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House of Commons Hansard #201 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was broadcasting.

Topics

The House resumed from June 5 consideration of Bill C-53, An Act to protect human health and safety and the environment by regulating products used for the control of pests, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Pest Control Products ActGovernment Orders

10 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this bill at this stage, where we are considering amendments introduced by the government.

There is an amendment that seems particularly unacceptable to me, because it provides for this bill to be subject to examination of its implementation by the Senate.

I feel as if we were going back to the 18th or 19th century, because the elected representatives here in this House and the government itself wish for unelected people to review this legislation and its implementation after several years. This seems totally irrelevant to me, particularly since we are talking about issues related to pesticides.

It is very important that the people who have a say on the legislation, its content and its implementation be elected by Canadians rather than senators, who can be influenced by all kinds of lobbyists.

We know how these lobbies are powerful here in Ottawa, at present. If, on top of that, we give to a unelected chamber the responsibility for intervening and influencing the content of this legislation after several years, it is as though we were reaching a compromise with official lobbies and trade lobbies.

It is as if we were saying to them “There must be legislation; a conclusion must be reached; a bill must be introduced, but we will try to make it as painless as possible for you. If things calm down in two, three or four years, with the Senate's involvement, we will manage to revisit the situation”.

It is a great pity to have such an amendment in this bill, when the bill itself has the potential to improve the situation.

The Bloc Quebecois considers the bill itself—and not these amendments, including the one that makes it possible to review application of the law a few years later, but rather the bill itself—to be positive and the product of a spirit of co-operation. Overall, we intend to support it.

It does, however, strike us as important for members to reflect on this. Why suddenly come up with an amendment of this type? What is more, it is an amendment that, while not creating a total precedent, nonetheless creates precedents for the future. Why would there not be the same type of amendment in future to all manner of laws, particularly those concerning the environment?

I am very much surprised that the Minister of the Environment would accept such amendments, thus giving a say to people who have not been elected, not only senators but also the lobbyists that are behind them, the multinationals in this industry.

In a sector in which human health is at stake, in a context where recent knowledge makes us realize that we must minimize the impact of pesticides, it is inappropriate to have presented such an amendment.

The bill itself explains that the people of Quebec and of Canada are increasingly concerned by the negative impact on health of all kinds of pesticides.

There has been an exponential development in recent years of the pesticides available. Now we realize—and it was even on the news yesterday—that people are developing all manner of illnesses that may be linked to pesticide use, cancer among them.

Our children are affected, and far more in urban areas that might be expected.

However, as we use pesticides a lot, it is essential that the public be made aware of the situation. Governments too.

I repeat: why should we give the Senate a say when we are not required to do so? Why not keep that right for ourselves, for elected members of parliament? This seems much more important to me.

Furthermore, about this bill, the Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides has said that we should not disregard the damages caused by pesticides.

“Toxicologists who used to say that pesticides are not terribly dangerous are now changing their stance”. This is what Édith Smeesters, a biologist and the President of the Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, said.

Even the National Academy of Sciences in the United States is now saying that being exposed to pesticides causes serious neurological problems for young children. They have found that when a mother or a father plays with a small child on the grass, if pesticides have been repeatedly used on the grass, the parent could be contributing unawares to the development of certain ailments in the child. It is essential that we remedy this situation.

The bill now before us will at least partially improve the situation. We must keep on working toward this goal because we need legislation in this area.

It is said that pesticides have few short term effects, other than nausea and diarrhea, but that there is much greater long term risk. This is the most insidious type of illness. If we were to make a comparison, it is similar to tobacco and cigarettes. It is possible to enjoy smoking and to do so for several years, but it is the cumulative effect of the years of smoking and risk factors that diminish quality of life and increase the rate of mortality over the long term.

It is the same type of situation with pesticides. On a day to day basis, when we are on our lawns or in a public park, we are not necessarily aware of the immediate impact that pesticides can have, but repeated exposure to them causes serious long term problems.

We must also remember that the entire pesticide industry is important. We must keep this in mind when looking at the amendment that the Liberal majority is trying to get through right now, to give the Senate the right to review the legislation in a few years. It is at this point that the burgeoning industry will be able to intervene among unelected parliamentarians and propose amendments to the act that will be introduced in the Senate with or without the approval of the House of Commons.

As a result, it is very important that we reject this amendment. I think that the members of the Liberal majority and of the opposition parties should give serious thought to the appropriateness of this amendment and vote against it. In the end, we will still have a very positive bill and one that is better than if these amendments were included.

For example, let me quote Ms. Smeesters from CAP:

The residential lawn care industry has grown spectacularly in the last two years. This is a result of mass marketing. A well orchestrated ad campaign has convinced people that their happiness depends on a perfect lawn, that weeds are a serious threat and that pesticides will save them. This is a typically North American behaviour and we want to stop it. The growth in this industry is maddening, since lands are now polluted with pesticides.

We will have to be on guard against this lobby. This is why we must vote against today's amendment introduced by the Liberal majority.

We must ask ourselves why and how the government could be convinced of the need for such an amendment. Members of the House of Commons are elected by the people. In the Senate, we have people who are not elected, who represent different lobbies and are influenced by them. Many people owe their appointment to the fact that they were once bagmen, that is of people collecting funds from companies for the Liberal Party of Canada, for the Progressive Conservative Party and the other parties represented in the Senate. Why would the government and the elected members of parliament give a voice to a chamber of unelected people, when all the necessary expertise can be found in the industry and in the pressure groups that want a tougher stand on pesticides?

As for the Senate, when it was created its role may have been to ensure the quality of legislation to compensate for a certain lack of training of members of parliament. This is no longer the case. In this House, we have all the necessary skills to determine whether legislation is appropriate. This is why I believe it is important to defeat the proposed amendment. I think it is important for the public and members of the House to know that we want to make a very constructive contribution to the bill. The proof of this is that we will be voting in favour of the bill, but this amendment does not improve it in any way.

For these reasons, I will vote against the amendment that would allow the Senate to review the legislation, but I will vote in favour of the bill.

I hope that we will continue to improve this bill in the most acceptable fashion possible to ensure that it is adequate, so that we can say in 5, 10 or 15 years “We did good. We made the corrections at right time and now there are fewer illnesses resulting from the use of pesticides”.

In that sense, as legislators, we will have done our job properly.

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10:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Canadian Alliance Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, before being elected to represent the constituents of Surrey Central, I was in the business of pest control and the marketing of pesticides. I do have some experience dealing with pesticides and I hold a degree in agriculture.

As a member of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development when it studied pesticides, we tabled a minority report on behalf of the official opposition.

With this background I am pleased to rise to participate in the debate on Bill C-53, an act to protect human health and safety and the environment by regulating products used for the control of pests. In the report stage, only Motion No. 1 and No 7 are up for debate and vote. The others were ruled out of order. Motion No. 1 reverses the PC amendment and is merely changing an “and” to “or”. It likely makes no difference either way. Motion No. 7 reverses a broadly supported subamendment at that committee which adds the “Senate or both Houses of parliament” instead of a committee of the House of Commons only to conduct a mandatory review.

Those are very straightforward amendments so I will not make much fuss about them. However the legislation intends to control the import, manufacture, sale and use of all pesticides in Canada.

All stakeholders recognize that there is room for improving the transparency, efficiency and accountability in our pesticides management system. The official opposition advocates promoting a balanced approach toward dealing with the issues relating to the management and regulation of pest control products, and to offer recommendations on how the Pest Management Regulatory Agency can improve on fulfilling its mandate to protect human health and the environment.

Regrettably, the government lacks balance and does very little to promote partnership and understanding between stakeholders, farmers and property owners. It fails to recognize the tremendous efforts and successes achieved by manufacturers and users of pest control products to make those products as safe to human health and the environment as they are effective in controlling pests and protecting crops.

In the May 1999 report, the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development dealt with a number of issues relating to identifying, managing, and reducing pesticide risks. The environment commissioner's criticisms of the PMRA included concern over inefficiencies in its regulatory operations, timeline delays within re-evaluation activities, a lack of information sharing and lack of co-operation with industry.

Unlike legislation in other jurisdictions, as part of the approval process the bill requires manufacturers to show that their chemicals are effective. This adds unnecessary cost and time to review the process. New product registrations should not be delayed. The PMRA should only be concerned with safety and the market will decide if a pesticide is efficient or not.

The responsibility for risk management must be shared between the PMRA and industry and they should agree on the principles and ground rules guiding risk management. The stakeholders are eager to work with government to ensure the improvements in risk management practices and processes are implemented in Canada.

The efficiency of the PMRA's registration operations has a direct impact on Canada's ability to remain competitive internationally. Such a transparent process would go a long way toward enhancing public confidence and accountability in the regulatory system.

We asked the government to amend the bill to include specific approval procedures for minor use chemicals. We asked the government to align Canada's risk management practices with those of our trading partners and through Canada's membership in organizations such as the OECD.

The environment commissioner expressed serious concern over the credibility gap that exists between talk and action in the federal government's environmental agenda. The lack of co-operation in federal interdepartmental information sharing is a systemic and chronic problem that has persisted under this Liberal government.

The re-evaluation of scientific evidence should not result in a duplication of the work conducted by other OECD countries. Opportunities to accept OECD decisions or to co-ordinate re-evaluation activity among other industrialized countries with regulatory systems similar to that of the Canadian systems should be fully utilized.

Given that 50% of Canada's agricultural production is exported to the United States, priority efforts must be made to align re-evaluation activities with those of the United States.

The PMRA should step up work with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Departments of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to harmonize data requirements with NAFTA partners and those of other OECD countries.

The official opposition believes that a clear understanding of environmental regulations and research responsibilities between federal and provincial governments and the private sector must be achieved.

The new act authorizes the exchange of confidential business information, including trade secrets, and creates the potential for intrusion into the area of intellectual property rights, or a violation of fundamental individual and corporate freedoms. A more thorough investigation of these issues is necessary.

There are also fears that aircraft dusting pesticides may potentially be used by terrorists. Canadians need assurances regarding security and safety.

Bill C-53 ignores addressing the problems faced by Canadian farmers. For instance, pesticides banned in Canada are not banned in many other countries around the world, including the United States of America. However agricultural produce, fruits and vegetables, from these countries continue to be imported for consumption by Canadians. Not only does this pose a risk to Canadians but such produce is cheaper to produce since the banned chemicals are usually cheaper in price. Canadian farmers, on the other hand, have to use chemicals that are expensive and therefore are at a competitive disadvantage.

The use of pesticides in non-agricultural settings has also become a subject of controversy. The government has done very little to further the understanding of the need for pesticides in urban environments and to recognize the importance and role of the products in non-agricultural sectors in controlling weeds, insects, fungal and other diseases. Pesticides are important to allergy sufferers in minimizing the risk of related disease or damage associated with weeds, pollens or moulds. Pest control products are one tool to create healthy environments and increase the aesthetic value of land.

The official opposition is supportive of developing and using proven alternatives in urban environments. Everyone agrees that the health of Canadians should be paramount. Increased efforts to protect the health of children and pregnant women are to be commended.

A moratorium on pest control products should not be put in place until there is a substantial amount of conclusive scientific evidence that unequivocally links such products to human disease or ill health.

The official opposition also believes that proven sound science, domestically and internationally, should continue to be the cornerstone for the development of a public policy that is balanced and reasoned.

The official opposition encourages a national pest management education program with the industry that will further the knowledge of Canadians surrounding pest management challenges and the tools to deal with them. The Canadian Alliance believes that the single agency model of the PMRA provides for greater accountability and efficiency in pesticide regulations.

The Canadian Alliance supports the general intent of the bill but believes that the amendments I have mentioned should be made to reflect changes within the industry.

The official opposition advocates promoting a balanced approach toward dealing with issues relating to the management and regulation of pest control products.

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10:25 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like my address today to be designed in two or three parts, some specifically on a couple of the amendments that the department has moved subsequent to the committee's work, which again represents the attitude of the government that the committee work generally is useless work, that it is to be ignored, that any changes to legislation that are sent from the bureaucracy or the minister's office, or in some cases the PMO, are sacrosanct, not to be altered by the plebeians of the House of Commons in the form of members of the committee, in this case the health committee.

It shows up in what was really a fairly important but small amendment that was made by the health committee with regard to the giving of information to the public, requiring producers of these pesticides to disclose in detail the contents of the product they were putting out for consumption in the general marketplace and which many times has a negative impact on our natural environment, as well as the health of Canadians.

In that regard, it was simply saying that we, as intelligent members of society, citizens of Canada, have a right to know what is being placed in the natural environment. We have a right to make decisions as to whether we will expose ourselves or our dependent children to these chemicals. If we are going to make intelligent decisions we need to know the contents, not just the main ingredient, which the bill does provide for, but all the other ingredients.

The first motion today in effect makes that much less likely to happen as a result of the intervention by the minister and the department to reverse the work done by the committee, a committee which was working not just from this bill as drafted by the department, but also from a lengthy report that was done a year and a half to two years ago by the environment committee which had put forward in great detail the type of legislation, set out what the problems were as far as regulating pesticides and set out in very extensive detail what would be required in legislation to provide a legislative and regulatory system to protect Canadians and our natural environment.

To some significant degree the bill does not represent the recommendations that were in that report. One of those recommendations was to give individual citizens who would be exposed to these chemicals as much information as possible. This would have been just one way they could have done it. As I said, at least that was accepted by the health committee. However it is now being reversed by this subsequent amendment from the government.

We need to appreciate the significance of this. There are other parts of the bill that do not go far enough. For example, it does not go far enough in giving workers who will be using these chemicals and who will be exposed to them quite extensively, in some cases, on a daily basis, such as horticulturists and farmers, sufficient information they need. As well, it does not give the doctors who will be treating those workers should they develop health problems enough knowledge about what they have been exposed to.

As I say, the position of the government is that we are forcing producers to tell us the main ingredients. I heard an example used at the health committee. This is like saying to an individual who has a very high intolerance level to the peanut, “Here is a salad. There is lettuce in it”, and then forgetting to tell the person that ground peanuts are also a part of that salad. Therefore the person has a very negative reaction to the salad. We are doing exactly the same thing. We know there is a major chemical in the pesticide but do not mention all the other ones.

We have to consider, with this proposed amendment, the whole question of the cumulative effect. We may have a chemical that forms 75% of the product and three or four others that form 5%, 6%, 7% or 8% of it. How can a researcher analyze the impact of the cumulative effects of 5% of this chemical and 2% of that chemical on the human body, on animal tissue and on the natural environment, when this information is not available? Researchers, whether they be biologists or medical researchers, will not be assisted at all in their ongoing scientific work and analyses when they do not know to what people, animals and the natural environment have been exposed. The bill does not require that to occur.

We have to put this in context. There is something like 6,000 to 7,000 chemicals that are regulated and permitted in Canada as pesticides. We must think of the potential cumulative effect of those and the potential danger from interaction. We now know more and more about the potential danger, and in many cases real danger, of the ill-effects of the interaction of various chemicals, whereas in the past we ignored them. A small amount of one chemical acting independently may be of no concern to human health, animal species or to the natural environment. However, if it is combined, sometimes in a very small proportion, with another chemical there might be a very negative impact on human health.

Another point I want to make is a more general one. We would have liked to have seen in the bill a regime for phasing out the use of pesticides by general consumers on gardens and around households and schoolyards, basically in an urban-suburban area. One major recommendation in the report of the environment committee of couple of years ago was that the phase out and absolute ban of cosmetic pesticides be a cornerstone of any legislation of this nature.

I sat in on some of the hearings of the committee. It was really quite sad to hear about people who were on occasion confined to their homes. They could not go outside due to danger from cosmetic pesticides.

I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the bill at report stage. I ask that the House not approve the amendment contained in Motion No. 1.

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10:35 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate on Bill C-53, An Act to protect human health and safety and the environment by regulating products used for the control of pests.

It was time for the legislation regulating the use of pesticides to be modernized. It has been talked about for years. For years, there have been proposals on the table.

For years, many scientists have been warning the public that using pesticides is not a trivial matter and that pesticides are products which carry a health risk.

More and more studies are showing the long term impact of pesticides on human health. There is particular emphasis on the effects of pesticide induced illnesses among young children, who have more contact with pesticides because they tumble around on the lawn and often play outside, in close contact with the elements of nature, which may contain vapour from pesticides, insecticides or herbicides.

More and more epidemiological studies are showing beyond any doubt that, in the medium and long term, pesticides can definitely have an impact on human health, not just in a sporadic way, such as dizziness or vomiting, but that they can even actually cause cancer.

The use of pesticides has become routine and their danger played down to the public over the years, often by the companies which sell these products. The practice of using pesticides is not a trivial matter. In Quebec alone, 8,200 tonnes of pesticides were spread in 1997. Even in the ornamental horticulture sector, there has been a 60% increase since 1992 in the use of pesticides by ordinary citizens, who often lack information about the dangers of using these products.

As I mentioned earlier, there has been a greater attempt at raising awareness in the past few years coming not from governments but from scientists—particularly in American publications—who are warning the public about the dangers of using pesticides, particularly for improving the appearance of lawns, a popular practice since the mid-1970's.

As the old saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. We always want to have the greenest lawn in the neighbourhood. It is a matter of pride in our modern life. We want to be able to say our lawn is greener than the Jones' and that it is free of weeds and dandelions.

Attitudes are changing, though, and so much so that the federal government wants to modernize the Pest Control Act by implementing several recommendations of the committee, and that the Quebec government has also introduced a bill and done some promotion and education to help the public understand the risks of using pesticides.

In the last several years, municipalities have regulated the use of pesticides within their jurisdictions. But that kind of regulation is a brutal attack against the markets of big corporations that not only produce pesticides but also spread them on the lawns for consumers.

ChemLawn and Spray Tech have challenged before the supreme court the right of the municipalities to make regulations on the use of pesticides, and they lost. It is a huge victory because these companies which are backed by the manufacturers of pesticides like Monsanto and CIL all too often control the information and the market. This is happening not just here, but also internationally.

The situation is so serious that a major debate has been going on for some 15 years regarding the fact that these companies control not only the pesticides, insecticides or herbicides that are used for agriculture, which accounts for 80% of their use, or for cosmetic purposes, but also control related seeds. Through cross-breeding and genetic manipulations of the seeds, they have managed to ensure that these seeds cannot reproduce themselves. Therefore, it is not possible to keep some of the seeds harvested at the end of the crop year to start the following crop year. These seeds and the plants they produce are also subject to very strict requirements regarding the use of pesticides and pest control in general. The result is that, first, farmers no longer have control over their production and their future. This is happening here.

Second, they are forced to buy from these companies, which have an upstream and downstream monopoly on agricultural production and sales.

Third, these companies are often transnationals, such as CIL and Monsanto, and they take advantage of their presence all over the world to organize the market, depending on local regulations.

This has happened in the past. It happened with DDT, a pesticide that was used massively by farmers in Quebec and in Canada. The product was banned here after being banned in the United States, because it was proven to be a strong cancer causing agent. Several years after it had been banned in the United States and Canada, this product was still being used in South America. South American farmers were once again being exploited by the large companies that were producing DDT. They were not warned of the dangers related to DDT, a product that had been banned for a number of years already in Canada and in the United States.

It is high time that these corporations, which not only control pesticides, but the very future of agriculture in Quebec and in Canada, and even throughout the world, were brought into line. It is time to break their monopoly on the future of humanity. When one has such perfect control over food production, one also indirectly has perfect control over the survival of the human race.

This being said, we deplore the fact that, with the two amendments that were presented, the government only did 80% of the work. It could have improved its legislation and made us 100% happy.

First, when we talk about the legislation review process by the Senate, there is something wrong there. The Senate is asked to continue legislative measures or to stop them, while it is for the House of Commons, comprised of elected members who vote, to do its job as lawmaker. It is not legitimate to ask a non elected chamber to decide on the continuing or not of a public policy bill like this one, when it was passed by elected members.

Second, we would have liked that one of the main recommendations of the committee be included in the bill, that is promoting alternative products to chemical pesticides. There are organic pesticides everywhere. We can blame Canada, as was the case in the 1980s when I was an economist at the Union des producteurs agricoles, for its slow approach in registering pesticides, compared to what is happening in the United States. It is totally different there. The process is very slow here, while American producers now have access to alternative pesticides that are not harmful to the environment. They have a competitive edge over our producers. We should model the registration process and the related resources on the United States. This is what needs to be done here.

Third, we deplore the second amendment proposed by the government on the confidentiality of business data. The government could have ignored this type of consideration, especially since there is a problem with public information about the danger of pesticides when the companies are asked to conduct analyses on the possible effects of their products on health, and these analyses are kept confidential and the public cannot have access to them.

We will nevertheless vote in favour of the bill, but we would have liked the government to do 100% and not 80% of its job.

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10:45 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, Friday mornings are often full of nice surprises and I do consider it a nice surprise to be able to speak today to a bill that deals mostly with public health.

I worked directly with sick children for many years, so everything that has to do with the health of children is a priority of mine, even more so since I have become a grandmother.

I would like to make a comparison to explain the significance of this bill. I do not think it has been done yet in the House, so it should be very worthwhile.

Antibiotics were developed in the 1950s. They were considered a great thing because they were healing patients. Very serious studies had been carried out. In the end, they concluded that the benefits outweighed the side effects.

I would like to tell the House about two types of antibiotics that were widely used at the time. The first one was called chloromycetin. Park & Davis shareholders made a lot of money on this drug until a lengthy study showed that it had catastrophic side effects on blood cells, namely the red blood cells which carry oxygen, the white blood cells which are our body's defence system, and the platelets which prevent us from bleeding to death when we hurt ourselves.

Chloromycetin lost all its virtues, since its side effects far outweighed any benefit it could provide.

The second antibiotic I want to talk about also had serious side effects. it was called gentamicin and was prescribed to patients with cystic fibrosis. Everyone has heard of cystic fibrosis. Everyone knows that Celine Dion lost a niece to cystic fibrosis. This wonderful antibiotic had irreversible side effects on the auditory nerve. So, people lived a little longer, but went deaf. These are just two examples.

One of my colleagues was talking about DDT recently. I remember seeing cans of this product in my house, in my little village of Vaudreuil. It was fantastic, extraordinary. However, we have since discovered that DDT had terrible effects on the environment and on people's health.

In any bill dealing with health, there is a very important principle known as the precautionary principle. We are now using pesticides for several reasons. In the last 10 to 15 years, the most obvious one for all city dwellers is to have a beautiful lawn. Everybody wants to have a beautiful lawn that looks just like the green carpet here in the House, although it does have a few spots. A green carpet is quite nice. But a few spots on the lawn will not kill anybody. It is essentially a question of appearance.

I find it quite ridiculous to threaten people's health for cosmetic reasons only. This makes no sense at all in terms of what is really important in life.

However, when we talk about pesticides in agriculture, we know that we all have to eat and that we all want to eat healthy products that are not dangerous to our health. I feel it is important that the pesticides used to ensure good quality products be as harmless as possible.

We therefore need quality products, products that have been carefully evaluated and that are still regularly evaluated, even once they have been recognized as safe enough.

I really wonder about what the government is up to with its amendment to re-examine the entire legislative process, which is the normal thing to do, but give that role to the Senate.

It is true that since our senators are appointed for life, or rather until they reach 75 years of age, some will probably recall certain pesticides they knew when they were young. They said “Obviously, they are no good”. There may certainly be an element of truth in this, but I personally do not think that it is a good reason.

Each time we talk about fundamental issues like public health, I always think that this is a responsibility that belongs to duly elected parliamentarians. Therefore, the Bloc Quebecois will vigorously oppose the Liberal government's amendment.

The second amendment is also quite disquieting. I do not have to remind those who are listening today that, for a few weeks now, there has been a momentum in favour of transparency all over the country. I think it goes against the required transparency to say that some documents will remain confidential to protect the competitiveness of businesses.

We know very well that competitiveness, if it is necessary, can also be the source of extremely serious abuses. People can deliberately hide things they know are tremendously harmful just to continue raking in the profits. We have seen some recent examples of this.

When I was very young, people smoked and it was not dangerous; it was sort of trendy, fashionable and everybody did it. Now, as we know, the situation is quite different. U.S. companies, and maybe even some Canadian companies, have been sued for having caused cancer.

So, if we are not careful about the whole pesticide issue, if we do not invest more in research to find natural agents to control pests and parasites, one day we will have to deal with major health problems, there will be lawsuits and, in the end, the public will pay for the government's bad decisions.

Bill C-53 which is now before us is good legislation. It is not perfect, but, thank God, I am a Quebecer and happy to be one because Quebec has, in this area as in many others, legislation which is slightly ahead of Canadian legislation. Therefore, the gaps we see in Bill C-53 will be filled in a responsible and intelligent manner by the Quebec legislation, which meets the public's expectations.

It is no accident that a small suburban community west of Montreal was the first to ban lawn care products. Mr. Speaker, I do not know if you have ever been to Hudson, but there you will find fine homes on beautifully landscaped lots. In this small community, they have perhaps understood that health is far more important than a manicured lawn and that weeds are not really all that ugly. After all, they are a life form.

Thus Hudson did a service to Quebec and Quebecers and I think this community also helped open the eyes of the rest of Canada since, as my colleague said and everyone knows, the supreme court confirmed that Quebec municipalities were entitled to regulate the use of pesticides within their boundaries.

In conclusion I would like to make the connection with the famous GMOs, genetically modified organisms. There was a lot of talk about these products, but we have not talked about them for some time now.

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10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Are we talking about the Liberals?

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10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

No, we are not talking about the Liberals, because if they were genetically modified, it did not work.

The public is askin for safety and has left this up to the men and women who were elected here. If we are able to work properly with regard to pest control products, I greatly hope that, with regard to GMOs, we be able to stand up in Quebec and Canada.

I am sure the hon. member representing New Brunswick, who is looking at me and is very concerned about health issues, will applaud what I just said. I am watching him.

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10:55 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues who have spoken to this issue. I know I do not have much time left, although you will probably give me extra time to finish my speech after oral question period.

For several years, I was the environment critic for my party. Other colleagues have since acted in that capacity. As we know, the pesticide industry is a very big industry here. Jurisdiction over the industry is shared by the two levels of government, the Government of Quebec and the federal government.

We know that in the pesticide industry, registration is left entirely to the federal level. In some regards, I am very happy that this bill has been introduced because the two levels of government will have to find a way to co-operate more closely and in a more harmonious way.

At present, many pesticides are registered on an almost industrial basis, while there are significant difficulties concerning the use of pesticides all over the country and Quebec.

As an example, let us look at the small municipality where I live, Prévost, which has taken important decisions on pesticides. If you live within a certain distance of a lake, pesticides are absolutely prohibited.

In my case, this is not always easy. I live very close to a lake and I am not allowed to use pesticides on my lawn. As the member for Verchères--Les-Patriotes, who does not like dandelions, was saying, we are sometimes forced to make do because there are laws.

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10:55 a.m.

An hon. member

Dandelions are good in salad.

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10:55 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Yes, they ares very good in salad. I will have him taste some. However, we must abide by the law and this forces us to use the lawnmower more often and to treat our lawn differently.

We are increasingly focusing on the development of environmentally friendly technologies. Those technologies are better for the environment and offer better alternatives.

Since the time I have left before members' statement is running out, I will stop here and continue after oral question period.

Pest Control Products ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. member for always being so co-operative. She will have seven and a half minutes after the question period, and maybe a small bonus, which will give her eight minutes.

Anglican Diocese of the ArcticStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, recently members of the Anglican Diocese of the Arctic met in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

During their 10 day meeting, the first Inuk Bishop of the Arctic was elected, Andrew Atagutaaluk.

Andrew will succeed Chris Williams, who is retiring after serving in the Arctic for 42 years. Chris and his wife Rona came to the north from Cheshire, England and brought up their two children, Ron and Julia, in various communities in Nunavut. Chris has dedicated his life to the Anglican Church, serving Inuit in Inuktitut respectfully and thoughtfully.

I would like to ask my colleagues to join with me in congratulating Andrew Atagutaaluk, who will be ordained as bishop in September, and in thanking Chris and Rona Williams for their lifetime of service and wishing them a very happy retirement.

BaseballStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Canadian Alliance Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, congratulations to Surrey's Adam Loewen, who, at 18, was selected fourth overall in major league baseball's first year player draft. This is the highest a Canadian has ever been drafted. Adam, a 220 pound six foot, six inch, left handed pitcher with a smoking mid-90s fastball, plays with the Whalley Chiefs, a team with a long, proud history of baseball in Surrey.

As a child and youth, my son played baseball. I spent a number of years coaching. I vividly recall the wide eyes, the flushed cheeks, the dusty faces, the skinned knuckles, elbows and knees, the broad smiles and the high fives after a difficult catch or a good hit. Many had dreams of the big leagues, but as they matured, followed other successful paths in life. I still see them today, now fathers themselves, some coaching their own children.

Adam Loewen is one of the rare few who, through dedication and hard work, have brought that boyhood dream within reach. We wish him success and look forward to that day when the dream is fully realized, the day he throws his first major league pitch.

Millennium ScholarshipsStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to announce that three of my constituents have received millennium scholarships from the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation.

Created by the Liberal government, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation provides opportunity to 100,000 Canadians in need every year. The foundation has one objective: to help our best and brightest young Canadians fulfill their academic potential at a Canadian institution.

Ashley Dunlop received a national level scholarship; Shea Loewen received a provincial level scholarship and was also the recipient of my own Member of Parliament Canadian Student Award; and Daryl Godkin received a local level scholarship.

I offer sincere congratulations to three outstanding young Canadians.

Official Languages ActStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I wish to praise Mr. Louis Quigley, a resident of Riverview, New Brunswick. Mr. Quigley took on the proverbial city hall and won. City hall in this case is us: the House of Commons, its Board of Internal Economy and the Attorney General of Canada.

On June 5 the trial division of the Federal Court of Canada ruled that the House of Commons was obliged to respect the Official Languages Act. Can members imagine? What a revolutionary concept: We legislators are subject to our own laws.

The court ruled that the House is obliged to ensure that our debates are available in English or French as per every Canadian's choice. I hope the House will accept the wisdom of this decision and proceed to its implementation.

I say bravo to Mr. Quigley, an exemplary Canadian.

Petits chanteurs de Laval and Voix boréalesStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, two choirs, the Petits chanteurs de Laval and the Voix boréales, have once again had a hugely successful season both in Canada and abroad.

After China and Japan, the Petits chanteurs de Laval and the Voix boréales will be in concert throughout the summer, in just about every part of Canada, performing numbers from their 20 years of repertoire.

Their performances feature songs in French and in English, but they also have songs in numerous other languages, such as Chinese and Zulu.

This fall, these young singers from Laval will perform for New Yorkers in Carnegie Hall.

These experiences provide the young people with a great deal of pleasure as well as the opportunity to be part of a group. These experiences will prepare them to be Canadian citizens who are well prepared to take an active part in the life of our beautiful country.

Blood Samples ActStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, three years ago I tabled a bill that would protect the rights of professionals and good Samaritans who risk contracting a disease when exposed to someone else's bodily fluids.

Isobel Anderson, an Ottawa police officer, was one of the bill's earliest supporters. At committee meetings, community events and press conferences she told the heart wrenching story of how she was stabbed with a blood filled needle. Yet there was and is no law that compels a suspect to give a blood sample to help determine a course of medical treatment. Her efforts helped push the good Samaritans act to the committee stage twice and onto the agendas of the Attorneys General of Canada and the Uniform Law Conference of Canada.

Like other police officers, Ms. Anderson does more than just enforce the law. Her colleagues look up to her and she is often a source of advice and comfort for others facing similar nightmares. Her outstanding achievements have been recognized by her peers and she has now been nominated for the Ontario Women in Law Enforcement Award.

We wish Isobel Anderson the best during the selection process, but more important, we thank her and thousands of other police officers who give of themselves every day to make our lives better.

National DefenceStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw attention to an event that occurred last fall with virtually no media attention and no opposition questions here in the House.

That event was the beginning of a new era as far as Canadian search and rescue is concerned. Last October, the 442 Squadron of Comox, British Columbia, officially accepted the first of a series of helicopters, the Augusta-Westland CH-149 Cormorants.

The Cormorants will provide Canada with one of the best search and rescue capacities in the world. Their acquisition will greatly enhance the capacities of our armed forces.

Military experts are unanimous in their praise of the Cormorant, citing its utility in a country where extreme climatic conditions make search and rescue operations the most difficult in the world.

Crews testing the CH-149 were quick to realize its virtues and its great suitability for emergency situations.

Transition from the Labrador to the Cormorant will be a gradual process, with the last Labrador phased out in 2003.

Oceans DayStatements By Members

June 7th, 2002 / 11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, this year's theme of Oceans Day is “Give Ocean Life a Safe Harbour From Climate Change”. It reminds us of the role that oceans play as a source of life throughout the world.

First proclaimed ten years ago during the United Nations Earth Summit, the World Oceans Day is seen as a means to educate people about the health of oceans.

In the riding of Rimouski-Neigette-et-la Mitis, the Norjoli school and les Jardins de Métis have come together to develop a project to highlight the importance of the St. Lawrence River and the oceans. The objective of the project is to raise awareness among youth and the public of the resources found in the river and the oceans and of the need to preserve and protect them.

The St. Lawrence River, estuary and the Gulf of St. Lawrence contain a great diversity of animals and plants. The resources and the majestic lands along its shores influence the lives of thousands of people and provide for a variety of activities: fishing, swimming, boating, industry and ecotourism. It is the responsibility of each and everyone of us to preserve their beauty and health.

Seniors MonthStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to remind my colleagues in the House and all Canadians that in many provinces June is celebrated as Seniors Month.

It is a time to recognize the contribution that seniors bring to our communities and to reflect on the impact that Canada's aging population will have on our society. The implications of an aging society will be profound and enduring, and we need to work together to address this significant social change.

This was the focus of the Second World Assembly on Ageing held in Madrid in April. The conference provided Canada with an opportunity to share its knowledge in the area of aging, to learn from the experience of other countries and to build a stronger direction for the future.

Canada is well positioned to respond to these challenges. I encourage all of us to draw from the contributions of all of our citizens, young, old and very old, in order to build a stronger society for all ages.

AgricultureStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, next week five farmers will go on trial in Lethbridge, Alberta for exporting their own grain into the United States. The sad and hypocritical fact is that if they had lived in Ontario or Quebec they would not have broken any laws. On March 4 a National Post editorial titled “Prairie Injustice” pointed out the real problem:

It is unconscionable that farmers may not legally sell the fruits of their labour to whomever they please--

The Liberal government simply overrides fundamental property rights whenever it suits its agenda and fails to understand the concept of freedom of contract.

Here is another outrageous example: Organic farmers in the prairies are forced to sell their grain to the wheat board and buy it back before they can sell it to their customers. This, despite the fact that the board does not even market organic grains. Bill and Myrita Rees in my riding estimate the cost to them on a 1,000 bushel load of grain is $2,800.

When is this government going to start treating prairie farmers just like other Canadian farmers?

TourismStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

R. John Efford Liberal Bonavista—Trinity—Conception, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand here today to represent the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and share with the House some of the successes of our province.

Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in Atlantic Canada, with its annual rate of growth outpacing all traditional sectors. It is estimated that tourism salaries and spending inject some $3.8 billion into the economy of our region each year. That is why the ACOA agency has made tourism a strategic priority and supports local initiatives such as the root cellar project in the town of Elliston in my riding of Bonavista--Trinity--Conception.

Elliston is a small community of approximately 400 people located on the northeastern tip of the Bonavista Peninsula. Once a busy fishing settlement, it is now a popular tourist destination known as the root cellar capital of the world. With 135 documented root cellars, some of which have survived nearly two centuries, Elliston is a cultural centre for those who want to understand early Newfoundland subsistence.

Promotion of the cellars has resulted in national and international recognition. Each summer Tourism Elliston Inc. hosts a four day festival which attracts up to 14,000 visitors--

TourismStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Windsor--St. Clair.

CrtcStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, by refusing to overturn a seriously flawed CRTC decision ignoring its own guidelines in the granting of a broadcasting license to Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. the cabinet has shown a complete disregard for the local programming and Canadian content requirements of the Broadcasting Act.

As a result of this fundamentally flawed decision already underserviced communities like Windsor, dominated by American programming, could see and probably will see a substantial decline in local programming. The decision completely ignores the needs of communities in southern Ontario like Hamilton and Kitchener--Waterloo. If not reversed it will result in the falling by the wayside of local programming and services over the next decade.

The Liberal government has once again shown a complete lack of commitment to promoting local content and diversity in broadcasting in the country.