June 28, 1988

NDP

Lynn McDonald

New Democratic Party

Ms. Lynn McDonald (Broadview-Greenwood):

Mr. Speaker, I have another of the many petitions that have come to the House on behalf of my Bill C-204. I suppose this should now be a message to the Senate rather than to the House. Nevertheless, these petitioners are from Deer Island, St. Andrews, and St. Stephen, New Brunswick.

Whereas cigarette smoking is Canada's major preventable health hazard and is responsible for 35,000 Canadian deaths each year, and whereas secondary smoke is implicated in the deaths of 500 involuntary smokers each year, they request that Parliament pass the Non-Smokers Health Act, Bill C-204, to protect the health of Canadians by restricting the promotion of tobacco and guaranteeing smoke-free air to Canadian workers and travellers.

Topic:   CONSUMER AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   SUPPORT FOR BILL C-204-NON-SMOKERS' HEALTH ACT
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PC

Jack Scowen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jack Scowen (Mackenzie):

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition on behalf of residents of Powell River, British Columbia, who humbly pray and call upon Parliament to pass legislation immediately that will protect the unborn child from the moment of conception.

Topic:   CONSUMER AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROTECTION OF RIGHTS OF THE UNBORN
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PC

Paul Gagnon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paul Gagnon (Calgary North):

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour and privilege to present two petitions containing a total of 301 signatures from five Calgary ridings and the riding of Bois River, organized by Wolfgang Rochow and Reverend Hilsden.

The petitioners are asking Parliament to protect the life of the unborn child.

Topic:   CONSUMER AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   PROTECTION OF RIGHTS OF THE UNBORN
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PC

Paul Gagnon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paul Gagnon (Calgary North):

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition bearing 118 signatures, which was sent in by Jean Thompson.

The petition states that whereas a motion to provide for the entrenchment of property rights in the Constitution Act, 1982 passed the House of Commons on May 2, 1988, and whereas the outcome of this vote reflects the true sentiments of Canadians, wherefore the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon Parliament to act upon the issue of constitutional protection for property rights by bringing forth and passing requisite legislation.

Topic:   CONSUMER AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS
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PC

Elliott William Hardey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Elliott Hardey (Kent):

Mr. Speaker, it is my duty and honour to rise and present these petitions which have been properly certified.

These constituents who reside in the riding of Kent recognize that the condition known as schizophrenia is a major illness in Canada affecting about 1 per cent of the population,

Order Paper Questions

causing severe mental anguish to patients as well as their families. However, research efforts dedicated to schizophrenia are extremely limited.

Therefore, the undersigned humbly pray that Parliament will ensure that research efforts in the future will be commensurate with the seriousness of this illness in Canada.

Topic:   CONSUMER AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   RESEARCH INTO PREVENTION AND CURE OF SCHIZOPHRENIA
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LIB

Marie Thérèse Rollande Killens

Liberal

Mrs. Therese Killens (Saint-Michel-Ahuntsic):

Mr. Speaker, Canadians continue to be concerned about the plight of our country's homeless. It is my duty this morning to present these petitions signed by residents of Fort Erie, London, Toronto, Ontario, Kelowna, B.C., Mississauga, Ontario, Kingston, Chicoutimi, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Richmond Hill, Ontario and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The signatories to these petitions object to the fact that more than 100,000 Canadians were homeless last year and that the number of homeless is steadily rising. They also deplore the ever-shrinking number of affordable housing units and the government's failure to take action to resolve this problem.

For these reasons, the signatories to these petitions humbly request that Parliament take immediate action to provide all Canadians with clean, affordable housing and to establish social reintegration programs so that these disadvantaged Canadians can once again become members of society.

Topic:   CONSUMER AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR URGENT SETTLEMENT OF HOMELESS SITUATION
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NDP

Howard Douglas McCurdy

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard McCurdy (Windsor-Walkerville):

Mr. Speaker, I have the duty and privilege to submit three petitions signed by a number of electors from the Province of Alberta and the Province of Ontario. These petitions have all been properly certified by the Clerk of Petitions.

The signatories protest the free trade agreement. They believe that it constitutes a threat to the fabric of Canadian political and economic sovereignty. They also protest the Government's failure to consult the people and demand that an election be held so that the views of the people of Canada may be ascertained in respect of an agreement they have not, up until now, had an opportunity to consider and upon which they have not voiced their opinion heretofore.

Topic:   CONSUMER AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADA-U.S. FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
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PC

Richard Grisé (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Richard Grise (Parliamentary Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Privy Council):

Mr. Speaker, would you be so kind as to call starred Questions Nos. 358 and 359.

June 28, 1988

Customs Tariff

These answers are very lengthy, and I would ask that you consider that these answers have been read.

Topic:   CONSUMER AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   STARRED QUESTIONS
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LIB

Miss Nicholson (Trinity)

Liberal

What is the final cost of the inquiry headed by the Hon. Willard Z. Estey into the collapse of the Canadian Commercial Bank (CCB) and the Northland Bank?

Topic:   CONSUMER AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN COMMERCIAL BANK AND NORTHLAND BANK
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PC

Michael Holcombe Wilson (Minister of Finance)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Michael Wilson (Minister of Finance):

The final cost of the operations of the inquiry headed by the Hon. Willard Z. Estey into the collapse of the Canadian Commercial Bank (CCB) and the Northland Bank was $1,493,000. This amount does not include the legal expenses incurred by the Department of Finance and the Office of the Inspector General of Banks which total $1,785,000.

Topic:   CONSUMER AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   CANADIAN COMMERCIAL BANK AND NORTHLAND BANK
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LIB

Miss Nicholson (Trinity)

Liberal

1. Were lawsuits involving the Government initiated by individuals or other bodies as a result of the failures of the Canadian Commercial Bank (CCB) and the Northland Bank and, if so (a) how many (b) how many of these are still ongoing?

2. What are and what will be the total legal costs incurred by (a) individuals or other bodies who have initiated legal action (b) the Government?

Topic:   CONSUMER AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   COLLAPSE OF CANADIAN COMMERCIAL BANK AND NORTHLAND BANK
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PC

Michael Holcombe Wilson (Minister of Finance)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Michael Wilson (Minister of Finance):

1. Individuals or other bodies have not sued the Government as a direct result of the failures of the Canadian Commercial Bank and the Northland Bank. However, the Government is involved as a defendant in three lawsuits indirectly relating to the failure of these banks, and these are still ongoing.

2. The legal costs of those who brought the lawsuits are unknown, and not likely to be ascertainable, being subject to solicitor and client privilege. The Attorney General is defending two of the above lawsuits while outside counsel has been engaged in the third. Legal costs of the outside counsel to date amount to $4,878.67, and it is not possible to estimate the total legal costs at this time.

Topic:   CONSUMER AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   COLLAPSE OF CANADIAN COMMERCIAL BANK AND NORTHLAND BANK
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PC

Richard Grisé (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Grise:

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Topic:   CONSUMER AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   COLLAPSE OF CANADIAN COMMERCIAL BANK AND NORTHLAND BANK
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PC

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

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

Shall the remaining questions stand?

Topic:   CONSUMER AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   COLLAPSE OF CANADIAN COMMERCIAL BANK AND NORTHLAND BANK
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   CONSUMER AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   COLLAPSE OF CANADIAN COMMERCIAL BANK AND NORTHLAND BANK
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GOVERNMENT ORDERS

CUSTOMS TARIFF

PC

Thomas Hockin (Minister of State (Finance))

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Tom Hockin (Minister of State (Finance)) moved

that Bill C-135, an Act to amend the Customs Tariff (code 9956), be read the second time and referred to a legislative committee.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to present to the House today Bill C-135, an Act to amend the Customs Tariff, for second reading. This Bill has being introduced in order to extend for a specified period the statutory authority which allows Canadian customs officials to prohibit the importation of obscene material and hate propaganda into Canada.

The Government is bringing in this Bill at this time because the authority provided under the Customs Tariff which prohibits the importation of hate propaganda, as well as obscene, seditious or treasonable materials, expires on June 30, 1988. This provision allows the Government to prevent the importation of the most virulent forms of violent, degrading and dehumanizing materials such as child pornography, depictions of violence against women, and many other things which are so repugnant to Canadians.

As Members of the House will recall, a sunset clause was initially inserted under this authority in 1985 in anticipation of new legislation on pornography which was to include amendments to the Criminal Code. The original sunset clause has since been amended on two separate occasions in order to extend the prohibition authority while the proposed pornography legislation was under consideration by Parliament.

While the provisions of Bill C-54 may be a matter of some debate, I do not believe that any Member of this House would want pornographic materials to enter the Canadian market unrestricted. I believe that as Members of Parliament we owe it to the Canadian public to ensure that such materials continue to be prohibited from entry.

Therefore I urge all Members to join with me this morning in giving unanimous and speedy approval to this technical amendment to extend the period of effect of this provision until December 31, 1989 and thereby ensure that there will be no lapse in the prohibition on the importation of obscene material and hate propaganda. The content is not changed. We are staying with the status quo. All we are doing with this Bill is extending the deadline for 18 months to December, 1989.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Jacques Guilbault (Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition; Liberal Party Deputy House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Jacques Guilbault (Saint-Jacques):

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to make a few comments on Bill C-135, which amends the Customs Tariff by extending the period during which a definition of pronography may be used by customs officers to stop at our borders pornographic material that someone is trying to bring into Canada.

June 28, 1988

Unfortunately matters are not quite as simple as the Minister who has just spoken would have us believe. The Minister is bringing before the House Bill C-135, which at first sight is designed simply to extend the definition for this tariff code for one year.

However, things are a little more complicated than that, and Bill C-135, which is being brought in by the governement, is intended not merely to extend the tariff code but also to conceal the government's failure to bring before the House a real bill dealing with pornography and hate literature.

This is not the first time the government has brought back to us a measure aimed at extending these provisions. To sketch in the background of the situation, Mr. Speaker,...

You will remember, Mr. Speaker, that under the Customs Tariff Act customs officials are empowered to forbid entry into Canada of material of an immoral or indecent character. The definition of what constituted obscene material under the Customs Tariff Act used to be broader than the definition of obscenity contained in Section 159(8) of the Criminal Code.

This did not pose a problem until March, 1985 when the Federal Court of Appeal found that the obscenity provisions of the Customs Tariff Act were so vague as to be an unreasonable limit on the freedom of expression guarantee contained in Section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Therefore the court struck down these provisions and, until Parliament acted in April, 1985, there were no restrictions on the importation of obscene materials.

The Tory Government came into power and in April, 1985, instead of bringing in comprehensive legislation dealing not only with the entry into Canada and the dissemination within Canada but with the printing in Canada, the showing of obscene materials, and the dissemination of hate propaganda material, the Government decided to operate by way of a stopgap measure which at the time was known as Bill C-38. Bill C-38 in fact incorporated the obscenity and hate propaganda provisions of the Criminal Code into the Customs Tariff Act. I think the Minister will have to agree that this is what happened in April, 1985.

The problem is that Bill C-38 was introduced for only one year and it lapsed on June 13, 1986. In other words, during the course of that one year the Government did not find time to put together a comprehensive piece of legislation dealing with obscene material, with pornography, and with hate literature.

What did it do a year later since it had not found the time to do the proper thing? It brought before the House Bill C-111, as Your Honour may remember, because Your Honour is very assiduous in attending this House. Your Honour must remember that in June, 1986 Bill C-l 11 was brought in, which

Customs Tariff

Bill extended the application of these obscenity and propaganda provisions of the Criminal Code and the Customs Tariff Act until December 31, 1987.

However, after a second year the Government had not yet brought before the House and passed a proper piece of legislation, so what did it do? In December, 1987 it came forward with Bill C-87 to extend further the stop-gap measure by one year.

What is happening this year? The Government is bringing forward Bill C-135 to further extend the provisions by one year. The real reason for all these extensions is the failure of the Government to pass new pornography legislation which would address the definition problems contained in both the Criminal Code and the Customs Tariff Act.

You will recall, Mr. Speaker, that the Government's new pornography legislation, Bill C-54, which I must admit it tried to pass through the House, did not wash. The legislation was decried. It was criticized by several elements in our society. It was depicted as backwards and Victorian. I also remember Members in this very House saying that it went much too far, that it would impose undue constraints even on libraries which would have to post signs stating that certain books contain material purported to be either obscene or pornographic because of an ill-advised piece of legislation, Bill C-54. In the opinion of some it would even criminalize normal adult sexual activity.

What happened is very simple: the government did not pass Bill C-54, it left it on the Order Paper. The government saw the country was against Bill C-5 and it didn't try to get it passed.

So today we have reached a point where the last extension of a definition of obscenity, of pornography, which allowed our customs officers to stop such material at the border, is running out, since Bill C-97, which was brought in last year, "expires" this week, on June 30, in two days, in other words, as it's already June 28.

The government, having failed to bring in a reasonable piece of legislation, containing definitions of pornography that would be acceptable in Canada (unlike Bill C-54, which was not acceptable to a majority of Canadians), now finds itself obliged once again to extend this provision for a year, to gain time. I don't wish to impute motives to the government, but this does give the impression that the government is trying to buy time so it can come before the people at the next election without really having tackled the problem of pornography in Canada, without having done its duty by bringing in legislation that would also cover hate literature.

This is what really lies behind Bill C-135, which at first sight is perfectly innocuous since it consists of exactly one line. I'll read it to you, Mr. Speaker, it's extremely simple. It has only the one clause, clause 1, which reads as follows:

June 28, 1988

Customs Tariff

Code 9956 in Schedule VII to the Customs Tariff is amended by striking

out the works following paragraph (d) thereof and substituting the following

therefor:

and I quote:

"(This code expires December 31,1989.)"

So all this mysterious language, which at first sight seems very simple, contitutes not just an extension of a customs tariff but a way for the Government to shirk its responsibilities and try to make it to the next elections without really having tackled the problem of pornography and hate literature in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, it is regrettable that the Government is putting off the admission that it made a mistake in presenting an unacceptable piece of legislation like Bill C-54, and putting off the drafting of another bill that would be more reasonable, more in line with the views of the majority of Canadians today, in the Canada we live in now. It is quite obvious that without an adequate bill defining appropriately what is obscene, what is pornographic, we don't have much choice but to vote for this extension of the customs tariff, so that at least unacceptable pornographic material doesn't get into Canada from other countries. But that doesn't really solve the problem of pornography, which can be home-grown. The government is evading its responsibilities.

It is thus with regret that we are going to support Bill C-135, but I wanted to review for you, Mr. Speaker, all the events that led up to this Bill, events the Government has no right to be proud of.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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NDP

John Edmund Parry

New Democratic Party

Mr. John Parry (Kenora-Rainy River):

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to represent my Party on Bill C-135 this morning. My remarks will not be long. I feel that this is an experience that we have endured-and I use the word advisedly-before, in regard to the extension of the expiry date of the Customs Tariff respecting the prohibition on the import of pornographic materials and hate literature. It is a rather sad irony that we are forced to do this again, for I believe the third time, and particularly that we are forced to do so because of a judgment of the Federal Court of Appeal.

That judgment, after all, ruled on the applicability of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I believe that when that Charter was passed most of us thought that it would be something that could be used to protect the weaker members of our society against the sort of aggression that the importation of pornography and hate literature represents.

By the perverse machinations of the legal system it came up with a ruling that rather made it easier to import pornography and hate literature into Canada. I think that it is a sad reflection on the way in which power has been vested in the judiciary in our society and taken away from the democratically elected organs of society that we are forced to do this now again, as I said, for the third time.

I should take this opportunity to point out to Canadians and to Members of the House the very narrow distinction, if any exists, between pornography and hate literature. We in this Party believe that much of what is today termed pornography is in fact hate literature aimed at women and children and that the function of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms should be to protect society, and thus women and children, from those forms of hate literature.

Because of the striking down of provision 99210 in the Customs Tariff which prohibited, and I quote, "the importation of books, printed paper, drawings, paintings, prints, photographs or representations of any kind of a treasonable or seditious or of an immoral or indecent character", we have amended the Customs Tariff. The other reason we are amending the Customs Tariff is of course the fact that we have not had a Bill passed in this House which defines and outlaws pornography and hate literature.

My hon. friend from Saint-Jacques pointed out that simply the importation was governed by the Customs Tariff and that there was no provision in Bill C-135 that would effectively control locally produced obscene or hate propaganda materials.

The Government has been successful to a limited degree by providing a tighter definition of obscene material in the Customs Tariff. I do not believe the insertion of a sunset clause was unwise, but it is because the sunset clause and its latest reincarnation expire this weekend that we have to come forward with this motion to extend that sunset clause for 18 months, and it has to be by means of a Bill.

I sincerely hope, and I am sure all Canadians share this sentiment whatever are their views on the matter of pornography and hate literature, that within 18 months either this Government or our Government which will succeed it, will manage to bring in a workable definition of pornography and hate literature that can be widely supported within the Canadian community and can be applied not only to prevent the importation of such materials but also to prevent their local production.

By the operation of Bill C-135, obscene material according to Section 159 and hate propaganda according to Section 281.3 of the Criminal Code, always assuming the perverse and capricious other House does not interfere with the passage thereof, will be prohibited from introduction into Canada for a further 18 months.

Let us not lose sight of the objective that we should have in this House, the objective of producing a workable definition of what is pornography, what is hate literature, what is erotica, and of enshrining that definition into law so that we can safeguard Canadians, particularly women and children, from the effects of what I believe can ultimately be included in the definition of hate propaganda.

June 28, 1988

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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June 28, 1988