December 15, 1978

NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

What are we discussing?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA BUSINESS CORPORATIONS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

William Arnold Peters

New Democratic Party

Mr. Peters:

We are discussing Bill S-5. The hon. member can look it up on the order paper if he likes-it is under Senate bills. If he looks at it he will not be better off than he is now.

Canada Business Corporations Act

The reason I am interested in minority government is this: we have made no changes in this bill which has to do with corporations. It is an act under which corporations are established, but all the government has been interested in doing is seeing that the French version coincides to some extent with the English version which we passed a couple of years ago. I am saying there are more important things to be considered and one of them is the right of individual citizens to demand that, since Canada provides facilities for these large corporations, the public should in turn be assured that where the shareholders or directors realize there is a problem with the product they are selling they would be guilty of an offence if they do not acquaint the public with it and make every effort to eliminate the hazard. Anything less is unacceptable.

The reason I mentioned minority government is this: the bill went to committee and a number of suggestions were made from all quarters. However, when it came back to this chamber no amendments were reported. Indeed, no amendments were moved in the committee, meaning that it was rubber-stamped there; no consideration was given to it at all. I am convinced this is the case, having heard the previous speaker, the hon. member for Edmonton West, who is a stickler for detail. I have heard him give a number of lectures to the House on details of this nature, and if these matters had been discussed in the committee he would have been among those taking part and some amendments would have been made in it, because I am sure it is not perfect. Consideration might even have been given to making some changes affecting the responsibility of companies which have been incorporated so as to ensure that the public would be protected as well as doing what this act does, namely, protecting the shareholders and the board of directors.

I will not say anything further along these lines. I am sure that if a minority government were in power changes would probably have been made to the benefit of the public. We might have saved someone being killed in a little Ford car, a Bobcat or a Pinto; we might have prevented someone being stranded if he were driving a Chrysler whose starter did not work; we might have prevented someone being killed because of the blow-out of a Firestone tire through a defect the company knew about for a year before it became general knowledge. We might have prevented someone being burned to death in a house which had been wired with aluminum wiring.

I am suggesting this is lousy legislation. It is a lousy way to send it to a committee where the committee does not have the courage or the guts to make any decisions other than those the civil servants have made. I think this is lousy government and the sooner we get into a minority situation the better government will be.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA BUSINESS CORPORATIONS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Aideen Nicholson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs)

Liberal

Miss Aideen Nicholson (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to reply briefly to the questions raised by the hon. member for Edmonton West (Mr. Lambert) and the hon. member for Timiskaming (Mr. Peters). The question of the public interest about which the hon. member for Timiskaming has spoken so eloquently was, in fact, raised and discussed

Canada Business Corporations Act extensively in the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs. It was unfortunate that their other duties prevented those hon. members from being present because I think that had they been there most of the questions they have raised would have been answered. The point is that this bill which registers corporations is not intended to do everything. A corporation, like an individual, is subject to the law of the land, and the assumption is that a corporation will abide by laws of general application, for instance, in such matters as safety standards.

This bill enlarges the power of the dissenting shareholder who is thereby strengthened when expressing a concern about the public interest. The safeguards for fiduciary responsibility are also increased.

I should like to comment also on the questions which have been raised with regard to the French language translation. We must remember that although this bill has been on the order paper for only a couple of weeks now, it was also on the order paper in the spring, and it is the second time the Senate has examined it, held extensive hearings, and heard witnesses. So it is a bill which has had rather careful examination and broad exposure to the public because the draft bill was in the public domain-it was circulated to lawyers and accountants over a fair period.

The question of the French translation arose when the bill was before the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs about three years ago. At that time some of the French-speaking members of the committee found fault with the quality of the French in that the translation seemed to them to be clumsy or less clear than it might be, particularly if it were going to be used by members of the Quebec Bar. So the commitment was given to the committee at the time that a new French version would be introduced. Again there was extensive consultation with members of the Quebec Bar, and our colleague, the hon. member for Lapointe (Mr. Marceau), who was the parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice three years ago when the bill in its first shape was before the House, worked with the legal draftsmen in the Department of Justice, with officials of the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, and with members of the Quebec Bar in order to get a version which was clear, accurate, and more acceptable to the practitioners in Quebec.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA BUSINESS CORPORATIONS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the said motion?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA BUSINESS CORPORATIONS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA BUSINESS CORPORATIONS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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?

Some hon. Members:

On division.

Motion agreed to and bill read the third time and passed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA BUSINESS CORPORATIONS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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THE LATE MRS. GOLDA MEIR PARLIAMENTARY TRIBUTE

LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

I understand there is unanimous consent to allow one representative of each party to rise and express briefly his condolences on the death of Mrs. Golda Meir, former Prime Minister of Israel.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE LATE MRS. GOLDA MEIR PARLIAMENTARY TRIBUTE
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paproski:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE LATE MRS. GOLDA MEIR PARLIAMENTARY TRIBUTE
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE LATE MRS. GOLDA MEIR PARLIAMENTARY TRIBUTE
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LIB

Robert Phillip Kaplan

Liberal

Mr. Bob Kaplan (York Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to Golda Meir whose death occurred in Israel before the Sabbath last week. I had the honour to be part of the eight-member delegation of parliamentarians who represented our country in Israel at the funeral. The delegation was headed by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Danson) and by Senator Jean Marchand.

Golda Meir was, in her lifetime, the most remarkable woman in the world. She settled early in the land which was to be reborn as Israel. Because of her great strength as a human being, her personal values and standards will be a part of that state forever. Her commitment was to a free society, to democracy, to social justice, and to the search for peace.

In her great life she was a victim of discrimination, a refugee, a pioneer settler, a wife and mother, a woman who will always be a particular example to women, a union organizer, a politician, an ambassador to the Soviet Union, a minister and a prime minister who, suffering from the disease that was to ultimately take her life, led her country in war. Regrettably she did not live to see her country know the blessings of peace, but there will be a peace in Israel, a just peace, and when that peace arrives it will be a tribute to her memory.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE LATE MRS. GOLDA MEIR PARLIAMENTARY TRIBUTE
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PC

Rob Parker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rob Parker (Eglinton):

Mr. Speaker, along with my colleague, the hon. member for York Centre (Mr. Kaplan) and, as he indicated, a number of other members in the House and one representative of the other place, I was honoured to attend the funeral of Mrs. Meir in Israel earlier this week. It seemed to me that in attending her funeral, in paying tribute to her, in taking notice of her death today in the House, we mark much more than the passing of a former head of government of the nation of Israel.

Born in the Ukraine, raised in the United States, she was a pioneer in the Zionist movement and in the Israeli organization of the kibbutzim, the collective farm villages that were and are central to the development of the modern state of Israel. She was a pioneer as a woman who combined a career of more than 50 dedicated years in public life with a deep and abiding love for her family. She was a person of caring and compassion, of heart and love for her fellow man, whose turn as leader of her nation was bloodied by a terrible war.

For those of us who did not personally know this remarkable woman, we have still with us an introduction to her in the form of her autobiography entitled "My Life". In it she stated that despite all her accomplishments as a citizen, high government official, minister of the state and first minister, all that she did during her life in Israel and outside it, her proudest achievement was the three years she spent as a young woman at Merhavia, a kibbutz.

When a Jew dies, the friends and family sit Shiva, a seven-day period of mourning. For the death of Golda Meir, a nation will mourn, and for much longer than seven days.

On behalf of my colleagues and my constituents, I would like to say to the nation of Israel and its people around the world, in the words of the Hebrew prayer, "Hashem yinohem et hem", or, may the Lord console you.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE LATE MRS. GOLDA MEIR PARLIAMENTARY TRIBUTE
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues of the New Democratic Party I am pleased to associate myself with the hon. member for York Centre (Mr. Kaplan) and the hon. member for Eglinton (Mr. Parker) in these few words of tribute to a great woman, the late Golda Meir. We are pleased that our party was also represented at the funeral service in Jerusalem by my colleague, the hon. member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Orlikow), and we extend our appreciation to the government for arranging the trip to Israel for a delegation representing both Houses of Parliament.

I am happy to join the two preceding speakers in the words of tribute they have spoken to the life and contribution of Golda Meir.

I should like to add-I suppose it is because I am a grandparent myself that I noticed it-that I believe the last time that Golda Meir was seen on television around the world was during the visit of President Sadat to Israel when she, as a grandmother, gave him a present for a grandchild which had just been born to the President of Egypt. I mention that because it tells us that Golda Meir was not only the strong public international figure we knew her to be, but that she was a warm human being, and we join in this tribute to her memory today.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE LATE MRS. GOLDA MEIR PARLIAMENTARY TRIBUTE
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SC

Gérard Laprise

Social Credit

Mr. Gerard Laprise (Abitibi):

Mr. Speaker, it is with eagerness that I join my colleagues today in paying tribute to that great lady, Mrs. Golda Meir. As a member of the delegation Canada sent to Jerusalem to attend her funeral, I had the opportunity of seeing that the Hebrew people have lost one of their greatest historical figures whom they had sur-named "Mother Courage". She lived through exile and persecution which doubtless shaped her character and determination. She also helped to build her country as ambassador, member of the Knesset, minister and prime minister. Her public life and her political life did not prevent her, however, from fulfilling her role as a wife, mother and woman. Ben Gurion said of her "She is the only man in my government" which shows how great a role she played in the life of her

Non-Profit Corporations

country: she was a model of courage for the State of Israel and the whole wide world. Her memory will doubtless remain engraved in the minds of men for a long time to come.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE LATE MRS. GOLDA MEIR PARLIAMENTARY TRIBUTE
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CANADA NON-PROFIT CORPORATIONS ACT MEASURE RESPECTING CHARITABLE CORPORATIONS


The House resumed from Monday, December 11, consideration of the motion of Mr. Allmand that Bill S-4, respecting Canadian non-profit coporations, be read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.


PC

Arnold John Malone

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Arnold Malone (Battle River):

Mr. Speaker, I take a great sense of pride in being able to talk about Bill S-4 because it deals with the regulations affecting volunteer organizations in Canada. At the outset, I should like to place before the House the importance of volunteer organizations, and then follow through with some of the concerns regarding this specific piece of legislation.

No great nation has reached a state of greatness without the framework of volunteer endeavours. Volunteerism is the true concept of pioneering. I come from the prairies which witnessed, approximately two generations ago, settlers who came to start what turned into the agricultural communities of Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. They became the lumbering people of British Columbia and the miners of the north. They were part of the gold rush in the northern areas of the western provinces and the territories. Those people believed in the volunteer concept. Those men and women headed west with nothing but Red River carts and the will to achieve. They were without staples, the normal supply of food. They lacked the shelter by which they would normally be comforted. We recognize that it was the intuitive will of the human being to grasp for something greater which provided the strength of the nation.

Innate within human beings is the natural instinct for curiosity and ambition. As a farm boy I observed that natural instinct in all young, higher mammals. One can see it in young children, puppies and kittens. Anything which limits natural curiosity comes about by an imposed set of regulations and rules. In all societies, obviously rules are necessary. When I take a look at Bill S-4 I am concerned that it contains more than 200 clauses relating to the manner in which volunteers will work effectively within Canadian society.

If Bill S-4 became law in its present form, we would be faced with a situation where those who wanted of their own initiative and ambition to contribute to the fabric of Canadian welfare would require secretarial, legal and accounting staffs, as well as all paraphernalia surrounding economic and political structures. This is a very, very serious retrograde step, a step which could plunge Canada into attitudes which are prevalent

Non-Profit Corporations

in some of the eastern European countries. The over-regulation and over-power of government is such that the people of those nations feel, unless their governments make them perform some specific duty by law, that they have no incentive of their own volition.

Personally I feel I can speak with some authority on the concept of volunteerism. I spent ten years of my life working with the 4-H Club movement in the province of Alberta. In some of the larger towns in that province the majority of students attending high school were from urban centres, yet the presidents of student unions were usually farm boys. This was not by accident. It was because they came out of the 4-H movement which existed on the backbone of parenting and volunteers. People in the ranching districts of the southern section of the province drove an average of more than 60 miles per member in order for their children to attend the club. They believed that their children were taught something about conducting meetings, public speaking, debating, accounting, looking after animals, and most particularly, responsibility.

I should like to share a recent experience with the House. I am sure three government members share my concern. On a recent trip to the Middle East we visited with the Canadian contingent on the Golan Heights and in Cyprus. Our soldiers there do not know or desire the eight-hour day. Their work is the limit of the task. Whenever their soldiering duties are done for the day, interestingly enough, the vast majority of them are involved in self-help projects.

We noted with great interest that the other battalions serving in the Middle East were of the very strong opinion that Canadian soldiers were favoured with Canadian money over and above other contingents. Also, there was a belief that the United Nations favoured them with a greater degree of money. The truth of the matter was that Canadian soldiers were favoured no more in an economic sense than others. They were favoured because they were blessed with the ingenuity and initiative to go ahead with self-help projects such as developing their own recreation areas, planting grass and trees, and building around themselves something which was very beautiful and a home away from home. In striking contrast, some of the countries just across the rolls of wire fence provided army tents which were sheltered from the wind only by bombed out buildings requiring repair for approximately five or six years.

Everything comes down to the concept of Maslow's hierarchy of human needs: once a human being has met the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter, feels the sense of having been loved and the capacity to be loving, he strives for a sense of self-esteem, willingness, and a desire to achieve.

I find the objectives of Bill S-4 commendable, but when I look at the particular wording of the bill, I become very, very concerned. This bill contains approximately 242 clauses. It is a weighty manuscript to place before any association which operates within the concept of volunteerism. These associations operate because they want to help the people around them, yet now they will be burdened by the heavy weight of government. They will require the assistance of legal people to sift through and comprehend this piece of legislation. The nation will not

achieve greatness by the government regulating associations with the ambition to attain achievements which otherwise would not be forthcoming.

I should like to refer to some of the disincentives which exist in eastern European countries. The fact of the matter is that initiative has been destroyed in those areas. Their populations have lost the zest for life which is a natural human instinct. Effectively the bill kills the volunteer sector of our society. Free society needs and must have a free notion of volunteers. Volunteer organizations should not be required to have red-tape computers to thresh through all the material placed before them by government. Not only are the 242 clauses dangerous because they are numerous, they are dangerous because some clauses raise considerable concern for all Canadians, particularly people who believe in free democracy.

In the 700 years the parliamentary system has been in existence, and since the concept of that Mother of Parliaments at the time of King John, we have removed the notion that we are subjects, and now appreciate the fact that we are citizens. Freedom of speech ought not to be taken away in any light form.

I should like to put forward some examples of the things in this bill which create rather grave concerns. I am sure there are many organizations across the country which have great concerns about some of the aspects we find in Bill S-4. The bill contains an indication that churches will lose their voluntary status if what they do is interpreted in any way as being political. Without making reference to any particular faith, one simply has to ask what a church is if it is not an institution to attend to moral questions in a society? Without giving any of my own feelings in this regard at this time, I would simply ask why a church should not be able to express an opinion on capital punishement, on any issue involving law and order, on abortion, on mercy killing, on women's rights or on child abuse, without an assumption being made that in so doing the church is becoming political in its intent and should lose its voluntary status?

Any bill before the House which can be interpreted as having that intent would lend itself to the destruction of the very backbone and fabric of democracy. What we must attempt always to preserve is not just the concept that we regulate the society in which we live but, more important, the incentive of people, wherever they may be within a country, to create a society that reaches greatness because of the ideas, energies, and imagination of the people.

Churches are not institutions to be slighted by legislation that would take away some of their basic rights to speak out on any subject in respect of which, in a self-proclaimed manner, they feel it is their duty to speak. It is an affront to the concept of freedom of speech to have such a clause within a legislative measure.

What of many of the other volunteer organizations in the country and their feelings in this regard? Let me refer to fish and game associations as an example. Are they not to have the

right to become involved somehow in politics when there is a bill before the House such as Bill C-83, the initial gun control bill, or Bill C-51, the subsequent gun control bill passed by this House? A fish and game association is basically a voluntary organization. It is very dangerous to suggest that if ever such an organization were to speak out on something that is political it would somehow lose its voluntary status.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA NON-PROFIT CORPORATIONS ACT MEASURE RESPECTING CHARITABLE CORPORATIONS
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LIB

Aideen Nicholson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs)

Liberal

Miss Nicholson:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The hon. member opposite has spoken with great feeling of the importance of the voluntary sector, and of that sector being free to do its advocacy job. I think perhaps what the hon. member is responding to is the national revenue definition of a political institution in the tax statutes, which has nothing to do with this bill. The hon. member mentioned a clause in the bill which would limit this kind of activity by a church, but I do not see that in the bill.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA NON-PROFIT CORPORATIONS ACT MEASURE RESPECTING CHARITABLE CORPORATIONS
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LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

Order, please. What the hon. member suggests is more in the way of a correction than a point of order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA NON-PROFIT CORPORATIONS ACT MEASURE RESPECTING CHARITABLE CORPORATIONS
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PC

Arnold John Malone

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Malone:

Mr. Speaker, I do not wish at this time to enter into a debate with the hon. member opposite. I could document that particular statement, and I could go even further by saying there are civil servants who have made the statement that, even if the clause were removed, the intent of the government is to enact the measure with that interpretation. That becomes almost more frightening in that it means without a law there is this intention to place a particular slant or emphasis on this activity.

Why should any group be denied the right to speak? What has this government become? Does it no longer intend that we have citizens in this country? Are we to be reduced again to subjects? Somehow organizations which are really fundamental parts of the nation are being denied the right to speak out on any issue. I must ask myself what organization there is in Canada that speaks out on any issue which does not in some way touch politics? Politics is an all-encompassing concept. It is everything within a society. Therefore any organization that speaks out on any issue could in fact be, or have the potential of being, interpreted as being involved in politics.

This bill needs a great deal of additional scrutiny. The fact that it has 242 clauses supports the suggestion that what we see before us is a government with a great capacity for taking the simple and making it complicated. I would suggest that volunteers, no matter what period in our history they live, have always been and always will be the pioneers of our society.

I have more comments I would like to make, Mr. Speaker, but, noting the time, may I call it four o'clock?

Commonwealth Caribbean

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA NON-PROFIT CORPORATIONS ACT MEASURE RESPECTING CHARITABLE CORPORATIONS
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December 15, 1978