Margaret Anne MITCHELL

MITCHELL, Margaret Anne, B.A., M.S.W.

Personal Data

Party
New Democratic Party
Constituency
Vancouver East (British Columbia)
Birth Date
July 17, 1925
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Mitchell_(Canadian_politician)
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=c561ac11-18ab-4c6c-8b7b-86b2e5484dfd&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
author, community-development worker, social worker

Parliamentary Career

May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
NDP
  Vancouver East (British Columbia)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
NDP
  Vancouver East (British Columbia)
September 4, 1984 - October 1, 1988
NDP
  Vancouver East (British Columbia)
November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
NDP
  Vancouver East (British Columbia)
  • Deputy Whip of the N.D.P. (January 1, 1989 - January 21, 1990)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 424)


March 26, 1993

Ms. Mitchell:

Mr. Speaker, it has had a devastating effect, as the member suggests. For example, I have met with a number of people who were in the fish processing industry and these plants have closed down entirely. Incidentally, they were not even given adequate unemployment insurance coverage. Many of them are immigrant women raising families on their own. Some are native women, and that is probably one of the worst effects.

Look at the garment industry. We know that if the industries are to survive at all and compete with the American and Mexican industries, they are going to have to force largely women into doing things at home in the cottage industries.

Some people think this is folksy and lovely, but it is a terrible situation because it is not controllable. It is not unionized and women who are looking after kids are going to be trying to do work on machines and so on in their homes at very low wages.

We know the impact it has had on the whole aspect of unionization. There is a move to do anything possible to undermine decent union wages and to force down wages by whatever means possible. There are many, many impacts.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1993-94 MEASURE TO ENACT
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March 26, 1993

Ms. Margaret Mitchell (Vancouver East):

Madam Speaker, I have three petitions to present on different subjects. One is a petition from a number of Chinese Canadians in my riding of Vancouver East.

It concerns the impact of the Immigration Act, Bill C-86, and particularly the provisions that allow decisions to be made retroactively. The petitioners urge the government to withdraw these amendments.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
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March 26, 1993

Ms. Margaret Mitchell (Vancouver East):

Mr. Speaker, it is very difficult today to talk about this bill without talking about the national tragedy that we are faced with in Canada as we are being pressured into passing a North American free trade agreement. I would like to concentrate my remarks on that.

This Conservative government is bound and determined to sell Canadian interests to the U.S. and Mexico under the North American free trade agreement or NAFTA. Five years of the Canadian-U.S. deal, the FTA, has resulted in the loss of some 500,000 jobs, mostly in manufacturing. We know that company after company in Canada has gone broke or has moved to the United States.

In my riding of Vancouver East, for example, fish processing plants have been forced to close and some have moved south with hundreds of jobs being lost. This is a whole field of jobs, particularly for immigrant women.

Textile workers have been laid off or forced into exploitive home work and many, many small businesses have closed. Many have been affected by cross-border shopping.

However we look at it, five years of the FTA and now a NAFTA agreement on top of it will be devastating to Canada and to our sovereignty. Many young Canadians have given up hope because of the lack of job prospects.

Canadians already are hurting from continuing high unemployment, government cuts to our social programs and a battered economy. Much of this is really related to our locking ourselves into a continental agreement with

Government Orders

the United States. Many more Canadians will suffer if this government passes the NAFTA.

Canadians do not want NAFTA because it is bad for Canadians and bad for Canada. NAFTA is much more than a trade deal. This is what I hope Canadians and viewers will understand. It is a continental economic agreement, an economic constitution that gives economic control not to governments but to transnational corporations whose sole interest is profits. It emasculates our national government which will have no say or control over Canada's destiny.

It is a triumvirate kind of agreement where Canada will provide unprocessed resources, Mexico will provide cheap labour and transnationals based mostly in the United States will make the products and get the trade benefits.

Our brain power will go south. Small businesses will not be able to compete. NAFTA threatens Canadian jobs and businesses in our auto industry, in textiles, agriculture, transportation, banking, insurance and data processing.

The Government of British Columbia is strongly opposed to NAFTA because it will erode the provincial government's ability to manage provincial resources and to control foreign investment in our economy in B.C. B.C. will be hurt in five very critical areas.

First of all, NAFTA will not stop the U.S. from setting up unfair trade barriers. We see how damaging this has been to the B.C. economy in relation to softwood lumber tariffs. It will prohibit Canadian incentives that are needed for processing our raw materials, our raw logs and our raw fish and to have value-added products for trading. This will be very difficult in our economy.

Second, this deal will not ensure that workers' rights and the environmental standards are protected. There will be tremendous pressure to undermine unions by lowering the working standards and wages for Canadian workers. Higher profits will be had in Mexico because of its poverty levels, its abysmal health and safety standards and lax environmental enforcement.

Government Orders

We heard at a rally recently in Vancouver that Mexican workers earn $5 a day if they are lucky, are working in very polluted environments and their situation will be worse with NAFTA. Mexican workers also oppose this.

Third, this unfair deal will hurt B.C.'s processed vegetable producers and apparel industry. The Canadian Apparel Manufacturers Institute says that as many as 30,000 Canadian jobs in the apparel industry are at risk if NAFTA is signed.

Fourth, NAFTA offers absolutely no guarantee that B.C. will not be forced to export water to the United States. Earlier today we heard the minister refuting this, but I can tell you at the hearings which I attended in Vancouver, experts there had studied the documents very carefully and pointed out that water is not exempt. It can be considered as a good and therefore become a transcontinental resource.

Fifth, the Canadian government offers no assistance to help Canadian workers adjust. This has been promised to American workers. We know this was promised under the FTA. I certainly know many people in British Columbia who are unable to get any adjustment programs.

This Conservative government is setting Canadians up for a future where our health care and social programs are in jeopardy. Bill C-91 was a part of this NAFTA deal. It was part of this nefarious plan and, of course, this was the drug patent bill which gave a monopoly to multinational pharmaceutical companies and has a tremendous impact on the cost of drugs and the whole medicare system in Canada.

Tories have argued that this was necessary. It was necessary in their view. It was something that they had already promised to Mr. Bush.

NAFTA basically wipes out the sovereign right of the Canadian Parliament to allow generic drug companies to provide cheaper copies of brand name drugs to consumers.

Canadians have suffered more than enough under the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement. Enough is enough. NAFTA must be rejected in favour of world-wide fair trade and I will ask my colleague to expand on some of these points in his remarks.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT, 1993-94 MEASURE TO ENACT
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March 25, 1993

Ms. Margaret Mitchell (Vancouver East):

Mr. Speaker, I am very sorry that the government Elouse leader has left the Elouse.

I would like to put this on the record. It is a question that I asked last week following the statement by the Prime Minister who is a very strong supporter of redress for Japanese Canadians. That redress settlement is not completed.

I wanted to ask the government House leader but perhaps whoever is standing in for him would forward this to him. When will the government proclaim Bill C-63 which you will recall was the act to establish a Canadian race relations foundation, part of the redress resettlement, in view of the fact that this bill received Royal Assent way back in February 1991? This House went through the whole process of debate for many months prior to that.

We need to have this bill proclaimed before this session ends.

Topic:   POINT OF ORDER
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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March 25, 1993

Ms. Margaret Mitchell (Vancouver East):

Mr. Speaker, I can say on behalf of my colleague, the member for Port Moody-Coquitlam, that we also certainly would support this bill.

While I am not an expert in this field, coming from urban Vancouver I can certainly support the need for much stronger gun control and that includes registration.

I recently went on a ride-around with the police in my riding late in the night. I can tell you that the incidence of violence, including the misuse of guns, was pretty scary, to say the least.

At the same time we all appreciate that for aboriginal people and for hunters, people living in the north, there is a different situation and certainly we need to be sensitive to the ways that they would see this applied.

I want to come back in a minute to some of the quotes from my colleague so that his position is on the record. I understand during the hearings into the gun control legislation, Bill C-17, that while nearly every advocate that came before the committee called for a national registration system, the minister herself was not convinced of this or was not persuaded of this. This is the minister, of course, who now is aspiring to become the leader of the Conservative Party and indeed the Prime Minister of Canada. It is a little scary to see that she would compromise on so important a matter.

March 25, 1993

She said, for example, that she avoided implementation of a gun registry, citing a lack of funding as an excuse, and said that in a time of fiscal restraint this government prefers to concentrate the available gun control resources in those areas of the system that will provide real benefits to firearm users and to the public.

That seems a little strange. I would be concerned that a future Prime Minister would not be interested in a mandatory registration of guns in a country like Canada.

I would like to mention the position that our critic took in the committee and in a minority report which he wrote. He said: "Let us target hand-guns and then get back to paramilitary weapons". He was particularly concerned about paramilitary weapons. "These are not for hunters, these are paramilitary weapons that are flowing into Canada. When people buy guns, surely with modern cash registers and computers, we can take a record and send it to the RCMP."

He goes on to say: "We do not need these high powered guns. We do not need them flooding this country. We need some controls. Surely we must have a registration system for future guns so we know where they are and how armed our population is. If they are lost, stolen or get into criminal hands, we can then deal with them". Certainly, we are in support of this bill which spells this out further.

He also said in a later minority report, again particularly being concerned about semi-automatic weapons: "As restriction of semi-automatic weapons under the present law would effectively prohibit hunting activities, I recommend that all unrestricted semi-automatic weapons be registered as a separate class of weapons. Gun owners would also benefit as their valuable firearms would be better protected against theft. Numerous witnesses before the special committee recommended a full national registry system for every firearm in Canada".

He goes on to say that he supports the following proposal which was suggested by some members of the committee and by most witnesses.

All semi-automatic weapons would be registered. All future firearms obtained using the FAC would also be

Private Members' Business

registered at the time of purchase. Finally, every applicant for an FAC would be required to list all their firearms on the applications. This would not place any additional bureaucratic burden on firearm owners with non semi-automatic rifles who do not need an FAC at present. This would move us toward a long-term goal of a full national registry system.

I want to say again that we will support this bill. I will not take the time today to quote this, but I notice in reading over some of the reference materials that certainly the coalition for gun control had a very strong position on this question. The Canadian Police Association said the association has over the past several months conducted an informal survey of the business community. Over 90 per cent of the respondents believe that guns of all kinds should be registered and that there should be a minimum age and compulsory training requirement in order to own a gun of any kind.

The chief of police of metro Toronto had a more detailed brief. I would like to conclude my remarks by including his comments about a national firearms registry. He believes this concept to be sound, reasonable, and workable, yet there is no mention of it in Bill C-17. Neither was it addressed in the special committee's report. It is hard looking back from this perspective to understand why it was not dealt with at that time and not dealt with by the minister. The police chief feels that if it is possible to control and register motor vehicles and domestic animal pets of which there are far more, surely it is possible to register all firearms in Canada. It is noteworthy to learn that the Government of Canada has recently added its name and support to a group of other nations in establishing a world-wide registry control of weapons of war.

The stated intent of this philosophy is to monitor the proliferation and extent of such weapons. Surely this concept could be applied here in Canada where the proliferation of and the accessibility to all firearms has become alarming. Let us get our own house in order first.

March 25, 1993

Private Members' Business

I think that is a good place to stop but I assure the member that we will support this and hope that this bill goes into committee so we can deal with it in further detail.

[Translation\

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
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