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House of Commons Hansard #17 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ethical.

Topics

Privilege

February 24th, 2004 / 10 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I rise in response to a question of privilege that was raised yesterday. I did say yesterday that I would get back to you in a timely fashion to respond to the concern.

As I understand it, the concern of the member for Calgary Southeast was that in a response to a question I made a comment about a grant that had gone to an organization in his riding. I said “You've got a grant for Spruce Meadows”.

He challenged me at the end of question period. He raised a point of order and asked that I clarify the statement, saying that he had not done that. I got up and said, “No, it is true,” that the member had not done it, that it had gone to his riding is the point I made.

He then raised a point of order the next day saying that I had provided incorrect information to the House. He specifically noted two things, my response stating that the organization in question was not in his riding. He then went on to say that I had also not responded to a request to table a set of documents.

I will table today the following information. I have here from the website of the organization in question, which is known as Spruce Meadows, the address. I have the Conservative Party of Canada website which has an electoral district look-up. When the postal code for Spruce Meadows is typed in, the Conservative Party of Canada website returns which shows that this organization is located in Calgary Southeast. I would like to table that as one part of my response.

The second thing is to correct the error that was made. Spruce Meadows received, through the Government of Canada sponsorship program, $100,000 in 2001, $115,000 in 2001-02, $57,500 in 2002-03 and $54,455 in 2003-04, totalling $326,955.

The point I was making at the time was simply that we should not consider everyone who has had these funds in his or her area to be corrupt. It is a foolish allegation. That was the allegation the member was making, that simply because someone had received a grant in his or her area that he or she was somehow corrupt. It is guilt by association and that is simply wrong.

I would like the member to correct the record.

The second thing I would say is that the member then challenged me to table a set of documents. He was concerned that I had not tabled them in an efficient manner or a timely manner. The documents I had were documents that had already been tabled in the House in response to Question No. 238. What the member asked me to do was re-table information that was already available to the House, which I did. However I did not do it at the exact moment because it was already in the House. When the request was made I came back and re-tabled it.

I do not wish to and I never wished to slur members of the House personally. If there was any sense that I had done so, I would fulsomely apologize for that because that is never my issue. My issue here is that if we are to have debates, let us have them in a competent and fact based fashion. That is all.

Privilege

10:05 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this is a continuation of complete and utter buffoonery. The member was asked to clarify remarks that he made about the member for Calgary Southeast. First was that he got a grant. He did not get a grant. Then that there was an association in his riding that got a grant. It is not in his riding. The member says it is in his riding. It is semantics. It is not in his riding.

Consequently, all he is doing is perpetrating false information that he gave before.

Privilege

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

The Chair will review the submissions that we have now heard. We have heard from the hon. member for St. John's West, the member for Calgary Southeast and we have had a response from the President of the Treasury Board that we have waited for since the matter was originally raised on Thursday last week. It was raised again yesterday.

We now have the material. The Chair will review that and get back to the House in due course. However it seems to me that the President of the Treasury Board has at least tabled some evidence to suggest where the grant went. We will have to review all that and make a decision.

Hon. members I am sure will await the decision of the Chair with anxious enthusiasm.

A message from Her Excellency the Governor General transmitting estimates for the financial year ending March 31, 2005 was presented by the President of the Treasury Board and read by the Speaker to the House.

Main Estimates, 2004-05Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I have a copy of the main estimates to be laid at the table, and I have copies for the appropriate critics and leaders of the opposition parties in the House.

Customs TariffRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock Liberalfor the Minister of Finance

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-21, an act to amend the Customs Tariff.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Labour CodeRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-487, an act to amend the Canada Labour Code (replacement workers).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill once again. This is the fourth time I have done so, and the tenth time that the Bloc Quebecois has introduced an anti-scab bill.

This is an extremely important cause and the House will acknowledge our perseverance. We are convinced that the next time will be the lucky one, since the last time we were very close to seeing the bill passed. This time we are hopeful of victory.

I remind the government that anti-scab legislation will not cost them a penny; all that is needed is political will.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul MacKlin Liberal Northumberland, ON

Mr. Speaker, on February 19, 2004, the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations presented its first report. As is traditional, this report sets out the committee's order of reference and the criteria by which it conducts its reviews and fixes its quorum.

Now that members have had an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the report, I believe that if you should ask, you will find that there is unanimous consent to concur in the first report of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition with 376 names from all across the country. The petition says that: whereas protecting the moral good of society is a natural and serious obligation of elected officials and cannot be left only to religious leaders and institutions; whereas the defence of traditional marriage as the bond between one man and one women is a serious moral good; whereas marriage as the lasting union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others cannot and should not be modified by a legislative act or a court of law; and whereas the recent rulings of the appeal courts of Ontario and B.C. redefining marriage to include same sex partners destroys traditional marriage in law and endangers Canada's social stability and future vitality and health, we request that Parliament take whatever action is required to maintain the current definition of marriage in law, in perpetuity and to prevent any court from overturning or amending that definition.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the privilege to present to the House a petition dealing with marriage, signed by close to 400 Canadians.

The petitioners wish to draw to the attention of the House that the traditional understanding of marriage has deep historical and philosophical roots in our society, and that it should not be modified by legislation or by the courts. The petitioners pray and request that the Parliament of Canada take every possible action to maintain and protect the current understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of presenting 5,500 signatures of petitioners stating that they wish to obtain real negotiating power; that anti-scab legislation is a necessity in today's work environment, in order to level the playing field for employers and employees; and that prohibiting the use of scabs contributes to establishing and maintaining civilized negotiations during labour conflicts.

These 5,500 names are in addition to the 46,000 I have already presented to the House, for a total of 51,500 signatures in favour of anti-scab legislation. I hope their voices will be heard.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Canadian Alliance Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise to present three petitions at the request of my constituents of Saanich--Gulf Islands.

The first petition, which has been endorsed by almost 200 constituents, calls upon Parliament to protect our children by making sure that we take all necessary steps to outlaw any type of child pornography or pedophilia and any activities of this type involving children. I will reiterate my statement of last year when tabling petitions regarding the same issue. We as legislators and fathers have a duty and an obligation to protect our most vulnerable in society, that is, children.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Canadian Alliance Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition, signed by 130 constituents, prays that Parliament passes legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being the lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Canadian Alliance Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the third petition is signed by 506 constituents who call upon Parliament to enact legislation to create a missing persons DNA database which would help identify missing family members through the use of DNA and can be cross-referenced with the unidentified human remains index and other databases which exist in current authorities.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to table on behalf of my constituents.

One has to do with child pornography and is signed by 135 members of my community who are opposed to child pornography and ask the House to take all necessary steps to put an end to child pornography in our country.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition has to do with stem cell research. The petitioners call on this place to put in place stem cell research which is ethical. They support the idea of adult stem cell research to find the cures and therapies necessary to treat the illnesses and diseases of suffering Canadians.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Sarnia—Lambton Ontario

Liberal

Roger Gallaway LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

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

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Review Board should be guided by ethical investment policies which would ensure that our pension investments are socially responsible and do not support companies or enterprises that manufacture or trade in military arms and weapons, have records of poor labour practices, contribute to environmental degradation, or whose conduct, practices or activities are similarly contrary to Canadian values.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the House for the opportunity to raise what my party believes to be a pressing national issue, an issue that is very much top of the mind with many Canadians, especially at this time of year when they are making their choices about where to invest their RRSPs.

I believe that many Canadians take the time to ensure that the money they put away for their retirement is used ethically, through investments, for instance, that do not harm people or the environment. However, the Canadian government has no such scruples.

This year, $2.5 billion in Canada pension plan funds were invested in corporations that manufacture the world's deadliest weapons, including missile launchers, incendiary bombs, battle tanks, high tech fighter aircraft, anti-personnel cluster munitions, warships, and even landmines. Many of these were used in the U.S.-led war in Iraq. The Canadian government has conscripted us into war profiteering whether we like it or not by investing in what we call the merchants of death.

In order for this to change, the mandate of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board must also change. Profit is currently the sole criteria for determining investments. It is our goal as the NDP caucus to inject an ethical screen and socially responsible requirements into that pattern.

I should point out by way of introduction what the current policy is for the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. It speaks specifically to the call for ethical investments. The board's website states:

Our legislation specifically prohibits us from engaging in any investment activities other than maximizing investment returns without undue risk of loss.

This policy--and I should point out that it is a policy rather than legislation--further states that the board, and I quote:

will not accept or reject investments based on non-investment criteria.

I will go through the point that we are raising, which is that we do not have to sacrifice profitability to introduce ethics into our investment strategy. The empirical evidence is clear that having an ethical investment screen on our investment strategy does not in and of itself compromise profitability. In fact, I will point out examples where ethical investment plans and funds outperform conventional free and open indexes on the open equities stock market.

Let us talk about what we mean by ethical investment, because I believe there is a great deal of misunderstanding about this. What we are talking about is socially responsible investing. Ethical investment funds can be implemented using either positive or negative screens. A positive screen would seek out companies that fulfill certain environmental, ethical or social objectives. A negative screen would exclude companies that violate these same standards. Some common negative screens that are mentioned in many of the ethical investment plans include barring the purchase of shares involving tobacco, the creation of pornography, which I feel particularly strongly about, and military production.

Some of the negative screens we are asking to have introduced would prohibit investment in tobacco, military production, any activities which violate human rights, or those that involve environmental degradation.

Key and paramount among what we believe to be these practices that Canadians would object to our investing in is the production of pornography. There is no limit or restriction on the current Canada pension plan investing in the legal creation of adult pornography even though most Canadians would not want their Canada pension plan money invested in this, no matter how profitable it may be.

An ethical investment plan rewards companies that operate in a certain way and provides a carrot to firms that do not meet these criteria and urges them to improve their behaviour to the highest standard.

As a result, society benefits from firms acting, for example, in an environmentally friendly way. We would not advocate that our investment strategy avoids industry sectors all together, such as logging, on the basis that it may not be environmentally friendly. We would argue that we should selectively invest in companies that have environmental practices so that we invest in those companies that have the best practices in that sector and therefore urge other companies to also adopt that high standard of ethical and environmental accountability.

In comparing rates of return, the most common and frequently used argument when we raise this issue is that we will be sacrificing rate of return and therefore somehow compromising the retirement security of pensioners.

There is no clear cut evidence that funds invested ethically always perform better or worse than funds invested according to normal market principles. The results depend on the index or the fund that is being looked at and the time period in question.

I have examples both ways that I would like to go through. One example in the United States is the Domini 400 Social Index which was created in 1989. It has qualitative screens on the Standard & Poor's 500 index of companies and then added certain other companies.

Since 1989 the Domini 400 ethical investment fund has generally outperformed the Standard and Poor's 500 by a small margin. In recent years it has lagged slightly in back of the Standard and Poor's index, but over a 10 year study it has in fact ended up 1.1% higher in performance than an index that has no other governing objectives in its investment strategy.

A similar trend can be seen in a like-minded Canadian index, the Jantzi Social Index. This index invokes different screens than the Domini index and uses as its starting point the Standard & Poor's TSE 60. Using recent data the Jantzi outperformed throughout the mid and late 1990s and since June 2001 it has generally under performed the wider market. However, on a 10 year average it ends up approximately 1% higher than the other indexes.

What seems clear from these two examples is that ethical funds do not chronically underperform more market oriented funds. In fact, we can have our cake and eat it too. We can invest ethically in a way that does not compromise the values of Canadians and does not offend Canadians, and still receive a good rate of return to our investment.

The current record has not been all that sterling with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board since it was created in 1997. It hemorrhaged money. Even with its generous guidelines that have no limits on it whatsoever, it lost billions of dollars. We could have done better by playing pin the tail on the donkey in choosing stocks to invest our hard earned pension money. It rolled the dice and gambled, and it did it badly.

I do not think we should hear too much high flown talk about the downfall of ethical investment when the experience without any ethical guidelines has been abysmal, frankly. We said “Here's $20 billion. Don't lose it”, and it went out and lost about $4 billion. We would have been better off digging a hole and putting that money in the ground. At least we would still have the principal. We would not have lost it.

Our arguments for ethical investment could not have done worse than the current experience with the 12 person Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Let us talk about the fiduciary obligations of trustees of any pension plan. I was a trustee of a union health and welfare benefit plan. I know the limitations. However, we could craft the trust document to allow as many ethical investment funds and allow for other considerations to be factored into the investment strategy other than simply maximizing the rate of return.

If we only wanted the maximum possible profit, we could be making porn movies because one can make a 60% and 70% profit making pornography. We could be selling landmines more than any other activity because landmines and armaments are very profitable. We argue that there are better things that can be done with our money.

We believe that the fiduciary obligations, as contemplated in the trust document of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, could be amended or modified to allow that an investment in a positive rate of return does not have to compete with the best rate of return. In other words, an adequate or reasonable rate of return should be the language that we should be using in order to take into consideration other issues.

The Ontario public service employees union, OPSEU, pension trust fund is a large jointly trusteed pension plan. It stipulates that a reasonable rate of return is the target. That gives it the latitude in its plan to either achieve other secondary goals for which it may wish to use some of its investment strategy or to ensure that it is investing in a selective way that does not offend the sensibilities or the values of the participants in its plan.

Another major investment house dealing with pension plans is the hospitals of Ontario pension plan, HOOPP, which has invested according to four major ethical screens. The president of that plan, Mr. Ed Baker, noted that in order to meet the actuarial assumptions, the plan did not need the biggest returns. He stated that what was needed was a return that was reasonable and invested in a socially responsible manner. Socially responsible are the operative words here.

There is little support for the theory that ethical investments necessarily yield a lower rate of return. I have a list of some 120 ethical investment funds that I can cite that are outperforming on the open market other plans that have no such ethical guidelines attached to them.

In Canada the only evidence about social investment and the rate of return is anecdotal at best. In the United States there is some systematic research related to social investment strategies. In a comprehensive review of the U.S. literature on pension fund activism, there is no substantial effect to having ethical guidelines or ethical screens compared to having none at all.

In Canada the anecdotal evidence states that ethical investments are above average performers compared to mutual funds. For example, the social investment organization has reported that the ethical growth fund with a screened portfolio has performed as well or better than non-screened mutual funds, with an average annual compounded rate of return over 10 years of 12.5%. Over the same period, the ethical growth fund outstripped the TSE 300 by 1.1%. However, given the interest in the issue, there is little systematic research. Much of this is anecdotal.

The issue has been treated completely unfairly by the media of late. There have been two editorials, one in the Ottawa Citizen and one in the Vancouver Province , that hastily did away with any idea that we should have any ethical guidelines involved in our investment strategy at all. They were not only badly researched, but they were out and out rude toward those who felt strongly about this issue, calling people who believed in ethical investment silly socialists.

I represent a large group of Mennonites in my riding. They feel strongly about the fact that they do not like to have part of their income tax used to invest in the military. Some of them withhold a certain percentage of their income taxes per year, about 2%, because they believe 2% of the GDP or tax revenue goes toward the military. That is how strongly they feel about it. For these newspaper articles to accuse those well-meaning Christians of being silly socialists because they do not want their investment dollars being spent on landmines is ignorant on the part of the newspapers. They would not even entertain the general argument in any realistic way.

We should look at other ethical investment funds for direction because many are doing it very well. The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec invests over $120 billion for a number of Quebec pension plans and the Quebec pension plan. It uses its investments for other strategic secondary goals other than simply the maximum rate of return. Again, a reasonable and acceptable rate of return is language that is used in many of these plans, but they are not bound by a trust document that so clearly limits the use of this massive fund.

People would question whether we should be investing our Canada pension plan in the equities market at all. We now have $30.6 billion in equities and real estate and about $34 billion invested in bonds and other secure investments.

Should we be rolling the dice with our pension plan? We believe that there are other secondary goals for which we could use this pot of money. For instance, lending money to municipalities for infrastructure programs or rapid transit at a stable but lower rate of return would achieve other secondary goals with our investment strategy.

The parliamentary leader for the NDP wrote a letter to the Minister of Finance on December 15 of last year, just three days after he was sworn in, to raise this very issue with him. He wrote that Lockheed Martin, along with Raytheon, General Electric, General Dynamic, Carlisle and two other American corporations that benefit from significant Canada pension plan investments were all complicit in the production of anti-personnel landmines for the U.S. military.

He said that Canada pension plan investments in these corporations contravened the convention on the prohibition of use, stockpiling, transfer and production of anti-personnel landmines and section 1 of that convention, which was ratified by Canada. It started here with the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lloyd Axworthy, and others on the Liberal benches who initiated this laudable international goal to eradicate the world from landmines.

Our leader further stated that subsection 1(c) of article 1 of this treaty signed by Canada in Ottawa on December 3, 1997, the very same year that the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board started investing in landmines, stated that, “each state party undertakes never under any circumstances to assist, encourage or induce in any way anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a state party under this convention”.

This is strong language. No wiggle room whatsoever; it was ratified by Canada on December 3, 1997, the very same year that the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board began investing in these obnoxious anti-personnel landmines. He went on:

He went on to say that they were not allowed to develop, produce or otherwise acquire anti-personnel landmines. The Canada pension plan investments, our parliamentary leader argued, were therefore made in companies engaged in business that was unlawful in this country and these contraventions were unacceptable. He therefore urged the Minister of Finance to halt the investment of CPP funds in any corporations that developed or produced anti-personnel landmines.

My motion today goes farther than that. Obviously, this turns heads because it is so reprehensible to even think it. The motion that I introduced today on behalf of the New Democratic Party goes further than just barring investment in merchants of death. It states that:

...the Canada Pension Plan Investment Review Board should be guided by ethical investment policies which would ensure that our pension investments are socially responsible and do not support companies or enterprises that manufacture or trade in military arms and weapons, have records of poor labour practices, contribute to environmental degradation, or whose conduct, practices or activities are similarly contrary to Canadian values.

I believe there is broad cross-party support and national support for such ethical guidelines for our Canada pension plan.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for bringing forth a number of issues. I know he could have used a lot more time to discuss the issue of ethical investments with Canada pension funds.

He touched on the landmine issue. I think every person in the House should take a good look at themselves and really think about what has been mentioned. Canada had a foreign affairs minister who thought it was important enough to partake in a worldwide effort to have a treaty in place to ban the use of landmines. Why ban the use of landmines? Without question, most of people who have suffered from the use of landmines are innocent civilians who have not taken part in the war effort. Children and people who walk the streets after a war is done suffer the most from landmines. Because of the way landmines are made, their limbs are torn off. It is a huge issue throughout the world.

We are a great, wonderful nation and we make the statement that Canada will not partake in this. As a nation, how do we justify that we are not part of this when we have taken our pension funds and invested in companies that make the landmines?

I will put this into a context that maybe people will understand. As far as I am concerned, this is like taking our pension funds and investing in al-Qaeda or any other group that is out there to destroy humankind. It is not acceptable. Either we are principled and have some values or we do not. Let us not try to pretend anymore. As Canadians we take a stand and say that we believe in ethical funds and that we should not support those issues, or we let the world know that it is really all just for show.

The same issue would apply to investing in tobacco companies. We realize the serious risk of tobacco smoking, the effects it has on our health care system and the costs. Therefore, why would we use our pension funds to invest in tobacco companies, even though we put rules in place, such as if someone is under a certain age, they should not be smoking and vendors cannot sell to people under a certain age? We have huge taxes on it. What are we doing? We are investing in tobacco companies so they can sell to other countries. That is not acceptable.

I would like to think that everyone of us has more principles than that, that we will not use the rest of the world as our ground to make a few bucks off someone else's poverty and misfortune.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, the member for Churchill, for raising that very valid point. She may be interested, as others may be, that it is not just landmines. Canada pension plan investments are currently supporting these following weapons that are in use in the Iraq war: the AC-130H Spectre aircraft, the F-14 Tomcat fighter jet, the Nighthawk stealth jet, the BGM-109 Tomahawk missile, the M109A6 Paladin tank, the Dragonlady aircraft and the list goes on. Therefore, even though we are technically not in the war in Iraq, we are inadvertently active in the war in Iraq by investing in these specific products. Some of these weapons are in use that war.

Canada officially stayed out of the war for reasons that most Canadians understood, but not our pension premiums. The fact is that Canada is very much present on the bloody battlefields of Iraq and it still is. Our Canada pension plan investment policies have made warmongers of us all.

At the very least, even those who disagree with me, it is entirely appropriate to ask whether we want one instrument of government actively undermining the work of another instrument of government. Do we want, in the case of landmines for instance, to be financing weapons that Canada is committed to eliminating from the face of the earth? Aside from the obvious hypocrisy, it is inefficient. It is a stupid thing for government to be doing; for the right hand not to know what the left hand is doing, and to be contradicting ourselves.

For all the moral and ethical arguments I can muster, I urge anybody who cares about these issues to support this motion and send a clear, specific direction to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Review Board to introduce ethical guidelines so that our investments are socially responsible.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Canadian Alliance Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am also against people being killed in wars and disputes. I am against crime on the streets where people get killed. Landmines of course are meant to kill people, so I am against them too.

However, let us take the case of Afghanistan. There was a regime in Afghanistan which was killing people and putting women and female children in the position of being unable to get an education. Firms built the necessary weaponry to liberate the women and children of Afghanistan. Those weapons, not landmines, had to be used. Right now the Canadian armed forces are over in Afghanistan carrying on with the effort made there through the use of these weapons.

I ask the member if in fact there is not a place in the world, seeing as how mankind has not risen to the ideal heights of not hurting each other, where it is necessary to use weaponry for the ultimate good of the people of that country.

SupplyGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, one could argue that our Canadian military uses bullets, tanks and guns. Be that as it may, we have made investments in Raytheon, General Dynamics, General Electric and other, what I call, merchants of death. They are not just selling these products to the Canadian military. They are involved in the international armament trade. I believe we should let somebody else be involved in that business. Canadian people do not want their pension fund involved.

As I have said, keeping in mind that the Canada pension plan must remain actuarially sound, who says that we may not use our resources to further other important secondary policy goals? Who says that we might not want to fund social housing and collect our return through mortgages, or lend money to municipalities for public transit or other green infrastructure or fund energy retrofits of government buildings and recoup our investment through the energy saving? As long as the plan remains actuarially sound and we get the pensions we were promised, why do we not use our money to best advantage Canadians, not to blow the legs off children in some far off land?