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House of Commons Hansard #47 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agency.

Topics

Question No. 83Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

What is the total cost incurred by the government in advertising for the Kyoto protocol?

Question No. 83Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as of November 26, 2002, the Government of Canada had spent approximately $9,700,000 on advertising for the Kyoto protocol.

Question No. 86Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

With respect to the Department of Human Resource Development's withdrawal of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits from over forty fisherpersons from the Cape Shore Region of Newfoundland and Labrador: ( a ) was an investigation carried out or a hearing held prior to the suspension of the EI benefits of these fisherpersons; and ( b ) if not, is the practice of suspension without an investigation or hearing in accordance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

Question No. 86Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, an investigation was conducted in each individual case. These investigations led to the cases being referred to the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, CCRA, for rulings on whether the claimants are or were employed in insurable employment. In cases where there was an active claim for benefits and when appropriate, EI benefits were suspended. The following regulation provides the legislative authority to suspend EI benefits during the course of an investigation.

Regulation 88 of the Employment Insurance Act states the following: “(1) Subject to subsection (2), where a request is made to an officer of the Department of National Revenue under paragraph 90(1) (a), (b) (c) or (d) of the Act for a ruling on the question of whether a claimant is or was employed in insurable employment for any number of hours in a particular period of employment or alleged employment, no benefits are payable in respect of any hours that is the subject of the ruling¼”.

In addition, Section 3B2.1.1 of the benefit manual states that when a ruling is requested, the payment of any benefits are to be suspended on the claim based on the employment in question, until the ruling is received. Furthermore, claimants who are denied EI benefits as a result of an insurability ruling from CCRA have a right to appeal that decision to the Minister of National Revenue.

The practice of the suspension of benefits is based on the EI legislation and is in accordance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Question No. 86Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

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

Question No. 86Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

The Speaker

Is it agreed?

Question No. 86Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-13, an act respecting assisted human reproduction, as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

Assisted Human Reproduction ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

The Speaker

There are 107 motions in amendment standing on the Notice Paper for the report stage of Bill C-13.

Motion No. 102 will not be selected by the Chair as it was ruled out of order in committee.

Motions Nos. 12, 34, 35, 37, 54, 56, 58, 67, 70, 87 and 107 will not be selected by the Chair because they could have been proposed in committee.

Motions Nos. 3, 8, 15, 25, 31, 38, 41 to 43, 48, 50, 57, 59, 60, 62, 63, 65, 66, 68, 69, 73, 79, 97 and 101 will not be selected by the Chair because they were lost in committee.

Motions Nos. 9, 76 and 91 will not be selected by the Chair because they were proposed in committee and withdrawn.

In my statement of March 21, 2001, concerning the new guidelines for report stage, I mentioned that the reasons for non-selection of amendments will not routinely be provided by the Chair. However, today I would like to expand on this approach and share the reasoning that I have used for certain motions from the hon. member for Mississauga South.

The Chair notes that the member for Mississauga South attended the clause by clause meetings of the Standing Committee on Health but was not an official member of the committee. Furthermore, the member contends he was not able to have his amendments proposed by any official member of the committee.

Of course, the Chair recognizes that our parliamentary system is party driven and that the positions of parties are brought forward to committees through its officially designated members. The Chair also recognizes that some members may want to act on their own.

The Chair has examined the note to Standing Order 76.1(5), which reads in part,

The Speaker will normally only select motions that... or could not be presented in committee.

Consequently, the Chair is of the opinion that certain motions by the hon. member for Mississauga could not be presented during the clause by clause study in committee and should therefore be studied at the report stage.

All remaining motions have been examined and the Chair is satisfied that they meet the guidelines expressed in the note to Standing Order 76.1(5) regarding the selection of motions and amendments at the report stage.

The motions will be grouped for debate as follows:

Group No. 1: Motions Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 9 to 11.

Group No. 2: Motions Nos. 13, 14, 16 to 18, 20 to 24, 26 to 30, 32, 33, 36, 39, 40, 44 to 47, 49, 51 and 95.

Group No. 3: Motions Nos. 52, 53, 55, 61, 64, 71, 72, 74, 75, 77 and 78.

Group No. 4: Motions Nos. 6, 80 to 86 and 88 to 90.

Group No. 5: Motions Nos. 2 to 94, 96, 98 to 100 and 103 to 106.

The voting patterns for the motions within each group are available at the Table. The Chair will remind the House of each pattern at the time of voting.

I shall now propose Motions Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 9 to 11 in Group No. 1 to the House.

Assisted Human Reproduction ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Edmonton Southeast Alberta

Liberal

David Kilgour Liberalfor the Minister of Health

moved:

Motion No. 1

That Bill C-13 be amended by replacing the long title with the following:

“An Act respecting assisted human reproduction and related research”

Motion No. 2

That Bill C-13, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing, in the English version, line 15 on page 1 with the following:

“individuals, for families and for society in”

Assisted Human Reproduction ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Maurice Vellacott Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

moved:

Motion No. 4

That Bill C-13, in Clause 2, be amended by deleting lines 1 to 4 on page 2.

Assisted Human Reproduction ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

moved:

Motion No. 5

That Bill C-13, in Clause 3, be amended by replacing lines 25 to 28 on page 2 with the following:

“introduced;

(b) an embryo that consists of cells of more than one embryo, foetus or human being; or

(c) a non-human embryo into which any cell of a human embryo, human foetus or human being has been introduced.”

Motion No. 7

That Bill C-13, in Clause 3, be amended by replacing lines 40 and 41 on page 2 with the following:

“(b) in relation to an in vitro embryo, the original gamete providers and the embryo provider who created the embryo.”

Motion No. 9

That Bill C-13, in Clause 3, be amended by replacing line 3 on page 3 with the following:

“purpose of creating a human being, and further includes polyspermic embryos.”

Motion No. 10

That Bill C-13, in Clause 3, be amended by adding after line 33 on page 3 the following:

““human genome” means the totality of the deoxyribonucleic acid sequence of the human species.”

Assisted Human Reproduction ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Centre is not here to present his motion, Motion No. 11. Is there unanimous consent for another member to move the motion?

Assisted Human Reproduction ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent to have the motion moved by the hon. member for St. John's West.

Assisted Human Reproduction ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent for the hon. member for St. John's West to move the motion?

Assisted Human Reproduction ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Assisted Human Reproduction ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Assisted Human Reproduction ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the debate is starting with the first group that you put to the House. I think that this first group of amendments that you grouped together in accordance with the rules of the House allows us to discuss a more general principle and to put the bill in context.

This bill is certainly one of the most important bills that we will be called upon to debate this year because among other things, it concerns the issue of human cloning. You probably heard the news in December, as did all Bloc Quebecois members. We were all very worried about the issues of values, ethics and human integrity when we learned about the possibility of certain corporations such as Clonaid, with support from a group called the Raelians, having successfully cloned humans.

It is at times like this that all Bloc Quebecois members appreciate the member for Drummond. Why do Bloc Quebecois members, and other members I am sure, appreciate the member for Drummond? In 1995, 1997 and 2002, the member for Drummond introduced a private member's bill inviting the government to plug the gap in the Criminal Code and asking members to introduce legislation making it a criminal offence for any person, non-profit organization or corporation to attempt to clone humans in a public or private laboratory.

Now we know how to extract a cell, inoculate it in another living organism and transfer genetic material, thereby achieving cloning. What is obviously less certain is whether a child can be born in viable conditions. Cloning has produced extremely worrisome results in animals. However, when it comes to humans, it is completely out of the question.

Why do parliamentarians oppose and why should we oppose human cloning? Obviously, it is because of our belief that all human beings are created equal. This equality naturally leads us to seek out what makes each person unique. Each human being has a unique personality, unique ideas, temperament and sense of humour.

What would human relationships be like? How could a family be created if a father had to build a relationship with a son identical to him? He would have to live his entire live with an undeniable and inescapable basic premise: that his child is an exact physical copy, not the result of nature, but the result of a deliberate and intentional act.

I heard experts say that there are identical homozygous twins. How appropriate, since I myself am an identical twin. Think how wonderful it is for the House to discover that there is another person who looks like me. There must be some measure of satisfaction in the fact that this is the result of fate and nature. This was not something my parents tried to do, but something that occurred because nature took its course.

Even if my twin brother René, to whom I want to say hello this morning, has the same genetic baggage as I do because we are identical twins, our personalities are not the same nor do we relate to the world in the same way. Even for identical homozygous twins with the same genetic baggage, life does its best to make each of us unique.

That is not the same as creating a cloning operation—I am sure the member for Hull—Aylmer will agree with me—and it is not the same thing as letting nature take its course.

What is rather hard to understand, obviously, is the government's delay in legislating, some 10 years after the conclusions of the Baird commission on new reproductive technologies were made public.

Once again, every member of the House owes a debt of gratitude to the member for Drummond. We knew that in terms of technology, the issues raised by cloning were on the political horizon. We knew that it was imminent.

Does this bill before us this morning, as well as amendments to it, mean that we as parliamentarians are against research? Of course not. I am one of those who believe that if research can be done do improve the human condition, then we should authorize it.

This bill, as introduced, establishes a fairly satisfactory balance, because research on reproductive material is generally prohibited.

However, if a researcher comes up with a research protocol and demonstrates that the research that he intends to conduct will be beneficial to human beings, but cannot be done without an authorization and cannot be conducted on other types of materials, the Minister of Health may authorize such research. A ministerial authorization will be issued to allow the research to be conducted under the protocol.

Ultimately, and most exceptionally, this may mean that research will be authorized on stem cells. What do we mean by stem cells? These are the cells that are available in the first days after conception. There are about one hundred cells that have the extraordinary biological potential of being used for the regeneration of all tissues.

This is why the availability and use of stem cells is extremely valuable for the research that may be conducted regarding such major degenerative diseases as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and cerebral palsy.

It is true that when we use stem cells, human embryos are destroyed. It is also true that, depending on how we view the beginning of life, this may raise certain questions. Does life begin at conception? Does it begin once the fetus is born alive and viable, as the Supreme Court says?

Again, the bill strikes a balance in that it does not prohibit research on stem cells in all situations. However, when such research is necessary, it will have to be conducted under a research protocol, and the researcher will have to demonstrate that there is no other solution than to use stem cells to achieve the results of the proposed research.

Throughout the day, I will rise to address other amendments that have been proposed, but I want to say that we are aware of the urgency of this matter and we realize that we must prohibit cloning for reproductive purposes as quickly as possible.

We are really uncomfortable with the whole issue of the regulatory agency, which will have an annual operating budget of $10 million. I will get back to this issue when the related amendments come before the House. Since we are responsible people, we will probably support the bill.

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10:35 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity finally to address long overdue legislation in the House on a clause by clause basis. I totally agree with my colleague from the Bloc who outlined the incredible importance attached to the legislation and the need for urgent action.

Given the incidence and reports of developments pertaining to human cloning over the past month, particularly in the context of the Raelian example, there is no question that we are compelled to act as urgently and as quickly as possible. Whether there is truth to that organization, whether the incident of human cloning happened, we know that science is progressing rapidly and that the possibilities of an actual cloning of a human being is real and could be taking place as we speak.

It is imperative that we have legislation that clearly reflects the views of Canadians and the hard work of parliamentarians over a decade on this matter and assert as quickly as possible a complete prohibition on human cloning. I believe there is general support, perhaps unanimous agreement in this chamber for that. The question though for all of us is why has taken so long to get to this point and why, as we begin the serious issue of clause by clause analysis of the bill and address a number of amendments at report stage, has the government continued to mire us down in details in terms of its own particular opposition to the hard work of members of the health committee over a long period of time.

What is so critical today is that we are beginning a process of receiving a number of amendments, some of which were made in the spirit of constructive amendment and improvement to the bill. Some though, as members will note, were proposed by the government of the day and the Minister of Health to negate the good work of the committee.

The obstacles that the government has put in the place of parliamentarians concerned about the issue have been extraordinary over the past year or more. The committee spent a great deal of work studying draft legislation and made a very comprehensive report to the government for improvements to that draft legislation, some of which were included and many of which were totally ignored. It was then in the process of clause by clause analysis of Bill C-13 by members of the health committee that we were able to reinstate some of those good recommendations to make positive changes. Lo and behold we now find that the government of the day is coming forward with amendments to negate the good work of the committee.

At every stage of the process the work that was done by members of parliament to ensure that we had the best possible legislation, acknowledging that there was some give and take required and some need to include a wide variety of views to reach a position of consensus, the government ignored all that.

At the outset, we are in January 2003 looking at, exactly one decade since the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, the Baird commission as we all know it in the House. For 10 years we have been grappling with the issue. The government for 10 years has ignored the suggestions of the women's movement, of people committed to action in this area and to the broad community that wants to see the government put in place a strong regulatory framework to ensure that women are protected, that the offspring of reproductive technologies are ensured of full protection under the law and that we have a mechanism in place to protect the health and safety of Canadians as new and future developments occur in our society today.

We have raised a number of concerns from day one around the process and today we still are concerned because of the failure of the government to respect the wishes of the committee and to include some very positive suggestions. Our concerns have focussed around four or five areas and in all areas we remain unconvinced that the government has addressed those concerns to the fullest extent possible.

We have raised concerns about health protection because we knew that women involved in reproductive technologies ought to be assured at every step of the way that the drugs and treatments they took would be safe beyond a reasonable doubt. Based on testimony and expert witnesses before our committee, we know that women must have access to independent information and counselling at critical times when they may be vulnerable to pressure from promoters of technologies that may put them at risk. We will see through the course of this consideration of the bill at report stage that all those concerns have not been fully addressed.

We remain concerned about commercialization in this sector. We know that much of reproductive technology remains the private preserve of giant life sciences and drug corporations with patent protection taking precedence over the public good and with private for profit interests dominating the field of reproductive technology. The health committee of Parliament recommended to the government that in the context of the bill it review and amend the Patent Act to ensure that the genes and genetic sequencing developments that were part of the human body were not matters for intellectual property rights and for profit of giant life sciences corporations.

Another concern relates to the off-loading of key policy decisions to an agency. At the committee members worked very hard to ensure that this new agency, to be enacted with the proclamation of this legislation, would be constituted to ensure that there was no possibility of conflict of interest and to ensure that the board reflected the concerns of Canadians, particularly women who were most directly affected by this legislation.

As we proceed through this report stage process, members will see that the government has ignored many of the very good suggestions made with respect to ensuring that the agency is not a toothless wonder or an arm of the government, but is an independent body able to do the necessary work required.

We also have raised very serious concerns about the need for us as a health committee and the Parliament of Canada to reflect the fact that we have a diverse society and that we ought to acknowledge that people live with disabilities and that those people can lead full and satisfying lives. Our committee recommended that one of the proclamatory statements in the bill include reference to the fact that people living with disabilities ought to be referenced in the bill. It should be said that persons living with disabilities can lead full and satisfying lives and enrich the lives of those around them. That was taken out of the bill by the government of the day. Regrettably, an amendment which I proposed to assert that idea at this final stage of Bill C-13 was ruled out of order.

I regret that situation but want to say that as a Parliament we must address the concerns of organizations and individuals dealing with issues of importance to people with disabilities. We must ensure that those concerns are reflected in this bill, that we have an appropriate response to the issue of eugenics and that we work as hard as we can to develop a national strategy to protect individuals from the negative consequences of eugenics. We must ensure that people from all backgrounds, with all different abilities, are respected and their contributions acknowledged to the work we do today.

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10:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am sure if you seek it, you would find unanimous consent to have Motion No. 11 moved in the name of the member for St. John's West and included in this grouping.

Assisted Human Reproduction ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Is there unanimous consent?

Assisted Human Reproduction ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Assisted Human Reproduction ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

moved:

Motion No. 11

That Bill C-13, in Clause 3, be amended by replacing line 14 on page 4 with the following:

““Minister” means the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.”

Assisted Human Reproduction ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to rise and debate the first group of amendments to Bill C-13. We need to start by laying out exactly where the bill has come from, why we are discussing it and the importance of report stage.

Over the years we have discussed different issues and different pieces of legislation in the House for different reasons. Many of them involve dollars and cents and the protection of individuals and the economic welfare of the nation. Others are that we are trying to protect the freedoms of individuals by passing laws that are better for the entire nation.

This legislation is all about life and death no matter which side of the argument one is on. Some individuals understand that some of the research that will come out as a result of this legislation will create great advancement in technologies and in the lifestyle of individuals. Research will also provide some of the cures that we long for. Some diseases have the potential of being cured because of this legislation. With regard to embryonic stem cell research, some people have great hope for the reproduction aspects of having a child through advancements in some parts of this legislation.

There is also a negative side to this legislation. As we look at this first group of amendments we have to understand what we are really talking about, particularly when we think of what has been in the news in the last little while regarding the Raelian cult that has been looking at cloning a human being. There is a vacuum in legislation in this whole area and it is about time that our country had something. Bringing legislation forward on this issue has been a 10-year ordeal.

We stand here today to talk about the first group of amendments at report stage. It is very important to note that we are talking about the title of the legislation. The first amendment I wanted to propose was with regard to what we would call the bill. When looking at this legislation and understanding what we are trying to accomplish, we realize it is not about new technologies. Some amendments were made in committee and the title was changed to “an act respecting assisted human reproductive technologies and related research”. We are not assisting technologies; we are assisting reproduction. We should change the title to “an act respecting assisted human reproduction and related research”. This legislation has nothing to do with technologies.

With regard to cloning, my hon. colleague just spoke about whether or not it was a real clone which is a moot point. If that group did not create a clone, we know that other groups will. There is certainly a craving internationally and a drive in the science community to be the first to create a clone. We hear many voices saying they will potentially do it to make a name for themselves internationally.

It is an appalling situation when we think of the human clone, not so much because of the clone itself but because of the appalling practice. There is almost a 300% failure rate for any individual cloned. Dolly the sheep is a clone. That means 300 human lives would be sacrificed for one healthy clone. If we understood what cloning was all about and how it takes place, we would find that identical twins are much closer genetically than an actual clone would be.

The quest for what people are trying to do is not achieved in the outcome of actual reproductive cloning. This piece of legislation will ban reproductive cloning. It will also ban therapeutic cloning.

It was my privilege to sit as the vice-chair of the health committee as we went through this piece of legislation. Over the last two years the best witnesses from across Canada and around the world came before us. We had the opportunity to ask them important questions regarding the details of this very complex legislation. It is important that we in the House understand how complex this legislation is because members will be asked to vote on it. It is important that we discern what it is all about.

One example happened in the fall when an individual was healed of leukemia from umbilical cord stem cells. The preamble to that story on the national evening news was a poll that was taken on how the people of Canada are for embryonic stem cell research. It talked about how wonderful embryonic stem cells were and all the cures that could be provided through embryonic stem cells. Yet when we saw the rest of the news story, it had nothing to do with embryonic stem cells. It was about umbilical cord stem cells which obviously are not embryonic stem cells. They are termed adult stem cells. I would prefer to use the term non-embryonic stem cells because they can come from embryonic fluid and other places.

Much success is being found in the non-embryonic stem cell research. Some phenomenal things have happened over the last year. Last summer there were instances where stem cells from bone marrow could be turned into any organ in the body. Even individuals such as the president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Dr. Bernstein, have suggested that this would change the thinking of how we should be driving for embryonic stem cell research.

When we look at the whole piece of legislation and this group of amendments, we have to understand what we are doing. The bill is not talking about the technology; it is talking about reproduction. The bill should have been split in two. It has a scientific side and a reproduction side. The reproduction side is all about the quest for individuals who cannot have children to produce children from their own genetics.

People go to in vitro fertilization clinics where they are hyperovulated and produce up to 30 ova which are then fertilized. Those become embryos that are put in storage. Some of them are used in the in vitro fertilization process. The others are held in storage for a period of time until it is known whether the person will produce a child from the first procedure. There could be four, five, six procedures. We heard from a witness at the committee who said that there are individuals who have tried as many as 16 times before a child was produced.

The question now is what is done with the other embryos that are in storage. That is what this piece of legislation tries to address. Some people say we should be able to grow them in a Petri dish for 14 days and then kill them, take the stem cells and produce research. We call those stem cell lines. In the United States over 60 stem cell lines were produced before the U.S. legislation came along and said that they would not create life in order to destroy it.

That is the background to this piece of legislation. It is very important that we understand that we are not talking about economics or freedoms. We are talking about life and death. I hope that is the sobering thought as members rise in the House and decide whether this is the right piece of legislation for Canada at this time.

We are crossing a line that we have never crossed before as a nation. We have never before decided to destroy human life for the sake of saving other lives. When we cross that line, we are on a very slippery slope. Where will this stop? What arguments will we use when scientists come to us in three years and say that we have to open this up to therapeutic cloning?

Members will then be asked what is the difference between therapeutic and reproductive cloning. There is no difference. They both start exactly the same way: we take an egg; we take a nucleus from a cell and put that into a hollowed out egg, it is given an electric shock and it grows. The only difference is that one will be killed at 14 days and stem cells will be taken from it. The other will be planted into a womb and will grow into a human being.

It seems that scientists want one and not the other. This piece of legislation at least bans both of them for now. When we know where we are going with this group of amendments, we have to start with the title. The title should reflect what the bill will actually do.

Everything is grouped together in the bill. We were not successful in splitting the bill between the science side and the reproductive side. Nonetheless, we are trying to discern what would be the wisest way to amend it so that we can go forward with the best piece of legislation.

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10:55 a.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House this morning to speak on Bill C-13. For several months, the committee worked very hard and vigorously on this bill to try to come up with a reasonable bill that would meet the needs of Canadians. Today, we are finalizing details and putting forward legislation that meets the needs of Canadians.

Some will say that the government did not listen to the committee. Personally, I had the privilege of sitting on the committee from the beginning and I would say we had very interesting discussions, which were quite spirited at times. Views were expressed in all earnestness by committee members. Consequently, we have today a bill that reflects the committee's position. I do not agree that anyone tried to push without earnestly listening or considering what others had to say. I therefore differ on this.

As regards Motion No. 4 currently being debated, here is a great example of the extent to which committee members listened to the presentations. This is why we feel we ought not to support Motion No. 4. We feel that in an advanced society like ours, there should be no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It used to be the case 50 years ago, but in our advanced society, we are recognizing that individuals are entitled to their particular sexual orientation; we cannot even tell whether it is a matter of choice or whether such is their nature.

I am very pleased to participate in the consideration of this bill in the House of Commons in order to finalize a number of details. I am convinced that all parliamentarians will have a chance to take part in the debate. All are welcome to express their opinions on this bill.