I would like to speak to my motion, Mr. Chairman. I've looked at our proposed agenda for the next few weeks. Obviously, there are a number of very important and timely issues listed, but I also see that time is marching on. I tabled a motion concerning the Summit of La Francophonie in which I requested the following:
|That [...] the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, under the framework of a proactive evaluation of the Summit of heads of State and Government of Countries Using French as a Common Language (usually called the Summit of La Francophonie), scheduled for Quebec City on October 17-19, 2008 invite officials to appear before it [...]
That way, the committee would be informed of the preparations under way for the Summit. Canada's image is on the line here. Official languages are a very important consideration for all members of Parliament. I am a member of the Standing Committee on Official Languages and every time the committee meets, I see just how sensitive this issue is.
I've looked at the order in which the motions will be considered. Most of them call for explanations as to why certain decisions were made, or ask that certain facts be acknowledged. However, time is flying by. The OIF is comprised of 55 states and governments. Therefore, we can expect 55 member states and governments and 13 observer nations to descend on Quebec City. Officials are being welcomed here. I want some assurance, as do all MPs, that preparations are set for this summit. I want some assurance that Canada...
Mr. Chair, first of all, I want to table the motion I had in front of the committee, that was to bring forward my motion on having the minister in front of us—so relax over there—and wanted to get to my motion that I had in the next order of business, and that was the motion we'd normally be looking at. That would be the following:
||That pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development report to the House the following recommendations; that the Government adopt the recommendations put forward in the Advisory Group Report: National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries, and that the government announces its proposals for the implementation of the Report's recommendations.
I'd like to just move into that motion, as was scheduled.
No, this is not that important. It's not that time-sensitive. Mr. Lebel's is more time-sensitive. So that is the process. Anyway, now that you've made a decision, we'll have to proceed with the decision you have made.
Mr. Chairman, let's talk on this motion for a minute. The government introduced this round table conference that took place on this, and under the government's initiative--
An hon. member: It started with the previous government.
Mr. Deepak Obhrai: Good man; you want to give them credit. It started, and we continued with it. This government continued with it because we felt that this was an extremely important subject--corporate social responsibility of Canadian companies--specifically with regard to the issue of the global environment.
I want it put down, in terms of this advisory group and the ones that came out, that Canadian companies have played a very major leading role in corporate social responsibility, and have stood up to some of the stringent expectations of the Canadian public. Where there have been little cracks, the companies have policed themselves very well. Other companies have taken issue with these other companies that have not really stood up to this factor.
Going on that factor, the government welcomes the report of the round table advisory group, which presented a consensus on these recommendations on how to do it.
As I've mentioned, there are many companies down there, and one of them is Talisman. They have done a great job of policing themselves, and the government is pretty happy with the round table and the recommendations that have come out.
Therefore, the government is looking at the response. This response deals with the extractive industry, so therefore it falls under the jurisdiction of the and the . At the current time, both the Minister of Trade and the Minister of Natural Resources are studying this and preparing the government's response. Once this report is finalized and approved, it will be tabled.
Given the fact that the government is preparing the response to that round table conference at this time, it becomes very difficult for us to support this motion until the government's report is finalized. Once the report is finalized, the government will honour its commitment to report back to Parliament on the proposed course of action, which is what is required.
Mr. Speaker, for us at this time, it is premature to respond to this motion, considering the fact that the government is in the process of preparing a response.
What I would like to say is that we are going to oppose this motion, not on the basis that we oppose the content of the round table, but on the basis that the response is being finalized, and it has not been completed. Once the report is finalized, it will be presented to Parliament. We believe it's premature.
On that basis, Mr. Speaker, the government cannot support this motion.