House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was system.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Durham (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 45% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions February 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present two petitions today on behalf of my constituents.

In the first one the petitioners are concerned about the Canada Health Act. They want to ensure that the government protects the five principles of medicare in the Canadian Constitution to guarantee national standards of quality and publicly funded health care for every Canadian citizen as a right.

Petitions December 13th, 2002

Madam Speaker, the second petition deals with the issue of child pornography. The petitioners call upon Parliament to outlaw all materials which promote or glorify pedophilia and sado-masochistic activity involving children.

Petitions December 13th, 2002

Madam Speaker, I have two petitions to present today on behalf of my constituents. The first petition deals with private member's Bill C-250. The petitioners are concerned about adding sexual orientation to the Criminal Code.

Prebudget Consultations December 12th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his comments. I am aware he is a chiropractor by trade so I can understand his interest in expanding the health care envelope.

As members may know I am hearing impaired. I discovered that in my province audiologists had to come under the auspices of doctors, which is totally ludicrous in my mind. I always went to audiologists because they did a good job, they provided a good service, and I could not be bothered with the waiting lists that doctors had. This is the clout that the CMA has in this country and, quite frankly, someone has to take them on. The ones that have taken them on, unfortunately, are the provinces. When they do not want to take them on, they send the bill up here and we are supposed to just write a cheque. That creates profound problems.

We have hospital administrators in this country that are paid $250,000 a year. They switch jobs, take buyout packages and start again at $250,000. These are all huge costs to our health care system.

The member talked about choices in delivering health care as opposing to delivering financial benefits to a few people. We must deal with that.

The member talked about the infamous gun registry system. Let me first say to members opposite that the reality is that money has not disappeared. People want to call it a boondoggle. The fact of the matter is these were costs that were involved in implementing the system. No one has walked home with bags of money in his or her pocket. It has been spent on lawyers, advertising, and so on. The technical requirements were also put into the system. The money has not disappeared.

If we get into the question about choice and whether this is a rational allocation of expenditures, sure, we all have questions about that. I think that is fair enough. The Auditor General has done a great job in ringing some of the alarms. I have some suggestions as to how to correct that too.

Getting back to the allocation of resources, we should not be spending any more money on health care. I believe there are tons of money in the health care system now. We must sit down and find ways to extract the efficiency out of that system. That is why for me Romanow disappoints. He has a lot of positive ideas that we should move ahead with, but we cannot build on a system that is currently dysfunctional in my mind.

Prebudget Consultations December 12th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to enter the debate on the budget, which we hope will be presented in the House some time in February.

I want to keep my comments to three issues. The first one is the debt. This is something that I find we all too often seem to forget about around this place. Everybody has an agenda here. They want to increase defence spending, medical health research and whatever.

Everybody has a lot of good ideas for spending, but the reality is that our debt is still substantial. The government has made substantial strides in reducing our debt. Indeed, from 1996-97 we have reduced it by $46.7 billion. The reality is that back in 1993 the debt was approaching the $600 billion mark. Today that debt stands at $536.5 billion, which is still very substantial.

We often refer to the relationship of the gross domestic product, that is, all the business activity going on in Canada at any one time, to the debt. That has dropped from 71% to 49.1%. Basically this means the capacity of the economy to sustain the debt, but even so, this is still a lot higher than that of our American counterpart.

I would like to talk briefly about why that is important. Because we have these debt obligations, there is a certain portion of our budget that is automatically dedicated to interest payments. That at one time was somewhere around $40 billion. When we talk about health care spending of an additional $15 billion, we can see that if we did not have this $40 billion expenditure over our heads, which we are committed to paying every year, we would have tremendous flexibility in our choices. It would be easier to make some of the choices that we are debating in the House today.

When I talk about fiscal capacity and this 49% figure, I am talking only about the federal debt. I have with me some figures from the OECD countries. They take in all public sector debt, whether it is the federal government, the provinces, or the municipalities, for that matter. It takes in the total debt related to our GDP, because after all there is only one taxpayer. Whether the taxpayer pays federal, provincial or municipal taxes, we have one person to work with. It is interesting to note those statistics, because while we talk about 49% of GDP relating to our debt, in fact if we take in all of the debt and look at the OECD countries, we see that Canada's debt ratio is well over 100% of our gross domestic product.

I will give some comparisons. The United States is 52%, so there is half of that GDP ratio in the United States compared to Canada. We still are significantly in debt. As a matter of fact, of those OECD countries, we have a better performance than only Japan, Italy and Belgium. All other countries in the OECD exceed Canada's ratio of debt to GDP.

The reality, and it is what I am suggesting for the budget coming up, is that we have to continue our commitment of paying down the debt. We have to resist the concept that we will have a balanced budget and simply spend all the money that comes in the door. We have to resist that. We have to park some of that money so that we allocate it to debt reduction. I would very much encourage the government to plan for that. We have been very fortunate in planning spending levels and surpluses and then exceeding them. We may well be entering a time when that is no longer the case.

I now would like to speak a little about health care, because of course that is very much on our minds. The Romanow commission report is before us. While Mr. Romanow has very many positive things to say, and I was very pleased to make a proposal to the Romanow commission myself, I must say that I was very disappointed in some aspects of Romanow report.

The disappointment I have is that the Romanow program basically builds on a structure which is inefficient, and that is the current public health care system.

I believe in the core values of a publicly funded health care system and the five principles of the Canada Health Act. Indeed, the proposals in the Romanow commission expand and clarify them. The Canada Health Council was very positive in moving the debate about health care spending away from politicians and putting it somewhere else where it would have some positive focus. We must demand accountability in health care.

The thing that disappointed me was this $15 billion bill being sent to the federal government. I am convinced that the $15 billion, if we decide it is a good thing to do, is already in the existing health care system. There is so much inefficiency within the existing system. Where, one might ask? We can talk about what health care workers do and do not do. We can talk about the structure of medical practices in the country which are expensive based on the actual resulting product.

Mr. Romanow's expenditure by the year 2004-05, disregarding Iceland as a comparison because Iceland's population is only about 247,000, would make Canada the third largest spender in the world on health care. We all know that we lag significantly on the quality of the health care that we are delivering so there is something wrong with this picture and it does not have to do with spending.

I would like to caution the government to resist spending more money on health care before we have the accountability right and we must also ask the provinces to clean up the health care system so that they become more efficient and effective.

Finally, I have my own little wish list about spending, and it seems somewhat inconsistent with my opening remarks about reducing deficit. I would like to visit one area which we do not talk about very much here and which has always bothered me and that is the guaranteed income supplement for seniors. The reason I got involved in this issue was that many years ago I used to do tax returns. People in my province of Ontario had to file tax returns to get a tax credit. At that time all of these people were coming to me to file their tax returns, which I never charged them for because their incomes were so low. Their income consisted of the old age pension and the guaranteed income supplement.

Today the guaranteed income supplement and the old age pension amount to about $998 a month, or $12,000 a year. If we think about that, that is a profound statement, that we actually have people in the country living on $12,000 a year. What is even more retrogressive is that our income tax system cuts in at around $7,400 or $7,500. So in other words, those people, a high percentage of whom are women, are also subject to taxation which is a terrible tragedy.

The United Way made a statement that something like 54% of all people over the age of 65 in the greater Toronto area are living below the poverty level. At this time of the year when we are talking about getting our families together, about kindness and the bonds that we share with each other, it would be appropriate to revisit the whole concept of the guaranteed income supplement to see if we could not find ways to put a little bit more in the pockets of these people.

These people do not stand out here on Parliament Hill with placards. They rarely write us or come into our offices and pound on the desk to say they have been mistreated. They are the silent poor of our society and yet I see them from time to time. It is a great tragedy that these people, through no fault of their own, have ended up in this situation. Often a spouse, a husband has died, his pension collapsing on his death and for whatever reason the wife did not work so she is not eligible for the Canada Pension Plan. She is required to live on a thousand dollars a month which cannot be done.

Talking about child poverty, we have put a lot of money in to the child tax credit, as well we should, to bring more life into those family units. We have children at risk, but we seem to be forgetting this other silent group of people at risk in our society.

My suggestions for the budget would be to raise the income cutoff as it hits taxation and, in addition, to raise our commitment under the guaranteed income supplement so we put more money into the hands of these people. This would allow them to live in dignity and self-respect as they wait out their years and would recognize the great commitment they have made to our country during that period of time as well.

Criminal Code December 4th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I can say that what is offensive is the member himself.

Let us turn to promotions. Incidentally, the member does not actually quote his sources but I will quote sources.

The Public Service Commission annual report for 2000-01 shows that in general, anglophones obtained 66% of all promotions while francophones got 34%. Here too we see that the federal public servants indeed are obtaining promotions at the rate that reflects the relative presence of their populations in the general population.

The reality is that Canada is a bilingual country. The objective of our policy is to reflect that bilingualism within our hiring practices. That is what we do. We encourage people to learn the second language. There is nothing wrong with anglophones learning French, and indeed francophones learning English. That is what we want to promote and I think we have been very successful at doing that.

Criminal Code December 4th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to answer the question of the hon. member for Saskatoon—Humboldt which he asked on November 7.

The federal government wants the public service to reflect the Canadian population and to express its values to the fullest extent possible. These values are based on respect for others, tolerance and open-mindedness. These principles are the cornerstones of the government's official languages policy.

Our diversity and linguistic duality are important to us as Canadians and indeed define us as Canadians. Since linguistic duality in the federal public service is one of the core values that make up the Canadian identity, the government is working hard to highlight this Canadian value as a source of our country's vitality.

Under the Official Languages Act the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that English speaking Canadians and French speaking Canadians, without regard to their ethnic origin or first language learned, have equal opportunities to obtain employment and advancement in federal institutions and that the federal public service is representative of the Canadian population.

The government must ensure that the workforce of government institutions tends to reflect the overall representation of the two official language communities. To achieve this the government must therefore take into account such additional factors as characteristics of individual institutions, including their mandates, the public they serve and their location. No positions are reserved for one language group in preference to the other.

Moreover the government is strictly forbidden to use quotas or numerical targets as tools for enhancing the participation rates of the two official language communities. The government is committed to respecting the principle of non-discrimination in all of its staffing activities. Government staffing practices are based on this principle as well as on the merit principle.

In that connection the Public Service Employment Act provides that the Public Service Commission shall appoint qualified persons to positions in the federal public service. The commission is also required to select candidates who meet its language requirements which are part and parcel of the requirements of the positions to be filled.

In the case of non-imperative employment, the term means an appointment for an indeterminate period to a bilingual position that does not require the immediate knowledge of both official languages. The public service official languages exclusion approval order states that persons appointed to positions by non-imperative staffing have two years within which to satisfy the language requirements of their position, that is, to learn the other language.

The Official Languages Act emphasizes that the language requirements of a position must be established in the spirit of objectivity. All federal government staffing policies with language implications are rooted in the Official Languages Act. Their intent is to allow the government to fill its linguistic obligations as regards communication with the public, provision of services and language of work.

According to the 1996 census, the population of Canada was 73.8% anglophone and 24.6% francophone.

The annual report on official languages that the President of the Treasury Board tabled in Parliament in 2001 shows that as of March 31, 2001 anglophones occupied 69%, that is, 102,417 jobs. In other words quite frankly the member's statistics seem to be out of whack with reality. Francophones held 31%. In the national capital region 59% are anglophones and 41% are francophones--

User Fees Act November 29th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to enter this debate on Bill C-212 put forward by the member for Etobicoke North. I respect the member. We have been great colleagues for a long time and we share many functions on various committees. I know how much this issue means to him. Indeed, I am very interested in this issue as well because of course the government brought in user fees a number of years ago and sometimes people think that we just do not have it quite right.

I would like to report that the Treasury Board in fact is abreast of the issue. It has undertaken a change, a policy framework process, and has dealt with industry in trying to bring forward a revision to the policy. It is not here quite yet and that is partially what my argument would be: that the bill is somewhat premature because there is work and progress going on. However, the member opposite is very concerned that it is not going fast enough, and so maybe he should be.

I must state that the government is opposed to the bill for a number of reasons. Today I would like to describe these reasons as well as provide the House with some additional information on cost recovery and user charging.

Bill C-212, despite its good intentions, would be detrimental to the effective functioning of government. It contains a number of constructive measures, but these are already in place in existing federal policies. I believe that accountability and transparency can be better strengthened through improving these existing policies and existing mechanisms for reporting to Parliament and the public.

Currently, pursuant to the authorities granted them by Parliament, individual ministers are responsible for establishing and amending fees. As such, ministers are responsible for evaluating and responding to the many factors relevant to charging decisions. They are accountable to the public and to Parliament. Ministerial accountability is a fundamental principle in all parliamentary democracies. The Treasury Board cost recovery and charging policy supports this legislative framework by setting out the conditions and factors ministers are to consider when users are charged.

This bill would change Canada's approach. It would establish a standing committee to scrutinize and make recommendations to the House of Commons for the approval or rejection of all federal user charges. I know that all of us who serve on various standing committees look forward to the possibility of a another standing committee and wonder how we could provide our time accordingly.

The bill's additional provisions would create an unprecedented overlap in responsibilities and accountabilities between ministers, the standing committee, the House, undefined independent dispute mechanisms and ultimately the courts. This would dismantle the existing ministerial responsibilities, and existing parliamentary oversight would in fact be supplanted.

Ironically, the sum effect would be to undo the worthy objectives of the hon. member's bill. I say this because it would skew accountability by replacing existing lines of authority with a process that would be very complex, costly and unwieldy.

First, the bill's proposed approval process would require the House of Commons to approve, reject or amend all user charge proposals upon consideration and recommendation of the House committee. This would stray from the current practice and philosophy that Parliament delegates questions of application and detail, such as fee setting, to the executive, which is done in the name of efficiency. In other words, the bill would require the Parliament of Canada to in fact micromanage this whole file.

For example, let us imagine that a small agency under Health Canada is seeking approval of a minor change to its fee schedule. In this example, the proposed fee change is intended to simplify the fee structure and process. The bottom line, or the public purse, would not be affected by this change. The proposal is deemed to be revenue neutral. Is this really the type of proposal that requires a separate committee and the House to spend time reviewing? I think not, but the bill would capture this type of transaction

Second, as an act, the provisions of the bill will be enshrined in law. The ultimate arbitrators of issues regarding its interpretation and implementation, then, will not be parliamentarians or the executive, but rather Canada's court system. Complainants dissatisfied with the departmental position or simply seeking to delay fee implementation are liable to avail themselves of the court process to argue potentially frivolous technical issues. In other words, we can actually visualize people starting a court action simply to avoid the possible imposition or increase of a fee.

For example, paragraph 4(1)(a) of the bill requires that “Before a regulating authority fixes” or amends a fee, “it must take reasonable measures” to notify clients of the user fee proposal. Paragraph 4(1)(b) adds that the regulating authority must also give “all clients or service users a reasonable opportunity to provide ideas or proposals for ways to improve” the fee-related services.

With no definition as to what constitutes “reasonable” in these cases, complainants lose nothing by contending in court that the Canada Gazette and the Internet were not reasonable means of notification in their case or, for example, that a four week opportunity to provide ideas was not reasonable as it coincided with a busy period in their work cycle, et cetera.

We can imagine the caseload on an already overburdened court system. We must consider the time delays on implementing potential fee proposals and the delaying effects this would have on the courts' ability to hear more serious cases, and we must consider of course, the court and legal costs.

Third, paragraph 4(1)(e) calls for each charging authority to “establish an independent dispute resolution process to address a complaint or grievance submitted by a client regarding the user fee or change”.

The bill does not establish whether the ruling authority of such a process would supersede that of the minister responsible for the charge or, for that matter, the authority of the committee. Nor does the bill define what constitutes “a complaint or grievance”. The government is well aware that complaints can range from fairly practical questions of application to those that challenge the right or rationale for the department to institute a charge.

Fourth, the bill would extend the reach of this approval process more broadly than perhaps was intended. We note that it would also apply to crown corporations. Their ability to quickly respond to their clients would be subject to the delays created by this new process. That contradicts the reason Parliament granted them a reasonable degree of independent authority: so that government could be more businesslike.

The operational independence granted crown corporations has long been considered an integral part of making government more effective and responsible. Much hard work has been done here in Parliament to create crown corporations like Canada Post so that we could make these organizations more efficient and reduce the red tape burden on the delivering of these services to Canadians. Why would we undo that work? Why place new limits on these organizations after directing them to be more businesslike? Yet that is what the bill would do.

Furthermore, I note that the bill states, “This Act applies to all fees fixed by a regulating authority”, and the bill defines a regulating authority as “a department, agency, board, Crown corporation, commission, or any other body that has the power to fix a user fee or a cost recovery charge under the authority of an Act of Parliament.”

As worded, the bill also could apply to private sector entities such as Bell Canada and Shaw Cable, whose prices are “fixed by a regulating authority” like the CRTC. The repercussions for these businesses would be yet another round of hearings and the expense associated with them. The added delay implied by the effects of the bill, creating various layers of parliamentary, judicial and independent oversight, would be far reaching and potentially very serious for firms who rely on faster, not slower, decision making authorities, which in turn would affect their bottom line.

Fifth, the proposed approval process would also require fees to be justified in comparison to those of other OECD countries.This risks putting pressure on Canada to establish fees at an international lowest common denominator. Canadians feel strongly about their government's role in protecting public health, safety and security. They expect better of their government than an unsophisticated comparison when so many economic, social and political factors determine the level of service people want and the amount they are willing and able to pay.

I wish to convey a strong message that the government is committed to the values of transparency and accountability and is acutely aware of their importance in the user fee environment. It is very serious about making substantive improvements to the current policy on cost recovery.

The government is presently in the latter stages of a balanced and comprehensive review of this policy. Extensive consultations have been held with internal and external stakeholders. Based on the comments received, the government has proposed, in the form of a draft revised policy, a number of changes. Following comments on these proposals, the government is considering further refinements.

The proposed changes will strengthen the accountability of the fee setting process to Parliament, stakeholders and the public and bring about more consistency in the implementation of the policy. This is in response to the previous recommendations of the Standing Committee on Finance and the Auditor General. The proposed changes will provide more explicit guidance to departments that charge.

It is important to note that the government is still in consultation with industry representatives and departments, but there are differing perspectives and competing objectives to consider. Not every issue will be resolved to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. We will continue to listen and to explore ideas for addressing concerns before concluding this review. As we are still consulting--

Kyoto Protocol November 28th, 2002

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. First, yes, very definitely, a number of provinces have taken very concerted actions in recognition of climate change. In my own province in the recent summer months, we have seen a hike in energy rates. We have now been able to determine that one of the major reasons why we had a hike in those rates has to do with the fact that coal fired generating plants had to be curtailed in the Toronto area because of smog alerts. Actually Quebec was the net benefactor of that. The Province of Ontario had to buy energy, and at high rates, I might add, from the Province of Quebec.

The fact of the matter is that we have a province saying it is not so sure about Kyoto while at the same time it has significant problems and it had better start getting on side for the benefit of its own people. Ontario has been dragging its feet on the investment in new coal fired plants for so long that it is way behind the eight ball.

On the question of the industrial sectors, I disagree. I do not think that we can develop a territorial orientation to this. In fact, the whole concept of the Kyoto accord is that we are part of a global environment and we are part of a global problem. I do not think we can start regionalizing how we are going to deal with the matter of Kyoto. In fact, I am one of those who believes that we should have a covenant approach, covenants on an individual industrial approach. It would solve some of the very problems that the member has talked about.

He said that some of the manufacturing industries in Quebec are on side and have done good things. Under a covenant approach we would recognize that. The commitment to reducing greenhouse gases would probably be less in the transportation industry, let us say, which historically has not been as forthcoming. Using a covenants approach that has a sectoral approach, which is what Britain has done to some extent, I think would be more successful than a territorial approach in any case.

Kyoto Protocol November 28th, 2002

Madam Speaker, it seems to me the previous speaker did not want to get confused by the facts. That is a lot of what this debate is all about.

I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Halton.

I have heard constantly throughout this debate questions about why we should be doing this before Christmas and so forth. I have an analogy. This is a time of year when we think about Charles Dickens, who of course wrote about the industrial revolution in Britain. When we think about that, we think of child labour, of kids pulling coal carts and throwing coal for the blast furnaces of the industrial revolution. We have come so far from that. We think that is a ludicrous thing to do. We all accept that there should not be such a thing as child labour.

The seeds of an exuberant industrialization are the kinds of gases that we are forced to breathe on a daily basis. I would like to use my riding in Durham as an example, obviously because it is my riding but because it is an area where the urban area breaks into the rural area. It is an area of agricultural production. It is an area where people commute to and from the greater Toronto area. The biggest employer is General Motors. There is a great dependency on energy and there is great concern over this file about Kyoto.

I will give some statistics. I know that we keep talking about pollution and about CO


emissions, but the reality on CO


is that the conditions of climate change actually promote smog. There is definite scientific evidence that shows that these two things are related: that the smog warnings in Toronto are definitely related to CO


emissions. There was only one smog advisory day in south-central Ontario in 1993. In 1994 there were six, in 1996 there were five, in 1999 there were nine, in 2000 there were four, and in 2001 there were 24. Up to October of this year there have been 28 smog advisory days.

Health Canada tells us that over 5,000 people died prematurely last year due to respiratory ailments brought on by pollution. This is the air that we are asking people to breathe.

In my former life, I was a practising accountant, a financial adviser and a successful business person and I can tell members that business runs on one basic philosophy: profit maximization. There is nothing wrong with that. That is the game, that is how it is played and if people are efficient and good at it, they will have good profits, and if they are not competitive, they go out of business. That gives us very efficient industries.

There is one big problem with that equation today, that is, there is no cost to business for polluting the air we breathe. There is no cost to business for those respiratory ailments that I just talked about. There is no add-up in dollars and cents of people who are living with the medical impacts of pollution and the effects of climate change. That is a big disconnect when we actually start looking at this whole issue.

We hear spokespeople for various business lobbies who come forward and ask why we do not slow down, why do we not resist this and who say that maybe we could wait until some other day. Really, they are not different from those people back in the 1800s in industrial Britain who said that maybe there was a good reason why they had child labour and it would really upset the whole industrial system to change it. That is nonsense. The simple fact of the matter is that it is nonsense and we have to get beyond that. We have to find a way to leave a better world, not only for people who are living today but for children and for Canadians who are as yet unborn.

I have come by this file somewhat honestly in the sense that I experienced this off the coast of Labrador in late August. It was wonderful seeing the icebergs go by. It was an unexpected experience. It was unexpected because iceberg season is in June. Icebergs are floating back and forth because climate change is going on. The reality is that climate change is for real and so are its impacts on our health.

We constantly hear that we need Canadian solutions for this problem. Passing the Kyoto protocol is simply signing us on to reducing our emissions 6% below 1990 levels. I heard the member for Calgary Centre say that we should wait until all the provinces are on side, but we have been debating this issue in Canada since 1990 and still the provinces are not on side. There will always be people kicking and screaming all the way down to the point at which they have to realize that they are hurting people's basic health.

From 1990 until now emissions have increased. We are now talking about having to reduce them by almost 20% below 1990 levels in order to meet the conditions of the Kyoto accord. Every time we say we will wait, we will do another study, or we will do something else, the fact of the matter is that we are going in reverse. We are not coming to a solution for this basic fundamental problem.

The people of Durham have made it very clear to me. People have sent me e-mails and letters. They have told me they want me to support the Kyoto protocol. They say they know there is something wrong with the environment. They know there is something wrong when they see the smog every day when they go to work in Toronto. One individual told me his wife is coughing more than she ever did before. People know that there are some fundamental problems with our environment. They know we have to take some significant responsibility for making changes to that.

I would like to get back to the business envelope. What are we actually asking businesses and indeed all Canadians to do? We are asking businesses to reduce their consumption of energy. Getting back to the business model, we are asking businesses to reduce their consumption of energy, which in fact will save them money. The reduction of the use of fossil fuels in their businesses, if they can do it more efficiently, will simply reduce their cost of production. Ultimately we are asking businesses to make more profits. What better solution can we have?

Some will say yes, but we do not have the technology to achieve that. The renaissance period in history produced the cuckoo clock. The two major wars probably produced more innovation in our society than was produced at any other time in our history. Necessity, that is, a law, an agreement, will undoubtedly create a necessity among business and open the innovation thought process that goes on in the heads of all of us to find better ways to do business once we realize there is a significant cost to dumping our garbage in the air and having people breathe it. It is a good policy position to take.

I will talk about General Motors in particular. I have talked to that company and it has told me it is concerned about this issue. It is concerned, not because of itself, as it has done great things by reducing car emissions and reducing its plants' emissions, but it is afraid of what it calls a cascading effect. In other words, it is afraid that the parts it buys, the people who transport things to it, the steel industry, will all have higher costs and those higher costs will impact on General Motors and its products will become less competitive when shipped south of the border.

Irrespective of the fact that I understand the General Motors concern, I can tell members that a simple rise in the Canadian dollar from 63¢ to 70¢ would have a greater devastating impact on the automotive industry in this country than anything that Kyoto could do, and I think General Motors realizes that.

Finally, the important aspect of this is that we have to be first. I think we owe it to our industries to tell them that we want them there first, first with innovation and technology, because it will make them more competitive in the future. I think even General Motors recognizes that.

I look forward to passing this protocol. I think the people of Durham are very supportive and want us to move forward on this issue.