October 25, 1979

SUBJECT MATTER OF QUESTIONS TO BE DEBATED

PC

Fred Alward McCain (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McCain):

Order, please. It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 40, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles)-Veterans Affairs-Prorata pensions for certain widows-Introduction of amending legislation; the hon. member for Surrey-White Rock-North Delta (Mr. Friesen)- Public Service-Review of personnel management and the merit principle-Application of principles in report; the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Cyr)-Fisheries-Cod quotas in Gulf of St. Lawrence.

It being five o'clock the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's

Foreign Economic Boycotts

order paper, namely notices of motions, private bills, public bills. There being no items on the order paper under the heading "notices of motions (papers)" and "private bills", the House will proceed to public bills.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SUBJECT MATTER OF QUESTIONS TO BE DEBATED
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PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS

LIB

Harold Thomas Herbert

Liberal

Mr. Herbert:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The first item of business is notices of motions (papers). As you have correctly stated, there are no items on the order paper at the present time under notices of motions (papers). I do not think this point should be lost as there are over two dozen notices of motions for the production of papers that have been on the order paper since the start of this session. The government has introduced an access to information bill. The government does not seem inclined to produce either the papers or to account for the fact that it is not introducing those papers.

I just want to bring that to Your Honour's attention. The first item of business should have been consideration of the item "notices of motions (papers)". There is no consideration of such a motion because of the inaction of the government in producing papers.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
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PC

Fred Alward McCain (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McCain):

I say to the hon. member for Vaudreuil that there has been no transfer of motions to the order paper at this time. Therefore, order No. 1 in the name of the hon. member for Esqimalt-Saanich (Mr. Munro) will stand at the request of the government. Is this agreed?

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
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PC

Fred Alward McCain (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McCain):

Shall item No. 2 in the

name of the hon. member for Fraser Valley West (Mr. Wenman) stand?

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
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?

Some hon. Members:

Stand.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
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PC

Fred Alward McCain (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McCain):

The House will now proceed to item No. 3.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
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FOREIGN ECONOMIC BOYCOTT REQUESTS REPORTING ACT

LIB

Robert Phillip Kaplan

Liberal

Mr. Bob Kaplan (York Centre) moved

that Bill C-203, to provide for the reporting of information relating to foreign economic boycott requests, be read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Affairs.

October 25, 1979

Foreign Economic Boycotts

He said: Mr. Speaker, this is the first period in this Parliament for private members' public bills. I am honoured and lucky-because it partly results from the official lottery held by the Speaker-to be able to speak on the first private member's bill and to have my bill respecting foreign economic boycotts be the bill for consideration in this first hour.

I am particularly happy to be able to do this because I am delighted to recall for the government and members opposite commitments made in the last Parliament by members of the Conservative party, including its leader, and during the election campaign by the Prime Minister (Mr. Clark), to take seriously, as he put it, bills put forward by private members. This is such a bill. Too often in the past it was the practice for private members' bills to be talked out and not permitted to be referred to committee or be discussed. 1 hope that in the spirit the Prime Minister showed before the opening of this session this bill will indeed be referred to committee for consideration. I look forward to that consideration.

There are other members who may want to speak on the bill and a lot will depend on my being brief. I will be as brief as possible in order to give those members a chance to speak without the bill being talked out at six o'clock and so that it can be referred to committee instead of dropping to the bottom of the list. I hope that will not happen.

I have good reason to be confident that will not happen because Bill C-203 ought to look very familiar to all members of the House. It is an exact copy-both the French and English are identical-of Bill C-32 which stood on the order paper at the conclusion of the last Parliament.

Bill C-32 had a very special procedure associated with it and a very special history. In the closing days of the last Parliament, that bill was accepted by members of the opposition who are now the government. Their official party position was in support of that bill. Therefore, we have the government committed in advance to support Bill C-203, not only in principle but in effect every word in the bill. I say this because they indicated they were prepared to give their unanimous consent to dealing with that bill in one day and seeing it passed.

At the same time my own party, the Liberal party, was also in favour of the bill. I am glad to be able to report that my party remains committed to what was Bill C-32 and is now Bill C-203. Therefore, the two principal parties are in favour of it.

Furthermore, in the last Parliament the NDP indicated that they too were in favour of this bill. They would have given it the three readings in one day. Therefore, what we have before us is not an ordinary private member's bill but one which was a public bill of the government at the end of the last Parliament. It had been unanimously accepted by all parties in the House. It did not proceed as all parties would have wanted because two or three members, certainly not more, withheld the unanimous consent which was required to deal with the bill under the special procedure being proposed by the then House leader.

This bill does not need to be discussed very much before reference to committee, but I do want to say a couple of things

about it. First, I know that it is not entirely satisfactory to many members in the House. The government proposed four amendments which I did not include in the bill because I did not want to alter it from the state it was in when it had unanimous consent. I too had proposed some amendments to Bill C-32. I would still like to see some amendments when it gets to committee and we discuss it. I did not put my amendments into it because I did not want to diminish the unanimity this bill had when it was on the list of government bills.

I read in the newspapers, and members opposite can speak about this, a statement attributed to the House leader that the boycott legislation no longer has the high priority the government indicated it once had. I want to take a moment to urge the government not to consider Bill C-203 as part of the issues being dealt with in connection with the move of the Canadian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or with the Stanfield mission.

The bill refers to the Arab boycott and it derives from events in the Middle East, there is no doubt about that. However, it is an entirely internal piece of legislation that has to do with the civil rights of Canadians. It does not have anything to do with the relationship between Canada and countries in the Middle East. It has nothing to do with the conflict. Is has nothing to do with the primary boycott, which is the business of Israel, not Canada, the business of the Arab countries, and not directly the business of this Parliament.

Bill C-203 is designed to do what my earlier bill which received unanimous consent and party approval was designed to do, simply to assure that the Arab boycott had no internal application in Canada to diminish the civil liberties of any Canadians. That is the issue. The issue is not the resolution of events in the Middle East.

I recall the Prime Minister saying he believed the move of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would contribute to bringing peace to the Middle East. I have a text of those remarks. I did not agree with him. Events have shown it was a regrettable decision that he reached. However, we are not going to consult with parties in the Middle East, as Mr. Stanfield is doing, regarding the civil liberties of Canadians within Canada. I do not think Mr. Stanfield asked the PLO whether the civil liberties of any groups of Canadians should be protected. I do not believed he asked the Prime Minister of Israel or the President of Egypt about that. It has nothing to do with issues between parties in the Middle East. It has everything to do with the civil liberties of Canadians.

The tertiary effect of the Arab boycott would require companies complying with the boycott to discriminate against their employees, customers and suppliers on the ground that they were Jewish. I look forward to hearing the support of all members for the protection of civil liberties on something as fundamental as that.

Since, there are others who wish to speak on the bill, I should like only to remind members that in its present form this is a reporting bill. It is not a bill which requires trade not

October 25, 1979

to take place, it is not a bill which prohibits the entering into of contracts and so on. It simply requires that Canadian enterprises which are asked to comply with an Arab boycott as a condition of conducting business should notify a government agency. It is a very mild piece of legislation. I have indicated what its direction is, and I have indicated that I would be ready to consider amendments when it reaches committee. In that spirit I urge the government to follow the policy it indicated it would follow, that of not automatically stamping out private members' bills, by allowing this bill to proceed to committee for consideration.

Finally, I note that according to the order paper the bill, if passed, stands to be referred to the Standing Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Affairs. It was my instruction that it ought to be referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, which I think is the more appropriate committee since it deals with civil liberties legislation. I do not want the bill to be held up on that account but, if appropriate, I might at a later stage seek Your Honour's consent to have the bill referred to that committee.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FOREIGN ECONOMIC BOYCOTT REQUESTS REPORTING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR REPORTING OF INFORMATION
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PC

William James Kempling (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bill Kempling (Burlington):

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the hon. member for York Centre (Mr. Kaplan) for having the wisdom to resurrect this bill from the order paper of the previous Parliament and present it as a private member's bill.

As far as the draw is concerned, I was there when the draw took place and it is rather interesting that the first two bills were stood and the hon. member's bill is the first to be presented in this Parliament in private members' hour. I would have preferred that the hon. member's bill had been drawn further down the list because that would have allowed time for certain changes the Prime Minister (Mr. Clark) is contemplating in the conduct of private members' business.

I have a great deal of sympathy for this bill. I believe the hon. member for York Centre knows my views on the whole area of boycotts, and economic boycotts in particular. I took a month's trip through the Middle East in the course of which I visited several Arab countries as well as Israel, and on my return I produced a paper for the Prime Minister on the subject of economic boycotts. In fact, I myself put forward a private member's bill in the last Parliament dealing with this subject, but unfortunately it was not in a position to proceed and never saw the light of day.

When this bill of mine was put forward, the internal details of the measure were not presented. I withheld them on purpose. I held them back as long as possible while I was awaiting a call from the desk to tell me that the bill was likely to come up and be sent to the printer. This was a conscious procedure because I know this was a very delicate subject then, as is the case today. I delayed the internal content of the bill from the printer's hands in the hope, first of all, that the central issues would be resolved. I had a great deal of hope when President Carter and Mr. Begin got together; I thought that they and the President of Egypt were really going to make a lot of progress in a hurry. Perhaps I was over-optimistic at that time.

Foreign Economic Boycotts

In trade and commerce we like to see the least possible amount of regulation so that trade is allowed to move in normal fashion. I found varying degrees of concern. I found, first of all, that the Canadian companies which were on the boycott list had apparently been drawn from an old issue of the Directory of Directors put out by the Financial Post and that many of the companies listed were no longer in business. Others had been merged and consolidated and their names had been changed, so the list was not very accurate.

When I talked with officials in Iraq and Syria I found varying degrees of concern-the feeling in no way resembled that which I encountered among business people I talked to in Cairo. The attitude seemed to be: if we want what you have, we shall find a way to get it regardless of any boycott. For example, if hon. members would look at the original boycott list they would see that the Ford Motor Company is listed. Yet the Ford Motor Company today has a plant in Cairo where it produces trucks and tractors. We have had an ongoing concern with the progress of events in the Middle East, and with that in mind the Prime Minister, as everyone knows, has sent Mr. Stanfield over to look not only into the proposed move of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but into the whole matter of the boycott.

It is the intention I believe, from the information I have, to introduce a bill dealing with this subject in the New Year. I do not know whether the content will differ greatly from that which the hon. member has outlined. I look forward to having his co-operation and input at that time because I know he has a deep concern with these matters, as we all do. But I must tell the hon. member now that it is our intention to talk this bill out today because we believe the report to be presented by Mr. Stanfield will have an impact on whatever legislation we bring forward in the New Year. Thus, while I have a great deal of sympathy for the hon. member's intentions and appreciate his bringing the bill forward, we cannot at this time refer it to a committee.

From my experience, people engaged in commerce have always considered themselves above the politics of a situation. In fact, if one looks to history one finds that the traders have usually preceded the diplomats. The problem which arises here is that actions taken by certain countries in the Middle East appear to be transgressing the civil rights of Canadians. The hon. member may be interested to know that my first experience with this so-called boycott was when some people who were selling for cash to a Middle East country found that the enforcer of the boycott was actually the bank through which they were doing business. I found it surprising that they had a sale. The deal was completed and they had not complied with any of the boycott requests. They stayed clear of them. They said, "No, we don't want to sign that," but when it came to collecting on the letter of credit and getting their money, in order to get their money they had to sign some documents or they would not have been paid. That was what sparked my interest in the whole matter.

614

October 25, 1979

Foreign Economic Boycotts

My own view is that we should proceed something along this line: we should respect the human rights of Canadians in this matter. I would prefer to see a bill in which there is no reference at all to any particular ethnic group. In other words, I do not want to see a statute on our books which refers to Arabs, Jews or any other racial group. I think it would be wrong. I think we should look at it in this sense: we should prefer to see a prohibition on the transmission of any information regarding a Canadian citizen's racial origin, religion, political affiliation or the racial origin, religion or political affiliation of any Canadian director, employee or officer of any company.

I would like to see this prohibition put into any legislation dealing with trade and commerce. In other words, in a commercial transaction between a Canadian company and a company outside Canada there should be a prohibition in Canadian law against any mention whatsoever of an individual's race, religion, political affiliation or anything of that nature. If we leave it as open as that, that would pretty well cover the situation.

We recognize that a state of war exists, theoretically, between Syria and Israel, Iraq and Israel and some other Arab countries and Israel. That is a fact, we recognize it, and they have a right to say who they do business with. If they do not want to do business with a certain nation, they have a right to a primary boycott. They have a right to say which shipping lines come into their ports. They have a right to be suspicious of a shipping vessel which stops at a port of their theoretical enemy, and they have a right not to allow that ship to go from the port of their enemy to their own port without serious restrictions. However, beyond that we should prefer to see the whole matter as free and open as possible, because commerce finds a way to handle these matters. I think that if we leave it there we will be able to serve Canada best.

I am upset when I read reports about what is going on in the Middle East. I think some of the statements made in Canada by people who are not very well informed on events in the Middle East tend to inflame the situation. Constantly keeping the matter in the headlines works against a solution. I am a great believer in quiet diplomacy. I have a great respect for people of the calibre of Mr. Stanfield. I know he has a great and deep feeling about the difficulties in the Middle East, and I know he will bring in a report which is detailed and comprehensive. It will be something upon which we will be able to base some solid and meaningful legislation which will be fair to all concerned.

This subject is charged with emotion, and I think we reach a time in these things when we have to cool our feelings, sit back and look at them calmly and coolly and listen to the wisdom of those who have been there, gathered details and listened to the wisdom of our embassy people and our trade people. Only then should we put together and bring forward a piece of legislation which would help us deal with this problem as we go down the road.

I do not think we are going to solve the problem totally. There will always be some people inside and outside Canada who disagree with what we do. I note that many states of the United States have brought forward anti-boycott legislation. The United States has brought forward anti-boycott legislation. We could rush into this right now, but perhaps after we have read the report which will be made by Mr. Stanfield we will wish we had let matters rest for a few more months.

This matter has been on the table for a long time. It was on the table for the previous government for a long time, and we urged several times that it be brought forward. We talked about it very seriously in our caucus. I think the hon. member will agree that we really should wait and hear what Mr. Stanfield has to say. I do not think that waiting for another 90 days or 120 days will be too difficult for us. I know the Prime Minister is greatly concerned about this matter. Several of my colleagues have expressed their concerns several times. I know that the Minister of State for International Trade (Mr. Wilson) is very concerned about potential losses of trade in the Middle East.

I talked with our trade people in Iraq, in Syria and in Egypt about the boycott, and they all told me more or less the same story. They said that every time the subject of boycott legislation is raised in the House of Commons, whatever trade negotiations are going on between Canadian companies and companies in the Middle East come to a standstill. In other words, the fact that we are even thinking of introducing boycott legislation causes many deals just to stop. The fact that we are talking about this causes a slowdown in negotiations or causes them to be stalled. It was two years ago now, but when I was in Iraq I believe there was a contract being negotiated for aircraft refuelling equipment and tanks in a system. One of the members of the government of the day, the hon. member for Windsor West (Mr. Gray), asked a question about when the government was going to introduce antiboycott legislation. He also asked a supplementary. At the time I was told that two days later there was knowledge of the question in Iraq, and the deal which was being worked on came to a halt. The parties were ready to sign a contract but they came in and said "It's all off'.

The whole matter of legislation and its introduction is being used as a tactic in commercial negotiations, and that is a tragedy in itself. I think the wise position would be to wait for the report of Mr. Stanfield.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FOREIGN ECONOMIC BOYCOTT REQUESTS REPORTING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR REPORTING OF INFORMATION
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?

Rémi Paul

Mr. Prud'homme:

An ambassador extraordinaire.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FOREIGN ECONOMIC BOYCOTT REQUESTS REPORTING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR REPORTING OF INFORMATION
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PC

William James Kempling (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Kempling:

My colleague says he is an ambassador extraordinaire. I have a great deal of confidence in him, and I know he is going to make a report on which we can draft some meaningful legislation. That is all I have to say about it. I commend the hon. member for bringing it forward. I just wish it had been a little further down the list so that perhaps we could have got together with him on it and made some changes. But such is the way the draw is made. He has come forward with it at this time and, while we have sympathy for

October 25, 1979

his position, I hope we can talk with him at the time our legislation will be brought forward, and get his support.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FOREIGN ECONOMIC BOYCOTT REQUESTS REPORTING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR REPORTING OF INFORMATION
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LIB

Robert Phillip Kaplan

Liberal

Mr. Kaplan:

Mr. Speaker, in making his remarks, the hon. member opposite referred to me and said that he was sure I would agree that the matter was a difficult one and that it should be given more consideration. I want to assure the House that I do not agree with that assertion. As 1 proposed the bill, it is totally a matter of civil liberties within Canada. That is all it touches. I cannot understand why consultation should be necessary to determine whether we should protect the civil liberties of Canadians.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FOREIGN ECONOMIC BOYCOTT REQUESTS REPORTING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR REPORTING OF INFORMATION
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PC

Fred Alward McCain (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McCain):

Order, please. I think the hon. member is participating in debate.

[ Translation]

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FOREIGN ECONOMIC BOYCOTT REQUESTS REPORTING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR REPORTING OF INFORMATION
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PC

David Kilgour (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. David Kilgour (Parliamentary Secretary to President of Privy Council):

Mr. Speaker, 1 rise on a point of order. 1 shall be brief. At the beginning of this debate, we asked if it was acceptable to proceed with Bill C-203, but I think you also said that such was the government's request. It seems this is not completely accurate because the government did not request such a decision from you, sir. I would suggest that Bills C-201 and C-202 are not ready for discussion at this point, and ask whether hon. members would be agreeable to discuss the bill put forward by the hon. member for York Centre (Mr. Kaplan), with unanimous consent, pursuant to Standing Orders 18, 19 and 49, and the finding by Mr. Deputy Speaker of December 5, 1977.

In a word, Your Honour, I think it was a misunderstanding that we proceeded with this bill at the request of the government. As members know, the government can do this but twice in a session; that is my understanding. Therefore I would ask Your Honour to ask hon. members to agree unanimously that we proceed with this bill now, rather than at the request of the government.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FOREIGN ECONOMIC BOYCOTT REQUESTS REPORTING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR REPORTING OF INFORMATION
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PC

Fred Alward McCain (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McCain):

The hon. member has asked for unanimous consent.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FOREIGN ECONOMIC BOYCOTT REQUESTS REPORTING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR REPORTING OF INFORMATION
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LIB

Claude-André Lachance

Liberal

Mr. Lachance:

On the same point, Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FOREIGN ECONOMIC BOYCOTT REQUESTS REPORTING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR REPORTING OF INFORMATION
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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles:

This is a nice way to take up time.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   FOREIGN ECONOMIC BOYCOTT REQUESTS REPORTING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR REPORTING OF INFORMATION
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October 25, 1979