House of Commons Hansard #162 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was excise.


The House resumed from February 27 consideration of the motion that Bill C-50, an act to amend certain acts as a result of the accession of the People's Republic of China to the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Canadian International Trade Tribunal ActGovernment Orders

10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-50 is a bill of no small proportions. It is a bill which we should all, as members in the House, pay very close attention to because of its implications.

Having introduced it in this way and peaked the interest of members, I now need to say what it is about because everyone will be wondering what this important bill is that we are debating on Friday morning with the attention of all 301 members of parliament fully at hand.

We are debating a bill that will establish and increase our ability to trade with the People's Republic of China. It is a very interesting bill because we already have a great deal of trade going on with China. For many years we have exported, among other things, grain to China. For many years we have given it good credit conditions so it could buy our wheat and hopefully pay for it a little later. We are all aware of the fact that many items which we purchase are made in China.

I was intrigued to notice that my little timer clock was built in China. Many computer things we use are built in China. I had the opportunity the other day to do a little home repair and lo and behold, in big clear letters on my pliers it said “Made in China”. Over and over we see this. I have an electronic daytimer, which I hesitate to take out of my pocket. I am totally dependent on my auxiliary brain which is made in China.

One reason that trade with China is so important is the fact that it has such a huge population. It really boggles the mind to think of how large our target is in terms of doing trade with China. I anticipate that as we bring China fully into the World Trade Organization the impact on many economies, including Canada's, will be even greater than it is now.

The bill we are dealing with today is a housekeeping bill. It does not really talk about issues. That is one of the failures of the government. It often brings in legislation that is housekeeping in nature, the purpose of which is to amend certain bills, motions and agreements so that these trade deals can proceed. However I do not recall, at least in the eight some years that I have been here, that we have ever had in the House or even in committee a good philosophical debate about how we should handle trade with China.

Over and over many members of the House raised, shall I call it, the red flag of human rights abuses in China. Some members, and I think a lot of Canadians, think that we should put increasing pressure on China to reduce human rights abuses in their country. All of us probably have etched into our mind the history of Tiananmen Square and how the People's Republic of China really did stifle in a very high handed manner what appeared to us, at least in the way it was reported, to be a legitimate political protest. In Canada of course we feel that to protest on a political basis is almost a right. In China it is not a right. The people there do not enjoy anywhere near the freedoms that we do in this country.

It is interesting to know that our total imports from China at this stage are worth in excess of $11 billion per year. That is a significant number. Many of those goods are brought into this country competing with products which are produced in Canada. It is very important that when we enter into as trade agreement with China that we have a mechanism to balance the impact that volume of trade can have.

The whole idea of free trade and trade under the World Trade Organization is to increase the economies of both countries in the agreement.

What we are looking for is one of those win-win situations where both countries involved in the agreement benefit. As the Parliament of Canada, we should ensure that safeguards are built in to prevent the very populace and the huge country of China from totally overwhelming little old 30 million population Canada. We really are vulnerable when we are talking about a population that has over one billion people and we have 30 million. It is very disproportionate. Therefore it is important that our rules and regulations be such that we reduce at least the probability of us being overwhelmed economically by trade with China.

We should look at not only the human rights implications in trade agreements that we have but also the large economic spin-off that occurs when we enter into trade agreements with such a large country with an overwhelming economy.

At this stage it would be accurate to say that parliament's involvement, the people of Canada's involvement via their parliament , in setting up these trade agreements has been woefully inadequate. We just do not have the opportunity to debate.

One thing that really bothers me is that our negotiators often go out to these different organizations, whether it is a trade organization or whether it is the United Nations, and unilaterally carry with them Canada's position without that position ever having been debated and established by parliament. This is particularly annoying when there are some things which are obviously to our detriment and parliament could have, if it were permitted to fulfill its role, alerted the negotiators to the implications, and some of the problems could have been averted and resolved in advance.

We believe parliament should be involved and should ratify these agreements which establish a new economic relationship with other countries. This is a huge missing link in the work of parliament. Sometimes I wonder what the role of parliament is. I told some people in the riding not long ago that we were getting more MPs, and that is great. However I said what was the purpose of having more MPs since under the present regime the MPs who were here were not even allowed to think for themselves. They cannot even choose for themselves their choice of a chairperson of a committee. That is orchestrated by the Prime Minister's Office.

In my view there should be much greater consultation with Canadians through their parliament on these agreements. The agreements should be brought to parliament for scrutiny and for ratification. To me, that is a given. It is so obvious I cannot even proceed to build an argument for it. I cannot think of a single argument against that, so how can I not proceed to argue for it by refuting those arguments against it. There are none. We should just be doing it.

Another thing which I think is important for us to know is some of the details of Bill C-50.

I would point out there are some safeguards in the bill which seem to at least be going in the right direction. It is called a products specific safeguard. This could be applied to any good originating in China that was causing or threatening to cause injury to Canadian industry.

I know that the people in Ontario are more interested in car manufacturing than we are out west. We have no manufacturing plants for vehicles in western Canada. We should have. That is another one of the flaws of Canada. We have totally concentrated the industrial development mostly in the province of Ontario and somewhat in Quebec. Out west we are basically hewers of wood and haulers of water. It is unfortunate that we are not permitted to develop industry which is relative to our natural resources.

This is a bit of deviation from the particular bill, but I would point out that the Federal Government of Canada has primarily put the big barriers against us being able to do things like establish a pasta plant. That is again so eminently obvious.

Saskatchewan is almost the breadbasket of the world with all the agricultural products which are produced in the prairie provinces. Why should we simply take our raw materials off the land and ship them over to China for processing there and then buy some of them back after they are processed? That is nothing short of simply shipping jobs out of our country. There is no excuse for that.

It would reduce unemployment. It would give us a much greater sense of independence. It would help us in terms of international security to have a truly independent food supply since we would be set up not only to produce it but also to process it and get it table ready. I will continually press for more of such economic activity out in the regions. It boggles the mind why the government would continue to oppose that and not allow Canadians out west the freedom to market and to process their own product.

Bill C-50 has in it a safeguard which would limit the intrusion of Chinese products into our country if those products would threaten or cause injury to our industry.

There is a diversionary safeguard, which is interesting. It would prevent goods that are shut out of one market from overflowing into Canada. The most obvious example would be if the Americans were to put up a trade barrier so that the China was unable to deliver its product to the United States. This safeguard would, at least it appears to us, put the brake on that. It may not stop it entirely but at least it would prevent dumping of any product that is produced in China from overwhelming the Canadian economy. Basically it is like anti-dumping legislation.

There are specifically safeguards related to textile and clothing. We have factories across this country that produce textiles and clothing. I happen to frequently buy clothing that says “made in Montreal”. It is one of the few areas in which we are permitted to trade within our country. That would be another diversionary speech that I could give on all the trade barriers we have within our country. Recently of course there has been quite a bit of publicity on the barrier between Quebec and Ontario.

Obviously this is something that the two provinces have to work out. I would like to see the federal government take a larger leadership role in bringing these parties together for meaningful negotiations and to open up our interprovincial borders for trade.

Bill C-50 is meant to improve our trading relationships with China without detrimentally affecting our own industry and our own economy. I sincerely hope that is what will happen with the passage of this bill.

We ought to be aware that there is another little element. I will not get into it in depth, but there is a question about the adjoining state of Taiwan. We also have certain trading arrangements with that country. As we proceed into a trading relationship with China, we have to make sure that no barriers are put up to our trade with other countries which also have a great impact on our country.

I would like to read a page from our policy book. It is one of the things our party has always emphasized, as we did with the previous party before we became the Canadian Alliance. We are the only party that starts with basic principles. We used to have 21 principles and on those principles were built 75 policies. Those overriding policies drive our responses to different legislation.

I would like to read an item into the record. It is important for Canadians to know that the Canadian Alliance is a party that thinks through these things in a broad sense and on a principled basis prior to getting into individual pieces of legislation. Item No. 56 from our policy book states:

We support a foreign policy that protects Canada's sovereignty and independence, promotes our national interests (political, economic and strategic), contributes to collective security and defence, promotes democratic principles and human rights, and assists in international development. We will pay particular attention to maintaining good bilateral relations with our most significant trading partners.

There is one thing which totally puzzles me. There is no doubt that our most significant trading partner is the United States, yet I am appalled at the attitude which is sometimes displayed by the Prime Minister toward it. I wish that greater efforts would be taken toward building a solid co-operative relationship with it, particularly pertaining to trade and all the border issues. The Liberal government is altogether too lackadaisical in looking at these issues and their importance.

There is no doubt that because of China's size it has the potential of also becoming another of our very significant trading partners, even much greater than it is now.

Tonight when everyone puts up their feet and flips on their TV, they should look at the back of the remote control. It was probably made in China. The label on the back of the television will probably indicate it was made in China. A lot of the tools in our toolboxes were made in China.

Our trade with China is inevitable. It would be a huge error to enter into trade with a country without working agreements that safeguard Canada's interests. In that regard I believe the bill goes in the right direction. Perhaps there are some minor things which need to be adjusted.

Certainly I would like to have a broader debate sometime in the future in which we look at the bigger picture of what this means to us politically and economically around the world. We need to do more of that.

Meanwhile the bill is one which deserves our support. It is my intention to support it and probably most of my colleagues will as well.

I do not want to remind the Speaker of his job, but I have gone about 30 seconds over my time. I am willing to give the floor to the next person who I am sure will have even more interesting things to say than I did.

Canadian International Trade Tribunal ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member of course knows that the Chair is very generous, but it is time for questions and comments, so he might get more time.

Canadian International Trade Tribunal ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

David Anderson Canadian Alliance Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, one of the things we have seen over the years is that socialist and communist governments have been consistent, at least in oppressing their people and having their leaders live in opulence while that is going on. Tens of millions of people have been eradicated by these regimes. It is interesting that the target has always been a couple of specific groups. One group has been the middle class agricultural class.

We saw particularly in Russia the attempt to destroy the kulak class. Barriers were set up around the area they were in and they were starved to death in order to gain control of that part of the economy.

We see the same thing happening in Zimbabwe today as the government tries to destroy the middle class agricultural class. It is actually destroying the country's own economy while doing that.

It seems that religious groups have been pressured forever by these governments around the world. We see persecution of them as they try to hold the government to a higher standard.

China has had a brutal history over the last 50 years, especially in the area of dealing with religious freedom. Christian churches have been persecuted, Protestant churches have been torn down. Pastors have been imprisoned and constantly harassed. The Roman Catholic church has been pressured to turn to the Chinese government rather than to Rome as its leadership. Groups like Falun Gong are under continual pressure with many of their people being imprisoned. We are all aware of the situation in Tibet with its culture and religion being pressured by the Chinese government.

I ask the member for Elk Island, why should the western world work to improve trade relations with a regime that punishes its own citizens? It does not just punish them for what they do. It punishes them for what they believe. Throughout the world we believe there are certain basic freedoms, which include the freedom to believe and the freedom to religion.

Also, how does the hon. member feel that this agreement will help average Chinese citizens prosper and hold their leaders accountable for their actions?

Canadian International Trade Tribunal ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, I wish I were both a foreign affairs critic and a foreign affairs expert in order to answer the member's questions. Certainly my colleague has raised some very important issues.

I have followed the issue of persecution of people around the world based on their beliefs quite carefully over the years. The main reason is that members of my family escaped from Russia because they were not allowed to express their faith and live their faith in an open way in that country. They were not willing to be participants in the revolution and hence were considered to be enemies of the revolution. Many of our people were summarily killed because of that.

I cannot believe that in our world there are governments that think it is their moral right to suppress people's thoughts. In Canada, the United States and most of the western world, people enjoy a large degree of freedom, although even then it is attacked. For example, during the last election in our own country statements were made by our political adversaries which really went over the top and unfairly attacked people of faith. We had better be careful before we arrogantly say that we in Canada are in a position to tell China how to run its affairs unless there is some improvement in our own country in that regard.

As we build a relationship with China I hope that more and more we will interact with the Chinese and our values will hopefully catch on. That is the best way. Values are caught, not taught. It is much more important for people to see what they can do. At the same time however, I am certainly supportive of sanctions as appropriate.

I think of a country like Sudan. The oppression of its people is immense. Why we are not rising in international protest against what that government is doing to its people is a mystery to me. That certainly is part of it.

The member also asked how this trade agreement would actually affect the ordinary folks of China. I am not terribly knowledgeable about this, but it is my impression that probably the most oppressed people in that country are the agricultural people. In many cases they do a lot of very hard, physical, tedious work without adequate equipment for a very low income.

In our trade agreements perhaps we could sell China some of our farm equipment. Perhaps some of our manufacturers could go over there and design equipment especially for the fields in China. That would help the Chinese by easing their workloads and hopefully improving their income.

Nothing should be automatically assumed. It ought to be monitored. As our relationship grows with China it will give us more and more moral right to be in there and to speak up when we see abuses and different parts of that society being suppressed and oppressed.

Canadian International Trade Tribunal ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Canadian Alliance Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, trade around the world and internal regulations and laws are issues that affect every country.

What is the opinion of the hon. member for Elk Island in regard to three countries in the world, one in eastern Europe, China and Canada, that force their farmers to participate in a marketing monopoly against the wishes of many of those farmers? When we talk about abuse within a parliamentary system or a dictatorship like there is in China, there can be abuse in those situations.

Should Canadian farmers be forced into a monopoly they do not wish to be involved in when marketing the very products they produce with the sweat of their brow and the dirt on their hands?

Canadian International Trade Tribunal ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is a very insightful question. Again it impinges on those broader principles. We can look at the details in a country like China where their people do not have anywhere near the freedoms that we have, but as I said earlier, before we go over there and pretend to have all the answers for them, we need to look at ourselves. There is absolutely no question in my mind that under the dictatorial government in Ottawa, not just under the Liberals but under the Conservatives before them and the Liberals before them, we have had a government granted monopoly given to some people, thereby totally taking away the freedom of some people.

For example, I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan and later escaped to Alberta. I have a lot of acquaintances in agriculture in all three prairie provinces and I get both sides of this. Some say they want to keep the wheat board and it should be compulsory. Others say they grew the wheat, and if they can sell their lentils wherever they want, why can they not send their durum wheat wherever they want? They say it is their property and how can the government have the right to tell them what to do with their own property strictly for commercial purposes?

I hear over and over again that we need to reach a balance here. I remember many years ago facing this question in my own profession. In our group at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology where I taught, a small group of people wanted to have a dental plan. Some of us in the math department did the computations on it and came to the conclusion that it was very costly. A philosophical question then arose. Is it correct to force everyone to pay for something they do not want in order to provide the few with the ability to get it at a cheaper price? I say no, that is not defensible, nor is it defensible to force farmers to sell their grain only to a government agency.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to do this prior to the member for Palliser beginning his speech. There has been consultation and I believe you would find unanimous consent of the House for the following motion. I move:

That private member's Bill C-386 be dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence.

This is a bill in the name of the member for Calgary East, who as you know has been ill and is not able to be here..

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

The Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Some hon. members


(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-50, an act to amend certain Acts as a result of the accession of the People's Republic of China to the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Canadian International Trade Tribunal ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.


Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise in the House. Today I want to speak to Bill C-50, which is an act to amend certain acts as a result of the accession of the People's Republic of China to the agreement establishing the WTO, the World Trade Organization.

Bill C-50 seeks to amend the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act, the Customs Tariff, the Export and Import Permits Act and the Special Import Measures Act in order to protect Canadian industries from being overwhelmed by new Chinese imports resulting from that country's accession to the WTO. The proposed amendments are specific to Canada's trade with China and do not impact on trade with other countries, nor does Bill C-50 impact on the accession of China to the WTO, which happened in December of this past year; rather, it proposes changes to Canadian legislation to deal with this fact.

I thought it would be useful for the House to have me to look at our party's policy with regard to China over the past 50 plus years. Our party's predecessor, the Commonwealth Co-operative Federation, the CCF, consistently supported Canadian recognition of Peking and the people's republic and its admission to the United Nations on the grounds that to exclude the de facto government of the most populous nation on the earth from the council of nations was an absurdity that endangered both world peace and security.

When the NDP was founded in 1961 we picked up that cause at our founding convention and led the fight for recognition of China and its admission to the United Nations, which culminated in 1970 with an exchange of ambassadors between Peking and Ottawa and the eventual admission of China to the United Nations the following year. In part the party's position was a reflection of the fact that the NDP membership was generally more internationalist than the old line parties and in part it was linked to the party's broader theme of developing an independent foreign policy, that is, independent from that of the United States.

Under the leadership of T.C. Douglas, we also advocated the inclusion of China in international trade and economic agreements, broader cultural and intellectual contacts between China and the west and an invitation for China to join with the other four nuclear powers in working toward disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation agreements. That was important because China had become a nuclear power with the explosion of its first atomic bomb in 1964.

In 1989 when I had the privilege of being the federal secretary of our party, the federal council passed a major resolution on the Asia-Pacific region that called for:

a comprehensive Asia-Pacific policy...based on the principles of common security which promote international cooperation and recognize that environmental, development and human rights issues are all intrinsically related to security.

With respect to China, the resolution said specifically:

New Democrats have great admiration and respect for the Chinese people. We deplore the Chinese regime's massacre of its own people in Tiananmen Square and we are very concerned about the increasing repression of the regime in recent months. We strongly object to the occupation of Tibet and the human rights abuses that have taken place there.

Further on Tiananmen Square, it was the member for Winnipeg--Transcona who on June 5, 1989, in the House condemned the inexplicable actions of the Chinese government at Tiananmen Square and called on the Canadian government to communicate, in the strongest possible way, Canada's outrage at those brutal deaths and the injuries against thousands of young people who had the spirit for greater democracy. That member stated our party's respect for the Chinese revolution and its many achievements for the Chinese people and our collective dismay that the revolution, which began with so much passion for social justice, should come to such a brutal point that the People's Liberation Army was firing on its own people. That speech condemned the “gross violation of human rights” and urged the Canadian government to do everything in its power to ensure that the killing was stopped and the road to democratization, which the students so ably represented, was resumed.

The Asia-Pacific policy was passed by our party in 1989 and the resolution also raised concerns about the environmental implications of some forms of development and condemned Canadian assistance for such projects. For example, the Canadian government's participation in the Three Gorges dam project in China appeared to be motivated more by the possibility of lucrative contracts for Canadian multinationals than concern for the welfare of the people living in the vicinity of the project. Environmentalists warned that the project could have enormous environmental implications that would seriously endanger the health of the neighbouring population and involve the dislocation of one million people.

With respect to the issue of the Three Gorges dam, in 1995 the member for Burnaby--Douglas urged our government to support a resolution at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights with respect to China and to speak out against human rights abuses. He called for the withdrawal of Canadian support for both the Three Gorges dam and the sale of CANDU reactors to China.

The Asia-Pacific resolution also deplored the inattention of the Canadian government to growing militarization and nuclear proliferation in the Pacific Ocean and called on the government to pursue multilateral arms reduction talks aimed at reversing and destabilizing trends and moving toward the creation of a nuclear free and independent Pacific Rim.

As I mentioned at the outset, the People's Republic of China formally acceded to the WTO on December 11 last year after 15 years of negotiations with member states. It is a country of 1.3 billion people, has the world's seventh largest economy and is the ninth largest exporter. While many Canadian exporters are anxious to gain increased access to the vast Chinese market, many other Canadian industries fear that they may drown in the anticipated surge of Chinese imports.

New Democrats are currently opposing Bill C-50, the bill before us today, which amends various pieces of legislation, to protect Canadian industries from being overwhelmed by new Chinese imports resulting from China's accession to the WTO. Our opposition to the bill relates to our objections to China's accession, for a number of reasons.

First, China stands out internationally for its flagrant disregard of human rights. The WTO does not seek to enforce standards of human rights. It is concerned only with the facilitation of international trade. China is anxious to join the WTO to increase its export markets, however, the terms of accession permit a significant volume of agricultural goods to enter China, including exports from Canada, which presents a real threat to Chinese agricultural industries and rural Chinese communities although we note and believe that steps will be taken to ensure that those exports are in the minority, not the majority.

Workers in Chinese industries will be negatively impacted by increased trade under the WTO, including agriculture and automotives, because they have no recourse to collective bargaining or free trade unions. In March 2001 China ratified the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, but filed a reservation under Article 8.1(a) to prevent workers from freely forming trade unions in that country.

In the Chinese automotive industry, which was referred to by the previous speaker, reduced tariffs under the WTO agreement will mean that exports will quickly flood the Chinese market, resulting in tremendous strain on workers in that country. The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions reports that 10 million Chinese auto workers are forecast to lose their jobs as a result of China's entry into the WTO. Also, as we all know and as is well documented, China also has an abysmal record on workplace health and safety.

The New Democratic Party does not oppose international trade. We strongly support fair trade but if Canada imports Chinese products manufactured by workers receiving paltry and substandard wages, subjected to unsafe working conditions and denied the right to organize and bargain collectively, then such trade cannot be considered in any way fair trade. Trade which results in the perpetuation or augmentation of global inequity is not fair trade.

We oppose the structure and secrecy of the World Trade Organization and believe that the accession of China to the WTO further legitimizes and perpetuates a system which ignores international labour standards and fundamental environmental concerns resulting from its trading regime and consistently rejects efforts to correct these inadequacies. Our trade policy specifically opposes expanding trade on those terms.

Three years ago the NDP resolved to demand that the government make binding and enforceable protections of core labour rights an integral feature of all international agreements on trade and investment to which this country is a party. We further insisted that before there is any additional trade or investment liberalization at the WTO, that organization itself must deal with social, environmental, labour and human rights issues in an enforceable manner or that other international agreements and institutions, which concern themselves with issues like labour and the environment, be given the teeth necessary to sanction behaviour that violates agreed upon statements.

In other words, what we are saying is that we want something similar to the European Union and the pact that exists there where environmental standards and labour regulations are built into that agreement. We do not have that under the WTO and we certainly do not have it under the free trade agreement or the NAFTA.

International trade has been heralded for too long as the solution to global poverty and underdevelopment. The truth is that when trade is conducted under the auspices of fundamentally undemocratic organizations controlled by the corporations they are designed to serve, trade will only perpetuate global inequality and poverty.

I also want to put on the record our concerns about one of the latest human rights violations that is taking place in China, and that is the repression of groups like the Falun Gong petitioners. We were discouraged when we learned that when Canada had the opportunity to pick up the slack and speak out on this issue at an international forum, we dropped the ball and chose not to speak. This is contrary to what the member for Mount Royal said, a member who I give full credit and marks to for speaking to this issue in an all party human rights caucus. He said:

--we are witnessing the most persistent and pervasive assault on human rights in China since Tiananmen Square [in 1989].

The member said that the current Chinese government denies peoples' religious freedoms, systematically suppresses independent political activities, imprisons political opponents, violates rights to free speech and has conducted a crackdown on writers and activists.

Given the work of that member and that all party committee, it is unfortunate that the Canadian government remained silent this week at an international forum when it could have spoken out loudly and should have.

In conclusion, for Canada the implications of China's accession to the WTO are less clear. We negotiated a favourable deal that allows for 12 years of domestic protection during which threatened industries intend to prepare for increased competition from imports. Whether that turns out to be sufficient protection remains to be seen.

Canadians exporters and service providers will indeed gain much increased access to the Chinese market in that transition period. Whether or not Canadian production will migrate to China in search of cheaper labour any more than it already has, also cannot be determined at this time.

We in our party oppose the WTO in principle. It is for this reason that we oppose Bill C-50. The WTO is undemocratic in the sense that there is no parliamentary oversight of its operations. There is no opportunity for the views of concerned citizens to be heard. Its rulings are made by tribunals in secret. It has consistently resisted the imposition of human rights requirements on its trading regime.

The WTO has ignored calls for international labour standards to be enforced. It has consistently ignored environmental concerns resulting from its trading regime. The WTO is at heart an organization designed to facilitate corporate globalization through the removal of barriers to trade and the undermining of national sovereignty.

The EconomyStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.


Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies is a program that was created in 1993 to pay tribute to companies that were achieving success despite the harsh economic conditions that existed in the early 1990s. This year one of the 50 winners is Overseas Express Consolidators whose Canadian operations are based in my riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce--Lachine.

A company that specializes in freight transportation, OEC's market spans all of Canada. OEC provides its many customers with thoroughly integrated logistical services including air and ocean transportation.

I am really proud of the success of this young company. I wish its president, Marc Bibeau, and his team, ever greater success.

I congratulate Overseas Express Consolidators (Canada) Inc. on being among those selected for the prestigious list of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies.

National DefenceStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I just finished watching the exciting made for TV courtroom drama The Artful Dodger starring the Minister of National Defence. I must admit it really grabbed me. It is the riveting tale of a man accused of competence, a man who knows too much and his mammoth struggle to prove he is not that smart.

He is up against the evil briefer, well played by Deputy Chief of Defence Staff Greg Madison who claims the dodger gets it, and the forces of darkness played by opposition members who try to make the case that the defence minister is not the scarecrow and really does have a brain.

The dodger is ably defended by FART, the Forces After Real Truth, who are played by the Liberal majority on the committee. They also perform as the jury which unfortunately gives the ending away. Not since The Great Escape have we seen people dig as hard to help someone get out of trouble. Not since the O. J. Simpson trial have we seen such an honest representation of Liberal justice being done.

I give two thumbs up to this riveting work of fiction.

Diamond IndustryStatements By Members

11 a.m.


David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week delegates from 37 different countries gathered with representatives of the world diamond industry and several non-governmental organizations to tackle the important issue of conflict diamonds.

This week's meeting in Ottawa achieved substantial agreement on all key issues toward the implementation of an international certification scheme for rough diamonds. The scheme will go a long way to severing the link between conflict diamonds and the illegal arms trade.

I thank the strong leadership and the hard work of the Canadian delegation and in particular David Viveash, Jennifer Moher, Jennifer Daubeny and Don Law-West. I was also very pleased to learn that Partnership Africa-Canada, a small Ottawa based NGO, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by three U.S. congressmen for its work on the issue of conflict diamonds.

I offer my congratulations to everyone involved in the Kimberley Process for their commitment to eliminating the trade in conflict diamonds.

ZimbabweStatements By Members

11 a.m.


John McKay Liberal Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, every week I receive an e-mail from a lady in Zimbabwe. Here is a partial text of this week's e-mail:

Yesterday morning, for the first time in 2 years, I simply could not find any words for my weekly letter. I had succumbed and for days wallowed in the horror of the blatant rigging of every stage of our elections. I finally pulled myself together and decided I would not become another victim. Darlington, a young farm security guard was murdered on Friday and his employer was beaten...[for] having helped MDC polling agents during last weekend's elections. The young man died on his way to the hospital. It took a visit to the hospital and the sight of massive black and purple bruising to put things back into perspective for me. Across the country reports are pouring in of ruling party youths engaged in witch hunts, searching out people suspected of being MDC supporters...[and] evicting them from their [farms]...For the moment the only hope we have is hope itself. Slowly we are coming to terms with what has happened and bracing ourselves for what lies ahead. People are starving and beaten but they are not broken--

ZimbabweStatements By Members

11 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Scarborough Centre.

GreeceStatements By Members

11 a.m.


John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, each year March 25 marks Greek Independence Day. It is a day when Canadians of Hellenic descent will be celebrating the anniversary of the liberation of their former homeland from 400 years of occupation by the Ottoman Empire.

In 1821 the Hellenes revolted against their oppressors and embarked on their successful war of independence. On this day Hellenes across the country will commemorate a dark period in Greek history when Hellenes lived under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, but they will also celebrate the courageous spirits of their ancestors such as Kolokotronis, Bouboulina and Karaiskakis to name a few. They successfully fought in order to restore the democracy and freedom that was lost to them for so many years.

As Greek Independence Day is observed we must also take note that Cyprus still remains occupied as a result of an aggressive and illegal Turkish invasion, and it is imperative that the Canadian government encourage Turkey to resolve this issue that undermines the democratic principles our ancestors fought so hard for. In the 21st century it only makes sense that Cyprus becomes united and free.

Mike HarrisStatements By Members

March 22nd, 2002 / 11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is both an honour and a privilege to rise and recognize Premier Mike Harris and his contribution to his province and country.

Mike Harris changed the very nature of politics when he demonstrated that politicians can mean what they say and do what they promise. That high standard in public morals where campaign promises are discussed before election and kept once in office has never been equalled in Ottawa.

It was tax cuts instituted by Mike Harris that fuelled the economy and led the country out of recession. From a province teetering on the brink of bankruptcy Ontario is set to produce its fourth balanced budget. Perhaps the greatest legacy of Mike Harris was his contribution to democracy that led to the election of party leader on the basis of one person, one vote.

Mike Harris returned dignity to the women and men of Ontario by creating tens of thousands of jobs in a province where thanks to 10 lost years of tax and spend Liberal and NDP policies almost 1 in 10 Ontarians were on welfare.

Ontario is a better place today because of Mike Harris. I thank Mike for making Ontario prosperous and strong.

Arts and CultureStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, March 19 the National Arts Centre unveiled a new music program which included awards of $75,000 each to three prominent Canadian composers.

I congratulate the first three recipients of the National Arts Centre Composer Awards: Denys Bouliane, Gary Kulesha, and especially my constituent Alexina Louie.

The new music program is a comprehensive plan for the development, promotion and support of new Canadian orchestral music nationally and internationally. The three award recipients have been commissioned to compose three works over a four year period: one orchestral, one for the new music ensemble, and one chamber music piece.

I offer my congratulations and offer them the very best in their endeavours.

World Water DayStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on this ninth World Water Day to remind people that water is vital to any form of life on earth. For a long time, it was thought that water was an inexhaustible resource, but such is not the case.

Water is being polluted, its importance is being trivialized, and it is being marketed, because we forget that it remains the very basis of our survival. The world's largest multinationals are appropriating it at an incredible speed, while over two billion human beings do not have access to it. The water crisis is already here. It is imperative that we be aware of this facat.

Quebec has one million waterways, including over 500,000 lakes, several thousand rivers and streams, and many groundwater sites.

It is with this in mind that, on April 13, the Bloc Quebecois' youth forum will examine the water issue, during its symposium on the environment and sustainable development. The theme of one of the workshops will be “Water: Protecting a Source of Life”.

2002 Arctic Winter GamesStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate and pay tribute to the 2002 Arctic Winter Games Host Society led by its president Mr. Victor Tootoo. The 2002 Arctic Winter Games have been taking place this week in Iqaluit, Nunavut and Nuuk, Greenland. As the 17th edition of the Arctic Winter Games comes to an end it will go down in history as being the first major sport event to be hosted by Nunavut, Canada's newest territory.

The city of Iqaluit took on a great challenge and has succeeded in organizing an international competition involving nearly 1,000 athletes, coaches, officials and cultural performers from Canada, Greenland, the United States and Russia.

The Arctic Winter Games have provided an opportunity for the athletes and cultural performers of the region to celebrate sport and culture their way, the northern way.

I take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Tootoo, the volunteers--

2002 Arctic Winter GamesStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Elk Island.

Canadian AllianceStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, I came to parliament in 1993 with some pretty specific goals, some of which have been achieved.

I represent the people of Elk Island who wanted to stop the incessant dive into deeper and deeper debt. Our influence on eliminating deficits has been substantial. The people want to pay down the debt. That work has hardly begun. They want to strengthen families, and our motion to define marriage was an important step. They want lower taxes. There is still much work to be done there. We have not nearly completed our work on justice and the issue of young offenders. Our goal of fixing a dysfunctional parliament has been totally stymied by the Liberal government and the present control freak Prime Minister. The people want to end political patronage and pork barrel politics.

With the election of Stephen Harper as our new leader the heat on the government will continue to increase. We will show the shortcomings of the Liberal government and we will earn the trust of the people. We will press on toward the goal and Canada will benefit.

AfghanistanStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister for International Cooperation announced that Canada is providing $30.2 million to Afghanistan. These funds are for priorities such as education, health, nutrition and child survival and are the first phase of the $100 million that the minister pledged in January at the Tokyo conference on Afghan reconstruction.

Canada is supporting human rights, gender equality and strong governance. We are making sure that girls are returning to school and that women are involved in their country's reconstruction from grassroots initiatives to governmental reform. We are funding de-mining activities as well as promoting peace and security.

The needs of Afghanistan are complex and call for a comprehensive approach. That is why the projects announced yesterday focus on both immediate humanitarian needs and on laying a foundation for longer term reconstruction efforts.

The women and men of Afghanistan can count on Canada to support them as they face the work of rebuilding their society.