Madam Speaker, it is a great honour to rise in support of the bill. This is a bill about what is possible for Canada. It is not a bill for members who do not want to address the fundamental problems that exist in Canada.
We need to have impact on world trade. We need to be agents of our own way forward in terms of how we are going to get good results, good jobs, and good outcomes for people from this globalized economy. It is our champions in mining, in particular, in this case that can lead the way.
What is most disappointing to some of the argumentation we hear against this bill is that there was a consensus that is reflected in this bill. This is the outcome of the corporate round table on social responsibility. Clause after clause, measure after measure, many of these things are to be found in the guidelines that corporations have for themselves. What is the difference? We are actually going to enact something. We are actually going to make something workable. We are actually going to make it plausible.
As is often the case when it comes to progress there are doomsayers that say all these incredible things that will come about as a consequence without looking at what this really could mean. This could mean corporations will have an ability to resolve disputes. This could be an enhanced reputation for Canadian-based mining companies. Of course, for those of us interested in the benefits for Canadians of companies, it is a little rich hearing from some of the government members about how they would like to see Canadian headquartered companies when they keep rubber-stamping sale after sale and creating conditions under which our mining companies are being sold off.
This bill had quite a different context a few years ago when we were world leaders. The government has ridden us to a different place. But the companies we do have understand these issues. They deal with them every day in the sovereign nations that they are part of. It is, I think, a bit of stampeding on somebody's part to bring them away from where this bill could put them, which is in a consensus position; a functional position of leadership in the world.
It is what we need to see happen in terms of trade if we look at our own vulnerabilities in terms of our dependence on foreign decisions in a range of things. We want to start to see not just a code of ethics, but a basis for behaviour on the part of companies in terms of advancing some of the other outcomes that we have. The bottom line has to include some of the bottom line benefits for the local populations and Canada is in that position in a number of industries.
Again, when we look at the unspoken in terms of what the government and some of the bill's detractors are prepared to look at, they simply do not see that this is a functional bill that has taken into account all of the different challenges that are there and that the companies actually then deal with a predictable process.
It is a little bit like the failure of the government on climate change. To go to the Petroleum Club in Calgary, or to any business enclave in the country, they are talking fairly loud about a government that does not have the temerity to actually invent something that will work. What does business want? Predictability. They actually want to know what the rules of the game are. To simply say, as this government says on climate change and so many other things, “We will wait for somebody else to move”, that is not leadership. That is not even Canadian.
Canadian companies and Canadian governments have led in a whole host of areas internationally. That is not the Conservative government of today. That is the problem. It is in that context of do nothing, know nothing, deny everything that we basically have this reactionary government unwilling to basically have leadership--