November 6, 1997

LIB

Roger Gallaway

Liberal

Mr. Roger Gallaway (Sarnia—Lambton, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, on October 29, I raised the question where do we sit as government with respect to a bill passed in the last Parliament known as the MMT bill, Bill C-29 or Bill C-94.

Members and people watching should know that this legislation came forward in the last Parliament for various stated reasons. The first time it came in, the government said it wanted to have a uniform blend of gasoline. To do that it had to remove MMT from Canadian gasoline because it did not exist in the United States. But the government knew or ought to have known that the American Environmental Protection Agency was about to license it and indeed it did.

Instead of pulling the bill at the time, the government proceeded to change its rationale. Instead of saying it was for a uniform blend of gasoline, it said it wanted to examine this as a public safety matter. But this was not case. It was not a health matter because Health Canada at that time was issuing statements saying there were no known health risks with MMT. It could not find any risks and would give a published statement to that effect.

The government on one hand was saying that public safety was the reason, and that is a very laudable and noble objective. But if I were to follow the rationale of the environment department, then I am sure there are a lot of other products we could outlaw, such as bacon or donuts, because they too are allegedly bad for your health.

In the end the bill passed the Commons. It forbids the importation of MMT. It is interesting to note that the environment department proposed a bill that is a trade bill. It is a bill that bans the importation of a product. The manufacturer of that product, Ethyl Corporation, now has the Government of Canada before a NAFTA trade tribunal.

What is the outcome likely to be? There are two possible outcomes. How is it going to affect Canadians? The answers are clear. If we loose this challenge under the NAFTA, we are going to pay $201 million U.S. or we are going to have to revoke the law. Second, if we win the NAFTA trade challenge, Canadians are going to pay more for gasoline at the pumps.

I ask members here, in particular the parliamentary secretary, and those watching, who is going to pay? Canadians can pay at the gas pumps or Canadians can pay through their taxes.

I would ask that the next time parliamentarians want to talk about the price of gasoline they tell Canadians that, with respect to the increase in the price of gasoline, they contributed to the problem. I think this is the least that those who supported this bill can do for Canadians.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Criminal Code
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LIB

Julian Reed

Liberal

Mr. Julian Reed (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, as the House will recall, an act to regulate the interprovincial trade and importation for commercial purposes of certain manganese based substances, Bill C-29, received royal assent on April 25, 1997. The act came into force June 24.

On April 14, Ethyl Corporation, the sole North American producer of MMT, filed a claim for damages under the investor stated dispute settlement provisions in chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The arbitration will be conducted pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Rules which provide that one arbiter be appointed by each of the disputing parties and a third appointee appointed by agreement of the disputing parties.

Three highly respected international arbiters have been appointed to the tribunal. Ethyl Corporation has named Charles Brower, a lawyer practising in international arbitration in Washington, and the Government of Canada has appointed the Hon. Marc Lalonde, a lawyer in Montreal also practising international arbitration. Mr. Karl-Heinz Bockstiegel of Germany has agreed to serve as the presiding arbiter.

On October 2 the parties met with the tribunal to discuss procedural issues. At the meeting the schedule for the coming months was set. The first oral hearing will be February 24 and February 25, 1998.

The rules and procedures governing NAFTA dispute settlement were developed with a view to ensuring a just and cost effective resolution of disputes.

As this matter is currently before the tribunal it would be inappropriate for me to express any opinion on the merits of the case. That is for the competent tribunal to decide.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Criminal Code
Permalink
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The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

The motion to adjourn the House is deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6.56 p.m.)

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   Criminal Code
Permalink

November 6, 1997