June 1, 1993

LIB

Sheila Finestone

Liberal

Mrs. Finestone:

I ask the government to consider this amendment in a positive way and to undertake to have this review put into place every five years.

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NDP

Lyle Dean MacWilliam

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lyle Dean MacWilliam (Okanagan -Shuswap):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and initiate the discussion of the various amendments that have been made to Bill C-62.1 understand at this point, although I arrived a little bit late, that we are discussing the motion entrenching the review of the act and to have a complete and impartial review every five years. I have no difficulty with that. We will be supporting this motion.

The fact is that we have embarked on a process of upgrading legislation that has been in need of a thorough overhaul and review for a good many years. I want to say that the time is overdue to ensure that our telecommunications policy and legislation is brought up to date to address the concerns of what is really a field of industry that is very rapidly evolving and changing. Some of the technology we are faced with today was not even conceived of as little as 10 years ago.

There is no question in my mind and certainly in the minds of my colleagues that there is a very critical need to bring our legislative framework into the 21st century.

The fact that it is a critically important policy document and legislation leaves me somewhat surprised with how this government has approached the whole issue of the debate and certainly of introducing amendments to what is a very complex technical document.

I must say I was shocked at how almost in an ad hoc manner during the committee reading at report stage and looking at clause by clause analysis, the ministry was bringing in amendments upon amendments upon amendments. With a bill of some 130 clauses I think over all that we had more than a couple of hundred amendments. It made the process an absolute sham.

I would like to say to the minister that it does not make for good, solid legislation when we get these last minute

changes by the ministry as well as legitimate changes by members of the opposition who would like to see certain aspects of the bill strengthened.

It was an absolute shambles at times in committee trying to make heads or tails out of the direction the government was wanting to take with its changes as well as the changes that we wanted to make.

It is not a good way to bring forward legislation. It does not make for rational discussion. It does not make for reasonable decision making. I can only hope that at the end of this process we have a piece of legislation that at least addresses some of the outstanding concerns of the industry.

I am fearful that the time pressures that we were put under in this House and in the legislative committee to look at what was a very complex bill were simply unrealistic. One cannot make the kinds of reasoned and rational arguments that one is expected to make with the overwhelming amount of amendments that were brought in by the government.

Then it brought in amendments upon those amendments. That does not make for good policy making or good decision making. I think the minister should recognize that although this bill has been in the works for some years now, the process that his senior administrators used and that we were forced into in terms of this government's time mandate was an absolute sham.

Having said that, I want to say that the amendments that have been brought forward, both during the legislative committee hearings and at report stage here in the House, would go a long way toward strengthening certain sections of this piece of legislation.

The fact that my Liberal colleague from the Montreal area has proposed the amendment to review this act eveiy five years is quite appropriate. I will go back to my original argument. This field being technological in nature is rapidly evolving. It is changing at a pace where at times, at least in terms of computer usage and enhanced services, almost before new procedures and new technologies are brought into the marketplace they are outmoded. This shows us just how quickly the pace of change has accelerated.

June 1, 1993

In light of this and the problem by the convergence of technologies in the communications medium and broadcast medium-they now have the technological capability with a single fibre optic cable to carry not only video but audio transmissions and digital signals-this makes for a situation where this bill may be superseded by technological advancement within months if not years.

There is no question in my mind that putting a thorough review of the act every five years into the legislation itself is quite an appropriate amendment. I would be quite willing to support that amendment.

The need for review is even more enhanced by the fact of how we have had to proceed with the legislative process as I was reflecting on it earlier. Certainly the timeframe that we have had as a House to debate the bill to this point and to discuss the amendments in committee leaves a grave sense of justice undone in terms of some of the changes that could have been introduced and some of the procedures of strengthening the legislation that we could have involved ourselves in if more time had been given during that legislative committee.

I am afraid that there are probably a lot of loose ends here that we have not tied up yet. We did the best we could.

I know that my office was working virtually until the last minute trying to get amendments made to legislation. Because of the number of amendments made during the committee stage we still did not have a final copy of the bill until a few scant hours before the deadline for the submission of amendments at report stage in the House.

Therefore one can see that there is a lot of room for error. I only hope that in a bill which is as technologically complex as this one at least we have been able to address some of these errors.

In light of the fact that we perceive there are still weaknesses in the bill that have not been addressed, it makes good sense to entrench in the legislation a review of this legislation every five years.

That is all I will say on this particular amendment at this point.

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PC

Henry Perrin Beatty (Minister of Communications)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Perrin Beatty (Minister of Communications):

Mr. Speaker, I want to take just a couple of minutes of the House's time to explain why it is not possible for the government to support this particular amendment, although I have the greatest sympathy for the goal that the hon. member is trying to achieve.

Hon. members opposite have talked about the importance of reviewing legislation that has been put on the statute books by the government. Of that there is no debate. Those of us on this side of the House agree particularly with a piece of legislation as important as this that it is important to review the work of Parliament from time to time. We must ensure that the intention that Parliament had at the time it passed the legislation is being reflected when the bill actually becomes law.

I do want to pick up on a couple of points that have been made by my friends on the other side. Then I will come back to the question as to the best way to proceed.

My colleague who just spoke, the hon. member for Okanagan-Shuswap, indicated that he saw it as a flaw and that I as minister or that the government had entertained a significant number of amendments to the bill at committee. He tended to condemn proposals that were made by the government for amendments, but said that amendments that were made by the opposition were constructive and useful.

He can correct me if I am wrong but the hon. member used the figure of more than 200 amendments being proposed. In fact we are looking at more than 50 amendments that were dealt with so the figure of 200 is something of an exaggeration.

At the time this bill was first being considered at pre-study before the Senate committee, as well on the floor of the House of Commons and also in committee, I indicated an openness on my part and on the part of the government to listen and to make improvements where genuine suggestions were made for improvement.

That inevitably leaves one open to this criticism. It would have been easy for the government to simply say: "We will accept no amendments at all. What has been written in here is cast in stone and the government will simply strike down any amendment that is proposed of any sort or not even consider proposing any amendment itself notwithstanding the fact that people may have suggestions to make the bill better". We did not choose to take that route. Instead we said that in any instance

June 1, 1993

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where people had suggestions which could improve the bill that we were certainly open to doing that.

Indeed, we dealt with our colleagues on the opposition side in a spirit of openness. Certainly when I went before the committee with my opening testimony, I invited them and members on our side to suggest improvements to the legislation. I gave the undertaking we would respond in a way that was constructive and positive. That indeed we have done.

This is why, when my hon. friend from Okanagan- Shuswap criticizes us for having made significant amendments to the bill, I think really he cannot have it both ways. He cannot ask that the government be open and amenable to suggestions that are made for change and then be critical and say that this proves the bill is badly flawed or that there are all sorts of loose ends because the government responded to improvements that were suggested either by members of the opposition, by members of the government or by members of the public.

Frankly I am veiy proud of the process that was followed because I believe it demonstrates a willingness on our part to be responsive when constructive suggestions are made.

The proposal made by my colleague from Mount Royal is that every five years a parliamentary committee should be mandated to review the bill to determine whether or not it is achieving the purpose for which it was designed and whether or not improvements can be made and whether it should report back to the House with regard to that.

Again, no one quarrels with the suggestion that there should be a review from time to time of government legislation. That is not at issue here. Legislation as complex and broad ranging as this should be under regular review by government and Parliament. If improvements can be made we should do so whenever it is appropriate.

In view of the fact that the House and the House's committees are masters of their own proceedings, they have the ability to conduct reviews at any time into any matter that is of concern to them. Why should we be

writing into the statute that the review must take place at the end of five years? If the bill has as many loose ends as my friend from Okanagan-Shuswap suggests, it raises the question as to why we would wait five years.

If it is proven to the government of the day that there is a deficiency in the bill, why would we not make an amendment before that? If members of the opposition feel that a review is more appropriate before that time because the bill has been found in some way in their judgment to be flawed, why would they not propose that a committee conduct a review prior to that time? Nothing prevents the committee from doing that. It can do it at any time. Committees are masters of their own procedures. Instead we have an amendment that would lock us into a five-year schedule. Five years from now there would be a review, five years after that another review and so on.

It is appropriate that the bill continue to be examined by government and Parliament to determine whether or not it is serving the purposes for which it was designed. We do not want to have the situation again that we are in today where we are regulating our premier high-tech industry under the Railway Act of 1908.

We want to ensure that the legislation which deals with telecommunications is modem, efficient, effective and up to date. If there is a need for change it is not necessary to wait five years. If it turns out the bill is doing well and is serving the purpose for which it was designed, why should we lock ourselves into a review at the end of five years if the members of Parliament and particularly members of the parliamentary committee are satisfied that such a review is not necessary at that time?

Let us not bind the hands of the parliamentary committee and Parliament. Let us ensure that judgment is taken on a case by case basis by members of Parliament of the day as to whether or not such a review is appropriate.

The disagreement is not about the intention but about whether the amendment proposed by my hon. friend is the best way to proceed. In my opinion a review should be conducted if and whenever it seems appropriate. We should not lock ourselves into a rigid timetable.

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NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Riis:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

June 1, 1993

What we are doing is highly extraordinary. Normally we would have an idea that the legislation was going to be proceeded with. We would have an idea of how the groupings would occur in terms of the motions. I think this has caught us all by surprise. We have people who want to debate this particular motion. They were not aware it was going to be up at this point.

There appears to be some difference in approach. We want to carry on a very learned debate, in particular with those who played a role in the committee and have an interest in how we participate. Would people consider calling it one o'clock so we can pick up the debate at three o'clock in a more meaningful way? It will also allow the Chair to make the deliberations in terms of how the motions ought to be grouped.

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PC

Henry Perrin Beatty (Minister of Communications)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Beatty:

Mr. Speaker, I am quite prepared to discuss with my hon. friend how we should organize debate on this. It was my understanding that we would be proceeding with this piece of legislation as soon as the other piece of legislation that preceded it was dealt with.

I am sure that was the understanding on both sides of the House.

There is a motion to amend the bill before the House which was moved by my friend from Mount Royal. Two members on the Liberal side were seeking the Chair's attention at the time I rose. I do not see the difficulty in continuing.

If there is a disposition on the part of my colleagues opposite to have the debate completed during a reasonable period of time I am certainly agreeable to rising now if they would like to do so. If there is not such an agreement then I believe we should continue to debate it now and not simply give up House time that could otherwise be used profitably.

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NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Riis:

My friend the minister is correct up to a point. We were going to complete the work on Bill C-101, amendments to the labour code, but of course we have not done that. Some rather extraordinary interplay within the House has not been concluded so consequently the understanding we had did not transpire. [DOT]

I want to say to my friend, the minister, that we have asked for a more reasoned approach to debating this

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legislation which I think is very appropriate. It is important legislation and there is a considerable interest in it in the country. If the minister is not prepared to proceed in a more orderly fashion to permit people to participate, we have no intention of entering into any agreement to wrap this up quickly. We have a lot of people who want to debate it and the less positive reaction from the minister will guarantee there will be more people wanting to debate this as the week continues.

I am asking for some serious effort here in terms of being able to proceed in a business-like, orderly way, as opposed to having to deal with legislation by surprise.

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PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

I do not see the

point in continuing this debate. I understand the surprise of the hon. member for Kamloops and thank him and the Minister of Communications for expressing their points of view.

I simply want to remind the House that the Chair's decision has been made and that we are simply consulting now. It is customary in Parliament for the Speaker to consult before rendering his full decision. These consultations have taken place on almost all the proposed amendments, I would say.

There is no problem if the Chair proposes at least the motions that were selected. We know that it is up to the Chair to consider each motion carefully to see whether it is in order, to group together the motions on the same subject and to reject those that are out of order.

The Chair immediately selected Motion No. 2, as well as Motion No. 1, which we can perhaps debate before lunch if time permits. So there is no major inconvenience with beginning and even completing consideration of Motion No. 2 2 hon. members so desire, even though the Chair has not rendered its decision in full.

So I respectfully submit that we should continue the debate on Motion No. 2 which will deprive no one of his or her legitimate right to speak.

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NDP

Lyle Dean MacWilliam

New Democratic Party

Mr. MacWilliam:

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I listened very carefully to the Chair's explanation and I agree that the Chair has had the opportunity to peruse the motions and ascertain which motions are not redundant and therefore debatable.

June 1, 1993

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There is one point I might mention for the Chair's consideration, given the time constraints and the mix-up on the previous vote that was deferred. As opposition critic I have placed some 34 amendments before the Chair for consideration. At this point I do not know what the groupings of those amendments are so I am completely at a loss to determine which motions within the next few moments I may very well be asked to speak on. When this debate was going on, right up to the time when I had to rise in response to my colleague from the Montreal area on her motion, I was debating with the Clerk as to how the motions should be grouped and giving any arguments or explanations for why a grouping would not work.

Because the earlier vote was deferred and we were brought into this very quickly I do not have a clear picture as to what we will be debating in the very near future. It is causing a great deal of difficulty in terms of speakers who do wish to speak on particular aspects.

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PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

I listened very carefully to what the hon. member for Okanagan-Shu-swap said and in that context, perhaps I could suggest that the House confine itself to consideration of Motion No. 2. If the House disposes of this motion before lunch time, perhaps we could then suspend the debate and return to consideration of Bill C-62 after Question Period, if the government so desires.

I therefore believe that it would not be inappropriate to continue consideration of the motion which is now before the House. I give the floor to the hon. member for London East.

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LIB

Joseph Frank (Joe) Fontana

Liberal

Mr. Joe Fontana (London East):

Mr. Speaker, I too am grateful for the opportunity to speak to this House with respect to Bill C-62 and specifically about Motion No. 2, the five year review of the act.

I would like to make an opening comment and I think the minister alluded to it as well as my colleague from Mount Royal and my NDP colleague from BC I believe at committee there was a great deal of openness and I want to applaud the chair and all the members who

worked long and hard on this particular bill. I must say that I was there on a number of occasions and there was a great deal of co-operation among the members. In the true spirit of parliamentary reform that is what we like to see.

The government put forward something like 100 or 150 amendments. That indicates a spirit of co-operation and trying to improve a bill. Even the government recognized there were some deficiencies in the bill and it was prepared to move on them. I do not think that is a sign of weakness on the part of the government. It is a sign that the government needed to make those changes. In fact a lot of those changes to the bill were initiated by the government as well as the Liberals and the NDP. I think the end product is something of which we can all be proud.

I also want to take this opportunity to commend the committee because what it did was unique. Around the table dealing with the amendments were representatives from industry and the CRTC as well as interest groups such as cultural groups, ACTRA and others who had vested interests in this bill. I think that was a very positive move on the part of the committee and as a result we have a much better bill.

The amendments and motions that will be put forward in the next day or two will deal with further improvements to the bill that we think are absolutely necessary. As the minister pointed out, telecommunications in this country is one of the largest industries. Domestically and internationally it is apparent and abundantly important that this country be at the forefront of telecommunications. It is our strength and it is an opportunity to be able to move in a globally competitive way to market our skills and technology. We must take what we have already built and give the industry that is formulated in this country the opportunity to develop those markets world-wide. I think that is why it is very important.

Domestically I think it is important for us because telecommunications binds a country. Other things bind a country such as politics, culture and a number of other things but telecommunications is the way we are able to communicate with one another and understand one another a lot better from every region from sea to sea to sea. I think that is very important. This industry is absolutely essential to the future of this country. After

nine years of delay by this government, Bill C-62 is finally before this House and we can move forward.

With respect to Motion No. 2, a five-year review of the act, call it what you will but sunset provisions or reviews of legislation are not new to this House or this government. In fact other legislatures are doing exactly the same thing. Why do we not make a commitment as this motion proposes, to review this act again in five years to make sure it is doing what it is supposed to do and that its objectives have been achieved or are on the way to being achieved?

Since 1908 the Railway Act has governed telecommunications in this country. It has taken something like 85 years to get to the point of having a new modem telecommunications bill.

There has been a nine-year delay in getting it here by a government that was committed to bringing this forward. What is so wrong with reviewing it five years after the proclamation of this act? It is a commitment to the industry, to people, and to Parliament that we intend to do a full review in five years.

The telecommunications industry is changing very quickly. What is state of the art today may very well not be four or five years from now. What is wrong with Parliament or this government undertaking to the people, the industry and everybody involved in telecommunications that in five years we will do a total review?

The minister is right. We can review a piece of legislation at any time. Committees can do it. People can introduce amendments. However that is a haphazard way of doing it. It may or may not happen. Looking forward in a very positive way the minister should undertake, and there is nothing to be afraid of, that five years from now the government has to review a piece of legislation, especially one as important as this one is.

This government has done it in other pieces of legislation. Other governments have done sunset reviews. That is a great way of governing because it is a commitment to planning, to be organized and to be forward thinking. It is absolutely important that in such a vital area as telecommunications, an area which is very important to this country, its economic prosperity and its global competitiveness, after five years we have the opportunity to be able to improve it and do a full review

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to make sure that the objectives of the bill as stated in section 7 are being adhered to.

There are certain technical amendments that always have to be made to a bill, be it in the French version, the English version or the translation. It is important to note that even though this bill has been nine years in coming when it finally came to this House, which was sometime in April and May is just over, we have moved fairly quickly even though the minister said he would put it for pre-study. That was a great move on his part. I am not afraid to say that the government does some things right and we appreciate that.

It has moved fairly quickly through the House and through the committee stages because there was a great attempt, understanding that there were certain guidelines and that we are not going to be here much longer. The government obviously wants to get on with electing a new leader and hopefully on to a new election so that people can then deal with all of this government's policies as opposed to just this one bill.

It is important for us to note that Motion No. 2 speaks to a new way of governing. That is to have the process open and say that five years after proclamation the Parliament of Canada will review a very important piece of legislation. It is very important to our prosperity and very important to industry. We must make sure that we are always at the forefront of telecommunications development because it is an industry that is changing overnight.

Things change as we speak. What was good five years ago or even two years ago may not be any good two or three years from now. Therefore a five-year sunset provision is a commitment on the part of the government that Parliament must undertake a full review to make sure that the objectives of the bill are being achieved for the good of the country.

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LIB

Mac Harb

Liberal

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre):

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure and honour to participate in this debate and in particular to speak on some of the amendments proposed by my colleague from the Montreal West-mount riding.

I would like to start with the positive aspects of this bill. One would have to say that it does address to a large extent many of the concerns that the industry has. It does to a large extent respond to the aspirations of the industry and to the hopes of the industry.

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It also provides them with the tools to not only help the industry move forward at the local level but to launch into new markets in areas outside of this country.

My colleague has indicated that the telecommunications industry is one of the most important industries in Canada. I would like to amend that by saying that it is the most important industry in Canada. Everything we do or see today when it comes to the high technology area has, in one way or another, one component that relates to telecommunications.

It is an industry unlike any other type of industry. It is moving at an incredible rate. A few years back we would never have thought that we could turn on a machine and suddenly a typewritten message would be written before us. We would never have thought that we would see the day when we would receive a letter from someone over the telephone wires that comes out at our desk. That is what we call the fax machine.

We would probably never have thought we would come to a point where people at different ends of the planet would be able to speak and at the same time see each other's picture. We would never have thought that a person would get to another planet millions and millions of kilometres away and still be able to communicate with the Earth and the people here could see that person speaking to them.

We have to thank the telecommunications industry for providing us with these opportunities and these chances. This would not happen if the industry did not have the will or the incentive to create these inventions.

The role of a government is to facilitate and to introduce legislation when there is a need for legislation. In terms of facilitation, even though the government waited quite some time before it introduced this legislation it has facilitated the introduction of the bill and has come forward with the legislation which industry and consumer and special interest groups have been calling for a long period of time.

Having said that, nothing is perfect. The government has admitted that when this legislation was introduced it required about 51 amendments and in excess of 150 changes while the bill was before the committee. Many of those amendments were accepted by all the parties concerned. They were supported by the industiy and by

the consumer groups that appeared before the committee.

We have a reasonably good piece of legislation before the House of Commons. Hopefully it will go through in time for Senate approval. My colleague, the spokesperson for the Liberal Party, has made an amendment that would allow the government and this House, if there is a need for changes to be introduced between now and the next five years, to act upon those proposed changes.

In the event that there are no proposed changes coming from the industry, the community as a whole or different levels of government and so on, at the end of the five-year period a committee would automatically receive a copy of the legislation. It would look at it and if there was no need for any changes then it would let it be. There would be no changes.

I can guarantee with the tremendous increase and changes in technology and the industry, that the government, probably within the next six months, will realize very quickly that there is a need for amendments to be introduced and a need for change.

As the minister has properly indicated we do not need a resolution by this House in order to revisit a piece of legislation. The intent of this motion is not to stop a change from occurring between now and five years from now. The intent of this motion is to say that at the end of the five-year period, notwithstanding that there could be many proposals for changes, it must look at the act in a way whereby the government can address the concerns that exist. If there are no concerns and there is no need for change then let it be. We do not have to make any changes.

I wonder whether the minister would have been happy if part of the proposal had said that no later than five years after the coming into effect of this act the House would have to revisit the act.

He already indicated in his comments that a committee can do that anyway. That is why the motion says that the House will conduct an automatic review of the legislation five years after introducing it. It is the intent of the motion to provide us with a safeguard so that in the event that the industry or the Canadian public see fit to review the act they would at least know that there will be an automatic review.

June 1, 1993

As somebody who finished school in telecommunications I am extremely excited and encouraged that after waiting for over nine years this legislation has finally come before the House. It is my hope that the government in its discussions with the opposition parties and with our spokesperson, my colleague from Westmount, between now and three o'clock might want to look at all of these positive amendments and see if it would not be able to accommodate them. The intention of those amendments is not to delay the bill or detract from the main intention of the bill but to improve the legislation and ensure that we have legislation that will go a long way toward helping the high-tech industry in Canada.

I call on the government to look at the proposed amendments and see what can be done. Hopefully we can adopt them unanimously.

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NDP

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lyle Kristiansen (Kootenay West-Revelstoke):

Mr. Speaker, there have been a number of interesting contributions to the discussion on the second part of the bill that is before us at report stage, Bill C-62, an act respecting telecommunications.

The process that has been followed has been one of the most botched up and confusing scenarios that I have witnessed in my 10 years in this place and in my involvement in committees. I do not know if it is a French bouillabaisse, a Hungarian goulash, or an Irish stew but if we are cooking any of those dishes and have a multitude of cooks coming and going, none knowing what the other had put in or when they had added to the recipe, it is very difficult to know at any given point in time during the preparation of that stew, bouillabaisse, or whatever, just what is in front of us and whether it will be palatable.

That seems to be much the situation that we have with regard to this bill.

A bill such as this deals with an industry that is so absolutely vital to the present and future Canada. It concerns communications and telecommunications with all the various ramifications and the rapidly changing technology. It is one of the most important domestic service industries. It has also been for some years one of our major export industries in terms of the hard goods, the software and the technology that we have exported that have put Canada on the map in many parts of the world. It is difficult to overestimate the importance that this industry and this bill has or will have in the next few

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years particularly, as I said, with all the rapid changes that have been taking place.

I gather that the minister himself a few moments ago said that if we were going to have a review every five years then why not have one every two years. I am not sure that that is not perhaps a good idea at least for the first time around. Look at the process that has been followed where the government introduced at least 75 amendments and it has been suggested that there were maybe as many as 150 changes-

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PC

Henry Perrin Beatty (Minister of Communications)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Beatty:

It was 51 amendments.

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NDP

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Kristiansen:

It was 51 amendments. It introduced 51 amendments during the committee's clause by clause consideration. That left many members of that committee on both sides wondering just where they were attempting to make sense out of this vital legislation.

That caused an inevitable mix-up in committee. We hope we have something good because there is a lot of good in it. It is something that has been long awaited and is very necessary. We would certainly like to see the appropriate legislation move ahead, but we may end up in a very short period of time, particularly because of the rapidly changing technology, with a bill that is unsuitable just one or two years down the road.

The importance this has to Canada is hard, as I said earlier, to overestimate. This industry has the capacity to change the demographics of the country. Something that was not possible many years ago and in fact many months ago was for people by the thousands to choose where they will live in this country. They may want to live in a rural setting in small towns in the interior of British Columbia or in the middle of the prairies or in the centre of a major metropolitan area and still be gainfully employed in a major industry. It is not just the communications industry but many other service industries across Canada.

One of the problems that we have had just in the past few years is that the mind-set of some industries still has not caught up with what technology has made available. Rather than using the opportunity of the revolution in communications to allow their work forces to decentralize and live where they wish and have a more socially productive lifestyle both for themselves and for the community at large, they have used the technology and the investment in the technology to centralize people and to discharge employees whether they were in Nelson, in Kelowna, in Cranbrook or in hundreds of other communities across the country.

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?

An hon. member:

Job displacement.

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NDP

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Kristiansen:

If it was necessary to do that for any hard, economic reason or for technological reasons then we could understand it. Etowever, it has been the height of irresponsibility at a time when we could have used this technology to increase the freedom of our people and to further centralize operations and centralize control over people. It concerns not only their work lives but their family lives and their community lives as well with a great deal of disruption, both social and economic, to the fabric of many of our communities and many thousands of families.

I see that it is one o'clock and perhaps we should recess for lunch.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
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PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

It being one o'clock p.m., I do now leave the chair until two o'clock p.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(2).

The House took recess at 1 p.m.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
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AFTER RECESS The House resumed at 2 p.m.


PC

Andrée Champagne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Madam Deputy Speaker:

I would like to table the report entitled "Access Today 1993-Review of the Initiatives Taken by the House of Commons to Serve Canadians with Disabilities".

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
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STATEMENTS PURSUANT TO S. O. 31

June 1, 1993