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House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was compensation.

Topics

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, vis-à-vis softwood lumber the United States can take any approach it wants but it will not change the process of the government or the policy of the government to proceed on two tracks.

Discussions with the United States apparently finally are going to be more serious starting tomorrow.

Also, we will continue to pursue our legal options at the WTO. If necessary we will go right to the end of that process and win once again.

Highway SystemOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, today secondary students from Dégelis, Cabano and Edmundston, along with students attending the Rivière-du-Loup Cegep and the University of Moncton, have been demonstrating at Cabano in order to get the federal government to decide to invest the necessary funding in upgrading highway 185 between Rivière-du-Loup and Edmundston, which has recorded 30 fatalities over the past three years.

What is keeping the Minister of Transport from investing the necessary money to upgrade highway 185 in keeping with the commitment made by the Prime Minister nearly two years ago?

Highway SystemOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member is well aware, highways are a provincial responsibility.

If this is a priority for the Government of New Brunswick or for the Government of Quebec, there are funds now available in the program for assistance with major highways. The Minister of Finance gave $600 million for this two years ago.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. The failure to resolve the softwood lumber dispute is devastating workers, Canadian companies and forest dependent communities.

In negotiations, one normally reduces the number of issues on the table while continuing to strive for a comprehensive solution. There is agreement on both sides of the border that coastal products like western red cedar and northern hemlock are not in dispute.

Why, then, have Canadian negotiators not been instructed to reach an interim agreement where one is possible?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as for the main part of the question I will have to take it under advisement and report back to the member, but she did mention workers. As we know, the Government of Canada takes the plight of laid off workers very seriously.

There is a plethora of programs available. The government is in wide consultation with the industry representatives in B.C. to assist workers who are laid off and facing in a very serious situation resulting from punitive U.S. trade action.

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, I wrote the Minister of Health a week or so ago regarding pressure treated lumber in New Brunswick and other parts of Canada that uses a chemical called CCA, which is going to be eliminated or restricted for use in the U.S. and which would of course restrict our exports to the U.S. and to Europe.

I would ask the minister whether there has been any movement on the approval of CBA and what she looks forward to in terms of a timeframe for approval.

Lumber IndustryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Health is reviewing alternatives to CCA pressure treated wood.

While I cannot speak directly to the timing of any application for approval that has been or will be made, let me reassure the hon. member I have heard about this matter from a number of interested members of parliament from across the country and we are taking this matter under active advisement.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I also wish to inform the House of the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Abdeslam Zenined, Minister of Transportation and Shipping of the Kingdom of Morocco.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

PrivilegeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Edmonton Centre-East concerning statements made in the House by the former minister of public works.

I would like to thank the hon. member for bringing this matter to the attention of the House and also the government House leader for his comments.

In raising this question, the hon. member for Edmonton Centre-East charged that the former Minister of Public Works had on a number of occasions deliberately misled the House concerning the relationship between the Minister and the operations of crown corporations. In support of his charge, the hon. member referred to statements attributed to a former chairman of the Canada Lands Corporation in various newspaper reports.

Let us first recognize that this case makes allegations about the conduct of a former minister who is now no longer even a member of the House. I want to remind hon. members of the need for caution in framing remarks concerning individuals outside the House. With respect to members' freedom of speech Mr. Speaker Fraser stated on May 5, 1987, at page 5766 of Debates :

Such a privilege confers grave responsibilities on those who are protected by it. By that I mean specifically the Hon. Members of this place. The consequences of its abuse can be terrible. Innocent people could be slandered with no redress available to them. Reputations could be destroyed on the basis of false rumour.

Since statements in this place are protected in an absolute sense by privilege members must be extremely judicious in their comments. I think all hon. members will agree that this caution takes on an even greater significance when applied to a former colleague who is no longer able to rise in the House to defend himself.

Obviously, the Chair must view seriously any charges of deliberate falsehoods or dishonesty, either of which may affect the ability of individual members to carry out their duties as parliamentarians and the dignity of parliament itself.

I have carefully reviewed the statement made by the hon. member for Edmonton Centre-East and I agree with the hon. member that there are distinct views on the matters he has raised and a fundamental disagreement about the relationship that existed between the minister and the Canada Lands Corporation. While such differences can be readily acknowledged it is more difficult to reach the conclusion that they represent instances of deliberate dishonesty.

Our rules concerning disagreements as to fact are longstanding and previous speakers have been consistent in their application of them. As an example I cite Mr. Speaker Fraser from Debates of December 4, 1986, at page 1792 where he stated:

Differences of opinion with respect to fact and details are not infrequent in the House and do not necessarily constitute a breach of privilege.

The Hon. Member in his question was addressing an important matter which was acknowledged to be important by the Minister. However, whatever the differences might be, a dispute as to fact does not constitute a breach of privilege and the Chair cannot adjudicate on that dispute.

This ruling I note was given in response to an issue raised by the then hon. member for Saint-Léonard--Anjou, Mr. Alfonso Gagliano, in response to comments made by the then minister of national revenue, Mr. Elmer MacKay.

There is an additional ruling that I thought hon. members might note and that was by Mr. Speaker Lamoureux on November 16, 1971, at page 923 of the Journals of the House. He said:

--the pertinent precedents tend to establish in the main that statements made outside the House, or documents published elsewhere, ought not to be used for the purpose of questioning statements made in this chamber by hon. members from either side of the House.

He went on to cite examples in support of that proposition. Therefore, on the basis of the arguments presented by the hon. member for Edmonton Centre-East, I have concluded that while there is clearly disagreement as to the interpretation of events surrounding a serious issue the Chair can find no evidence that a prima facie breach of privilege has occurred.

Library of ParliamentRoutine Proceedings

February 18th, 2002 / 3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I have the honour to lay upon the table the performance report of the Library of Parliament for 2000-01.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to several petitions.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34 I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, a report from the Canadian branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association concerning the inaugural session of the Canadian Parliamentary Seminar which was held in Ottawa from November 18 to November 24, 2001.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition initiated by Peggy Land of the Religious Society of Friends and the Quaker Movement in Ottawa and signed by hundreds of concerned Canadians. The petitioners note that serious incidents of human rights abuses are continuing in Nigeria despite Canada's recent joint agreement with Nigeria to co-operate in building peace and stability based on universal norms of equality, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

They refer to the case of Safiyatu Husseini, a young Nigerian woman currently condemned to die for having a child out of wedlock. They point out that this is not in accordance with Islamic law or universal norms of equality and human rights which we committed to fostering in Nigeria.

The petitioners call on parliament not to proceed with expanded trade with Nigeria until brutal practices such as those being faced by Safiyatu Husseini are ended.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I have the privilege to present to the House a petition signed by close to 200 constituents of my riding of Cambridge. The petitioners wish to draw to the attention of the House that the residential school system was a product of federal government policy.

The Anglican Diocese of Huron has spent almost $1.5 million in lawsuits even though it never owned, operated, administered or contracted to deliver federal government education services at the Mohawk Institute. Therefore the petitioners pray and request that parliament resolve the issue of residential school litigation outside the court system and that the federal government assume full responsibility for the Mohawk Institute lawsuit.

My constituents call on parliament to act before the Anglican Diocese of Huron and other Anglican dioceses are brought to ruin.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Request for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The Chair has a notice of a request for an emergency debate from the hon. member for Cumberland--Colchester.

Request for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 52 I request an emergency debate on the softwood lumber crisis which affects every member of parliament in the House of Commons. Every one of us is affected by it and the whole issue is being driven by a small group in the U.S.

The government has tried a whole lot of different approaches and several different remedies. They have all failed. Each time it comes up with a new proposal it fails. It has happened over and over again.

The government has prevented the industry and parliament from being involved in the debate. We in my party believe if parliament is involved in the issue it can appeal to the congress of the United States which has an impact on every member of congress. If we members of parliament can make a connection with members of congress in the United States we can come up with a solution to the problem.

There are only about four weeks left to resolve the issue before we lose our opportunity to debate it. It is an incredible situation. We have already lost 25,000 jobs in Canada. Softwood lumber is our fifth largest export. Every effort by the department has failed. We must try a new approach and it should be debated in the House of Commons.

I am asking for a special debate so we the parliamentarians can become involved and help find a solution where the department has failed over and over again.

Request for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The Chair will take the hon. member's suggestion and request under advisement. I can tell the hon. member that I am not disposed to grant the debate this evening. If I did so it would be for tomorrow evening.

I will take the matter under advisement and return to the House later this day with an answer to the hon. member's request and suggestion.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-5, an act respecting the protection of wildlife species at risk in Canada, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Species at Risk ActGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me to speak to Bill C-5, the species at risk act.

As the House knows, I come from a rural constituency where agriculture is the main engine driving the economic machine. When producers in my riding saw the details of the bill they were horrified. For farmers or ranchers land is the key to making a living. To take their land out of production is like taking a product away from a business owner. It removes the means by which they can earn a living.

Farmers and ranchers care about the environment. However when a piece of legislation crosses the line between helping the environment and infringing on property rights of landowners they draw the line.

I will share with my fellow members in the House and people watching the proceedings on television some of the comments I have received with regard to Bill C-5. The comments were gathered at an agricultural forum I hosted on January 15 in Yorkton. The agricultural forum was broadcast three times on the parliamentary channel the following week, three hours each time, so we know it is an important forum.

Members opposite should listen attentively because these are the voices of real people from rural Saskatchewan speaking up about this piece of legislation. I will quote their comments for the House. One of them said “I feel most farmers have an environmental conscience. However, farmers should not be expected to pay for all the costs of environmental stewardship which would benefit all of society”.

Another person said “There must be compensation for loss of production due to animal habitat”.

Another commented that “When they start tinkering around with our property rights a problem exists”.

That is an important comment because property rights are not adequately protected in our charter of rights and freedoms.

Another person in my riding said “Compensation should not only be adequate but it should be tied to future land values or the cost of living”.

Another said “If we have to lose income to save endangered species we should be compensated like everyone else”.

Is that not common sense?

Another person said “If wildlife has such a high value then compensation should have an equally high value. Has anyone considered that farmers will become endangered species?”

We are not talking about a bill that would be innocuous or not have an effect. It could have a very detrimental effect on farmers and they would like the House to listen to their concerns.

Another farmer commented that “The environment, endangered species and maintaining natural habitat are important. However agriculture seems to be expected to take up the largest load. Those in charge seem to see this as fair play. My respect is dwindling and my suspicion mounting towards those in charge”.

I will cite one last comment by a person who said “If humanity wishes to protect plants and animals let them chip in as taxpayers rather than force it on one segment of our population: farmers”.

Farmers are willing to do their part in maintaining the environment and protecting endangered species. However they want everyone to share the load and they want this to be fair legislation. I am delivering that message here today.

Members will have noticed that the underlying theme throughout the comments is compensation, not a one time payment but compensation that takes into account that the land is the necessary ingredient in the way these people make their living. It is not just me speaking here today to this terrible bill. It is my constituents.

On October 3 the minister stated in front of the committee that compensation would be assessed on a case by case basis. In other words, we are expected to read their lips. They are saying “Trust us, we will do what is right”. We have seen this happen before and the people of Canada have been hung out to dry because their rights and privileges were not respected. In other words, the minister has stated that bureaucrats would decide who gets and does not get compensation.

Let me say one thing. Farmers and ranchers have about as much trust in federal bureaucrats as some athletes do in the international figure skating judges. I will give a prime example of what I am talking about. The AIDA and CFIP programs put in place to help struggling farmers have done nothing. Farmers call my office on a daily basis with problems related to these programs. The farmer who really needs help gets nothing.

This is the same government that is saying “Trust us. We will do what is right and compensate farmers”. What has happened is that the hands of federal bureaucrats have destroyed the agricultural producer. We cannot let it continue with this bill as it stands currently.

Let me point out that we in the Canadian Alliance are committed to preserving our country's natural environment, its endangered species and the sustainable development of our rich natural resources so that future generations of Canadians can reap the rewards as much as we have. However we in the Canadian Alliance will not do this on the backs of private landowners and their families. That is wrong.

The United States introduced similar legislation however there was one flaw: no adequate compensation. What happened? It created a shoot, shovel and shut up mentality. I ask--