December 14, 1987

?

Mr. Deputy Chairman@

House in Committee of the Whole on Bill C-100, an Act to amend the Pension Act, the War Veterans Allowance Act, to repeal the Compensation for Former Prisoners of War Act and to amend any other Act in relation thereto.

Clauses 1 and 2 inclusive agreed to.

On Clause 3-Composition of Commission

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT, WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT AND COMPENSATION FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Leonard Donald Hopkins

Liberal

Mr. Hopkins:

Mr. Chairman, Section 3(1) at page 2 of the Bill states:

There shall be a commission to be known as the Canadian Pension

Commission, consisting of not fewer than eight and not more than 14

commissioners, not more than 10 ad hoc commissioners and such number of

temporary commissioners as the Minister considers necessary.

Will the Minister advise us what effect, if any, this Bill will have on the terms of appointment of present members of the Canadian Pension Commission, and will any be added or subtracted?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT, WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT AND COMPENSATION FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Minister of State (Seniors))

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

Mr. Chairman, I am advised that it does not have any effect on present members of the commission.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT, WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT AND COMPENSATION FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Shall Clause 3 carry?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT, WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT AND COMPENSATION FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT, WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT AND COMPENSATION FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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Clause agreed to. Clauses 4 to 22 inclusive agreed to. Schedule A agreed to. Schedule B agreed to.


LIB

Leonard Donald Hopkins

Liberal

Mr. Hopkins:

Mr. Chairman, the Minister is to be congratulated for carrying this Bill through quickly this afternoon. Does he have any time schedule for the formal proclamation of this Bill?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT, WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT AND COMPENSATION FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Minister of State (Seniors))

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

Mr. Chairman, just as soon as is possible. It is something that is very much overdue. We will bring it in with the greatest possible speed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT, WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT AND COMPENSATION FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Shall the title carry?

Freshwater Fish Marketing Act

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT, WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT AND COMPENSATION FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT, WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT AND COMPENSATION FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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Title agreed to.


PC

George Harris Hees (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Minister of State (Seniors))

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

Mr. Chairman, I just want to say a couple of words to thank those who have taken part in this debate this afternoon. I want to thank them very much for their extremely able representations and remarks in the debate today. It was a very constructive debate.

I appreciate their support and the kind things they had to say about me. They are not deserved but very much appreciated. I thank them all.

It has been a very good afternoon. We will be bringing more legislation forward as soon as we can find other corrections to make.

Bill reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed.

[ Translation]

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT, WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT AND COMPENSATION FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

It being five o'clock, the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's order paper.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PENSION ACT, WAR VETERANS ALLOWANCE ACT AND COMPENSATION FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS-PUBLIC FRESHWATER FISH MARKETING ACT MEASURE TO AMEND


The House resumed from Monday, November 2, consideration of the motion of Mr. Nickerson that Bill C-211, an Act to amend the Freshwater Fish Marketing Act, be read the second time and referred to a legislative committee.


PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

When the Bill was last before the House, the Hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (Mr. Binns) had the floor.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS-PUBLIC FRESHWATER FISH MARKETING ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

Patrick George Binns (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pat Binns (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans):

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise to speak to this Private Members' Bill, Bill C-211. Indeed, it is a Bill that has been before the House a number of times. It has been debated in the House for two hours and is now being debated for its third hour this evening.

This Bill was introduced previously as Bill C-235, and was identical in purpose to Bill C-211.

Previous speakers in the debate have indicated the need for the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation and the spirit of co-operation among the federal, provincial and territorial Governments. The Bill was conceived so as to bring order in the marketing of freshwater fish while at the same time increasing returns to fishermen. The financial success of the corporation has been highlighted. Today, however, I would like to focus briefly on the effects of the Bill. It is time to take

December 14, 1987

Freshwater Fish Marketing Act

stock of these arguments and ask what this Bill would really accomplish if it were to pass.

In previous debates, the Hon. Member for Egmont (Mr. Henderson) has said that the Bill would really gut the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation. If we look at the text, it will repeal the definition "participating province" from the Freshwater Fish Marketing Act, repeal Part III of the Act, and repeal the schedule to the Act.

Part III of the Act which the Bill proposes to eliminate is, no doubt, the "gut" to which the Hon. Member referred. It concerns the regulation of interprovincial and export trade, the duties and powers of the corporation, including the orderly marketing of fish, increasing returns to fishermen, and promoting international markets for and increasing interprovincial trade in fish. It also concerns the agreements respecting participation, which include that aforementioned co-operation among Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and the Northwest Territories. This section of the Act refers to agreements between the Government of Canada and these provinces for matters such as the sharing by provinces with the Government of Canada of any losses by the corporation, and functions relating to interprovincial trade in fish.

Thus we have a corporation established by the collective will of the participating provinces and the Government of Canada.

The Bill before us will commit the Government to repeal unilaterally this area of participation and co-operation. If passed, it would also remove the area of jurisdiction of the corporation and basically render it inoperative in the sense of federal and provincial territorial agreements which were signed to establish the corporation itself.

It is important to note that the Bill has been drafted but the provinces and the Territories have not expressed their consent at this point to the Bill in its present state. Therefore, we have to ask in fact what is the provincial reaction to Bill C-211. I would like to refer to that briefly because in the last couple of months all four provinces have cautioned us to treat the Bill gently or not to touch it.

Saskatchewan, clearly indicated its opposition to the Bill in a letter written by the Minister of Parks, Recreation and Culture for Saskatchewan. In his letter he stated: "Saskatchewan is committed to a unified marketing effort through a strong freshwater fish marketing corporation". He went on to say: "I do not support Bill C-211 and feel that it would be inappropriate to consider such legislation without consultation between all participants".

In a similar vein, a letter from the Minister of Forestry, Lands and Wildlife of Alberta said:

I understand that the single-desk marketing control provided by the present act is essential to the overall continued, successful working of the corporation. Consequently, I am not supportive of the principles which the Bill puts forward.

The Provinces of Manitoba and Ontario have sent similar letters. The Government of the Northwest Territories has not in any way asked for an alteration of the mandate of the corporation. While speaking on this matter on November 2, the Hon. Member for Portneuf (Mr. Ferland) indicated that this Bill would not only get rid of the corporation against the evident wishes of the provincial Governments but, indeed, it would do so unilaterally and without prior consultation with those provinces.

I refer to these communications to show that this is not a partisan matter but a matter guided by facts, logic and common sense. I would also like to observe that this is an era which has seen milestone events in the progress of federal-provincial relations. Can we not take advantage of the expertise and the active involvement of the provinces in making the fisheries respond to the challenges now put before them?

These challenges are very real. They include new technology, over-participation and over-capitalization at the processing level. They include insufficient development of local markets and product substitution. Can we possibly expect our fishermen, who are spread over an area of five million square kilometres and who market 23 species of fish to different and varied markets, to face and successfully master these challenges by themselves?

Provincial officials and members of all three Parties in this House are not the only ones who think that the FFMC and its concept of a single-desk marketing system is working. The Senate's Standing Committee on Fisheries in its 1986 report on the marketing of fish in Canada concluded, after extensive investigation, that there was more to be gained by improving single-desk selling than by getting rid of it. The committee's report gives a glimpse of the opportunities and pitfalls which face the fishery. It recommends that the provincial and territorial Governments, in co-operation with the FFMC, coordinate their efforts to bring about a good balance of investments in harvesting facilities, and the number of participants in the western fisheries given the harvestable quantities of fish.

I would have to join my provincial counterparts, my colleagues of all Parties, the Senate committee and the vast majority of our fishermen in saying I believe that Canadian freshwater fishermen should not be deprived of this organization if they feel it has been effective for them.

I am not suggesting that the FFMC has no room to improve. In fact, I believe my colleague who has promoted the Bill has expressed very well that there must be changes to affect the livelihood and well-being of fishermen from the Northwest Territories. However, to cut the FFMC unilaterally and without further consultation with the provinces will destroy the co-operative climate we have forged among the provinces, the fishermen and the federal Government.

We know that the provinces and the vast majority of the fishermen continue to support the FFMC. Fishermen have just

December 14, 1987

recently spoken through the chairman of the advisory committee pleading that Bill C-211 not be adopted.

As my colleague, the El on. Member for Selkirk-Interlake (Mr. Holtmann), said in this House on October 1: "Fishermen tell me they are getting quite a good run for their product and I think the facts bear that out".

Adopting Bill C-211 is not a simple change. The Bill would, in essence, unilaterally kill the corporation as it now exists. It would do so against the wishes of several parties, including the provinces. I would want to add my voice to those facts and to the wishes of so many others and say that it is probably better to improve the FFMC than to pass this legislation at this point in time. If we wish to change and improve the FFMC, we should look at internal changes which can accommodate the needs of fishermen from the Northwest Territories.

I would urge the Government to work with the Hon. Member to make those kinds of internal changes to the organization, in consultation with the FFMC, and 1 think we will find that the end results will be much better for the Government. In conclusion, I have to say that I will not be supporting this Bill.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS-PUBLIC FRESHWATER FISH MARKETING ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Brian Vincent Tobin

Liberal

Mr. Brian Tobin (Humber-Port au Port-St. Barbe):

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to have the opportunity to stand and speak on Bill C-211. A year and a half or two years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the riding of the Hon. Member for Western Arctic (Mr. Nickerson) and the communities on both sides of Great Slave Lake. There is no question about it when the Hon. Member for Western Arctic says there is not total happiness and unanimity with respect to the value or otherwise of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation. One can find that sentiment quite readily on both sides of Great Slave Lake, particularly on the lower side. There is no doubt about that at all.

Despite the sentiment that there were problems with the FFMC, I am not sure there is a unanimous view that it ought to be wiped out of existence. Having said that, let me say that I was very interested to hear the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (Mr. Binns) speak because I was not quite sure at all what the Government's position on the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation was going to be. In fact, if I were a betting man, and I am not, I would have bet a substantial amount of money that when the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, as he is wont to do, stood in his place to speak on behalf of his Minister, he would not have been urging those of us in the House who are interested in this matter to vote against the Bill which was prepared and supported by the Member for Western Arctic, namely Bill C-211, which would wipe out the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation. 1 thought he was going to stand and encourage all of us to join him and his Minister in putting the thumb on the spread of communism in this country just as fast as we could.

Freshwater Fish Marketing Act

Why would I say communism, Mr. Speaker? Because I did some homework. I went back to a speech given by the Hon. Member for Richmond-South Delta (Mr. Siddon), the same Member who is now the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, to see what his views were on this Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation. The Minister's Parliamentary Secretary spoke on his behalf, giving his view that this is a useful, helpful and dynamic organization, that it might need some slight changes and tinkering but it is a good organization. This same Minister, speaking in his place in this House as a member of the Opposition, and a lowly back-bencher at that, said, with respect to the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation in 1980

I suggest what we have now is a system of monopolistic dominance in the fish marketing industry, in the prairie provinces in particular, which is a far cry from what I understand to be the principle of democratic socialism where free enterprise and the private sector can operate in competition with one another. What we have is virtual communism in all of its forms in the example and illustration of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation.

He went on to state, "I say it is the beginnings of communism in this country because it takes away from the individual the right to compete". Those were the words of the Hon. Member for Richmond-South Delta before he was the Minister of Fisheries and Ocean, and nothing but a lowly Conservative back-bencher.

I thought the Hon. Member for Richmond-South Delta was seeing red then when he made those ridiculous comments that a Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation was the symbol of growing communism in the country. The only joy I can take out of this futile debate today, once again about this Bill, is that, obviously, having heard from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, in the intervening nearly eight years since the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans gave this speech in which he described the Freshwater Fishing Marketing Corporation as communism he has seen the light and come to his senses, and that the spirit of perestroika has invaded his soul. Now he wants to give the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation a chance to survive, notwithstanding the heavy hand of the Hon. Member for Western Arctic who wants to put an end to this corporation.

You can well understand, Mr. Speaker, being a longstanding Member of this House who is held in high regard by all Members from all corners and all Parties, and with a good sense of the ridiculous, that I could not help but note that speech given by the Minister who called it communism eight years ago and who now so stoutly defends the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation. May I say, it is an interesting conversion on the road to Ottawa to the Cabinet, to 24 Sussex, or the Governor General's residence.

In conclusion, I wish to read a copy of a letter dated November 23, 1987 to the Minister of Fisheries, the Hon. Member for Richmond-South Delta. It was written by Maurice Blanchard, Chairman, Fishermen's Advisory Committee, regarding Bill C-211. I wish to quote a couple of excerpts. Mr. Blanchard states:

December 14, 1987

Freshwater Fish Marketing Act

By any industry measure, the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation is a success. It has shown steady growth and has just completed another year of record sales and record returns to fishermen. The Corporation has consistently generated profits over the past 15 years and has provided fishermen with a level of security that never existed in the past. This is not to say that all fishermen believe the Corporation is perfect. The fact is that even I and other members of the Advisory Committee have questioned the concept of single desk marketing at one time or another. But we did not really understand how the Corporation operates.

Now that we are fully aware of the strengths and benefits of single desk marketing, we have become supporters of the Corporation. This is not to say that we always approve of everything the Corporation does, but there are few issues that we have not been able to work out through reasonable discussion. Like the large marjority of fishermen, we believe that while not perfect, the fishing industry in this region has never been in better shape.

Mr. Blanchard went on to state:

As representatives of fishermen across the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation region, we ask that you and other Members of Parliament vote to defeat Bill C-211. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

This letter was signed by Annie Bird, La Ronge, Saskatchewan; Helgi Jones, Gimli, Manitoba; Jane Mayo, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories-this is in the Member's own riding who wants to gut the corporation-William Quequish, Weagamow Lake, Ontario. I am from Newfoundland, and 1 forgive people for mispronouncing some rather famous parts of Newfoundland, so I hope they will forgive me for mispronouncing famous places elsewhere in the country. The letter is also signed by Joe Tsannie, Wollaston Lake, Saskatchewan; Raymond Dupres, Slave Lake, Alberta; Ed Isfeld, Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba; William Cordell, Pikwitonei, Manitoba; Elmo Helgason, Ashern, Manitoba; Bessie Irvine, Grand Marais, Manitoba; and Guy L'Heureux, Joussard, Alberta. I am sure that I mispronounced half of those communities, but it was in total innocence.

The point that I am trying to make is that the reason the Minister of Fisheries has come to his senses and no longer sees behind the doors of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation the spread, the germ, or the seeds of communism in this country is that he has obviously had an opportunity as Minister of Fisheries to visit some of those communities, or at least to speak to many of those people who are on the Minister's advisory committee. He realizes that one cannot take a few complaints, albeit sometimes legitimate complaints, legitimate proposals, or legitimate aspirations about an industry and the role that a Crown corporation plays in that industry, and use it as justification for wiping out that corporation.

I would urge all Members to defeat this Bill. I urge my good friend and colleague, the Hon. Member for Western Arctic, who represents such a dynamic, interesting, and important part of Canada not to waste the time of the House or his own valuable time with the continued reintroduction year after year of this Bill. It has about as much chance of passing as the Minister has of going back to his old and rather foolish views about the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS-PUBLIC FRESHWATER FISH MARKETING ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

Leslie Gordon Benjamin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Les Benjamin (Regina West):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to oppose this Bill, and advise my colleague, the Hon. Member for Western Arctic (Mr. Nickerson) that I was here in 1969 when we dealt with this legislation in its origins brought in by a Liberal Government, but Members of Parliament from the Conservative Party, the Social Credit Party, and the NDP supported it.

I have carefully read the speech of the hon. sponsor of this Bill, and I find it passing strange. He tried this in 1985 and he got nowhere, yet he still keeps batting his head against the same wall in spite of the overwhelming support by the massive majority of freshwater fishermen in western and northern Canada and northern Ontario.

I notice that his speech amounts to gutting this legislation. I do not know why he did not move a Private Member's Bill to repeal the whole Act, because that in effect is what his present Bill is doing. But in his speech earlier in the House on this Bill he stated that it would bring about the revival of co-operatives.

I wish to advise my hon. friend that we had a lot of small fishermen's co-operatives. At that time I was representing the constituency of Regina-Lake Centre, and there was a fishermen's co-op on Last Mountain Lake. Members of the coop lived in places like Dilke, Regina Beach, Chamberlain, and Findlater. They also lived on the other side of the lake at Nokomis, Earl Grey, and places like that.

The trouble they had was not in catching fish, but rather, as a little co-op trying to compete in the international market and the domestic market in central Canada against the large fish dealers, Safeways, and the Hudson's Bay Company. They did not have a prayer. They did not have the resources to compete in the market. They recognized that they needed something in the way of orderly marketing and central desk-selling, to some extent modelled on the Canadian Wheat Board. Since 1935 there has always been a handful of grain producers and grain companies that have tried to undermine, undercut, and destroy the principle of orderly marketing and the Canadian Wheat Board. The same thing applies here.

This is a time to enlarge the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation and give it the tools to do an even bigger job processing plants in the North and in the northern parts of the western provinces.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS-PUBLIC FRESHWATER FISH MARKETING ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

Dave Nickerson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nickerson:

Closing them down.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS-PUBLIC FRESHWATER FISH MARKETING ACT MEASURE TO AMEND
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December 14, 1987