BUTLAND, Steve, B.A., M.Ed.

Personal Data

New Democratic Party
Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario)
Birth Date
March 26, 1941
school principal, teacher

Parliamentary Career

November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
  Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 76 of 76)

December 20, 1988

Mr. Butland:

It is not false. What of the reconciliation, the healing process of which the Prime Minister speaks? There was no thought to entertaining any amendments to the Free Trade Agreement no matter how innocuous. Specifically, our Amendment No. 14 to Bill C-2 states that the Bill should be amended immediately after line 7 at page 4. For greater certainty the Government will bring immediately trade adjustment legislation for those dislocated as a result of the agreement.

The tribunal that we would form should be made up of representatives from government, business, workers, communities, and other interested groups. The tribunal shall receive and investigate representations from groups of companies and workers who believe that they are or are likely to be adversely affected by subsided U.S. imports, including those provided by the U.S. Defense Department. The tribunal shall report annually to Parliament on the status of adjustment to the agreement and make recommendations for improving the process. None of this will be heard in the appropriate forum.

The wounds are only deeper as a result of this process that we are going through. We are speaking to be heard, but I am sure that no one is listening.

Professor Ross A. Rotstein of the University of Toronto said it perfectly when he stated: "Sometimes I suspect that members of the free trade camp are so intoxicated by the classical free trade rhetoric that they find it hard to come down to earth and look at the specifics of the agreement".

Let me look at the specifics. For example, Article 1602-national treatment of Americans; Article 604- harmonization of laws; Article 1902-either party can

change anti-dumping laws or countervail duties at any time.

The bottom line will be the loss of our unique Canadian identity. This will happen over time. One does not lose one's identity over a short period of time but over a long period of time. I believe that it will happen. If we will not monitor changes as they occur, put on the blinders and ignore what is happening, it surely will happen. In some areas it will be imperceptibly, and in other areas it will be dramatically. We are genuinely fearful. It indeed is a leap of faith rather than a leap of trust. When one takes a leap one ensures that there is a safety net or a cord to keep him or her from straying too far into whatever abyss there is. Neither is provided by the Government.

In conclusion, I hope Members opposite are correct. If they are wrong, they will have committed the ultimate treason. It will be small consolation that history books will condemn them. I pray Members opposite are right for the sake of Canada.

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December 20, 1988

Mr. Butland:

I thank you, Madam Chairman, for the opportunity to speak on this issue for the one-hundredth time but for the first time in this House. People in my constituency of Sault-Ste-Marie, 29,000 strong, voted against my predecessor and the only issue of which they spoke was the Free Trade Agreement.

Our major industry suggested that 1,000 jobs would be lost if the Algoma Steel employees did not vote Progressive Conservative. The President of Dofasco said there would be no expansion if the Free Trade Agreement did not come to pass. The Chamber of Commerce and the media openly endorsed the Free Trade Agreement and predicted doom if Sault-Ste-Marie did not support free trade. A whole series of Cabinet Ministers, many of whom are across the aisle, including the Prime Minister, came into Sault-Ste-Marie. These were powerful forces at work, but the people of Sault-Ste-Marie did not listen and said in a democratic way, "We do not believe you. We do not trust you. We are troubled by the Free Trade Agreement".

I campaigned long and hard against the free trade and I believe it in my heart, my head and most of all in my gut that this is a bad deal.

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December 20, 1988

Mr. Butland:

As I say, I hope against hope that the deal will bring prosperity to my community. I must because I care for my city and its people, I hope that all the promises of prosperity will come to fruition because it will be of little consolation for me to say, "I told you so". I hope this leap of faith will, indeed, be a leap which will land us somewhere and not in to an abyss. I prefer to believe Leo Gerard who said, when addressing the steel industry.

They'll ship on their subsidized barges and their de-regulated

trucks and then over our border on free trade.

Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement

This steel will originate in non-union mini mills in the southern United States. The acceptance and endorsement of this deal is the most dramatic turnaround in political history, and that prompts anyone to ask why. What changed all of these people's minds? Who are these people and which Party do they espouse? I suggest it is a very notable list.

The Prime Minister,who said, "It affects Canadian sovereignty and we will have none of it"; the External Affairs Minister, who said, "Unrestrained free trade with the United States raises the possibility that thousands of jobs could be lost in such critical industries as textiles, furniture and footwear"; the Minister of Finance, who said, "Bilateral free trade with the United States is simplistic and naive"; the former Secretary of State, David Crombie, who said, "Our natural destiny is to become a global leader, not America's weak sisters"; ex Veterans' Affairs Minister, George Hees, who said, "A clear indication of a move toward free trade with the United States would not be a good thing for this country"; the Ontario Conservative Leader, Andy Brandt, who said, "Taking a multilateral route in trade negotiations is the best long-term way for Canada"; former Ontario Leader, Larry Grossman, who said, "I contend it would be a mistake for anyone to have excessively high expectations about the results of any trade arrangements with the United States." It goes on. Then there was Tory strategist, Hugh Segal, but the piece de resistance was former Ontario Premier Bill Davis, who said: "You will not get me". Six months later he said: "What a courageous course of action by the federal Government".

Did a bolt of lightning strike in so many places at once as to profoundly affect the way such so-called learned politicians read into such an agreement? It makes anyone wonder about the credibility of people who espouse the deal now but who were vehemently opposed just a few scant years ago.

Have we not precluded ourselves from the international world of business?

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December 19, 1988

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

Mr. Speaker, I should like to bring to the attention of the House a situation which bears immediate attention by the Minister responsible for forestry. Six provincial federal agreements will expire in March of 1989. These costsharing agreements are essential to all aspects of our forestry industry including research, reforestration, and site preparation. I am most familiar with the Ontario-Canada Agreement which was for SI50 million over a five-year period.

Informal negotiations have gone on for nine months but, to the despair of provincial negotiators, the federal negotiators have no mandate to consummate any deal. This lack of mandate has been verified in discussions with staff of the Minister. This has already detracted from research initiatives. It also seems to reinforce some of the critical attention given forestry by the Auditor General.

I would ask that the Minister endorse immediately, at the very least, an extension of these agreements and send out a positive signal to the six provinces presently in limbo with regard to these agreements.

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December 16, 1988

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

Mr. Speaker, I am saddened to rise for the first time in this House to speak to an issue of little substance, to speak to a point of principle-a principle of considerable import to me, to my constituents, and to the people of Canada. While I appreciate that what I have to say will fall on deaf ears, I am obligated to speak against the kind of undemocratic heavy-handed style of this majority Government.

Before being elected to the House of Commons- something which makes me feel very proud and honoured-I was an educator, the principal of an elementary school, of some 26 years, in which capacity I had the occasion to referee many school yard disagreements. What we are faced with in this session reminds me of just such disagreements. Often, the disagreements were playground quarrels resulting from the arbitrary decision by some bully to change the rules of the game.

If I may continue the analogy, as the referee and witnesses to the event inevitably would rule against the bully, the Government in this case, being the bully, will, in the end, receive its just retribution. It will take time, but inevitably it will happen.

When one modifies the rules-or worse yet discards the rules-the effect on the rules is great; but even more dramatic is the effect on the process itself. Let us not forget the effect upon the participants.

It is no wonder that people are cynical of Government.

The bottom line for New Democrats-and, we believe, for Canadians-is that we object to the contravention of the long-standing revered traditions of Parliament, and we wish our objections to be stated and recorded. We question the abandonment of the rules. Why were they abandoned? There is no apparent reason, other than to satisfy a self-inflicted but nonbinding deadline.

January 1, 1989, is not significant to the Americans, apparently; yet, the Minister for International Trade (Mr. Crosbie) states that he is concerned that the Americans may request exemptions from the Free Trade Agreement if we ask for any change in the deadline. That statement only leads credence to the perception that we will soon be into a master-slave situation as a result of the Free Trade Agreement.

Once again, Mr. Speaker, let me reiterate what a major personal disappointment it is to be obligated to speak to a matter that should not be in question, rules that are enshrined to serve a particular and pragmatic purpose.

It has been a sorry beginning to this the Thirty-fourth Parliament, and we are fearful that things will continue in this fashion, unless this Government changes its pompous, inflexible attitude. The election victory was not meant to condone or endorse smugness. We are only requesting the opportunity to speak to a deal that we believe to be the death-knell of Canada as we know it.

[ Translation]

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