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House of Commons Hansard #84 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was war.

Topics

Free Trade AgreementsPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, I could almost pick up where I left off earlier this morning on a completely different debate because this morning we were talking about this sense of anti-Americanism that is coming out of I guess the government side of the House in relation to the war in the Middle East.

I think there will some connection made tonight between Motion No. 391 that we are speaking to now and the earlier debate today in the House.

I agree with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade. We will lay our cards on the table very quickly that we cannot support the motion for a number of reasons, primarily because if we were to open up NAFTA again or chapter 11, it just will not happen. It is a very complicated and convoluted process and we will not do that. We will make some suggestions, as we have done in the past, which the government might consider. I do not think it is inconsistent with what the government is thinking.

The ironic thing, of course, is that we are talking about the NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is basically the sister to the free trade agreement that we signed with the United States of America in 1988.

I cannot leave without saying, as I look across at the parliamentary secretary who will have a chuckle or two I am sure, that it was a very hotly debated issue in the 1988 election. In fact, historians refer to it now as being the free trade election. That was the first election I ever ran in and I was successful, but it was a tough election.

The truth is that the Liberal Party at that time, I guess that would have included you, Mr. Speaker, because you came to the House at the same time as I did, but your argument convinced the people down in Cornwall that you were the person and I guess my argument sustained me back in New Brunswick, on that we will agree, but the Liberal Party at the time railed against it. I cannot blame that on the parliamentary secretary because in a real sense I think he came after. I think he is a free trader and understands that issue very well and is a businessman himself, in fact a farmer.

That being said, the Prime Minister of course was the man who said that he was going to renegotiate NAFTA. His predecessor, Mr. Turner, was the man who was going to tear up the free trade agreement. He lost that debate in the election of 1988.

Of course, between 1988 and 1993, not a day went by in the House without the mention of the free trade agreement and how the Americans basically duped us and we were done in by them. In the early days of the free trade agreement there were some readjustments for Canadians. There was legitimate concern whether it would benefit us as we told the Canadian people it would.

History has proven us right, as you well know, Mr. Speaker. Some of the statistics that I will point to are proof of that. These are not my statistics. They come from the parliamentary secretary's office, from the Minister for International Trade.

Let us take a look at exports. The Americans are our biggest export market. Let me speak of Newfoundland for the member for St. John's West. The percentage of increase in exports from his part of the country since the inception of the free trade agreement in 1988 has been 246%.

In P.E.I., one of our smaller provinces, there was an increase of 603% since 1988. In my home province of New Brunswick there has been an increase of 257%. Actually some of the smaller provinces have done better than the larger ones on a percentile basis, although we could argue that the province that benefited the most obviously was Ontario, the industrial engine of Canada, if we listen to the Liberal members from Ontario.

Free Trade AgreementsPrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

An hon. member

Nova Scotia.

Free Trade AgreementsPrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

And then Nova Scotia, just for the record. If we could step through all the provinces, and maybe we will do that, 211%, and a lot of that is value added. At one time we were hewers of wood and drawers of water, but with the free trade agreement we were allowed to put that value added on our products and move them into the American market without the tariffs and restrictions that normally would have kept us out of that market.

The truth is that our logic prevailed in that big debate of 1988. I will go back to some of my earlier comments. Of course the prime minister of the day was the prime minister who was going to renegotiate NAFTA. That was part of the 1993 Liberal red book promise. As we stand here, not one comma, not one sentence, has been changed in NAFTA. If he had been paying attention to detail, he could have focused on chapter 11, in all sincerity, and he could have said that we do have a problem with it. Perhaps we should take a harder, tougher look at chapter 11. If we have any desire to change anything in the agreement, it would be chapter 11.

The PC Party is firmly committed to rules based trade and free trade, but we do acknowledge that there have been some misinterpretations of chapter 11. That is a given. Therefore, all future bilateral and multilateral agreements must be sure to include clauses in the agreements that address the original intent of chapter 11, clearly leaving no room for misinterpretation or distortion. That has happened in the past. But I do not think that in this case we should throw the baby out with the bathwater, if that is the correct analogy. I do not think we should do that. I think we should hold onto what we have because it is working, but we should address those deficiencies within the trade agreement. As I mentioned earlier but more precisely, rewording chapter 11 would be very difficult and therefore our party has suggested the inclusion of an interpretive clause to clarify chapter 11 provisions in the current NAFTA agreement.

We want to be the party that encourages global trade, free trade and open markets so that we are not subjected to the punitive actions of regimes that want to keep out our products. We are international traders and we want to continue to be international traders and play by the rules, as we always do.

Therefore, unfortunately, we cannot support the bill. As the parliamentary secretary said, and it is hard to believe I am actually in agreement with a Liberal member of Parliament in the House today, we might as well lay our cards on the table. We cannot support it. The agreement is working. NAFTA is working. The free trade agreement is working. We are global traders. If we have to make amendments to chapter 11, I am not sure that we want to sacrifice the trade agreement. It is working for us. We want to be free traders. We believe in international rules based trade. Let us continue on the path that has led us to the kind of prosperity that we have achieved in this country in the last 14 years.

Free Trade AgreementsPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The chair realizes that one member is seeking the floor, but I just want to point out that there is a minute left in the time provided for consideration of private members' business. With the consent of the House, we could see the clock as 6.30 p.m. and have the second hour of the debate on this motion on another day.

Free Trade AgreementsPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I move that we now see the clock as 6:30 p.m.

Free Trade AgreementsPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is there agreement to see the clock as 6:30 p.m.?

Free Trade AgreementsPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Free Trade AgreementsPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

It being 6:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

moved that Bill C-235, an act to protect human health and the environment by oxygenating automotive fuels, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, the principle behind this bill is quite simple. In fact, the gasoline used in our cars, both public and private vehicles, is a great source of pollution. It contains seven pollutants, each more harmful than the other.

The idea behind the bill is the following: the more oxygen you put in gasoline, the less polluting it is. The more we manage to clean gasoline through oxygenation, the less pollution there will be.

In fact, public transportation is the largest contributor to air pollution. In terms of the seven air pollutants, transportation contributes from 19% to up to 60% of emissions.

For instance, public transportation accounts for 31% of CO

2

emissions. By transportation, I mean general transportation, whether it is private, institutional or public. It also accounts for 41% of nitrogen oxide emissions.

I need not get into what air pollution means in terms of health problems, heart disease and respiratory diseases. We need not get into details, with the striking examples we find in our hospitals. In some of our communities, air pollution has caused all sorts of problems that have forced thousands of people to visit the hospital for heart or respiratory conditions.

The more we can purify our fuel through oxygenation, the less polluted the air will be. In fact, certain countries have experimented with unrefined fuels; one of these countries is Brazil, where 3.6 million vehicles run on ethanol made from sugar cane bagasse. There are 3.6 million vehicles running on pure ethanol.

Japan passed legislation to make the addition of 10% ethanol mandatory. Japan figured that, once the legislation is in force in a few years, air pollution will be reduced by 1% in relation to its Kyoto target, which is 6%. The use of fuel made purer by the addition of 10% ethanol will account for a 1% reduction in pollution.

In general, ethanol represents 40% to 80% less carbon dioxide than conventional gasoline. Since 1990 the United States has made huge efforts, compared to ours here, to produce ethanol fuel. The United States consumes seven billion litres of ethanol annually. In the year 2000, 28 U.S. states legislated oxygenation of their gasoline.

I modelled my bill on the Minnesota model. Minnesota legislated oxygenation of its fuel in 1997. Since then, because of the Minnesota law, 10 ethanol plants have been created. Minnesota now uses 869 million litres of ethanol per year. In Chicago, only oxygenated gasoline, called oxy-fuel, is available for sale. The Chicago area uses 225 billion litres of ethanol a year.

Here in Canada we are really almost at the stage of infancy in regard to our production of ethanol. It must be admitted that the federal government has undergone certain programs with the provinces of Canada to arrive at various reductions of air pollutant components such as sulphurs and carbon dioxide in the climate change program, et cetera. It has also agreed under the climate change program to arrive at a level of 35% ethanol by 2010, representing 500 million litres of gasoline.

My bill will only accelerate the climate change program and the measures already taken by the government to purify our gasoline. Right now what we use in our gasoline as an additive is MMT, which is manganese based. By using oxygenation in our fuel and substituting ethanol in our gasoline, not only would we reduce pollution, we would improve the octane of cars and make our cars more efficient. We would ensure a direct benefit to our environment and reduce air pollution and disease and all the various effects of a constant pollution represented by our transportation.

I do not know if the rules applied when I produced the bill before the committee. Sadly, my bill will not be votable and I deplore this. I am grateful that the system has now been changed. I have been in the House for 10 years. I have produced several bills before the private members' bills committee. Twice my name has come up in the draw and twice my bills have been judged not votable, and I deplore it completely. When it is a measure which is of public interest, which will improve the environment and the health of Canadians at large, I find it very sad that due to a system that is so arbitrary my bill today will consist of a discussion for an hour and then die on the Order Paper.

I hope that the House will consider giving me consent to make the bill votable, because I would like it to be judged by my peers.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Does the hon. member have the consent of the House to make the item votable?

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Canadian Alliance Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to join in the debate on Bill C-235.

Philosophically I do not have a lot of problems with what the bill is proposing. It is fancied up a little in the sense that it proposes oxygenating fuel, which is just another way of saying blending ethanol with gasoline, and for the government to promote or to legislate the mandatory use of ethanol in gasoline. I do not think that is necessarily a bad thing.

What it boils down to is whether the taxpayers and the drivers of automobiles in this country are willing to pay the costs to make that process economically viable. From all indications I have seen, especially over the last year with gasoline prices, the public seems to be extremely sensitive to gasoline prices and I really doubt that they are willing to spend the kind of money to fill the tanks in their cars that would be required to produce a viable ethanol industry.

Quite frankly, the ethanol industry could not survive in Canada without the excise tax subsidy that it enjoys today. Even with that subsidy it is only marginally viable and is very dependent on the cost of the feed stock going into the ethanol plant, whether that be grain, fibre or crop residue of some kind.

Unless the plant can access those feed stocks at an extremely low price, the plant just cannot be economical. Certainly with crop residues on the prairies, we are looking at $70 or $80 a tonne for residue straw from the crop. Iogen Corporation, the pilot project right here in Ottawa that is making ethanol out of grain straw, certainly cannot pay that kind of money and it has been very upfront about that.

The proposal to have governments legislate or mandate whatever that level of ethanol would be is really not possible until there is the amount of ethanol produced in this country to make it possible. That would be a huge amount of ethanol and that will only happen when the economics are right and plants can produce the ethanol and make a dollar at it and I think we are a way from that.

There are other problems with the ethanol industry that bear looking at. The member is quite right in saying that there is some reduction in tailpipe emissions in pollution over pure gasoline to gasoline that is blended with ethanol. At a 10% blend that gain is relatively small. If one looks at the complete cycle in the production of ethanol as well as tailpipe emissions, the gain for the environment is relatively small.

There are some real problems to overcome in the industry before the member's idea could really become a reality. There are certainly other technologies on the way that are equally as attractive as ethanol. Perhaps the economics may turn out to be better as well. In the full life cycle, the amount of energy it takes to produce a litre of ethanol has to be taken into account when looking at the savings for the environment or for human health.

Ethanol is a difficult product to blend with gasoline. Where gasoline generally can be moved all across the country through pipelines at a relatively small cost, that is not the case with ethanol. The alcohol, which ethanol essentially is, has a tendency to separate from the gasoline in the pipeline and does not make transportation by pipeline possible. Therefore it requires that the ethanol be trucked from the point of production to the point of sale. Again, we have to figure in the pollution caused by the trucking of the ethanol versus transporting ethanol by pipeline.

There is another big issue. If governments are going to consider mandating or legislating a minimum amount of ethanol blend in gasoline, governments will have to look at the whole issue of government taxation on gasoline, whether that be blended gasoline or straight fossil fuel gasoline.

Last summer government taxation on gasoline was a big issue across the country. Even some service stations now are advertising their tax exempt price on gasoline and then adding the tax on at the till. People are absolutely shocked to find, depending on where the price of gas is, that almost half the price of a litre of gasoline is tax.

If the government is going to be serious about this issue and promotes the use of ethanol without those dreaded subsidies which the member presenting the bill continuously talks about in the fossil fuel industry, if we are going to produce a viable industry that can stand on its own without subsidization, then we have to look at how that product is taxed at the pump.

That is where we could make the product more attractive. It could be made attractive enough to consumers so that they would be willing to use the blended gasoline rather than straight gasoline. We have not seen any willingness on the part of government to reduce taxes on gasoline. In fact the opposite has probably been true rather than a willingness to reduce taxes.

I receive letters in my office all the time from constituents and people across the country who have discovered that as the cost of gasoline rises, the amount of tax on the gasoline also rises. The GST is based on a percentage and it is added on after the provincial and federal excise taxes. It is a tax on a tax. Most consumers find that very offensive. The government has to do something about that if it is going to be serious about promoting this new kind of fuel.

As I said before, there are other technologies that are as attractive or more attractive than ethanol. Biodiesel and even the diesel technologies that exist in Europe are so far ahead of where we are in North America. There is a huge potential for them as a bridge between gasoline and diesel into the new technologies of hydrogen that are around the corner in this country. We could make huge gains and huge improvements in pollution levels with biodiesel. The technology to capture the particulate exhaust from diesel trucks is there now. We could take huge advantage of that and I think the economics are more realistic.

The other one is hydrogen and the hydrogen fuel cell car. The technology is certainly there. We just have to figure out a way to produce and store the hydrogen and to put it into the tank so that it is safe to transport in a car or truck. That technology is virtually pollution free, producing nothing but pure drinking water out the tailpipe.

The bill has its merits and its idea is laudable, to reduce pollution and improve human health. However, I think there are other technologies that we should look at.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActPrivate Members' Business

6:45 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to take part in this debate on a bill moved by my colleague from Lac-Saint-Louis, namely Bill C-235, An Act to protect human health and the environment by oxygenating automotive fuels.

First, I join my colleague in bemoaning the fact that the committee in charge of making bills votable would not allow the House not only to debate this substantive issue, but also to vote on it.

This is a technical bill. I believe we have the right these days, as a Parliament, not only to vote on some motions, but also to make commitments and real decisions especially with regard to issues related to the environment and sustainable development and to making sustainable development viable for future generations.

I will specifically draw the attention of the House to clause 4 of the bill, which deals with the prohibition of the use and sale of certain gasoline and diesel fuel. It says:

Despite any other Act of Parliament or any regulation under an Act of Parliament, no person shall produce or import for use or sale in Canada or sell or offer for sale in Canada any gasoline or diesel fuel that has an oxygen content of less than 2.7% by weight.

Before tackling the issue of oxygenating automobile fuels, I believe it is important to see where we are at today with regard to additives. Indirectly, this bill is aimed at making sure that some additives such as MMT are used less frequently or even banned. Since the fuel additive MMT has major impacts on public health and the environment I believe it is important to talk about it.

I would remind the House that a 1996 study concluded that the use of this additive in gasoline had the effect of clogging anti-pollution devices, which led to increased pollution of the environment. It was estimated that compared to low-emission vehicles using MMT-free gas, a vehicle using gas containing MMT, after 160,000 kilometres, presented the following characteristics: hydrocarbon emissions were 31% higher when a vehicle used gas with additives like MMT; nitrogen oxide emissions were 24 times higher; carbon monoxide emissions were 14 times higher; emissions of carbon dioxide, or CO

2

, a greenhouse gas, were 2% higher; and finally, fuel efficiency was reduced by 2%.

This demonstrates that the gas used by vehicles is as important as how the vehicles themselves are made. Automobile manufacturers can go ahead and come up with new standards, like ultra-low emissions standards, but if the gas being used is not good enough, the situation is not any better. It is no good having a vehicle described by the manufacturer as an ultra-low emissions vehicle; if the gas being used is not good enough, pollution will not be reduced.

In my mind, that is why we need to legislate. In order to ban MMT, the Americans, among others, used two strategies: one was to magnify the refining process through the increase of aromatic elements or the increase in percentage of branched-chain hydrocarbons. The other strategy was to use oxygenated gasoline.

We are wrong to think that ethanol is the only oxygenated gasoline. Methanol is one, as well as MTBE.

Therefore, two strategies can be used, but the one recommended by the hon. member is totally acceptable.

This bill then should be seen as an enhancement. I agree with the member from the Alliance who said that there are other ways besides the use of the electric car, for instance. The hydrogen car can also be used and might be an option. Let us keep in mind that this bill does not deal with car manufacturing, but rather with the use of gasoline and its constituents.

So, since studies have shown the impact that some additives can have, it would be, I think, in our interest to develop new oxygenation standards and new prescribed standards.

It is therefore with great pleasure that I support this bill, although it is unfortunate that the House will not get to vote on this piece of legislation. Lastly, I want to point out that I support the bill brought forward by my colleague, and I urge all members to do the same.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActPrivate Members' Business

6:55 p.m.

York South—Weston Ontario

Liberal

Alan Tonks LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I would like to applaud the motivations of my colleague in bringing forward a bill that aims at improving the environmental performance of vehicles through more environmentally acceptable fuels. However, while the government supports the objectives, it does not support the specifics of Bill C-235 to require oxygenates in all Canadian gasoline and diesel fuel within the context, chronology and framework that the member's bill has presented.

Oxygenates are added to fuels to improve combustion and, therefore, decrease carbon monoxide tailpipe emissions, which has environmental merit. Oxygenates that are blended into gasoline include ethanol and methyl tertiary butyl ether, MTBE.

Ethanol is a renewable fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Under our climate change plan the government has targeted increased use of ethanol in Canadian fuels. Ethanol produced from cellulose has the largest greenhouse gas benefits. However, the technology to produce ethanol from cellulose is still being developed.

Although methyl tertiary butyl ether, MTBE, is presently being used in Canada, it has been the oxygenate of choice in the United States where oxygenates were mandated. As members may know, MTBE has caused groundwater contamination south of the border as has been pointed out. We want to prevent this from becoming a problem here in Canada.

The transportation sector is a major source of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants in Canada.

As part of a balanced approach addressing vehicle and fuel technology, behaviour change and infrastructure, we need to increase the supply and use of less carbon intensive fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Increased use of biomass ethanol and biodiesel will not only reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, but will also stimulate innovative Canadian companies already active in the bioeconomy and stimulate potential new income sources for farmers and other sectors.

In co-operation with provincial governments, the Government of Canada has been delivering a comprehensive and stringent program for cleaner vehicles and fuels to reduce harmful emissions from vehicles since 1994. We have in place today a 10 year regulatory road map for cleaner fuels and vehicles that will give Canadians cleaner air to breathe and better protect their health from airborne pollutants.

Never before has the government produced such an agenda for action for a product that all Canadians use. Our 10 year plan of action contains stringent new low emission standards for passenger cars, light duty trucks, sport utility vehicles and new standards for the fuels that power them. With this package, nitrogen oxide emissions, a key ingredient of smog, will be reduced by 90% for the vehicles built in 2004 and beyond.

We are also dealing with the fuels that power these vehicles. In June 1999 the government put regulations in place controlling the sulphur content of gasoline to an average limit of 30 parts per million starting January 1, 2005. The interim requirements for less sulphur in gasoline came into effect this past summer. Also in July the government put in place regulations limiting the sulphur content of diesel fuel to 15 parts per million by 2006. These measures will significantly reduce emissions of harmful substances from the transportation sector.

It is understood that a major tenet of the bill is support for oxygenated fuels, such as ethanol. The government continues to support the use of ethanol through a waiver of the federal excise tax on ethanol used as a fuel and through continued research into the production of ethanol from cellulose and through promotion of the environmental benefits of ethanol.

Action Plan 2000, the Canadian government's response to climate change to meet the Kyoto goal, includes five transportation initiatives, two of which are fuel related. As part of Action Plan 2000, the aim is to increase ethanol production in Canada by 750 million litres per year over the next five years. In effect, this will quadruple the production of ethanol in Canada. When fully implemented this will be equivalent to 25% of Canada's total gasoline supply containing a 10% ethanol blend.

The climate change plan for Canada further commits the government to working with the provinces, territories and stakeholders to increase this target to 35% by 2010. It also indicates that the government is looking at alternatives, such as a standard for a certain percentage of fuel to be greenhouse gas free, which would encourage the development of cellulosic ethanol.

To further encourage the development of biodiesel, the plan proposes that federal, provincial and territorial governments collaborate on how to reach a target of 500 million litres of biodiesel production by 2010 using a variety of tools including incentives, standards and research and development.

An important policy to encourage the use of ethanol is its tax treatment as compared to gasoline. We currently waive the excise tax on the ethanol portion of gasoline to make ethanol blended gasoline more attractive to consumers. The federal budget 2003 extends federal support for ethanol by proposing that the ethanol or methanol portion of blended diesel fuel also be exempted from the federal excise tax on diesel fuel. In addition, it proposes that biodiesel, which is produced from biomass or renewable feedstocks, be exempted from the federal excise tax on diesel fuel when used as a motive fuel or blended with regular diesel fuel.

The government recognizes the key role of provinces, territories and industry in expanding the ethanol markets in Canada. We will negotiate with provinces and territories a national framework for the production and use of ethanol, with voluntary agreements on regional targets.

The Government of Canada will also work with provinces and industry to enable the development and commercialization of high performing technologies such as cellulose-based ethanol.

These actions are in keeping with the government's desire to see the use of clean, renewable fuel expand and thrive in a context for which has been well prepared.

The government has also signaled through its climate change plan that it will work with the auto industry to improve by 25% fleet fuel efficiency by the year 2010. More fuel efficient vehicles save the environment, protect our health and save us money.

The 10 year plan is a major step forward in bringing cleaner air to Canadians but our job is far from finished. We want to engage more Canadians in direct actions they can take and also to empower them to hold governments accountable to meet clean air commitments.

The 10 year plan for cleaner vehicles and fuels is yet another step along the road to cleaner air and healthier Canadians.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is the usual refrain. It is the second time I have presented a bill about oxygenation of gasoline. The government always congratulates me and tells me what a wonderful measure it is but decides against it.

What I would point out to the government is that by 2010, when the federal program, which is not legislated, by the way, will come into force, we will be producing 500 million litres of ethanol blend gasoline. What I will explain to the parliamentary secretary, who pointed out MTBE, is that I am not talking about MTBE. I am just saying that this bill was based on the Minnesota model, which in four years has produced 869 million litres of oxygenated gasoline through ethanol. That is in four years only.

Now in 2003, the United States produces 7 billion litres of ethanol; that is since 1990. It has 1.3 million Ford cars with 85% ethanol blend, while we only have 26 in Canada. Legislation in 28 states in the United States has proven that legislation pushes forward the agenda.

I agree that my timetable might have been short and I would have been quite prepared to change it if the bill had been made votable. I listened to my colleague from the Canadian Alliance who said that it was not very significant anyway. I will just tell him that Japan has legislated 10% ethanol blend gasoline by 2008 and it will reduce its target.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.

An hon. member

They had to legislate it.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, would the member allow me to speak, please? If he wanted to intervene, he had time to intervene. He did not choose to, so I do not want to be interrupted by him with all his little interruptions. I want to speak for myself. If he wanted to speak, he had time to speak. If he did not choose to speak then he should keep quiet.

By 2008 Japan will be producing enough ethanol blend gasoline to reduce its Kyoto target of 6% by fully 1%. Perhaps as well the member did not read the bill, because it does include bio-diesel fuels. We are talking about oxygenation of diesel fuel and of gasoline fuels. As I said, oxygenation has been the route taken by 28 states in the United States.

When we talk about all the wonderful things we are going to do by 2010, I would remind the parliamentary secretary that today Scania buses are running with 100% ethanol blend gasoline in Sweden, but here we only have a few cars. I have met Swedish people who are using 85% blend ethanol cars.

I am not a proponent of ethanol necessarily, but at the same time I know, because the parliamentary secretary has quoted Iogen, that the Iogen people have been among the greatest proponents of this bill for cellulose ethanol to put in gasoline.

As far as the prices go, whenever I can, I buy ethanol blend gasoline. It is highly competitive thanks to the 10¢ excise tax rebate. However, I would point out that the United States offers a 23¢ per litre excise tax rebate, instead of 10¢ as we do here, to promote the ethanol industry. Certainly by all standards, if we compare the oxygenation of gas through ethanol or methanol with MMT, which we use today, there is just no comparison. MMT is one of the worst pollutants. It is produced on a base of manganese and it is about time we started to get rid of it.

I am very sorry that in our crazy system we will not have a chance to at least vote on my bill. I regret that one of my colleagues refused the consent motion, because the new rules now would have permitted my bill to go through and to be voted on by my peers, which is really what any parliamentarian wants.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business is now expired. As the motion has not been designated as a votable item, the order is dropped from the Order Paper.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The House will suspend to the call of the Chair giving time to the member who is participating in the adjournment proceedings to arrive in the chamber because the private members' business items we have had today have concluded earlier than scheduled.

(The sitting of the House was suspended at 7:10 p.m.)

(The House resumed at 7:11 p.m.)

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActAdjournment Proceedings

7:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Pankiw Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to address a matter that I brought up previously in a question directed to the justice minister.

Specifically, I want to know why the government is pursuing a two tier justice system. I am referring specifically to section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code which instructs judges to give lenient sentences to Indian criminals.

The question I asked of the minister indicated that Statistics Canada reveals that the crime rate for Indians compared to non-Indians in Saskatoon is ten and a half times to one and it is twelve times to one in Regina. There are three bills currently before Parliament under the purview of the Indian affairs department, none of which address this problem.

In response to my question as to why the minister would be opposed to restoring our justice system to one based on equality where all criminals are treated the same regardless of race or ethnicity, he really did not answer the question.

I would like to know why it is that the government is refusing to address the problem.

The minister in his response acknowledged that there is a problem and said that he was working with the province to resolve it.

My point is that surely to goodness the solution to the problem of a crime rate of one racial group versus all other racial groups combined being ten and a half to one in the city that I come from, giving Indian criminals lenient sentences is no way to address that problem.

I think that section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code should be repealed and that the Liberal government should take a different view of criminal justice reform. Instead of making excuses for why particular groups have different crime rates, we should simply take the view that we have a common law that applies to everyone, that one set of rules fits all and if one breaks the law, then one will suffer the consequences regardless.

I would like to point out as well to the hon. member who will be responding on behalf of the government that not only is it basically a racist government policy for the Criminal Code to treat people differently based on their race or to treat criminals differently, but it is a real insult to victims of crime that someone would get a get out of jail free card because of their race.

An editorial that appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on April 4, 2002 stated that Parliament should repeal differential sentencing, the Supreme Court should return to first principles, offenders should be sentenced in proportion to the severity of the offence, with a view to ensuring parity in punishment, and everyone should be equal before the law.

An editorial in the National Post on June 28, 1999 stated that criminals should not be sentenced on the basis of statistics or skin colour, nor is the criminal justice system biased against natives. It stated that natives may suffer a higher rate of incarceration but they also commit disproportionately more crime than all other ethnic groups. It also stated that dealing natives what are effectively get out of jail free cards merely lowers the cost of going to prison for native criminals.

I await the reply.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActAdjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

Laval East Québec

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Saskatoon—Humboldt for the opportunity to answer his question.

The government is a strong supporter of equality and fairness for all Canadians. For the first time, Parliament set out the purpose and principles of sentencing in 1996.

One of the new principles found in section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code is that all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in the circumstances should be considered for all offenders with particular attention to the circumstances of aboriginal offenders.

The need to consider restraint has been given increased importance as a result of Canada's high rate of incarceration when compared with many other industrialized nations and especially among aboriginal Canadians.

While codified for the first time in Bill C-41 in 1996, the idea of encouraging restraint in the use of incarceration is not new. A white paper was published under the authority of the Minister of Justice in 1982. It stated that restraint in the use of imprisonment have been endorsed by numerous other commissions and in various law reform reports.

There is a longstanding concern by this government and the Parliament of Canada with the overrepresentation of aboriginal people in the criminal justice system who are overrepresented in virtually all aspects, not just with respect to crime rates. Rates of offending, charging, incarceration and victimization are higher for them than for the non-aboriginal population. However the causes of this overrepresentation involve complex social and economic factors of poverty, addictions and disadvantage. They are also historical and not easily dealt with.

The purpose of including a specific reference to aboriginal offenders in the Criminal Code, 1996 and more recently in the Youth Criminal Justice Act, 2002 was to signal Parliament's concern over the especially high aboriginal incarceration rate and the socio-economic factors that contribute to this. It was to require sentencing judges to be sensitive to these matters. It was also for judges to consider the appropriate use of alternative sentencing processes including restorative, culturally sensitive approaches such as sentencing circles, healing circles and victim-offenders mediation.

In the process leading up to the passage of the Youth Criminal Justice Act in February 2002, Parliament carefully considered and agreed that young persons should have the benefit of subsection 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code that applies to aboriginal adults. The Senate refused to pass the Youth Criminal Justice Act without a similar provision for aboriginal young persons. The Minister of Justice agreed with the amendment.

After debate in the House, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, including the amendment, was passed. It should be noted that these provisions do not necessarily mean lighter sentencing. Sometimes being dealt with by a restorative justice program may even be more difficult, not just for the offender but also for the victim, family members and other community members.

The government is also focusing on programs that address the whole continuum of crime and aboriginal peoples so that long term changes will result, for example, funding of programs for aboriginal peoples through the national crime prevention program, the aboriginal justice strategy, the native court worker program, and youth justice. The government is committed to working with aboriginal peoples to ensure that changes result.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Pankiw Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member mentioned that socio-economic factors contribute to the disproportionate crime rate among Indians versus non-Indians.

There is no doubt that is true, so why would the government not resolve those socio-economic problems? Why does it continue to give special race based privileges to Indians, such as tax exemptions and special hiring quotas? Why does it racially segregate Indians and have a reserve system so that Indians themselves are prevented from becoming full and equal participants in society with the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else? It should stop racially segregated and race based government policies. That would address some of the socio-economic conditions.

She also said that the government is committed to equality and fairness for all Canadians. In fact, nothing is further from the truth. It has even ingrained it in law so that the law would treat criminals different depending on their race. That is not equality. That is not fairness. That is an insult to victims of crime. That is entrenched, institutionalized racism.

In conclusion, I sent a brochure into my riding and other parts of Saskatchewan asking the following questions: Should Indians convicted of a criminal offence receive the same jail sentences as non-Indians? Should the Criminal Code be restored to one that ensures that all Canadians are treated equally regardless of race? The response to both questions was: 97% said yes. My constituents believe in equality, that everyone should be treated equally, and that we should have equality of opportunity. The government is completely out of step and out of touch with reality.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard Liberal Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, the remarks of my colleague do not impress me. This is why the Liberal government is on this side of the House and has been in power for a long time. My colleague is implying that Canadians do not believe in special treatment for aboriginals. We on this side of the House believe that we should care for aboriginals. He does not; we do.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until Monday, April 7, at 11 a.m. pursuant to the order made on Thursday, March 27, 2003.

(The House adjourned at 7:23 p.m.)