Joe COMARTIN

COMARTIN, Joe, B.A., LL.B.

Personal Data

Party
New Democratic Party
Constituency
Windsor--Tecumseh (Ontario)
Birth Date
December 26, 1947
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Comartin
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=1b175d0f-9278-4e04-9fa8-0368e591c5a5&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lawyer, managing director

Parliamentary Career

November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
NDP
  Windsor--St. Clair (Ontario)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
NDP
  Windsor--Tecumseh (Ontario)
January 23, 2006 - September 7, 2008
NDP
  Windsor--Tecumseh (Ontario)
  • N.D.P. Deputy House Leader (February 27, 2006 - October 12, 2011)
October 14, 2008 - March 26, 2011
NDP
  Windsor--Tecumseh (Ontario)
  • N.D.P. Deputy House Leader (February 27, 2006 - October 12, 2011)
May 2, 2011 - August 2, 2015
NDP
  Windsor--Tecumseh (Ontario)
  • N.D.P. Deputy House Leader (February 27, 2006 - October 12, 2011)
  • Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition (May 2, 2011 - October 12, 2011)
  • N.D.P. House Leader (October 13, 2011 - April 18, 2012)
  • Official Opposition House Leader (October 13, 2011 - April 18, 2012)
  • Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons (September 17, 2012 - December 3, 2015)
May 2, 2011 -
NDP
  Windsor--Tecumseh (Ontario)
  • N.D.P. Deputy House Leader (February 27, 2006 - October 12, 2011)
  • Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition (May 2, 2011 - October 12, 2011)
  • N.D.P. House Leader (October 13, 2011 - April 18, 2012)
  • Official Opposition House Leader (October 13, 2011 - April 18, 2012)
  • Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons (September 17, 2012 - December 3, 2015)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 861 of 861)


February 22, 2001

Mr. Joe Comartin (Windsor—St. Clair, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, it seems the Minister of Finance is more concerned about protecting the big oil and gas companies.

By introducing this surtax that my friend has suggested, it would be cost effective and it could be used to develop environmentally sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. Why will the minister not consider that at least as a possibility?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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February 22, 2001

Mr. Joe Comartin (Windsor—St. Clair, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I want to echo some of the comments some of the other members have made with regard to the member for Lac-Saint-Louis. It is to his credit and his long term commitment to the environment that he has brought forth this bill today. It is unfortunate that it is a non-votable one. Perhaps as this draws more attention, the government may see its way clear to meeting some of the commitments it made over a period of time and dealing with some of the fiasco that has occurred around the use of the MMT.

I want to re-emphasize a number of points that have been made by the member for Lac-Saint-Louis. The reality is that most of the industrialized world does not use MMT in gasoline. It is banned in a number of states in the United States and, in fact, 85% of the U.S. refineries do not use MMT. I think everybody in this debate recognizes that there is a concern with regard to the use of the MMT in terms of a serious potential risk to human health and a risk to the environment.

Specifically with regard to the environment, there is no debate. The scientific evidence on this is clear: the use of the MMT does inhibit and in fact in a lot of cases renders useless emission control devices in automobiles, resulting in a number of toxins being released into the atmosphere.

MMT was initially banned in the U.S. because of concerns around hydrocarbon emissions, but there were further studies and there has been some reference made to them today. Again, there is no debate within the health and scientific communities that high concentrations of manganese can cause neurological damage. The debate is about at what level it is safe.

With regard to that and there being no evidence, as alleged by some of the other members in this House, I want to quote from a study that was done by the neurotoxicologist Donna Mergler at the University of Quebec. This was an EPA sponsored study of a 306 residents in Quebec. The results suggest that even low levels of manganese can have deleterious affects. She is quoted as saying:

In large concentrations, airborne manganese does pose a risk. What we don't know is at what level does it not pose a risk...We should know a lot more about it before we use it.

I want to spend a few minutes with regard to the whole farcical history of how MMT has been treated by the government, the embarrassment that Canada has been put to and, to some extent, the shame of having to pay that $18 million plus to an American corporation when in fact in a number of states in the U.S. it is already banned.

However, because I think it is more important to deal with the health and environment issues and not so much with the trade component in this issue, let me go back a bit. In 1992 Canada committed to applying the precautionary principle. In fact we have not had a very good history of doing that. The NDP has strongly advocated that the federal government abide by this commitment and apply the precautionary principle. To my mind, this is one of the clearest cases where we should in fact be doing that.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Automotive Pollution Reduction Act
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February 22, 2001

Mr. Joe Comartin

Health Canada: I support your position that it really has to be looked at. Health Canada has a very high standard of tolerance for manganese. Dr. Mergler, I think, would clearly set a lower one.

It would be very nice if this matter could be referred to committee and if more evidence could be brought forth. The Mergler study was done in the middle part of 1998. I would suggest that more studies have been done since then wherein we might find more clear evidence in this regard.

Let me go back to the precautionary principle. In the bill, the member for Lac-Saint-Louis has specifically invoked it. I again want to commend him for that. The preamble states:

And Whereas on the basis of the precautionary principle, it is imperative for the Parliament of Canada to take immediate action to protect human health and the environment by banning these harmful or potentially harmful automotive fuels;

That is very much what the precautionary principle is all about, a principle that not only Canada but all the world has adopted. To suggest that we treat MMT in the same category as Tim Hortons doughnuts is ridiculous.

Let me conclude by encouraging the member for Lac-Saint-Louis to pursue his cause in this regard. We certainly intend to support him. Hopefully other members of the House, government members in particular, will see their way clear to in effect push this legislation through and ban MMT.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Automotive Pollution Reduction Act
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January 31, 2001

Mr. Joe Comartin (Windsor—St. Clair, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's throne speech was little more than a rehash of tired Liberal platitudes, offering little for Canadians to cheer about. While the government is busy patting itself on the back and telling us all is well, thousands of workers in the city of Windsor and in communities like it are facing layoffs and plant closings.

Will the finance minister today commit to introducing a budget with concrete measures to address the impending economic downturn and crisis in our auto industry?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   The Economy
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