June 4, 2003

?

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

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 Dartmouth, Social Programs.

We will resume debate. When I suspended the House the hon. member for Saint-Jean had the floor.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Lobbyists Registration Act
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BQ

Claude Bachand

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Claude Bachand (Saint-Jean, BQ)

Madam Speaker, just now, my hon. colleague from Elk Island was saying that an entire year went by before he could finish his speech. I probably hold the record for having my speech interrupted five or ten minutes by a fire alarm. That is always fun.

I do not know if my subject was too hot, but I was explaining the importance of the various levels of government and talking about the power of the media. I do not think that lobbyists will convince journalists because, given their ethics and their code of conduct, they cannot do this.

The role of these famous lobbyists is known, but some facts are needed to understand how they proceed. The fact that Bill C-15 has come back to the House with amendments from the Senate shows that it took some effort. However, over the years, these people have wielded undeniable power. Clearly, those earning $300,000 or $400,000 per year to lobby must provide results and their employers must ensure that they benefit from this.

This has somewhat distorted the democratic process in the House of Commons. This happens elsewhere too, probably in other Parliaments around the world.

Now, we could talk about lobbyists forever, but also about political party financing, which is also a major problem. Those who contribute the most to federal parties' campaign funds are probably the ones best able to hire the most competent and most expensive lobbyists. That is where the problem lies.

For example, it is not surprising to see, when it comes to bills that interest the ten biggest contributors to the Liberal Party, a certain number of lobbyists are involved, trying to win the government over. If the bill seeks a reform that goes against the interests of these donors, the lobbyists try to convince the government to change its approach and protect the company for which they work.

Naturally, this creates a number of distortions. I think that the average citizen does not have the same power as the President of Bell Canada or the lobbyist hired by Bell Canada. This, to some extent, circumvents the democratic workings of Parliament, both with regard to the executive branch, where the ministers and the Prime Minister can be subject to pressure or have meetings with lobbyists, and with regard to backbenchers like us. Obviously, we are sometimes solicited by lobbyists.

Sometimes people talk about getting together for a meal but nothing ever comes of it. However, lobbyists often take it one step further and say, “When you organize a cocktail party, would you like us to help?” One thing leads to another and if they are not careful, people get caught in situations that are not democratic in our society and they empower lobbyists.

We were disappointed by this bill. We will support the bill, as amended by the Senate, but our problem is that Bill C-15, as a whole, does not suit us.

As I said at the beginning of my speech, we put forward many amendments that were defeated. Among other things, there is the obligation to disclose meetings with officials and ministers. There are officials such as deputy ministers or senior officials, who can become victims of lobbyists. When I say victim, I mean they can become influenced by these individuals and become convinced that such and such a bill or policy could be detrimental.

If they were required to disclose the names of ministers they meet with or the fact that they met with the Prime Minister, this would give us a primary indication of the people who rub shoulders with ministers, the Prime Minister or senior officials in a department. This could alert us to what is going on and allow us to better control the situation. The amendments we put forward to address this were defeated.

As far as disclosing the amounts devoted to lobbying, everyone listening will understand that a $4,000 lobby campaign is not the same as a $400,000 one. The latter will be far more intensive. Moreover, in the bill this is referred to as the intensity of the lobby—that is what we called it.

It is certain that, if a lobbyist is paid $400,000 a year and has a $4 million budget at his disposal for a campaign—and this is a plausible figure because there are some among the top 10 contributors to the Liberal Party who can afford that—understandably, the lobbying can be intense.

The higher the figure, the more the lobbyist is paid, the more it is felt that there will be pressures on the government, departmental officials, ministers, the Prime Minister or MPs, in order to sell their idea, block a reform, or change it in such as way that it will not affect the organization for which he works.

This is, therefore, an important point for us, and the reason we introduced our amendments.

As far as disclosure of the amounts is concerned, this too was turned down. Another point that could be addressed—and which I touched upon here—is lobbyists' fees. There are often differences. Lobbyists can be consultants or paid lobbyists. Some have an annual salary. Understandably, if one person earns $40,000 and another $400,000, this affects the intensity of the promotion campaign or lobbying that is carried out. Once again, this has been dropped from the bill. It is not there.

Then there are the fees with strings attached, about which there have been scandals. We had the sponsorship scandal in which certain companies could get back a percentage of what was going to be charged to the government. This too was turned down. It is not in the bill.

As for the disclosure by lobbyists of their positions, it is also important to know which person on a list of lobbyists has held a high-level position in the federal administration. These are, unfortunately, all things that were left out of the bill. Today we find ourselves dealing with a totally wishy-washy bill that does not provide what is needed to protect society. This is most unfortunate.

I had examples, like the sponsorship scandal I just mentioned. There is also another aspect. I am the defence critic for my party, and hon. members should see all the lobbying going on for the replacement of the Sea Kings. There are many lobbyists representing various companies. Four big consortiums have submitted proposals to the government. Members should see what these lobbyists are focusing on. Even if I am only a backbencher, I often meet with these people, and they tell me, “You know, our approach is the best. Our proposal is the best overall”. All these people are moving in our circles and the ministers' circles.

Another example is strategic air transport. The government indicated it needs aircraft to transport troops to any theatre of operations around the world. So, the number of aircraft required is being considered. All major strategic air transport companies are consulting together and hiring people to meet with us, sometimes to appear before us and to convince us that Boeing or Airbus, for example, is the best option.

Lobbying causes a great deal of distortion. As I said earlier, it is unfortunate that the amendments we proposed were all defeated. Certainly, the amendment coming back from the Senate fosters a bit more transparency. It will ensure that people who have held senior management positions in government are required to provide some background. This will give a better idea of where they are coming from and probably where they are going as well. This is the kind of thing we would have liked to see expanded on in the bill. Unfortunately, it was not.

There are even lobbyists being hired by the Prime Minister now.

Earlier I mentioned the Sea King example. The Prime Minister's office hired a lobbyist to advise him on the matter. It was a lobbyist from Eurocopter, which provoked a great deal of mistrust among government officials because the individual was working in the Prime Minister's office. I do not know if he is still there because this goes back about two years ago now. This person worked for Eurocopter, one of the consortiums bidding on the Sea King contract two years ago, and he was brought into the Prime Minister's office.

Therefore, it is easy to understand all of the mystery surrounding lobbyists. How many are there? What do they do? How much are they paid? Whom do they meet? None of this is taken into account in the bill, and all of the amendments were rejected.

We do not take issue with the amending act from the Senate. It will add transparency; however, we would definitely have liked to see much more transparency.

I am pleased to have had this opportunity to express my views. I know I was interrupted by an alarm, but I feel that, like my colleague, the member for Elk Island, I was able to summarize my thoughts. I am now ready to answer questions from my colleagues.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Lobbyists Registration Act
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CA

Ken Epp

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance)

Madam Speaker, I want to respond to something the member said early on in his speech before our little outdoor break. In his opening statements he commented on the Senate and said that it was his view that the Senate ought to be abolished.

Just to add a little light to the argument against that, I would like to point out to him that one of the big grievances that we have in the outlying areas of this country, whether it is Newfoundland and Labrador, the Atlantic provinces or way out west where we come from, is that we are totally electorally overrun by the huge majority in Ontario and Quebec. We have a lot of respect for them and, yes, in this House we have representation by population, but the fact is that when there is an election 60% of the members of Parliament come from those two provinces.

We currently have 301 members and I believe 178 of them come from Ontario and Quebec. We think that if the Confederation is to work smoothly, and for those of us in the outlying regions being defined as outside of Ontario and Quebec, we need some way to balance that power, which is where a triple E Senate would come in. It would have an equal number of senators from each province, or at least from each region, and they would be elected to give them legitimacy. However right now bills cannot become law unless they pass both Houses.

We could even have some other rules engaged there. However if it is a good rule or a good law that is being proposed, I think the senators, who would represent all the provinces equally, would agree to those laws because they would be good for the country. If there were a deliberate attempt, as we have seen on numerous occasions, by the central Canada government to ride roughshod over those of us in the more distant regions, a triple E Senate would provide a good balance of power.

The reason we are promoting the continuation of the Senate is to improve it by making it equal and by making it elected so that it can actually do its work. We would still have population representation here in the House of Commons and Ontario and Quebec would continue, we expect, to dominate this place.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Lobbyists Registration Act
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BQ

Claude Bachand

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Claude Bachand

Mr. Speaker, even though I do not agree with the hon. member for Elk Island, I think he has made an interesting contribution to the debate. It is true that one could discuss the Senate at length, and whether or not it should be elected. For our part, we suggest abolishing it.

If he is looking for equity in votes and in the way power is exercised, we think it is not necessarily attainable through the Senate, since an elected Senate will cause other kinds of problems I would like to tell him about.

There would be a certain division and overlap of powers. I am a Bloc Quebecois member from the riding of Saint-Jean and if there were a senator who was not from my party—from any party at all, if he is not with the Bloc—he would always contradict me in some way: me, the elected member. He could neutralize some of my authority. Things are no better if you create constant dissension between the elected senator and the elected member for the riding.

If I were in his place, I would be working instead for proportional representation in the House of Commons. It is true that under our system the person with the most votes is elected. We have seen some situations, for example, such as in 1997 when the Progressive Conservative Party received more than 20% of the votes, but only had two members in the House of Commons. That is a problem.

I fully agree that people should be free to discuss the ways a vote coming from British Columbia could be equivalent to a vote coming from Ontario. It might be possible to do this with proportional representation, or in combination with another model; it could also follow the current model. The Canadian people could elect someone based on the proportion of votes received. There are many ways to do it. It is a debate that is going on in Quebec at present.

Still, to go from there to saying we could now elect the Senate, which would compete with the elected members of the House of Commons, I have a problem with that, although I am always ready to discuss it with my hon. colleague when the occasion arises.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Lobbyists Registration Act
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LIB

John Bryden

Liberal

Mr. John Bryden (Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I certainly want to assure the House that of all MPs in the opposition, the member for Saint-Jean leads in his concern for transparency and accountability, and he has been active on that file in many ways. His very presence in the House on this debate on the amendments to the Lobbyists Registration Act is an indication of his passionate desire to further legislation that calls for transparency, not just to make the Government of Canada operate more efficiently but to ensure that the Government of Canada leads the world in terms of transparency and accountability.

I think the member for Elk Island, the member for Saint-Jean and myself would agree that while Bill C-15 has brought in some improvements to the Lobbyists Registration Act, they fall far, far short of what could be done, and I think all three of us will continue to campaign to get the government to bring in better amendments.

I wanted to comment very briefly on the issue of the Senate and direct a question to the member for Saint-Jean on that issue. I certainly do not agree with abolishing the Senate. I have great reservations, as the member for Saint-Jean has, on having an elected body because if the Senate were an elected body, then it would greatly diminish the power and authority of the House of Commons and it would make it eminently more difficult to do business as Parliament. We would have to have a separately elected president as they have in the United States to have two elected houses if we were going to have a workable situation.

I ask the member for Saint-Jean, if he suggests that the Senate be abolished, why would we even be here debating today because the Senate has addressed an amendment, it has improved upon that amendment, an amendment by a backbench MP, and has returned it to the House. I would submit that the Senate has done a very fine job, at least in this instance.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Lobbyists Registration Act
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BQ

Claude Bachand

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Claude Bachand

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to congratulate my hon. colleague from Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot for seeking transparency; he is clearly concerned about this concept. The excellent work he has done with regard to access to information shows too that he is concerned about this issue.

Now, he is talking about the example before us today. Even if we recommend abolishing the Senate, it has not been abolished. There are currently two Houses, and the Upper House considers all the bills from the House of Commons. Sometimes, the Senate returns the bills with amendments, as is the case today.

If I say that we want to abolish the Senate, this raises another discussion about whether having two Houses is mandatory. Some countries have a second House, others do not.

I have faith in the elected representatives of the people. Those sitting in the House of Commons are elected, they are invested with electoral and democratic powers by the voters, who are responsible for putting us here. I think that if they have put their trust in us, we could, at the least, consider in full all of these bills, without submitting them to the consideration of a second House. We have sufficiently debated them in committees and elsewhere to make this kind of amendment.

There is no obligation, today, to adopt the Senate's amendment. The House could say that it does not consent and that would be the end of it. So, in terms of the second House, we are prepared to discuss the matter because, as things currently stand, senators are appointed by the Prime Minister, and as I was saying earlier, there are some one hundred lobbyists in the Upper House currently. Should it be desirable to get rid of some of them, it might be a good opportunity to say that we are abolishing the Senate. But I am interested in continuing this discussion with my hon. colleague on this matter.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Lobbyists Registration Act
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LIB

Serge Marcil

Liberal

Mr. Serge Marcil (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have heard what my colleague from Saint-Jean has said. In a way, he is not wrong, but even one of the greatest sovereignists in Quebec, Mr. Lebrun, has described the Canadian parliamentary system as the finest parliamentary system there is. Churchill said that, while not perfect, there was nothing better.

In all countries, be it France, England, the United States, Canada, any of the major countries, there is a second chamber. There is a reason for this. I was one of those who questioned senatorial appointments. I would likely prefer to see them elected rather than appointed, except that I do see the Senate as having a role to play. It is the one to balance things out for the regions, compared to the House.

Quebec can elect 75 members, and Ontario 101. For Prince Edward Island and the west, however, the situation is a bit different. Thus its role becomes more important, but the role of those who are in the Senate should be that of wise men and women. Perhaps there ought not to be any partisanship when senators are appointed; perhaps they would need to be appointed the same way judges are.

In this instance, I find that the amendment proposed by the Senate is justified. It is one, moreover, that had been raised by an Alliance MP at the time, and the Senate reworked it. The senators found a flaw and have proposed this amendment, which is totally in order today.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Lobbyists Registration Act
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BQ

Claude Bachand

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Claude Bachand

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to persist with my colleague from Beauharnois—Salaberry on the purpose of the amendment before us because we support it. Nor do I want to engage in a big debate on the Senate either. I do not think that was the purpose of the amendment. However, I am still interested in continuing this discussion.

Currently, senators are appointed on a partisan basis by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister does not appoint many people who are not Liberals. At present, the equity that my colleague speaks of does not exist. There are 28 Progressive Conservative senators and the rest are all Liberals, except for a few independents.

I maintain my argument that the Senate should be abolished and that perhaps there should be a review of how to restore the balance of power with election to the House of Commons under a system of proportional representation.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Lobbyists Registration Act
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PC

Bill Casey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to comment on the Lobbyists Registration Act and the amendment. It has been very interesting to listen to the comments by the members. I especially was interested in the comment by the member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot who said that it would be better if the government brought forth better amendments. The very distinguished member for Saint John and I were just talking about these amendments. Right now we think perhaps there is another that could be made to the registration act, and that would be an amendment to include ministers.

I am sure the member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot would support this amendment if we were to move it. Therefore we will talk about it right now and see where it goes. It ties in with another subject we have been talking about and that is the softwood lumber issue.

As we all know, the Minister for International Trade recently put on the table in Washington an offer with which hardly anyone in Canada agreed. We do not know where it came from and why the offer was put forth because we cannot identify who the minister was representing. He should be representing Canadians, the Canadian provinces and the softwood lumber association but we have a hard time finding out exactly from where this came.

Perhaps an amendment should be considered to ensure that ministers, if they were to lobby on behalf of a private sector or something like that, should have to register.

The minister talked about a Team Canada approach and working together with a unified program and everything, but we cannot find who he is representing. We would like to know who he represents. Perhaps this should come under an amendment to the Lobbyists Registration Act so ministers, if they did happen to represent someone else, should have to register.

The minister often stands up and says that they represent the regions. He has often said that they represent the Maritimes because it wants them to do certain things. However recently it became very clear that he did not represent the Maritimes. Four Atlantic provinces wrote a letter to him dated May 30, just days ago, about his proposal to drag Atlantic Canada into the quota system for softwood lumber. The four Atlantic premiers said:

Certain of Canada's actions have ignored the conditions specific to the region, and have thus been contrary to Atlantic Canadian interests

We would think that the minister would represent interests of all regions. Therefore we wonder who he is representing.

Then the premiers go on to say:

The most recent, and possibly most serious, of these actions is the unilateral offer made on May 23 by the Government of Canada to the United States. This offer includes Atlantic Canada with the rest of Canada in a two-year interim arrangement, where we would be restricted by a tariff rate quota.

We have never had tariff rate quotas and the four Atlantic premiers are saying that they do not agree with what the minister is doing.

We will explore this more. The minister is not obviously representing Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island because the premiers have all signed a letter to him just days ago saying, “Don't do this”.

Again, we do not know who the minister is representing. The letter goes on to say that this unilateral Canadian offer is unacceptable to both industry and government. Therefore the minister does not represent the industry in Atlantic Canada. We have to hone in on whom he is representing because we really do not know.

He has said in the media that he represents the Maritime Lumber Bureau and he is acting on its behalf. That is strange because the Maritime Lumber Bureau just wrote him a letter on May 29, just days ago, and sent a copy to all the Atlantic ministers and most of the MPs. This letter could not be clearer. It states, “We were excluded from the quota system and we must again be excluded from any attempt to allocate quota”.

This is diametrically opposite to what the minister is trying to do. He is trying to drag Atlantic Canada into the quota system. Therefore I guess he does not represent the Maritime Lumber Bureau. He said he did. He said that he was asked to work on behalf of the Maritime Lumber Bureau and speak on its behalf, but based on this letter from the Maritime Lumber Bureau, it appears that he does not represent it. Therefore we still have not found out who the minister represents in this case.

I just spoke to the Maritime Lumber Bureau in Fredericton at its annual meeting. The directors passed a motion authorizing the executive of the Maritime Lumber Bureau to take whatever action is necessary to prevent the government from going ahead with the offer that was tabled in Washington, for some strange reason on behalf of someone who we still have not found yet. A motion was tabled at the Maritime Lumber Bureau's annual general meeting which says that the executive is authorized to take whatever action is necessary, through liaison or action with members of Parliament, or just lobbying, or whatever the law allows. The directors of the Maritime Lumber Bureau are authorizing the executive to take legal action against the government to redress this situation where the government has put an offer on the table in Washington with which nobody in Atlantic Canada agrees.

If it is not Atlantic Canada, maybe he represents the people from Alberta. Amazingly enough to me, we have a copy of a letter that the Alberta Softwood Lumber Trade Council sent to the minister which says that the people in Alberta absolutely oppose this offer. They are against it completely, for different reasons than Atlantic Canada, but they are against this quota system which drags them into the system again. Again, the Minister for International Trade obviously is not representing the people of Alberta.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Lobbyists Registration Act
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PC

Elsie Wayne

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Elsie Wayne

Who is he representing?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Lobbyists Registration Act
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PC

Bill Casey

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bill Casey

That is the thing. We do not know who he is representing. That is a good question. We do not know who he is representing. That is what we are trying to explore here and find out. If he is only representing a small number of companies, then perhaps he should be registered under the Lobbyists Registration Act, so that we know who he is representing. He does not represent the people of Atlantic Canada. He does not represent the governments of Atlantic Canada. He does not represent the people from Alberta.

Maybe he represents the people from British Columbia. But no, yesterday in the newspaper, the British Columbia minister of forests, Mike de Jong, said that B.C. wants no part of the proposed Canadian quota scheme aimed at resolving the softwood lumber trade war with the United States. Mr. de Jong said that he has told Ottawa that British Columbia is not interested in that deal, period. He went on to say that he will not support a new Canadian plan to resolve the lumber dispute if it involves a return to the quota system. He said that he has concerns not so much about what is being discussed at this stage, but about what it might lead to. The article went on and on. He said all kinds of things. There are a host of problems that emerge when trying to assign quotas based on historical quotas.

We have just gone through six of the ten provinces. I do not know what the other provinces are saying. They have not said yes or no, but strangely enough today, I asked the minister in question period if he would stand and name just one province that supports what he is doing. He said he has a team Canada approach, that he has wide support, that he is in consultation with all the provinces and all the industries and all the associations. I asked him to name just one. I asked him to name one province. I asked him to name one association. He did not name one.

Maybe it is the business community, but holy mackerel, here is a letter dated June 2 from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which represents 105,000 small and medium size businesses. The federation took the time to write to that very minister on June 2 to say that over 1,200 of its members operate businesses in the logging and forestry services and wood products businesses. Its members also totally oppose the offer that somehow was put on the table in Washington. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business took the time to write to say that it does not want to be part of that and the 1,200 businesses that it represents and the thousands and thousands of employees do not want the government to do this.

There is another thing and that is the way it evolved and the way it happened. At 4:30 on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 21, the Minister for International Trade met with representatives of the governments of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Newfoundland, and also representatives from the Maritime Lumber Bureau, for a briefing and an update on the negotiations. There was not a word about the offer which was dated the very next day, Thursday, May 22, which dragged everybody from across the country into the quota system and took away the exemption that Atlantic Canada has had for 17 years.

Not a word was said. On Wednesday afternoon they had a meeting and on Thursday, the minister, or the department, sprung this proposal on everybody. Before they did that, before they told anybody, they took it down to the U.S. Then on Saturday, the government called and told one industry in Atlantic Canada about this. That was the first word they had.

Just imagine how you would feel, Mr. Speaker, if you sat in this room thinking you were being treated fairly, having gone to all the trouble of coming here from Atlantic Canada to be briefed by the minister himself and not being told what the government was going to do the very next day. They were kept in the dark totally about what the government was going to do the next day.

The minister has also broken trust with the industry and the governments in Atlantic Canada. I cannot imagine why the government presented this proposal, which again drags Atlantic Canada into the quota system and takes away the exemption it has had for 17 years.

The Maritime Lumber Bureau spent millions of dollars and spent years negotiating this with the United States. They never have accepted a cent of government money. They did it all themselves. Yet the government has put this proposal on the table which takes away the 17 years of hard work and millions of dollars by the Atlantic Canadian industry, with no consultation, no input, no opportunity to object.

Again, I do not know who the minister is representing.Today the minister has been quoted in the newspapers. He is saying things that we cannot nail down. If we find out who he is representing, perhaps we should move an amendment and have him register under the Lobbyists Registration Act.

Today's Edmonton Journal quotes him as saying:

Our team Canada approach is very solid. We don't have to be in total agreement on every comma.

This is not about commas, and there is no agreement. He says that we have agreement, that our team Canada is very solid. Team Canada is completely split. He is going one way and six of the ten provinces are going exactly diametrically the opposite way. There is no team Canada. There is no unified approach. There is no agreement on this. In fact there is more disagreement by far than there is agreement.

If he is saying that he is representing team Canada, it just is not true. Again, we are still trying to find out whom he represents.

Then we come east. In an article in the Halifax Chronicle Herald he said:

The Maritime [Lumber] Bureau has also asked us to work on their behalf.

The Maritime Lumber Bureau said exactly the opposite. The Maritime Lumber Bureau said “We want the minister to do the opposite of what he is doing” and he stands in the House or says in the media that he is acting on behalf of the Maritime Lumber Bureau.

The Maritime Lumber Bureau said just a couple of days ago, on May 29, in a letter addressed to the minister “We were excluded from quota and we must again be excluded from any attempt to allocate quota”. But he, all by himself, or his department, went down to Washington and put on the table down there, without asking anybody, a proposal that drags everybody back into the quota system, exactly against the wishes of the Maritime Lumber Bureau.

We have to ask ourselves, where is the team he talks about? Where is the unified position? He talks about everybody being together and representing everybody, but I cannot find out whom he represents.

He does not represent the people in Nova Scotia. They have said so. He does not represent the people in New Brunswick, as the very distinguished member for Saint John has pointed out. He does not represent Prince Edward Island. He does not represent Newfoundland, as the very distinguished member for St. John's East pointed out to me a minute ago.

He does not represent any of the governments and he does not represent the industry. They have all said that they want to go in a different direction than the one the minister is going in. He does not represent Alberta. He does not represent British Columbia. Who does he represent?

The deal was written on May 22. It was given to the Americans on Friday, May 23. On the following Monday, I met with the minister to ask why he would do this. Why would they table such a proposal which sabotaged 17 years of work by the Maritime Lumber Bureau and the entire Atlantic industry? He said that it really was not a government proposal, that it was transmitted on behalf of the industry. I said that it was not the industries that I know of because they are totally opposed to this. He said that it was the five major companies. I think it was five; he either said five or six, I do not recall exactly. He said it was either the five or six major companies.

If he is not representing the people, if he is not representing the governments of the provinces, if he is not representing the softwood lumber industries, perhaps he should register under the Lobbyists Registration Act. Perhaps we should move that amendment.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Lobbyists Registration Act
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?

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. I remind him that he still has five minutes for his speech and also will have a 10 minute question and comment period when the House resumes debate on Bill C-15.

It being 5.30 p.m., the House will now proceed to consideration of private members' business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Lobbyists Registration Act
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The House resumed from March 24 consideration of the motion that Bill C-205, an act to amend the Statutory Instruments Act (disallowance procedure for statutory instruments), be read the second time and referred to a committee.


LIB

Derek Lee

Liberal

Mr. Derek Lee

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I want to indicate that there has been extensive consultations involving all parties in the House. The member for Surrey Central will be making a motion at this time based on those consultations.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Statutory Instruments Act
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CA

Gurmant Grewal

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Surrey Central, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, I seek the unanimous consent of the House for the following motion. There has been discussions with various members from all political parties. I table a document and I move:

That, the text of the said document be substituted for the text of Bill C-205; and that the bill, as amended, be reprinted; provided that the bill, as amended, retain its status and precedence; and that the motion standing on the Order Paper in relation to Bill C-205 be amended by substituting the name of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for that of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Statutory Instruments Act
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?

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Is there unanimous consent to adopt the motion?

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Statutory Instruments Act
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?

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Statutory Instruments Act
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CA

Gurmant Grewal

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Gurmant Grewal

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-205 is a little bit technical. Many members are asking me some questions about the bill since I am the sponsor of the bill. I ask for unanimous consent that my concluding remarks, which were originally for five minutes, be extended to approximately ten minutes.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Statutory Instruments Act
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The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Is there unanimous consent of the House for the request made by the hon. member for Surrey Central?

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Statutory Instruments Act
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Statutory Instruments Act
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June 4, 2003