Bill C-277 (Historical)
National Fish and Wildlife Heritage Commission Act
An Act to establish a National Fish and Wildlife Heritage Commission and to re-establish the Survey on the Importance of Nature to Canadians
This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.
This bill was previously introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session.
Larry Bagnell Liberal
Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)
Introduction and First Reading
(This bill did not become law.)
National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business
November 30th, 2010 / 6:20 p.m.
Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise once again to speak in favour of Bill C-465, An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day.
This act would designate the third Saturday in September in each and every year as national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day. At the outset of the debate on this bill, I commended the member for Northumberland—Quinte West for bringing this bill forward. He spoke very eloquently on the ways, the why and the how, this type of activity in the great outdoors of Canada is within all our spirits and in our souls. It is something that is very Canadian.
At that time I also noted the importance that hunting, trapping and fishing activities for food, ceremonial and commercial purposes continue to have for our aboriginal peoples, since time immemorial. It is interesting to note that the rights of Canada's aboriginal peoples with respect to hunting, trapping and fishing are recognized and affirmed in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
There is little doubt that hunting, trapping and fishing were the first forms of trade and currency and formed the very backbone of Canada's financial structure. Many communities can also trace their very establishment to these activities.
In my riding we had early trading centres, one at Fort Selkirk, which was at one time burned by the first traders, the Chilkoot Indians. It was a major part of the first economy at first contact in my riding alone.
Many communities can also trace their establishment to these activities. As co-chair of Parliament's outdoor caucus, I want to point out that in today's economy it is estimated that more than eight million Canadians take part in hunting, trapping and fishing activities, representing $10 billion worth of economic stimulus.
Hunters, trappers and anglers have funded and participated in research projects to help save the wetlands, reintroduce wildlife and restock lakes. They have improved safety conditions and encouraged and helped educate younger generations to participate in the traditions of hunting and fishing, as well as trapping, objectives I have outlined in my own private member's bill, Bill C-277.
Some will point out that anglers, trappers and hunters collectively do more for environmental conservation than all other groups combined. It is estimated that Canadian anglers annually donate more than one million volunteer days to aquatic improvement projects alone.
We are also told that the United States has had such a day since 1972 and that the Yukon territory and provinces such as Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Manitoba have similar recognition dates on their books.
Bill C-465 does not aim to protect or regulate hunting, trapping and fishing in any way.
Those who make a living from these activities often encounter difficulties, and this day will help inform and make the public and decision-makers aware of their situation, their concerns and their needs.
My constituent, Murray Martin, who is an outdoor writer, offered me his thoughts on Bill C-465, which I would like to share with the House of Commons.
Mr. Martin wrote this about the hunter's environment:
The measure of a man's success in saving the best parts in his world will be reflected in hunting and fishing. And just as game fish and wildlife are the truest indicators of quality natural environment, so are out field sports are the truest indicator of quality freedom. A world that cannot sustain fish and wildlife may be well groomed and prosperous, and have a strong Gross National Product, but it is a synthetic place that is also unable to sustain the human spirit.
The member for Northumberland—Quinte West talked very eloquently about the human spirit and the effect hunting and fishing have had on Canadians' lives and souls.
A second quote from Mr. Martin is a reference to “The Genuine Sportsman Does”:
The fisherman and hunter recognize quality country, and keenly aware of elements. For one thing, this person has a close bond with game birds and animals creatures that are the cream of wildlife. They know that they are the biological indicators of the environment quality, and the real worth of a place may be more accurately weighed in terms of game and fish than in GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT.
Here is one final thought from Mr. Martin:
The genuine hunter and fisherman are out most...practical environmentalist. Of all civilized people, they are still the people who are our agent of awareness of our dependence on nature.
Hunting and fishing have been important activities in my riding of Yukon since time immemorial, starting with the aboriginal people who have been doing it for hundreds of generations. Hunting and fishing are important to their way of life. These activities provide them with food and clothing. They are important to their ultimate survival. We hunt and fish quite often in our spare time, but imagine how integral it is to their way of life when they had to do it until they got food, 24/7, for survival. Failure meant lack of survival. So it was absolutely essential, ingrained in their DNA, as the proponent of this bill said.
Subsequent to that time, on first contact trapping became an important part of the aboriginal economy. It improved the lives of aboriginal people because of the things they could get in trade for the furs they were not using for themselves.
Aboriginal people continue to fish and hunt and trap to this very day, to sustain themselves with healthy foods, country foods, in much of the northern half of Canada and in many other parts of Canada as well. These activities are still essential to their lifestyle as is the migration of the mammals that are important to them and the various runs of fish.
My riding has all sorts of game animals, five species of salmon, Arctic char and lake trout. These lead to modern-day economic activities. For example, outfitters have concessions all over Yukon, and many times they use aboriginal guides because they have the expertise in that type of work.
Many other people in my riding and their families undertake hunting and/or fishing activities in their spare time to augment their diet and to enjoy the outdoors and to come in contact with the great nature that we are blessed with in Canada.
I want to close with some thoughts on comments made by other members during this debate. I want to mention some of the effects hunting and fishing have had on my life, which are very similar to the bill's proponent.
One of the first activities I remember as a child was going fishing with my father. I still have some of the pictures from when I was four, five and six years old. I have pictures of me with a little string of fish. I remember one day I asked him how I would know when a fish was on my line, and he said the line would go all around in circles, like this. He went to unload some stuff from the car and when he came back, I asked, “Like this?”, and my line was going in circles. There was indeed a fish on the line and I remember it being too big for me to bring in.
I remember spending hundreds if not thousands of hours on the banks of streams, fishing. I spent just as many hours in the ocean and in lakes. It was the activity, not the fish. I do not even like to eat fish that much. I give it away to friends and family. But I enjoyed the activity of being out there in nature, of enjoying a pursuit that has been part of our souls since time immemorial.
Of all countries, Canada should certainly recognize a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day. I provide my full support for this bill. I congratulate the proponent for bringing it forward. I also want to congratulate all parties for supporting it. It would be a great way to celebrate these great Canadian activities that are so integral to our history and our spirit.
National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business
June 16th, 2010 / 6:20 p.m.
Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of Bill C-465 brought forward by the member for Northumberland—Quinte West with whom I share some time with on the justice committee and have come to know.
I know his area is one in which hunting, trapping and fishing are not only pastimes but for some more or less a full-time occupation, job, or vocation. In this great country of ours, we have to realize that there are people who do not wear suits and do not sit in Parliament, but who are out in the woods and the streams, and the oceans for that matter harvesting and being in the outdoors making a living, not only in the actions of hunting, fishing and trapping but in supporting others who hunt, fish and trap.
In my own province of New Brunswick and in my own region of Atlantic Canada the issue of guiding and outfitting is one that is to the fore often in public discourse. I guess I am one of the few speaking from Atlantic Canada and I want to bring that representation here. I know my friend from Yukon has brought his perspective from the north which is very valuable.
I might as a footnote add that the bill needs two amendments. One is the second “whereas” in the preamble, which states:
Whereas Canada’s hunters, trappers and fishers have made a significant contribution to the development of our nation by traversing and mapping the prairies, forests, streams and rivers from coast to coast;
The member for Yukon made it very clear that the unopposed addition of a third coast, “from coast to coast to coast” is appropriate. As my colleague, the member for Yukon, brought forward in his remarks there is a great deal of activity and importance to the north, evidenced by fishing, trapping and hunting. Therefore, with that friendly amendment the bill can go forward.
There is another amendment that I will get to in a few moments.
We have to realize that in the North American context we are not the first in advocating such a day. The United States has national organizations that promote hunting and fishing heritages. Many states have enacted laws protecting hunting and fishing opportunities, and several provinces and territories have taken that initiative as well.
Members of Parliament should also know that in support of the bill the various wildlife federations and fish and game associations have welcomed the passing of an act respecting a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day.
The bill is well-intentioned and is something that should receive support from all members of the House. Why? It is because we can all tell a story, as the previous speaker did, about history and person recollections.
Mine is a unique one in that I went to grade school, junior high school and high school with Bill Taylor who is a great Canadian. When we were all sitting around asking what are we going to do for a living, I suppose I might have said I was going to be a lawyer and a politician. Hopefully I did not at that age. However he said, “I'm going to be involved in the preservation of the Atlantic salmon”. We asked if he was going to buy a camp and take outfitters out. That was our vision back then. He said, “No. I'm going to work in the preservation of the Atlantic salmon”.
As teenagers, we had a chuckle. Now Bill Taylor, my friend, my age, under 50 barely, is the president of the Atlantic Salmon Federation. He is the president of a multi-country, international organization that is aimed at the preservation and promotion of the Atlantic salmon species. That means he is very involved in the preservation of fish and of the species, but he is also very involved in the preservation of the people who earn a living in the preservation of the species.
For instance, he is hand in glove with preservation people, with scientists, with researchers, with people who take the sport to the outfitting lodges, and youth groups who become more appreciative of our lakes and streams, and the greatness and the grandeur of the Atlantic salmon species.
I was very proud to be with Bill Taylor when the premier of our province made a number of catch-and-release camps on various rivers throughout the province. This means of course that the ultimate aim of preservation is not to take more than what is needed and the Atlantic Salmon Federation, for instance, has made it clear that it perceives its role in preservation to promote the sport of fishing, but also as a hyperactivity to that, to promote the preservation of the species. For that, it is to be commended.
The other aspects of hunting, fishing and trapping life in the Atlantic provinces, my personal mea culpa is that I have been a fisher and hunter since I was legally able to do so. My father was an avid outdoorsman. I have gone duck and partridge hunting and all kinds of hunting. I have been trout fishing, deep sea fishing and mackerel fishing. As I mentioned before I am young, under age 50, but I remember those being normal, accepted, everyday activities of youth my age in a semi-urban setting which is Moncton, New Brunswick.
However, I see that slipping and it is a bit like the television ad where the family is googling and blackberrying each other and decide they should go out camping so they can get away from these things, and I say this to a House full of people on their computers. But the point is, we are losing touch with our natural resource which, simply put, is the outdoors. Anything that encourages people to get outdoors and see the grandeur of our country, the most beautiful country in the world, should be congratulated.
For that I congratulate the member. I also want to congratulate my colleague from Yukon who in a similar vein had promulgated a private member's bill currently listed as Bill C-277. That bill calls for the establishment of a national fish and wildlife heritage commission to re-establish the survey on the importance of nature to Canadians to help protect Canada's natural resources, and promote activities related to fish and wildlife including hunting, fishing and trapping.
I say for the next generation that we have to do a public education program on the respect that we have for nature and the knowledge that young people have to engage in about their natural surroundings because it is frankly missing.
One housekeeping matter as the bill would move forward to committee is the aspect of our aboriginal population. It would be harmless, more comprehensive, and meaningful if a friendly amendment at committee, or otherwise, were inserted to ensure that our aboriginal heritage in this great country would be respected. That wording could be as follows: “Whereas aboriginal peoples have exercised and been sustained by traditional hunting, trapping and fishing activities for food, ceremonial and commercial purposes since time immemorial” and added to the other whereases “which are wholly acceptable, positive, factually correct and inclusive”. That would make the bill very complete.
I hope the mover is open to such an amendment when it does pass through the committee. With that, the package in Bill C-465 is non-controversial. It is very positive and may be used as a tool for MPs across the country, public leaders across the country, municipal leaders, schools, et cetera, to use the opportunity of the proclaimed day to promote practices that would lead future generations to appreciate the value of recreational hunting, fishing and trapping.
A sad note perhaps in closing, I mentioned that my father introduced me to the culture of duck hunting in Grand Lake, New Brunswick, where we would get up at an ungodly hour of three or four in the morning and go down to the Coys Gut Landing out on the waters into the blinds with his best friend from nearby Douglas Harbour. We would wait for the sun to rise and for 35 years we were able to do that. It was a great experience. Sadly, he has passed away. We went back one year and it was very difficult to continue going back because it was not about the outing and the hunting, which were great experiences, it was about the camaraderie and the father to son, generation to generation passing down of experiences and culture, and what I think the essential nature of what our country is about.
It is not hunting for everybody. It is not fishing for everybody. However, if there is one thing everyone in the House and everyone in this country has to appreciate, by virtue of being Canadian, it is our nature, our natural surroundings, our outdoors, and our love of the grand space that is Canada from coast to coast to coast.
National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business
June 1st, 2010 / 6:10 p.m.
Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT
Mr. Speaker, as co-chair of the non-partisan parliamentary outdoor caucus and as the MP representing Yukon riding, it gives me great pleasure to speak in support of Bill C-465, An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day. As the mover of the bill, the member for Northumberland—Quinte West, is aware, I have two amendments that I would like to see added to the bill. These amendments will be proposed at committee study of the bill.
For the record here in the House, I will explain why I am proposing amendments, so all hon. members will understand them as well.
The first amendment would be inserted after the first line of the preamble, and it would read:
Whereas Aboriginal peoples have exercised and been sustained by traditional hunting, trapping and fishing activities for food, ceremonial and commercial purposes since time immemorial;
From this line, members and all those who will read Bill C-465 will take note of the recognition of aboriginal peoples and the significance of hunting, trapping and fishing in the culture, past and present.
When I first read the bill, the absence of aboriginal recognition was very obvious to me, and as a result, I consulted with several aboriginal groups. I want to thank them for their input, which resulted in the amendment that I will propose at committee.
It is also interesting to note that the right of Canada's aboriginal peoples with respect to hunting, trapping and fishing are recognized and affirmed in section 35 of the Constitution Act of 1982, so it only seems fitting that this fact once again be acknowledged in Bill C-465.
The second amendment that I will propose at committee is the addition of the words “to coast” in line two of the preamble. Once again, as members know, Canada is bordered by three coasts and should be acknowledged as such when we speak of activity taking place from coast to coast to coast.
One of the reasons I am supportive of Bill C-465 is because of my own private member's bill currently listed as Bill C-277. I proposed this legislation over three years ago. With each new session of Parliament, the number on the bill changes but not the content. Bill C-277 calls for the establishment of a national fish and wildlife heritage commission and to re-establish the survey on the importance of nature to Canadians, to help protect Canada's natural resources, and it promoted activities related to fish and wildlife, including hunting, fishing and trapping.
If Parliament sees fit to pass Bill C-465, which I expect it will do in good order, then possibly some of the goals I outlined in my private member's bill will be met.
As an example, in Bill C-277 I advocated the promotion of practices that will lead future generations to value recreational hunting and fishing; the promotion of public participation in fish and wildlife conservation programs; the promotion of youth participation activities related to fish and wildlife, including hunting, fishing and conservation; and the promotion of tourism related to fish and wildlife, including hunting and fishing.
Surely these objectives could be highlighted as Canadians begin to plan and mark special events in celebration of a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day.
While the member for Northumberland—Quinte West proposes this as a national day, other provinces and territories have already enacted or are in the process of drawing up legislation to recognize the heritage importance of hunting and fishing, as he mentioned in his speech.
In my riding, Yukon Territory, there is such legislation on the books that was passed by the territorial assembly back in 2003. It recognizes that hunters and anglers contribute to the conservation, understanding and management of the Yukon's fish and wildlife. It has been an important part of our past for our cultural, social and economic heritage and is very important for the same contributions today.
For Yukon people, hunting, fishing and trapping is about sharing knowledge, experience and history of the land and waters. It is about passing on of traditions. More important, it is about learning respect and love for our natural environment. Hunting, fishing and trapping allow us to be part of nature, to better understand who we are, what we are part of and how important nature is.
As many members know, Yukon is a large riding with a small population, but it is important to note the significant impact on the territorial economy that is a result of hunting, fishing and trapping.
One of the first points of contact for those interested in hunting and fishing in the Yukon would be the Yukon Outfitters. What is their contribution to the territorial economy? Let me tell everyone.
Yukon Outfitters directly employ more than 250 people. They also generate in excess of $15 million that supports over 300 local businesses, their employers and the Yukon economy.
Yukon Outfitters account for 10% of all non-government money coming into the Yukon. Yukon Outfitters and their clients generate more than 8% of Yukon's tourism dollars and are responsible for more than 12% of Yukon tourism jobs. In effect, Yukon Outfitters are responsible for 20% of all tourism dollars in the territory. This also means that 85% of all the money generated by Yukon Outfitters remains in the Yukon supporting local businesses.
Yukon Outfitters generate more money for the Yukon economy with fewer tourists and less impact than any other Yukon business. At the same time, Yukon Outfitters are committed stewards of the land and are venturing their own funds to look after a public resource. The same is true of two other great Yukon organizations: the Yukon Trappers Association and the Yukon Fish and Game Association.
The United States has a national organization for promoting its hunting and angling heritage. Many states have enacted laws protecting hunting and fishing opportunities, and as I have mentioned, several provinces and territories have also done so. Members of Parliament should be assured that Canadian wildlife federations and fish and game associations welcome the passing of an act respecting a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day.
History has shown that less than 100 years ago, when wildlife was threatened like no other time in recorded history in North America, people who understood the value of fish, wildlife, trapping and wild lands came together to restore and to protect and conserve. These people, like now, were active hunters and anglers. They helped to preserve and protect a heritage that we are asking to be recognized now with the passage of Bill C-465.
People fish, hunt and trap for a variety of reasons. Some hunt and fish strictly to put wild meat on the table. Others hunt and fish because it allows them to be closer to nature and justifies more quality time spent in the wilderness. Some individuals hunt, fish and trap because it is deeply rooted in the social fabric of their culture. The reasons people hunt, fish and trap are complex, varied and often overlapping.
These activities are deeply imprinted, to a varying degree, on all people of the world. Archeological evidence shows that these activities have been with us since the early days of mankind. Even in our modern, technological society where the majority of people are far removed from the realities of nature, individuals have retained the right and the desire to hunt, fish and trap.
As I said at the outset of my speech, I look forward to moving two amendments to Bill C-465 when it goes to committee, and if these amendments are accepted, I look forward to continuing to support this bill enthusiastically. I congratulate the member for Northumberland—Quinte West for bringing this piece of legislation forward.
I am delighted to see my other co-chair of the outdoor caucus here today. I know he is a big supporter of the bill, and as a co-chair of the outdoor caucus and member of Parliament for Yukon, I know my constituents will welcome the news when I tell them in the near future that Parliament has passed an act respecting a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day.
National Fish and Wildlife Heritage Commission Act
February 2nd, 2009 / 3:05 p.m.
Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT, seconded by the member for Yorkton--Melville,
Mr. Speaker, as co-chair of the outdoors caucus, I am very happy to introduce a bill to establish the national fish and wildlife heritage commission, and to re-establish the survey on the importance of nature to Canadians.
Millions of Canadians participate in hunting, fishing and outdoor activities. It is a huge component of our tourism industry and it is very important that we do a lot of conservancy to preserve these resources. It is also important to make sure that harmful species are not introduced to our lakes and streams, and to make sure that there is greater youth involvement and awareness of these activities.
It is important to make sure there is no derogation of aboriginal rights. This is a very exciting initiative and I look forward to the support of the entire House.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)