some hon. members

No.

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The Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

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Some hon. members

Yea.

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The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

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Some hon. members

Nay.

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The Speaker

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

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The Speaker

The recorded division on Motion No. 1 stands deferred.

The next question is on Motion No. 10. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Canada Foundation For Sustainable Development Technology ActGovernment Orders

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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Some hon. members

No.

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The Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

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Some hon. members

Yea.

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The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

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Some hon. members

Nay.

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The Speaker

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

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The Speaker

The recorded division on Motion No. 10 stands deferred.

Canada Foundation For Sustainable Development Technology ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

moved:

Motion No. 3

That Bill C-4, in Clause 10, be amended by replacing line 22 on page 6 with the following:

“viour for terms that do not exceed five years and that are staggered so that not more than four terms will expire in any year.”

Motion No. 4

That Bill C-4, in Clause 10, be amended by replacing lines 34 and 35 on page 6 with the following:

“for one term not exceeding five years.”

Mr. Speaker, Motion No. 3 is an amendment to clause 10 which amends the terms held by the directors of the foundation.

As the legislation exists now, directors are appointed to terms of five years. The motion would ensure that terms are staggered in such a way that there would be a turnover of directors to bring in new ideas and prevent stagnation at the director level. In short, directors would serve staggered terms so we could bring in new directors. The directors would appoint new directors. We would continually bring in new ideas from professionals, university professors and many different segments in Canadian society.

At the same time, we would state that no more than four terms would expire in any year. That would mean continuity and that directors would never be left completely in a void. They would have some institutional memory of the board and would understand and have some knowledge of the history of the board. If we did not do that there would be a risk that they would lose that institutional memory. That is the reason for this amendment.

I would hope that the House and the members of the Liberal caucus and the government would support that amendment.

Canada Foundation For Sustainable Development Technology ActGovernment Orders

3:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Canadian Alliance Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak once again to Bill C-4 and to speak to Motions Nos. 3 and 4. I will start by repeating my position that the bill has real merit. If the government sees fit to support my amendment in Group No. 3, we may yet have a chance as a party to support the bill at third reading.

Motions Nos. 3 and 4 are a credible effort by the member for South Shore to tighten up the bill, at least to some degree. Even if he were to achieve what he is suggesting in the motions, the bill would still leave a lot to be desired, but at least it would be a step in the right direction. We would be willing to support those two motions.

The whole bill has been created like a sieve, and I suspect that was deliberate on the part of the minister and the government. When the minister was before committee he suggested that some of the vagueness and loose wording in the bill was put there to allow maximum flexibility in the application of the principles of the bill.

That was admirable, but I think it is incumbent upon us, as an opposition to the government and in representing the concerns of Canadians, to demand some checks and balances in the bill that would protect value for money when we are spending taxpayer dollars. The issue of this particular group around the membership of the foundation and the directors of the foundation is one of the areas of concern.

The government refers to reasonable expenses and reasonable costs. To some degree it addresses the issue of remuneration for directors. It specifically leaves out any mention of remuneration for the chairman who is appointed by the governor in council or by the Prime Minister. This is reason to be concerned.

When we last visited the bill some days ago some members presented a number of examples of extravagant or ridiculous use of taxpayer dollars in government operations, boards, foundations and departments. Some of those examples were a bit extreme but they did point out why we should be concerned.

The example I would use concerns Mr. Ted Weatherill who was a government bureaucrat. He was under the same guidelines of reasonable expenses and reasonable remuneration. He turned in a bill to taxpayers for $21,000 in three years for his travel expenses. These things actually happen. It is not a figment of anybody's imagination. The concern is legitimate when we are dealing with this matter.

We could fix the bill. We could make it a bill that we could support in the interests of cleaner air and a cleaner environment. However we cannot support it because it is custom made for the abuse of tax dollars. It would not take an awful lot to fix it.

When we were last debating the bill the minister said that the criteria and the funding agreement would be tabled in due course and that if we or other members of the House had a problem with it we would have an opportunity to bring it forward and discuss it.

That is quite true, but if there is one thing I have learned in the seven years I have been here, it is that a member can bring things to the House and discuss them until he suffers from premature failure of his vocal chords and nothing will happen. The fact that we can discuss issues in the House does not mean that the concerns are ever addressed.

It would be much more prudent to fix the bill before we passed it and to address our concerns so that we could then support the bill.

We support this group of motions. They are well intended and move in the right direction, although they fall far short of fixing the bill. At least it is an honest effort in the right direction. When it comes time to vote we will be supporting the motions.