Fisheries Act, 2007

An Act respecting the sustainable development of Canada's seacoast and inland fisheries

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in October 2007.

Sponsor

Loyola Hearn  Conservative

Status

Not active, as of Dec. 13, 2006
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment repeals and replaces the Fisheries Act. It seeks to provide for the sustainable development of Canadian fisheries and fish habitat in collaboration with fishers, the provinces, aboriginal groups and other Canadians.

It sets out management principles governing the exercise of responsibilities under the Act, and provides tools and authorities to improve the ability of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to properly manage fisheries and fish habitat.

Part 1 establishes a regime for the proper management and control of fisheries. It allows the Minister to stabilize access and allocation in fisheries, issue fishing licences, conclude agreements with groups that participate in a fishery and issue fisheries management orders.

Part 2 provides for the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat.

Part 3 provides for the control and management of aquatic invasive species.

Part 4 provides the necessary powers to administer and enforce the Act.

Part 5 establishes the Canada Fisheries Tribunal and sets out a system of licence sanctions for fisheries violations to be administered by that Tribunal, which will also consider appeals of licence decisions.

Part 6 provides for regulations and other related matters required for the administration of the Act.

Part 7 sets out transitional provisions, consequential amendments and coordinating amendments and repeals certain other Acts.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

  • May 30, 2007 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word "That" and substituting the following: “Bill C-45, An Act respecting the sustainable development of Canada's seacoast and inland fisheries, be not now read a second time but that it be read a second time this day six months hence.”.

March 13th, 2008 / 9:20 a.m.
See context

Assistant Deputy Minister, Fisheries and Aquaculture Management, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

David Bevan

We received many, many comments. We made changes where there was a consensus. As you see from the changes from Bill C-45 to Bill C-32, there weren't a great number, but those were the areas where there had been consensus from the interested parties, stakeholders, etc. The rest of the comments could be diametrically opposed. For example, there are people wanting to have the allocations almost take on the conditions or properties of property, and others don't want that to take place at all. We have differing views from one end of the spectrum to the other. We've reflected the middle view, if you will, in the changes that were made, and we think this is where we do have consensus on the changes from Bill C-45 to Bill C-32.

March 13th, 2008 / 9:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

One of things touched upon in Bill C-32 to the new and improved version of the Fisheries Act was it addressed some of the issues brought up from when it was Bill C-45. Are you familiar with the changes made to Bill C-32? Can you justify each and every one of the changes that were made?

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

December 12th, 2007 / 4:15 p.m.
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Bloc

Gérard Asselin Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the current Fisheries Act is a century old. Hon. members will recall that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans introduced Bill C-45, which died on the order paper when the House prorogued.

Now he is introducing a new bill, Bill C-32. In my opinion, it does not make any sense for the government to draft a bill without consulting the fishers, the associations and those who process the fish.

What should happen before the bill reaches third reading, either after first or second reading? There needs to be extensive consultation to ensure that Bill C-32, An Act respecting the sustainable development of Canada's seacoast and inland fisheries, is effective. The current Fisheries Act, which is 100 years old, is open to too much interpretation.

I want to know whether the hon. member would agree, after first or second reading, to having the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans travel across Canada in order to meet with all the associations, fishers, processing plant representatives, all those concerned in the fishing industry, in order to have a bill that is functional and operational.

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

December 12th, 2007 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, this is about the fisheries bill. This is about a bill that we truly believe is long overdue. The problem is we have to do it responsibly. We have just heard the first version which is kill bill volume one, and I represent kill bill volume two in this particular case. If my hon. colleague from Nova Scotia took exception to that, I meant no disrespect to him.

I wholeheartedly agree in that this is about doing what is right. This is about doing what is responsible. This is a new bill that replaces a 140-year-old act that needs to be addressed for the stakeholders, which include the harvesters, the plant workers, first nations, the environmental groups and the list goes on.

The government brought the legislation to the House first in the form of Bill C-45 and tried to ram it through second reading without any due care. It has tried to introduce a new bill with reckless abandon. Now the government is doing it again, as my colleague pointed out, with Bill C-32.

The government had a full year to engage stakeholders on one issue which is to bring in a new Fisheries Act. There was not one meeting about that particular Fisheries Act. As a matter of fact when we were in power, we made suggestions in four topic areas. The former minister of fisheries suggested four areas and it was turned down by one member of the standing committee because that member did not want to look at a new Fisheries Act. Guess who that member was. The current Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Why all of a sudden is it so important that the government has to bring in this new bill for second reading? Recently the Nova Scotia fisheries minister claimed that he liked the idea of a new Fisheries Act but I believe he got a letter from that minister which backs up our argument to send it to committee before second reading as opposed to after. Perhaps my hon. colleague can address that particular situation.

Fisheries and Oceans
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

December 12th, 2007 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I move that the first report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, presented on Thursday, December 6, be concurred in.

First, I want to thank my hon. colleague from the Liberal Party from Newfoundland and Labrador for bringing this motion forward through the Standing Committee of Fisheries and Oceans to the House so we can have a proper analysis and a debate in the initial stages of what is called Bill C-32.

First I will give a little history. Bill C-32 is former Bill C-45 from the last session. Bill C-45 was an attempt by the Conservative government to bring forward massive changes to the Fisheries Act of Canada. The Fisheries Act of Canada is the oldest legislation in the country. It has been around since Confederation, in British Columbia time, since 1871, and in Newfoundland and Labrador time, since 1949. We and many people within the industry from coast to coast to coast and within our inland waters had many objections and concerns to BillC-45.

Through the delays and everything else, the House was prorogued and it came back as Bill C-32.

We said to the government then, and we are saying to it again, that we were willing to work with it. We are offering an olive branch, an open hand, to get the bill to the committee prior to second reading so we then can have the consultations from coast to coast to coast, to ensure that the people whose lives are at stake, environmental groups, first nations, fishing communities large and small, the industry, the provinces, the territories and the federal government, can get together and come up with the proper recommendations, changes and amendments to the bill.

Long after we are gone, this act, or whatever derivative comes out of it, will be left behind. We have to ensure we get it right. There is no sense in rushing this. We will assist the government in getting it to our committee before second reading so we can make the changes, the exact same principle and policy that my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley had asked for with the environment act, Bill C-2, which was fine legislation. This is what we aim to do with the fisheries act.

Recently in a press release, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans said that all we wanted were NDP amendments. That is not true. We said very clearly that we wanted fishermen to write the bill, not bureaucrats. In 1992-93 one of the world's greatest collapses of a natural resource happened off the coast of Canada and, more specific, off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. It cost the Canadian taxpayer over $4 billion to readjust the industry for the east coast, and we have not finished counting yet.

Not one person at DFO was ever held responsible, even though we now know the scientific information from DFO science was manipulated at the highest level and changed. Those are the facts, yet there was not one inquiry, not a public inquiry, not a judicial inquiry, nothing. Now we will trust the same department in one of the most vital areas of our industries in Canada, the fishery?

I remind members that sport fishing alone in our country is over $7.5 billion to our industries. Commercial fishing is between $3 billion to $4 billion. It has sustained first nations people since their entry into the North American continent and ever since European contact as well. Many communities along coastal areas, including the north and our inland waters, were sustained by the fishery.

It is our job to ensure that the number one goal of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is the protection of fish and fish habitat. What do we get from the government? Earlier this year, in the minister's province, two vibrant, healthy, fish-bearing lakes, two healthy aquatic lake systems, were being destroyed, to be used as tailing ponds for mining companies. In fact they are becoming cheap waste disposal solutions for the mining companies.

The NDP has nothing against mining. We only want to ensure that it is done to the highest environmental standards. We want to ensure, as other mining companies have, that it has independent, aligned tailing systems so it cannot leach out into water systems. The fisheries department has the authority to protect fish and fish habitat, but it simply has not done it.

After we raised this issue, the department did it again in Nunavut. We found out that two more lakes in Nunavut, which carry various species of fish, were slated for the disposal section of the mining act. The fisheries department allows these mining companies to dump their waste into healthy aquatic systems. Why would the government allow that? Maybe it wants to make it cheaper for the mining companies.

Once the ore is gone, then the fish are gone. If we do it right, the fisheries can be here for our great grandchildren. If we keep destroying the fish habitat, we are not only destroying it for our grandchildren, but we are destroying it for ourselves. That is the long reach we are looking for in this bill.

We also want economic opportunities for fishermen and their families from coast to coast to coast. We want members of Parliament to be able to grab a hook and line and take their children fishing, but in a healthy environment. We want them to have the opportunity to fish. However, a lot of our fish species on the east and west coasts and in the north are being reduced in numbers. In fact, many scientists are saying that the large pelagics on the east coast are down to 90% from what they used to be.

This is all under the watch of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and his department. I am not putting the total blame for all the destruction on the current government. For 13 years the Liberals had the watch and before that the Conservatives and back and forth.

We anticipate that in 2008 the runs up the Fraser may be very low. We know what happened in 2004. We are very concerned about the early Stuart run in the parliamentary secretary's area. He knows very well what I am talking about. There are great concerns about the future of salmon stocks on the west coast.

If we have proper and true consultations with fishermen, their families and their communities, including first nations, we could have an act that would be proactive and desired by everybody. We could move it forward. If the government had listened to us in December of last year, we may have had a new act by now. The government insisted that the bill go to committee after second reading. There was only one reason for that. The government knows very well that we cannot make substantive changes to a bill after second reading. Many of the changes that fishermen would have liked to have seen would be ruled out of order in the amendment process. The government knows that.

I remember very clearly when the current Minister of Fisheries and Oceans was in opposition. In February 2002 he said that the problem with DFO bureaucrats was that they sat around with their corporate fish buddies drinking cognac and ignoring the needs of small fishermen. When he became minister, I asked him about that statement. He jokingly said that he did not drink alcohol so he did not have time for cognac, but his people did great work.

A lot of people in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans mean well and do their best under the circumstances. If Canada is to have a brand new Fisheries Act, it should be written by the people who are most affected by fisheries, and that is the fishermen and their families from coast to coast to coast and those in our inland waters, not by politicians or bureaucrats.

One of the problems, besides the environmental concerns that we have expressed, is there will be a lot of downloading to the provinces. I remind the government that the terms of union in British Columbia for 1871 was the federal government had the financial fiduciary responsibility and management of all fisheries in tidal waters.

We see the government slowly but surely downloading the responsibility for our fisheries to the provinces. What happened a few years ago in the great province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the minister's own province? The government of the day cut the rivers keeper program. It was up to the province to hire 20 more people to keep an eye on the rivers for the protection of the wild Atlantic salmon.

In Prince Edward Island, every year around late spring we hear of another massive fish kill on the Tyne River. It is directly related to pesticide runoffs from the farms. The federal government should work with the provinces to have buffer zones near fish bearing lakes and rivers to ensure pesticides do not flow into the water system.

We cannot keep going and killing off massive amounts of fish for other industries. They can cohabit and they could work together, but we need a comprehensive plan that protects fish and fish habitat and not use it as an afterthought.

One DFO official asked me how far I wanted to go to protect fish. I told him his department received $1.6 billion of Canadian tax dollars to do one thing and one thing only, and that was the protection of fish and fish habitat. It should not be an afterthought.

As I tell DFO officials, fishermen are not a nuisance, they are their job and so are fish. That is what we are asking the Government of Canada, through its Department of Fisheries and Oceans, to do.

When the Minister of Natural Resources was in opposition, I remember he questioned, on many times occasions, what the people in the ivory tower at 200 Kent Street were doing for a living. Anywhere between 1,300 to 1,600 work at 200 Kent Street for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Every morning when I come to work, I walk along the Rideau Canal. I have yet to see a trawler, a seiner, a gill-netter, a lobster pot, a crab pot or recreational fishermen. I never see anybody fishing in the Rideau Canal, yet we have 1,300 to 1,600 people working for the fisheries department in Ottawa. When the Minister of Natural Resources was in opposition, I remember him asking what those people did. I wonder if he ever received an answer on that.

The country requires more habitat officers, more money to science and enforcement and more cooperation between everybody to ensure that fisheries are protected now and in the future. That does not mean downloading federal responsibility to the provinces. We are very concerned about this.

The other issue we are very concerned about is the corporatization of a public resource. We are pleased to see that the government, after saying absolutely the reverse, has inserted the words “common property resource” in Bill C-32. They were not in Bill C-45. We had to push and push to get it in there. However, it is only in the preamble. We would like to see it in the main body of the text to ensure that the fisheries is a common property resource owned by the people of Canada and not the Government of Canada.

It is ironic that today's National Post talks about the Magna Carta. That right was given to us by the Magna Carta. It is the public right to fish and the government must manage the fishery in the public manner to which we should be accustomed, not what happens now.

A public resource being slowly, or whatever way we look at it, privatized makes us ask this. Why does the Jimmy Pattison Group controls most of the salmon and herring stocks on the west coast. How is it that Clearwater control most of the scallop stocks on the east coast? If it is a public resource, how does one entity manage to have control of the vast majority of that public resource?

On trust agreements, again the government is very vague about this in the bill. This is when companies buy up licences and put them in other fishermen's names. Instead of the fishermen becoming independent, they end up working for the company store.

We want to ensure that the owner-operator and fleet separation clauses are intact in the legislation where they cannot have any wiggle room to get around them. If we have that, it would go a long way in protecting the interests of fishermen in the country.

Many times we stand in the House and we thank the fishermen very much. Every morning when I have breakfast I thank the farmers who give us our nutritious food. At the same time we must thank the fishermen. Fishermen risk their lives to give us the opportunity to have nutritious and good, wholesome food. We thank the fishermen for what they do.

It is our parliamentary obligation to ensure that fishermen can maintain their livelihood. Anyone who has been out on a gill netter off Texada Island off the coast of Vancouver Island at 4:30 in the morning and watched the sun come up slowly over the horizon as the fisherman had his second cup of tea while he put his line out has watched God's work at hand.

There is nothing better than to go out at about 3:30 or four o'clock in the morning off the coast of Canso, Nova Scotia with a fisherman to lay his 200 lobster traps in the water. When the job is done at six in the morning and the fisherman comes back, that is a wonderful day.

There are fishermen out there who love to do that work. They love living in their coastal communities. They love being able to earn a living with their own two hands, but consistently, year in and year out, we make it more and more difficult for them to ply their trade. It is simply unacceptable.

What happened in Newfoundland and Labrador after 1992-93 was that over 50,000 people left that province to seek an economic livelihood elsewhere because of the collapse of the fishery. Have we learned anything from that? Absolutely not. Does this act reverse that and ensure that it never happens again? No, it does not.

If the government is so confident that this bill is the way to go, then it should send the bill to committee before second reading. If the government does that, it already has our pledge, and I am sure the government has the pledge of my hon. colleague from Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, that we will constructively work with the government to bring a new modern act to this country. We can do it fairly quickly. In fact, that is what we said almost a year ago. If the Conservatives had listened to us then, we would probably have a new act now.

We are asking the government to work in cooperation with the opposition parties. We do not want to kill this bill, but if forced to, we will. If the government brings it to us after second reading knowing full well that fishermen in their communities cannot make major amendments to it, then we will have no choice but to delay and destroy Bill C-32. That is something we do not want to do.

We want to be proactive. We want to be constructive. We want fishermen and their families to have real input into what will affect their lives for many generations to come.

This is the minimum Parliament should be able to give to fishermen. We are not the fishermen. In fact, at the last count I believe there were only two members of Parliament who were commercial fishermen. One is from the Delta area, and I cannot mention his name of course, and the other is from the Kenora area. They are the only two commercial fishermen in this place.

Guess what happened to the Conservative member from the Delta area when he opposed Bill C-45. The government kicked him off the committee. He was the only commercial fisherman that we had and the longest serving member since 1993. He objected to the bill. He was standing up for his constituents. What did the government do? The government removed him from the committee so his concerns would be silenced, but he is not going to be very silent. The reality is we do not want that to happen to anyone else. We want to make sure that fishermen and their families have an opportunity down the road.

As a first nations friend of mine once said to me, we need to think in the seventh generation principle. We need to understand that what we do today will affect seven generations from now. If we do it right and if we protect the fish and the fish habitat, if we ensure an economic livelihood for fishermen and their families from coast to coast to coast and on our inland waters, then that would be a bill we could all be proud of.

I look forward to further debate on this particular issue and any questions or comments that anyone may have.

December 3rd, 2007 / 5:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

I think it explains what it is. We've talked about this in certain forms under different subjects about this particular piece of legislation. We always thought that when Bill C-45 came in, the advice given and the input sought was not sufficient if you were going to replace an act that was stretching towards 140 years old.

In light of the great spirit that was shown when Bill C-2 was referred to committee, we thought that Bill C-32 would have the same process, whereby we wouldn't be strapped down by certain rules and procedures that could confine us. Hopefully we can take this from the standing committee and go across the country. I think it's something we need to do, given that we are replacing an act that's close to 140 years old.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

October 23rd, 2007 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Catherine Bell Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek.

I really was looking forward to the government's throne speech. The government said when it prorogued the House that it would chart a new course for this country. I expected it to live up to those words. The government prorogued this House. That is a very serious act. That turned back the clock on many bills and motions that had been worked on for months by the members of this House.

I thought that since the government took this step, it would truly have a new direction, a new course, but I was disappointed. Once again the Conservative government looked in the rear-view mirror. It missed an opportunity. It is taking Canada in the wrong direction, the wrong direction on climate change and the wrong direction for seniors, for children, for first nations and for ordinary Canadian families.

The biggest disappointment was the government's complete and utter failure to address climate change. Last spring, my colleague, the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, worked hard in an all party committee to improve Bill C-30, the clean air and climate change act, so that Canada could begin to move in the right direction.

All parties agreed that Bill C-30 was going to be a good start, but the government is not even bringing it back. In fact, it is bringing back only a small portion of it even though the majority of the House agreed on the changes to Bill C-30. What arrogance. What contempt for this House the government has. Once again it has broken the trust of ordinary Canadians.

I and many others from my riding and across the country are disappointed in the government's stance on the environment because we are running out of time. Ordinary Canadians are doing their part. They are changing their light bulbs. They are conserving water. They are converting to hybrid cars. However, no matter how many of us change our light bulbs, if the government does not change course all our efforts will be futile.

The government could have made a big difference if it had implemented hard caps on large carbon emitters. That would go a long way to meeting our emission targets. It decided to go with intensity based measures instead. With the expansion of the oil sands looming on the horizon, intensity targets will do nothing to reduce Canada's emissions. When we produce more oil from the oil sands, we also will be producing more greenhouse gases.

Another opportunity was missed by the government when it came to addressing the needs of seniors. My colleague, the member for Hamilton Mountain, introduced the seniors charter last year. It was debated and passed by the House, but the government has never enacted it. The government had an opportunity in this throne speech to implement the priorities of the charter, including primary care, long term care, home care and free pharmacare and dental care. These things would all enhance the quality of life for seniors.

However, once again the government has let seniors and all Canadians down. It is another broken promise. The governmentt said it would act on what was passed by the majority of this House.

When it comes to hope and fairness for ordinary Canadians, the government has done nothing on the issue of affordable housing and homelessness. We have just seen $14 billion in federal surplus. The government has announced that this year's surplus will be twice what it had anticipated. Quelle surprise.

With all that extra money in the coffers and with all the need for housing in my communities, and in fact with nearly two million Canadians across this country who do not have what is deemed to be acceptable housing, why did the government not make it a priority to invest in a national housing strategy?

I have been to many first nations communities in my riding. The housing situation there is even worse. For example, in Port Hardy, the Gwa'Sala-Nakwaxda'xw are in dire need of acceptable shelter. They live in mouldy homes. Sometimes as many as 25 people are living in one house and three families live together in a home built for single family occupation. These are deplorable conditions and they need to be addressed immediately.

The same goes for child care. I have been talking with parents and child care workers in my riding from Port McNeill to Courtenay, and they are telling me that there is a crisis. Failure on the part of the government to address the crisis has resulted in longer wait times for child care space and increasing costs. There is up to a two years wait for a space. That means we have to register our child before it is even born.

Child care centres need reliable, long term funding to provide the kind of access that parents and their children are looking for. That is why the NDP proposed the child care act that will soon be voted on at third reading. That is the kind of solution today's families are looking for, real commitments to child care in this country.

I would like to address two things that are crucial to Vancouver Island North, two things the government mentioned in its throne speech that it would protect. It said it would stand up for forestry and fishing, but on these two files, the government has a very bad track record.

The Conservatives sold out forestry communities and forestry workers in my riding and across this country when they signed the sellout softwood agreement. Because of that agreement, it is not profitable for companies to mill logs in Canada, so they ship raw logs to the U.S. or abroad and we get to buy them back as finished lumber.

The irony is not lost on the constituents of Vancouver Island North. Our communities are surrounded by forests, yet lumber mills are closing from B.C. to Atlantic Canada as more and more raw logs and jobs leave this country. Pulp and paper mills and fibre mills are having a hard time getting fibre because there are very few sawmills left to provide it.

I introduced Motion No. 301 to curtail raw log exports and to encourage value added and manufacturing right here in Canada. The natural resources minister said he recognized that something needed to be done about the situation that is killing our resource based communities, but again, the government has failed to act. I do not call that standing up for an industry, for workers or for our communities.

The other issue that I would like to mention is that the Conservatives said they would stand up for the fishing industry, but again, they are going in the wrong direction. Last spring, they introduced Bill C-45, a new fisheries act, without consultation with fishermen, first nations or anyone from our communities. That bill has gone now because of prorogation, but why did they bring it forward in the first place? No one wanted it.

They also said that they would decentralize the DFO and have more decision making on the coasts of this country. After almost two years there has been no movement on this promise. Instead, I have to ask the government if they are trying to kill our west coast fisheries.

Just a few weeks ago an order came down from on high to cut the Chinook egg take for the entire west coast. When asked why, the Conservatives said it was due to a lack of funds, but I remember last year when I asked the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans about a budget cut, I was told that it had not been cut, so there should have been lots of money there.

Thankfully, the decision to cut this egg take and to kill the Chinook fishery was turned around, but a decision like that should never have been made in the first place.

Also, a recent barge spill in my riding in Robson Bight is causing grave concerns because the fuel tank and vehicles are on the bottom of the ocean continuing to leak oil and diesel to the surface. Environmental groups, local businesses, students and concerned people from around the world donated money to carry out an investigation. We called on the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to also carry out an investigation, but the ministry waited a full two months and finally, after the environmental organizations announced that they would do carry out an investigation, the government was embarrassed and had to come forward and say it would do one too. It finally did the right thing.

These oil spills are having a devastating effect on the waters and on the salmon in the Strait of Georgia. Salmon are the canary in the coal mines of our oceans. They feed whales and people, and are a source of cultural and ceremonial significance to first nations of B.C. The health of salmon is important to the west coast and we are in danger of losing them.

Enhancement must be increased. Monitoring of sport and commercial fishing must be increased if we are to have a clear picture of what is going on off our coast.

There are many reasons not to support the direction in which the government is going. I am speaking for the thousands of Canadians in my riding who oppose this direction. I and they have little confidence--

Motions in Amendment
Aeronautics Act
Government Orders

June 19th, 2007 / 12:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have found out that 80,000 passengers have been put at risk over the past five years when planes have come dangerously close to each other in Canadian skies. These findings are based on Transport Canada data. That includes more than 800 incidents between 2001 and mid-2005 in which planes were getting too close to each other. In some cases, they were seconds away from colliding.

What should happen? We are saying that the Transport Canada guidelines will need to make sure devices are put into the planes to ensure there is a system to make sure the planes do not come close to one another.

Why do I raise this? It is because through access to information my office was able to find out that recently in downtown Toronto at the island airport we had an incident on March 13, 2007, I believe, when a Cessna 150, a training school type of plane, was doing circuits around runway 26. There was a Porter Airlines flight, a Dash 8 400, approaching the runway. The plane doing circuits on runway 26 cut off the Dash 8, overshooting, and the two aircraft came within 400 feet vertically or a half a mile horizontally of each other. That is very close. How did I get that information? I obtained it from access to information.

Under clause 7 of this bill, no one, no member of the public, whether it is a member of Parliament, a journalist or a person concerned about airline safety, would be able to get this kind of information. The Toronto Star did a series not long ago, in September 2006, recording all of the problems that various airlines, the industry and the passengers had. What will happen after Bill C-6 passes is that all of this information will not be allowed to become public.

Where is the accountability when there is no transparency and no openness? What is the government afraid of? Why is the government shutting down the public's right to know about airline safety? If the government is not doing that, then we should cancel clause 7 and get rid of it. The bill is very clear. Clause 7 says that we cannot continue to have this information.

Earlier there was a question about Toronto's downtown airport and Porter Airlines. Parts of Bill C-6 say that it is now going to be up to the industry to decide the level of risk that the industry is willing to accept in its operations, rather than it being done through the level of safety established by a minister acting in the public interest. It allows the government to transfer the responsibility from the minister and from government so that the industry itself would set and enforce its own safety standards.

That is not the way to go. Why?

Let me describe Toronto's island airport for members. The island airport is in downtown Toronto. It has a large number of pilot cautions. I will tell members what they are. It is stated that all arriving and departing aircraft are instructed to avoid flights over the CNE and Ontario Place. The wind turbine at the CNE grounds is listed as a hazard. There are two large chimney stacks that are noted as hazards, the Hearn power generating plant and the incinerator on Leslie Street.

Pilots also are instructed not to fly over surrounding neighbourhoods, including the entire Bathurst Quay, the residential condominiums along Queen's Quay, and the island community. There are close to 20,000 residents in that downtown area. There are high-rises, some of which are 40 to 50 storeys high. Some of them are within a few seconds to a few minutes of the airport.

Pilots are also warned about vessels with 120 foot masts in the vicinity of the final approach to all the runways. There is frequent banner-towing activity over the CNE, which is a hazard. The flagpole in Confederation Park is listed as a hazard. As well, pilots are cautioned that a number of new high-rise buildings have been approved around Fort York. Also, a building on Fleet Street is 44 storeys high, so just along Fleet Street there are at least five to eight new high-rise condominiums that have been approved and are going in.

That area is surrounded by large buildings. Also, because it is right by the lake, people have observed that lake fog in the spring and fall sometimes causes poor visibility at the airport. There is severe weather, such as crosswinds, wind sheer and air turbulence, creating difficult landing conditions. In fact, in just the short while that Porter Airlines has been flying into the island airport, there already has been one incident in which the aircraft could not land at the island airport and was told to go to Pearson International Airport.

The aircraft flying into the island airport, the Q400, is certified to operate in crosswinds of up to 60 kilometres per hour. During February 2006, wind gusts of over 60 kilometres per hour were recorded on 11 different days, so in one month alone there were 11 days when the crosswinds were too strong.

There is also another problem at this airport. The runway is incredibly short. The Q400, when fully loaded, requires 1,402 metres for takeoff and landing, which is almost 200 metres more than the longest runway at the island airport. That is how short the runway is. These are the safety requirements at the downtown Toronto Island Airport. Even Bombardier, which manufactures the Q400, has said that 1,400 metres of runway is required only if one of the two engines fails on takeoff.

There are a lot of problems at the downtown island airport. There is also a problem with the large number of birds in that area. There is a bird sanctuary nearby. Occasionally people have to shoot off some guns in order to scare away the birds. Transport Canada statistics show that the shore birds, and gulls in particular, account for the greatest number of bird strikes and that 80% of bird strikes occur during takeoff and landing. There are all sorts of problems.

Also, the island airport is run by a port authority that this year at the annual general meeting declared a loss of $6 million in a $10 million business. It is quite incredible that our government is continuing to subsidize a money-losing business and that this rogue agency continues to run an airport that is not welcomed by the citizens of Toronto and definitely has a lot of safety problems.

We are seeing a pattern in Bill C-6, which deals with airline safety. We have other bills like this before us, such as Bill C-45, the proposed fisheries act, which basically allows corporate polluters to dump toxic substances without fines. The new act allows the minister discretion to give alternate measures to big polluters instead of criminal records as mandated in the old fisheries act. Environmentalists and people who are concerned about the Great Lakes, for example, are appalled. There is a big campaign against the bill because it is seriously flawed. That is one of the patterns.

Other things are happening. Last week we discovered that at least 90,000 toys in Canada have dangerous levels of lead and again the government is asking the industry to determine what the safety level is, just like it is doing for the airline industry. We are asking companies to detect toxins and lead in toys and asking them--

Fisheries Act
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

June 15th, 2007 / 12:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Cummins Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present a petition today on behalf of residents of various communities on Vancouver Island and in Kimberley and the surrounding area as well.

The petitioners are expressing their concern about the impact that Bill C-45, the proposed new fisheries act, will have on them. They decry the fact that they were denied input into the drafting of the bill. They are calling upon Parliament to withdraw it and to accept input from recreational and commercial fishermen and others.

Fisheries Act
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

June 13th, 2007 / 3:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Lee Richardson Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to rise today to present a petition on behalf of concerned fishermen who urge members of Parliament to act now to stop the passage of Bill C-45 and to allow further input from the fishing industry into the new Fisheries Act.

Fisheries Act
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

June 13th, 2007 / 3:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Cummins Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present a petition today from residents of mostly Cranbrook and the Creston area of British Columbia, sports fishermen who are opposed to the new Fisheries Act. In their view the act was written by bureaucrats for bureaucrats and effectively removes any legal rights that they feel they have as fishermen. They are calling upon the government to scrap Bill C-45.

Opposition Motion--Equalization Program and Atlantic Accords
Business of Supply
Government Orders

June 7th, 2007 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague points out, he and I have both worked on the issue of Bill C-45. We have been inundated with questions from all interests, environmental groups, aboriginal groups, fishing groups far and wide. They are wondering what the government is talking about when it refers to broad consultations. There was absolutely no or very little consultation. That is why we have vehemently argued against the Conservatives ramming through Bill C-45. Why do they recklessly continue to do this?

I am glad my hon. colleague pointed this out. Just the other day during debate at second reading our hon. colleague from South Shore—St. Margaret's moved a motion in the House to make sure that no more amendments could be made to the bill. Shameless. Shameful.

Opposition Motion--Equalization Program and Atlantic Accords
Business of Supply
Government Orders

June 7th, 2007 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague knows the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans probably better than any of us, but the reality is the minister is the individual who represents in cabinet the good people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

We heard his speech in the House which was simply a litany of deception. The fact is he is the same Minister of Fisheries and Oceans who said to us that there was broad consultation with fishermen and their families across the country on the new Fisheries Act, Bill C-45.

I remind my hon. colleague that at the Maritime Fishermen's Union conference the minister stood there and said that exact same thing to all the fishermen in the room, that there was broad consultation. I stood up right after the minister and asked the MFU if any of them in the room had been consulted on the new Fisheries Act before it was tabled on December 13. I asked them to put up their hands. I asked the question twice and not one person put up their hand.

If the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans can mislead a whole group of fishermen at their convention, misleading an entire province is just one rung up the ladder of deception. Would the member not agree?

Fisheries Act
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

June 6th, 2007 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Cummins Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to present to the House today signed by many people from the province of British Columbia.

The petitioners call on the government to withdraw the new Fisheries Act, Bill C-45. The petitioners are requesting this of the government because they feel that there has been insufficient input from both recreational and commercial fishermen. They want this bill withdrawn and rewritten.

The House resumed from May 30 consideration of the motion that Bill C-45, An Act respecting the sustainable development of Canada's seacoast and inland fisheries, be read the second time and referred to a committee.