National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act

An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day

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.

Sponsor

Rick Norlock  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Introduced, as of Oct. 26, 2009
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

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

This enactment designates the 23rd day of September in each and every year as “National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day”.

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.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

November 30th, 2010 / 6:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to address the House concerning Bill C-465 which would designate the third Saturday in September of every year as a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day.

Today I will be highlighting some of the economic contributions of those who participate in this time-honoured tradition, while my colleague from Yorkton—Melville, with whom I will be splitting my time, will discuss the importance that hunters, trappers and fishers play in conservation efforts.

As the House knows, hunting, trapping and fishing have played a vital role in Canadian history. Indeed, these practices have been part of the Canadian identity long before Canada became a nation and have been vital in the geographical and economic expansion of our great country.

Today, over eight million Canadians of all ages fish and millions more hunt, supporting an annual economy in this country of over $10 billion. National Revenue's statistics from 2008 and 2009 show just how important hunting, trapping and fishing has been in our economy.

I would be remiss if I did not take a few moments to reflect on how hunting, fishing and trapping are in the actual DNA of this country. As I mentioned at the start of my speech today, at the very beginning of this country, our first nations sustained themselves through hunting, fishing and trapping. They traded with each other in foodstuffs, in the hides and in the other goods that they obtained from Canada and mother earth.

We know that millions and millions of Canadians take part in this very valuable and time-honoured traditional way of not only sustaining ourselves but in enjoying a time with our family and our friends.

Just in the last few weeks in Ontario, we had two weeks of deer hunting and I, like many millions of other Canadians, went with family and friends and took part in that time honoured tradition. I know that in many provinces literally hundreds of millions and billions of dollars are raised through the sale of hunting and fishing paraphernalia as well as trapping paraphernalia to the people who take part in those occupations.

I also know that governments raise funds in order to conserve our natural resources through the sale of hunting and fishing licences, and federally, of course, through the sale of stamps for migratory game birds and other endeavours for which the federal government is responsible.

In Ontario and Quebec, hunting alone represents more than $1.5 billion in economic activity. The economic contributions speak for themselves.

This day would not only recognize the economic contributions of those who undertake these activities for recreational purposes, but also those who hunt, trap and fish for commercial purposes. For example, I would like to highlight the economic impacts that the fur and sealing industry have had on Canada. The fur trade in Canada is composed of approximately 60,000 trappers and include 25,000 aboriginals, with an additional 5,000 representing fur farmers, manufacturers, dressers and retailers. More important, the fur trade in Canada contributes close to $800 million to our gross domestic product. This is composed of $300 million in fur garment sales, $25 million in wild fur sales and $78 million in rancher fur sales.

Likewise. the sealing industry is a time-honoured tradition that allows people to provide for their families. In isolated villages, where people have limited employment opportunities, sealing can provide up to 35% of their income. As well, the meat from seals helps feed families and saves them from buying expensive store bought items. Sealing is now seen as a renewable resource that provides excellent pelts for clothing, meat consumption and seal oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which is a nature diet supplement.

I could go on but I believe those facts and figures strongly highlight the important contribution commercial and recreational hunters, trappers and fishers have made to Canada. The economic contribution is but one of many.

I would ask all hon. colleagues to support the bill. I will tell members why. It is in the DNA of my family and in the DNA of many members who will be getting up and speaking in support of this bill. When I say it is in the DNA, I mean just that. Whether we have aboriginal ancestry in our families or whether we are new Canadians, we know that hunting, fishing and trapping are an important part of the social fabric of this country.

All we need to do is go out to any lake or river and we will find a family, a father or a mother with his or her son or daughter, taking part in that time-honoured tradition.

I can tell members that in my constituency all we need to do is go to some place like Hastings and we will see new Canadians, with their children, with their grandparents, fishing off bridges, along the canal and along Rice Lake, as well as the Trent system or Lake Ontario. The Ganaraska River, through Port Hope, is one of the best steelhead fishing rivers in the province of Ontario and indeed in this country.

My seatmate from British Columbia, who sits just down the way from me, has partaken in hunting in the mountains of British Columbia, hunting elk, mule deer et cetera.

This is so important that every single provincial conservation group has contacted my office and said they supported this bill at committee. We heard from representatives from the east coast to Ontario, and they were 100% behind this bill. Why? Again I say it is because hunting, fishing and trapping are in the DNA of our country. One of the reasons this country was founded was the fur trade. We could go into the history of the Hudson's Bay Company and how that enterprise helped found this country and helped map this country and see the great resources that God has bestowed upon us.

I think it is important for us to recognize that, at least on the third Saturday of each September. We chose that date because it blends with our friends from the United States, many of whom come to Canada and help our economy.

That particular day is also recognized by several provincial governments and is recognized as a day when families go out and partake in or enjoy one of the most time-honoured traditions; that is, just sitting down with their sons or daughters, sitting down with a friend or a neighbour or sitting by themselves. As I have said so often to some friends of mine who talk about the stressors of life, put away the Prozac, put away all those anti-depressants, grab a fishing rod, put something on the hook or just let it dangle, put it in the water. Their troubles will soon dissipate because they are communing with mother nature. That sounds a bit simplistic, but I challenge anyone to take that up, grab a fishing rod or go for a walk in the woods. They will find that communing with nature by just sitting there and enjoying the wonderful country that is Canada, one of the greatest places on this fair earth to live, will not only contribute to their own health but to the health of those around them because, quite frankly, I find that walk in the woods, that time with family while they go out and partake in hunting or fishing is just great.

As I say, trapping is part of this. My maternal grandfather was a trapper in northern Ontario, as was my uncle. The fur trade is a tradition, of course, as I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, that we all recognize as the founding of our country.

I could go on at length and, quite frankly, I just know that my friend from Yorkton—Melville will want to tell Canadians and to share with Canadians some of his experiences and some of the advantages of recognizing the third Saturday of every September as a national hunting, fishing and trapping heritage day.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

November 30th, 2010 / 6:20 p.m.
See context

Liberal

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

November 30th, 2010 / 6:30 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak to Bill C-465 introduced by my colleague, the Conservative member for Northumberland—Quinte West, to establish a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day.

The Bloc Québécois supports this bill because we support hunting, trapping and fishing, which are an integral part of the historical and cultural heritage of Quebec. It is virtually impossible to oppose a day that would celebrate the activities that made such a significant contribution to the development of our contemporary wildlife conservation policies.

Even before the arrival of the first explorers and European colonists, hunting, trapping and fishing were the main economic activity on which the first nations depended. Even today, these activities represent the livelihood of many aboriginal communities in Quebec and their main source of food and commercial income. An economy based on hunting, trapping and fishing was the catalyst for exploration and trade.

We know that the economy of the French colonies and the first British colonies in our corner of the Americas, between the 16th century and the 18th century, was based largely, if not exclusively, on the fur trade.

This shows that hunting, trapping and fishing are much more than just outdoor activities. In Quebec, they are particularly meaningful. For a great many people, they have a sentimental and cultural value not found elsewhere in the world. For that reason, the Bloc Québécois cannot oppose instituting a hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day.

On the one hand, these activities have significant economic value. On the other, they contributed in the past, and continue to contribute, to the development of a unique model of wildlife and environmental conservation. I would like to expand on these two points.

First, for many aboriginal peoples living far from major centres, hunting, trapping and fishing—in addition to being traditional activities linked to their distinct culture—are activities that play a key role in preserving the Amerindian culture and identity. Furthermore, they are the main source of food. These people live very far from markets and the price of foodstuffs is often exorbitant in the few stores that supply these areas.

In a number of non-aboriginal communities, hunting and fishing are also one of the main sources of income. These activities are complementary, seasonal occupations that are essential to the economic well-being of the regions furthest from major centres.

Beyond the purely economic and commercial benefits, the recreational activities of hunting, trapping and fishing serve as important economic engines. Together they are part of an industry that injects about $10 billion into the Canadian economy every year. Furthermore, in times of economic downturn, the communities surrounding the areas where these activities are practised definitely feel the effects.

Of course, using the economic argument and invoking the practical nature of a proposal is always a good idea in politics. However, this national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day to be celebrated on the third Saturday in September every year is intended more to celebrate the unique contribution these activities have made to Canada's cultural and historical heritage.

The fact is, beginning in the 19th century in North America, hunters, trappers and fishers were among the greatest defenders of wildlife and environmental preservation. As a result, they created a unique, groundbreaking model for protecting and regulating the use of natural resources. Extremely aware the importance of preserving nature, they were the first proponents of conservation and scientific wildlife management. Thus, they were the first to recognize that rapid development and unregulated use wildlife threatened the future of many species and, as a result, also threatened a lifestyle.

Led by Teddy Roosevelt in the United States, Sir Wilfrid Laurier in Canada, and a host of sportsmen on both sides of the border, early conservationists helped to create the first laws restricting unfettered use of wildlife. They worked in support of sustainable use of fish and wildlife and helped to create hunting and fishing licences. Their efforts eventually resulted in the creation of the North American wildlife conservation model, the underpinning for most fish and wildlife preservation programs in existence today.

It is hunting and fishing organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, the Delta Waterfowl Foundation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and a number of others across the country that have helped, mainly through funds paid by hunters, trappers and fishers, to preserve wetlands and protect and reintroduce certain endangered species like the elk, the Atlantic salmon and the wild turkey.

It could be said that, in some ways, the hunters, trappers and fishers of Quebec are innovators when it comes to what we refer to today as sustainable development. Hunting, trapping and fishing contribute to preserving our natural heritage and, in some ways, our historical, cultural and political heritage; to keeping them up to date; and to forging, in the future, a unique link between peoples and their natural resources.

In closing, I have a small concern, not about this bill, for which the Bloc Québécois has just voiced its support, but about the proliferation of theme days in general. These days always promote a good cause and we cannot oppose virtue. However, I believe that it is important that the House set rules and guidelines for the passing of this type of bill. We cannot oppose virtue, but there are only 365 days in a year. If we continue to pass all these bills to institute theme days, we will soon run out of days.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

November 30th, 2010 / 6:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the representative of the people of Timmins—James Bay, I am particularly proud to speak to this bill to designate the third Saturday in September as a national day to recognize hunting, fishing and trapping as a heritage cultural activity in our country. The people of Timmins—James Bay have long been deeply involved in celebrating and living a way of life that is very much based on the land.

I want to say at the outset that we recognize within the Parliament of Canada that the issues around fishing rights, licensing of hunting and how it is carried out are certainly provincial jurisdictions. We have no problem recognizing the authority of provincial jurisdictions across the country. However, I think there is a role for the federal House to play in recognizing the importance of hunting, fishing and trapping.

Some of my colleagues have spoken about the huge financial role those activities play within our economy and communities. I fully recognize that. Tonight I would like to speak on the role we can play as a federal House in recognizing the heritage, the historic and present cultural activities.

Canada is becoming increasingly urban. Many people recognize this and have spoken about it. It is important to go back to where our roots have been.

Long before there were any highways in this country, there were the rivers. The rivers were the original highways that brought people throughout this country. What drew them initially was the relationship between the European settlers and the first nations around the fur trade. This is a relationship that goes back hundreds and hundreds of years.

In the region I represent, Lake Timiskaming was the waterway that brought the fur trade north. There were meeting places in the old fort on the Quebec side, and the people of Temiskaming traditionally called it Obedjiwan. It was the meeting place where people came to trade.

As the Europeans came, there was the North West Company, and Orkney Islanders were working for the Hudson's Bay Company. They were meeting with the first nations people who already had standards in place for how they were moving the furs. The furs were brought up through Lake Timiskaming, through places like Fort Matachewan, up the Abitibi and into the large rivers feeding into the James Bay lowlands, the Moose River, the Mattagami River, all the way to Moose Factory.

Many people in Ontario do not know that the oldest English settlement in Ontario is Moose Factory. Moose Factory was the centre of the fur trade going back to the 1600s. This was the original economic relationship within Canada.

Many people might say that was hundreds of years ago, but trappers are still active in Timmins—James Bay. Hundreds of years later we still have a trapping economy. North of 50° in my region the first nations economy is still very much dependent on hunting, trapping and fishing rights. I am very glad that the member from the Conservative Party who brought this bill forward realized the need to recognize the first nation rights that exist under section 35.

This bill is an example that amidst all the partisanship and rancour that exists in the House of Commons it is possible for all four parties to work together at certain times.

I think of the volunteers who keep our land-based activities so strong in northern Ontario. Ducks Unlimited does such incredible work with the recovery of wetlands. We only have to go to the Hilliardton Marsh to see the incredible job that Ducks Unlimited does and the involvement of young students and community volunteers.

In Kirkland Lake there is a district fish and games society which is volunteer based. It does a lot of work in terms of restocking our local lakes and ensuring that our local lakes remain vibrant and a source for community involvement.

What we need to do better as politicians is work more with the hunters, fishers and trappers who are out there at the grassroots level. We need to listen, as we say in the first nations communities, to their traditional ecological knowledge.

We cannot get the bureaucracy and the so-called scientific approach to land management to get too far separated from the people who are on the ground. If we go into Larder Lake in September, or to Matachewan or Cochrane in the fall, we will find many hundreds of families that are so intricately involved in the exploration of their traditional ways of life, which is the hunt camp, the moose hunt, the fishing and the partridge hunting.

We can do a better job of involving the front line people who love hunting and fishing, who want to ensure that we have sustainable levels of moose, deer and caribou. Let us work with the volunteers of these organizations and the hunters and fishers and get some of their expertise.

The bill reminds us that this is where we have been, that this is where we are and this is where we will continue to be. We have been blessed all across Canada. I am particularly favourable to Timmins—James Bay, but all across Canada there is such an immense bounty from our lakes and from our wildlife. We must continue to ensure that this is a sustainable bounty that remains for the next generation.

If we talk to the hunters, fishers and trappers, we will see people who are on the front lines of conservation. These people not only want to defend a long-standing way of life and culture, but they are very involved in ensuring that we have the proper duck habitat, that we maintain solid populations of moose and caribou across the north.

I want to celebrate the traditional hunting and gathering cultures of our north and recognize that the culture of our hunters and fishers is something to be celebrated. Hunting and fishing is something to be protected. Hunting, fishing and trapping is so much a part of what Canada is. We should be recognize this day and we should thank those on the front lines who do so much in the way of conservation.

This is a cultural activity and it would be incumbent upon me to quote from the bard of northern Ontario. I was once referred to by Peter Gzowski as the bard of northern Ontario, but this poet has taken up the mantle. Mr. Charlie Smith from Massey writes about the hunting, fishing and trapping cultures. In the book The Beast that God has Kissed, for which I wrote the introduction but I will not give myself a plug, this is what Charlie Smith says about the hunting culture of the north. We need a poet who can really speak to the immense beauty and depth of emotion that we have when it comes to hunting, fishing and trapping. He says:

Our coats all turn to fire
When the light is going down;
It's a mighty rite of autumn
Making meat out of the ground.
When the season turns to winter
You will find us cold and fey,
Everyone a shining beacon
At the closing of the day.
We bring death like gifts of wonder,
We take life out in the gray,
We fade in and out like whispers,
When we silent slip away.
We are technologic predators
Singing songs as old as time,
As we join the waltz of winter
When the horned one's in his prime.
The ravens cheer and guide us
And the new men hate our way,
With our coats of fibre fire
At the closing of the day.

The New Democratic Party of Canada supports the long-standing traditions of our hunters, our fishers and our trappers. We support the efforts of conservation and we support a day to recognize the unique cultural importance of hunting, fishing and trapping, not just in northern Ontario, not just in communities like Larder Lake, Cochrane, Moose Factory and Attawapiskat, but all across Canada. It is a culture that is based in our land, the land of Canada, is second to none in this world.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

November 30th, 2010 / 6:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I am able to address the House today concerning Bill C-465, an act that would establish a national hunting, trapping and fishing day annually on the third Saturday of September.

Many members know that I am the co-chair of the outdoors caucus. It is a non-partisan group of MPs and senators that promotes the rights of hunters, anglers, sport shooters and trappers on Parliament Hill. This caucus boasts one of the highest memberships on the Hill and the bill lines up nicely with our goals.

As my hon. colleague stated, I would like to take this time to highlight the important role that hunters, trappers and fishers play in conservation efforts and I would also like to take the time to highlight the widespread support the bill has already received.

Historically hunting, trapping and fishing have been some of the greatest economic drivers behind Canada's westward expansion. More important, these practices were essential to the survival of first nations, Inuit and European settlers who lived in what would one day become Canada.

Today, those who hunt, fish and trap are playing a vital and essential role in conservation efforts around the country. Hunters and anglers do more to protect the environment than government or any of the large international environmental groups do.

Hunting, trapping and fishing are Canadian heritage traditions which provide people of all ages the unique opportunity to spend quality time outdoors with family and friends in every region and riding of this country.

The concept of parks and protected areas was first conceived in North America over a century ago. These areas exist today across Canada and around the world, due in large part to the advocacy efforts of people who hunt, fish and trap. Our heritage of fishing, hunting and trapping includes a proud history of respect for the outdoors, which continues to translate into positive conservation action in all areas of Canada.

People who participate in these activities are also at the forefront of improved hunter safety training and safe firearm handling and proficiency. Anglers can be found advocating for water safety and administrating boat handling training programs. Trappers teach humane trapping methods and proper conservation of fur-bearing species.

Support for the bill has been overwhelming. Members from the Conservative, Liberal and New Democratic Parties have jointly seconded this non-partisan bill that applies to so many of our constituents. I notice even members of the Bloc have supported it today. The bill also enjoys wide support from non-government organizations, businesses and individuals across Canada.

I would like to take a moment to thank a few of these groups that have been extremely helpful and generous with their support: the Alberta Fish and Game Club Association, British Columbia Wildlife Federation, Delta Waterfowl Foundation, Friends of Fur, Canadian Outdoors Network, Canadian Sport Fishing Industry Association, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Fur Institute of Canada, Hunting for Tomorrow Foundation, La Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Outdoor Caucus Association of Canada, Prince Edward Island Wildlife Federation, Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation, Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, Shimano Canada Limited and Wildlife Habitat Canada.

On October 19, Bill C-465 went before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. This gave some of the members of the House a first-hand look at the contributions hunters, trappers and fishers had made to Canadian society. I will quote several officials who spoke on behalf of the bill at the standing committee.

Mr. Greg Farrant, government relations manager for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, said:

Bill C-465 is an important first step toward the recognition of the important heritage of hunting, fishing, and trapping in Canada and the contribution that anglers, hunters, and trappers make to the conservation of the resource for current and future generations .

Mr. Tony Rodgers, the executive director, Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters said:

All of us in this room are the descendants of successful hunters and anglers. In some cases they may be from a few generations back, but we would not be here without our forefathers having hunting and fishing skills.

We also heard comments from Dr. Robert Bailey.

It is very clear our history, society, economy and conservation efforts are all linked to those who participate in outdoor traditions such as hunting, fishing and trapping. We need to promote these traditional heritage activities and encourage more Canadians to participate in them.

I thank the member for Northumberland—Quinte West for bringing forth Bill C-465 and I hope everyone in the House will support it.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

November 30th, 2010 / 6:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I, too, am very pleased to speak to Bill C-465. I did take the time to re-read the speech by the member for Northumberland—Quinte West on June 1, 2010. I must agree that it is one of the best speeches that I have read in the House.

He made reference to the fact that several other provinces have special days. The provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario have existing legislation and, as he indicated, Saskatchewan is in the process of doing it. Manitoba's day seems like a number of months ago, maybe it was not that long ago, but I was certainly invited to participate in it. It, coincidentally, was just days after the vote on the long gun registry. So I was pleased to be very welcomed at that event.

I have talked to the member in the past and he agreed that the state of tourism was not what it should be in a cross-border sense. He said that perhaps passing his bill, which will surely become law, will actually aid the tourism industry in this country. I share with him the concerns about that, because we have all been hearing from owners of tourist facilities and tourist camps about how business has dropped. One business in northwestern Ontario that has been in the family for three generations, is, I believe, in danger of closing right now because the number of tourists has dropped off. Part of that has to do with the strong dollar. We have not seen such a strong dollar since Diefenbaker's days and that comes with many challenges.

However, there are other areas in which the government and the member could us and help the tourism industry. I have at least two on which I would like to ask for his support tonight. One of them has to do with the cost of passports. We have the ability in the House to pass an all-party motion. However, this past summer, we were lucky enough at the Midwestern Legislative Conference, which is an annual conference that has been held for quite a number of decades now, consisting of 11 midwest states, starting with Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin, and three Canadian provinces, which would include Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan. The members should know that it is very difficult to get any sort of resolution through this body, because we are talking about 500 politicians, Democrats and Republicans, who can fight about almost anything, and Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats from Canada who also can fight about almost anything if given a chance.

Do members know what we did at that conference? We decided to bring a resolution sponsored by Senator O'Connell from the state of North Dakota into the U.S.-Canada committee. The committee spent most of its time, its two or three hour meetings, discussing this one resolution out of the 15 that it had to deal with, and everybody on that committee was supportive of it. As a matter of fact, it was seconded by a Liberal MPP from Ontario and it made it through the committee with almost everybody wanting to speak in favour of it, and an American legislator telling the committee how he had to pay $500 for four passports. If legislators are questioning what we are doing, we can imagine what the public have to say about it.

The resolution was passed unanimously by this body and letters were sent to the Prime Minister and the President. I would ask the member, who is in the governing party, if he will help. I believe it would help the tourist operators and the hunters and trappers of this country a lot if he were to use his good offices and his powers of persuasion within his caucus and among his cabinet members to encourage the government to look at dealing with the passport issue.

By the way, I should point out that Canadians have a much bigger uptake in passports than Americans do. While 50% of Canadians have passports, only 25% of Americans do.

At the conference, the resolution that was passed unanimously—

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

November 30th, 2010 / 6:55 p.m.
See context

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, that was a very silly comment, because the fact of the matter is that all of this has to do with the subject at hand.

I spoke to the member for Northumberland—Quinte West when the bill was at second reading, about the state of tourist camps and the hunting industry in this country, and I think he would be the first to remind the member for Avalon that we are trying to improve the product. We are trying to improve the hunting industry in this country. While we cannot have a direct effect on the strong dollar, we certainly can try to convince governments to reduce passport fees, for example, to encourage more cross-border tourism.

I want to deal with a number of other issues, but for the people who complained about hunters not being able to manage and conserve animals, we only have to look at the slaughter of the buffalo in the late 1800s. For many centuries, the buffalo provided the essentials of life for prairie natives. The fur and hides were made into clothing and shelter and the meat was a main source of food.

The tribes lived largely a nomadic life while following the herds across the Prairies, and at one time there were as many as 50 million buffalo on the North American plains. Even in the early 1870s, there were herds so vast that it took several days to pass them.

After that, the demand for buffalo hides surged when a tanning method was developed that allowed the soft hide to be made into tougher, more desirable leather. In addition to that, there was advancement with the repeating rifle, allowing hunters to kill buffalo in large numbers.

Following that, there was a mass slaughter of the buffalo population in the United States. By the end of the 1870s, millions of buffalo had been slaughtered for sport and profit. Killing buffalo had even become a pastime for sportsmen from Britain who travelled to the plains to take part in the hunt, not unlike what transpires today with people going to Africa to be involved in safaris.

In Canada, fur traders, plains natives and hunters helped slaughter about four million buffalo. When Canadian settlers started farming, the first cash crop for some were buffalo bones, sold by the ton for fertilizer. One would think that with that use of the resource, it could never be restored. The fact of the matter is it is positive testimony to the human experience that the buffalo population has been brought back. That is actually a very positive story that we can tell, as opposed to a very negative one of the slaughter of a whole species that could have been extinct, but we brought it back.

It has been mentioned by other members that as people have moved off farms and away from rural areas, moved to cities, they have become distant from this issue, even hostile to it. We saw that with the gun registry. People in cities are very willing to accept the gun registry, whereas people who live in rural areas, in small towns or on farms, who deal with wild animals and trapping and hunting issues, understand that—

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

November 30th, 2010 / 7 p.m.
See context

NDP

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have a few minutes to talk about this excellent bill, which I support and many of my colleagues in our party support as well.

I am from Thunder Bay in northwestern Ontario. Many people throughout northwestern Ontario indulge in our hunting, fishing and trapping activities, but even the ones who do not actually do it themselves, their brothers, their friends and their cousins do and many of them benefit from the fish and game on their table that they do not hunt themselves.

I am a hunter myself, a fisher person, and a former licensed trapper. I am very proud that for 10 years I lived on a trapline and slogged through snow at -20°, -30° or -40° to do that trapping.

Hunting, fishing and trapping are our national heritage. There was a time when many Canadians, if they were not able to hunt, fish and trap, did not eat. They did not live. It is not only a cultural thing and a personal heritage thing, but for a long time in our country it was their survival.

The licence fees of hunters and fishers across Canada, in many cases, support most of our conservation. In addition to being a hunter and a fisher, I am also a bird watcher, a conservationist and I support the creation of parks and wilderness areas. However, I have always found it ironic that most of the people who do not hunt and fish have not yet found ways to actually put money directly into our hunting, fishing and wildlife conservation funds.

When I learned to trap, I learned from my native friends in the Armstrong area, from the Whitesand First Nation, from the people who live in Namaygoosisgagun, along the CN rail line where there is vast wilderness and wonderful hunting, fishing and trapping.

Those aboriginal people have learned those skills and they have practised those skills for thousands of years. As we know, they were here for many thousands of years before we were. It was generous of them to teach me those skills so that I can pass them along in future years to my son.

We had explorers in Canada, our cartographers, people such as David Thompson and others who were not only cartographers but worked sometimes for the Hudson's Bay Company and other trapping companies. They mapped our prairies, our forests and our rivers. They worked their way to the Pacific Ocean and paved the way for the incredible country that Canada is today.

Today, millions and millions of Canadians still hunt, fish and trap. Hunting, fishing and trapping, especially hunting and fishing, are a very important part of our economy. They are important to our tourism industry. They are important for many Canadians for outdoor recreation, for urban and rural and hinterland folks.

They are a source of healthy food in this day and age when many of our supermarket foods are contaminated by herbicides, pesticides, hormones and additives. Wild foods, country foods, are healthy to eat.

As I have mentioned, it is a family activity. I have already taught my 15-year-old son how to fish and how to fillet, and to cook them too. Soon I will be teaching him how to shoot and how to hunt.

I would like to summarize by saying that I am very much in favour of the bill. I support it wholeheartedly and I urge the House to hurry it along to the other place and pass it as the law of this country.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

November 30th, 2010 / 7:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it will not take five minutes. My hon. friends from every party have indicated their support, have reiterated how important the bill is to Canadians, how important the bill is to all of us in the House who represent Canadians.

All I want to say is a very heartfelt thank you to not only all the members of Parliament, but to all the fish and game clubs and organizations across Canada who have written to us in support of the bill. I want to thank all the members and we will do what we can, every single member here, I believe, to light a little fire over at the Senate and get those senators to support the bill and to pass it, because it means so much to Canadians.

I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker; and through you to all the members of the House once more, my heartfelt thanks for the recognition of this, not only for every hunter, fisher and trapper, but for the families, those who went before us to teach us how to do those things, our deceased fathers, mothers, grandmothers and grandfathers who I think will be looking at this and saying, “Way to go, all you guys and gals in Parliament; this is the right thing to do”.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

June 16th, 2010 / 6:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to finish off the three remaining minutes of my speech regarding Bill C-465. The bill has the full support of everyone in all four parties in the House, so I do not imagine it will present a huge problem to get the bill passed through committee.

One of the aspects of the bill is that it would designate September 30, or perhaps the third Saturday in September, depending on how the committee develops it, as the national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day. We have to recognize that the United States has had such a heritage day since 1972. With the increased border changes over the last couple of years, with the United States now requiring passports for their citizens to return to the United States and with the global recession still not being quite resolved, there is a lot of pressure on tourism right now in Canada.

As I had been indicated before, in Manitoba, in northwestern Ontario and right across the country the fishing camps, tourist camps and all sorts of other camps are hurting. Numerous camps that rely on American tourists and cross-border tourism are finding that their business is down. I was told that business may be down as much as 30%. Therefore, we need to come to grips with how we can recover from that and get the hunters and fishers back to Canada to keep our industry alive.

One of the ideas that I have pushed in the past, which I know other people support, is that we should work with the Americans to reduce the price of passports. We have had various meetings with United States congresspeople and at every meeting the issue of having a bigger update of people applying for passports has been raised. At our last meetings in February, one congressman indicated that to get passports for just himself and his family was quite an expensive enterprise. We should be working at that level with the United States to try to reduce the cost of the passports to encourage more people to get them so we can get more tourism from the United States.

I cannot believe that my three minutes could possibly be over. I had so much more to talk about. I had some information on the buffalo hunt, which members will know was pointed to as an example of bad hunting practices where 60 million buffalo were practically wiped out. However, it has all been brought back by conservation and farmers and ranchers working to--

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

June 16th, 2010 / 6:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Madam Speaker, I stand today to address Bill C-465, An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day, that calls for September 23 of every year to be designated as a special day of recognition.

I give kudos to the member for Northumberland—Quinte West today for bringing forward this bill. He is a colleague and a neighbour. We share a pair of ridings that truly are a paradise for fishermen, hunters and people who love the outdoors. It is a rural community that recognizes that not only is this a passion and a way of life for many people, but it is also a serious form of income and support for the people in our ridings.

Most people are probably aware but for those who are not, the tourism sector is a major recipient of fishing and hunting activities and it is the largest employer in Canada. So it has a significant impact across this country.

A national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day would give Canadians an opportunity to celebrate the long-standing practices of hunting, trapping and fishing in Canada. It would recognize the contribution that Canada's hunters, trappers and anglers have made to the settlement of Canada.

By supporting Bill C-465, the Government of Canada is in line with a similar recognition that is already in place in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. The United States designated a national hunting and fishing day back in 1972.

Once again, I thank the member for Northumberland—Quinte West for bringing us up to date, for giving solid recognition to these activities and for making the public aware of just how important these activities are, not only to communities in rural areas but also to a number of urban areas. Most urban areas in this country have hundreds of lakes, rivers and streams either right beside them or very near to them. The citizens of those communities can also take advantage of these wonderful opportunities.

Bill C-465 celebrates multiple aspects of Canadian society. It celebrates the history of the forming of our nation. It celebrates our vast and diverse natural resources. It celebrates outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship. Canada's vast and diverse natural resources fuel the spirit of adventure in Canadians and captures the imagination of people from around the world.

Who, growing up, has not sat around a campfire singing Kumbaya or putting an arm around the shoulder of a friend or telling stories? Those are memories that most of us have never forgotten. That, of course, comes with the privilege and the possibility of being able to hunt or fish.

Many Canadians are active outdoors because they have access to a tremendous array of outdoor recreational facilities, with fishing in particular being one of Canada's most broadly pursued activities. I have a bit of personal history with fishing that I would like to bring forward to hon. members in the House and really close the loop on it.

As a youngster, I can recall leaving school with friends, grabbing an old bamboo pole and heading down to the lake that was about a mile and a half south of us. We would grab an old green line, stick it on the end of our pole and put a hook on it. On the way down to the lake we would overturn the stumps and the rocks and pick up a few worms or leeches and stick them in our pockets and then down to the lake we would go. We were so excited when we had our lines in the water and were able to entice a fish to grab on to it. I remember my first fish. I was so excited. I did not know what to do with it other than to take it off the hook and let it go again, which was fine because that fish was safe for another day.

This is almost like déjà vu. I was down at the lake just outside my home earlier this year with my grandson and granddaughters and all of a sudden I heard the wild shriek “I've got one”. They were doing the same thing that I did when I was young.

So the excitement generated from this activity to our youth and recognizing just how important it was to teach them, to show them how to do a live release, how to basically clean the fish if they wished to eat it, how to understand what it is to preserve and conserve for future generations so that perhaps down the road their children would have the same privilege was a wonderful closing of the loop to me.

It is not just a sport. It is a passion to many people. It is a source of pride for many Canadians. Certainly, it can be enjoyed, and is enjoyed, by people of any age, background or ability. It is an easy way, an affordable way, for families to spend some quality time together.

It is highly lucrative, from a point of income, whether for people in the industry or actually even from different levels of government, whether it is with taxation, whether it is for permits, because each year approximately 3.2 million Canadians participate in recreational fishing and they spend $7.5 billion per year practising this sport. It is not just a simple little recreational activity, but it actually is a huge generation of dollars and levers of activity in our economy that certainly contribute a great deal to our GDP as well.

There is the other element of that. As I mentioned, this bill pertains to both hunting and fishing. Canadians naturally enjoy the actual resources when hunting. I am very fortunate. I live in an area where hunting is, in some ways, more than a passion. There are some who say that when the annual deer hunt takes place in my area, it is a national holiday in Hastings county. Literally, there is hardly a male, and the ladies as well, who do not participate. It is not just what they call the thrill of the hunt. It is definitely a social activity. It is a get-together. It is a time to swap stories. It is a time to fraternize. It is a time to recognize that we have a wonderful outdoors and a great heritage that we can take advantage of, that we can utilize, and that we can enjoy.

I am very fortunate. Where I am, we have white-tailed deer, elk, and moose, which continue to be associated with Canada, particularly by a lot our international tourists or hunters who do not have any wildlife that is anywhere remotely accessible to them.

Across this country, we have such a diverse geography and such a great quantity and selection, per se, of fish. There are no less than 270 different varieties of fish. Who can resist a nice fresh bass fillet that has been caught, filleted and fried in a pan of butter over an open fire? Really that, to me, sort of typifies exactly what fishing is all about.

I see my colleague across the floor. I know he is from the Nipissing area, as well. My aunt and uncle had a camp on Lake Nipissing. I never saw anybody in my life fillet a pickerel like my aunt. I learned that as a youngster and now I am teaching my grandson and my granddaughter. And I see the number of activities that take place from this, the number of tourists we are able to gather.

My other colleague is from northern Canada where, quite obviously, it is more than just a recreation. Northerners have an asset there that is a treasure. It is something that really is right back from the hunting, fishing and trapping days during the establishment of our country, with all of our explorers taking advantage of our natural resources. It has just played such a significant role in so many ways that it is really imperative that we do designate a special day, not just for the history, but for the reminder that this is not just our past but it is also our future and we must protect and conserve it.

Canada does enjoy an international reputation, as we all know, as a fishing and hunting mecca. Anglers in Canada spend, as I mentioned, almost $7 billion a year. It certainly is more than an important contributor to the northern area because it also provides many people with the opportunity to explore and see a part of their heritage that many of them did not even know existed.

Most important, as we are going through some different evolving periods, the United Nations has named 2010 the year of biodiversity, a celebration--

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

June 16th, 2010 / 6:20 p.m.
See context

Liberal

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 16th, 2010 / 6:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Madam Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I address this bill today. It is a matter that speaks to the heart and soul of my constituency. Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing is a place where many people participate in or even make their living from hunting, trapping, and fishing.

This bill speaks to what many consider to be the heritage of this country. It is a heritage informed by values that spring from a belief that our common spaces are important and should be protected and a belief that these outdoor pursuits are a tie to our past and a bridge to our future. These are values our communities come together over. Fuelled by the spirit of volunteerism, these values take shape in the form of action at the local level time and time again.

Whether it is an angling club cleaning up a trout creek, lodge owners rehabilitating walleye spawning beds, or hunting clubs helping to restore native species, such as wild turkeys in Ontario, these are examples of values in motion. They speak to what is important to Canadians.

If I can get a couple of shameless plugs in, I will give a few local examples, as well. This coming Saturday morning, the Elliot Lake Rod and Gun Club will hold its free fishing tournament for children and challenged persons. It is an event that helps spread the joy fishing can bring and it attracts new people to the sport.

Also this weekend, the people in Dubreuilville are hosting that community's annual Father's Day walleye tournament. They have a tagged fish worth $10,000. It promises to be a great event. If you are good with a jig or have a great worm harness technique, you might want to get up to Dubreuilville this weekend.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that we have amazing fishing throughout Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, from Manitouwadge to White River, from Hearst to Smooth Rock Falls, from Wawa to Nairn Centre, and let us not forget, on beautiful Manitoulin Island.

I firmly believe that this is a very Canadian phenomenon that affects all Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Hunting and fishing are in many ways an integral part of our identity.

From the riches of the Grand Banks fishery to the legendary voyages of the coureurs de bois, Canada's infancy was defined by these elements.

The first people who sailed to what became Canada learned from the first nations how to feed themselves from the bounty of the land. First nations continue, to this day, to rely upon the tradition of hunting and fishing to put food on the table. They are not alone in that regard, but their situation is unique.

Sadly, we have seen in the past how these natural food sources can become tainted. When we consider what hunting and fishing mean to Canada, we also have to consider what we have done to degrade these resources.

Think about the plight of the people of the Grassy Narrows First Nation. Those people have the right to feed themselves in a traditional manner, but pulp and paper waste dumped into the English-Wabigoon River system tainted the fish they rely on. As a result, many people in Grassy Narrows developed Minamata disease from exposure to mercury that was in the walleye, pike and whitefish they ate. If it were not for a Japanese scientist, the people of Grassy Narrows might still be making themselves sick on this traditional food source.

It is a sad example of the way we have not always cherished our rich, natural bounty in Canada.

Unfortunately, this instance does not stand alone. We have witnessed the decimation of the Grand Banks fishery. We have seen our once mighty Pacific salmon runs decline to a trickle. We have watched as our Arctic fauna struggle to survive in an ever-warming environment, and we have fought to keep invasive species from replacing native species at an alarming rate.

I wish I could stand here and speak only to the warm, fuzzy aspects of this subject. A large part of what we are discussing here are the ideas formed by a passion that is ignited when a kid catches his or her first rock bass from a dock or tags along on his or her first partridge hunt. That is what we want to celebrate. However, we would be doing a disservice to those ideas if we ignored the many ways in which we do not promote the well-being of the natural spaces these experiences are tied to.

When we see budgets bloated with legislative changes to regulatory documents that protect our environment, we have to ask ourselves if our commitment to this heritage is genuine. We have seen changes in what triggers a federal environmental assessment and changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act tucked into an omnibus budget, where they were somewhat hidden. We can only speculate as to what larger debate would occur if these were debated as stand-alone items. In general, these changes made it easier for development to go ahead for things like bridges.

I understand that we need bridges, but we should be mindful of where we build them, especially if that turns out to be a shallow riffle where fish spawn. We need to remember that there are more concerns in play than the flow of traffic and the bottom line. When we weaken our environmental assessment process, we are not remembering that. When we sneak changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act into a budget, we are acting in an underhanded way that seeks to avoid the scrutiny of those same people whose passion we celebrate in this motion.

This motion mentions the economy that is tied to hunting, trapping, and fishing. I would put it to you that this economy is huge, not only in terms of overall revenue generated but in terms of what it means to the people living in areas that rely on this economy. Certainly there are elements of this economy in our larger cities, but it is the smallest, most remote parts of Canada where this economy is most critical.

Tourists come for fishing, but when they are there, many go to events in these communities, such as powwows or festivals, such as the North of 49 Music Festival in Hornepayne that is taking place from July 1 to July 4. It runs both ways, too. One is just as likely to see music fans from those kinds of festivals buy a dozen worms and a bit of tackle from the local store and test their luck on the fish at the campground or lodge they are staying at.

As the bill states, millions of Canadians participate in and enjoy these activities. More often than not, when they do so, it will be in rural Canada and not in the bigger cities.

I can go out and walk along the Ottawa River and see a great many people fishing, but when people usually think about fishing, they think about a more natural and remote environment. In Canada, it could be a pristine lake with just oneself and the loons. That is the experience most people would want to have.

A great many people make their living by providing these experiences. There are countless lodges, campgrounds, outfitters, guides and stores connected to hunting and fishing all across Canada. When I drive throughout my constituency, I am reminded time and again just how many people's livelihoods rely on this connection to the land. These people are true entrepreneurs, and anything we can do to help them is well deserved.

In closing, I would like to say that the national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day is a great idea, but let us honour the spirit of that legacy and stop ramming through legislation that threatens this heritage. Let us stop creating omnibus budgets and let us debate changes to important legislation, such as the Navigable Waters Protection Act, as stand-alone items. Let us go out of our way to protect our environment instead of weakening federal environmental assessment legislation in Trojan horse budgets.

Let us do all we can instead of the bare minimum. Let us be a little extra cautious and avoid the next Grassy Narrows type of catastrophe. In that way, we will truly be standing up for Canada's heritage. We will be honouring our rich tradition that is embodied in the pursuits of angling, hunting and trapping.

I want to thank the Speaker for her time and patience in hearing all of our speeches. I think this is a really great, important heritage day to be speaking about. I can say, from the bottom of my heart and the bottom of the hearts of my constituents, that we appreciate the fact that we are able to enjoy the outdoors the way we can.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

June 16th, 2010 / 6:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House to address Bill C-465, which seeks the designation of the 23rd day of September of every year as an official national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day. This national day would commemorate hunting, trapping and fishing as part of Canada's heritage and as present day recreational pursuits.

My riding of Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound has some of the best hunting and fishing areas in Canada, and the people there love to hunt and fish. Every year we celebrate a number of fishing derbies, such as the Owen Sound Salmon Spectacular, which is a fishing derby that brings out thousands of local residents and tourists to the community of Owen Sound and area. As many as 5,500 anglers have entered this event in any given year. I myself take part in as many hunting and fishing trips as I can, although not as many as I would like, throughout the year with friends and family locally and on Manitoulin Island.

I very much look forward to the member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing fulfilling the promise she made to her constituents a year and a half ago that she would stand up and support getting rid of the gun registry, which Bill C-391 would do. I sincerely look forward to that. I know her constituents are waiting with bated breath to make sure she does that.

Hunting, trapping and fishing are traditions that are alive and well throughout Canada. They are not just part of our past, but part of the current heritage of Canadians from coast to coast to coast who enjoy these pastimes for the sport, for the camaraderie and for food, whether it be fresh fish, venison, wild turkey, moose meat and many others. I want to emphasize this point. As we all know, if one who can hunt and fish, one will never starve in this great country of ours that is rich with fish and game resources.

My riding has many sportsmen's, fishing and hunting clubs in every municipality that keep these traditions not only alive but strong. They do great work to maintain community spirit, educating the young on the importance of hunting, fishing and especially conservation, as well as charitable work. The Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen's Association, of which I have been a member for 35 years or more, operates a fish hatchery that raises and plants thousands of fish into our local lakes and streams.

I echo the Speech from the Throne in stating that our values as Canadians are rooted in our history. Hunting, trapping and fishing have been an integral part of the life of all Canadians and our first settlers. These activities defined where people settled and determined transportation routes. These activities formed the very backbone of our financial structures. Hunting, trapping and fishing helped to set the tone for our economic and social development. Whether it be the Hudson's Bay Company and the fur traders, or later, farmers settling across the landscape, hunting and fishing have been integral to the nation.

North American aboriginal people still use hunting, trapping and fishing as a means to provide food, clothing and tools for their families. Settlers and Canadians have hunted and fished to help feed their families when times were tough or crops were poor. Hunting, trapping and fishing allowed for the establishment of a partnership between different aboriginal peoples and the European settlers. From a historical perspective, fur trading played a key role in the creation and exploration of North America and formed the basis of Canada's early economy, an economy that today is one of the world's most stable.

Through hunting, trapping and fishing, Canadian communities were forged. Citizens were brought together; together in trading, together in communities and together in celebrations. Hunting, trapping and fishing are defined by the landscape of Canada and these pursuits ultimately resulted in the mapping of mountains, prairies, forests, streams and rivers across Canada.

Hunting requires the hunter to be resourceful, patient and observant, skills that are valuable in all facets of life.

Designation of a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day would provide an opportunity to highlight how fishing and hunting provide sustenance and are intricately tied to cultural traditions of Canadians.

Hunting, trapping and fishing are predominantly recreational activities today, enjoyed by Canadians and international tourists alike. These activities make significant contributions to Canada's economy. For example, in 2008, hunting, trapping and fishing contributed $1.2 billion to Canada's gross domestic product. Canada's fur trade, which includes fur farming as well as trapping, contributes more than $800 million to the national economy each year. This industry is a huge part of the economy in Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound, where tourists flock in all seasons of the year for fishing and hunting opportunities.

These industries support and strengthen Canada's economy and sustain jobs. From campsites to outfitters, from travel guides to restaurants, the hunting, trapping and fishing industry attracts visitors to Canada and provides many Canadians with opportunities to explore Canada's natural environment. Canada's economy has benefited from this billion dollar industry.

Funds from the sale of hunting tags, licences and stamps are used to help protect wildlife and natural habitat. This is done through conservation projects undertaken by organizations like Ducks Unlimited Canada, a non-profit organization which is dedicated to the conservation, restoration and management of wetlands and associated habitats for North America's waterfowl. Through its western boreal forest initiative, Ducks Unlimited Canada is working to find a sustainable balance between development and protection of the wetlands.

The need for conservation of Canada's natural resources was first recognized by hunters—

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

June 16th, 2010 / 6:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Madam Speaker, I remind the other members in the House that they will get their turn to speak.

The need for conservation of Canada's natural resources was first recognized by hunters, trappers and anglers as they realized that the development and unregulated use of natural resources posed a threat to the future of many species. As such, hunters, trappers and anglers have been active supporters of laws and regulations governing the sustainable use of our natural resources.

Canadians actively participate in hunting, trapping and fishing. Each year, approximately 3.2 million Canadians participate in recreational fishing and spend $7.5 billion on the sport. Nationally, about one in every 10 Canadian adults is an active angler.

Recreational fishing is a legitimate social and economic use of fisher resources and is integrated into the management plans that conserve fish stocks. Managing and sustaining recreational fisheries allows Canadians to enjoy Canada's natural resources. Many hunters, trappers and fishers of today aim at living in harmony with nature to develop a strong sense of observation and to reconnect with nature and their roots. Myself, I hunt and fish as a sanity time to charge my batteries and clear my mind from the stresses of work and politics.

When practised in a responsible and respectful way, hunting, trapping and fishing do not pose a threat to wildlife populations. In fact, in most instances, these activities are necessary for sound wildlife management. For example, the deer population will often grow too large in number for a habitat to support. If some deer are not harvested, they destroy their habitat and that of other animals and often die from starvation or disease.

The harvesting of wildlife is carefully regulated to ensure a balance between population levels and wildlife habitat. Hunting also plays a role in public safety by managing bears, coyotes and cougars in urban and suburban areas and the protection of private property for agricultural crop production.

The United States of America has celebrated a national hunting, trapping and fishing day since 1972, when it was passed by Congress and proclaimed into law by the President of the United States. In Canada, similar legislation exists in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, recognizing the contributions that these activities make to the cultural, social and economic heritage. In 2009, Manitoba also had its first hunting appreciation day.

The designation of a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day would serve as a link between our ancestors and future generations. It would serve as an opportunity to raise awareness about the history of our great country and the role that hunting, trapping and fishing have played in the exploration and settlement of Canada. This day would provide an opportunity to celebrate the long-standing practices of hunting, trapping and fishing in Canada. It would also provide an opportunity and encourage Canadians to travel and explore their country and discover the heritage of their ancestors.

I can think of no better way to recognize the culture of a riding like Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound and its people, along with a nation like Canada, with a rich history of hunting and fishing, than making September 23 a national heritage day. I reiterate my support of the designation of that day as a federal commemoration of an important aspect of national history and heritage.