June 7, 1993

LIB

John Paul Manley

Liberal

Mr. Manley:

Mr. Speaker, I agree.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

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

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Lambton- Middlesex-National Defence; the hon. member for Cape Breton-East Richmond-National Defence; the hon. member for Sault Ste. Marie-Peacekeeping; the hon. member for St. Boniface-Student Aid; the hon. member for Saskatoon-Clark's Crossing-The Economy.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Marlene Catterall

Liberal

Mrs. Marlene Catterall (Ottawa West):

Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate that this has been rather a whirlwind process of getting through this bill. We are supporting the bill as it is important and useful. However it is an insufficient step forward with respect to protecting Canada's waterways from the damage of oil spills.

Nonetheless I cannot stand here with any certainty and assure the House or the public that the provisions of this bill are as good as they could be or as tight as they could be. As my colleague from Ottawa South has said, the urgency to get this bill through the House before the House rises and to achieve something out of the very important Brander-Smith report that was completed two years ago unfortunately did not allow us time in committee to give the important consideration we normally would give to a bill of this nature.

I would like to review a bit of history. The country certainly owes a debt to David Brander-Smith and the co-members of his review panel on tanker safety. The report that came out of that review is called Protecting our Waters. That is what the report is all about and it is certainly what this bill is all about.

The committee, and the House, is at a bit of a disadvantage in assessing the value of this legislation against the much more comprehensive recommendations made by Mr. Brander-Smith in his report. We are at a bit of a disadvantage because there has been no comprehensive response yet from the government to the Brander-Smith report. Therefore we cannot know what

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this legislation does to meet the very strong recommendations of the report and what it leaves undone.

We have partial knowledge and therefore we are dealing with the bill in somewhat of a vacuum. May I recall that the departmental briefing on the bill was still going on as the bill was being debated on the floor of the House of Commons. There has been that kind of urgency and inadequate time for reflection and for ensuring that this is the best possible bill in the time available.

The government still has not tabled its comprehensive response to David Brander-Smith's report and that may mean that this Parliament will end without that report ever having been tabled or debated, without Canadians having the opportunity to judge the adequacy of the government's responses to the report against the urgency of the danger to our environment and public health and safety from continuing oil and chemical spills.

We know that some measures have been taken. One of the major findings of the panel inquiry was the total inadequacy of the resources-human resources, financial resources, equipment resources, and training resources-being provided to the Coast Guard to even begin to prevent the spills much less respond to spills when they did occur.

We know that some measures have been taken to improve the response capability and the inspection capability of the Coast Guard. It was only during the hearings on this bill that we had an opportunity to look at what resources have been provided and to focus on the implications of the fact that those resources have not been provided to the department as part of its ongoing funding to carry out the mandate this Parliament has given it through legislation but that this is temporary funding under the green plan.

Of the issues that need to be revisited certainly one is to ensure that the Coast Guard has the ongoing resources to do its job. We need to ensure that when it is necessary that green plan funds are cut back or shifted somewhere else or when the now six-year green plan program comes to an end we will not go back to inspecting only 8 per cent of vessels entering Canadian waters with oil on board.

In addition to that I certainly question the legitimacy of designating a basic fundamental legal responsibility of our Coast Guard and our ministry of transport as green plan funds. The green plan was to be new money and new programs, not merely repackaged ongoing standard government programs. If protection of our waterways is not considered an ongoing standard government program but a new initiative then most people who have read the legislation of this Parliament would find that quite a surprise.

The bill is clearly focused on response to oil spills after they have occurred and not to prevention of oil spills. That is the next major gap that truly needs to be addressed. We do not have a prevention strategy but a mop-up strategy in this legislation.

I am going to come back to some preventive measures that have been ignored, certainly as far as this bill goes. Some of them have been touched on by other speakers.

However, first I want to talk about what will ensure that the momentum to protect our waters, as the review panel said, carries on. It became evident during the committee hearings that the lessons of the earth summit in Rio just a year ago have not yet permeated federal government planning and federal government policy development.

The Minister of the Environment stood in this House time after time, and in press conferences and public meetings, and spoke about the importance of the Rio process in protecting our environment, the importance that the decision and policy-making process be transparent, accessible to a wide range of interests and inclusive, that people from a wide range of sectors, business, labour, environmental interests and education be able to sit down together and come to a concerted projet de societe, as the minister has called it, for the protection of our environment.

This bill before us today is very clearly the product of the industry, in consultation with the government no doubt. It is clearly the bill the industry wants. As a member who sat on that committee I cannot give this House or the public, nor can the government, any assurance that this is the best bill, that this industry sponsored, industry designed and industry implemented system is the best. I cannot say it is not but I cannot say it is because it has been a very narrow process.

June 7, 1993

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Others who were interested in participating in discussions were not able to do so. Unless they had the money to get themselves to meetings from one end of the country to the other and give up their normal paying work for many days at a time to participate in those meetings they could not do it. We cannot have what the Minister of the Environment keeps saying we need, a transparent, accessible and inclusive process, if money is a barrier to people participating.

Clearly our officials at all levels need to find the mechanisms and need to learn the ways to include a broad range of public interests when they are developing policy on issues as important as the protection of our waterways.

We have to remember that Canada has one of the longest coastlines in the world. In the Great Lakes there is 20 per cent of the freshwater of the entire planet.

This bill deals with all those waterways: the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence and all our coastlines, east, west and north. To have come this far without the public interest, whether through environmental groups or local organizations on the sea coasts or on the Great Lakes, being involved in developing that best system is simply not the kind of process we can accept for the future.

When the legislative committee held its first meeting after a week's absence from the House, the industry representatives were all lined up to appear as witnesses. At that point no environmental group had been contacted by the committee, its clerk or its chair. It was a mad scramble to try to hear at least some environmental perspective on this legislation.

We certainly should have been able to hear from at least the citizens' perspective on the east coast, the west coast, the Great Lakes and the Arctic. We simply were not able to do that because responsible organizations, volunteer organizations largely, do not have the budget to hire somebody to prepare a report for them overnight. Responsible organizations are not going to submit to a parliamentary committee something they consider inadequate.

Nonetheless we were able to make some changes that I think are positive in the legislation through a variety of amendments. We were able to strengthen the advisory councils' role so that on an ongoing basis, a system is being put in place by which Bill C-121 will be subject to

public scrutiny. Those advisory councils will have the ability, not necessarily the mandate or the direction, but at least the ability, if they choose, to get their views through to government and Parliament.

What we have not dealt with, and my colleague from Ottawa South touched on it, is the great importance of people who live by our waterways for protecting them. It may be many hours, it may be a day or more, before a formal commercial relationship to respond to an oil spill can be put in place.

Certainly the committee learned, if we did not know already, about the crucial importance of people who live by our oceans, live on our Great Lakes and live along the St. Lawrence in responding to spills, people who spontaneously respond when they see a risk to their environment.

There is nothing in this or in any other legislation that guarantees them compensation for expenses they might incur and any kind of indemnity for damage they might do in the course of carrying out this volunteer operation. In fact there is no mechanism for involving volunteers in the effort to protect our environment. That is certainly a further step in the development of this legislation that is absolutely necessary.

There were a number of other concerns brought to our attention, for instance by cruise ship lines and other environmental groups, that we simply were not able to address.

Finally, I want to briefly discuss the Brander-Smith report and indicate a few other areas. Others have spoken about double hulling and double bottoming being perhaps the most important prevention measure we can take. There is no binding provision in this bill to assure Canadians that this will happen at any time in the future. There is certainly not the assurance recommended by the Brander-Smith report that it be accomplished within seven years.

My colleague from Ottawa South has also referred to the job generation potential if Canada were to speed up a schedule for double hulling and double bottoming in some severely economically disadvantaged regions of our country.

Let me point out another economic benefit of doing this. Increasingly countries that are able to provide environmentally sound services around the world are going to have a competitive advantage in the international marketplace.

June 7, 1993

If we speeded up the double hulling and double bottoming of Canada's fleet we could have a significant competitive advantage in international shipping, and not too long from now.

Let me just refer to a couple of other measures that have yet to be addressed which came out of the Brander-Smith report. The abandoning of the $2 a tonne levy or, as my colleague from Skeena is fond of saying, a penny a pound on oil and oil products transported in Canadian waters, significantly reduces the flexibility of government to do what needs to be done, not on a short-term green plan basis but in the long term.

What is totally ignored in this bill is the issue of chemical spills and the response capability on chemical spills. We know this is a complex bill. We know it is tied in with international negotiations that are ongoing. My colleague from Ottawa South and I would both like to assure the House and the Canadian public that we know that this is unfinished business and that we have a commitment to continue overseeing what is going on in those international discussions and completing the business of protecting our waters.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

Ross Belsher (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross Belsher (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency):

Mr. Speaker, we would be remiss if we were to intimate to the Canadian people that there were not consultations conducted all during the process leading up to this legislation.

There were witnesses who appeared before us that said there were 13 full detailed days, which included representatives from the environment department who in turn would then communicate back to their constituency. This is a transportation bill so why would they not be consulting with the shipping industry and the Coast Guard, which was taking the lead role for that?

Be it as it may, we know that through the last number of years there have been many situations in which upgrading the prevention of spillage is already taking place, and that is continuing.

This legislation is needed so that we can have the clout to bring the force of law in order to prosecute people

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who do pollute our shores or any of our environmental areas. There is a balance with this. Everyone would like to do it all immediately. Both the opposition parties would make us think that the government has unlimited resources to put into this. We have to be prudent as to how we go about it.

Is this bill perfect? No, nobody has ever said it is perfect. Can it be improved? Yes, I am certain it can be improved but at least it is a step in the right direction. It is something that we need. It will go on to aid us and be of benefit to us in future years.

Did any of our witnesses say that we should not pass this bill? Not one. Everyone said yes, please pass it. Some said that they wished there could be more in it. However every witness without exception, including the group that spoke on behalf of the environmentalists from British Columbia which is a very large organization, said to pass it. Brander-Smith, the author of the report the hon. members referred to, said that this is going in the right direction and that we should pass this legislation.

I would not want us not to put on the record today that the witnesses told us to please get on and pass this legislation before we take our summer recess.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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LIB

Marlene Catterall

Liberal

Mrs. Catterall:

Mr. Speaker, that is precisely why the Liberal Party is supporting this legislation. It is equally important when we pass a piece of legislation that we know it takes only one small step and we can see that it is only a first step. There is still a great deal more to be done. We must not delude ourselves, and I do not think that the hon. parliamentary secretary intends to do that.

We must not delude ourselves that by passing this one piece of legislation we are giving Canadians either the sufficient or necessary assurance of the safety of their waters from oil spills or an adequate and full response when spills do occur.

I want to come back to the issue of consultation because, as the Minister of the Environment keeps pointing out in the House, the whole function of bringing different people together who have an interest in issues like this one is fundamental to solving those problems in the future.

June 7, 1993

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Tbrning to prevention, we cannot parcel that out and say the Ministry of Transport does not have to deal with environmentalists, that it can siphon that off to the environment department. The Minister of the Environment has repeatedly said the Ministry of the Environment is not a watch-dog of other departments.

Consideration of the environment must be integrated into all departments. It must become a consideration in all policy development. People were informed but when it came to who sat down at the table at the Transport Institute in Cornwall to actually thrash out what should be in the bill, it was the industry. It was not an independent group that represented a broader public interest.

This is an evolutionary process, but we cannot on the one hand have the Minister of the Environment saying that every department has to look after the environmental concerns within its area of responsibility and on the other hand have the Minister of Transport saying we are passing it over to the Ministry of the Environment to look after the environmental consultations.

The whole concept of the national round table, le projet de la societe, is based on bringing all the parties together and integrating the environment into all our policy making.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

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

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

Is the House ready for the question?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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?

Some hon. members:

Question.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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PC

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

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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?

Some hon. members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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?

Some hon. members:

On division.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA SHIPPING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
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Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.


EXPORT DEVELOPMENT ACT

PC

Monique Landry (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Monique Landry (for the Minister for International Trade) moved

the second reading of, and concurrence in, the amendment made by the Senate to Bill C-118, an act to amend the Export Development Act.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EXPORT DEVELOPMENT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND-CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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Motion agreed to, amendment read the second time and concurred in.


INVESTMENT CANADA ACT


The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-89, an act to amend the Investment Canada Act, as reported (without amendment) from a legislative committee.


SPEAKER'S RULING

PC

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

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

There are three motions on the Notice Paper at report stage of Bill C-89, an act to amend the Investment Canada Act.

Motion No. 1, standing in the name of the hon. member for Sault Ste. Marie, will be debated and voted on separately.

Motion No. 2, standing in the name of the hon. member for Edmonton Southeast, is out of order as it goes beyond the scope of the bill as agreed to in principle at the second reading stage. I would refer the hon. member to Beauchesne's sixth edition, citation 698(1). Accordingly Motion No. 2 will not be selected.

Motion No. 3, standing in the name of the hon. member for Sault Ste. Marie, will be debated and voted on separately.

I shall now propose Motion No. 1 to the House.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
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NDP

Steve Butland

New Democratic Party

Mr. Steve Butland (Sault Ste. Marie) moved:

Motion No. 1.

That Bill C-89 be amended in Clause 2 by striking out line 21 at page 1 and substituting the following therefor:

"of, or with any other entity or person after consulting with the government of the province, and".

He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to bring forth this amendment to Bill C-89.1 thought the government side was going to have some empathy for it and perhaps support it. However I am told that this did not happen. I understand that Investment Canada also expressed some

June 7, 1993

concern about the precedent being set with the amendment.

Although perhaps the perception of the amendment could have been innocuous, I did not look at it that way. I was hoping the government would see it in a fashion that would not be terribly consequential to the bill. However the principle of the amendment should be supported without question by all members of the House.

The clause of the bill would allow Investment Canada in my reading of the wording to circumvent, if one wants to use that word, or go around the arms of government such as provincial governments which Investment Canada in the past had probably dealt with on a regular basis. It indicated at committee stage that it was prepared to continue to do this. It was just a matter of courtesy, one would think. If Investment Canada is going to deal with an entrepreneur somewhere out there with a prospective investment in Canada or a takeover of an industry or business in Canada, the provincial government should know about it at the very least.

The amendment was suggesting to formalize it, to put into the legislation that Investment Canada must do that. I did not think it was too much to ask. Apparently Investment Canada says that it is too much to ask, that we should not bother informing the provincial government about this action. I guess that goes right to the principle of the bill which gives us concern.

The concern is that people or arms of the government other than the government itself are making these kinds of decisions. Perhaps in perspective, in the global overview of this bill and a whole host of other bills like free trade and NAFTA, this pales in comparison. Nevertheless the fact that Investment Canada would not accede to supporting the amendment is bothersome at the least. It is irksome that it would not go for it and it disturbs me.

We would encourage the government because government members are probably quite accepting of the amendment. I would encourage the government to supersede, to show who is in charge. Is it the government or is it Investment Canada?

Maybe the wording of the amendment would allow it not to be terribly powerful or potent. Maybe it would not do very much other than to say to the premier and the

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minister of industry and trade in the provinces that it is about to do something and ask what they think. This era of supposed harmonious provincial-federal relations almost begs that we do so.

We encourage the government and the Official Opposition to support the amendment.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
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PC

Peter L. McCreath (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Peter L. McCreath (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade):

Mr. Speaker, I will briefly respond to my hon. colleague. He has put this motion forward in good faith and with the best of intentions with respect to the suggestion that Investment Canada should not proceed in areas that are going to impact negatively on provinces and so on.

I would like to say to him that the word consultation means different things to different people. Perhaps it is the use of the word consultation or the requirement with respect to consultation. What is involved here is that the purpose of the amendment, not my hon. friend's amendment but the amendment to the Investment Canada Act, is to give the minister the power to enter into agreements with entities in the private sector primarily designed to share the monetary cost of an investment promotion project. We are talking about agreements that generally speaking would involve less than $100,000 and would have minimal, if any, impact on provincial government policies or programs.

On the other hand if we legislate a requirement for consultation and there was some difference of opinion as to what consultation involved or what the implications of it were, the result could be quite a significant delay in implementing it. I would point out to my hon. friend it is routine practice on the part of Investment Canada to consult in any event with its provincial counterparts on promotional activities, particularly if there is some suggestion that it may impact directly on a province.

The concern my hon. friend brings forward is a very legitimate one. In fact it is already accommodated in the manner by which Investment Canada carries out its affairs. There is some concern relative to the impact of the precedent involved, in writing the concept of consultation as to what it may or may not mean. Therefore it is the view of the government that the amendment, while

June 7, 1993

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perhaps meritorious in its intent, is in fact not necessary and therefore will not be supported by the government.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
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June 7, 1993