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37th Parliament, 1st Session

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 065

CONTENTS

Friday, May 18, 2001

VGOVERNMENT ORDERS

. 1010

VKANESATAKE INTERIM LAND BASE GOVERNANCE ACT
VBill S-24. Second reading
VHon. Robert Nault
VMr. John Finlay

. 1015

VMr. Reed Elley

. 1020

. 1025

. 1030

VMr. Paul Crête

. 1035

. 1040

VMr. Pat Martin

. 1045

. 1050

. 1055

VSTATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
VCANADIAN POLICE WEEK
VMs. Diane St-Jacques
VYOUTH CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT
VMr. James Rajotte

. 1100

VCYSTIC FIBROSIS MONTH
VMr. Tony Tirabassi
VDES ACTION AWARENESS WEEK
VMrs. Marlene Jennings
VINTERNATIONAL MUSEUMS DAY
VMs. Raymonde Folco
VNUCLEAR WEAPONS
VMr. Rob Anders

. 1105

VNUNAVUT SIVUNIKSAVUT
VMs. Nancy Karetak-Lindell
VEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
VMr. Paul Crête
VHUMAN RIGHTS
VMr. Irwin Cotler
VHUMAN RIGHTS
VMr. Larry Spencer
VTHE ENVIRONMENT
VMrs. Karen Kraft Sloan

. 1110

VENERGY
VMr. Pat Martin
VCOUNCIL FOR CANADIAN UNITY
VMr. Stéphane Bergeron
VÉCOLE JEANNE-SAUVÉ
VMr. Eugène Bellemare
VSHIPBUILDING
VMr. John Herron
VTRADE
VMr. Mac Harb

. 1115

VINFRASTRUCTURE
VMr. Scott Reid
VORAL QUESTION PERIOD
VTHE ECONOMY
VMr. Grant Hill
VHon. Paul Martin
VMr. Grant Hill
VHon. Paul Martin
VMr. Grant Hill
VHon. Paul Martin
VMr. Ken Epp
VHon. Paul Martin

. 1120

VMr. Ken Epp
VHon. Paul Martin
VTHE ENVIRONMENT
VMs. Caroline St-Hilaire
VHon. Ralph Goodale
VMs. Caroline St-Hilaire
VHon. Ralph Goodale
VMr. Serge Cardin
VHon. Ralph Goodale
VMr. Serge Cardin

. 1125

VHon. Ralph Goodale
VENERGY
VHon. Lorne Nystrom
VHon. Ralph Goodale
VHon. Lorne Nystrom
VHon. Ralph Goodale
VCENSUS RECORDS
VMr. Peter MacKay
VHon. Herb Gray
VMr. Peter MacKay
VHon. Herb Gray

. 1130

VYOUTH CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT
VMr. Chuck Cadman
VHon. Anne McLellan
VMr. Chuck Cadman
VHon. Anne McLellan
VMr. Réal Ménard
VHon. Anne McLellan
VMr. Réal Ménard
VHon. Anne McLellan
VABORIGINAL AFFAIRS
VMr. Reed Elley
VMr. John Finlay

. 1135

VMr. Reed Elley
VMr. John Finlay
VBUDGET SURPLUSES
VMr. Yvan Loubier
VHon. Paul Martin
VMr. Yvan Loubier
VHon. Paul Martin
VNATIONAL DEFENCE
VMr. Peter Goldring
VMr. John O'Reilly
VMr. Peter Goldring

. 1140

VHon. Alfonso Gagliano
VTHE ENVIRONMENT
VHon. Charles Caccia
VHon. Allan Rock
VEMPLOYMENT
VMr. Pat Martin
VMr. Alex Shepherd
VAGRICULTURE
VMr. Dick Proctor
VHon. Paul Martin
VEDUCATION
VMr. Loyola Hearn
VHon. Paul Martin

. 1145

VMr. Loyola Hearn
VHon. Paul Martin
VCIDA
VMr. Keith Martin
VMr. Eugène Bellemare
VMr. Keith Martin
VMr. Eugène Bellemare
VFISHERIES
VMr. Jean-Yves Roy
VHon. Herb Dhaliwal
VMr. Jean-Yves Roy
VHon. Herb Dhaliwal

. 1150

VIMMIGRATION
VMr. Joe Peschisolido
VHon. Elinor Caplan
VMr. Joe Peschisolido
VHon. Elinor Caplan
VHIGHWAY INFRASTRUCTURE
VMr. Marcel Proulx
VMr. Brent St. Denis
VCANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
VMr. David Anderson
VHon. Ralph Goodale
VMr. David Anderson
VHon. Ralph Goodale

. 1155

VFOREIGN AFFAIRS
VMs. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral
VHon. John Manley
VMrs. Sue Barnes
VHon. John Manley
VFORESTRY INDUSTRY
VMr. Jay Hill
VHon. Ralph Goodale
VSHIPBUILDING
VMr. Antoine Dubé
VHon. Herb Gray
VBANKING
VMr. Peter MacKay

. 1200

VHon. Herb Gray
VAGRICULTURE
VMr. Ken Epp
VHon. Paul Martin
VYOUTH CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT
VBill C-7—Notice of Time Allocation
VHon. Alfonso Gagliano

. 1205

VROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
VHOUSE OF COMMONS
VThe Deputy Speaker
VGOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PETITIONS
VMr. Derek Lee
VINTERPARLIAMENTARY DELEGATIONS
VMs. Aileen Carroll
VCOMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE
VProcedure and House Affairs
VMr. Derek Lee
VPETITIONS
VSupreme Court of Canada
VMs. Aileen Carroll
VPoison Control
VMr. Larry Spencer
VPesticide Control
VMr. Irwin Cotler
VMissile Defence Program
VMr. Irwin Cotler
VQUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
VMr. Derek Lee
VGOVERNMENT ORDERS

. 1210

VKANESATAKE INTERIM LAND BASE GOVERNANCE ACT
VBill S-24. Second reading
VMr. Pat Martin
VMr. Rick Borotsik

. 1215

. 1220

. 1225

VNUCLEAR FUEL WASTE ACT
VBill C-27. Second reading
VMr. Keith Martin

. 1230

. 1235

. 1240

. 1245

. 1250

VMr. Serge Cardin

. 1255

. 1300

. 1305

. 1310

. 1315

. 1320

. 1325

VPRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
VINTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION
VMotion
VMr. Dick Proctor

. 1330

VMr. Keith Martin

. 1335

VBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
VMotion No. 219
VMs. Marlene Catterall
VMotion
VBill C-222
VMs. Marlene Catterall
VMotion
VINTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION
VMotion
VMrs. Sue Barnes

. 1340

. 1345

VMs. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral
VMr. Loyola Hearn

. 1350

. 1355

VDivision deemed demanded and deferred
VAppendix

(Official Version)

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 065


HOUSE OF COMMONS

Friday, May 18, 2001

The House met at 10 a.m.



Prayers


GOVERNMENT ORDERS

 

. 1010 +

[English]

KANESATAKE INTERIM LAND BASE GOVERNANCE ACT

 

Hon. Robert Nault (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.) moved that Bill S-24, an act to implement an agreement between the Mohawks of Kanesatake and Her Majesty in right of Canada respecting governance of certain lands by the Mohawks of Kanesatake and to amend an act in consequence, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. John Finlay (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I rise to address the House on second reading of Bill S-24, the Kanesatake interim land base governance act. I am extremely pleased to be bringing this proposed legislation before the House at this time.

As implementing legislation for the agreement with respect to Kanesatake governance and the interim land base between Canada and the Mohawks of Kanesatake, Bill S-24 is a key element of a broader process aimed at resolving the outstanding grievances of the Mohawks of Kanesatake and contributing to social harmony and economic development for the communities of Kanesatake and Oka in Quebec.

It has been more than a decade since the Oka crisis. A great deal has been accomplished since that time but we can go no further in our efforts to resolve outstanding grievances of the Mohawks of Kanesatake without this agreement and its implementing legislation.

It is time to recognize an interim land base for the Mohawks of Kanesatake and to establish law making powers for Kanesatake that other first nations have exercised for years.

In an effort to deal with Mohawk claims to the lands known as the Seigneury of the Lake of Two Mountains, in 1925 the Government of Canada began to purchase parcels of land for the use and occupancy of the Mohawks of Kanesatake. Over the years this has resulted in a patchwork land base so that today while much of the Kanesatake land base consists of adjoining lands, at least some Kanesatake Mohawk lands are interspersed with non-Mohawk lands in and around the village of Oka.

The legal status of these federal crown lands has never been resolved, which has resulted in uncertainty about the application and enforcement of laws on Kanesatake Mohawk lands. This uncertainty has seriously undermined the ability of the Mohawks of Kanesatake to govern themselves.

Bill S-24 would eliminate this uncertainty by recognizing for the first time an interim land base for the Mohawks of Kanesatake. It provides that Kanesatake Mohawk lands would fall under subsection 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867, but not under the Indian Act. Like many other first nations, the Mohawks of Kanesatake want to extract themselves from the cumbersome provisions of the Indian Act, not become further embroiled in them.

Bill S-24 would ensure that the Mohawks of Kanesatake have powers similar to the authorities exercised by other first nations under the Indian Act. They would be empowered to adopt and enforce land related laws in such areas as resource management, land zoning, residency, waste management, the health and quality of life of residents, construction and fire safety. In the event of any conflict between Kanesatake laws and federal laws, the federal laws would prevail.

 

. 1015 + -

The bill provides that the exercise of Kanesatake powers would be subject to the terms of a land governance code setting out the principles by which the Mohawk council of Kanesatake would operate. The code would ensure open and responsible governance by the council, in the best interests of the community, with full political and financial accountability.

Bill S-24 would also ensure that Kanesatake had the authority to enforce its community laws. Kanesatake and Canada are already working with the province of Quebec to conclude a separate agreement on the administration of justice, after which Kanesatake would have the authority to appoint justices of the peace to adjudicate disputes over its laws.

To ensure that the Kanesatake Mohawk lands and non-Mohawk properties in the village of Oka are subject to compatible legal regimes, Bill S-24 would require a harmonization of Kanesatake laws and Oka by-laws on neighbouring lands.

I am pleased to report that the municipality of Oka and its mayor are supportive of the land governance agreement in Bill S-24 and that relations between Oka and Kanesatake are greatly improved. Representatives of these two communities are already meeting to negotiate a harmonization agreement for their respective lands in the village and to address other issues of mutual concern.

I want to assure hon. members that the agreement to be implemented by Bill S-24 is without prejudice to any aboriginal or treaty rights of the Mohawks of Kanesatake, to Kanesatake's historic grievance in relation to the Seigneury of the Lake of Two Mountains or to further more far reaching agreements.

There is a turnaround under way in Kanesatake. Although many issues remain to be resolved, people are optimistic about their future. They are proud of the Kanesatake police force, which for several years now has brought law and order to the community and enhanced the security of all residents in Kanesatake territory, in neighbouring Oka and their neighbouring municipalities. They are proud of their nursing home for the elderly. They are proud of the Mohawk immersion school and youth centre now under construction.

Bill S-24 will lay the foundation for true stability in Kanesatake, the kind of stability that is indispensable to real economic growth and the sustainable nature of the community. With this bill the Mohawks of Kanesatake and their neighbours in the municipality of Oka can all look forward to greater economic opportunity for the Kanesatake-Oka region.

Clearly we are on the right path. Bill S-24 is proof positive that negotiation and reconciliation are the best options for Canada, for the Mohawks of Kanesatake and for the non-Mohawk residents in the region.

I would like to thank our colleagues in the other place for their review and approval of Bill S-24. The hon. senators recognize the merits of the of the land governance agreement that would be implemented through this proposed legislation. They have embraced the opportunity to contribute to the healing process in the Kanesatake-Oka region.

I would like to recognize the co-operation we have had from all parties in the House with respect to Bill S-24, and to urge hon. members to complete this bill at the first opportunity.

Mr. Reed Elley (Nanaimo—Cowichan, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to rise today and speak to Bill S-24, an act to implement an agreement between the Mohawks of Kanesatake and Her Majesty in right of Canada respecting governance of certain lands by the Mohawks of Kanesatake and to amend an act in consequence.

Let me go on record today on behalf of the Canadian Alliance that we will be supporting Bill S-24. However I have a number of concerns that I wish to address both today and as this bill moves through the committee stage.

The Mohawks of Kanesatake have been faced with a unique situation. For those that are not familiar with the Kanesatake Mohawk land claim, let me just take a moment to summarize. Departmental officials have described it as “perhaps the most difficult Indian claim which the Canadian government inherited from pre-Confederation administrations”.

 

. 1020 + -

The history of this unique situation goes all the way back to the year 1717 and the French crown. More recently, in 1945 the government attempted to resolve the land claim through a series of land purchases. The lands purchased resulted in a patchwork quilt effect of Mohawk and non-Mohawk lands scattered across the Oka area. This chequerboard approach continued with land purchases in the 1960s and the 1980s. Past attempts to deal with the land claim through court actions have also been unsuccessful.

While I contend that the Indian Act is an archaic and discriminatory piece of legislation that should be eliminated over time, until now the Kanesatake Mohawks have not even had the few benefits of this legislation, as their lands have not fallen under the bylaw provisions of the act. Nor have they ever been recognized under subsection 91(24) of the 1867 Constitution Act.

It is my understanding that this agreement will provide similar powers as subsection 91(24) of the 1867 Constitution, but not as a reserve as defined under the Indian Act.

I have several questions regarding some of the nuts and bolts of the agreement. Some of the details concerning bylaw harmonization between the municipality of Oka and the Kanesatake Mohawks, environmental issues, the issue of willing buyer willing seller on lands in the area and the voting process are just a few of the issues that are far more appropriate to deal with at the standing committee rather than during second reading in the House of Commons.

There is a larger issue also at stake here today that I want to bring to the House. That is the due process that the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has used to bring the bill before the House of Commons.

The Prime Minister has mused publicly about parliamentary reform in the broadest terms possible. He has been chided by his own colleagues and a past Liberal prime minister to let the MPs have a voice in this Chamber. The government has been under pressure to bring parliamentary reform into effect into the House of Commons, and the actions surrounding this bill exemplify why it needs to take place.

The Canadian Alliance has suggested a number of efforts to make this Chamber more accountable to all the people of our constituencies, not just those who voted for us. We have suggested such revolutionary things as free votes, an ethics counsellor who reports to parliament not just the Prime Minister, secret ballots for the selection of committee chairs, improvements to House of Commons debates and empowering MPs to vote freely on behalf of their constituents.

Underlining all of these issues is the willingness of the government to adhere and participate in an open and transparent manner through the entire legislative process. Without that willingness for change on the part of the government, all the talk by the government amounts to so much empty rhetoric.

Unfortunately, over the years we have seen far too much empty rhetoric from this government. The willingness to create change must acknowledge that the status quo is not acceptable. It must acknowledge that the old way of doing things cannot continue if improvements and positive steps forward can be made.

Let me go a step further in this. Changes by the minister of Indian affairs will affect the lives of many native people. I believe that native people in this country need and deserve change. The status quo is not working for our native people. Yet without the creation of these changes in an open and transparent manner, those involved will always have a suspicion that there was a hidden agenda. Trust is earned, it is not legislated.

For these reasons we must ensure that all of the right steps are taken as we proceed through the bill. We must ensure that those who are in favour of it fully understand it. We must ensure that those who are opposed to it have the opportunity to voice their concerns. We must ensure that those who are affected by the changes in this bill, both native and non-native alike, are fully apprised of it.

To some it would seem that these words are an attempt to slow this legislation down. That really is not the case. However in this case the minister has his procedural process backward.

 

. 1025 + -

We should all note that the bill introduced here today has already been through the other place. The chamber of so-called sober second thought has already called its witnesses and debated the matter. The very nature of this process upsets me. How can the other place have a sober second thought when the bill has been through there first?

I believe the minister does not understand the correct process of bringing legislation through the House. I note his comments in the other place on April 25 when he said:

    Without being too derogatory to my own colleagues in the House, maybe things will go better if I send them here first. Perhaps that is a good trend to continue. We will test it for a while. We have other pieces of legislation that will be coming your way in the next year that we may have some discussions about and consider, with the approval of the House leadership.

Imagine, that is what he said that in the other place. I do not think there was any consultation with our House leader on this. It certainly did not receive the approval of the Canadian Alliance to start in the Senate.

I am not upset over the work that the other place did on the legislation. Indeed senators spent far more time in committee than we will be allowed in the House. However to my knowledge they did not call for the legislation to come to them first. It was taken to them by the minister. I believe that was wrong.

What kind of hidden agenda did the minister have to start the life of the legislation in the other place rather than the House of Commons? Was it a make work project to keep our colleagues there busy because the government's legislative agenda this session is so thin that the wind could blow through it? It was simply rehashed legislation from the last parliament, brought to a halt when the Prime Minister called that unnecessary election which cost the taxpayers of Canada millions of dollars and settled very little.

The government also attempted to proceed through all three readings of the bill today without even taking it to the Indian affairs and northern development standing committee. This is an insult to the role of the House of Commons and its duly elected members. The minister should be ashamed of himself for instituting this process.

I have to wonder aloud if this is the same level of transparency and accountability that the minister is planning to employ throughout the process of the first nations governance act he is proposing. I agree there needs to be greater accountability on the part of chiefs and councils to band members and that the Indian Act needs to be dramatically altered and eventually eliminated. I agree with a grassroots consultation process. We are certainly the party in the House that exemplifies the grassroots democracy of this country. We know all about this. It is not easy to be grassroots, but it is democracy.

I believe there is a strong correlation between the pace at which the minister is attempting to approve and implement Bill S-24 and his proposed first nations governance act. Native Canadians are not fooled by the minister's actions. They believe, and I share their suspicions, that the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development is already well on its way to drafting the text of the bill prior to the consultation process even beginning.

However, today there are thousands of native Canadians who are refusing to participate in the consultation process the minister has proposed. The minister has proposed to do in mere months what in all likelihood will take years to fully consult, draft, debate and legislate, and so it should.

The minister has gone on record in his own riding that I, as a member of parliament, fail to understand the consultation process and that more than just the Internet will be used for feedback for grassroots band members. I understand what I think he fails to understand. While he may be talking about a meeting with native leaders perhaps over the Internet, and yes they certainly need to be consulted, I have been meeting and talking with the people who are potentially affected by the bill that he proposes, the native governance act.

The grassroots people who I have talked to are not sure how they will pay their next telephone bill, let alone have access to a computer and the knowledge of how to use e-mail or chat rooms. Where are the priorities of the minister and the department?

 

. 1030 + -

We are talking about thousands of people who do not have access to potable drinking water. We are talking about people who do not have adequate housing for many months of the year. We are talking about people who cannot receive adequate health care.

There are many good examples across Canada. There are band chiefs and councils who have their members' best interests at heart and act upon them. However the House must wake up to the harsh reality that thousands of native Canadians face daily. Yes, they do want self-government but what does that really mean? If we talk to 10 different people we will get 10 different answers. They want to fulfil their right to self-determination. They want decent education and health care for their families. They want to control their own facilities. Why should they not? The rest of us do.

If the minister were truly listening to the cries of band members he would hear something else. He would hear that many band members are scared of taking control of these services before they are ready. Many band members wonder aloud how people with a poor education can be in charge of their bands' education authorities. They wonder how some of their leaders can lead them into the 21st century when trust and accountability is lacking today.

I have been talking with native Canadians from seven provinces who are facing serious issues, such as third party management, health care funding mismanagement, electoral and voting discrepancies and education funding allocations. These are the issues that band members, including elders, truly want addressed. Rhetoric about consultation means little when children do not have quality health care and houses have no running water.

Let us get our priorities straight for those who cannot comprehend an end to the relentless barriers placed upon them.

I return to the specifics of Bill S-24. I have had the opportunity to meet with grand chief James Gabriel and discuss what the legislation means to Kanesatake Mohawks. I understand why it is important to him and to many of his people. I have assured him that the official opposition will not needlessly oppose the bill.

However, and I am sure he understands, we need to ensure there is not only due process but the appearance of due process. All voices must be heard, both pro and con. At the end of the process even opponents who do not agree with the outcome must feel they have had an opportunity to express their opinion. The end result of the process must be seen as a progressive move forward by the majority who will be affected by the legislation.

I trust that the minister will seriously reconsider his words in the other place and attempt to follow what I believe to be the correct procedure. Perhaps the minister is wary of open and honest debate in the House. He should not be. He should want to ensure that all legislation that impacts on the lives of native Canadians is viewed in the full light of this place by all hon. members. We look forward in the coming days to discussing the bill in committee.

[Translation]

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ): Madam Speaker, the purpose of Bill S-24, the Kanesatake interim land base governance act, is to implement what might be termed an historic agreement recognizing, for the first time, a territory for the Mohawks of Kanesatake as well as the powers to exercise jurisdiction over these lands.

This agreement is the outcome of long months of negotiation and is evidence of the desire to create a peaceful and positive atmosphere between aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples following on the disturbing events of 1990. Remedying this situation has taken 11 years. I think the wounds needed to heal somewhat first, and then there had to be negotiations in good faith and by mutual consent before the result we now have before us could be achieved.

The bill will make it possible to settle Mohawk property rights, thereby reducing the economic uncertainty surrounding the ownership and use of the area's lands and resources.

 

. 1035 + -

The events of 1990 had a direct impact on property values, on the future of these lands, what would happen to them, who would own them and how they would be administered. I believe that Bill S-24 will calm down the situation and show that investment in this area is possible. People can now make informed decisions about settling in this area, knowing exactly what the framework will be.

It is important to point out that the word interim is used precisely because there is the possibility of other lands being added in future, with the consent of both parties. In other words, there is an agreement, as should be the case when negotiations occur, on issues on which both sides agree, but additions may be made in the future. This is particularly true if the agreement works well and yields good results, because then some landowners or people who want to clarify a situation may be tempted to join those who are already covered by the agreement before us.

The Bloc Quebecois will support the bill. This position reflects our party's openness to the comprehensive claims made by aboriginal peoples. It is part of a constructive dialogue with the first nations.

We have demonstrated this in recent years, since the Bloc Quebecois has been present in this House, particularly during the first few years, through the work of the hon. member for Saint-Jean. He was in contact with first nations officials everywhere. Things have not always been easy but we managed to build a constructive relation. Whenever bills or measures have been proposed to improve relations with one or several first nations, we have worked in that spirit. Our support for the bill before us today is based on that spirit.

It is important to understand the need for this harmonization agreement. In order to do so, it must be realized that some parts of the Kanesatake lands are not contiguous. In fact, 57 lands belonging to the Mohawks of Kanesatake are located in the Town of Oka.

It is also important to stress the fact that the current agreement was reached after consultations with the Quebec government, which is not a party to this agreement. These lands really come under federal jurisdiction and formally involve only the federal government and the Mohawks of Kanesatake, but the government of Quebec was consulted and there was an agreement with the town of Oka, with the result that this was a consensus of almost all those involved directly or in an advisory capacity in the negotiations.

It should be emphasized that the agreement included a statement to the effect that it had been concluded without prejudice to any Mohawk rights, whether ancestral or treaty based, and without prejudice to land claims involving the Seigneurie du lac des Deux Montagnes.

An agreement was reached without there necessarily being a need to work out all these sorts of issues. Waiting to do so would probably have prevented an agreement being reached and stood in the way of more harmonious relations, which are needed in this sector.

All these issues are part of what is being negotiated between the Government of Canada and Kanesatake. This is not a comprehensive agreement on self-government, nor is it a treaty. It is a unique agreement on the management of a certain number of lands, taking into account the specific circumstances of Kanesatake.

There was a debate and even a referendum in the community. Interestingly, the result was very close: 239 voted in favour of the agreement and 237 against. This result shows that it can be useful to respect the rule of 50% plus one in a community. It is just about the only rule that is really acceptable.

Grand chief James Gabriel said that the close result was indicative of the energetic debate in the community, without calling into question the legitimacy of the agreement. He said “It is always healthy to have differing views. This is part of what society is all about”. It is true that when people want society to be democratic, they must accept differing views, and that was the case in this process.

I find it interesting that with such a close result the federal government is agreeing to pass a bill to implement this agreement. I think this is an example the government would do well to apply to other cases, such as that of Quebec.

 

. 1040 + -

In this instance, in the case of the agreement before us, the government of Quebec was consulted, as I said, and informed of it. It gave its general support, as did the town of Oka. It was therefore treated properly with respect to the agreement to be signed with the Mohawks of Kanesatake.

An indepth analysis of the bill was also done. We support it. We are proud to be able to play a small part in this historic moment for the Mohawk nation of Kanesatake, which now will have the tools it needs to grow.

Everyone wants the communities to have a chance to develop to their fullest, to have the powers that will enable them to do things and to be accountable.

We would have favoured swift passage for the bill. I listened to the arguments by the Alliance member, who said that the bill had to go through all the stages, including consideration in committee. That to me indicates a lack of understanding of native issues.

It is the same spirit we saw expressed in the context of the Nisga'a agreement, obviously a much broader agreement, requiring thorough consideration. However, in this instance, it was clear from reading the document that we could pass the bill quickly, in a single day.

We therefore cannot adopt the paternalistic attitude on this that the Canadian Alliance has. It strikes us as a kind of refusal to understand the reality of the aboriginal peoples and of their particular culture.

In a broader context, I would like to point out to hon. members that the Bloc Quebecois supports the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. These called for an approach based on the concept of self-government, which acknowledges aboriginal governments as a level of government with jurisdiction over questions concerning governance and the welfare of their people.

The entire royal commission report was based on recognition of the aboriginal peoples as an independent nation occupying a unique place within Canada, and the Bloc Quebecois supports this concept.

The agreement respecting Kanesatake governance fully reflects the spirit of the conclusions and recommendations of the Erasmus—Dussault report, and thus constitutes a positive step toward a healthier redefinition of the relationship between governments and aboriginal peoples.

Therefore it is of obvious importance that this bill be passed in order to continue to ensure harmonious relations between the various communities in the Kanesatake and Oka area. They have had occasion to see what damage can be caused if agreement cannot be reached by negotiation in such situations.

At least, it seems to me that conclusions have been reached, that an agreement that must be respected has been reached, an agreement that while approved by the Mohawk community by a very slim majority, has nevertheless been accepted and is wanted by the community.

In my opinion it is important that this bill be passed as promptly as possible.

[English]

Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP): Madam Speaker, I am pleased to join in the debate on Bill S-24 although I am always critical of bills that originate in the other place. I firmly believe that legislation should be presented by elected officials rather than by unelected people sitting undemocratically in the other place. It is therefore with sadness that I enter the debate on a bill which I support and would like to see passed but of whose origins I am critical.

Although we are dealing only with second reading today, there was unanimous consent among House leaders to deal with all stages of the bill in one day. The bill would afford basic rights to the people of Kanesatake, something for which they have been waiting for generations. It would therefore be fitting and appropriate that the House of Commons co-operate for once and deal with all stages of the bill to give the people of Kanesatake what they have so patiently and peacefully waited for all these years.

Let it be known that it is the Canadian Alliance, the party that stands against any form of aboriginal self-government, that has blocked this agreement. The Canadian Alliance is an obstacle to the agreement and is denying the Kanesatake Mohawk people the right to self-determination. I am very critical of this stunt. Let it be known that it is political mischief on the part of the Canadian Alliance. It is another stunt to create an obstacle to the self-governance aspirations of the Kanesatake Mohawk people.

 

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I wish to compliment Kanesatake Mohawk Grand Chief James Gabriel and the Kanesatake council for the patience and perseverance they have shown during peaceful negotiations to get to this point in Canadian history. We can now renew the relationship with the people of Kanesatake through a real governance instrument so that they can move forward their aspirations with legal authority.

Bill S-24 fills a legal vacuum because the Kanesatake are not covered by the Indian Act. They never have been because early on they saw the shortcomings in the Indian Act and to their credit said that they did not want any part of it. The fiscal and legal relationships between the Kanesatake Mohawks and the federal government have always been vague.

Even though they implemented their own rules and regulations they had very little legal authority to enforce them. It came to light recently when they wanted to stop people from dumping garbage on their land. They tried to intervene by pointing out that it was against their bylaws and local council laws. They found that they had no right to stop the dumping of toxic waste on their property. That should illustrate the depth of the problem better than anything else. Somehow that had to be fixed.

On December 21, 2000, the Government of Canada negotiated with the Kanesatake to create the Kanesatake interim land base governance agreement. Bill S-24 would ratify the agreement and would ensure that certain lands constitute lands reserved for the Kanesatake Mohawk within the meaning of the Indian Act but not covered by the Indian Act.

The Kanesatake would still not be in the same relationship as other first nations on reserves. It would be an independent, free standing and unique arrangement that would serve the people of the community very well. It would serve as a model and would prove that the Government of Canada could negotiate individual agreements with first nations. We do not need a cookie cutter or boiler plate approach to impose things on people.

Kanesatake is a Mohawk community of approximately 2,000 members situated on the Lake of Two Mountains about 50 miles northwest of Montreal. A number of lots that make up Kanesatake Mohawk lands are situated within the boundaries of the village of Oka. Mohawk land is actually intermingled with land owned by non-Mohawks. It is not a traditional aboriginal community at all. It is unique in that way.

Kanesatake has never been an Indian reserve. They have always rejected the model of the Indian Act. Even with this new relationship the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development would not have the right to veto and would not be vested with the same authority as he is under the Indian Act. In that way the Kanesatake Mohawk would retain independence even though the new relationship with the federal government would be defined.

The unique land status means that the elected Mohawk band council which has never been recognized or had law making powers would now have that authority. Bill S-24 is the enabling legislation that would grant real law making authority to the band council. They were always self-governing. They had rules and regulations by agreement but, as I pointed out with the garbage dumping issue, they never had the legal weight and authority to be able to enforce the rules and regulations.

The bill would cover a number of details. The Kanesatake Mohawks would have jurisdiction to make laws in relation to the use and development of the lands of the Kanesatake Mohawk interim land base including a relationship to the health and quality of life of residents.

The bill would also provide for the protection and management of wildlife and fish, which is a major issue; the observance of law and order; the prevention of disorderly conduct and nuisances, in other words self-policing with legal authority; and the prevention of trespass including entry on to or occupation of the lands without lawful authority, which is control of their own boundaries.

 

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They would be allowed to pass laws due to residency. Fire safety and fire protection services would be independent agencies unto themselves through the band council. The construction, maintenance, management and use of local works including water supplies are very significant issues. They would have control and governance over their own water supplies, which is a huge issue across the country and especially in first nations communities lately.

Zoning would be under the authority of the band council, along with waste management, public sanitation and even traffic regulation. They would be able to govern traffic issues throughout their reserve. They are not worried about basic traffic issues but about the type of traffic that goes through their land. For example, they may not want trucks full of toxic waste going through their land. They would be able to regulate those matters.

It is with a great sense of pride and optimism that I speak on behalf of the New Democratic Party in favour of Bill S-24. It is the culmination of many years of hard work. It is the graphic representation of the new approach and the new attitude that progressive Canadians have toward our aboriginal brothers and sisters.

All parties, except for the Canadian Alliance, seem to welcome that new relationship. There is sort of a Eurocentric bias on behalf of the Canadian Alliance. It would like to maintain the old status quo and the old paternalistic relationship between government and aboriginal people. Our party rejects that paternalistic relationship. The Canadian Alliance wants to cling to it.

This has been a terrible frustration for me as a member of parliament trying to defend these issues and trying to promote these concepts. We suffered through the Nisga'a debate which should have been the feel good debate of the decade in the House of Commons when we finally dealt with a 130 year old dispute and signed the first treaty of the century.

Instead it turned into the most divisive debate in the House of Commons because members of the Reform Party, the Canadian Alliance today, moved 472 amendments. They lost every one of them. They did not move those amendments to improve the bill. They moved those amendments out of pure political mischief to try to bury a human rights issue.

It is the kind of party that would put human rights to a majority vote. Members of the Canadian Alliance are always talking about how there has to be a referendum. They say that we have to let the whole country vote on it. I say that we do not put minority rights to a majority vote. When will they get that through their heads? It was embarrassing for me to hear Canadians stand in the House of Commons with that type of approach toward the Nisga'a people.

I am proud to say that I have a T-shirt given to me by the Nisga'a people that says “Nisga'a 472, Reform Party 0”. That made me feel a lot better.

Bill S-24 is the realization of a dream. It is evidence of a maturing relationship between the Government of Canada and aboriginal people. It is the very fitting and rightful representation of the progress made as aboriginal people take their first courageous steps toward true self-governance within the legal framework of Canada. They have always had self-governance. They have the inherent right to be self-governing and they were doing it for thousands of years before the Europeans ever got here.

Now there is a formal relationship within the legal framework of Canada where they can actually make changes to their day to day lives. They can regulate and enforce. They have the power of law with the expressed co-operation of the Government of Canada in this new relationship.

I wish to illustrate from a legal point of view the vacuum this group of people were in. There was a well known case on the Kanesatake Reserve involving Jean-Roch Simon.

 

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Due to a lack of clarity as to the legal status of the Kanesatake Mohawk people, it has never been clear which laws up until now, federal, provincial, Kanesatake or municipal, apply to the lands.

In March 1987 Jean-Roch Simon, a member of the Kanesatake Mohawks, began building a multi-unit residential building in the village of Oka on Kanesatake Mohawk lands. Mr. Simon received a construction loan from the Government of Canada. He proceeded to erect the building on the premise that he would be exempt from municipal land use bylaws because the lands in question were federal crown lands under section 91 of the Constitution Act.

This is where it gets complicated. In April 1987 the municipality of Oka commenced litigation seeking an order to cease the construction and to demolish the building on the grounds that it was in violation of municipal zoning and construction bylaws.

It is hard to imagine, but this brings an abstract concept into a very graphic illustration where we are dealing with real dollars, as well as a loss of opportunity and a loss of income on this person's part. The building was torn down because of the confusion as to who had the right to grant municipal permits to build on that property.

In August 1993 the case went all the way to the Superior Court of Quebec. It ruled in favour of the municipality and ordered the building to be demolished. The court made no determination as to whether the lands came within the meaning of section 91 of the Constitution Act. It found that the lands did not constitute federal public property. This again illustrates what a confusing legal morass the Kanesatake Mohawk people were forced to deal with all these years. As this document says, they were in a legal vacuum.

That is why we should be celebrating Bill S-24 and why I am incredibly critical of the Canadian Alliance for being an obstacle and a barrier to moving the issue forward. There is not another political party in the House of Commons that would stand in the way of basic human rights for aboriginal people except for Alliance members who over and over again deliberately, specifically and expressly do all they can to interfere with people's basic right to self-governance.

I would like to go over some of the background history in a little more detail because it is instructive that we are all made aware for future purposes how this kind of relationship has evolved. Bill S-24 and the agreement that stems from it could serve as a model in terms of future fiscal and legal relationships between the federal government and other aboriginal communities.

The Kanesatake Mohawk land claim has been viewed by experts as perhaps the most difficult Indian claim the Canadian government has ever inherited, even from pre-Confederation administrations, which is when this issue actually started. The unique circumstances of the Kanesatake Mohawks with respect to their land base can be traced back to 1717 and a seigneurial grant of land.



STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Translation]

CANADIAN POLICE WEEK

Ms. Diane St-Jacques (Shefford, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to mention to the House that this is Canadian Police Week.

The aim of this initiative is to inform the community about police services. The police are using it to strengthen their ties with the community.

Police week is the fruit of efforts by a number of parties, including the Government of Canada and the provincial attorneys general. Throughout the week, activities have been organized to make the public aware of the role of the police in our communities.

Our police officers are devoted, courageous and vigilant. The police in the riding of Shefford have certainly always been so.

Let us take this moment to acknowledge that it is thanks to the work they do that we live in security, and they bring this home every day.

*  *  *

[English]

YOUTH CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT

Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton Southwest, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the attorney general of Ontario came to Parliament Hill today to call on the Liberal government to put justice into the youth criminal justice act.

 

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Through three red books and eight years in power the Liberal government has done little to improve the Young Offenders Act despite the outcry of Canadians. With the youth criminal justice act the Liberals have presented Canadians with an old car with a new paint job. There is little new in the act and little that brings justice to the system.

Like so many other provinces, as well as victims rights organizations and concerned citizens, Ontario called for stronger provisions to ensure that young offenders who commit adult crimes serve adult time and that there is mandatory jail time for weapons offences.

These are common sense solutions that regrettably the government has too little time for. For the sake of Canadians and for the sake of victims of crime, I urge the government to bring real justice to the youth criminal justice act.

*  *  *

CYSTIC FIBROSIS MONTH

Mr. Tony Tirabassi (Niagara Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform members of the House and all Canadians that May is Cystic Fibrosis Month. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease affecting primarily the respiratory and digestive systems. As of yet there is no known cure for cystic fibrosis.

Approximately one in 25 Canadians carries the gene which causes cystic fibrosis. Approximately one in every 2,500 children born in Canada has the disease. Cystic fibrosis is one of the most deadly inherited diseases affecting Canadian children and young adults. The Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation supports clinical services for persons with cystic fibrosis and supports scientific research to find a cure or control for the condition.

I ask the House to join me in congratulating members of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for their achievements and extending best wishes for a very successful Cystic Fibrosis Month.

*  *  *

DES ACTION AWARENESS WEEK

Mrs. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I should like to inform the House and all Canadians that May 14 to May 18 has been designated DES Action Awareness Week to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the landmark article by Dr. Herbst linking the use of DES in pregnancy to cancer in daughters later in life.

DES is a synthetic oestrogen that was prescribed to women between 1941 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage and encourage a healthy pregnancy. It did not work. Instead it caused serious health problems for them, their children and their children's children.

During the 30 year period that DES was used more than half a million Canadians were affected. Third generation effects are now becoming evident in the grandchildren of those who were prescribed this hormone.

DES Action Canada's goal is to identify all DES exposed persons and to inform them and health professionals of the tragic consequences of DES exposure. Congratulations to DES Action Canada for its excellent work.

*  *  *

[Translation]

INTERNATIONAL MUSEUMS DAY

Ms. Raymonde Folco (Laval West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on May 18, the entire world celebrates International Museums Day.

In 2001, the theme “Museums: Building Communities” underlines the importance of the social role of the museum and recalls the definition of the museum as “a permanent institution in the service of society and of its development”.

In Canada, over 2,000 museums enable us to discover our country's and the world's heritage, in the arts, sciences, history, technology and nature. These museums reflect all that we are and have been. They reflect our identity, culture, ideas, beliefs, both past and present.

In this International Year of Volunteers, we also recognize the exceptional contribution made by the 55,000 or so volunteers, who generously give of their time and make museums a source of pride and inspiration to all Canadians.

*  *  *

[English]

NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Mr. Rob Anders (Calgary West, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, our southern neighbours have asked Canada's blessing in exchange for generously extending its future missile shield over us. What surprises me is that the government is dragging its feet instead of standing tall with our ally.

Nuclear missile technology is 50 years old and will not go away. In fact every few years a new country is admitted to the nuclear arms club. The ABM treaty, the anti-ballistic missile treaty, is 30 years old and the People's Republic of China has never signed it. As more and more states develop nuclear capability the chances of accidental misfires dramatically increases.

It is time for the government to acknowledge that threats in the world are coming from different countries than in the past. It is time to acknowledge that to be ready for the different world of 20 years from now we must start planning and building today. It is time for the government to stop dragging its feet and commit itself to missile defence.

*  *  *

 

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NUNAVUT SIVUNIKSAVUT

Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell (Nunavut, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday evening I was privileged to attend the 16th graduation ceremony of students from Nunavut Sivuniksavut.

The Nunavut Sivuniksavut program is a great success story. This year long program provides Nunavut youth with a variety of skills which serve them well as they go on to further post-secondary education and important roles in Nunavut. The knowledge acquired at Nunavut Sivuniksavut includes the history of Nunavut, the land claims agreement, and the role people play in this important process.

The pride with which the students perform traditional songs, drum dances, games and throat singing is very encouraging to see. It makes these youth excellent ambassadors for Nunavut. Congratulations to the students of Nunavut Sivuniksavut. The future is theirs. Good luck to all graduates.

*  *  *

[Translation]

EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, contributors to the employment insurance program—that is employers and employees—and the unemployed got clear evidence that the Minister of Finance wilfully accumulated, at their expense, an amount of $7 billion to help pay off Canada's debt. Seven billion dollars.

This means that $500 were taken annually from the pockets of taxpayers, even though they could really have used that money to make ends meet.

The employment insurance program was used for a reason other than its primary purpose, which is to ensure a decent income to a worker who is temporarily out of work. The government turned the program into a regressive tax on payroll which deprives the poor and the middle class from an income that is theirs.

We all agree that we must reduce Canada's debt. However, the means used by the Minister of Finance is unworthy of someone who aspires to become Prime Minister.

When people look at their paycheque, they should remember that the refusal of the Minister of Finance to hold a transparent debate on the management of the surpluses means that their contributions to the employment insurance program are in fact an unfair tax on the reimbursement of the debt.

*  *  *

[English]

HUMAN RIGHTS

Mr. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the military leaders of Burma are acknowledged to be among the world's cruellest violators of human rights. The junta has tortured and executed political opponents, exploited forced labour, denied fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly association and movement, and condoned the growing traffic in heroin and amphetamines.

Several months ago there was hopeful speculation that the pervasive repression would be eased; that the country's courageous pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, would be liberated from house arrest; that her party, the National League for Democracy which won more than three-quarters of the seats in the 1990 election, would be permitted to resume its activity; and that political prisoners would be released. That hope now appears to be a mirage.

Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest. Some 1,700 political prisoners, many of whom are students and including 35 people elected to parliament in 1990, remain in detention. The repression of the National League for Democracy has even intensified.

What is needed now and what is still missing is an internationally co-ordinated and coherent political and economic strategy in which Canada can play—

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre.

*  *  *

HUMAN RIGHTS

Mr. Larry Spencer (Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I believe all parliamentarians should applaud yesterday's decision by the Supreme Court of Canada upholding freedom of conscience and freedom of religion for all Canadians.

It would indeed be a tragedy for Canada to prevent its citizens from adopting and maintaining a personal code of conduct that does not infringe upon the rights of any other Canadian. If a government agency, without any evidence of wrongdoing or misbehaviour, can start questioning people's convictions, who will be targeted tomorrow?

The Supreme Court of Canada decision upholds the right of Trinity Western University to maintain a code of conduct based upon religious values. This decision should be welcomed by all who value pluralism, true tolerance and religious freedom.

The proper place to draw the line is generally between belief and conduct. The freedom to hold beliefs is broader than the freedom to act on them. I certainly applaud the supreme court for yesterday's decision.

*  *  *

THE ENVIRONMENT

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan (York North, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, next Wednesday in Stockholm, Canada will sign and will likely be the first to ratify the United Nations convention on persistent organic pollutants, also known as POPs.

The Stockholm convention will dramatically reduce or eliminate emissions of 12 toxic substances known as the dirty dozen. Canada played a central role in the development of this treaty. It has succeeded because of the tireless work of individuals like our own John Buccini, formerly with Environment Canada, who chaired the international negotiations.

I would also like to recognize the leadership of Sheila Watt-Cloutier of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference in heading a coalition of northern indigenous peoples and bringing their plight into the heart of the negotiations.

 

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Canada was also the first country to commit specific funding, $20 million, to aid developing countries in building their capacity to deal with POPs. I congratulate Canada for signing the Stockholm convention.

*  *  *

ENERGY

Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, most Canadians are reeling with shock over spiralling, out of control energy costs. Even if NAFTA has rendered the federal government impotent to do anything about the supply side, it should be more concerned with dealing with the issue from the demand side.

A unit of energy harvested from the existing system is indistinguishable from one generated at a generating station except for a number of significant things. First, it is available at about one-third of the cost. Second, it creates about seven times the number of person years of employment. Third, it is available and on line immediately for resale to somebody else. Fourth, it reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

The federal government owns 68,000 buildings across the country, most of which are absolute energy hogs because they were built at a time when energy was not an issue.

I am saying that the federal government should undertake a comprehensive energy retrofitting program to rehabilitate and renovate every one of those 68,000 buildings as an example to the private sector of what can be done. We could be known as a centre of excellence for demand side—

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Verchères—Les-Patriotes.

*  *  *

[Translation]

COUNCIL FOR CANADIAN UNITY

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les-Patriotes, BQ): Mr. Speaker, this week, parliamentarians were invited to attend a reception organized in honour of the Council for Canadian Unity.

Bloc Quebecois members declined the invitation and for good reason, since we condemn the fact that, since 1995, the federal government has spent over half a billion dollars provided by taxpayers on propaganda and often partisan activities.

Just as unacceptable is the fact that the council was not held accountable to the public for the some $35 million in taxpayers' money that it received during the same period.

Worse still, just before the end of the last financial year, the government hurriedly increased the budget of the Canada Information Office by close to $80 million over a three year period, an annual increase of close to 135%.

This is why we declined to attend. The Bloc Quebecois cannot condone the fact that $500 million in taxpayers' money was used to fund propaganda activities, when sectors as critical as education, health and regional development, to name but a few, need a significant increase in the federal government's transfers to the provinces.

*  *  *

ÉCOLE JEANNE-SAUVÉ

Mr. Eugène Bellemare (Ottawa—Orléans, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, last week I attended the launch of the environmental microbusiness “La société de demain, j'y travaille” at the Jeanne-Sauvé public elementary school in Orléans.

This is the first initiative of its kind in Ontario and it came about through the support of the Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario and a grant from Alcan.

The microbusiness's activities are now an integral part of the lives of the school's 575 students from kindergarten to grade eight.

The students are required to collect and recycle aluminum cans and grocery bags. They also recycle paper to make greeting cards for sale in the community.

Each class is a shareholder and it is up to the students how they reinvest the profits from the sale of their products.

Jeanne-Sauvé public elementary school is an example to all schools.

*  *  *

[English]

SHIPBUILDING

Mr. John Herron (Fundy—Royal, PC): Mr. Speaker, earlier this year a joint industry-labour task force released its long awaited study of the shipbuilding industry in Canada. Proponents of the study have labelled the report a made in Canada solution and anxiously await signs that their minister, with the political will, will champion the cause in caucus.

With the summer break for parliament rapidly approaching, coastal regions on both ends of our nation are disappointed that they may have to wait until fall to actually receive a response.

In addition, the industry minister made his inaugural cause, when he springboarded back into politics just prior to the federal election this past November, that he as a Newfoundlander with salt water in his veins would deliver for coastal communities from coast to coast.

With the summer break approaching we still have not heard. Canadians cannot afford the delay any longer. It is time that we delivered an incentive based, non-subsidy driven shipbuilding policy. We call on the Minister of Industry to step up to the plate and do this right away. Canadians in coastal communities from coast to coast cannot wait any longer.

*  *  *

TRADE

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, last week team Canada Atlantic participated in the first ever trade mission to Atlanta, Georgia. Atlantic Canadian companies have joined the Prime Minister, provincial premiers and federal ministers in meetings with business leaders in the southern United States.

The purpose of the mission is to explore the market potential for Atlantic Canada's products and services in the region. In 1999 Canadian exports to the region exceeded $22 billion. For every $1 billion in trade there are 10,000 jobs being created.

 

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On behalf of my colleagues, I pay tribute to our Prime Minister who has opened more doors for Canadian trade than any other prime minister in the history of Canada. I congratulate team Canada.

*  *  *

INFRASTRUCTURE

Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Carleton, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, there is a transportation infrastructure crisis in eastern Ontario, and particularly in the high growth areas in the western part of the new city of Ottawa.

Due to the explosion in gasoline prices the federal government has enjoyed billions of dollars in new revenues in Ontario alone from its petroleum excise tax. Yet this year it will be giving only $681 million to Ontario for all infrastructure and only a portion of that will wind up being used for roads.

In last week's provincial budget the Ontario government promised $70 million for infrastructure development in the new city of Ottawa with particular emphasis on adding new lanes to the Queensway from the Highway No. 7 interchange through to Nepean. If it goes forward this expansion will provide the relief that is needed to sustain local growth.

However federal assistance is needed as well. Will the federal government, flush with cash from its unbudgeted windfall in tax revenues on gasoline, match the Ontario government and show that it cares about the economic growth of Lanark county, West Carleton and Kanata?



ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

[Translation]

THE ECONOMY

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Finance promised to hold inflation between 1% and 3%. Today, we hear that inflation is at a nine-year high of 3.6%.

How does the minister think he can reassure Canadians with forecasts that are not even good for 24 hours?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, very clearly, we must always be vigilant with respect to inflation, but the figure the member is referring to is known as the headline rate. The one and two spread has to do with what is known as the core rate. Yesterday's figure was 2.1%.

[English]

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance): Like I said, Mr. Speaker, not a good record. It did not even last 24 hours.

One of the big drivers of inflation has been energy costs such as home heating fuel. Just before the last election the minister arranged for a rebate program so that individuals could get some relief from that. Sadly, many of the people who received those rebates were convicts in jail.

How is it that convicts in jail ended up with a lot of the relief rather than senior citizens who really deserved that relief?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, that is simply not true. Some 99% of Canadians who received the home heating rebate were Canadians who deserved it.

There is no doubt, as we have stated, that there were anomalies in the whole situation, the same anomalies that the Alberta government found when it made its rebates.

I would simply point out that there are 11 million Canadians who received the home heating rebate.

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, one thing the finance minister said is that when these massive tax cuts wend their way through the system, everything will be fine.

A recent poll, however, found that 76% of Canadians have not noticed any drop on their paycheques. The finance minister's own focus test group came up with exactly the same conclusion.

Why is it that Canadians cannot see that tax reduction on their paycheques if those tax reductions are so massive?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, those tax reductions are 21% on average. That is truly significant. For a family of four with an income of $60,000, it is 18%. A single mother or a single father raising a family and earning a salary of $25,000, he or she will now receive a child benefit of over $2,500. That is significant amount of money going toward helping Canadian families and we are proud of it.

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the bank needs to reduce interest rates to stimulate our economy but it needs to increase interest rates to fight inflation and to save our sinking dollar.

How will the finance minister solve this dilemma?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the agreement between the government and the Bank of Canada at 1% to 3%, mid point 2%, the trend rate, which is the most important rate, not in any single month but the trend rate over a series of months, is the core rate and that core rate is at 2.1%.

 

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As to the basic question, I would simply point out to the hon. member that under our system the Bank of Canada is independent.

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, this issue is very important to seniors. An inflation rate of 2% means that the value of a dollar goes down to about 82 cents in 10 years. The 3.6% rate, which is the rate the seniors are interested in and the actual rate, not the fudged one that the bank uses, means their dollar goes down to about 70 cents in 10 years.

This inflation is a hidden thief of savings and purchasing power for everyone and it is hard on seniors. What does he propose—

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. Minister of Finance.

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt about the pernicious effects of inflation. That is why the government signed a five year agreement. It has enabled us to control inflation in the country.

The fact is that as a result of the actions of the government and the Bank of Canada we are now considered around the world as a low inflation country and we are going to stay that way.

*  *  *

[Translation]

THE ENVIRONMENT

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil, BQ): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the president of the United States announced an ambitious energy plan to make extensive use of fossil energy, including fossil fuels from Canada.

This plan is already generating a great deal of controversy at the international level, since it goes against all the efforts made in recent decades to protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Could the Prime Minister tell us how Canada intends to react to the Bush plan and whether the position presented this morning by the Minister of the Environment, who said that he disagrees with the direction taken by the United States, is the government's official position?

[English]

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as we review the plans announced by President Bush, we will be looking, first, for balance between the supply side and the demand side of the equation. We will be looking for virtues like energy efficiency and energy conservation. We will be looking for diversification among our energy sources, including renewables, alternative fuels and new innovations like fuel cells.

We will be looking, in particular, for the principles of sustainable development which are the guiding principles of Canadian policy.

[Translation]

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil, BQ): Mr. Speaker, Europe strongly condemns the Bush plan and the reaction of the president of the European Union, Mr. Larsson, reflects the unhealthy climate generated by the announcement of that policy. He said “the discussion between friends no longer exists”.

Given the minister's evasive answers, is the government telling us that it will support the White House in its totally irresponsible approach, which is incompatible with climate change problems ?

[English]

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, obviously the plan announced by President Bush is a domestic plan for the United States of America.

Within Canada, we will be insisting that insofar as that plan affects us that we will expect respect for Canadian needs and priorities, respect for our sovereignty, respect for our regulatory processes, respect for the sustainable development principles and the security of the environment that are fundamental to Canadians.

[Translation]

Mr. Serge Cardin (Sherbrooke, BQ): Mr. Speaker, President Bush's energy plan even includes oil drilling in the Great Lakes, which is liable to cause significant damage to the St. Lawrence.

Could the minister say clearly today whether Canada intends to oppose such a project?

[English]

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the plans of the United States with respect to further drilling programs are not particularly clear at this point.

I would make this fundamental point. Insofar as those plans impact upon Canadians and Canada, we will insist that all the environmental rules and regulations of our country are fully applied and fully respected according to the law.

[Translation]

Mr. Serge Cardin (Sherbrooke, BQ): Mr. Speaker, it is not a question of insisting but rather of demanding.

Canada, minus Quebec, has the world's worst record for carbon dioxide emissions per capita. What is more, Ontario and the northeastern United States produce sulphur emissions that end up falling as acid rain on Quebec, damaging our forests and lakes.

Is the minister aware that the Bush plan, with its coal fueled generating plants, will undermine all the years of effort Quebecers have been putting into acid rain reduction?

 

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[English]

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we have indicated that we disagree with the United States position with respect to climate change. The Americans have indicated that they do not intend to implement the Kyoto protocol. From the Canadian point of view, we remain committed to the objectives in the Kyoto protocol. We have already invested $1.1 billion toward that end and that will take us one-third of the way toward our goal.

From our point of view, climate change is a serious global issue and it will be treated seriously by the Government of Canada and by all Canadians.

*  *  *

ENERGY

Hon. Lorne Nystrom (Regina—Qu'Appelle, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the same minister, who appears to be still beating around the bush. My question involves yesterday's announcement by the president about U.S. energy policy, one which will demand more and more energy exports from Canada and tighter U.S. control over energy supplies and our prices. Today, because of NAFTA, as the minister knows, we have very little control over security, supply and pricing.

Would the minister make a commitment that before Canada enters into any new export agreements with the United States for energy, we negotiate new terms under which Canada will be able to control its own energy supply and its own commitment to completing the Kyoto agreements?

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, obviously we will put the needs and priorities of Canadians first. That is the fundamental obligation of the Government of Canada and it will be honoured by the government.

With respect to climate change, we have already indicated that we intend to fulfil our obligations under the Kyoto protocol. We have made substantial investments to that end already. I am pleased with the degree of engagement that we are now achieving from the provinces. From Canada's point of view, the Kyoto obligations are critical. We intend to make sure that Canada abides by the undertakings that we have made.

Hon. Lorne Nystrom (Regina—Qu'Appelle, NDP): Mr. Speaker, as everyone knows, the oil companies are making huge profits and paying less in taxes, thanks to the Minister of Finance, and Canadians are now paying California prices at the pumps. We are being gouged at the pumps.

Would the minister tell us what the government will do to make sure Canadians control their own price at the pumps and that they are not being gouged by big oil in this country and big oil in the United States of America?

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the largest factor driving consumer oil prices at the present time is the international price of crude, over which Canadians have very little control. The influence of OPEC is obviously a very serious factor.

To the extent that action can be taken within Canada, we have indicated the kind of action that is already on the books in terms of the home heating fuel rebate of last winter. The Minister of Finance has indicated that he is prepared to revisit the tax question if the provinces are willing to come to the table and participate.

*  *  *

CENSUS RECORDS

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Mr. Speaker, yesterday a class action suit was filed against the crown claiming that the long form of the census violates a person's right to privacy and discriminates against 20% of the population.

Statistics Canada has told complainants they would be taped and possibly jailed or fined for not co-operating. The long form of the census requires sensitive information, including mental infirmity, sexual orientation, mortgage payments and family time be filed.

How does the government justify this collection of detailed and intimate information? And, who guarantees the security of this big brother privacy intrusion?

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the form of the census is established and carried out by Statistics Canada which operates to some degree at arm's length from the government. It is a highly respected agency that has a firstclass record of protecting the privacy of its information and I am sure that will continue.

[Translation]

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Mr. Speaker, this is not very reassuring.

Given the class action filed in Quebec, can the government inform this House as to whether legal opinions were sought on the content of these questions before they were made public?

What assurance can the government give us that these questions are not in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the privacy legislation will be respected and we will act according to the law. If there are questions about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the courts will be the ones to settle them.

*  *  *

 

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[English]

YOUTH CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT

Mr. Chuck Cadman (Surrey North, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the attorney general of Ontario held a press conference this morning on the youth criminal justice act. Ontario is just one more opponent to what has been almost universally described as ineffective and inefficient legislation.

This mess will be dropped into the laps of the provinces that must administer it. Why did the government not listen to the provinces? Why is it merely going through the motions of attempting to con Canadians into believing that something is being done to improve the youth justice system?

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I find it somewhat interesting that my colleague, the attorney general of Ontario, came to Ottawa this morning and indicated some concerns with our youth criminal justice legislation when his officials had the opportunity to appear before committee but, as I understand it, refused to take that opportunity.

Let me say that we believe our new youth justice legislation is premised upon the values of Canadians and premised upon three important considerations. They are: prevention, meaningful consequences when crime occurs, and rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

Over there they say it is too tough and over there they say it is too soft—

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Surrey North.

Mr. Chuck Cadman (Surrey North, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the attorney general described the legislation as being onerous, time consuming and filled with roadblocks to the successful treatment of young offenders. Others have also complained of the complexity.

I proposed numerous amendments to simplify and reduce the delays in the process, but they were not accepted. The government has had at least six years to improve the youth justice system. Little has changed other than the rhetoric and the name of the legislation. Why?

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, that is untrue. In fact, as the hon. member knows, we listened very carefully to the many dozens and dozens of witnesses that the committee heard. The government brought forward some 182 amendments to our youth criminal justice legislation.

I certainly take exception to the hon. member's comment about the legislation being unduly complex and onerous. We have done everything to streamline the legislation. Again I can only say that the legislation strikes the right balance in terms of youth criminal justice and reflects the values of most Canadians.

[Translation]

Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, BQ): Mr. Speaker, on the subject of interventions with young offenders, Quebec and Canada take different approaches. For Quebec, it is a matter of rehabilitation, for Canada, repression.

The former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Dickson, said that parliament could legitimately tolerate differences among the provinces, which reflect distinct and rational values and political sensitivities.

Will the Minister of Justice agree that she can satisfy Ontario and Quebec by letting Quebec go ahead and opt out?

[English]

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I have said on numerous occasions in the House, our youth justice legislation is sufficiently flexible to permit the province of Quebec to continue the things that it is doing.

Therefore I think the legislation reflects the general comments made by the former chief justice of Canada, Brian Dickson.

[Translation]

Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, BQ): Mr. Speaker, in the light of the remarks by Mr. Justice Dickson, who said that there is nothing to prevent the minister from allowing Quebec to opt out, we put the challenge to her today.

Is the minister prepared to allow Quebec to opt out? We will then see in five years whether Quebec or Canada has the better record in juvenile crime? Will she rise to the challenge?

[English]

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the former chief justice of Canada, Brian Dickson, did not comment about any province having the right to opt out. What Brian Dickson was talking about was that within the context of uniform federal legislation in relation to youth justice, provinces could apply that legislation flexibly.

As I have said before in the House, we have worked very hard to ensure that the provinces have flexibility in the application of the new youth justice legislation.

*  *  *

ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS

Mr. Reed Elley (Nanaimo—Cowichan, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, in a leaked cabinet document dated February 15, 2001, and entitled “Consultation Strategy for First Nations Governance”, it is clear that the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development wants to bring in legislation to the House by the fall of this year.

If this is true and if the bill is not already drafted, does the minister think that a few months over the summer are sufficient to consult with thousands of native people on this very important matter?

Mr. John Finlay (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member is misinformed. He is dealing with one statement that this would happen over the summer as if that was the end of it.

This will take two and a half years. We will consult with the chiefs. We will consult with people on reserves. We will consult with the people involved in the difficulties of management among our first nations.

 

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Mr. Reed Elley (Nanaimo—Cowichan, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the minister has said that he will consult with native people through the use of the Internet and chat rooms. When I talked to native people they said that they would rather have adequate plumbing in their houses than be plugged into the Internet. Maybe the solicitor general and the minister of Indian affairs ought to get together on this.

When will the minister get his priorities straight and ensure that native people across Canada have the essential tools to live healthy and productive lives?

Mr. John Finlay (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this is exactly what the effort at governance is to do.

The Indian Act encroaches upon normal operations of reserves, of the chiefs and of the administrators, the people elected to do the work. What we need to do is give them more responsibility and more range so they may make the decisions that are best for them with respect to economic development, education and so on. With some co-operation, we look forward to advancing the whole business of governance.

*  *  *

[Translation]

BUDGET SURPLUSES

Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Finance confirmed that this year's surplus of over $15 billion wildly exceeds his forecasts, as usual.

The member for Markham, formerly a Royal Bank economist, said yesterday, on television, “The Minister of Finance introduced errors so that the surpluses would be larger than forecast for political reasons”.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that his behaviour is unacceptable and anti-democratic and that hiding the real surpluses, year after year, as he has done for four years now, prevents a real debate on the public's priorities?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, first, the member is well aware that he is quoting the member for Markham out of context and that this sort of approach does nothing to help matters.

Concerning the fundamental issue, we are absolutely prepared to debate priorities. There are two or three days set aside each year for a debate here in the House on the government's options.

The member sits on the Standing Committee on Finance. He is certainly entitled to ask committee members to hold such a debate and, as I said yesterday, I would be prepared to attend.

Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ): Mr. Speaker, in these circumstances, why is the minister refusing to grant me two requests I made yesterday?

The first was to submit all his forecasts of revenue, spending and surpluses to a committee which is independent of the Minister of Finance and his little banking friends. The second was to allow a real parliamentary debate on the use of his surpluses, not just on their size but on their use, before he brought down his budget.

We certainly think that it is important to pay down the debt, but the public has other priorities, such as health and education.

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member has all the tools at his disposal, but the problem is that he does not wish to use them.

First, we have the debate on the estimates, which the member can use. Second, there is a debate here in the House before each budget. It may be that the member does not take part, but we do indeed have a procedure in place. Third, there are always opposition days.

All the member has to do is use the means at his disposal.

*  *  *

[English]

NATIONAL DEFENCE

Mr. Peter Goldring (Edmonton Centre-East, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, an official DND report states:

    The Sea King helicopter is over 30 years old and has received no significant update in capability. It is operationally and materially obsolete. The age and stage of the avionics of the aircraft cause it to be exorbitantly expensive to maintain and also cause it to be operationally irrelevant when it does fly.

When are the Sea Kings going to be replaced?

Mr. John O'Reilly (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to the acquisition of 28 new maritime helicopters through a competitive process that is fair, open and transparent.

Ultimately, when we spend Canadian taxpayer dollars on large projects such as this, it is the government's responsibility to decide the best procurement strategy for Canadian taxpayers, and that is what we are doing.

Mr. Peter Goldring (Edmonton Centre-East, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, again we get vague and evasive answers.

This same official report states that helicopter delivery will not be completed for another 10 years. Yes, another 10 years. This official report gives the date of July 2011. A 25 year procurement nightmare will continue until Canada Day 2011.

If the assistant chief of defence staff knows when the helicopters are coming, why does the minister not know?

 

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Hon. Alfonso Gagliano (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we are committed. When we announced our procurement strategy last fall we indicated that we hoped the first helicopter would be delivered in 2005. We stand behind that statement.

*  *  *

THE ENVIRONMENT

Hon. Charles Caccia (Davenport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks intensive representations have been made by Elizabeth May on behalf of people living near the Sydney tar ponds.

The Minister of Health has promptly and persistently acted upon her representations. Would the Minister of Health inform the House about the latest development resulting from his efforts to protect the health of families living near the Sydney tar ponds?

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, later today the Minister of the Environment and I will be issuing a statement to draw attention to a proposal we have put to the government of Nova Scotia, our partner in the JAG process.

The proposal has four elements: first, that there be soil testing and analysis on the residential properties and blood analysis and hair analysis of the residents of those properties; second, that we have chronic health risk assessments commenced now; third, that there be meetings with the residents affected at which JAG and other people will provide plans and counselling; and, fourth—

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.

*  *  *

EMPLOYMENT

Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am holding in my hand a job posting for what seems like a really great job in the federal public service at the customs and revenue agency for $52,000 a year. The only problem is that under the heading of who can apply it states that only persons residing within a 60 kilometre radius of Ottawa.

What if my son or daughter from Winnipeg were qualified and wanted to apply for that job or some kid in Halifax, Edmonton or Vancouver? Why does it matter where one lives if one is qualified for the job and willing to move?

Will the government commit to stopping this unfair hiring practice and giving every Canadian equal opportunity and access to those good public service jobs?

Mr. Alex Shepherd (Parliamentary Secretary to President of the Treasury Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the geographic determination of the public service is something that has been there since 1992 and actually even before that. It allows the public service to reduce its cost in processing applications.

I think there is a general sense that it may no longer be applicable. I understand that the Public Service Commission is now investigating it and studying it. Hopefully the member could refer his concerns to Mr. Serson, who is the head of that commission.

*  *  *

AGRICULTURE

Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP): Mr. Speaker, earlier this year farmers were told that the government's pockets were not as deep and that was why they could not get the kind of funding they so desperately needed to compete with international subsidies.

Yesterday's announcement of at least a $15 billion surplus puts the lie to that particular argument. Given the size of the surplus and the fact that it is one-third larger than was predicted by the finance minister last fall, will he now commit to helping out those desperate farmers today?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, when one looks at the surplus at the end of the year one must recognize that it is simply part of what was the total surplus. The vast majority of it was spent through the course of the year on agricultural matters, environmental matters, research and development, health care and a vast range of other things. The only thing that happens at the end of the year is the year end accounting when the final number in terms of debt is understood.

In terms of the importance of Canadian farmers to our way of life and to our economy, there is no doubt the support of the government, the support of the minister of agriculture, the support of—

The Deputy Speaker: The member for St. John's West.

*  *  *

EDUCATION

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC): Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Finance. With an aging population and greater health care demands, a smaller portion of CHST funding is going toward post-secondary education. Labs and buildings are deteriorating. Class sizes are doubling and in many cases tripling. Tuition fees and associated costs are becoming unmanageable.

In light of all his positive announcements, when will the minister address this glaring deficiency?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let us understand that in terms of transfers to the provinces not only is the CHST at an all time high but equalization is also at an all time high.

Specifically in terms of education the 1998 budget a knowledge budget. If we take a look at the help for the research chairs, if we take a look at the investments that have gone into basic post-secondary education, and if we take a look at the help the government has provided to the vast range of educational institutions, we see that the federal government understands its role and its responsibilities and is in the process of exercising them. There is no doubt about the importance of education to the future economy.

 

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Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC): Mr. Speaker, the minister knows as well as I do that a lot of that funding is not going where it is really needed, to help the young people.

Will the minister show leadership by convening a meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts, as well as affected aboriginal nations, to address post-secondary concerns? This way the problem can be addressed and we can ensure investment in our most valuable resource, our youth, not only for their good but for the good of the country.

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have certainly on a number of occasions in the past met with the Council of Ministers of Education, and one time with the current Minister of Canadian Heritage when she was in a previous post. Within the last year I also met with the current president of the Council of Ministers of Education. I am certainly prepared to continue in that vein.

*  *  *

CIDA

Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, CIDA is helping to fund the Chalillo dam project in Belize with taxpayer money.

Consultants to Fortis, the Canadian company pursuing it, have said that the project will have major negative and long term effects and that the benefits from the dam will be significantly lower than the costs because it will destroy critical habitat in the country.

Why has the minister responsible for international development seen fit to support such a destructive project?

[Translation]

Mr. Eugène Bellemare (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Cooperation, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the question is a very good one. Unfortunately, the member is out to lunch.

[English]

CIDA is providing funding toward the preparation of environmental and social assessments and for public consultation only. We are not contributing to the construction of any dam.

Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, this is a Canadian company that has a monopoly on the project in Belize. The project will fracture a critical area of biodiversity that stretches from Mexico to Panama.

Why does the government not take responsibility, deal with the company and block this environmental catastrophe?

Mr. Eugène Bellemare (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Cooperation, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if there is an environmental problem we will present our report to the country of Belize so it can make a judicious decision as to whether it should or should not go ahead with the project.

*  *  *

[Translation]

FISHERIES

Mr. Jean-Yves Roy (Matapédia-Matane, BQ): Mr. Speaker, stakeholders in Quebec's fishing industry unanimously recommend an additional quota of 6,000 tonnes of shrimp for Quebec.

The request is based on principles of fairness and on the respect of historical quotas granted to Quebec fishers.

Does the minister of fisheries intend to reply favourably to Quebec's repeated request and give it the additional 6,000 tonnes for which it is rightfully asking?

[English]

Hon. Herb Dhaliwal (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, I will be announcing the northern shrimp plan very soon. It is a resource for which we have increased the harvesting by 300% in five years.

It is very important to make sure that conservation is our priority. There is always a huge demand. In fact there is a demand to increase the 112,000 metric tonnes by 50,000 metric tonnes.

I have met with many of the people and the minister. I will make sure that the decision I make will protect the resource for future generations. That will be the priority.

[Translation]

Mr. Jean-Yves Roy (Matapédia-Matane, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Alliance des pêcheurs professionnels du Québec, the Fédération des pêcheurs semi-hauturiers du Québec, and the Association québécoise de l'industrie de la pêche are unanimous in their request.

Will the minister once again, as is his government's habit, reject out of hand another consensus in Quebec?

[English]

Hon. Herb Dhaliwal (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am aware of those requests. I met with many of the people who made them. I will look at those in the same context as all other demands.

Making decisions on allocation is of course always very difficult. That is why we have set up a panel to look at how we can have transparency in the decision. The Quebec minister and all the ministers of Atlantic Canada have agreed to the panel so that they can review and make sure we make the allocation decision fairly and equitably for all Canadians.

*  *  *

 

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IMMIGRATION

Mr. Joe Peschisolido (Richmond, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the Sklarzyk family has been ordered out of Canada mere weeks after the immigration department became aware of the situation. Yet a man wanted for political assassination in the Philippines has been allowed to stay in Canada for administrative reasons.

What message does the minister believe this sends about Canada when our system deports hard-working, law-abiding people and does nothing about assassins?

Hon. Elinor Caplan (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, first, our system does not deport permanent law-abiding residents citizens. We just do not deport people as he has described them, and his description is outrageous. I would also say to the member that there is a quasi-judicial independent procedure in the country that affords due process to individuals.

At committee over the past weeks, members of his party have supported due process. I thought that was their party policy. Today I hear they are not supporting—

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Richmond.

Mr. Joe Peschisolido (Richmond, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, what is outrageous is the non-answer that is coming from the minister of immigration.

Regardless of what has been said there is no rhyme nor reason coming from the decisions made within the immigration system. The system is clearly broken.

When will the minister of immigration undertake real reform of the system which will ensure that legitimate individuals are allowed in and criminals and assassins are denied entry?

Hon. Elinor Caplan (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for the plug he just gave to Bill C-11. I would like to thank the committee members for all their work. I understand the bill will be reported to the House next week.

I look forward to support from that caucus for a piece of legislation that would close the back door to those who would criminally abuse both the immigration and refugee determination system, open the front door wider to those who respect our laws and help us build our country in the tradition of immigration to Canada.

*  *  *

[Translation]

HIGHWAY INFRASTRUCTURE

Mr. Marcel Proulx (Hull—Aylmer, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport or his parliamentary secretary.

The Government of Quebec recently announced construction work on highway 50, in western Quebec. Does the Government of Canada intend to get financially involved in this project?

[English]

Mr. Brent St. Denis (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, even though highways are a provincial responsibility, the federal government has committed $600 million as part of the infrastructure investment with the provinces and territories.

That said, in the case of Autoroute 50, the province of Quebec chose not to include this highway in its negotiations for the national highway system. Autoroute 50 remains a provincial highway and is not part of the NHS.

This is a good time to remind the House that the federal government had participated in Autoroute 50 over the years to the tune of $100 million over the last 30 years. I appreciate the member's question today.

*  *  *

CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board has repeatedly told the House that the wheat board has a program that will allow organic farmers to market their own grain. He is wrong. Clearly he does not understand the issue. The board's organic policy only lends farmers the money to buy back their own grain from the government.

Organic farmers have rejected this absurd idea, yet the minister continues to personally support it. Why does the Canadian Wheat Board minister choose to stifle western rural diversification and development?

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, once again let me say that the power and authority of the Canadian Wheat Board is vested in the hands of its board of directors. The board of directors consists of 15 people, 10 of whom are duly elected by farmers themselves.

The hon. gentleman talks about freedom and choice. What is wrong with democratic elections among farmers who choose their own directors to make their own decisions?

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the organic farmers are not part of that group. They are not represented by it.

The minister should reread his title. He is the minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board. He is responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board Act. He is responsible for its glaring failures.

Arnold Schmidt wants to sell the organic flour he mills from his own grain. If he farmed in Ontario he would have no problem doing that. Because he lives in Saskatchewan the wheat board minister has decided he cannot export his own product.

How can the minister support this unequal and unfair policy that is penalizing development in western Canada?

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the fact is that when wheat or barley are exported from Canada, wherever in Canada they come from, they require the appropriate export permits.

 

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In the case of Mr. Schmidt and others, their concerns have been drawn to the attention of the Canadian Wheat Board. It seems to me that decisions respecting the operations of the board are better made in the hands of farmers than by politicians in the House of Commons, on this side or on that side.

*  *  *

[Translation]

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ): Mr. Speaker, there have been grave concerns about the health of Haroun M'Barek for some days now.

In deporting him to Tunisia, the Canadian government has committed a serious mistake. It must now assume the responsibility of doing everything possible to quickly reach a solution to this human tragedy.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs inform us of the approach he plans to take to the Tunisian authorities in order for Mr. M'Barek to finally gain access to the health care required by his condition?

Hon. John Manley (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we are continuing to make representations to the Tunisian government on behalf of Mr. M'Barek. This is a serious situation and we have indicated our interest in it.

[English]

Mrs. Sue Barnes (London West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, for over the past 10 years there has been terrible conflict in Sierra Leone. At least two dozen individuals have been identified for potential prosecution for war crimes in the region.

Could the foreign affairs minister tell us what Canada's position is with respect to the special court that is being set up by the United Nations in Sierra Leone.

Hon. John Manley (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada continues to be very concerned by what is happening in Sierra Leone. We are particularly concerned that those who are responsible for many crimes and atrocities be held accountable for their actions.

However the details with respect to the organization and budget for the special court for Sierra Leone are still not finalized. The Canadian government will consider those in determining whether to make a financial contribution at the appropriate time.

I should also advise the hon. member that the member for Nepean—Carleton is currently on his way to west Africa in order to investigate the situation there, and to report back to me.

*  *  *

FORESTRY INDUSTRY

Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, yesterday in my office I hosted a briefing on the mountain pine beetle infestation in British Columbia which has already killed 5.7 million hectares of working forest, an area twice the size of Vancouver Island and a number that is expected to quadruple this year. If left unchecked this epidemic has the potential to destroy the economy of north central British Columbia.

Will the Prime Minister agree to meet with the new premier of British Columbia and commit to providing a share of the resources necessary to combat this epidemic?

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Natural Resources Canada already conducts a considerable amount of research that is used by western provinces in the management and control of the mountain pine beetle.

Obviously the hon. member has identified a serious pest problem in our core sector and I am certainly anxious to pursue every reasonable means by which the Government of Canada could help our forest sector find a solution.

*  *  *

[Translation]

SHIPBUILDING

Mr. Antoine Dubé (Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the task force on shipbuilding tabled its report in late March, yet we are still waiting on any indication from the Minister of Industry of his intentions in connection with this vital generator of employment and regional development tool.

Now that the Minister of Finance has announced his $19 billion surplus, is the Minister of Industry prepared to ask his colleague to release the necessary funds for a true shipbuilding policy?

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has raised an important matter. We are currently reviewing the report and will have a response from the Minister of Industry in due course. I repeat, this is a very important matter.

*  *  *

[English]

BANKING

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Mr. Speaker, news reports indicate that the Government of Canada is considering setting up yet another federal bank to help service the needs of small and medium sized businesses in exporting to developing countries.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister or the Minister of Finance give the House assurances that there will be safeguards put in place and built into any enabling legislation to prevent political interference in lending decisions so we can prevent the debacles that we saw with the Prime Minister and the BDC?

 

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Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the premise of the hon. member's question about the debacles and so on.

We have a certain number of federal lending institutions operating at arm's length from the government. They have accomplished an excellent record in serving the public interest, including the business community and the workers of Canada.

If there is any new institution of the kind that is suggested by the hon. member, I am sure it will meet all the necessary criteria and standards to keep up the excellent record achieved by other similar institutions.

*  *  *

AGRICULTURE

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, in his response to a question from the member for Palliser, the Minister of Finance said something to the effect that money being allocated for agricultural aid was not real money but merely a journal entry. I think that was what I heard him say.

My question has to do with the money being applied to the debt. Is that real money or is that too just a journal entry?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am having a little bit of difficulty with the hon. member's question. I want to be as general as I can.

The fact is that the money going to the farmers is real money because we understand the needs of Canadian farmers. We understand the need to protect the Canadian farm family. We also understand the terrible competition arising from the disloyal subsidization in France and in the United States. I can tell the House that the Canadian government has demonstrated time and time again, and the minister of agriculture has demonstrated time and time again, that they will—

The Deputy Speaker: This brings to a conclusion today's question period. The Chair does not have a surplus of time.

*  *  *

[Translation]

YOUTH CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT

BILL C-7—NOTICE OF TIME ALLOCATION

Hon. Alfonso Gagliano (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Orders 78(1) and (2) with respect to the report stage and the third reading stage of Bill C-7, an act in respect of criminal justice for young persons and to amend and repeal other acts.

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the crown will propose, at the next sitting of the House, a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at the said stages of the bill.

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Obviously, we have heard the notice of motion that has just been given by the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, but I would simply like to draw to your attention and that of the House that the reasons behind the minister's notice of motion seem completely unfounded to me.

He was indeed unable to reach an agreement under the standing orders but we could have reached an agreement on the bill itself, which might have sped things up.

The Deputy Speaker: With all due respect to the hon. member, this is not a point of order but rather matter for debate.

[English]

Mr. Ken Epp: Mr. Speaker, I would appeal to you as the Speaker to perhaps hesitate to accept this motion from the minister until such time as there has been time for adequate debate in the House.

 

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The Deputy Speaker: Let me just add to the debate. This is a notice of motion, not a motion at this point. Certainly everything that has been on the floor of the House is consistent with our rules and practices notwithstanding that there may not be total agreement. That is why we are here to debate.



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[English]

HOUSE OF COMMONS

The Deputy Speaker: I have the honour to lay upon the table the report on plans and priorities for 2001-02 of the House of Commons administration.

*  *  *

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PETITIONS

Mr. Derek Lee (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 16 petitions.

*  *  *

INTERPARLIAMENTARY DELEGATIONS

Ms. Aileen Carroll (Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34 I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation to the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, held March 12 and 13 in Paris, and to the meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Standing Committee, held on March 14 in Paris.

*  *  *

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE

PROCEDURE AND HOUSE AFFAIRS

Mr. Derek Lee (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 20th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding its order of reference from the House of Commons of Tuesday, February 27, 2001, in relation to the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2002, in regard to vote 20, under Privy Council, Office of the Chief Electoral Officer. The committee reports the same.

*  *  *

PETITIONS

SUPREME COURT OF CANADA

Ms. Aileen Carroll (Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, certain constituents in my riding have requested that the Supreme Court of Canada decision concerning the sentencing of Robert Latimer be upheld and that parliament not intervene to alter this decision. I would put this on the table.

I would also add, while I am on my feet, that I agree with the constituents very strongly in this regard.

The Deputy Speaker: I just want to remind colleagues that we ought not to either add or delete from whatever petitions we table.

POISON CONTROL

Mr. Larry Spencer (Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is my honour and privilege today to present this petition signed by 380 of the fine residents of Saskatchewan who have a rural problem.

They are asking for amendment of the relevant regulations so as to permit the sale of concentrated liquid strychnine to registered farmers until such time as an effective alternative can be found.

PESTICIDE CONTROL

Mr. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions, both of which are signed mostly by my residents in Mount Royal. The first petition calls upon parliament to enact an immediate moratorium on the cosmetic use of chemical pesticides until such time as their use has been scientifically proven to be safe and the long term consequences of their application are known.

MISSILE DEFENCE PROGRAM

Mr. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the second petition, again signed by many residents of my constituency, seeks to draw the attention of the House to the following: that the Government of Canada may be asked to support the U.S. national missile defence, NMD, program to be operated by the North American aerospace defence command; that NMD is a unilateral initiative of the United States which plans, as it states in this petition, to dominate space by integrating space forces into war fighting capability; that NMD would be a step toward the deployment of weapons in space and lead to a new arms race; and that it would violate the 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty and run counter to Canada's commitment as a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty to promote complete nuclear disarmament.

These treaties are the cornerstones of the international non-proliferation arms control and disarmament regimes long supported by Canada. Therefore the petitioners call upon parliament to declare that Canada objects to the national missile defence program of the United States and ask that Canada play a leadership role in banning nuclear weapons and missile flight tests.

*  *  *

[Translation]

QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER

Mr. Derek Lee (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

The Deputy Speaker: Is that agreed?

Some hon. members: Agreed.



GOVERNMENT ORDERS

 

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[English]

KANESATAKE INTERIM LAND BASE GOVERNANCE ACT

 

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill S-24, an act to implement an agreement between the Mohawks of Kanesatake and Her Majesty in right of Canada respecting governance of certain lands by the Mohawks of Kanesatake and to amend an act in consequence, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am glad to take up where I left off prior to question period. I will use the few minutes I have left to summarize some of the points I was seeking to make earlier in the day.

First I want to restate my very heartfelt congratulations to the grand chief of the Kanesatake Mohawk people and the band council for the years of hard work that have gone into negotiating this historic settlement. It is not often that we as parliamentarians have an opportunity to take part in something that is so wholly necessary and that in fact makes history.

We are making history here today as we help the Kanesatake Mohawk carve out a new relationship with the federal government. They are casting off or clearing up many of the shortcomings of the former fiscal and legal relationship with the federal government and entering into a whole new era.

Earlier I started to go through some of the long drawn out history of the Kanesatake land claim. I was saying prior to question period that it goes back to 1717. I will not take hon. members through the whole long and ragged history of pre-Confederation negotiations. Suffice it to say that this is the culmination of 200 or 300 years of a maturing relationship.

Both parties should be complimented for the hard work they have done and for the fact that they have managed to undertake this by peaceful means through negotiation and not through any outbursts or violence or road blockades.

I would raise a cautionary note, though, so as not to sound like I am simply a booster for the federal government in this regard. I raise the cautionary note that these new relationships we are entering into with aboriginal communities as they strive to achieve self-government, which we fully endorse, are only as good as the resources they receive. The relationships will stand only if they are followed by implementation.

We have examples. I raise this as a criticism of the federal government. There are examples such as Naskapi Cree people of northern Quebec, who do have a unique individual self-government relationship. They have been complaining for years that ever since they finally got their own details hashed out, the implementation has been so painfully slow, shabby and wholly inadequate that there have been years of frustration.

Even though we are pleased to see the legislative framework put in place today, this whole feeling of goodwill could collapse if the federal government does not deliver all the resources necessary to fully implement the act we are voting on today.

I will use the remaining minute or two I have to restate again how disappointed I am that the House of Commons could not have dealt with this all in one day. After 300 years of tedious, frustrating negotiations we had the opportunity to bring this to its final conclusion today. Unfortunately the Canadian Alliance blocked the unanimous consent needed to go through all stages of reading the bill and voting on the bill in one day.

Let the record show that all parties in the House of Commons, except the Canadian Alliance, wish to see the speedy passage of the bill and the independence and the true self-governance of the Kanesatake Mohawk people.

Mr. Rick Borotsik (Brandon—Souris, PC): Mr. Speaker, I too am very pleased to rise today to put our position forward and on the record on Bill S-24, the Kanesatake interim land base governance act.

I will start by echoing the comments of the member for Winnipeg Centre. A couple of days ago it was understood that we would be able to bring forward this piece of legislation, give it all readings and go to committee, come back to report stage and have this piece of legislation implemented fairly quickly. Certainly we in our party suggested at that time that it was a very important piece of legislation which should be able to go through the House unmolested.

 

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I am very disappointed that we do not have that opportunity today and that the Alliance Party had, for whatever reason, a desire to impede the bill.

The bill, being an S bill, has had public hearings in the Senate. There are detractors and those who wish to put forward their concerns and difficulties with the bill. It has gone through that process. Unfortunately, for some reason the legislation is being held up by the Alliance Party. I am truly disappointed.

It is very good legislation. It deals with native self-governance, an issue that has been in the House for quite some time.

I will give a bit of background although I will not go back hundreds of years as did the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre. The Mohawks of Kanesatake, a place most of us know as Oka, live on a tract of land approximately 50 kilometres west of Montreal. The land has been set aside for the Mohawks but does not constitute a reserve. Its inhabitants include aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples.

In 1990 unresolved aboriginal land claims erupted into the Oka crisis which we all recognize as one of the darker days in the history of this great country. Land claims disputes came to a crescendo in the Oka crisis, a crisis that, in my opinion, was not necessary.

The Mohawks erected barricades to block roads. At the request of the Quebec government, Ottawa sent Canadian forces into the area to resolve the confrontation and the ensuing conflict. As we all know, one Quebec police officer gave his life.

Over the past 10 years the Mohawks of Kanesatake have worked with the Government of Canada to resolve questions and grievances regarding land use.

In March of 1991, Kanesatake Mohawks and the federal government agreed on an agenda for negotiations.

In 1994 a memorandum of understanding over land purchases was signed between the Mohawks and the federal government.

In 1997 the Mohawks established their own police station and the federal government made land purchases in the name of Kanesatake.

On December 21, 2000, a new land governance agreement was signed between Kanesatake and the federal government.

Bill S-24 represents the culmination of 10 years of negotiations. It did not happen overnight. It was achieved through negotiations with the band, the Mohawk people and the federal government. The process began in 1991 and is finally, in 2001, coming to fruition in the House.

Bill S-24 would provide legal recognition of a land base for the Mohawks of Kanesatake. It would provide powers of law making, policing and other services by implementing the agreement with respect to Kanesatake governance of the interim land base.

Bill S-24 would ensure that lands in the Mohawk interim land base are reserved for Indians pursuant to the constitution but not as reserves under the Indian Act.

Bill S-24 would also provide a framework for the exercise of jurisdiction and would establish principles for the harmonious use and development of Mohawk lands. That is very important.

Under the legislation, the Mohawks of Kanesatake would have the legal capacity to acquire and hold property, enter into contracts, borrow, expend and invest money, and be a party to legal proceedings. These rights do not exist on reserve lands under the present Indian Act.

Bill S-24 would give Kanesatake Mohawks the ability to govern themselves as opposed to being forced to govern on the basis of the Indian Act.

The Mohawks of Kanesatake would also have the power to make laws formerly made at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. Subclause 7(1) of Bill S-24 states:

    The Mohawks of Kanesatake have jurisdiction to make laws in relation to the use and development of the lands in the Kanesatake Mohawk interim land base, including in relation to

      (a) the health and quality of life of residents;

      (b) the protection and management of wildlife and fish;

      (c) the observance of law and order and the prevention of disorderly conduct and nuisances;

      (d) the prevention of trespass, including entry onto, or occupation of, the lands without lawful authority;

      (e) residency;

      (f) fire safety and fire protection services;

      (g) the construction, maintenance, management and use of local works, including water supplies;

      (h) the construction or alteration of buildings, including inspection in connection with the construction or alteration;

      (i) zoning;

      (j) waste management and public sanitation; and

      (k) traffic regulation.

 

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That list speaks to the abilities of a municipality. A municipality has the right to set laws with respect to fire and police protection, water, waste management and traffic regulations. Such bylaws are set by all municipalities. Bill S-24 would give Kanesatake Mohawks the right to make those rules and regulations for themselves and for their people. That is absolutely necessary if we are to achieve self-governance for Indian people.

While violators of those laws would be liable to punishment by the Mohawk of Kanesatake, fines or imprisonment could not exceed the limits established in subsection 787(1) of the criminal code. Kanesatake Mohawks could make laws but they could not exceed what is in the criminal code provincially or federally.

Subclause 8(1) of the bill specifies that Kanesatake Mohawks would not be governed by the Indian Act. That is a new way of governing. We should take the blinders off and see that it is the wave of the future. It is where we should be heading not only with this act and this band but with other bands across the country.

Before the Kanesatake Mohawks could enact the legal powers accorded to them by Bill S-24 they would need to adopt a land governance code that set out the law of the land. The code would establish rule of law, land use rules, conflict of interest rules, rights of appeal and redress, and procedures to amend the code. Again those same rules and criteria are necessary for the municipal level.

A land use plan must precede any commercial or industrial activity such as disposal of waste, storage or transportation of hazardous materials. A land use plan is important when planning a community. Kanesatake Mohawks must embrace a land use plan if they are to develop their lands.

Bill S-24 stipulates that Mohawk of Kanesatake law must be consistent with federal environmental protection standards and can exceed provincial environmental standards. This means that while Kanesatake would have rights over fisheries and hunting it would still need to comply with the Environmental Protection Standards Act and the guidelines set out by the provinces.

Bill S-24 would establish the process by which Kanesatake land use rules could be harmonized with the land laws of the municipality of Oka. That is an onerous task. The area inhabited by the Mohawk comprises many small land parcels which are occupied by aboriginal and non-aboriginal residents.

Bill S-24 addresses the issue of governance. It does not debate first nations treaty rights or other outstanding disputes and grievances. It does not deal with land claims.

The bill would, as I have said, allow reserves and bands throughout the country to look at different models of self-governance and adopt the one which suits them. The band, in this case the Mohawk of Kanesatake, could then provide its people the services they need. If its form of self-governance is successful it could serve as a model for other bands throughout the country. Perhaps Bill S-24 will take us out of the 18th century and into the 21st century when it comes to dealing with aboriginal rights.

I am happy to put the position of the Progressive Conservative Party on the table. We support Bill S-24. We are disappointed it could not go forward right away. As I have pointed out already, it is difficult to understand why the Alliance would not allow the bill to go forward to third reading. However it is better late than never. We hope the legislation is passed quickly and without too much turmoil.

 

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The Deputy Speaker: Is the House ready for the question?

Some hon. members: Question.

The Deputy Speaker: The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Deputy Speaker: Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Development and Natural Resources.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

*  *  *

NUCLEAR FUEL WASTE ACT

 

The House resumed from May 15, consideration of the motion that Bill C-27, an act respecting the long-term management of nuclear fuel waste, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure today to speak to Bill C-27, an act respecting the long term management of nuclear fuel waste.

The bill mandates the establishment of a long term management strategy to ensure nuclear waste is disposed of in a comprehensive, integrated and economically sound manner.

The bill has three key elements. The major owners of nuclear fuel must establish and implement a long term management plan for nuclear fuel waste. They also must establish a trust fund and make set payments to the fund on an ongoing basis.

We support the bill in principle although we have concerns. The onus to act should not fall entirely on industry. The government should have an observer capacity and should share responsibility for waste disposal. By and large, however, we support the bill.

There must be checks and balances to ensure waste is disposed of properly and safely. However it is a major challenge. There is an international aspect to the issue which, although not immediately evident, should nonetheless frighten Canadians. We are heading toward an environmental catastrophe not just next door but across the ocean. The impact will affect Canadians from coast to coast.

Radioactive waste is an intriguing problem because it lasts for tens of thousands of years. When we deal with radioactive waste we must make sure it does not come in contact with any aspects of our biodiversity or ecology for 10,000 years. The decisions we make today will affect generations far down the line. It is a very difficult problem.

Fuel rods used in nuclear reactors last about three to four years. Every nuclear plant deposits about 30 tonnes of nuclear waste per year. What happens to the rods? After three to four years they cannot carry on a nuclear reaction. However they still have a great deal of power. A lot of energy is locked away within used fuel rods and they can still be lethal to human beings, animals and plants.

People exposed to nuclear materials can be killed outright. However they also suffer from high rates of cancer, various malignancies and other profound health effects that dramatically shorten their lifespan.

We have about 18,000 tonnes of nuclear fuel in Canada. That will expand as time passes. The challenge is deciding what to do with it. How do we ensure public safety? That challenge will affect us south of the border as well.

A number of principles need to be followed. They are as follows. First, there must be a commitment to safety and environmental protection when disposing of nuclear waste. Second, nuclear waste materials must be accepted voluntarily by the host community. In other words, any community in which we deposit nuclear materials must give its consent.

 

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The decisions that community makes could potentially affect it down the road. We do not know the long term affects of the disposal of this material. We worry about leakage and cracks in the tomb nuclear waste material is encased in. We do not know what will happen to that nuclear material 5,000 years from now when it will still be lethal and dangerous for human beings, animals and plants.

From the outset there has to be open communication of information with the communities involved. There can be no secretive or unilateral decisions made to deposit nuclear waste in areas near human habitation. The communities in the area must be made aware and they must buy into it. In fairness to the host community, a benefits provision in recognition of its service to the community at large has to be recognized.

Some very interesting experiments have been done on the disposal of this kind of material. I will talk about two of them. One is called the nuclear powered turbo reciprocating engine. Rather than burying the nuclear rods in the ground, can we extract the considerable amount of energy contained within those nuclear rods? That is an intriguing question. However the question also poses some very interesting potential solutions on how to use the nuclear rods by extracting energy from them for a longer period of time. That is where the nuclear powered turbo reciprocating engine comes into play.

This engine utilizes some of the remaining uranium within the rods. We use uranium-235 in nuclear reactors. However uranium-238, which cannot maintain a nuclear reaction, is in sizeable proportions in the effete rods. The rods can be bombarded with atoms which will break them apart and they will release considerable amounts of energy.

While the fuel rods in their original state are used for about three or four years in a nuclear reactor, they can be used for 13 to 15 more years, thus extracting more energy from the effete rods than what would have been received in the first three to four years. To use these rods for 18 years rather than 3 or 4 years is a very interesting proposal. When using the effete rods there is still the problem of disposal at the end of that period of time as they are still as radioactive as they were when they originally came out of the nuclear reactor.

The government should ask the National Research Council to explore this option with researchers in the United States who are doing similar research. It is a simple principle of burning rubbish rods and generating energy from them in a way that would be very useful for our environment. This would also lead to fewer rods being used if energy could be generated from the effete rods. Therefore the nuclear waste that we would have to deal with would be smaller.

Another option is called the fusion torch which was established some time in the seventies when the possibility of fusion reactions existed. For whatever reason there has been less interest in exploring the possibility of fusion. However the fusion torch can be used to burn the effete rods in a different way through fusion reaction.

While fusion is not a reality at this point in time, I would ask the government to have the National Research Council work with scientists in the international community who are working on fusion as a potential option for dealing with our nuclear waste problem.

What I am about to tell the House now is truly frightening. It is taking place in Russia and Ukraine and there is active Canadian involvement. We all know what happened to Chernobyl, the devastation that incident brought on the population there, and how radioactive nuclear tides were spread over a large area. What Canadians may not know is that there are many more Chernobyls in Russia and Ukraine. It is not only a problem for the people there. Radionucleotides are cancer causing and teratogenic materials that enter our ecosystem and bioaccumulate into other ecosystems far and wide.

 

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I had the honour of participating in discussions with members of the government on this. We know many radionucleotides are bioaccumulating in the flora and fauna in the Arctic, and that is having a dramatic negative impact on the lives and health of the people living there.

A Mayak reactor, which is located near Ozersk in Russia, was supposed to be closed down. Lake Karachay, which is nearby, is the repository of nuclear waste materials from that reactor. The lake is the most radioactive place on our planet. If people were to bathe in the lake it would kill them. One would think the reactor would be shut down, but it is actually expanding, and it is expanding with Canadian taxpayer money.

Canadian taxpayer money is being used to maintain the Mayak reactor that is dumping radioactive waste materials into Lake Karachay. This is having a dramatic, negative and lethal impact upon the population there. Why is Canada funding a reactor in Russia that is dumping radioactive waste materials into a lake where people could be killed?

The goal has always been to shut down a lot of these reactors that are effete. In the last 10 years Canada has put almost $90 million into shutting them down but we now know that a lot of the money was not used for that purpose. These reactors are not only open but a lot of the money has gone into the pockets of the Russian bureaucracy.

Why is $90 million of Canadian taxpayer money being sent to Russia in good faith only to be dumped into the bureaucracy and into the pockets of private individuals, and then chewed up with no end result?

As a G-7 country, Canada committed almost $300 million to make sure those reactors were shut down, closed and cleansed of radioactive material. That has not happened. Russian nuclear weapons are being sent to the Mayak reactor so they can be reprocessed into MOX fuel, which is a radioactive and lethal fuel.

The Canadian government should be asking some tough questions of the Russian government, such as where is the money that was sent, why are the reactors not being closed down, and why is radioactive material being dumped right into the biosphere with no checks or balances whatsoever.

We were supposed to close the reactors down. Canadians will be shocked to know that we are funding 40 new reactors in Russia. However the reactors are using 30 year old technology that has been widely dismissed as being dangerous and unsafe by western standards. Why is Canada funding 40 new reactors in Russia that have 30 year old technology? We are exporting to the international community technology that is unsafe for us. Why are we doing this?

This will lead to more Chernobyls, more Mayak reactors and more nuclear waste being dumped into the biosphere. It will not affect communities in the former U.S.S.R. but it will affect all of us. Our government does not know where the money has gone or where we are supposed to spend it.

 

. 1240 + -

Little has changed in Russia in terms of nuclear reactors, cleanup mechanisms, and checks and balances that ought to be there. There are many other Chernobyl-type situations just waiting on the horizon.

Another aspect that would be frightening for Canadians to realize is that in Ukraine, which has a number of nuclear reactors, the government has stripped the regulating body of its monitoring powers. What is happening is that fewer checks and balances are being put in place. This will have a lethal and devastating effect not only on that country but on all former eastern bloc countries.

CIDA has said that the money that it sent has simply disappeared. Millions of dollars have disappeared. Money was also sent through Atomic Energy of Canada Limited to finance a program that would increase the operating safety of nuclear reactor plants. That was a great idea. Who could argue with that?

It also wanted to clean up Europe's largest nuclear power plant, the Leningrad nuclear power station near St. Petersburg, because it was unsafe. The power plant continues to operate. The money that was sent to clean up these operations and to close them down has done absolutely nothing at all.

CIDA also gave $500,000 to Russia's nuclear regulatory agency, GAN, but legislation currently before the Russian parliament will transfer the GAN's licensing powers to another group called Minatom. Minatom will be a self-regulating company beyond the reach of government. Why are we sending money to the Russian government to fund a regulatory agency that will have no powers?

We are sending money to an agency that will have nothing to do with regulations because the regulatory body has been moved to something else and will be a toothless tiger. It will have no checks and balances, no government regulation, no transparency and no public involvement. That is very frightening. Canadians would never tolerate that type of situation here.

Canadians would demand, and rightfully so, that the nuclear regulatory agency be monitored by a public transparent organization. What Canada is doing with its international aid money is sending millions of dollars into a big, black hole where it is not producing the intended effect.

I encourage the minister responsible for international development, when she hears about these issues, to take a very aggressive position. The Minister of Foreign Affairs should also make immediate interventions with President Putin and the Russian government to get to the bottom of it.

If he cannot do that, Canada should choke off all moneys going into these programs and should rally the international community to say that no more money will be sent to clean up Russian nuclear waste sites or to decommission nuclear reactors until we know where it will go and where the other money has gone. The Russian government has a great deal to answer for and has poisoned the good will of Canadians and the international community.

The last aspect I want to talk about is the issue of depleted uranium. This came up as a big issue after the war in the former Yugoslavia and the gulf war. A number of our soldiers came back with strange illnesses such as malignancies, weaknesses and depressed immune systems. No answers were found as to the cause. The Department of National Defence said very clearly that it did not believe it was due to anything in particular and that these people just got sick as a matter of course.

There is the larger question of whether or not depleted uranium, which is radioactive and can have lethal effects on individuals, contributed to the illness of men and women in uniform, not only those from our country but also other participants who came back from both the gulf war and the former Yugoslavia.

 

. 1245 + -

I emphasize that it is essential for the Minister of National Defence to work with the international community to obtain an answer for our soldiers. They deserve one. We must have an answer to determine whether depleted uranium has a negative effect, whether on impact the dust created that can travel for more than 100 kilometres has a deleterious and potentially lethal effect on the health of our soldiers. We have a responsibility in that regard.

Many people from around the world are looking at this question. If we work with our international defence partners on the matter together, we will have the answer for our soldiers who have been affected in some unknown way as yet by some terrible diseases.

Actually a group on the east coast has done some very interesting studies. It found residues of radioactive uranium in the bodies of individuals who came back. If my memory serves me, I believe residue has been found in the bodies of 12 of 20 individuals.

The department of defence has said this was not a problem. I urge the department not to take such a cavalier attitude toward the problem and not to completely dismiss it. It should deal with and explore the facts and the signs. It should not deal with it individually but work with the international community that is struggling to find an answer to this very important problem.

It is not only important because of what happened in the past but because depleted uranium is still being used. It is being used in the anti-tank ammunition of the A-10 warthogs and anti-tank weapons that are used on the ground. The number of countries that are using it has expanded dramatically over the last few years. Pakistan and India, our NATO partners, and many other countries are using DU munitions in their military.

This is not only a problem that has happened in the past. It will happen in the future. We must find the answer. A concerted international effort by defence departments and scientists from around the world will get to the bottom of it. We owe it to our men and women in uniform not only to find the answers but to make sure they are treated with more care and consideration. That is our minimum responsibility to them.

We support the bill. We recognize that nuclear waste is a very serious problem, but for it to be disposed of wisely we must have buy-in from the communities. There must be an open and transparent process for where it will be put, how it will be disposed of, and the tomb these nuclear materials will be encased in.

I also encourage the government to work with the international community to look at alternatives. I have spoken about the fusion torch. I have spoken about the NPTRE that can be used as another way of burning effete nuclear rods. We can use these things to decrease the amount of nuclear waste that we will ultimately have.

I encourage Canada to work with the international community to do it. It is another one of those problems that not only affect us but affects the international community and all those who are in possession of nuclear reactors.

We have to deal with former U.S.S.R. countries to find out where the tens of millions of dollars have gone that we have sent to Russia and Ukraine for decommissioning nuclear reactors and other nuclear waste material.

It has not gone where it should be going. There are other Chernobyls on the horizon. People will be killed. Canada can play a very important international role with our other partners in this regard. We all have a vested interest in ensuring that nuclear waste is disposed of wisely. I encourage the government to work with all of us and the international community to make sure that happens.

 

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[Translation]

Mr. Serge Cardin (Sherbrooke, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to the bill on the long term management of nuclear fuel waste.

First, I would like to draw a parallel with the discussions on open line shows this morning. Yesterday, the finance minister gave his economic update. On a local radio show in my riding people were expressing their views on various elements of the minister's statement, including the debt.

Why am I talking about the debt? People where saying that over the past 30 years previous governments had been accumulating the debt. The government is now taking steps to pay it down as quickly as possible so that future generations are not stuck with reimbursing the amounts borrowed by previous generations.

What I want to stress here is responsibility. We must take responsibility for what we are doing now and for what we did in the past. When it comes to the nuclear world, nuclear waste in particular, we are told, depending on the source, that nuclear waste can last 200 years, 300 years or 500 years. Other sources mention 1,000 years, or even several thousands of years.

How can we deal responsibly with waste that will affect people throughout the world for hundreds, even thousands of years?

Since we have been talking about the nuclear industry for a number of years, I would like to step into the past and point out a few things about the background to the bill.

In February 1998, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency published the “Report of the Nuclear Fuel Waste Management and Disposal Concept Environmental Assessment Panel”, known as the Seaborn report.

In a 1978 joint statement, the governments of Canada and Ontario asked Atomic Energy Canada Limited to develop a concept for the deep geological disposal of nuclear fuel waste.

In a later joint statement, in 1981, they agreed not to go ahead with the selection of a site for that purpose without first holding proper public hearings at the federal level and submitting the concept to the approval of Canadian and provincial authorities.

In September 1988, the federal Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources referred the concept, along with a broad range of nuclear fuel waste management issues, for public review.

On October 4 1989, the federal Minister of the Environment appointed an independent environmental assessment panel to conduct the review.

At that time, the panel's mandate was to review a concept rather than a specific project at a specific site. The panel was also mandated to review a proposal for which the implementing agency was not identified, and to establish a scientific review group of distinguished independent experts to examine the safety and scientific acceptability of the proposal. The mandate also involved reviewing a broad range of policy issues. Finally, all those elements had to be reviewed in the five provinces concerned.

 

. 1255 + -

AECL describes its concept as a method of geological disposal of nuclear fuel waste in which the waste form is either used CANDU, or Canada deuterium uranium, fuel or the solidified high level waste from reprocessing. The waste form is sealed in a container designed to last at least 500 years and possibly much longer.

Waste containers are placed within the confines of underground disposal rooms or in boreholes drilled from the rooms. The disposal rooms are between 500 and 1,000 metres below the surface. The geological medium is plutonic rock of the Canadian Shield.

Such a facility would cost an estimated $8.7 billion to $13.3 billion in 1991 dollars, depending on the amount of waste to be disposed of. The panel conducted its review in several provinces, including Quebec and Ontario. It did environmental impact assessments and consulted the public, namely the natives.

Among other activities, the terms of reference directed the panel to examine the criteria by which the safety and acceptability of the concept for long term waste management and disposal should be evaluated. It also required the panel to prepare a final report addressing whether AECL's concept is safe and acceptable or should be modified, and the future steps to be taken in managing nuclear fuel wastes in Canada.

Here are some key panel conclusions. Broad public support is necessary in Canada to ensure the acceptability of a concept for managing nuclear fuel wastes. Safety is a key part but only one part of acceptability. Safety must be viewed from two complementary perspectives: technical and social.

To be considered acceptable, a concept for managing nuclear fuel wastes must have broad public support, as I was saying earlier, and must be advanced by a stable and trustworthy proponent and overseen by a trustworthy regulator. Therefore, for the public, the level of confidence in the people and organizations managing nuclear wastes is very important.

After applying these criteria to the AECL disposal concept, the panel came to a number of key conclusions.

The key panel conclusions are the following: from a technical perspective, the panel believes that safety of the AECL concept has been on balance adequately demonstrated for a conceptual stage of development, but from a social perspective, it has not. It also says that, as it stands, the AECL concept for deep geological disposal has not been demonstrated to have broad public support. The concept in its current form does not have the required level of acceptability to be adopted as Canada's approach for managing nuclear fuel wastes.

Then the panel considered the steps that must be taken to ensure the safe and acceptable long term management of nuclear fuel wastes in Canada.

 

. 1300 + -

Here are its main recommendations.

A number of additional steps are required to develop an approach for managing nuclear fuel wastes in a way that could achieve broad public support.

Among other things, we should issue a policy statement governing the management of these wastes; initiate an aboriginal participation process; create a nuclear fuel waste management organization, or NFWMA—but its better to use the full name, so we know what we are talking about; a public review of the regulatory documents of the AECB through effective consultation processes.

We also need to develop a comprehensive public participation plan, to develop an ethical and social assessment framework and to compare the options for the management of nuclear wastes.

Taking into account the views of participants in our public hearings and our own analysis, the commission developed the following basic recommendations to governments with respect to a management agency.

It was recommended that a nuclear fuel waste management organization be established quickly, at arm's length from the utilities and AECL, with the sole purpose of managing and co-ordinating the full range of activities relating to the long term management of nuclear fuel wastes.

Another recommendation was that the agency be fully funded in all its operations from a segregated fund to which only the producers and owners of nuclear fuel wastes would contribute.

It was also recommended that its board of directors, appointed by the federal government, be representative of key stakeholders, and that it have a strong and active advisory council representative of a wide variety of interested parties.

It was also recommended that its purposes, responsibilities and accountability, particularly in relation to the ownership of the wastes, be clearly and explicitly spelled out, preferably in legislation or in its charter of incorporation.

It was also recommended that it be subject to multiple oversight mechanisms, including federal regulatory control with respect to its scientific-technical work and the adequacy of its financial guarantees, to policy direction from the federal government and to regular public review, preferably by parliament.

Finally, the commission pointed out that until the foregoing steps have been completed and broad public acceptance of a nuclear fuel waste management approach has been achieved, the search for a specific site should not proceed.

If the AECL concept is chosen as the most acceptable option after implementation of the steps recommended above, governments should direct the NFWMA, together with Natural Resources Canada and the AECB or its successor, to undertake a review all the social and technical shortcomings identified by the scientific review group and other review participants, to establish their priority and to generate a plan to address them. The nuclear fuel waste management organization should make its plan public, carry out public consultations and then implement its plan.

 

. 1305 + -

As members will recall in the Seaborn report, the panel recommended that the federal government establish a management committee with the objective of finding solutions for nuclear fuel waste management and implementing them.

However there has been a change of approach and through Bill C-27 the government has decided to pass the waste management responsibility off to the provinces. In Quebec, Hydro-Quebec should be the one in charge of establishing a waste management organization. I point out that the WMO must establish, by appointing its members, an advisory committee to study proposals and make recommendations.

The idea is to establish a waste management organization whose objective will be to set out nuclear fuel waste management proposals for the federal government and to implement the proposal it accepts. The WMO established by Hydro-Quebec must then make available to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and to any owners of nuclear fuel waste produced in Canada, at a reasonable cost of course, nuclear fuel waste management services as provided in the proposal approved by the governor in council.

When I gave details about Hydro-Quebec,, I must say that I was venturing an opinion and was interpreting a little. Would Hydro-Québec make recommendations? If so, would it do so individually or in conjunction with the group mentioned in the bill? This group is comprised of the Ontario Power Generation, Hydro-Québec, a New Brunswick power corporation and Atomic Energy of Canada.

Some aspects of the bill are not clear. For example, we presume that all these stakeholders will work on a nuclear waste management policy but we can also presume that this would be done individually.

As for financing, the nuclear energy corporations, such as Hydro-Québec and Atomic Energy of Canada, would individually or jointly, as I said earlier, create a trust fund that would be used for implementing the approved waste management proposal.

Under the bill, Hydro-Quebec would have to pay, 10 days after the day on which the bill came into force, $20 million for its fund, and $4 million in each subsequent year. Afterward, the waste management organization, Hydro-Québec, would be able to propose shares to the federal government.

We also know that there is interest on any late payment. I suppose members know about this. We all get into situations where payments are due but not in arrears, of course. If the funds or the interest are not paid, the bill provides for fines not exceeding $300,000 for each day on which the offence is committed.

In this trust, the first withdrawal of funds must be for an authorized construction or storage activity. The funds must be used to implement the proposal approved by the minister.

Examination of the bill shows that the proposal to the minister should include three management approaches, particularly concerning the following: disposal in the Canadian Shield; storage on site at nuclear plants; centralized storage, either above or below ground; a comparison of the benefits, risks and costs taking into account the economic area to be determined; a description of management services; an implementation plan; a timeframe, and especially a program for public consultation and an annual financing formula for policy implementation.

 

. 1310 + -

However there is a hitch in the bill, which provides, as I read it and I think that I am right, that only the minister can hold public consultations. As we know, consultation is crucial because we also know that the capacity to rely on those who will manage nuclear waste is just as crucial.

Of course the waste management organization will have to submit an annual report of its activities. The form, the updated estimated total cost, the financing formula, the amount of the deposit to be paid, of course, and the amount of the final guarantees to be included in the annual report must be approved by the minister.

All these reports will be tabled and the minister will make a public announcement in this regard. Let me repeat that this report still provides for fines of $50,000 to $300,000 per day of violation. Should we consider that as an incentive for the tabling of these reports on time? I think so. Are the fines too high given the importance of the reports to be tabled? It is a question worth asking. The members will answer if they want to.

The Canadian government is the only one that regulates the nuclear industry. It has invested more than $5 billion in this area over the years and approximately $150 million a year since 1994, whereas all the other countries of the world, even those that use nuclear energy the most, are reviewing their use of this type of energy and are even thinking about progressively decommissioning their nuclear power plants and opting for alternative energy sources.

The Liberal government is determined to promote this type of energy as an interesting alternative to fossil fuels, which create more pollution in spite of the virulent public opposition and the major problem of radioactive waste. Last year, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited estimated that it would cost $377 million to decontaminate its plants and dispose of the waste.

However, the Seaborn panel clearly indicated in 1998 that the estimated cost of a long term nuclear waste management facility ranged from $8.7 billion to $13.3 billion in 1991 . Today, the amount is estimated at $15 billion for most countries, such as France and the United States.

Therefore, the amount of $20 billion, plus $4 million annually for Quebec, raises questions in our minds. Will it be enough? In November 1999, at a meeting of the parties to the convention on climate change held in Bonn, Germany, Canada proposed a plan that would give emission credits to countries that export nuclear reactors, which would enable Canada to meet its targets indirectly without reducing its own emissions.

Despite growing opposition from the people, Canada is continuing down the nuclear path instead of favouring renewable energy and adopting strong policies for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

 

. 1315 + -

During the last election campaign, the Bloc Quebecois promised to suggest that the federal government cancel any funding to the nuclear fission industry and that the $150 million that go to that industry every year be retargeted for research and development in the area of clean energy.

Since this opens the door to exporting nuclear waste, one has to wonder if the government really understands the public's opposition to this type of project.

On the subject of importation, in a previous committee sitting, I had the opportunity to discuss with officials from the Department of Natural Resources.

I asked one of them, with respect to importing nuclear wastes, if the waste management organization were to find relatively good solutions—being taken for granted, of course, that we support nuclear projects and therefore consider that the proposals are relatively good—should we fear that nuclear waste might be imported to get a better return on our investment in various waste management programs or projects that Canada might implement?

This is a major risk because in every one of our communities there are waste disposal sites for solid waste or domestic waste. We know what this is all about. When I was on the municipal council in Sherbrooke, we had a waste disposal site. There is one in my ward. One can imagine the problem it creates.

When it comes to the management of nuclear waste or any other kind of waste—of course technically they cannot be compared, although as far as a process is concerned it is the same thing—nobody wants it in their backyard. We all know that. We do not want to see waste imported because it has happened before. It has happened in Quebec and I am convinced it has happened in other provinces too. We should avoid it.

In view of the fact that often the only thing that matters for our Liberal government is money, I am afraid that at some time in the future waste will be imported to make our nuclear waste management system more profitable.

It is something we must keep in mind because the official from the Department of Natural Resources told me that for the time being they had more than enough to do in dealing with our own waste. What concerns me, not to say scares me, is the fact that he said that for the time being they are not considering this.

When I am told “For the time being, we are not planning on it”, am I to understand that their plans may change tomorrow, next week or next year?

That is why the bill must really be transparent. All its details must be clear, precise and, to the extent possible, be assessed. Moreover, even though consultation is provided for in the legislation, we must never neglect to consult. The population must be consulted.

Even if the urgency is evident, we believe that public consultation—and let it be clear that we do not want the kind of bogus consultation that was held in regards to MOX and that lasted only 28 days—is necessary and fundamental.

Another thing will have to be closely considered. The bill intends to force Quebec or, more precisely, Hydro-Quebec to operate according to the proposal that will be adopted by the natural resources minister in Ottawa and to the criteria set by him. Is Quebec really in agreement with these criteria? That is what we will determine later.

 

. 1320 + -

We also have a concern about the fines provided for in the bill. Do members not think that the fines imposed for each day of infraction are excessive, considering that this type of bill always contains variable factors? We know that the bill contains provisions allowing additional delay, but the issue of fines is still of concern us.

If we look briefly at the situation of Canada's nuclear power stations, we find that the obligation to treat nuclear fuel waste is unfortunately something that the Bloc Quebecois cannot oppose, but we do strongly oppose the use of fuel and the operation of power plants using nuclear fission.

As members know, in his most recent report, the auditor general clearly indicated that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission needs to improve its regulatory regime for power reactors. Among other things, the audit pointed out that the commission does not use quantitative measures to rate nuclear power facilities.

According to the auditor general, the rating systems used are not always based on specific criteria but rather on the judgment and expertise of staff.

While we do not believe that the staff would be dishonest and is probably competent, we would like to point out that the auditor general said, and I quote:

    The criteria for what is acceptable or unacceptable are subjective and could be misunderstood.

Moreover, as the auditor general pointed out in the report, CNSC faces significant difficulties in recruiting and retaining qualified staff. Combined with its current regulatory regime, which relies heavily on the expertise and judgment of staff, the lack of human resource capacity could impact its ability to function adequately in the future.

Considering that only a responsible approach is necessary on this matter, the Bloc Quebecois will support Bill C-27, while maintaining major reservations. The Bloc Quebecois will continue to follow the matter very carefully because there are major issues involved in this bill.

These issues relate to the huge economic investment required for a management regime based on the protection of the environment and of the health of Quebecers. The Canadian people and even the American people would be affected by this bill. While Mr. Bush is not giving a lot of hope on this matter and the Canadian government has a strange approach toward this, we consider it our duty to ensure first and foremost that the bill does not have negative consequences and that the issues will be carefully considered at all stages. At this point, we agree on the bill but we have very major reservations.

In conclusion, people need to have a good relationship with the main stakeholders, as, of course, with the federal government in its responsibilities on waste management. There must also be a trust relationship with the fuel nuclear waste management organization.

 

. 1325 + -

If it is possible to create this trust, we will get the support of the public. The public will have to be consulted, but it has to be real consultation and not token consultation, as I said earlier.

The bill will have to be very specific on the potential for importing nuclear waste. It must be clear that the waste management organization's sole purpose is to manage nuclear waste from Quebec and Canada. We know very well that nobody would accept nuclear waste from other countries, with all the risks involved.

Our responsibility today is crucial. We are making decisions that will have an impact on events that could occur in hundreds or thousands of years. Some people are used to managing without any long term vision but here we need to consider future generations, and much more than the next few generations, as we are talking about hundreds and thousands of years.

We will get a chance in committee to deal with various aspects of the bill and we retain the right to move amendments to Bill C-27.

[English]

Mr. Pat Martin: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that you seek the consent of the House to see the clock as being 1.30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker: Is that agreed?

Some hon. members: Agreed.


PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[English]

INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION

 

The House resumed from March 26 consideration of the motion.

Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate. I believe our caucus is the only one that has not had the opportunity yet to participate in the debate.

Debate is on the motion introduced by the Bloc Quebecois member for Rosemont—Petite-Patrie. The motions states:

    That, in the opinion of this House, the government should show leadership on the international stage: (a) by taking action designed to increase the number of signatory countries to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction; (b) by signing bilateral treaties that include commitments to respect custody and access orders as originally handed down by the courts; and (c) by taking the necessary steps within its own borders to combat international child abduction.

I read with some degree of interest what the spokespeople for all other parties in the House had to say on this topic. It is very timely that the Bloc member introduced the motion. I note it has the support of the government, the Official Opposition, the Progressive Conservative Party, and now the New Democratic Party today.

There are three parts to the motion. It is not necessary to go into great detail because it has the unanimous support of all five parties in the House of Commons. I am pleased to be adding the weight and support of the New Democratic Party to this and would take my seat on that point.

 

. 1330 + -

Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I add on behalf of the Canadian Alliance our support of the motion, which deals with a very important and tragic situation affecting quite a number of families. It is a problem that is largely unrecognized. Therefore we support the essence of this private member's motion and compliment the member responsible.

The motion asks Canada to show leadership in the following ways:

      (a) by taking action designed to increase the number of signatory countries to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction; (b) by signing bilateral treaties that include commitments to respect custody and access orders as originally handed down by the courts; and (c) by taking the necessary steps within its own borders to combat international child abduction.

The scope of this problem is significant. In the United States in one year, 341,000 children were abducted from their parents. This is a huge number. In the United Kingdom roughly four children per week are abducted and that number has actually increased by 58% over the last three years. In our country there are similar statistics. We can see that this is not only an international problem but also very much a domestic problem, and the impact upon families is quite significant.

We support the Hague convention that deals with missing and exploited children, but there are some problems with it. I will point out some of them which need to be addressed by our country with the international community. There is a lack of systemic data on the operation of the Hague convention. It does not allow a country by country comparison. There are also wide variations in outcomes that point to systemic problems with the application of the Hague convention in different countries. There is a lot of difficulty in locating children who are subject to this convention and there is a lack of adequate support for the victims' families.

There are also interesting variations among the judicial community, especially judges and lawyers. A lot of people are not aware of this. There are great inter-country variations in regard to knowledge of the convention. I would encourage our country to work with other signatories to the Hague convention, not only, as the motion says, to add more countries to the convention but also to educate the judiciary within the signatory countries about the application and the importance of this convention. There has also been quite a significant lack of enforceability on some of the orders we have seen with respect to the Hague convention.

With respect to our own laws, the motion asks that we take the necessary steps within our own borders not only to combat international child abduction but to ensure that access orders are respected within our own borders.

Many members of the House have spoken to constituents who are non-custodial parents and have court orders allowing them access to their children. Unfortunately many of these court orders are not respected by the custodial parents. As a result, non-custodial parents continue to engage in battles to see their children. There is not enough protection within our own borders today to ensure that non-custodial parents have access to their children. At the end of the day, children need two competent parents, not one, if it is at all possible. If there are two parents, they should still remember, no matter what has come between them, that the children come first. With the safety of the children paramount and where both parents are competent, even though they may not be together, they should both have access to the children, according to court decisions. Too often that is not the case.

A senate report done on custody, access and divorce shows very clearly that Canada is lagging behind in its enforcement of these orders and that many non-custodial parents are denied access to their children. I would encourage the government to review that report. It is an excellent report supported by members from across party lines. The government should fulfil and implement the conclusions within that report. The report contains many excellent suggestions that would help children who have been racked by the divorce of their parents.

 

. 1335 + -

In closing, I can only compliment the member responsible for this motion and emphasize that the Canadian Alliance supports this private member's motion. We also encourage the government to work with its international partners to strengthen the Hague convention and to ensure that the signatories are living up to the requirements therein.

*  *  *

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

MOTION NO. 219

Ms. Marlene Catterall (Ottawa West—Nepean, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to discussions among all parties and the member for Rosemont—Petite-Patrie concerning the taking of the division on Motion No. 219 scheduled at the conclusion of private members' business today, I think you would find consent for the following motion:  

    That at the conclusion of today's debate on Motion No. 219 all questions necessary to dispose of the said motion be deemed put, a recorded division deemed requested and deferred to Monday, May 28, at the expiry of the time provided for government orders.

The Deputy Speaker: Does the chief government whip have consent of the House to put the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Deputy Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

BILL C-222

Ms. Marlene Catterall (Ottawa West—Nepean, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we are trying to organize the business of the House collaboratively. Again pursuant to discussions among all parties concerning the division on Bill C-222 scheduled at the conclusion of private members' business on May 28, 2001, I believe you would find consent for the following motion:  

    That at the conclusion of the debate on Bill C-222 on Monday, May 28, all questions necessary to dispose of the motion for second reading be deemed put, a recorded division deemed requested and deferred to Monday, May 28, at the expiry of the time provided for government orders.

The Deputy Speaker: Does the chief government whip have the consent of the House to propose the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Deputy Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

*  *  *

INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION

 

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Mrs. Sue Barnes (London West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will briefly capture some of the essence of what I hear as agreement in the Chamber on this motion.

As outlined in the government's initial response to the motion, we do celebrate the fact that Canada has an internationally recognized record of achievement domestically and on the world stage in responding to parental international child abduction. Today I am here to say that the government's position is supportive of the motion before the House.

Twenty years ago Canada initiated negotiations that led to the drafting of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. From the original three countries, including Canada, the number of countries that have become party to the Hague convention has risen to over seventy.

Canada has consistently encouraged countries to become party to the Hague convention, which remains the only multilateral international instrument designed to prevent and resolve cases of parental international child abduction. Canada is at the forefront of international efforts to ensure that the Hague convention is implemented effectively in other countries. In particular, Canada was represented at the recent fourth special commission which met in March 2001 to review the operation of this convention. Everything can always be improved, of course.

In cases where the Hague convention does not apply, Canada offers significant assistance to left behind Canadian parents, always with the goal of securing the safe return of the child to Canada. Canada has also negotiated two innovative bilateral agreements, one with Egypt and one with Lebanon, which are not party to the Hague convention itself. This has helped us develop measures to help resolve cases of child abduction to non-Hague convention countries.

As a co-ordinator of much of this work, Canada has in place a world recognized best practice program to prevent and resolve cases of missing and abducted children.

 

. 1340 + -

We also have our missing children program. I remember that from my days as parliamentary secretary at then Revenue Canada.

The partners in this program, the RCMP, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Canada, as well as the Montreal urban community police, are there to help Canadians in this very trying time period whenever a child has been child separated from their parent. If we can assist, we do a service to everyone involved.

We will evaluate the motion of hon. member for Rosemont—Petite-Patrie.

The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade back in 1998 drafted a report called “International Child Abduction: Issues for Reform”. Those initiatives demonstrated the longstanding commitment by the Government of Canada to seek methods of preventing international child abduction where possible and to find the remedies when abductions occurred.

A manual for parents on international child abduction was prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs. That can be obtained through members of parliament. It is an effective tool in assisting parents to understand the processes and options available to them when a child is abducted by another parent, which sadly occurs more than we would like it to.

The manual also serves as an important preventive tool which alerts parents to the causes of parental child abduction and the steps they can take to protect the children involved.

The federal Departments of Justice and Foreign Affairs are working in collaboration with the federal central authority and with provincial and territorial central authorities to examine even better ways of collecting national statistics on international child abduction cases that are managed under the Hague Convention.

At this year's our missing children conference, which is being organized by the department of immigration and brings together all the key players in the area of missing and abducted children, sessions will be devoted to international child abduction and to reporting any new initiatives under way to improve the operation of the convention, both here and abroad.

We also have to deal with those countries that currently do not perform as well as we would wish under the Hague Convention. For the sake of Canadian children, we must encourage all countries to re-examine their priorities with a view to improving the operation of the Hague Convention in their own respective jurisdictions.

The Departments of Foreign Affairs and Justice will continue to raise with other countries problems encountered with the operation and the implementation of the Hague Convention. Through policy and operational linkages previously established, particularly between the provincial and territorial central authorities and the relevant federal departments, specific problems being encountered in other countries can quickly be identified and raised in appropriate ways through our consular and diplomatic networks. This is work that the government intends to intensify.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an effective instrument that addresses only one of a multitude of issues that often prevail in international child abduction cases. It attempts to deal with and provide guidance on one of the most complex and emotional issues that we, whether as parents, lawmakers or interested individuals, may ever have to deal with; a cross-border child abduction. It assists in providing a framework for proceeding when our family ties are under severe stress or disintegrate to the point that the children disappear.

The underlying principle of the Hague Convention is to respond in a way that protects the best interests of the affected children. Canada is committed to this principle and also committed to making it work, even when family disputes cross international borders and those situations have internally broken down families to the point where the abduction has taken place.

This is a non-partisan issue. It is an issue that can grip the hearts and intellects of all members in the Chamber. I hope we can work together to advance the cause before us to all our benefit.

 

. 1345 + -

[Translation]

Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ): Mr. Speaker, you will easily understand that it makes me proud to rise today to speak to Motion No. 219, which is aimed at preventing tragedies that will mark you for the rest of your life from occurring again.

I am particularly happy to see that on May 29 every member of the House will be called upon to vote on the motion.

If I may I will read the motion moved by my colleague from Rosemont—Petite-Patrie:

    That, in the opinion of this House, the government should show leadership on the international stage: (a) by taking action designed to increase the number of signatory countries to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction; (b) by signing bilateral treaties that include commitments to respect custody and access orders as originally handed down by the courts; and (c) by taking the necessary steps within its own borders to combat international child abduction.

In 1999 in Canada more than 350 Canadian children disappeared. The worst tragedy that may befall a family is to lose a child. Children may be lost in a senseless accident or to a fatal disease, be it slow or fast. Families eventually have to overcome their grief. When a child is lost under those circumstances, the wound heals with time.

When a child simply vanishes, I do not think a mother can ever get over the loss, nor a father, although as we well know most children are taken away by the father. The figure in Quebec for 1999 was 61 children.

My colleague from Rosemont—Petite-Patrie has brought forward this motion in part because he is well aware of the situation but also because his partner is experiencing this very trauma. This is a motion anchored in peoples' day to day realities.

A few weeks ago there were news reports of a father being intercepted at a New York airport with his son. He was attempting to return to his country. Why was there success in this case? It was the result of considerable co-operation between police, customs and airport authorities. In these situations, which are always dramatic, time is the child's worst enemy. Effective measures must become the rule.

When parents report that a child is missing and there are good reasons to believe that the child may have been abducted—usually a child does not simply vanish into thin air—we must act quickly. The third part of the motion deals with the need for quick action.

I think everyone knows how important this motion is and how important it is to make it clear to the international community that for Canada the right of a child to be with his or her parents is sacred. Abducting a child, taking a child from one of his or her parents, is unacceptable. The only way to show that something is unacceptable is to make it impossible.

On behalf of my colleague from Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, I am taking the liberty of thanking all parliamentarians who spoke to the motion. I thank the government for saying loud and clear that it will support the motion. What I am reading into this is that we will soon see practical measures because of the government's commitment in this regard.

[English]

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC): Mr. Speaker, I am not going spend a great deal of time on this, but it is such an important issue. As has already been mentioned, it is a non-partisan issue, and we want to be on the record as supporting it.

 

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All of us as parents and friends of those who have children realize how important it is to keep family units together. In a great country like Canada where the family is such an important unit, perhaps it is even more true than anywhere else.

When we think that families can be divided because one or other decides to leave and go back to his or her place of former residence, or perhaps just to take off and take one or more of the children, we all realize the impact it has on the family and on our community generally.

Our country, our government, should take whatever steps we can at an international level to ensure that other countries feel the same way as we do. In the agreements we sign we should make sure that in the event these happenings occur, which they should not, we can quickly move on them without having to see people go through devastating experiences. I am thinking of the book written by Betty Mahmoody, Not Without My Daughter. Those of us who have read it or seen the movie understand what that family went through. Certainly we all have our own examples.

Just a couple of years ago in the St. John's area a father took his three young children and disappeared. It is has been a couple of years. No one knows where they have gone, if they are still in the country or have left the country. It has had a devastating effect on the family and certainly on the community generally.

Canada is melting pot of nationalities. Because of that many of our younger people marry people who come from other countries and sometimes, if things do not work out, they leave. Occasionally they have taken the children, which has caused tremendous grief. It is interesting that in many of the cases where young people have been abducted security forces at airports have had concerns that something was wrong but did not have the proof or the authority to do anything about it.

Those of us who have travelled extensively over the years remember that the times when we went to airports and the first prominent people standing around were members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It might be worth while asking if we have been too lax in airport security. I know we have good people checking our suitcases and frisking us. That is all wonderful, but many things go through airports that cannot be detected by a scanner, whether they be hand-held or otherwise.

Professional people understand and identify problems. Looking for signs is important. There is an old saying that forewarned is forearmed. Perhaps we could tighten up the security, even if it means having the RCMP again playing a prominent role at airports. The extra cost is very little in comparison with the grief caused to too many families. As I say, because of our international involvement and the type of country we have, we are susceptible to such things happening.

As we move ahead in this regard, it is not something we should only deal with if a meeting happens to be called somewhere along the line. It is an issue Canada should push and should keep pushing until we get everyone agreeing with us.

Many people agree with us. Sometimes the more people come together, the more others are embarrassed not to do so. Despite their own national concerns about family units and how they operate and whatever, surely there is no one anywhere in the world who would deny the right of children to be with their parents, certainly the ones most responsible for looking after them.

 

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We certainly support the measure and ask the government to do everything in its power to make sure that abductions of Canada's children end.

[Translation]

Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to inform the House that May 25, next week, will be Missing Children's Day.

I believe that for the parents who have to live day after day with the tragedy of the loss of a child, the testimony given today will act as a healing balm.

I would be remiss if I did not use this forum and take this opportunity to pass on this information.

The Deputy Speaker: I must conclude that, from a procedural point of view, this is not a point of order but rather an information bulletin. It is fair ball, however, and it is a very important issue.

[English]

Is the House ready for the question?

Some hon. members: Question.

The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to the order made earlier today, the question on Motion No. 219 is deemed put and the recorded division deemed demanded and deferred until Monday, May 28, 2001, at the expiry of the time provided for government orders.  

[Translation]

It being 2 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, May 28, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 24 and 28.

(The House adjourned at 1.56 p.m.)