INST Committee Meeting
Notices of Meeting include information about the subject matter to be examined by the committee and date, time and place of the meeting, as well as a list of any witnesses scheduled to appear. The Evidence is the edited and revised transcript of what is said before a committee. The Minutes of Proceedings are the official record of the business conducted by the committee at a sitting.
For an advanced search, use Publication Search tool.
If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at email@example.com.
37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION
Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
|The Chair (Mr. Walt Lastewka (St. Catharines, Lib.))|
|Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton Southwest, Canadian Alliance)|
|Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ)|
|Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, BQ)|
|Mr. André Bachand (Richmond—Arthabaska, PC)|
|Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP)|
|Mr. Brent St. Denis (Algoma—Manitoulin, Lib.)|
|Mr. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.)|
|Mrs. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Lib.)|
|The Honourable Gilbert Normand (Bellechasse—Etchemins—Montmagny—L'Islet, Lib.)|
|Mr. Dan McTeague (Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge, Lib.)|
|Mr. Paul Crête|
|Mr. Réal Ménard|
|Mr. Joseph Volpe (Eglinton—Lawrence, Lib.)|
|Mr. James Rajotte|
|Mr. Paul Crête|
|Mr. Paul Crête|
|Mr. Paul Crête|
|Hon.. Gilbert Normand|
|Mr. André Bachand|
|Mrs. Marlene Jennings|
|Mr. Brian Masse|
|Mr. Brian Masse|
|Mr. Brent St. Denis|
|Mr. Larry Bagnell|
|Mr. Réal Ménard|
|Mr. Massimo Pacetti (Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, Lib.)|
|Mr. Massimo Pacetti|
|Mr. Paul Crête|
|Mr. Dan McTeague|
|Mr. Joseph Volpe|
|Mr. Paul Crête|
|Mr. Brent St. Denis|
|Mr. Joseph Volpe|
|L'hon. Gilbert Normand|
Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]
The Chair (Mr. Walt Lastewka (St. Catharines, Lib.)): I call this meeting to order, meeting number 55, and welcome everybody back from the summer recess, to some known as a summer break but to us known as a summer recess.
We have some new people I would like to introduce to you. Louise Thibault will be our new clerk. She will be with us today and she will gradually replace Jean-François, who will have a new assignment. Robin MacKay will be our new legal support staff for the committee.
I think it would be good if we introduced ourselves around the table so our new members can identify us, and maybe we'll start with Mr. Rajotte.
Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton Southwest, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Rajotte, member of Parliament for Edmonton Southwest, vice-chair and Canadian Alliance member.
Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, BQ): My name is Paul Crête. I am the BQ member for the riding of Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques and I am my party critic for Industry matters.
Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, BQ): My name is Réal Ménard, and I am the member for Hochelaga—Maisonneuve. I am not a regular member of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
Mr. André Bachand (Richmond—Arthabaska, PC): My name is André Bachand and I am the member for Richmond—Arthabaska.
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Brian Masse, Windsor West.
Mr. Brent St. Denis (Algoma—Manitoulin, Lib.): My name is Brent St. Denis and I am the member for the riding of Algoma—Manitoulin.
Mr. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.): My name is Larry Bagnell, member for the Yukon.
Mrs. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Lib.): My name is Marlene Jennings, the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, a riding located on the island of Montreal. I am not a regular member of this committee.
The Honourable Gilbert Normand (Bellechasse—Etchemins—Montmagny—L'Islet, Lib.): My name is Gilbert Normand, I am the member for Bellechasse—Etchemins—Montmagny—L'Islet.
Mr. Dan McTeague (Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge, Lib.): Mr. Chairman, my name is Dan McTeague, formerly vice-chairman and member for “Gasoline—North”.
Some hon. members: Ah, ah!
The Chair: We have a motion that has been signed by four members and has been circulated. Mr. Crête, you were one of the ones who submitted the motion, so I would ask you--
Mr. Paul Crête: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My colleague from Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, Mr. Réal Ménard, took this initiative following an announcement whereby the Canadian Grand Prix held in Montreal was in jeopardy and was not part of the 2004 calendar. We know how important this event is. We know it is a major tourist event, perhaps the biggest tourist event in Canada and we all know how the tourist industry is quite susceptible to various factors. In the case of the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, we learned of this drastic piece of news during the summer.
The hope was, in the campaign launched by the Quebec government as well as the federal government and, of course, among the stakeholders in the Montreal area, that this decision would be reversed or, at any rate, that the Canadian Grand Prix could be part again as soon as possible of the 2004 calendar.
Therefore, it is against that backdrop that Mr. Ménard undertook a process and requested the support of committee members. I thank the members of the committee who supported this motion and I should like to invite Mr. Ménard to carry on with the presentation in the time allotted to us, in order to explain the content of our request so that the urgency of the situation is well understood.
Mr. Réal Ménard: Thank you, Mr. Crête.
Mr. Chairman, this summer, with the leader of the Bloc Québécois, I met Mr. Legault who proved to be a very responsible man. He quite understood that it was not possible to repeal the Tobacco Act.
I hasten to say that there are two major parameters in our objective. The first is that a change in the legislation is out of the question because parliamentary democracy would become irrelevant. We cannot tell private enterprise that a piece of legislation which has been voted on can be changed two years later; this is not sensible.
The second parameter is that the Canadian Grand prix take place—$80 million for Montreal is quite a large sum-- and that the owners of auto racing teams agree to hold the race without advertising. I remind you, Mr. Chairman, that four out of five automobile manufacturers, Ford, Honda, Renault, Toyota and Chrysler have a place of business in Canada, especially in Ontario. Therefore, we could invite them to appear as well as others.
I think that we have to call upon the manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce of the greater Montreal, the Tourism and Convention Bureau of the greater Montreal, the hotel operators and all those who have a vested interest in the Grand Prix being held in Montreal, in order to see if we can come up with some financial compensation for those who will lose that advertising, namely the owners of the racing teams, with the understanding that there is essentially no desire for a public contribution.
If $30 million were necessary and that $28 million had been collected, leaving a shortfall of $2 million, the possibility that governments might contribute should not be ruled out. But what we are hoping for, Mr. Chairman, is not changing the legislation, but to ensure that through a partnership the Canadian Grand Prix could remain in Montreal and to invite the people involved in this endeavour to appear because it is our job, as parliamentarians, to take part.
I know that Minister Cauchon has been extremely responsible, and careful and that he acted promptly on that issue. He represents the government and we in the House of Commons have a role to play. Therefore, this is not a partisan motion but one requesting that we act promptly.
If we were to consider this motion next year, it would be too late. This is a motion of an urgent nature. In my opinion, and I shall close with these words, we do not need to devote 30 sittings to its consideration. I think that four or five committee sittings would allow us to fully consider the matter. Mr. Legault would be willing to appear. We should not dismiss the possibility of Mr. Ecclestone's appearance as well.
Mr. Chairman, the purpose of this motion is to create a partnership with the private sector and the Montreal stakeholders in order to keep in Montreal the greatest tourist event in Canada, the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Chair: I wanted to make sure we understood the purpose. When we have a motion like this, the topic of discussion is whether we should bring up the subject or not as an agenda item. We're talking not about the whole, encompassing part of the motion but about whether we should proceed to bring it up on an agenda or not.
Mr. Joseph Volpe (Eglinton—Lawrence, Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Since you put it the way you have put it, I have some trouble understanding why this committee would be dealing with this issue inasmuch as from what I gather about the circumstances, it would involve the engagement of another department and another committee.
Now, I know you were present in the House, Mr. Chairman, when the issue of tobacco sponsorship and its implications and consequences came up for activities like the Grand Prix and a series of other events around the country: tennis, jazz festivals, the Benson & Hedges Symphony of Fire, etc. These were all items that were going to be impacted, and they were taken into consideration when the legislation was presented before the House.
That legislation emanated from Health Canada and the justice department, not Industry. All of the submissions that were made were made to Health Canada because it was Health Canada legislation. The justice department was involved because the justice department was the one that crafted the legislation on behalf of the Government of Canada after consultations with all of the appropriate stakeholders, including the various governments.
I'm wondering, given that and the large parameters of this, why the industry committee would be in any position to make an impact that would be of significance other than through the Tourism Commission, which comes under this particular department; other than that, it would have zero impact.
So if you're asking if we should have this as an agenda item--as you know from my history on this committee, I'm delighted that we can speak about virtually anything--I'd like to be guided as to the direction where this might have any impact of consequence. If it's not going to have an impact of any consequence, Mr. Chairman, then I'd like you to keep that in mind as well as keeping in mind that we have additional agenda items that need to be addressed once the committee is reconstituted. As I understand the procedures today, this committee doesn't really exist until there is a submission to the House by all parties that the committee is as it is currently structured.
The Chair: I'd like to speak to that. My understanding is that we can meet for 10 days. Within the next 10 days everything is to be resolved between the government and the opposition, everything will be tabled, and we will go through chair and vice-chair elections again and reconfirm any agenda items going forward. My feeling, as I expressed it in June, was that we should proceed on a number of fronts--and you should have received a number of reports--and that we should at least schedule that and do some work before the committee is disbanded.
Mr. James Rajotte: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'm certainly sympathetic to the movers of the motion. During the summer I talked to Mr. Ménard, and I certainly expressed my moral support for what he was doing. Like Mr. Volpe, I'd certainly be open to looking into the issue in committee.
If you examine the actual motion in and of itself, that the standing committee lend its firm and enthusiastic support to the Government of Quebec's Montreal Grand Prix mission, I think every member on this committee could support that statement. As to the second statement, frankly, I'm still just not sure why we would focus on the automobile manufacturers. Perhaps Mr. Ménard or Mr. Crête could address that.
In terms of the tourism industry or in terms of bringing representatives of the Canadian Grand Prix here, I think that's legitimate, but I'm not quite sure what the linkage is with the automobile manufacturers.
Second, in terms of amending the Tobacco Act, I think Mr. Volpe said, well, that's not under our purview as a committee. As to how we proceed with this, I'm open to it, but if we look at what the purpose is of the committee studying it and what we could actually do at the end to ensure that the Grand Prix does go ahead in Montreal, which is what we all want, how does this then accomplish that goal?
Perhaps I'll just put that out as comments and questions.
The Chair: As a former automobile executive, when I received the motion my first reaction was that the testing of vehicles and equipment is done a lot on racetracks, but where that race is going to be held doesn't really matter to the automobile industry. The decision on where to hold these races is made by the Formula One administration group. So when I first read the motion, I said to myself, gee, I can agree on the first part very quickly, but when you get into bringing in the automobile industry, I don't know why they would come here. They're going to race cars somewhere, and it really doesn't matter to them.
Mr. Paul Crête: That's the problem.
The Chair: Well, I don't know if it is a problem.
Mr. Paul Crête: We want it in Montreal, not another place.
The Chair: I could see us as a committee putting the first part of the motion on the table and lending support to the Government of Quebec and the federal government, who can proceed to do whatever they can do. However they do it is going to come out through negotiations.
Mr. Crête, you might want to answer Mr. Rajotte.
Mr. Paul Crête: Yes, I will give a few answers.
There are four factors. Why did we bring this matter before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology? Because, in fact, we do not want any change to be made to the Canadian Health Act. It is a matter concerning an industry, namely the tourism industry. Basically, that is what it is.
We are quite prepared to discuss the second part of the motion, namely whether other people or groups should be invited, like for instance the people from Canada Tourism or other economic stakeholders who would like to be heard, while keeping in mind the objective stated by Minister Cauchon when he answered as recently as this week in the House: efforts are being made to find solutions.
The committee could hear people and get some ideas which might allow to put forward a solution without requiring a change in the legislation while still allowing the Canadian Grand Prix to take place in Montreal next year.
In private exchanges, all kinds of ideas were put forward which could be implemented or not, but which would be worth hearing. We are still within the timeline of a period where such a decision could be impacted. Major economic interests are involved, corporate images are at stake. According to some people a tobacco company agreed to withdraw following requests made during ministerial meetings. Other aspects might be put forward and solutions might be offered. There could be support for the government and stakeholders in this sector. It is with that in mind that action is taken.
Therefore, for your information, this is not a matter concerning health but industry. We are ready to open up to other sectors and we want to find solutions. The idea is to plan sittings rather quickly so that we can get testimonies, which would give us time to see if we came up with new ideas, perhaps by contributing some ourselves and launch a movement which will help come up with a solution.
Hon.. Gilbert Normand: Actually, I really do not know whether it is necessary to hold hearings with automobile manufacturers, first because it is going to be difficult to call on those people who are practically all if not all, outside of the country.
Second, I do not think we are talking about changing the Tobacco Act. I think everyone is in agreement on that.
Third, other solutions are being considered at the moment; Mr. Crête is aware of that. Other industrial groups have been contacted and major meetings are going to take place as of tomorrow on this matter. I cannot reveal anything at all on this subject.
Thus, time is of the essence. The decision has to be taken within 10 to 15 days. Therefore, in my opinion, at this stage, it would be almost useless to call automobile manufacturers for a hearing That would not move the issue forward at all. That is why I do ask people to trust the people in place whom I would call the “executives“, people involved in this issue at the federal as well as provincial government level, in all the measures they have taken. I can assure you that everything is being done to find a satisfactory solution to this issue.
The Chair: Mr. Bachand.
Mr. André Bachand: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First, there is no need to spend a lot of time on the matter as to whether or not we should change the regulations in the Tobacco Act. Personally, I think it could be done it without any problem. I mentioned this this morning in caucus. People 's views on the matter are divided because they lack perception. Surely, within this recommendation, there should be a way to strike a balance.
I will say at the outset, as I did this morning in caucus, that as a smoker I have no credibility, but that being said, we are talking about such a significant event—the matter of tobacco alone is not involved. When legislation is passed concerning the environment or the health of people, in order to make this legislation efficient, in view of globalization, often international agreements follow. For acid rain, Kyoto, food inspection, for instance, agreements do exist.
When Canada set its deadline, we should remember that in Europe, they had just started to discuss advertising prohibition on tobacco products. I would not be opposed if we were to quite properly and positively adjust to what happens internationally, as we do on other issues. That said, I will not deal further on the tobacco issue because the committee, mind you, does not have to make a difference but personally I believe that an international situation exists. Canada regularly get in step with other countries on various matters—by doing so he encourages others to get in step—therefore I do not see why in this particular case, we could not do so.
I would also like to remind you that with regard to Formula 1 sponsorships and other activities, there have been problems in the major emerging sectors of the economy, such as for instance high-tech. Just as a reminder, Teleglobe used to give millions of dollars to auto racing, namely to Formula 1. However, an adjustment in that sector of activity forced us to withdraw. Therefore, there has been nobody as significant to take its place. I remember having read somewhere that mention was made to call on the high-tech sector to replace tobacco companies. As my colleague Mr. Normand was saying, we certainly hope that this will happen.
But, basically, with regard to the motion, when Mr. Ménard contacted me during the summer, it was first to point out the urgency of the matter and the need for action. Also, this is not simply a Quebec issue. The word which comes up most often, beside that of Jacques Villeneuve when there is an accident—at least that was the case in the past—is the word "Canada". We wanted also to make sure that this motion could make people aware of the fact that the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal is just an example, that there could be others and that we should send a positive signal to all the partners.
At the outset, when the decision was made, some words were uttered such as "blackmail", "disgusting" and all sorts of more or less diplomatic words, according to the UN. Now, we must quickly reverse the situation and make sure that the message is positive.
Unfortunately, I really do not know what the committee can do. Mr. Chairman, you raised the possibility, within the dateline set by the Formula 1 people, that the committee could at least at this stage if the mover of the motion is agreeable, send a clear non-partisan message all across Canada regarding the urgency to come up with a solution. There again, I think that the federal and Quebec governments have been very clear: action must be taken without changing the tobacco legislation in spite of what I said in my preamble. Therefore, there is an emergency aspect because the whole business community and tourist sector of Montreal, in Quebec and in Canada, are quite affected.
The Chair: Ms. Jenkins.
Mrs. Marlene Jennings: Thank you.
I support the comments made by my colleagues with regard to the second paragraph of the motion, concerning a hearing of the automobile manufacturers. I also support unequivocally the commitment of all my colleagues we have heard so far to the effect that we do not intend nor want to ask the Canadian government to change the Quebec law concerning the non-smokers protection in some public venues nor the Tobacco Act which forbids sponsorship by tobacco companies. I too am a smoker but I fully support the Canadian legislation as I do the Quebec government's legislation and whatever legislation other provinces may have.
However, I note with some interest that some Grands Prix are being held in places in the world where advertising by tobacco companies is prohibited. I should like to know how they managed to make up this loss of revenues.
According to some material which has just been given out, only three countries have decided or committed themselves to add on races: Bahrein, in April 2004; Shanghai (China), in October 2004 and Turkey in 2005. At the present time, these three countries are in the process of building tracks in spite of the fact that tobacco sponsorship there is prohibited by law.
If this is true, I think as a committee we should find out if in fact tourism is considered as an industry. Furthermore, this explains why the Canadian Tourist Association comes under the Industry minister and not under the Heritage minister.
There are economic spin-offs. The Canadian Grand Prix which is held in Montreal has in fact very significant economic spin-offs and I think that it would be a good idea for the committee to support all the steps taken by the Quebec government and the city of Montreal and also by the federal government, to find solutions so that the Canadian Grand Prix be held in Montreal in 2004 and the following years.
With regard to holding hearings on the matter, according to the chairman, there is still time to do so. The committee still has some flexibility. Therefore I think that it might be interesting.
The Chair: Mr. Masse.
Mr. Brian Masse: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm glad to hear that amending the act is not being supported. I don't think we've gone far enough with this issue and the fact that we have our Canada Pension Plan investing in tobacco companies. So we still have a long way to go to clean up our act and our relationship with this product, especially given the new evidence coming out. That is very topical, because I think it's a hypocrisy we have. People have been talking about this act, and I think that's something we still wrestle with.
The Chair: I've been lenient on how much I've been allowing for the discussion. If you want me to back up and discuss only whether it goes on or off--don't put me in that position. So let's talk about....
Mr. Brian Masse: All I ask is fairness. I wanted to preface my comments with that, because people have had the same privilege.
With regard to the agenda of this committee, I know the minister himself said that automobile manufacturing, that industry in itself, was his number one priority when he came forward, although I don't think this is the reason. If it were my choice, I would simply have him come forward to talk about greenfield plants and the development of those. Coming forward to make them aware of the importance of the Grand Prix I think is a different thing.
I'd like to know from the movers of the motion what we could really ask of them. What I think we could do is be more proactive and maybe lend resources to research, go out and be part of the effort to show them the value of investing. I don't know why we would ask them, other than to give us some statistics and other testimonials about the value of that. We can perhaps do that with an assertive approach and some resources to show the value of investment. So I'd ask the movers to see what specific questions could be answered there.
I would be happy to spend some time, if we're able, on the tourism aspect of it, as a former member of our local tourism information bureau. I know how difficult it is when you lose an event like this to recover it, and I'm very impressed by the effort in Quebec to try to recover this issue. But for four or five meetings, I'm not sure that would be a wise investment of the resources of this committee, especially given the uncertainty after November. I'd like to make sure other things don't get dropped off as well.
The Chair: Mr. St. Denis.
Mr. Brent St. Denis: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
It is an interesting proposal from our colleagues Réal and Paul. I see this proposal, as others have, as having two parts. The first part, which calls on us to lend an expression of support, makes me feel like a member of a town council, which often gets resolutions from all over the place asking them to support things that are not within their jurisdiction, but they pass them anyway. So I wouldn't feel that if we passed a resolution extending support to the stakeholders and governments we would be doing anything much different from what a lot of other elective bodies are asked to do.
As regards the second part, the studies and so on, I'm certainly a supporter of the Grand Prix in Montreal, but we have a lot of other tourist events and industries that have been affected by cataclysmic events. Take the impact of SARS in Toronto and all Ontario. In my area of northern Ontario people were cancelling lodge accommodations because they were concerned about coming from somewhere else in the world to northern Ontario; they didn't make the distinction between Toronto and northern Ontario. Maybe the fires in B.C. have affected many lodge owners and community tourist operations.
So I would prefer that if we're going to consider studying the tourism impact with the Grand Prix in Montreal, we bite the bullet and do an important and major study on tourism and really see how communities deal with and respond to cataclysmic events such as disease, sponsorship withdrawals, etc., look at it from a national point of view. I think it will be difficult for us to focus on one event, given that we may then be asked to do this similarly for other events, but I have no problem with looking at part A of this, expressing our support to all the stakeholders as they move forward to solve the problem.
The Chair: I'm going to allow people who haven't spoken to speak, and then I'll go back to Mr. Ménard.
Mr. Larry Bagnell: Merci, monsieur président.
I liked what Mr. Ménard had to say when he introduced it, no problem there.
I just have three questions, and one is for the chair. What do we have on our agenda that might be more urgent?
For Monsieur Ménard, two technical questions. It says this is the most lucrative event in Canada, but it doesn't say how many tourists there are, how many spectators. So if you could, tell me how many of those are tourists, how many just people from Montreal who have gone down the street to look at it.
Second, I don't know anything about Grand Prix structures. It says to support the Government of Quebec's mission, because the Government of Quebec, I assume, has to be the sponsor of the race. I don't know how the provincial government has to be the sponsor. I don't know how it works.
I'd like him to answer those two questions when he gets a chance.
The Chair: As to the chair's question, we have reports on gas, Kyoto, drugs. On Kyoto, since the Minister of Industry has made some announcements, we said earlier we wanted to bring him back, in line with Mr. Rajotte. I also wanted to bring forward that we should be reviewing the TPC program and the CFI program, and it's time for our review with the banks. That's my answer to your question.
Mr. Réal Ménard: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I should like to bring a few points to your attention.
To have the automobile manufacturers appear in front of the committee is a suggestion which was encouraged by Mr. Legault and for good reason. Manufacturers have a place of business in Canada, whether in Windsor or in Oakville for instance and it is difficult to imagine that no one in the organization would be available. Moreover, some of them do manufacture cars involved in the Grand Prix. Therefore, there is a connection between the car industry and the Grand Prix. This explains why we thought of them.
Mr. Chairman, I wish to inform you that I am going to move an amendment to the motion in order to widen its scope.
On the other hand, the Canadian Grand Prix held in Montreal attracts 350 million television viewers and—I am trying to find the exact figure—is responsible for the creation of 100,000 direct and indirect jobs. It is not good enough to wish that the government find a solution. The committee should be part of it, because it is our responsibility.
A colleague drew a parallel with the overall tourist industry and the SARS outbreak. In the case of SARS, there has been a financial compensation. Therefore this comparison is not valid. We want to bring pressure to bear on all those connected with the Grand Prix industry so that they join in. A financial contribution might even be considered. Our objective is clear. The issue is not undertaking studies to determine whether the industry is polluting the environment or not. The matter concerns an event reputed to be the most significant in Canada. Several people are ready to appear before the committee, namely Mr. Charles Lapointe, from the Convention and Tourism Board of the Greater Montreal and Mr. Legault, the race promoter. They are willing to testify and we should not dismiss the possibility of calling on Mr. Ecclestone as well as on anyone connected with the hotel industry.
We hear that solutions might be found. Whether it is the pharmaceutical industry or other industries who are sponsoring the event, instead of the tobacco industry, does not matter to me. At the present time, the Canadian Grand Prix is threatened and as parliamentarians, we have the duty to address the matter.
It is said that there are other significant tourist events in Canada. I agree with that but this one is the most important one.
I remember being in attendance when the Prime Minister made a speech at the Four Seasons hotel in Ottawa. He had just appointed a former premier to the tourism portfolio. Tourism is quite important for our communities and especially for the city of Montreal.
That said, I think that we can call on witnesses and table a report after three sittings. Let us not forget that the car industry, as well as the chambers of commerce and all those connected with the Canadian Grand Prix, also need the government. We are a link in the chain of pressures which have to be applied. That is one thing we can do. We do not need to go further. We are all in agreement not to change the legislation. I do not see what we could lose since several of these people are ready to come anyway and it is our duty to hear them. Mr. Chairman, this is very important.
I want to table a document, if the clerk would like to have it translated, on the significance and the implications of the Canadian Grand Prix held in Montreal. Everybody will be able to look at it. It is a study that I have requested from the library. It is not available in both languages and I only have one copy. We will make photocopies of it and the information will be available. This affects thousands of people.
I will tell you in closing that in the hotel and restaurant business, at least 10,000 people are hired during the three days when the Canadian Grand Prix is held in Montreal.
I move an amendment which reads as follows:
Mr. Massimo Pacetti (Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, Lib.): You're going much further than--
The Chair: Let's have courtesy to the committee. I said we wanted to hear them out. I think it's only right that we hear them out. Don't do that again. I won't allow it.
Mr. Massimo Pacetti: Sorry about that. I thought he had the answer.
Just in answer to Mr. Bagnell's question, there is no real number on how much money, how many spectators come from out of town. We've been trying to get those figures. I've been speaking to the mayor and some people from the Quebec government. They're waiting for us before they come in, but they're ready to commit themselves to any type of change we'll be going for. I know I'm not part of this committee, but anything we do will help. I don't think we have to allocate tons of time, but I think if we take any type of action it's going to help.
This is an international event. You can't replace this type of event. It's simple. It's not just a Montreal event. There are people who come from Europe via family members; they go to Montreal for the Grand Prix, then they go along to Toronto. There are Americans who come to Montreal, then go along to Mont Tremblant and elsewhere. Those are all les rétombées économiques we speak of.
If we're going to make other comparisons, we can't look at this as a tobacco issue, because four out of the five manufacturers that advertise on the Formula One automobiles do not manufacture or sell their product here in Canada. Let's not be naive and think it's going to affect smokers or non-smokers.
The Chair: Thank you Mr. Pacetti.
It's the chairman's turn. I think I've heard two things. One, there's a sense of urgency to say something. Monsieur Normand mentioned that things are happening. My suggestion would be, if you wish, that as a committee we should take the first section and pass it as a motion—if you wish—and that the researchers will do the work to answer many of the questions you have brought forward and will table a report.
Mr. Crête and then Mr. McTeague.
Mr. Paul Crête: Mr. Chairman, in order to arrive at a compromise suitable to everyone concerned and which would also reflect Mr. Rajotte's remarks as well as the consultations undertaken, I suggest that, with regard to the second part of the motion, instead of going ahead with a hearing of the automobiles manufacturers, intended to make them aware of the significance of the Canadian Grand Prix, we invite Mr. Legault who is the CEO of the Montreal Grand Prix to appear. He could give us an overall view of the situation so that we can fully understand its meaning. We could then ask all the questions we deem relevant and thus reach our objective, thereby allowing us to make constructive suggestions.
In my opinion, in inviting Mr. Legault instead of the manufacturers, we would meet a condition which has been suggested here. He is, so to speak, the person mostly responsible for this matter. We could then see whether relevant recommendations can be made in that respect. We could try to reach a consensus in dealing with this situation.
The Chair: Mr. McTeague.
Mr. Dan McTeague: Editor's Note: Technical difficulty]...settle the matter, but according to what you have said, we cannot invite all the manufacturers. Mr. Normand indicated in his comments that we only have a couple of weeks left. As mentioned earlier by Mr. Bachand, there is also the matter of a statement aimed at giving unanimous support to the first part of the motion which unfortunately I do not have before me. But we could perhaps add a short presentation by Mr. Legault, which might provide us with information and help our researchers make a decision and do some research, if necessary. This way we might be able to better understand the situation. It is just a matter of one day. I do not know whether members of the committee would agree to it; this is just a proposal I am putting forward.
The Chair: I have Mr. Volpe. Then we'll go from there.
Is there anything else to add?
Mr. Joseph Volpe: Mr. Chair, I don't know how many people here are fans of Formula One, but I stay glued to the television every second weekend, and I follow it fairly assiduously.
I'm dividing what I hear into two parts, because my first question hasn't been answered yet. If what honourable members are asking for is an endorsement of Quebec's Montreal Grand Prix mission, I suppose that's fairly easily done—although against my own better judgment of getting involved and tipping the scales of the negotiations, because that's what's going on right now. Mr. Ecclestone is hardball about this. All you have to do is tell him that everybody in the country wants this, and I can't see how his negotiating leverage isn't increased by doing that. However, because I realize there are also other considerations that we might want to do it, it's a very harmless thing to say “I'm in favour of it”.
That's really all that needs to be done. And if that's all that needs to be done and there's will around the room.... We've already consumed some 45 minutes trying to justify why somebody would even want to study this. I mean, you're either a fan of this or you're not, and if you are, we don't need to bring in Monsieur Legault. We don't need to bring in the manufacturers, who have spent not one penny—not one penny—in this country, even though each one of those teams spends anywhere from $20 million to $110 million a year in research and development to upgrade the quality of their vehicles. And that's without including the salaries they pay for everybody else associated with the races. They have not spent one penny in this country. So we're talking about something completely extraneous....
Mr. Réal Ménard: [Inaudible—Editor]
Mr. Joseph Volpe: Well, Réal, you can say what you like, but I'm just suggesting that we don't need to bring these people in to say, “We support the Canadian Grand Prix held in Montreal and would like our governments to do whatever they can to bring it back”, but within the limits I heard everybody accept. We're not talking about changing the legislation everybody agreed to seven years ago. That legislation was adapted to the needs of the tobacco companies, to the teams we're talking about bringing here, and to the Europeans—who pulled the rug from under us and changed the dates about when they were going to implement this tobacco prohibition legislation. We made all the accommodations we could.
That is over to one side, and I sense there's a consensus that we shouldn't be touching it. But anything else is fair game in terms of support. So if we all agree, I don't see any need for bringing people before this committee who have absolutely no material interest in investment in this country. Let's just say what's in all of our hearts: “Yes, we support the Grand Prix in Canada”. Let's do that right now and forget about the hearings, and let's go on with the business you have indicated is going to completely fill our agenda.
The Chair: Okay.
I take it you would like to amend the motion...with Mr. Legault. So we'll have a vote on the two-part.... Okay?
Mr. Paul Crête: Would you like me to read over the amendment?
In the second part of the motion, instead of saying “That the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology proceed with a hearing of automobile manufacturers, to make them aware of the importance of the Grand Prix” it would read as follows: “That the Standing Committee on Industry invite Mr. Legault, CEO of the Grand Prix held in Montreal, to appear as soon as possible”.
The Chair: Is that a friendly amendment? Does everybody understand it?
Mr. Brent St. Denis: I have a point of order. It seems fair that we're going to have two votes on two separate motions.
The Chair: Right now there's a motion on the floor to have it with the amendment. Right?
We'll vote on the amendment and then we'll vote on the overall two-phase motion. If you defeat that, you can bring back the first part if you want. I'm going to allow that because I understand the sense of urgency.
Mr. Joseph Volpe: I have a point of order. I just made a suggestion a moment ago. Let's forego all of this, and if everybody's happy with that first half...and if you require a subamendment to that amendment, then I'll do that. Why waste the committee's time if the end result is going to be that first part of the motion anyway? I just want your ruling on that.
The Chair: Okay.
The motion stands with the two parts. There's a request, moved by Mr. Crête, that the amendment should replace “a hearing of automobile manufacturers” with “a hearing of Mr. Legault, the CEO of the Grand Prix in Montreal”, to make the committee aware of the importance of the Grand Prix.
Is that clear?
(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
(Motion as amended agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
L'hon. Gilbert Normand: Is it possible to receive Mr. Legault at the end of September, around September 29 or something like that?
The Chair: We will do whatever is possible.
There will be no further debate. We'll now go in camera for future business.
[Proceedings continue in camera]