May 7, 1985

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

PC

Ramon John Hnatyshyn (President of the Privy Council; Minister of State (Government House Leader); Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Ray Hnatyshyn (President of the Privy Council):

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions between the Parties with respect to the order of business. It would be appropriate at this point in time to announce that in the rotation of legislation which I announced last week I want to insert consideration of Bill C-25 before Bill C-45. That Bill deals with agricultural stabilization. That item will be called in the rotation prior to the consideration of Bill C-45.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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PC

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

BRETTON WOODS AGREEMENTS ACT


The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-30, an Act to amend the Bretton Woods Agreements Act and to repeal the International Development Association Act and amend certain other Acts in consequence thereof, as reported (without amendment) from the Standing Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Affairs.


NDP

Pauline Jewett

New Democratic Party

Ms. Pauline Jewett (New Westminster-Coquitlam) moved:

Motion No. 1

That Bill C-30 be amended in Clause 6 by striking out lines 12 to 20 at page 3.

She said: Mr. Speaker, the first of the two amendments that we would like to introduce and speak to today would strike out lines 12 to 20 at page 3 of the Bill, in effect restoring the original clause. This is with regard to the method of financing of the World Bank group. Prior to the Government's amendment of the Bretton Woods Agreements Act, the financing had to take place through an Act of Parliament. This gave us an opportunity in the House of Commons, every year or two, to debate the subject of international development assistance.

The Government is now removing from Parliament the opportunity to debate the role of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in international development assistance, therefore removing parliamentary accountability in this very important area of Canadian Government activity.

Instead of having the replenishments to the World Bank group and the IMF authorized by Parliament, they will simply be authorized, in effect buried, in the Estimates.

This procedure of burying such matters in the Estimates was followed a year or so ago with regard to the other international financial institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank. We were not successful then in maintaining the authority of Parliament. There is no opportunity in the House to debate the operations of the Inter-American Development Bank and other international financial institutions of a regional nature. We know that there is no chance of debating the operations of these institutions through the instrument of the Estimates or appropriations.

The previous Government removed other international financial institutions from parliamentary debate. If the present Government follows that precedent and takes away the World Bank group and the IMF from Parliament, there will be no use for this body or the relevant standing committee in having a say on their activities.

A report to Parliament will still be required, although it will be very slim when compared to what we originally requested a couple of years ago. Reporting alone on the activities of these institutions will not give us the opportunity of debate in the House of Commons and therefore I urge the Government not to take a backward step by diminishing the authority of the House. The Government has said repeatedly that it wants to enhance the position and authority of Parliament and its committees.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) said at the Bonn summit that he was going to be a voice for Third World countries and that he wanted to enhance Canada's role in international development assistance and activities. However, rather than strengthening Parliament's role in its debate on international development, the Government is diminishing its power. The Government is essentially saying that it cannot be believed. In effect, the Government is saying that it does not really want to strengthen Parliament or play a more significant role in the activities of international financial institutions. It does not want Parliament and Canada to play a stronger role with respect to development assistance in the international community. Therefore, one can only conclude that the Government is simply paying lip service to the role of Parliament and to Canada's role in international development.

The Government has already cut back on international development assistance. It will never reach the goal established by a former Prime Minister of 1 per cent of our Gross

May 7, 1985

Bretton Woods Agreements Act National Product being devoted to international development assistance. The Government has already admitted as much.

The Government's present position is that international development assistance, whether it is in the form of grants or loans, must be related entirely to the provision of goods and services. That is the Government's main criterion, rather than the needs of the developing countries themselves, particularly the poorest of the poor nations. As a result of preventing Parliament from discussing Canada's role in international development assistance, particularly with respect to international financial institutions, the Government is effectively saying that we should have no voice in Canadian activity in such institutions.

If we reverted to the form the Bill was in before the Government changed it, we would be required as a Parliament to authorize the funds for the World Bank group and to restore the wording of the present Subsection 5(2), which reads:

(2) The Minister of Finance may provide for payment out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development in the manner and at the times provided for by the Agreement therefor set out in the Second Schedule, of a sum or sums of money, not exceeding in the whole an amount equivalent to the subscriptions required from or permitted to be made by Canada, that is to say, two billion, one hundred and seventy-eight million, two hundred thousand United States dollars of the weight and fineness in effect on July 1, 1984.

That is the present subsection 5(2). Of course, on subsequent occasions the Act of Parliament would no doubt have a different amount of money, obviously.

In restoring that section, which is the purpose of our amendment, we would, as I have indicated, be making it possible for this body, the Parliament of Canada, to discuss and debate the activities of the World Bank group and of the International Monetary Fund as we have done up to now in this House and not leave this extremely important matter of the financing and role of the World Bank group and the IMF to be buried in appropriations along with a million others and therefore, significantly by so burying them, lower the whole role of the Canadian Government and of the Canadian Parliament in the activity of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank group.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BRETTON WOODS AGREEMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Herbert Eser (Herb) Gray (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Herb Gray (Windsor West):

Mr. Speaker, the amendment proposed by the New Democratic Party is one that calls for the maintenance of a very important principle, that is, a strong reliance on the over-all system of parliamentary control for the provision of funds by Canada for the operations of the important international financial institutions covered by the Bill.

We of the Official Opposition are generally in support of the principle I have mentioned as it applies to this Bill and as it is reflected in the amendment that has just been spoken to by the representative of the New Democratic Party.

There is a contradiction on the part of the Government when it comes to the matter of parliamentary approval of

financing of the international financial institutions in question and what the Government has proposed in this Bill with respect to one of these institutions, the International Finance Corporation. As you know, Mr. Speaker, one of the amendments proposed by the Bill is to give a general legislative basis for Canada's participation in the International Finance Corporation. The International Finance Corporation is one of the World Bank group of financial institutions. Its focus is on the support of private sector investment in developing countries, unlike the work of the World Bank and the International Development Association which focuses particularly on government initiatives.

In presenting Bill C-30 to the House in March, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Lanthier) said that the reason the Bill in question dealt with the International Finance Corporation in the way it did was to move away from the system which had existed for many years of providing financial support to the work of the International Finance Corporation. This system was to fund Canada's role in the International Finance Corporation through the Estimates process. The present Government has now decided that the Estimates process is not a sufficient means of supporting, dealing with and considering Canada's involvement in the International Finance Corporation and, instead, there had to be an over-all legislative underpinning in the form of a permanent statute rather than through annual appropriation Bills. Yet when it comes to the manner of providing financial support to the World Bank group in general, particularly to the World Bank itself and to the International Development Association, the Government is saying that we should move back from the very course of action which it is proposing with respect to the International Finance Corporation and have the financing of the World Bank and the International Development Association on the part of Canada, as it is required from time to time, dealt with only by the Estimates process.

I see here a very important contradiction. It would seem to me that to be consistent with the arguments put forward for including the International Finance Corporation in this Bill, the Government should not at the same time be insisting that increases or changes in the financial support which Canada provides for the World Bank and the International Development Association be done through the Estimates process rather than through a legislative proposal, that is, a Bill presented to the House from time to time, which would be required to go through the whole procedure required under our rules for a formal piece of legislation.

Bill C-30, if adopted, moves away from the concept of having a piece of legislation each time the Government wants to make a substantial change in its method or extent of supporting the institutions of the World Bank group. This means, in my view, a lessening of over-all parliamentary control of a very important aspect of Canada's involvement in the world community. It takes away an opportunity for formal debate here in what should be the central place for consideration of the business of the country, here in the House of

May 7, 1985

Commons, in the high court of Parliament. The problems of the Third World and Canada's effort to solve them and the issue of the transfer of resources to developing countries are, in my view, highly important and in fact in many ways crucial to the survival of our over-all civilization. Therefore, when it comes to the matter of providing or changing and hopefully increasing Canada's financial involvement in the World Bank group, this should be the subject of a specific, separate piece of legislation resulting in the formal debate which our rules require for such a piece of legislation. Financial changes in our support for the World Bank group should not be buried among one of possibly hundreds of items in an appropriation Bill. In my view and in the view of my colleagues, they require and deserve a separate piece of legislation.

Therefore, I call on the House to support the amendment proposed by the New Democratic Party. This amendment would strenghten a very important principle which has been somewhat under attack by the present Government. That is the principle of a very strong and central parliamentary scrutiny, starting out in this House of Commons, of expenditure by the Government on behalf of the people of Canada. Second, it would provide an opportunity which, as much as I believe in the committee system, would not be the same if consideration were not carried out in this House of Commons-to debate and consider Canada's role in supporting the needed progress of the Third World. I believe this amendment should be supported.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BRETTON WOODS AGREEMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

Claude Lanthier (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Claude Lanthier (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, I am truly astonished at the tenor of the speeches being made by the Opposition. First of all, this question was debated at the second reading stage, when I had the privilege of reading the address, and there were also thorough discussions in committee.

I am rather puzzled by Motion No. 1 as moved by the Hon. Member for New Westminster-Coquitlam (Ms. Jewett) because the motion as proposed would in fact restrict the powers of the House and considerably increase the burden of decision-making for the Minister of Finance (Mr. Wilson). By striking out lines 12 to 20 on page 3, as proposed, we would be gagging the House, as it were, and putting the entire burden on the shoulders of the Minister of Finance.

Since the substance of this motion has already been debated, I would rather not discuss it at length. It is in no way my intention to deprive the House of debate on the motion but I think a careful analysis is in order.

Mr. Speaker, I have had some opportunity, be it limited, to speak in the House and in committee, and I believe that the appropriate venue for debating the details of a motion is in committee, where we have all the expert witnesses with us, and not in the House, where we have, I would not say only the Ministers, to avoid insulting those who are in the House today,

Bretton Woods Agreements Act but I would say that in the House, we have people who are here to discuss the principle of the Bill. If we were to encumber the proceedings in the House will all kinds of detailed discussion, this could slow down a debate that could be far more thorough in committee. I would therefore urge the Member of the House to act responsibly and to vote against an amendment that I think is more likely to weaken the powers of this House.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BRETTON WOODS AGREEMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

James Douglas Manly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jim Manly (Cowichan-Malahat-The Islands):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to put a few comments on the record in support of the motion of the Hon. Member for New Westminster-Coquitlam (Ms. Jewett). Motion No. 1 respecting Bill C-30 deletes the specific financial provisions of the Bill. It would revert to the system we had before. That would mean that the Government would have to come before the House for financial authority rather than having this whole question buried in the Estimates.

We believe it is very important that when we are discussing important questions of international aid and the whole question of development of Third World countries, the entire Parliament should be involved. It should not simply be a matter of a committee looking at this. It is important that it be looked at in some detail in committee, but it is also important that the House of Commons have an opportunity to examine this issue in some detail.

It is important for the government side to note that its own former critic on this issue, Mr. Doug Roche, the present Ambassador for Disarmament, two years ago, on March 25, 1983, spoke on this issue. He said, and I quote from Hansard at page 24162:

One of the reasons for the importance of debating this legislation is the fact that it is a very rare occasion when the House is seized of any sort of debate on these matters, let alone dealing with legislation having to do with Canada's role in international development. As we know, Cl DA has been operating through the years without an Act of Parliament. The only time we deal in any substantial way with what CIDA does as the main proponent of Canada's role in international development, is at the time of the Estimates. I am afraid that all Members of the House are too well aware of the inadequacy of the rules concerning the examination of Estimates that preclude the full treatment that important spending programs require.

I urge the Government to pay attention to its own former critic in this important area.

I was pleased to hear that the Liberal Party is giving its support to the motion put forward by the Hon. Member for New Westminster-Cotquitlam. However, it is important to note that it was under the Liberal Party, when it was in government, that the regional banks were removed from this kind of parliamentary scrutiny. Again we have one of those issues where the Liberal Party did one thing when it was in government and another thing when it is the Opposition. In this case, Mr. Speaker, what it was doing in government was wrong. What it is saying now in opposition is right. I would urge the Conservative Party to remember what it said when it

May 7, 1985

Bretton Woods Agreements Act was in opposition and do the same thing now that it is in government.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BRETTON WOODS AGREEMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

Donald Alex Blenkarn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Don Blenkarn (Mississauga South):

Mr. Speaker, the amendment produced is an amendment which was discussed fully in the Standing Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Affairs. The amendment in a sense demands that every time we want to put money into one of these international institutions we must produce a Bill in Parliament, have it debated, have it go through the three readings and committee stage, with respect to every one of those appropriations. That is a ridiculous suggestion. It will hold up Parliament. It will hold up the affairs of the country and it will make sure that development money is not forthcoming because the Bill will never be given sufficient House time to get through.

That is the problem right now. We want to honour our international commitments and make those appropriations in the normal appropriations sense so that those appropriations can be discussed in committee where witnesses can be heard and where parliamentarians can take due note of the intention to make advances to these institutions, and we can understand what is going on. There is no reason at all to insist that a Bill go through Parliament in all stages just so that some Hon. Members can get their faces before the TV cameras.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BRETTON WOODS AGREEMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

Pauline Jewett

New Democratic Party

Ms. Jewett:

Shame.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BRETTON WOODS AGREEMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

Donald Alex Blenkarn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Blenkarn:

So I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that this is not a question of parliamentary accountability. This is a question of holding up Parliament for no reason at all. The Hon. Member, who has been around here for a long time, knows that.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BRETTON WOODS AGREEMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

Pauline Jewett

New Democratic Party

Ms. Jewett:

You argued differently when you were on this side.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BRETTON WOODS AGREEMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

Donald Alex Blenkarn

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Blenkarn:

This is a situation of an ordinary appropriation to an institution or institutions which we all believe in, and when we make appropriations for other institutions or other organizations, we do it through the Estimates. We do it through an Estimates procedure where there is provision for those Estimates to be properly examined.

There has been a question about whether we do examine the Estimates properly. That is why the committee led by our colleague, the Hon. Member for St. John's East (Mr. McGrath), is studying the way we can change the committee procedures of this House. The reform of Parliament is under way and the Hon. Member knows that. The Hon. Member also knows that that reform of Parliament will give Parliament much more control over the Estimates procedures. That will make it possible for more detailed examination. But surely, Sir, in the interests of making parliamentary government work, we cannot have parliamentary government encumbered by a Bill every year, making a special appropriation to these international organizations. There is just no room for it in the parliamentary calendar and the suggestion from the Hon. Member of the New Democratic Party-and I am surprised it

is supported by the Liberal Party because it should know better-is just an attempt to hold up the work of this House.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BRETTON WOODS AGREEMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis (N.D.P. Caucus Chair)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nelson A. Riis (Kamloops-Shuswap):

Mr. Speaker, I thought I heard words from the last speaker to the effect that having this discussion in Parliament would slow up the process of evaluation and the thorough examination of appropriations to such organizations as the World Bank group, including the IMF. I recall it was the same individual who, not many months ago, after sitting through various committees, said that this process is insane. It is absolutely absurd. Here we sit day after day going through the Estimates and I don't think there is a single Hon. Member in this House who would say that the process we have used up until the present time makes any sense whatsoever.

When it comes to debating the appropriations to the World Bank group now, we will have an official who will come into the committee for a two-hour session, whose job it will be to provide bafflegab and mumbo-jumbo for two hours until he can get out. That is the examination, Mr. Speaker. That is the thoroughness with which the various appropriations are examined. Perhaps, as the Hon. Member suggests, this is all going to change and a whole new fresh approach, a sense of openness and thorough debate, will occur. Perhaps-and perhaps the sun will come up tomorrow as well. We will have to wait and see. But to suggest that today is the last time Parliament is ever going to discuss what Canada does with the World Bank group and what it does with the IMF, I think, is a tragedy. These are two absolutely critical sets of institutions which have a profound impact on what is happening in the developing nations of this world. We know, as parliamentarians, that our participation in the World Bank group has not been particularly impressive over the years. All kinds of schemes have been funded and introduced through the World Bank group and IMF which have not helped the Third World countries, which have perpetuated a sense of oppression, economically and socially, and which have tied them more closely with our own western ideals, approaches and economy.

The situation for most Third World countries has worsened as a result of our participation through the World Bank group, including the IMF. To suggest that that is it, that there will be no more discussion or debate in the House of Commons, I find astounding. I can see some Hon. Members opposite who spoke against the Liberal move not too long ago when the Liberals said: "Listen, we're getting embarrassed by these debates in the House of Commons where people point out the shortcomings of our development work in the Third World, so our solution is to take it out of Parliament and out of public scrutiny".

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BRETTON WOODS AGREEMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

Pauline Jewett

New Democratic Party

Ms. Jewett:

It's not our solution.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BRETTON WOODS AGREEMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis (N.D.P. Caucus Chair)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Riis:

No, it is not our solution. I said that was the Liberal Party's solution when it was in government. And Hon. Members of the Conservative Party stood in their places and ranted and raved against the burying of these discussions.

May 7, 1985

Now the tables have been turned. I remember the Hon. Member for Mississauga South (Mr. Blenkarn), who heads up the Finance Committee now, almost getting beyond the point of being able to continue to speak in the House of Commons because the Liberals were going to stifle debate on this most crucial issue. Eight months later he now stands up and says: "This is a wonderful idea. I've been born again. I am a supporter of the World Bank group and what I was saying eight months ago was incorrect". Those Hon. Members cannot have it both ways, Mr. Speaker. They cannot speak one way as members of the Official Opposition against what the Liberal Government has done and now when they are in government support the very same process.

Let us recognize today that for the people of Canada this is the last opportunity that they will have to hear this issue debated in the House of Commons. And this is at a time when all of us are desperately concerned about what is going on in the developing nations. We are desperately concerned about the situation which has occurred now in the African countries, especially Ethiopia. We want to avoid these kinds of disastrous situations in the future. But by participating in the traditional World Bank group activity, by supporting the IMF in our traditional ways, we are simply making sure that this lack of development, the lack of the production of viable agricultural endeavours of these countries, will continue.

That is why we have moved this amendment, to keep this topic before the House of Commons and Members of Parliament. After all, we are accountable for the way in which we spend the taxpayers' money. When we continually shovel appropriations through the Estimates into these traditional institutions and do not get the proper return on those investments in terms of assistance to the developing nations, I do not believe we are doing our job.

In conclusion, I would say that we have lost a real opportunity. I am not certain that Members of Parliament realize what they are doing by not supporting this amendment. Members of Parliament are saying, as the Hon. Member for Mississauga South stated, that witnesses will no longer appear before the standing committee to discuss the appropriations. As I know the procedure, when a Bill comes before Parliament it is referred to the appropriate standing committee and if the feeling of the members is that expert witnesses are required to explain a particular appropriation-whether it should be expanded, reduced or whatever-the opportunity exists. In a sense, what the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Affairs argued can be done, but it should also have the benefit of discussion in Parliament. People say that it will place an unfair burden on the Minister of Finance (Mr. Wilson) and that it will increase the burden of his decision-making. That is too bloody bad. If the Hon. Member is saying that we are asking too much of the Minister of Finance in terms of our participation in the World Bank and IMF, so be it. If the Minister cannot take the heat, perhaps he should step down. I do not believe it is asking too much for the Minister of Finance to stand in the House and

Bretton Woods Agreements Act

explain our participation in these international banking institutions.

I would be remiss if I did not remind the House that it was members of the Liberal Party, when they were in government, who removed the regional banks from this discussion. I hope that might mute some of their criticism.

I hope that Members will reconsider their opposition to this proposal and realize the value of discussing such a sensitive issue in Canada's Parliament. Parliament is the vehicle which enables the people of Canada to see and hear how their Members represent development plans and assistance to countries, particularly Third World nations. To bury that and place it in the Estimates is a very regressive step.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BRETTON WOODS AGREEMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

Simon Leendert de Jong

New Democratic Party

Mr. Simon de Jong (Regina East):

Mr. Speaker, I too wish to participate in the debate on the amendment which was introduced by the Hon. Member for New Westminster-Coquitlam (Ms. Jewett). Indeed, it is a sad day when government Members attempt to limit the role of Parliament, particularly in an area which is of great concern to Canadians. We have a strong tradition in Canada of concern about, and involvement in, the plight of all humanity, particularly the plight of the people in the poor developing countries.

The role of the IMF and the World Bank is crucial to the well-being of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world. It is a rare opportunity for Members of Parliament to be able to discuss Canada's role in these organizations and to debate their rules, procedures and practices. To deny that opportunity, I believe, does injustice not only to Parliament and its Members, but also to the Canadian people. Canadians expect to hear and see their Members debate these important issues even though they occur on such rare occasions.

I suppose I should cease being puzzled on a daily basis, but I am puzzled by the fact that the Conservative Party has flipped over. When it was in opposition it said one thing, and now that it is in government it is saying something else. For example, the previous Liberal Government introduced Bill C-130. Among other things, that Bill moved the appropriations given to various foreign agency banks out of the debates in Parliament and into the Standing Committee on Miscellaneous Estimates. On March 25, 1983, a speech was made by Mr. Doug Roche, who was the spokesperson for the Conservative Party. He said; as reported at page 24162 of Hansard:

One of the reasons for the importance of debating this legislation is the fact that it is a very rare occasion when the House is seized of any sort of debate on these matters, let alone dealing with legislation having to do with Canada's role in international development. As we know, CIDA has been operating through the years without an Act of Parliament. The only time we deal in any substantial way with what CIDA does as the main proponent of Canada's role in international development, is at the time of the Estimates. I am afraid that all Members of the House are too well aware of the inadequacy of the rules concerning the examination of Estimates that preclude the full treatment that important spending programs require.

Mr. Roche was speaking on behalf of the Conservative Party. He stated that he had no confidence in the Standing Committee on Miscellaneous Estimates to deal with public expenditures through international development. He said that it did not provide an open and public forum which would

May 7, 1985

Bretton Woods Agreements Act enable the Canadian public to follow in the discussions concerning our role in international development. Mr. Roche moved an amendment on behalf of the Conservative Party to change the legislation to allow public debate within Parliament on the issues of international development. However, the Liberal Government of the day voted against the amemdment. We in the NDP voted for the amendment. Now the situation has flipped-the New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party are fighting against the Conservative Party. What the Conservative Party proposed in opposition, it is now defeating in government. What the Liberal Party in government was defeating, it is now supporting. Surely it must be embarrassing to members of the Conservative Party to realize how they have totally changed their position.

1 would like to reiterate the point which we are trying to make. We are not attempting to filibuster, but international development is an important issue. The role which the Canadian Government plays is important. It is important to the Canadian people and it is important to the hundreds of millions of people who are living in Third World countries. Canada has a good image abroad. We are looked to as a country which is not greedy, and not imperialistic in the sense that Canada does not colonize other parts of the world. I believe Canadians want to hear what their representatives feel about international development. This is our last chance to stand in Parliament and speak in this public forum about a situation that concerns international development, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. It is a sad day. The Government has drawn the curtain on the opportunity for public debate. It is a black day. In the past, such Conservatives as John Diefenbaker and Robert Stanfield fought to retain the integrity of Parliament. However, on this day the Conservative Party is the author of a Bill which will further diminish the role of this institution on such an important topic.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BRETTON WOODS AGREEMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

Dave Nickerson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dave Nickerson (Western Arctic):

Mr. Speaker, I have been told to be very brief so I will be very brief. I understand there is a very important agricultural Bill coming up soon and I would not want to take time away from that.

1 can understand some of the points presented to the House, especially by the Hon. Member for Kamloops-Shuswap (Mr. Riis), who did so in his usual perceptive way. I can well imagine myself, were I to be a member of the Opposition and the NDP, God forbid, were to form the Government, not trusting them one little bit. I would be extremely suspicious of any move they made. I would not want to give them any more authority than I had to. In that circumstance I would probably be arguing the same way as the NDP are today. It is an old debate; there are only limited amounts of parliamentary time to devote to any one issue, and we have therefore adopted standard procedures to deal with the Estimates of various Departments.

The test that should be applied as to whether this matter is of such importance that it cannot be dealt with by the normal procedure, concerning money to be allocated to the IFC, the

IDA or any of these other institutions, is whether they are fantastically more important than anything else the Government of Canada allocates money to. Are they more important than allocations to the RCMP, the Department of National Defence, or any other Department or any other thing the Government is involved in? I agree with Hon. Members that the types of expenditures we are dealing with today are important, but I do not think in the general scheme of things they are any more or less important than all the other areas to which we allocate funds.

Another aspect of the test would be whether it would be a new expenditure, something that the Parliament of Canada has not previously allocated funds for. Is it an entirely new area we are getting into? By now allocations of this nature to these institutions have become somewhat standardized; it is not new, we have been doing it since the 1950s or before. It is done on a regular basis.

Another test might be the opportunity for debate on these issues, and that point was brought up by the Hon. Member for Kamloops-Shuswap and his colleagues. I suggest that the opportunity for debate on matters of the financing of these various international institutions has not been precluded in the House of Commons any more than a debate on national defence, the judicial system, Indian affairs or anything else has. We all admit that the changes that were made to the rules of the House of Commons in 1968 are not perfect, and we would all like more parliamentary time to debate these issues rather than in committee, but under those rules, as imperfect as they are, there is a system of opposition days. If the NDP or the Liberal Party wants to use one of its opposition days for the purpose of debating the financing of international institutions, then they certainly can do that. There is nothing preventing them.

So the statement we have heard in this House today from the NDP that this is the last time this matter will be debated in the House of Commons is certainly not true. If the NDP are as concerned with this matter as they say they are, then there will be ample opportunity for them to bring it to the attention of the House of Commons again.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BRETTON WOODS AGREEMENTS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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May 7, 1985