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House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chapter.

Topics

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1:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, we routinely hear calls from the left in Canada denouncing NAFTA's chapter 11, the World Trade Organization and free trade in general. Unfortunately their pedestrian understanding of trade matters undermines the rights of union workers whose interests they claim to represent.

Had the NDP view prevailed during the FTA debate in 1988, auto workers would have been in deep trouble when the WTO struck down the longstanding Canada-U.S. auto pact. That decision alone could have wiped out union jobs in towns like Windsor, Oakville, Oshawa and Sainte-Therese.

However the FTA agreement, an agreement the left so strongly denounces, protected those jobs and established free market rules that allowed auto exports to the U.S. to grow by 15%. That has increased the opportunities, wealth and living standards of thousands of Canadian auto workers.

If members of the radical left in Canada want to be taken seriously and not labelled hypocrites, they should adopt the same standards of openness, democracy and transparency they demand from others. If they want open door free-for-alls when Canada negotiates bilateral or multilateral trade deals they should be willing to live by the same standards.

In fact they should lead by example. They should demonstrate to Canadians how their nirvana of openness would work in practice. They should open up all future union-management contract negotiations to public scrutiny. They should answer questions from citizens who are concerned about the impact of proposed labour deals on the environment, culture, the economy and society at large. They should discuss the impact of such deals on the cost of labour, on post-secondary education and on the way we all feel about one another. The media would of course be invited to these free-for-alls.

Fortunately no serious economist, social scientist, commentator or politician believes such a system could work. More important, no serious unionists or business leaders would impose such a regime of unreasonable checks on their own behaviour. They understand that there is a place for consultation and closed door negotiations and then a place for the rank and file to vote on a final agreement. That is the approach that the Canadian Alliance and I support, and that is exactly what needs to happen.

When I hear that the fourth party is opposed to the investor state provisions in NAFTA's chapter 11, I cannot help but wonder what they stand for and, more important, where they have been for the past few years. Consider the following paragraph:

The investor affected shall have a right, under the law of the Contracting Party making the expropriation, to prompt review, by a judicial or other independent authority of that Party, of its case and of the valuation of its investment or returns in accordance with the principles set out in this Article.

The text I just read is not from NAFTA's chapter 11. It is article 8, paragraph 2 of the Canada-Egypt foreign investment protection agreement. It is also article 8, paragraph 2 of the Canada-Philippines foreign investment protection agreement and article 8, paragraph 2 of the Canada-Venezuela foreign investment protection Agreement.

It could also have been taken from similar foreign investment protection agreements, or FIPAs, that Canada is negotiating with a growing list of countries from Armenia to Uruguay. It could just as easily have been taken from article 8, paragraph 2 of the Canada-Croatia foreign investment protection agreement. That agreement went into effect on January 30 of this year and the NDP does not even appear to have noticed. It is still fighting battles from 1988.

The NDP seems unconcerned that all these agreements have clauses allowing investors to submit disputes with signatory states to arbitration by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, an international ad hoc arbitration tribunal established under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.

Let me say that again. A foreign investment protection agreement with Croatia, which features investor state provisions virtually identical to NAFTA's chapter 11, went into effect on January 30 of this year and the far left has said nothing. It seems the radical left follows trade issues about as carefully as New Zealanders follow hockey.

I used to play hockey. If I am in a bar and people with a New Zealand accent tell me it is great that the Canadian team scored three touchdowns against Italy at the world hockey championships, I will thank them for their support but will likely not take their advice on next year's hockey pool. So it is with the fourth party in the House when it comes to trade policy. Its members seem to know as much about world trade as I do about yodelling.

The NDP's principal argument against chapter 11 is that it limits the government's ability to protect our environment and sovereignty in the same way that the charter of rights initially compelled Canadian police forces to adapt to the country's newly enshrined citizens rights.

Canada's international trade agreements will require governments to think smarter and more consistently in making public policy decisions. Chapter 11 of NAFTA is based on five basic principles. The first is transparency. Investors have a right to know what the law is and governments cannot capriciously change rules midstream.

The second is national treatment. We must treat investors from other countries the same way we treat Canadian investors, provided they do the same for us. In other words, we cannot stop Wal-Mart from building a big box store unless we are prepared to apply the same rules to Zellers, Canadian Tire or Rona.

The third is protection of investors. We cannot take property without offering compensation, and a property owner has the right to ask an independent body to determine if the compensation is fair.

The fourth is quick and fair settlement of disputes. Parties should get a quick and impartial decision.

The fifth is reciprocity. Canadian companies doing business abroad should be treated the same way we treat foreign companies here.

People may why ask they did not hear about investor state rights until recently. It is likely because the five principles I just listed are so basic to Canada and to our major trading partners that there was never any need to write them down.

It should come as no surprise that we are not negotiating foreign investment protection agreements with the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Taiwan or Australia. Those countries have long respected the five principles and thus there is no need for a formal agreement.

Every case in which we have included NAFTA chapter 11 type language has extended Canada's notion of an independent judiciary to less progressive states in regions like eastern Europe and Latin America.

Most lawyers will say that for foreign companies doing business in Canada NAFTA chapter 11 changes almost nothing. The left jumps up and down hysterically about the Ethyl Corporation case yet fails to point out that Canada's supreme court would probably have reached the same decision regardless of chapter 11.

Let us consider point 13 from the Ethyl Corporation's statement of claim. The MMT act does not prohibit the manufacture or use of MMT in Canada. It merely requires that all MMT sold in Canadian unleaded gasoline is 100% Canadian. A domestic manufacturer of MMT can manufacture and distribute MMT for use in unleaded gasoline entirely within a province and not violate the MMT act.

If the Ethyl Corporation wanted to maintain its presence in the Canadian octane enhancement market it would be required to build an MMT manufacturing, blending and storage facility in each province.

The left would have us believe that the Ethyl case proves that chapter 11 prevents us from protecting the environment. That is not so. If the federal government had banned outright the use of MMT in Canada, regardless of where it was made, the Ethyl Corporation would not have been able to use the discrimination clause which was so central to its case.

Let us think about this. Let us suppose the city of Ottawa decided that pizza contained a cancer causing ingredient and then used those health concerns to support a law prohibiting anyone from bringing pizza to Ottawa from Hull. If the city of Ottawa did not force its own pizza restaurants and vendors to close, the supreme court would probably find discrimination and force it to back down, repeal the law, award compensation and find another mechanism for banning the dangerous food. However it would not deny it the capacity to ban what is dangerous. It is the same with MMT.

NAFTA chapter 11 is nothing more or less than what has been the status quo in Canada since we adopted the British legal system before Confederation. By putting such language into NAFTA and into foreign investment protection agreements, we are simply asking other countries to give our companies and investors the same respect we have long given companies and investors, both Canadian and foreign, here in Canada.

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1:40 p.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague opposite from the Alliance Party for his very cogent comments. It is pleasing to hear some rational discussion, having had quite a bit of hyperbole and rhetoric from the far left earlier in the day.

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1:40 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

What is your business? What is your corporation?

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1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Liberal London—Fanshawe, ON

I have two questions for my colleague. As he and I recall, and as the NDP member who is hollering will recall, the FTAA was not an election issue at all. It had been negotiated for many months. When the election campaign was underway it was well known that Canada was involved in the discussions.

Why did the hon. member's leader and party fail to realize it at the time? Why are they only now jumping up and down and getting excited? Were they asleep at the switch? Did they not realize at that time that it was an important matter?

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1:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am reluctant to judge people's motives but they do seem suspect. If one feels passionately about an issue then one has a responsibility to bring it to the fore.

Perhaps the members of the fourth party we have heard here today have talked about the issue at the constituency level. The leader of the NDP did not bring it up in the leaders' debate. It was not raised in my constituency because the NDP in British Columbia are free traders. If federal NDP candidates in British Columbia stood and said that they were opposed to free trade, they would be contradicting 85% of their base supporters who put up lawn signs, raise money and so on. Perhaps that answers part of the member's question.

However, it is suspect that they feel passionately about the issue but did not raise it. They say the issue is central to the essence of what it is to be Canadian and will have a profound impact on our sovereignty. They knew the issue was coming down the pike and yet they said nothing. The member opposite has a point. Why did they not raise the issue? That is a good question. Perhaps we will hear an answer from members of the fourth party.

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1:40 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member from the Alliance and I will put to him the comment made by Clayton Yeutter who was the U.S. trade representative when the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement was signed. A few days after it was signed he was quoted as saying that the U.S. had signed an amazing agreement with Canada and that Canada did not understand what it had signed. He also said that in 20 years Canada would be sucked entirely into the U.S. economy. That was 13 years ago. We have seven to go. Would the hon. member care to comment on Mr. Yeutter's statement?

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1:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have heard those predictions for centuries. Mr. Yeutter is probably not laughing today, 13 years later. Canada has an enormous trade surplus with the United States. I do not think he would be laughing about that now.

I suggest, frankly, that when members of the fourth party want credibility on the subject they regurgitate quotes that are a little younger than 13 years old.

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1:40 p.m.

An hon. member

Soon you will not even be a party.

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1:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

The member for Burnaby—Douglas is heckling and that is fine. I will never forget the hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas at the battle in Seattle. Some of the protestors there had about as much credibility as a 13 year old quote.

My favourite scene from the riots is a protester, vehemently opposed to globalization and integration of nations, who picked up a rock, smashed the front window of a Radio Shack store and stole a satellite dish. Typical.

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1:45 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will resist the temptation to respond to that learned diatribe from the hon. member. However I would ask for clarification and for the edification of the House, if the hon. member could indicate who the official spokesperson is on international trade for the Alliance today? On Friday it was the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands. Who is it today?

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1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, this speaks precisely to the comment I made earlier. If this is an issue of national sovereignty, if the member wants to debate the issue, and if the member wants to talk about the impact of NAFTA's chapter 11, why is he asking us who our trade critic is?

We have had a whole list of speakers. The member for Lethbridge has spoken. The member for Kootenay—Columbia, with whom I am sharing my time, will be speaking in a minute as well. We have consistently spoken up on this issue and consistently spoken for free trade.

I suggest to the member for Burnaby—Douglas that he ought to have his platform thoroughly ironed out with his provincial party and spend a little more time analyzing free trade agreements such as the Canada foreign investment protection agreement with Croatia. Members of his party have said nothing about it in the House. They are totally negligent of their responsibilities to bash capitalism. If he spent more time studying free trade rather than—

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1:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia.

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1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a couple of minutes to talk about a related issue. I will be speaking specifically to the NDP motion in just a second.

I wish to clarify something, because I have had this question asked of myself having been the chief critic for the Reform Party and now the Canadian Alliance. It is the issue of the truthfulness of the Prime Minister's Office with respect to his involvement at APEC and the APEC pepper spray events.

I wish to clarify and to be very precise. The protection provided by the police forces for international persons who were in Quebec City, as they did at APEC and as they did at every other event in Canada, was excellent. There have been some events where they have gone over the top, but when one is in a riot situation there will be situations where people will go over the top.

My position and the position of our party with respect to APEC is that the riot and the pepper spraying that went on there had nothing to do with the actions of the police. That will be something that the public complaints commission will decide under the leadership of the public complaints commissioner. It had everything to do with whether the Prime Minister's Office was forthcoming about whether the Prime Minister was actually involved in the event. That is an important distinction to make.

I would like to use two examples to speak specifically to the NDP motion. I would like to use two examples of how chapter 11 is supposed to work and why it is there. They are pure fabrications.

In British Columbia we have a very large multinational corporation from New Zealand that has a stake in our forest industry. We also have, as a result of the low exchange rate the government constantly gives us, a major B.C. corporation which has been taken over by a U.S. concern.

These companies enter Canada with funding operations and capital. Do they have the right as foreign owners to anticipate, given the rules with respect to logging and forestry practices and all of the other things that surround the rules and regulations, they would be treated in exactly the same way as a Canadian based corporation would be treated?

We have Canadian workers working for Weyerhaeuser Canada Ltd. and Fletcher Challenge. Should those workers and corporations be treated any differently than the workers working for West Fraser, Interfor or Canfor?

The names I am bandying around are to show that within the forest industry in British Columbia there is a potpourri of ownership. I submit that any domestic or foreign corporation investing in the forest industry in British Columbia should anticipate that the rules and regulations of the B.C. forest practices code will be applied equally.

It makes no difference which corporation by virtue of its ownership is doing it. It makes a big difference to the workers within the forest industry, which is so important to British Columbia. It is equally important to the workers in every other industry in Canada.

I will go to the other extreme. We should expect in return what we give. I assume that under the FTAA there is an article 11 type of mechanism included. What difference would that make for the people who are in the mining industry in my constituency?

My constituency happens to produce the majority of the metallurgical coal for export from Canada. There are about 12,000 people directly impacted by coal production in my constituency. There is also at the tag end of its life what was the largest lead-zinc deposit in the entire Commonwealth in Kimberley and under Cominco.

Why would we want to see a chapter 11 on behalf of people working in the mining industry in my constituency? If Teck, Cominco, Canadian Pacific or any of the Canadian based corporations were to go with their mining expertise to Chile, Ecuador, Peru or Argentina, I would assume that having explored and having found an ore deposit the corporation would go into production. It would then end up putting a quarter of a billion, a half a billion or perhaps a billion dollars into the infrastructure required to actually work the ore deposit.

Let us assume that we do not have an article 11 in the FTAA and one of these nations very flippantly decides to bring in some special regulations against the Canadian based company. Suddenly this quarter billion, half billion or billion dollar investment by the Canadian corporation is standing in a very cold draft because one of these countries decided to pay special attention to the Canadian company.

Corporations must have the ability to protect themselves against capricious acts on the part of foreign governments. This is not to impute any ill will. It is simply to give some feeling of security when corporations invest funds.

I will extend that further. What does it mean to the workers at the mines in my constituency? In this fabricated case I will assume that the full billion dollars invested in Chile, Ecuador, Peru or Argentina was suddenly at risk. By putting the billion dollars invested in that ore deposit at risk, suddenly the cash flow of the multinational Canadian company is in jeopardy. It is in peril.

What would the company do? The company may very well have to pull back on its operations in Sparwood, Fernie, Elkford or any other place in Canada.

This is true of any corporation where we are talking about the free flow of capital around the world, of Canadian corporations having the opportunity to be able to invest as they see fit and of growing their businesses as they see fit. Corporations want to know that their money will not be in jeopardy.

Members of the NDP are always talking about the worker. I agree that the working people in Canada are exceptionally important. These people would be protected by virtue of the fact that their employers, by virtue of chapter 11, would have more surety knowing what would be happening within their domain of commerce.

It is only logical and reasonable that when money is to be invested, whether it is people coming into Canada with money or Canadian money going out of Canada to invest for the betterment of the Canadian company, those corporations would know what are the rules and that the foreign governments would not be able to act in a capricious way against them. That is all chapter 11 is about.

I am surprised that my friends in the New Democratic Party are not more prepared to work for some surety for the working people of Canada.

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1:55 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to rise today to speak to the NDP motion concerning chapter 11. I do so as the former chair of the subcommittee on international trade, trade disputes and investment in the last session of parliament.

The general purpose of chapter 11 of NAFTA is to protect foreign investors and foreign investment from trade distorting discriminatory treatment. This general purpose would protect Canadian investors and Canadian investment in the United States and Mexico and would help to create jobs, prosperity and wealth for Canadians.

Protection for the ability of Canadians to trade is very important to Canada's prosperity. Exports of Canadian goods and services account for more than 45% of Canada's gross domestic product. Canada's economic success depends on open markets, a stable trading environment and a rules based system.

Investment is also very important to Canada. Since 1993 direct investment in Canada has more than doubled. This inward investment helps build a knowledge economy to prepare Canada to compete confidently on a global stage.

Last year we attracted a record $93.2 billion in new foreign direct investment. In 2000 our inward investment reached $291 billion. At the same time Canadian investment abroad grew from $98 billion in 1990 to $301 billion in 2000.

When Canadian companies look abroad for new opportunities they often invest to gain a foothold in foreign markets. In the year 2000 Canadians invested nearly $62 billion to expand our global presence abroad—

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1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member but it being two o'clock it is now time to proceed with statements by members. The hon. member will have eight and a half minutes or so remaining in the time for her remarks when we resume the debate.

Gold MiningStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada, through the Minister of Natural Resources, should introduce emergency legislation on providing assistance in the operation of gold mines in Canada in order to help the operators of these mines deal with significant increases in the costs of production, while assuring them of a set price for the gold they produce.

I repeat. The Government of Canada, through the Minister of Natural Resources, should introduce emergency legislation on providing assistance in the operation of gold mines in Canada in order to help the operators of these mines deal with significant increases in the costs of production, while assuring them of a set price for the gold they produce.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Philip Mayfield Canadian Alliance Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, I remind the government that former students of Indian residential schools are still looking to it for leadership.

There have been 3,700 lawsuits launched by former students against the government. We are still waiting to see how it plans to respond and help these people. There is a strong possibility that more lawsuits will be launched, so there is a need to know how the government will deal with this problem.

As well, churches named in the lawsuits are still waiting for a signal from the government on how it plans to deal with these legal charges. Some churches have gone broke paying lawyers while waiting for answers and are preparing for bankruptcy because of the government's inaction. This is unfair not only to the churches but to those former students who need to move forward to rebuild their damaged lives.

Most important, we must ensure that whatever is decided, healing and reconciliation of the victims is the first priority.

Billions of dollars are at stake in this issue. I call on the government to provide that leadership and tell all Canadians how it plans to bring closure to this tragic chapter of our history.

Fresh Water ResourcesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada enjoys one of the largest supply of fresh water in the world. Lakes account for 7.6% of our country's area. That is over 755,000 square kilometres.

Our scientists have an extraordinary record in the knowledge and protection of our fresh water resources. New problems, such as climate changes and toxic pollutants, threaten our lakes and waterways. This is why the Liberal government has taken steps to protect them.

The Government of Canada is ensuring that all stakeholders in this matter have the means and the knowledge to enable us to protect our precious natural resources for future generations.

This is one way the Liberal government is achieving its objective of improving quality of life in Canada.

Children's ParkStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Liberal Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment today to talk about childhood dreams and a special playground in my riding.

EVERYkidspark in Orangeville, Ontario, is Canada's first boundless playground. What I mean by boundless is that it is accessible to children of various ability levels. A child who is bound to a wheelchair can at this park feel the thrill of going down a slide in total comfort. She or he can explore new challenges and play alongside his or her able-bodied siblings and friends.

This is a wonderful childhood pleasure and a dream come true for children with special needs, but it was not arrived at easily. EVERYkidspark committee has worked hard to garner tremendous support from the community to make this park a reality.

I extend to those devoted parents and professionals, especially Wendy Cook, the project's originator, best wishes for every success in expanding upon the limitless possibilities of this playground, which is every child's dream come true.

Jeunes En TêteStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, I was a most enthusiastic participant in the opening of the second Congrès pour AJIRR, Avenir des jeunes innovateurs regroupés en région, which took place in Mont-Laurier.

This activity was sponsored by a non-profit organization called Jeunes en tête, which was established in 1999 and is a financial partner with other federal and provincial organizations.

The mission of Jeunes en tête is to defend the interests of young people in the regional municipality of Antoine-Labelle and to promote their participation in the political, economic and social life of their community.

This year's congress addressed a topic of concern to me: the exodus of our young people to urban centres.

This problem puts the very future of our rural communities at risk. These young people, who possess the necessary skills and qualities to meet the demands of a difficult labour market, have worked together to develop action plans aimed at helping get other young people back to our regions.

In closing, I wish to extend my congratulations to all those involved in this laudable initiative.

Veterans AffairsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, veterans' organizations across Canada are about to receive another slap in the face from the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

The heritage department controls all national museums but has for years ignored the Canadian War Museum.

After the battle with the department over the Holocaust display, a war museum advisory committee made up of veterans' groups was set up to make sure that veterans' wishes would never again be ignored.

However, once again the veterans were not consulted and the minister in charge has decided that the new war museum will not be built on the preferred location at Rockcliffe. Instead, she has unilaterally chosen a much smaller site at LeBreton Flats.

Why has the government shown such disdain in moving the site without consultation and with an increase in expenditures of tens of millions of dollars?

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. The MS Society of Canada continues to lead the way as our country's foremost voluntary agency, providing services to people with MS and their families and supporting an extensive research network.

This past year, with the help of generous Canadians, the MS Society raised more than $21 million for research and services. It funded an additional $3.2 million to 14 potentially ground breaking MS research projects and 36 research scholarships.

The MS Society is bringing research from the test tube to people living with MS and there are now treatments for some forms of MS.

I wish to tell colleagues that tomorrow carnations will be handed out and I ask hon. members to wear them as a symbol of their support for all these amazing volunteers right across the country and to support MS research and services.

I wish to congratulate all MS Society volunteers. They make an incredible difference in the real lives of Canadians.

Quebec Cartier Mining CompanyStatements By Members

May 1st, 2001 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Fournier Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 19, the Quebec Cartier Mining Company took its workers by surprise by announcing a lockout.

Yesterday morning, I was pleased to learn that production was gradually resuming, after more than 70% of the 1,700 employees voted in favour of the company's offer.

The new collective agreement introduces new ways of organizing the work, as well as financial improvements to earnings, pensions and employee benefits.

I know from experience that attaining such an agreement requires both parties to sit down at the same table and negotiate in good faith.

As the member for Manicouagan, I wish to congratulate all the employees, and the representatives of their union and of management. There are a number of other companies in Port-Cartier and Fermont who can take this agreement as their model.

Forum For Young CanadiansStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to recognize the outstanding program known as Forum for Young Canadians and the youth who participate.

The Forum for Young Canadians is a valuable educational program that brings young people from all parts of this great nation together to learn about our political process.

The forum provides a learning experience through participation, workshops, presentations and a mock parliament. It gives students real hands-on experience.

During the week's activities, friendships are developed among participants from all provinces of Canada, friendships that last a lifetime.

The forum is continuing its legacy of encouraging young people to get involved in their communities, to become leaders and, in turn, to become great citizens.

The benefits are enormous. These youths are the leaders of tomorrow and their individual and collective experience will lead to the development of an even greater nation.

Hepatitis C MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Lunney Canadian Alliance Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, May is Hepatitis C Month in Canada. It is a time when we pause to reflect on the great human tragedy caused by tainted blood. We think of the families who have lost loved ones and we are reminded of those who struggle each day of their lives fighting this deadly disease.

Tragically, the government has victimized many for a second time by refusing compensation. I remind the health minister of his own words, “...I don't think that those claimants should have to spend their lifetime in litigation”. Yet that is exactly what is happening.

Not only are those who were infected before 1986 being mistreated by the minister, many who were promised compensation have yet to be paid. They have been waiting for over three years. The minister's record on hep C is shameful.

I would like to commend the Mid-Island Hepatitis C Society, led by Sue White of Ladysmith, and my colleague, the member for Nanaimo—Cowichan, for organizing last year's first ever hepatitis C candlelight vigil in Nanaimo.

Again today vigils will take place across Canada remembering the victims and raising awareness of hepatitis C.