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.