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House of Commons Hansard #111 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was report.

Topics

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

The House resumed from June 10 consideration of the motion.

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Pursuant to order made Tuesday, June 10, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion to concur in the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development concerning the extension of time to consider Bill C-469.

The hon. chief government whip is rising on a point of order.

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think if you were to seek it you would find unanimous consent to apply the results from the previous motion to this motion, with Conservative members present this morning voting in favour.

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this way?

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

There is no consent.

The question is on the motion.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #155

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

Food and Drugs ActRoutine Proceedings

11:20 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, at this time, I wish to table, in both official languages, copies of a letter I have sent to the chair of the Standing Committee on Health setting out proposals for amendments to Bill C-51, which the government will invite the committee to consider.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

11:20 a.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to eight petitions.

Legislative Instruments Re-enactment ActRoutine Proceedings

June 12th, 2008 / 11:20 a.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Conservative

Rob Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Justice, I am pleased to table two reports today. The first is the review report of the Minister of Justice on the implementation and operation of section 4 of the Legislative Instruments Re-enactment Act.

Judicial Compensation and Benefits CommissionRoutine Proceedings

11:20 a.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Conservative

Rob Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the second report I am pleased to table today is the report of the 2007 Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission.

Copyright ActRoutine Proceedings

11:20 a.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Industry

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-61, An Act to amend the Copyright Act.

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

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the reports of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group respecting its participation in the congressional visit by members at the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group in Washington, D.C., from April 22 to 25, 2008, and also the Canadian/American Border Trade Alliance conference, the Canadian/U.S. Border: A Unified Focus, in Ottawa, Ontario, April 27 to 29, 2008.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canadian branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, respecting its participation in the meeting of the political committee of the APF held in Strasbourg, France, on April 10 and 11, 2008.

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Norman Doyle Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the tenth report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, entitled “Regulating Immigration Consultants”.

Fisheries and OceansCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Conservative Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, on the condition of the eelgrass beds in James Bay.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food entitled “'Product of Canada' claims: Truth and transparency are necessary”. This is a report that we spent a couple of months working on.

I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food, entitled “An Analysis and Comparison of Selected Canada-United States Farm Input Costs”.

Status of WomenCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th and 12th reports of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. The 11th report entitled “Towards Gender-Responsive Budgeting: Rising to the Challenge of Achieving General Equality” was adopted unanimously by all committee members.

I would like to thank my committee colleagues: Kathleen Lahey; Armine Yalnizyan; Nancy Peckford; the committee analysts, Clara Morgan, Karine Richer, Shahrzad Mobasher Fard; and the committee clerk, Danielle Belisle, for their hard and dedicated work.

Transport, Infrastructure and CommunitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, entitled “Consideration of Proposed Amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act”.

I am pleased to report that the committee has agreed to the government request to undertake consultations in order to amend or develop a new navigable waters protection act. The committee has made eight recommendations to that effect and looks forward to holding broader consultations once the government introduces a proposed bill.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-562, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (right to die with dignity).

Mr. Speaker, I am moved this morning when I think about all of the people who supported the first version of this bill and were so eager to see it implemented.

However, my thoughts go especially to all those who are suffering, who meet the conditions in this bill and who could choose to die with dignity. As long as the Criminal Code is not amended—and I am proposing that it should be—they will not have this choice.

I hope that this Parliament will make it possible for these people to exercise this ultimate freedom.

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

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

moved that the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development presented on Thursday, June 5, 2008, be concurred in.

Mr. Speaker, at the outset I would like to note that I will be sharing my time with the member for Victoria.

The need to adopt effective standards of corporate social responsibility, particularly insofar as greater sensitivity to and engagement with the interests and concerns of affected indigenous communities, has been a point of focus for me and my NDP colleagues. My colleague from Halifax has worked tirelessly on the whole issue of corporate social responsibility.

As the Canadian government expands its foreign policy and trade ties in Central and South America, Canadian corporate behaviour should be examined much more closely.

Already, Canadian extractive companies are responsible for billions of dollars of investments in projects throughout Central and South America.

I had some experience in the case of Central America. I am familiar with this subject. In the 1980s I was a project organizer for a development project there, and on the ground, investments can have a significant impact for good or ill upon the communities in which they are made.

Canadian mining companies account for $50 billion of cumulative direct investment around the world. That is a lot of economic activity and that means the lives of many people in other countries are tied to these activities.

Canadians want to know that Canadian companies are improving the lives of people touched by their work, not ruining their livelihood and trampling on their human rights.

Resource riches can be used to prop up corrupt and repressive regimes, like in Zimbabwe and Sudan. Canadian investments in places like Burma have been contributing to the junta, the regime there, and its oppression of the Burmese people. These are Canadian company that are having a direct effect, in a negative way, on people around the world.

Worse still, many Canadian companies have not held themselves to the same human rights, labour and environmental standards that they are required to abide by right here in Canada. We think that should change. The report on corporate social responsibility that the government has would require them to do the same.

It is interesting to note that this report was a joint project between business and civil society. It was a consensus report. The government has had it for over 400 days.

Last year, after the consensus report was delivered to the government, the government said, “We will respond in due course in a short period of time”. It has been more than 400 days since the government has had this report, which was an amazing feat. My predecessor, Ed Broadbent, was the one who pushed for this to happen, working with the member for Halifax.

Many said it could not be done, that business and civil society, those who are pushing for more human rights and standards, both labour and environment standards, could not agree. They did agree. Business and civil society came up with a comprehensive report.

What does that report say? In a nutshell it says the following: That Canadian companies would follow the same standards as they follow here in Canada; that there would be reporting of their activities abroad; that there would be compliance with the framework agreement; and that there would be an ombudsperson to oversee this activity.

It is 2008. The standards that citizens enjoy here in Canada should be exported around the world.

Stephen Lewis has said many times that the whole notion of globalization has benefited disproportionately the north developed countries over the south, and that it is high time we globalize human rights, environmental standards, and the appreciation that the wealth that is created in the south should be something that is honoured by the wages we pay.

The government has an opportunity to move forward international standards on human rights and environmental rights, and Canada's place in the world by adopting the corporate social responsibility framework that was agreed to by business and by civil society.

If the government has been pressured by companies like Barrick Gold or other special interests, and we know there was activity in Tanzania and Chile when the committee travelled abroad, it should listen to the voices of many, instead of listening to the voices of some. The government should listen to the voices of Canadians who unequivocally have called on it to adopt corporate social responsibility. It should join the majority of Canadians

The government should adopt this corporate social responsibility report, do the right thing, show us proud, and make Canada stand tall on the world stage.

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, the member and I have similar views on this issue and we have worked on it at some meetings together. I have convened some meetings with people who are interested in doing this.

I would like to emphasize an excellent point my colleague made. This is one of those rare occasions when civil society and the business community agreed on a report. When there is a controversial report, it is not surprising for the government not to reply, but when all bodies agree, a rare situation, one would think it would be incumbent on the government to reply quickly. Obviously, the government does not have to agree with everything, but when there is such consensus, it could certainly move forward on a lot of fronts.

One thing that I am particularly interested in, and the member could clarify this for me because I was not prepared for this debate, is with respect to an ombudsperson who would look into these cases internationally. Quite often we get letters concerning situations that need investigating. It is a lot harder for us to find out the facts in other countries but an ombudsperson could give us an unbiased, neutral view on a situation, and help us perform our functions as members of Parliament.

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his work on this issue. Right now we have a regime of voluntary compliance for corporate social responsibility. It is kind of analogous to having voluntary human rights. We cannot have that. A company either has corporate social responsibility or it does. To have voluntary, it may as well not bother.

Let me be clear about the position of the ombudsperson. He or she would oversee compliance, verify facts or complaints brought against Canadian companies by individuals, and determine if a complaint relates to the set out standards. The ombudsperson would really pull everything together and provide a framework and objectivity so people could understand. That is important for both companies and for those people concerned about standards being broken. I think it is an excellent way to go. The government should adopt this report and the framework.