November 27, 1979

NDP

Ian Gardiner Waddell

New Democratic Party

Mr. Ian Waddell (Vancouver-Kingsway):

Mr. Speaker, 1 enjoy, both in this Parliament and outside it, listening to the hon. member for Saint-Henri-Westmount (Mr. Johnston), that poverty-stricken riding in eastern Canada. He seems to want it both ways, as I understand his colleagues do, which is to say that the bill is good but he wants to talk it out. It reminds me of the people in B.C. that we refer to as having their mugs on one side of the fence and their wumps on the other. We call that mugwumpery. I gather in eastern Canada it is called the radical middle.

We in the New Democratic Party are prepared not to have this bill talked out today. Therefore I will not speak very long. Second, we want it to go to committee where, as the hon. member for Saint-Henri-Westmount said, we can look at some of the questions that arise and hear some of the views on the other side from Statistics Canada. We have to examine some of the real details. I might say I agreed with most of the remarks set out rather succinctly and precisely by my corporate friend from Saint-Henri-Westmount.

1 wish to address some remarks to my friend smiling over there, with his natty suit, as always, the hon. member for Fraser Valley West (Mr. Wenman). In my view, he made a good speech, but occasionally he sort of cheapened it by certain phrases. I see the member nodding. Let me give a couple of examples. The member said, "I agree with the view that a government that is big enough to give you everything you want is also a government that is big enough to take everything you have". Those are buzz words, big government. What does that do? We have big government. We have to recognize that. In my view, it does not mean very much.

Just before that the hon. member said, and 1 agree, "I can appreciate the desire of the government to have all possible information at its disposal in order to ensure that its decisions are empirically grounded. However, when you weigh that limitless knowledge against the equally total destruction of an individual's personal privacy and integrity, the price becomes too high." That is well put.

Later the member went on to say, "My own feeling, Mr. Speaker, is that in the hands of government, to paraphrase Lord Acton, information corrupts and absolute information corrupts absolutely." What does that mean? We need infor-

Statistics Act Amendment

mation. Is it really corrupting? It is only corrupting in the way that it is used. The hon. member puts his argument and takes it away from a good logical approach with a sort of social credity approach. I did not mean to slight my friends from the Creditistes. I mean a British Columbia social credity approach.

What we need is a balanced view here. Statistics Canada and government officials indeed have a right to get information from the public. They have a right to know what kind of population we have. They need information for all sorts of reasons. For example, they need to corroborate what our social scientists are studying, to analyse trends and so on. They need the information to put forward new government policies. They need it for some of the reasons my friend from Fraser Valley West said. We have to state that and state it categorically. Given the fact that they need the information, it is no doubt there can be and have been abuses.

I have looked at the census. When I was a young man I was paid to go around and collect census data. This has changed over the years. There are now many more questions and they are more detailed. Many of the questions are open to abuse. The hon. member gave a good example about a woman involved in a divorce matter. That is a great example of where there can be abuses.

It seems to me, first of all, that Statistics Canada may not need as much information as they ask for. We can look at that point in committee and determine how much they really do need. Second, it seems to me that they are asking some unnecessary questions. That, in itself, is an abuse which takes up the time of the householder. Perhaps we should consider this aspect further. One question that was always a problem when I was asking questions-and it apparently is still a problem-is: who is the head of the household? What is the mother tongue of the household when you have an English mother and a French father? How does one determine the answer to the question? These are matters which the committee should consider.

The third problem, one which has only come to light recently, involves the leaking of information. In other words, we cannot really trust a lot of the people who get the information; we cannot trust the government with the information. The answer to this difficulty may lie not just in changing the questions you ask, but to make sure there are no leaks of information. You make sure that the information really is kept confidential. It may be necessary to prosecute the deputy minister, or even the minister, if the information goes astray. That is a way of approaching the problem, although I do not see us adopting that approach.

The point I raise is that the information could get lost and could be leaked. I think of income tax data, for example, or medical records. The Krever commission is looking into this. They have evidence of medical records being in the hands of the RCMP. It is not right and proper, and it is very dangerous. This is what we understand as Big Brother. Perhaps it is a

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November 27, 1979

Statistics Act Amendment

different big brother from the one my hon. friend sees. Essentially we believe in government, and I basically do not think he does.

There is an additional danger today, Mr. Speaker, and that is that we are in an era of computer data banks. We could have the information we give in a census taken in Pouce Coupe in British Columbia appear in data banks in Atlanta, Georgia. It is not something out of Kurt Vonnegut; it is quite possible. The information could be stolen, it could be used privately, it could be sold. So we have to look into all these aspects.

Before I take my seat I would like to raise just one other point. I wish the hon. member in his bill, or, perhaps, in his speech, had dealt with the matter of questionnaires to small businessmen in our country. I am sure he is aware that small businessmen are losing a lot of time and patience having to fill out a lot of seemingly useless forms. I think many small businessmen, especially in British Columbia, are tired of doing this, and I believe we really have to take a hard look at this when we are considering Statistics Canada. We should be given reasons why they need to have all this information.

I would also draw the hon. member's attention to the speech made in the Elouse of Commons by Max Saltsman on December 16, 1970. He was at that time the member representing the constituency of Waterloo. He dealt with the question of abuses and problems connected with Statistics Canada.

To conclude, Mr. Speaker, I would say that we need to have statistical information. It is not my intention to undermine Statistics Canada, but we also need privacy and safeguards. We need to consider carefully the kinds of questions which are being asked.

1 am glad to see the hon. member brought in the notion of freedom of information in his speech. I am the critic for our party in connection with freedom of information. We said we would go along with the bill, that it was basically a good bill, but that it would need some amendment. Well, where is the bill? Bring it in. We are waiting for it. It is your government. Talk them into bringing in a bill. We are prepared to consider it.

Finally, I wish to say that this is not an easy question. It is a modern and very deep problem. We are experiencing an explosion in the technology, an explosion of information. I have mentioned the new data banks. My hon. friend from New Westminster-Coquitlam in an article in The Globe and Mail the other day was talking about this technology and the storage of information. Those of us who are interested in law realize that we are behind in dealing with these matters. We are behind when dealing with the question of privacy, in legal definitions of how to deal with information, and I, therefore, welcome the bill. We in the New Democratic Party will support its passage to committee for further study, and I urge the Liberals to allow the bill to go to committee as well.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   STATISTICS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REMOVE PENALTY FOR REFUSAL TO PROVIDE INFORMATION
Permalink
?

Mr. C.-A. Gauthier@Roberval

Mr. Speaker, I shall take only a few minutes to comment on this bill as other hon. members wish to take the floor. I merely wish to congratulate

the hon. member for Fraser Valley West (Mr. Wenman) for having presented this bill to amend the Statistics Act. He has just drawn the attention of the House to a discrepancy that might have serious after effects. Even if Bill C-202 does not add anything new to sections 29(a) and 29(b) it does extend considerably the thrust of the present legislation which refers only to a person in general without specifying whether physical or moral, by adding and I quote:

Every firm or corporation and every person acting for or interested in a firm or corporation that, without lawful excuse-

We might agree on the fact that this change emphasizes the importance of penalizing firms or corporations that hire experts to defraud the government. In that respect, I am afraid that this omission in the initial legislation might have been almost intentional because we did not dare attack the big financial corporations such as multinationals, banks, insurance companies and others that can afford to hire experts to hide certain facts in their Statistics Canada forms. But legislators in those days wanted the individual to declare everything under penalty of imprisonment. Obviously, a corporation or a bank cannot be thrown in jail but we might at least take away their licence for a limited period like we do for drivers who do not respect highway regulations or are found guilty of impaired driving.

On the other hand, we find ludicrous that subsection (b) refers to a maximum penalty of $500 when corporations are involved. According to that provision, corporations would be only liable to a $500 fine, but an individual should not be liable to the same maximum fine of $500. It is absolutely ludicrous. As concerns the refusal to give confidential information, I agree with the hon. member for Fraser Valley West that it directly interferes with human rights. We are always told that that kind of information is kept secret but it is absolutely false, Mr. Speaker. Such information is handled by civil servants and most of the time the investigators are appointed through political patronage.

Statistics Canada has lost its credibility and is no longer an accurate measure of the growth rate of our country. For that reason, we should not only add the words "firm and corporation" but also review entirely the Statistics Canada Act in order to protect the public better and give more credibility to this legislation.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   STATISTICS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REMOVE PENALTY FOR REFUSAL TO PROVIDE INFORMATION
Permalink
PC

Jack Burnett Murta (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jack Murta (Parliamentary Secretary to President of the Treasury Board):

Mr. Speaker, we are all agreeing this afternoon that this bill should be passed into committee, and 1 just hope we do not end up talking the bill out before doing that. So, my remarks are going to be very, very brief.

The government supports my colleague, the hon. member for Fraser Valley West (Mr. Wenman), on Bill C-202. We believe that it is certainly a step in the right direction, and the bill certainly conforms and falls within the government's desire

November 27, 1979

to be consistent with the commitment to privacy of the individual, and with Statistics Canada's own wish to move toward a voluntary survey in terms of statistics taking in this country.

I had a speech prepared in which I wanted to outline two or three of the reservations the government has about the proposed wording of the legislation while still agreeing with the basic concepts in the bill, but seeing that time is running out- and the time is now ten minutes to six-I think I will conclude by stating that certainly from the government's point of view we feel that the bill is a positive step in the right direction. It would allow Statistics Canada to be brought before a committee of Parliament to be examined on this particular issue and on other issues as well. As do other hon. members, I certainly hope that any other members who are going to speak will limit their remarks to a very few minutes because we would like to see this bill in committee. A good deal of credit should go to the hon. member for Fraser Valley West.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   STATISTICS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REMOVE PENALTY FOR REFUSAL TO PROVIDE INFORMATION
Permalink
LIB

David Berger

Liberal

Mr. David Berger (Laurier):

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to correct some of the impressions created by the hon. member for Vancouver-Kingsway (Mr. Waddell), and also perhaps to answer the remarks of the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Murta).

Sure, we in my party would like to see the abuses under the Statistics Act removed. Elowever, we are concerned that if this bill goes through in the manner in which it is proposed, it may emasculate Statistics Canada. I suggest that if a private member wishes to put a bill through, more detailed information about the bill and its effects should be given to us so that we really know what it is we are dealing with. There seems to be a certain amount of vagueness about that at the present stage, and therefore, we in our party find this bill difficult to support.

On behalf of the hon. member for Saint-Henri-Westmount (Mr. Johnston) I would like to correct another impression raised by the hon. member for Vancouver-Kingsway, who referred to the riding of Saint-Henri-Westmount as being an affluent suburb. I suggest to the hon. member for Vancouver-Kingsway that it is not just NDP constituencies which have economic and social problems.

As the hon. member for Saint-Henri-Westmount indicated, we agree with the motives of the hon. member for Fraser Valley West, but we have serious reservations about his method. We also are concerned about the privacy of individuals. The hon. member referred to a case involving Mrs. Sheremata, and dealt with it. It would seem that in a case such as this that, yes, there are circumstances under which people should not be obliged to answer questions, and perhaps exceptions should be provided for.

It is also possible that the legal sanctions should be changed. It seems ludicrous to subject people to imprisonment for not answering questions in a census of the country. I think the present fine can be $500. It should perhaps be a fine of $25, $50, or something like that. Therefore changes of this nature, perhaps, should be contemplated.

Statistics Act Amendment

As I said, we are concerned about this. We know that the bill proposes to remove sanctions from individuals who refuse to answer any questions other than those pertaining to just a few personal matters, and those matters are specified in clause 1 of the bill which proposes a section 29.1 in the act. They deal with the name, sex, marital status, mother tongue, birth or family relationship of the members of a household.

However, at present individuals and corporations are obliged to answer questions with respect to the objects of this act. What are those objects? They are detailed in section 3 and section 21 of the present act. The duties of Statistics Canada are to collect, compile, analyse and publish statistical information relating to the commercial, industrial, financial, social, economic and general activities and condition of the people and to take the census of the population of Canada and the census of agriculture of Canada as provided in the act.

In section 21 there are further purposes defined. I am dealing now with matters about which presumably individuals, under the present act, are required to answer. This does not refer to corporations, but the act states, and I quote:

-the Chief Statistician shall... collect, compile ... statistics in relation to .. . population . . . health and welfare . . . immigration and emigration . . . education ... community, business and personal services-

If we removed the obligation to answer questions about matters of that nature, we can wonder whether we will be left with anything meaningful other than fewer population statistics which will be gathered by Statistics Canada.

The hon. member suggested-and we commend him for this-that it is possible that questions asked by Statistics Canada should be restricted, but as we have said, the proposed changes may indeed emasculate Statistics Canada.

The hon. member for Fraser Valley West raised a question about the validity of the statistics gathered by Statistics Canada. This again has to be a concern of members of this House, cabinet ministers, departments and government agencies, because if the statistics upon which we are to base our judgments and legislation are wrong, we are in serious difficulty. Our concern should be about improving the validity of statistics. We are afraid that an amendment as sweeping as that proposed in this bill would be moving in the wrong direction in this respect.

The members of this House are aware that the President of the Treasury Board (Mr. Stevens) has hired a management consultant firm to look into the personnel, administrative practices, and policies of Statistics Canada. The hon. member for Thunder Bay-Nipigon (Mr. Andras) asked that the scope of this study be broadened. This was in a question to the President of the Treasury Board last Friday, November 23, and he stated that the examination should include, and I quote:

-experts on methodology of economic analysis, collection, collating and interpretation, so that the real problem of lack of confidence in the information base will be removed, for the sake of Statistics Canada and all those who depend upon that information-

We suggest that that is the way, and that the problems raised by the hon. member for Fraser Valley West should be

November 27, 1979

Transportation of Dangerous Goods

addressed by that consulting firm and referred to the appropriate committee of this House. I believe it should be the Standing Committee on Miscellaneous Estimates. Then we would have the opportunity to address ourselves to some of the concerns which have been quite correctly raised by the hon. member.

It seems to us that that is the appropriate method to deal with this difficulty and that it would be dangerous to pass this present provision which, as we have indicated, could lead us in a direction where we do not know where we are going.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   STATISTICS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REMOVE PENALTY FOR REFUSAL TO PROVIDE INFORMATION
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LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order, please. The hour provided for the consideration of private members' business has expired. I do now leave the chair until 8 p.m.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   STATISTICS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REMOVE PENALTY FOR REFUSAL TO PROVIDE INFORMATION
Permalink

AFTER RECESS The House resumed at 8 p.m.


GOVERNMENT ORDERS

TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS ACT

PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Don Mazankowski (Minister of Transport) moved

that Bill C-25, to promote public safety in the transportation of dangerous goods, be read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Transport and Communications.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased and honoured tonight to have the opportunity to introduce the second reading debate on Bill C-25, an act to promote public safety in the transportation of dangerous goods.

In introducing this bill it seems to me I would be remiss if 1 did not make some reference to the recent derailment of a train in Mississauga carrying flammable and toxic substances on the Remembrance Day weekend, and also to the obvious role of the provinces in connection with this very unfortunate event. However, I think that for a variety of reasons it must be made clear that this bill is not being presented tonight as a reaction to that disaster.

When I first considered how the accident would affect this legislation and my presentation of it, I thought that in addition to reviewing the draft of the act, I might be faced with the task of rewriting the speech which had been prepared in readiness for this debate, to take into account the numerous questions that had been raised following the Mississauga incident, not only in the House but by the media, by the citizens of

Mississauga and the surrounding district, and the fallout that arises as a result of such a disaster.

After considering these elements carefully and, on reflection, I decided to say almost exactly what I had intended to say at the outset when the bill would have been introduced in the normal manner if a disaster had not occurred. To do otherwise, in my view, would be misleading in a way that could only serve in the long run to undermine the care and expertise that have gone into the preparation of this legislative measure.

I must reiterate that a tremendous amount of work has gone into this legislation, having regard to the ramifications of federal and provincial jurisdictions and the importance of attempting to define a piece of legislation with accompanying regulations that are workable and enforceable.

To appear to be introducing emergency measures in haste after a near catastrophe would be to detract from the fact that Bill C-25 has been discussed and negotiated with the provinces, dissected by industry, and drafted and redrafted over a period of several years. It might equally detract from the fact that the bill has always been on the government's list of priorities for legislative action. In saying this, I do not suggest that the questions which have been raised by the derailment at Mississauga have not been valid ones. Indeed, 1 want to commend all hon. members of the House, and particularly my good friend, the hon. member for Stormont-Dundas (Mr. Lumley), who has pursued this particular issue with a great amount of vigour. His questions have been sincere; I know that he has pursued this issue with sincerity and has gained the respect which I know he commands from all sides of the House. In that connection I am sure he will be glad to know that today the CTC has introduced an interim safety measure, an order requiring that railways separate tank cars of flammable compressed gases from those containing toxic gases. The order provides for a buffer of at least five general freight cars, or about 250 feet, which would now be required between the dangerous commodities.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
Permalink
PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mazankowski:

I am pleased that the CTC has seen fit to issue that interim order. I know my friends across the way and my colleagues on this side of the House are fully in support of the measure which has been taken.

As well, I might add that I am satisfied the bill with which we are dealing this evening responds to many of the concerns expressed by the provinces and the industry. I can assure hon. members that as far as the provinces are concerned-and I am sure as far as industry is concerned-this bill will have their full support.

It was as long ago as 1973 that the need for legislation governing the transportation of dangerous goods was recognized by the federal government. At that time the minister of transport was the Hon. Jean Marchand. I had occasion to see him in the corridor earlier this evening. I indicated to him that some of the pioneer work he had undertaken at that time, in

November 27, 1979

trying to lay the groundwork for such a piece of legislation, is now coming to fruition. It speaks very highly for that hon. gentleman because, as a minister of transport, he had a genuine rapport with the provinces. Indeed, he was certainly recognized as one of the ministers of transport who worked closely with the provinces. The fact that this bill is now being introduced at this particular time is a clear indication of the work which had commenced at that particular time. 1 want to commend him and congratulate him for the work he did.

At first the regulation of highway traffic only was contemplated, since each of the other modes of transport already had some form of dangerous goods regulations. It soon became apparent, however, that this was not enough. In the first place, the increasing use of intermodal transport made it necessary to seek to harmonize the regulations for all modes, so that consignors of dangerous goods need only follow one set of rules when preparing their goods for shipment.

In the second place, it was obvious that true safety in transport could only be achieved by regulating pre-transport activities such as the manufacture of freight containers and packagings, the in-transit activities such as packing, loading and temporary storage, and the post-transport activities such as unloading and receiving.

In the third place, much of the existing legislation, both federal and provincial, which deals with dangerous goods was written in terms of specific substances such as explosives, or dealt with such related matters as construction standards or vehicles, fire prevention and occupational safety. The result was a proliferation of well-thought-out but rather narrowly focused regulations which often proved incompatible and therefore unenforceable.

Finally, both exporters and importers were being faced, to their disadvantage, with contradictions between Canadian regulations and those of other countries. The need to adapt to international standards and procedures therefore had become urgent.

The first proposal for a transportation of dangerous goods act was tabled in Parliament in May, 1978. That piece of legislation died on the order paper when that session of Parliament came to an end. It was reintroduced in November,

1978, and second reading debate started on February 16,

1979. At that time there was about a 30-minute debate on this very important issue. On that occasion, as opposition transportation critic, I stated that the Progressive Conservative party supported the bill in principle and recognized the need for it and for a co-ordinated approach to legislation governing the transportation of dangerous goods. Also I stated that the objectives of the bill must be met without imposing excessive economic or legal restraints on industry, and that there must be full consultation with the provinces, as well as with industry, to ensure that the regulations which are the meat of the legislation were practical, acceptable and enforceable.

1 hope by now it is well known that two of the most important aims of this government are the improvement of federal-provincial relations and the reduction of the regulatory

Transportation of Dangerous Goods burden upon industry. Bill C-25, as it is now drafted, incorporates both of these aims while maintaining its original goal.

Those hon. members who are familiar with the previous bills, Bill C-53 and Bill C-17, will note that the bill currently before the House has been extensively restructured, although the objectives remain unchanged. This restructuring has been done as a result of lengthy and detailed discussions with representatives of affected industries and of the provinces, as I indicated earlier. Of course these discussions have been going on since the legislation was first conceived. However, as time passed, and as it was made clear that the federal government was seeking co-operation and not confrontation in this enterprise, debates between the parties concerned became increasingly productive. Consequently after Bill C-17 was published, both industry and the provinces were in a position to comment on the legislation with a full understanding of the policy it was intended to implement, and to discuss it in full detail.

The role played by industry in the preparation of the current bill has been very important. It is important to me because I have been able to benefit from their practical experience to ensure that the legislation makes economic as well as political sense. It is important to industry because they were provided with the opportunity to make their views known and to have them effectively recognized. Similarly, the participation of the provinces in the preparation of this legislation has been mutually beneficial.

From a practical point of view, it would be difficult for the federal government to administer and enforce such a sweeping legislation program alone, without the wholehearted support of the provinces, which incidentally I was promised when I met with my provincial counterparts in September. At the same time it would be an obvious waste of resources for each province to develop such comprehensive legislation and maintain the research, training, information and enforcement operations which are a necessary adjunct to it. Thus, the relationship between the two levels of government, in dealing with the problem of dangerous goods in transport, has been and must continue to be symbiotic in the truest sense of the word.

It is not my intention to take up too much of the time of the House by further repeating in any great detail the reasons which gave rise to the formulation of Bill C-25 and its predecessors, or the purposes it is designed to serve. Briefly, the bill is part of a three-pronged safety program, consisting of legislation supported by a trained inspectorate and an emergency response network, the latter two being developed in co-operation with other federal agencies and with the provinces.

Although it involves the imposition of fairly severe penalties on offenders, the proposed act is designed essentially to have a preventative effect. For the first time it will be possible to promulgate regulations for transporting and handling dangerous goods for transport in such a way as to facilitate intermodal, interprovincial and international trade in them, while promoting public safety in this area by establishing comprehensive and comprehensible safety standards and procedures.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
Permalink
LIB

Edward C. Lumley

Liberal

Mr. Ed Lumley (Stormont-Dundas):

Mr. Speaker, I too am honoured to participate in the second reading debate on Bill C-25, and particularly so since it is the first piece of legislation being presented to the House by the new Minister of Transport (Mr. Mazankowski). As the minister has indicated, this is not the first time we have seen this legislation before the House.

I am sure the minister made an oversight when he only mentioned Mr. Marchand's contribution in the year 1973. I think he forgot his western colleague, the Hon. Otto Lang, from Saskatoon-Humboldt, who, on August 4, 1977,

announced a major safety program to regulate transportation of dangerous goods, to produce compatible safety standards for transshipment of dangerous goods between air, surface and marine transport, with dangerous goods to include explosives as well as inflammable, poisonous and radioactive material. The then minister suggested the new act would ensure that the responsibility for the transportation of dangerous goods would be shared by manufacturers of transport equipment and containers, producers, shippers and purchasers of dangerous goods, as well as carriers and operators of transportation facilities. In short, what the minister was announcing at that time was a coherent step to set up regulations and standards across the country.

Very little has changed, in spite of some statements regarding tightening up, with the benefit of hindsight, in Bill C-25. As a matter of fact I think it is almost 99 per cent the same with the exception of two major changes, the first being that during an inquiry the minister may, at his discretion, pending the submission of a report, take measures to alter or cease transportation of dangerous goods. The second major difference, I think, is that if, after 12 months, there is no agreement with a province to enforce the act, the minister may enforce the act in that province.

With all due respect, it is rather ironic that this government would institute that clause as opposed to the previous government when you consider the confrontation-co-operative theory which obviously the government has been advocating since the pre-election time.

I would like to read a paragraph out of Hansard which I think expresses our position about as well as it could be expressed. Let me read from page 3330 of Hansard for February 16, 1979, as follows:

Mr. Speaker, at the outset may I say that our party supports the principle and therefore the major objective of this piece of legislation. I believe it is fair to say as well that we acknowledge the need for such a piece of legislation, given the fact that there has been an increasing number of fatal and near fatal incidents involving dangerous goods, which unquestionably highlights the need for a co-ordinated law which is put before us in the form of this bill now, and to

November 27, 1979

ensure that the public interest will be assured and that the movement of dangerous goods will not harm the Canadian public.

I am sure the hon. minister will recall that paragraph, because on February 16, 1979, that is exactly what he said in the House.

Here is where the comparison ends. We want to proceed with this bill tonight and as expeditiously as possible get it out of second reading stage and into the committee. The hon. member for Vegreville at the time, now the Minister of Transport, said he wanted to have the national transportation act precede this bill in respect of dangerous goods. He wanted to have the ports act precede this bill regarding dangerous goods. Now that he is the minister and has had the opportunity to present those two bills, I notice he has not followed through with what he originally wanted. I am sure there must be justifiable reasons for that, and maybe during committee meetings he will explain them to the hon. members.

The minister said it would be cynical to suggest that the Mississauga accident had anything to do with this bill. I think that part of the problem is as a result of the minister's own priorities written in his own magazine, as one of my colleagues outlined the other day. I think it was an oversight that this priority was not mentioned. Knowing the sincere and honest gentleman that he is, we will take him at his word.

As I stated, really nothing has changed in Bill C-25, except I am looking for an explanation as to why the national transportation act did not precede this particular piece of legislation.

We did not need the Mississauga incident, as the minister said, to have a discussion on the transportation of dangerous goods. The incident in New Brunswick involving radioactive material that was mislaid several months ago prompted a request from one of the provinces for some action in respect of the transportation of dangerous goods.

As I said several weeks ago, what we should not be doing by this piece of legislation is looking for a scapegoat, pointing the finger at someone to blame. What we should be doing is taking the golden opportunity that the Mississauga incident offers, with the fact that no loss of life occurred, with 250,000 people being evacuated, this setting an example for all the world to follow. Obviously I want to join with all of my colleagues on this side of the House in endorsing what the minister said, commending everyone, the evacuation team, the fire department, the police, and the people of Mississauga.

We want to expedite second reading of this bill and get it into the committee. As the minister has said, there have been years of negotiations between the provinces and the industry. Now it is the public's turn, the public in terms of ourselves as members of Parliament. We need to hear full and comprehensive evidence at committee meetings. I want to assure the minister that we have no intention of passing this bill until we have had a full discussion on the regulations, because in essence that is where the real safety is. The bill basically is motherhood, but the preventive problems the minister referred to will only be resolved when we have had a full and complete

Transportation of Dangerous Goods discussion of the regulations. Perhaps we may even want to include some of the regulations in the legislation.

Obviously we want also to consider any recommendations from the CTC inquiry into the Mississauga incident. I think we would be very irresponsible as parliamentarians if we rushed the bill through committee without giving full consideration to representations made at those hearings.

I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate the minister for acquiescing in the request made by members on both sides of this House with regard to a judicial inquiry or a Royal Commission, I am not sure yet which action he plans to take, in order to have the whole broad spectrum of rail transportation safety examined. This certainly is something long overdue, and 1 think it fits in line with the safety conscious expressions the minister has advocated since he has been a member of this House.

I do not think we need go any further than the opening testimony that was given the other night at the committee meeting by a commissioner of the CTC. If I am not mistaken, he was the chairman of the rail safety committee. He acknowledged that this enquiry would take a look at transporting dangerous goods in "a safer manner than has been the case". Obviously, he acknowledges a serious problem in this regard. I do not think that hon. members should be under the illusion that this bill is the panacea to accidents in the transportation of dangerous goods, although, as the minister has said, it does reduce some of the risk. I consider this bill and its predecessor as being almost post-accident rather than preventative in nature. Therefore, as parliamentarians, we must use the committee hearings to explore fully and digest all the avenues in attempting to alleviate the safety problem of the transportation of hazardous products.

Many things have changed since there was first a discussion on this subject back in 1970-1971 with respect to the transportation of dangerous goods. First of all the railways since that time have made significant changes in the types of cars they are handling and the technology, which has been introduced on a massive scale. They are using longer capacity cars, more powerful locomotives, automatic train switching controls, as well as mechanical track maintenance and inspection, and all these have reduced much of the cost to railways. Unfortunately, the preventive safety measures do not appear to have improved concurrently.

New chemicals are on the market. In many cases these chemicals are unable to be handled by our present technology. A few moments ago the minister mentioned trucks. In my conversation with the trucking industry, I learned that the safety laws of the United States are far tougher than they are here in Canada, i was also very happy to hear the minister discuss some of the requirements regarding inspectors. He said that there would be enforcement of the safety laws by specially trained inspectors, yet there is no commitment with regard to hiring additional inspectors. What branch of the railway service will they come from? Will they eliminate the five-year

November 27, 1979

Transportation of Dangerous Goods

mandatory status as a railroad official that inspectors must have before they can become inspectors? In other words, they must be in management before they can become a CTC inspector. What is wrong with someone who comes from the rank and file sector so long as they have the experience in the field? Where will these inspectors be located and at what intervals? Could they serve the dual purpose of being an inspector and a carman?

Earlier today I proposed a motion under Standing Order 43 which, unfortunately, was turned down. The minister answered part of that motion tonight, much to my surprise. I want to offer my sincere congratulations to him for that. I know that the minister has had some serious discussions with the CTC in this regard. A commissioner of the CTC made a statement today with respect to the substantial movement by rail, that the occasional accident is necessary. I am sure that all hon. members find that statement totally unacceptable. Hopefully, when the CTC representatives appear before the committee, we will have an opportunity to pursue that reasoning with them.

In 1970-71, 47 days of testimony by the Inter Rail Safety Committee resulted in several committees, including the Committee on Transportation of Dangerous Goods. According to the testimony given, the CTC acted on very few of the recommendations at the time. A transcript of the meeting held ten years ago today indicates that many of the recommendations we are discussing here tonight were made then. This includes such recommendations as the make-up of trains, the placement of cars, the placard on cars, the very things which we have been discussing ever since the accident in Mississauga.

The reply of the CTC is always that the enforcement of the regulations is too expensive, and the minister has mentioned this in his comments. This is one of the things which we must explore in the committee; just what is too expensive? When the final cost of the Mississauga accident is tabulated, we may find that some of the recommendations suggested ten years ago may not be too expensive after all. We must also consider inconvenience to the people. We must consider that a lot has been done with respect to setting up programs, but we must explore the costs and not just take them for granted.

There are many questions which this bill does not answer, and I hope that they will be dealt with in committee. There are questions such as why is it not compulsory to have hot box detectors on main lines in urban centres and why do we not cut down the distances between these detectors within the railway yard limits in built-up areas. If I recall correctly, the vicepresident of CP Rail said that the Mississauga accident could have been prevented with the installation of these hot box detectors. I hope that we can find out why these things have not been installed, particularly on the main lines which handle dangerous goods.

Another question is why do we not use dedicated tank cars in North America like they do in Europe, whereby we could follow the European placarding system whereby the ingredients are stamped in raised letters which can be seen in a fire. We know from statements made at the Mississauga incident

that this was one of the problems incurred by the first people to reach the site. We should also ask about slower speeds for trains carrying dangerous goods, especially through densely populated areas where there are so many switches and junctions. Surely we must explore the cycling problem of tank cars in these trains if they are running at slower speeds.

The next question is, why not more interchange of traffic between rail companies which might avoid routes going through developed areas of communities. Why are there no specific requirements involved in inspecting car equipment carrying hazardous products, bearings, wheels, etc.? Another question is why do we not expand the solid consist train concept to more trains. I believe that it was stated in committee that right now sulphuric acid is one of the few products handled in that manner. What are the possibilities of rerouting the movement of these commodities, as the minister indicated in answer to one of the questions posed to him during question period?

There is also the possibility of computerizing and installing centrex phone numbers so that municipalities will know what is going through their areas. Obviously there are many questions which must be asked during the committee hearings. I was happy to hear the minister announce that the CTC has taken some interim steps. We have advocated through exchanges in this House that if the CTC was not willing to accept the responsibility for this matter, the minister should invoke the discretionary power which he has. For example, part IV of the National Transportation Act gives the minister the power to rescind a regulation and place a new order if the CTC has not acted to his satisfaction. I realize the technical difficulties involved, but surely, considering the incident in Mississauga, and with the CTC inquiry under way, some interim action is necessary. Of course, we heard earlier tonight that part of that action was enacted by the CTC this afternoon.

We would like the minister to take a look at other areas of interim action. He does not have to wait for this legislation to be passed. He does not have to wait for the inquiry, and the minister has said that one of the first things we must do is ensure that necessary steps were taken to prevent the recurrence of such an accident.

The following are some of the things that the minister could put into effect under his own discretionary power. He could hire some CTC inspectors and not proceed with the Treasury Board order to reduce the staff by 100. He could ensure that no train will carry both explosive materials and toxic gases, but this was already resolved earlier tonight. Another thing the minister could do is to have combustible goods and poisons taken off the train at the first available terminal at the final point of destination where it would be handled by a yard engine which operates at much lower speed.

The minister could also use his power to put into effect regulations ensuring that the engineer as well as the conductor is made aware of any cars which he lifts that contain toxic or combustible products. For these special cars a colour-coded waybill could be used. A regulation slowing down trains

November 27, 1979

carrying toxic gases and explosive materials in major urban centres where there are so many junctions and switches could be put into effect. The hon. member for Winnipeg-Fort Garry (Mr. Axworthy) mentioned several weeks ago a situation in downtown Winnipeg. If I am not mistaken, an hon. member from the Vancouver area also expressed his concern in this regard for that major metropolitan centre.

Another possibility is reclassifying chlorine as a poisonous gas, and propane and butane as explosives. This could be done right now by the minister. What about the classification of PCBs? I could not even find them mentioned in the red book on regulations. One other item 1 mentioned a few minutes ago was the elimination of the requirement that a CTC inspector must spend five years as a railroad official before becoming an inspector. I am sure that the minister would agree with me that my colleague, the hon. member for London East (Mr. Turner), who has probably been over the last 11 years the most eloquent spokesman for rail safety in this country, would make an excellent CTC inspector, but under the present regulations he does not even qualify.

I would like to congratulate the minister on bringing this bill to the House at this particular time. I think that it is most opportune and should not be thought of as being cynical because of the Mississauga situation, because right now rail safety is in the minds of all Canadians. We, as parliamentarians, must take advantage of this opportunity and have a full discussion with not only the industry and the provinces, but with the public and many interested individuals such as the professor from Carleton University and the group Transport 2000, who have long voiced very strong concerns about rail safety in this country.

Several of my colleagues, such as the hon. member for London East, and the hon. member for Windsor West (Mr. Gray), who has spent two or three years discussing this particular issue in his municipality, would like to participate in this debate, but because of our interest, concern and wish to get this bill into committee, they have passed up this opportunity in the House. However, we will see them during the committee hearings.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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NDP

William Alexander (Bill) Blaikie

New Democratic Party

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg-Birds Hill):

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to add my approval of the fact that this bill has come before the House too soon. I begin my remarks on the bill by reminding the House that accidents involving dangerous goods are not a new occurrence. All of us have heard of, and 1 am sure some will remember, the explosion in Halifax harbour during a previous war. An entire city was devastated, hundreds of people were killed, and millions of dollars worth of property was destroyed, all because the urgency and uncertainty of the day prevented proper safeguards for the movement of hazardous substances.

The war is long over but cities across Canada are threatened by potential disasters involving toxic, corrosive, explosive, radioactive and combustible substances. The increased consumption of synthetic goods which are made from hazardous

Transportation of Dangerous Goods

substances has increased the frequency and severity of transportation accidents involving dangerous goods. In 1977 alone, Canadian railways carried 1,295,062 tons of sulphuric acid, 89,807 tons of explosives, 46,891 tons of sodium hydroxide, and 47,419 tons of other types of inorganic chemicals.

Public policy has not kept pace with the increased volumes of hazardous goods being transported. Clearly, legislation is required. The government indicated, prior to the Mississauga derailment, that it intended to bring in legislation pertaining to the transportation of such goods. In fact I asked a question on October 12 of this year, and the answer to my question as to when the legislation would be coming forward was, "soon". I take it for granted that the intentions of the government with regard to bringing this legislation forward were genuine and I have no cynicism as to whether they would have brought in this legislation in the absence of the event at Mississauga.

Legislation several years ago may have prevented the catastrophe at Mississauga, and for the absence of such legislation we have the former Liberal government to blame. While the legislation proposed in Bill C-25 does not provide the details that would prevent future spills such as the one at Mississauga, regulations could and should, and we expect will, be published subsequent to the passage of this bill, that will prevent dangerous combinations of cars on the same train, and require proper identification and classification of substances.

With regard to the order today by the Canadian Transport Commission concerning a space of five cars between toxic and inflammable gases, there are many derailments in which trains pile up like an accordion. It is not inconceivable that we could still have a car loaded with toxic substances landing on top of a car filled with a flammable substance.

As we know, and as I said before, the Liberals introduced a dangerous goods bill some time ago. I would like to point out some of the ways in which this bill appears to be an improvement. For example, in this bill there seems to be fewer excuses for those who must pay for the costs borne by the taxpayers for emergency measures. The commitment to federal action in the absence of provincial agreement after a period of 12 months is an improvement. The fact that the minister may make orders respecting handling and transportation of dangerous goods pending the report of an inquiry appears to be an improvement.

There are other problems, however, which I will not go into at this time, except for one I feel obliged to mention. That is the deletion of protection of the environment, something the hon. member for Stormont-Dundas (Mr. Lumley) did not mention, as reason to take emergency measures, seize dangerous goods, or conduct an inquiry.

I find it worthy of some reflection that environment has been removed from the list of health, life and property in the previous bill. Environment is a form of common property and should have been left in the bill as a concern pertaining to the transportation of dangerous goods. However, 1 leave these and other detailed comments until the bill is before committee. We certainly have no problem with the bill being sent to commit-

November 27, 1979

Transportation of Dangerous Goods tee as soon as possible where, hopefully, many worth-while improvements can be made.

Apart from this legislation is the fact that existing rules and regulations, although inadequate, are not being enforced. The Railway Act gives the Canadian Transport Commission power to prescribe regulations of safety for the transportation by rail of dangerous products. The CTC is charged with responsibility to ensure the best possible safety of railways, regardless of whether dangerous goods are on board or not. The CTC has not been able to carry out that duty, partly because of this government's and the previous Liberal government's mindless restraint program.

Edgar Benson, president of the Canadian Transport Commission, testified before the House of Commons transport committee that their budget prevented them from hiring enough safety inspectors. I quote:

The people we have I think do a pretty good job based on the numbers we have spread across the country, which 1 think is something like 78, which bothers me. It probably should be 178 instead of 78.

Mr. John Magee, commissioner of the CTC, further testified at a later committee meeting that Treasury Board was asking the CTC to reduce its staff even further:

-the man-year allotment of the railway transport committee in 1977-78 was 260 persons. This was reduced in 1978-79 to 246 persons. It was reduced for 1979-80 to 239 persons. And we now have a directive from the Treasury Board within the past week to cut 100 persons of the staff of the Canadian Transport Commission. Incidentally, the reduction in the staff of the RTC out of the 100 will be from 239 to 225. .

We do not need an inquiry to tell us that the budget cutbacks must be lifted and the CTC must be permitted to expand its staff of railway inspectors, now.

The action today is a partial recognition of the fact that something can be done previous to the outcome of the inquiry and passage of this legislation. There are certainly more actions that could be taken, many of which were ably listed by the hon. member for Stormont-Dundas as interim measures.

If we, as parliamentarians, move to pass this legislation, to increase our responsibility as legislators, and if the government lives up to its responsibility by revoking the cutbacks, and increasing the budget of the CTC, surely we should expect some improvement in the performance of the carriers themselves.

The railway companies in this country are chartered to provide a service to the public of Canada. One of those companies, CN, is owned by the people of Canada, and there is no question that it should be responsible for the safety of the public. The other company, the Canadian Pacific, which has been paid for several times over by the taxpayer through land grants, cash grants, ongoing subsidies and the deferral of $679 million in taxes owing, has a responsibility as well. But what have the railways done? Between 1957 and 1977 they laid off 31,000 road and equipment maintenance employees, a policy which directly affected safety.

More particularly, let us look at the CPR. In 1978 the company spent 35.6 per cent of its revenue on maintenance. In

[Mr. Blaikie.J

1936, at the height of the depression with low traffic and profits, the CPR spent just as much-34 per cent of revenues.

The CPR did not have hot box detectors on the heavily travelled portion of rail line through Mississauga. Now it is telling the people of Mississauga that if they wish to receive compensation for their very pressing and immediate needs caused by evacuation, they must give up their right of action for further compensation. Mr. Speaker, blackmail by any other criminal would not be permitted in this society. Why should the people of Canada, who paid for the CPR in the first place, put up with this treatment?

While improving railway safety and federal legislation can reduce accidents involving dangerous goods, it cannot eliminate them. Realization that there is a threshold above which accidents involving dangerous goods cannot be reduced has prompted discussion of the whole question of our dependence upon non-renewable materials. Our traditional sources of fibres and household goods such as leather, cotton and wood, which were labour intensive, have been replaced by synthetic goods and fibres which are extracted from non-renewable hazardous substances or which require dangerous chemicals for their manufacture. Like the energy crisis, the dangerous products crisis cannot be approached in practical terms alone but must also be seen as a crisis of lifestyle and of the technology we employ.

We depend too greatly on synthetic materials and on nonrenewable resources, for our way of life, both of which are often dangerous, even when not in transit. Only by reducing our dependence on such substances in the first place will we actually approach a satisfactory solution. Too often a technological solution to a technological problem misses the real problem. We shall see.

Mr. Speaker, we look forward to the day when the intention of this bill is fulfilled by the development of the regulations it proposes to set up. The true measure of this bill's worth will be tested not here in Parliament but in the field where the adequacy or otherwise of the regulations eventually developed will, in time, be revealed. We shall expect to have a clear idea of what those regulations are to be before we extend our present co-operative mood through to royal assent to this bill. In a speech made earlier in this House the Minister of Transport complained that the previous government did not consult sufficiently with industry. We should be watching to see that consultation with industry does not mean accommodation to industry. In this connection we can only watch the regulations.

We look forward to working in committee, determining an approach which would ensure, as far as possible, the safe transport of goods within Canada.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
Permalink
SC

Joseph Adrien Henri Lambert

Social Credit

Mr. Adrien Lambert (Bellechasse):

Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to extend unduly this debate because I agreed with the government House leader to-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

Oh, oh!

November 27, 1979

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
Permalink
SC

Joseph Adrien Henri Lambert

Social Credit

Mr. Lambert (Bellechasse):

Oh, oh! It is quite normal for government House leaders to communicate with one another; it is always done in a democratic Parliament and especially when it is honestly done, it is a fine custom which will enable us not to do as the previous government did-introduce a bill and leave it to die on the order paper. We now have the evidence. On November 9, 1978, the Canadian government, which was then led by the Liberals, introduced Bill C-17 to promote public safety and the protection of the environment in the transportation of dangerous goods. This bill was never passed by the House even though it was discussed in February, 1979. It cannot be said that hon. members did not agree at that time because when we reread Hansard we realize that they were ready to pass that bill. Therefore, I do not know why the government did not present it once again to have it passed before the dissolution of the last session of the Thirtieth Parliament.

In any event, Mr. Speaker, a number of mishaps have occurred since then. The catastrophe in Mississauga was of such a nature as to give us abundant food for thought. Made even more aware of the situation, the government has introduced Bill C-25 which we are looking into just now; although not perfect, this bill will make it mandatory for public transporters to operate more carefully and to warn the people who manoeuvre the cars about the dangerous goods they are transporting.

This bill, Mr. Speaker, will not remedy the unfortunate events which have occurred in the past. That is clear. But it will prevent similar events in the future. To administer is to foresee. On the basis of the provisions of this bill, it is to be hoped at least that the safety of the public will be better preserved and travellers better informed about the goods being transported. Moreover, the railway workers who manoeuvre the cars will probably be more careful, in order to protect not only the people but also the property of the community.

Mr. Speaker, passing a bill is not the end of it; it then has to be enacted, the act must be made known and applied. I have always regretted and I still regret the fact that once a bill becomes law it falls into the hands of the officials who are responsible for applying it. We then come to the stage of drafting the regulations which govern the application of the act.

1 have often had to review specific cases pertaining to the implementation of an act and noted in the process that the regulations did not at all follow through on my intentions as a legislator. The rules and regulations did not follow the same train of thought as those I had hoped would apply in the application of the act. That is why I have always felt that the time has now come, when we reform our parliamentary procedure, to deal seriously with that problem, namely that once the regulations have been drafted, before they are sanctioned by order in council, they should go to a committee of the House where they could be reviewed to see whether they truly reflect

Transportation of Dangerous Goods what the legislators, hon. members, had in mind, when they are applied.

Mr. Speaker, I feel it would be wise to do so; we would thus protect not only the users and those who apply the law but also the public generally, because the act would be publicized through the media, be it radio, television or the newspapers, to ensure that the public is made aware of both its obligations and its rights. Bill C-25 would, to my mind, give us a splendid opportunity for doing so. We would then know that this bill was passed, not only for the pleasure of doing so and showing that we want to give the people some measure of protection, but also to make sure it is really efficient.

I think if that were the case we would be acting as responsible people and the law would be applied as best as humanly possible. Of course there may be mishaps along the way. Nothing is perfect. I know that, but our responsibilities as parliamentarians, as law makers, is to strive as much as possible for perfection in drafting our laws and to ask our officials, who are responsible for the application of the legislation, to do their best so as to ensure the greatest protection possible and to achieve the aims of this bill.

I wanted to take this opportunity to say that my colleagues and I support this piece of legislation and, as I have said, we want it to be well applied when it does indeed come into force.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
Permalink
?

Mr. Chas. L. Caccia@Davenport

Mr. Speaker, 1 thank the minister for introducing this bill, and I welcome the opportunity to express our position, and to comment on it very briefly.

Our concern on this side of the House has to do with the fact that any direct reference to the environment in the title and in the text of the bill has been omitted. If the minister will take a moment to compare the old Bill C-17 in its previous incarnation, he will notice that it was entitled "An act to promote public safety and the protection of the environment in the transportation of dangerous goods". The bill before us today, Bill C-25, the Progressive Conservative version, is entitled "An act to promote public safety in the transportation of dangerous goods". The word "environment" has been dropped from the title, and it has been dropped from the text of the bill.

It is true that the descriptive part of the bill gives adequate emphasis to the environment in so-called class 9 of the schedule, but the operative part of the bill does not. For example, when it comes to the powers of the inspector to seize, remove, or forfeit dangerous goods, the duties to report and to take reasonable emergency measures, and the power to conduct inquiries, no mention is made of the environment. Why is that?

Clause 14(1) of the present proposed bill gives the inspector powers of seizure, removal and forfeiture of dangerous goods in order to prevent or reduce any serious and imminent danger to life, health and property. Why is there no reference to the environment as there was in Bill C-17, clause 11 ?

November 27, 1979

Transportation of Dangerous Goods

The same thing applies to the clause on accidents and incidents where damage or danger to life, health or property is considered. Why is the environment not included here as it was in clause 13(1) of Bill C-17?

Why is there no reference to the environment in clause 16(2) of this bill, which concerns the duty to take reasonable emergency measures to repair or remedy any condition or reduce or mitigate any damage to or destruction of life, health and property?

Why is there no reference to the environment in clause 19(1) of this bill, which gives the Minister of Transport the power to direct an inquiry into an accident or incident involving dangerous goods which has resulted in death or injury to any person, or danger to health or safety of the public, or damage to property?

Clause 16(1) of the previous bill, Bill C-17, gave the minister the power to direct an inquiry into an accident or incident which results, and I quote: "in death, or in damage or in danger to life, health, property or the environment". This wording in the preceding bill is more comprehensive, and I submit to the minister that it broadens the scope of the bill. It is a better approach.

Let us consider an accident involving dangerous goods which might occur in an area where there was no death or direct injury to any person or danger to the health or safety of the public or damage to property, but which could seriously damage the environment. There could be a situation like that in this very large country where a variety of situations may occur.

We on this side of the House question the necessity of clause 6(4), which provides that no proceedings by way of summary conviction may be instituted after two years from the day the offence was committed. Why the time limit? Would an offender not be responsible for long-term damage caused, for example, by chlorine gas?

With regard to other matters, we would like to express the hope that regulations will take into consideration the danger posed by railway cars carrying a variety of chemicals which, in combination, could be disastrous, and we ask whether regulations will be drafted in a way which will require that such chemicals be effectively separated while travelling in the same convoy.

Another point of concern which perhaps goes beyond the scope of this bill but which nevertheless needs to be mentioned in this debate, is that there is no provision for unguarded railway crossings along routes taken by trains carrying dangerous goods. We welcome the opportunity to register this point with the Minister of Transport (Mr. Mazankowski). We also urge him, besides looking into the matter of unguarded railway crossings, to ensure that there will be regulations which require trains carrying dangerous goods to bypass urban areas, where tracks are available or where there is a system which is available but which perhaps needs to be modernized or upgraded. And in the longer term, of course-and we realize the expense that is involved here-we urge that a policy of

railway relocations be considered where alternative routes are not available.

We are concerned really about the omission of references to the environment as a matter of principle. Whenever we move goods which are potentially damaging to the environment, it becomes crucial for governments to take a leading role in the protection of the environment in the broadest sense of the word, and by omitting any reference to it in the text of this bill and even in its title, the environment becomes relegated to the last page of the bill, just in the schedule. That is where it is found, and yet we thought we were looking at a total picture and that we were concerned about life, health, property, the environment, everything, not one to the exclusion of the other, which prompts me to ask where the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Fraser) was when this bill went through cabinet. Was he consulted?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
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PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mazankowski:

Yes.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
Permalink
LIB

Charles L. Caccia

Liberal

Mr. Caccia:

Did he have any input in this?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
Permalink
PC

Donald Frank Mazankowski (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Mazankowski:

Yes.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ESTABLISH
Permalink

November 27, 1979