National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act

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

This bill was previously introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session.

Sponsor

Rick Norlock  Conservative

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

Status

In committee (Senate), as of June 19, 2014

Subscribe to a feed of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-501.

Summary

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

This enactment designates the third Saturday in 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

April 4th, 2014 / 1:30 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

moved that Bill C-501, An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day, be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House this afternoon to address my private member's bill, Bill C-501, which would formally designate the third Saturday in September every year as Canada's national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day.

Bill C-501 calls for a nation-wide designation of a special day to commemorate the historic role of these traditional activities and a celebration of the part that hunting, trapping and fishing plays in Canada's heritage, social fabric, and indeed our economy.

A hunting, trapping, and fishing heritage runs deep in my family. My maternal grandfather Narcisse Viens came to Ontario from Aylmer, Quebec. He was a great hunter and a very successful trapper. My father Ben, my brothers, and my two sons, James and Matthew, are following in their great grandfather's and grandfather's footsteps, and I must say their father's footsteps.

In 2017, we will be celebrating Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation. In the lead-up to that celebration, it is important that Canadians know about, appreciate, and celebrate our history and traditions, which help to define who we are as Canadians today.

Hunting, trapping, and fishing were and are an integral part of life for Canada's aboriginal peoples and our first settlers. Further, the availability of game and fish determined where people settled in this great country of ours.

These activities were the first forms of trade and even currency, and they formed the very backbone of Canada's early financial structures. In part, they helped to set the tone as well as the direction of our economic and social development.

Hunting, trapping, and fishing are vital to the livelihood of Canada's northern communities. I recall my days on the northeast patrol of the Ontario Provincial Police along the James Bay and Hudson's Bay coast, and at the time of year when the geese were returning or leaving, the availability of these migratory game birds sustained communities through some long, hard winters. They supplemented a very expensive diet, and members know how expensive groceries can be in the north.

These activities fuel the economy of our northern communities by attracting more than 400,000 visitors each year. I know that the member for Yukon will agree that it is vital to the economies of our great territories in the north because it provides tourism. Hunters and fishers go there to enjoy some of the world's best fishing and hunting.

I would like to speak now about something that is important to Canadians, particularly those Canadians who garner their living or part of their living through trapping.

There are more than 65,000 Canadians who work in different sectors of the fur trade. The fur trade contributes $800 million to the Canadian economy, including over half, $450 million, to our export markets.

Some of the world's top designers are using fur in their collections. Fur garments are a sought-after status symbol for wealthy customers in China, Russia, and South Korea. In fact, the Canada-Korea free trade agreement will remove border taxes from mink, many farmed, which will provide Canadian exporters with a new edge in this emerging market.

Our aboriginal and many non-aboriginal trappers use the pelts of fur-bearing animals for their living, and for the Canadian fur industry, which is beginning once again to thrive in our country.

The value of hunting, fishing, and trapping in this country is over $10 billion a year, and I believe that I am underestimating that significantly. As an outdoorsman, I can vouch for the many organizations to which we belong, and there is no group of people in this country who are greater conservationists than hunters and anglers. I dare say that we are stewards of the environment and recognize the need for ongoing conservation and restoration.

I would like to thank a few of the organizations that have supported this bill, communicated with me, and encouraged me to continue on in the second time around for the bill.

I want to recognize the Alberta Fish & Game Association, the BC Wildlife Federation, the Delta Waterfowl Foundation, Friends of Fur, the Canadian Outdoors Network, Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Fur Institute of Canada, the Hunting for Tomorrow Foundation, the Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters, All-Party Outdoor Caucus, the Conservative Hunting and Angling Caucus, the P.E.I. Wildlife Federation, the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation, the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, Wildlife Habitat Canada, Safari Club International, and the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association. I also want to recognize the member for Yukon, of course, and his great support of this bill, as well as many members of Parliament both on this side of the House and on the other.

I echo the Speech from the Throne in stating:

Since Canada’s earliest days, our economy has been built on our abundant natural resources. Directly and indirectly, the natural resource sector employs 1.8 million Canadians, many in skilled, high-paying jobs. Resource development generates $30 billion annually in revenue that supports health care, education, and programs that Canadians cherish.

These activities of hunting, fishing, and trapping help contribute to the other natural resources that I have just specified.

Economic action plan 2014 proposes to provide an additional $15 million over 2 years to extend the recreational fisheries conservation partnership program. This program brings partners together to support the common goal of conserving and protecting Canada's recreational fisheries.

This bill has all-party support, as well as the support of every provincial and regional outdoor federation across this great country of ours. It is crucial to honour the heritage of those who have gone before us and bring special recognition to those who participate in hunting, trapping, and fishing today.

Please join me in supporting my bill so that every third Saturday of September will be known as Canada's national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day.

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

April 4th, 2014 / 1:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am glad that I am the one who will be asking the question here, because I have many people who trap in my neck of the woods. Of course, we have beautiful Manitoulin Island.

Bob Florean was at the environment committee yesterday, talking about the issues with the Great Lakes Basin.

We will be supporting this bill, but when I was looking at this, I am kind of confused. This document has really good numbers about the economic impact this has on Canada as a whole, yet we have a government that is set to close the Algoma Central Railway passenger service, from which $20 million comes back in economic return.

My question for my colleague is why, if the government recognizes the impact and the importance of fishing, hunting, and trapping, it is willing to derail the economic stability of northern Ontario? Why is the government attacking the very people it is saying it wants to recognize on such an important day?

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

April 4th, 2014 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is no attack whatsoever. Perhaps the member is a bit premature in her comments. I know that we have members on this side of the House who are working on that issue, as well as many other issues. Let us just wait and see what occurs.

It is important to let the member who just spoke know that I do know some of her riding. I used to work in Hearst, Ontario, and worked throughout Kapuskasing and other areas, so I am very much aware of how important hunting, fishing, and trapping are, not only to the residents there but also to the many people who come to Ontario's great north, as I mentioned in my speech. They bring their families. I brought my dear wife, Judy, to a fly fishing camp in Hornepayne, so I know that the member would encourage all members of the House to go to our great north and participate in those activities.

Before the member wants to find some really negative things to say about it, I think she would agree that this bill would go a long way to encouraging more and more Canadians and people from around the world to take part in hunting and fishing in our country, and to buy fur coats of animals raised or trapped in this country of ours. I know that she would encourage all of her constituents who can afford it to buy a fur coat, too.

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

April 4th, 2014 / 1:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague across the way for bringing forward the motion today. Obviously this is a motion that is very much motherhood among most parliamentarians in Canada. We all represent large constituencies of trappers, hunters, and fishers. There is no reason we should not be designating a day to honour and celebrate an industry that is such a tremendous part of our heritage in Canada.

What always concerns me is the sealing industry in Canada's north and why there has been such terrible perception created worldwide about this hunt rather than about the benefits it brings to our country and our people. I would ask my colleague if he has some suggestions on how we can start changing those worldwide attitudes around that industry and make it better for the people in this country.

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

April 4th, 2014 / 1:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, what the member across the way has said is very important. Collectively, members of Parliament have been talking about the seal hunt and how important it is to not only the residents of her riding but to the people who live in the north and to the people who supplement their income through sealing.

I encourage all Canadians to do as I did. I bought a sealskin tie. I should have worn it today. I apologize that I did not. We should all support the industry from within this House. I agree with the member as to how important it is. It is important for our country, for our Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and for the Prime Minister himself to encourage especially the European Economic Union to recognize that sealing is a legitimate and proper way to earn a living.

I want to thank the member and her province for being the home of my brother-in-law, Dan Bangs, when he worked in Newfoundland. Of course, I saw some great opportunities there for those of us who hunt moose.

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

April 4th, 2014 / 1:40 p.m.
See context

NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, during my speech on Bill C-501, An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day, I will explore the ethical side of the practices that have shaped our identity and that are the focus of the bill before us.

When I talk about practices that have shaped our identity, I am talking about hunting, trapping and fishing, which are a significant part of our identity as Canadians. These activities helped ensure the survival of the first settlers and colonizers who, out of necessity, had to adapt to a sometimes hostile climate and to unexplored territory. These activities are a significant part of our identity as a nation, and it is important to acknowledge that here today.

When I heard about the topic at hand, I had some reservations at first. Given this government's fairly pronounced authoritarian streak, I assumed that the Conservatives would attempt to control the elements and the wildlife. However, I was quite surprised to see that there is an unstated recognition of the impact that human activity has on preserving our resources and the ecosystem. That indicates that the Conservatives are making some progress, and I must give them credit for their change in mentality, their evolving concerns and their shift in position.

I was apprehensive because what I have learned from others and what I was told growing up in my community was that humans are meant to have little impact on and control over animals, the fauna and the elements.

Upon reading the content of this bill, I could see that it was designed to change human behaviour. Humans really only have control over their own destiny. It is always possible to change the way of thinking of Canadian society as a whole. This is already happening.

I think that all groups that represent hunters and groups that were consulted in the drafting of this bill agreed that it was necessary to protect the resource and to develop ethical and ecologically sensitive practices with respect to animals. That is something positive and that is what I want to talk about today.

The evolution of how Canadians interact with nature covers a wide range of activities that can be categorized by the terms “hunting, trapping and fishing.” These terms cover elements of recreation, culture and tradition, and the economy, as well as scientific and environmental research.

I just wanted to mention that in passing for your information. I often venture into obiter dictum territory, but I still want to point these things out.

I want to reiterate that the study and the bill before us can in no way create guidelines for, limit or govern the traditional activities carried out by the aboriginal peoples of Canada. This very specific bill could not in any way limit or even interfere with the traditional activities—including hunting, trapping and fishing—practised in their communities, because those activities are enshrined in the Constitution and are protected. Therefore, the bottom line is that this could not have any effect on those activities. Since the bill states and recognizes the primacy of these activities, I wanted to bring it up today. That is another step in the right direction.

I want to stress that the measures set out in the bill are non-binding with respect to the traditional practices of aboriginal peoples. These traditional activities are virtually immutable because it is almost impossible to regulate them or create guidelines either through this bill or any others.

Following the stream of thought prevailing in lands occupied by aboriginal communities in this country, hunters, anglers and trappers acknowledge the importance of the ethical treatment of animals and environmentally sustainable activities, all from the standpoint of perpetuating the identity-building practices that have forged Canada's social, economic and cultural history. I have already substantiated those words over the past few minutes.

For example, in Innu communities—I will rely on my own personal experience—from a very young age, when young people are called upon to go out into the forest and follow the group and clan, we make sure they have the information and ancestral knowledge they need to adopt behaviour that, of necessity, is ethical towards animals.

From a very young age, I already knew that we do not shoot wolves, because, in any case, they cannot be eaten. Although you sometimes do see wolf pelts for sale, my community is rather reluctant about that and does not approve.

There are some practices that are said to be “emulative”, that is, when someone from Uashat or Maliotenam displays questionable or unethical behaviour regarding hunting or the use of pelts, bones or antlers, elders will make sure that person understands that his behaviour is inappropriate and he will be ostracized by the community. This kind of informal regulation has been used by members of the community for thousands of years. It is about maintaining the reputation and the pure, unwavering character of these actions.

It would be unreasonable of me to expect all Canadians to know this information, especially since I come from a predominantly oral culture and, as one might expect, this information is passed down from one generation to the next.

The bill before us reiterates the same imperative, but that imperative will be shared by all Canadians. Some benefit can be drawn from these teachings that are almost innate or automatic in my home community.

It is beneficial to reiterate the ideals and imperatives regarding the ethical treatment of animals in sport hunting. For the purposes of this study, it is important to point out that the “emulatory” principles that prevail in aboriginal clans most often act as informal ways of regulating traditional practices, particularly through the attachment to animal spirits as a way of self-identifying, which we also try to share with the entire Canadian population for the common good. It would be good if everyone had the same foundation and knew that there is no use shooting a wolf because it is hard to eat the meat.

With the gradual loss and disappearance of the traditional teachings among the population in general, given the millions of Canadians, it might be hard to ensure that this information is passed on to every hunter and every fisher. That is why we need regulation and the enactment of a legislative tool that would reiterate these imperatives, as is being proposed today, and the establishment of national and international standards of practice to ensure that animals are not subjected to such unethical treatment.

The groups that were consulted and spoke to this issue agreed on the need for ethical and respectful behaviour toward animals because we all know that this resource will have to be available if the next generation wants to follow in our footsteps. Humans can change their own behaviour and their own destiny. We have to wonder when we see a moose head on the hood of a 4x4, something we very rarely see. In any case, I have never seen that in my community. Such a gesture is disrespectful of the animal, and that is why we so rarely see that on an Indian reserve.

Lastly, I would note that the very text of the legislative instrument constitutes an attempt on the part of the Conservatives to make amends by recognizing the vital importance of measures to protect our fragile ecosystems. Every now and then, they almost impress me by demonstrating a degree of openness at variance with their usual stance.

In the interest of consistency, the Conservatives should also reconsider their economic agenda, which continues to undermine environmental regulations in favour of rapid development in ecologically sensitive regions and areas. The greatest threat to wildlife and human resources, the greatest destructive force, is industrial activity and its impact in terms of the environment and pollution. Hunting and hunters have a negligible impact on the number of animals in a given population.

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

April 4th, 2014 / 1:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Yvonne Jones Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am certainly pleased to rise and speak to the bill that has been put forward by the member for Northumberland—Quinte West, and to say that of course we on this side of the House will support the motion that he has offered up today.

I am pleased to speak to this on behalf of my colleague from Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, who is not able to be here but was a strong supporter of having this designation made. He certainly made a request upon all of us as part of our caucus to support it, and the member did not have to work very hard because, as members know, hunting, trapping, and fishing are really the foundation of how this country was built.

If we want to look back to the one thing Canadians have had in common through those early years, it was how we participated in the business of hunting, trapping, and fishing from one end of the country to the other, to sustain ourselves, to grow our communities and our provinces, and to provide for our families. Our story in Newfoundland and Labrador is really not unlike any other story that can be told in any province or territory across Canada as to our involvement or engagement in those industries.

We know that obviously we have transitioned into lots of different industries over the years, and will continue to do so. However, it is very fair to say that in Canada today hunting, trapping, and fishing still remain as core industries that support our economy and our communities and the people of this country in many ways. As most members know, I live in a northern region of the country and I have many trappers in my riding. I have many fishers and fish camps, and a lot of fur farming that goes on. So I am very well informed as to how the industry works and the benefits it brings to the people I represent, as it does to many others across Canada.

However, what I also see is the people who spend a lot of time nursing and nurturing the industries and protecting what they partake in. I always find it so very offensive when I hear people who often speak out against some of these industries in which we participate without knowledge and understanding of what it really means or how it is really conducted. I find it very offensive. Just recently, I was told of Ellen DeGeneres and how she has donated money to fight back at the sealing industry in Canada. I was absolutely appalled, because I have not known this person to ever come and sit among the aboriginal people of the north to talk about this industry and what it means to them and how it impacts them. Oftentimes I am very offended when I hear people like this express their opinions and their thoughts without ever looking at the real issue and the real side of the story we are presenting in Canada.

Going back to the early days in our history, there are many stories to be told around Newfoundland and Labrador, just as we would hear in the Northwest Territories, northern Quebec, and northern Ontario. They are stories of the companies like the Hudson's Bay Company that came and set up in those early days, so that trappers and hunters would have a place to trade their product and to earn a living. Back in those days, the first nations people, who were very nomadic people in Labrador, would always come down into the villages that were settled by the Metis and the Inuit and others, and they would trade with the companies for food, just as the people in the village would do. Even through those years in the commercial fishing industry, my grandfather's stories to me were always about when they first started to trap, fish, and catch cod and salmon. It was never exchanged for money; it was always exchanged for food and for supplies, just as it was in the trapping and hunting industry for many people.

For most of their lives, that was how business was conducted. There was very little money that exchanged hands, even in Labrador, prior to confederation with Canada. It was only then that merchants would give out money as opposed to just trading supplies and food. There are a lot of stories to tell.

In my region and throughout Newfoundland and Labrador today, there are hunting and fishing associations made up of people who partake in the industry from either commercial or recreational bases; but either way, they are the conservationists. They are the people on the land. They watch what happens with every single animal species. They watch what is happening with regard to the whole ecological system. They also take notes and report anything they see that may or may not seem right or appropriate. They are some of the best conservationists I have ever known and take what they do very seriously, simply because the livelihoods of many of them are still connected to the land and the activities of trapping, hunting, and fishing. It is very sacred and important for them to ensure that there is proper management.

One of the things I have been very proud of about the people I represent is their ability to meet with environmentalists and scientists and exchange stories and information about how they manage particular species in particular industries. We have seen that a lot in the fishing industry, particularly in Labrador, where a lot of the recommendations for the industry are taken from the input of those closest to the industry. I have been very proud of them when they have said that they see things differently today and want to make sure that quotas are reduced, that there are further protections or that there are zones exempt from any kind of fishing or hunting activity. It is very important that their input is heard because they are, in my opinion, the experts on the ground.

It is important to take this occasion to recognize the importance of hunting, trapping, and fishing to the people of this country, how it comprises the history of who we are, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal, across the country. However, it is also an opportunity to send a louder message to people all around the world that Canadians are nurturers and protectors, people who work hard to make a living, have tremendous respect for their forefathers, and are very proud of who they are and their heritage.

I am hoping that by designating a day in this country, we will recognize and honour that particular industry, and that it will also become an opportunity to speak to people all around the world about who we are and what we do. It would be a day to honour all of those who built this country through trapping, hunting, and fishing. I am sure that it was not easy in those days, but it was very important.

In concluding my comments, I want to say that people in parts of Labrador continue to honour the age-old traditions, to participate in these activities and be the lead conservationists in protecting the lands, animals, waters, and fish. We are the stewards of where we live and are very proud of that.

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

April 4th, 2014 / 2 p.m.
See context

NDP

Élaine Michaud Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-501, An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day. I have already had the opportunity to speak in favour of this bill at second reading, but I wanted to reiterate my support.

In my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, hunting, fishing and trapping are a major part of my region's economy. In fact, I invite people to visit my region if they have never been there.

In the past, some preeminent people, including Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, were lucky enough to come to my riding to go fishing, hunting and trapping. There are some absolutely magnificent pictures on the Internet of Theodore Roosevelt with a rather large moose carcass, hunted in my home town of Saint-Raymond in Portneuf. I am very proud to mention that in the House.

The tradition of hunting clubs has existed for hundreds of years in my riding. At one time, these clubs were reserved for the Anglo-Saxon elite. Nonetheless, we were lucky. Access to these hunting clubs opened up over the years. Today, Canadians, Quebeckers and tourists can come take advantage of our hunting grounds and explore our magnificent region. Obviously, our many lakes and rivers are also great places to discover.

Every year, I try to participate in the fishing days that take place in Quebec. I think my colleague's initiative, which seeks to institute a similar day across the country in order to truly celebrate this important part of our heritage, is worthwhile.

My family is not big on hunting. However, my father went fishing many times when I was a child, and I went with him once. Fishing is not really my thing, but I did my part for the conservation effort by stocking one of the rivers in my riding with trout recently.

This type of activity made me truly aware of the importance that our hunters and fishers place on nature conservation and the protection of our wildlife.

I have only one negative thing to say in my speech today. Although this bill celebrates an important part of our heritage and draws attention to the importance that Canadians who participate in these activities place on environmental protection and sustainable development, I find it ironic that the government is making decisions that are completely contrary to these values. I sometimes get the impression that they take hunters, fishers and trappers for granted. That is unfortunate.

Efforts made in our respective ridings to conserve and protect nature are impressive. For example, in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, the hunting season for wild turkey will again open in the spring.

A few years ago, the Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs reintroduced wild turkeys into Canada. We are starting to see the results of this initiative. People can now hunt for turkey, something they had not been able to do for a very long time. In my riding, I regularly see wild turkeys along Highway 138, the Chemin du Roy. It is rather amazing to see how successful this initiative has been. Some species of fish are also being reintroduced into the Jacques-Cartier River, among others.

The Conservative government should copy all these programs. Considering the importance of the diversity of our fauna, it should not be impeding Canadians' efforts. We are spoiled in Canada because our biodiversity is quite impressive.

The Conservatives' decision to reduce protection for our lakes and rivers does not make any sense. Now there are only 99 lakes and rivers in our entire country that are protected. These kinds of decisions will increasingly limit access to lakes, rivers and wilderness areas for our hunters, fishers and trappers. That is really unfortunate.

Nevertheless, I hope that establishing a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day will raise the Conservatives' awareness of the importance of protecting nature and our wildlife. It is a step in the right direction, and I am pleased to see this bill before us. I am proud to support it, but I hope that we will broaden our thinking and adopt concrete measures to ensure that these traditional activities continue in Canada for hundreds of years and generation after generation.

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

November 27th, 2013 / 5:30 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Mike Wallace Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to help support my colleague on this important piece of Canadian heritage. The function of the hon. member's private member's bill is to make sure that we, as Canadians, honour and respect the history and the heritage of hunting and trapping and the individuals who make their living in the heritage industries. It is a way of life in this country that helped to build Canada.

It is important for us, and we have done a very good job over the last number of years as a government to make sure that Canadians understand our historical past and the pieces of history that have shaped this country. I want to make sure Canadians understand what we are doing.

This private member's bill would help us understand where we have come from and would preserve this way of life, the ability of individuals and organizations in this country to continue to fish, hunt, and trap and honour our past and preserve that way of life, whether it is for making a living and actually providing for families and their communities or as a recreational opportunity.

Let us be frank. It is important for me, as somebody from an urban area, from the city of Burlington, Ontario, that I and all members stand together on this private member's bill, Bill C-501, to support those from across the country in honouring a special day of the year, a heritage day for hunting, trapping and fishing. Let me just read out the preamble to the bill, which sums up what we are doing:

Whereas hunting, trapping and fishing are part of our natural heritage; Whereas the Aboriginal peoples of Canada have traditionally participated in hunting, trapping and fishing; 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 to coast; Whereas millions of Canadians participate in and enjoy hunting, trapping and fishing; And whereas hunting, trapping and fishing contribute significantly to our national economy....

We would have this special day set aside. I now live in an urban area, and therefore, those who participate in fishing and hunting are recreational hunters and fishers. They are not doing it for a living. However, I grew up in a small town in Ontario, Port Elgin, on Lake Huron. Beside that community is a native reserve, the Saugeen Indian reserve, which I grew up knowing. That reserve actually owns the property that is now Sauble Beach.

Fishing played a very important role in the lives of the first nations, and not just in the past for the aboriginal people fishing out of the Great Lakes. Fishing played a key role in the survival, growth, and development of that aboriginal area, the Saugeen reserve.

I can recall distinctly, growing up, that down at the end of my street, there had been an Indian settlement at one time. We had longhouses redeveloped there. Numerous artifacts from that area were from a fishing village. Their livelihood was not from farming but was from fishing. Most of the artifacts from that area dealt with their fishing existence.

It is important that this heritage day highlight and assist others in remembering where we come from in terms of traditional fishing, hunting, and trapping opportunities and where we will go, as a nation, in the future.

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

November 27th, 2013 / 5:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Élaine Michaud Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House today to support Bill C-501, An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day.

I would like to take a moment to thank my colleague opposite, the member for Northumberland—Quinte West, who introduced this bill, which is designed to recognize and celebrate the importance of these activities and what they bring to Canadian society. This bill speaks to many of the people in my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.

If this bill passes, the third Saturday of September would be designated as National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day all across Canada.

The NDP is proud of this part of Canada's history and heritage. We know that hunting, fishing and trapping—along with all the related activities—have always played an integral role in the economic, social and cultural development of every region in this country.

This is especially true in my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, where hunting, fishing and trapping have been very important activities for hundreds of years. In fact, very well-known private hunting and fishing clubs existed in my riding as far back as the late 1800s. Among the most prestigious in Quebec are clubs like the Tourili club and the Triton club, located just a few kilometres north of Saint-Raymond de Portneuf.

The vast natural spaces found in my riding have been the envy of many people and have drawn many visitors over the years. These clubs have played host to many well-known people, including Winston Churchill, who visited the clubs in my riding. Many members of the Rockefeller family also enjoyed the hunting and fishing clubs in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. Even the 25th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, was a fan of these hunting clubs, particularly the Tourili club. He hunted moose there on more than one occasion.

I invite my colleagues to do a little Internet research when they have some time. They will find pictures of Theodore Roosevelt with the antlers of moose he hunted in my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, which has a long, proud history of hunting, fishing, trapping and all related activities.

Today, we are lucky because the wilderness in my riding is no longer reserved for the English elite, as was the case at the time, in the 1800s. Now we can all enjoy these beautiful spaces in my riding, as my constituents do almost every day. There are many sites reserved for hunting and fishing virtually everywhere in the riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.

According to Guy Moisan, one of my constituents and a member of the Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs, hunting and fishing are practically a religion for many of the people living in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.

Among the many nature sites in my riding, I can mention the Portneuf wildlife reserve and the Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier, where it is possible to fish in certain areas. People can fish from nearly all the wharves on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Neuville, Portneuf and Donnacona, as well as on the many lakes and rivers in the riding. People in places such as Sainte-Brigitte-de-Laval, Saint-Basile de Portneuf and Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures engage in these activities, and it would be very meaningful to them to have a special day dedicated to celebrating the heritage surrounding hunting, fishing and trapping.

These activities bring countless benefits to my riding. Tourism is among the major contributions from activities associated with hunting, fishing and trapping. Other economic benefits include sales of the licences and equipment needed to practise these activities and the trips made throughout the region to enjoy the many hunting and fishing spots. All this promotes the economic development of my region, but most of all, of course, it helps maintain this fine tradition that has existed for hundreds of years in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, as I mentioned earlier.

One very important thing about hunting and fishing is that, in addition to being leisure activities and livelihoods, these activities teach you to respect nature and animals. That is one thing that Mr. Moisan said when we had a chance to discuss Bill C-501.

These issues are in line with the NDP's concerns, such as the protection of endangered species, the ethical treatment of animals and the protection of our rather fragile ecosystems.

I do have some criticism for the government. Although there are some good bills that acknowledge certain aspects of our heritage, such as hunting, fishing and trapping, we have seen many other bills introduced by this government that jeopardize ecosystems and have an impact on species. For example, I am thinking of species of fish or other animals that could be affected by new natural resource development projects.

Making decisions without any forethought leads to problems, and that is where citizens and hunters and fishers alike will see negative impacts. Mr. Moisan talked to me about that. Every year, in my area, people have to go further and further away to fish and hunt, and they are catching less and less. There are a number of reasons for that, including urban development.

Environmental issues and various factors such as pollution and massive, uncontrolled catches have adversely affected hunting, fishing and trapping.

The bill does not address that issue, but it should be brought to the attention of the House. As I mentioned, the Conservatives have already made decisions with disastrous consequences for the environment.

One of the most serious decisions made here, which will directly affect fishers and possibly hunters and trappers in the region and across the country, is the elimination of the protection for thousands of Canadian lakes and rivers. This will have a direct impact on opportunities for hunters, fishers and trappers to contribute to regional economies that rely in part on these activities. It is absolutely deplorable that we are faced with this situation.

The Conservatives often say that they support duck hunters, fishers and hunters of other game. However, when they make decisions like that, they have a direct and harmful impact on the activities of people they say they represent and whose interests they claim to defend.

The Conservatives are somewhat inconsistent, but all the same, the bill before us today meets some of the needs expressed by hunters and fishers in my riding. They think a day that celebrates hunting and fishing can have significant positive impacts. In addition to promoting those activities, it is also a good way to get new people involved and attract more and more young people.

In Quebec, a lot of communities celebrate fishing days, usually in June. In communities in my riding, such as Sainte-Brigitte-de-Laval, Saint-Basile and Shannon, people go out and enjoy those activities. That is when young people make their first catch and get hooked.

Having a national day to celebrate our hunting, fishing and trapping heritage and to encourage more people to take part will be a positive outcome of the bill. That is one of the reasons I am proud to support it.

I hope that people from all parties will do the same so that we can have an annual celebration of the important role that hunting, fishing and trapping have played in Canada's history and in our social, cultural and economic development so far, and of the importance these activities will have to future generations.

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

November 27th, 2013 / 5:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I stand and address Bill C-501. It is an interesting bill that crosses all party lines in terms of support. It is something that we, or at least I, have heard a great deal about in terms of the whole issue of hunting and fishing and the rights thereof.

Just a few weeks ago, I was interested to read an article that was printed in the Winnipeg Free Press, I believe, about the history of the province of Manitoba. That is why I take an interest in all of the whereases within Bill C-501. In essence, it encapsulated a very interesting story about how Manitoba evolved. If it were not for hunting, in particular, we would not have the province of Manitoba that we have today. That is not to take anything from settlers or our first nations and so forth in terms of what was there prior to the commercialization, if I can put it that way, of the hunting industry.

It is worth noting what the bill is actually calling for. It calls for us to recognize a specific day every year for hunting. It says:

Throughout Canada, in each and every year, the third Saturday in September is to be known as “National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day”.

I do not quite understand that particular day and why that day was chosen. I suspect that there was a great deal of meaning given to the selection of that day. What I do know is that this industry has played a significant role in the founding and development of our great nation.

The Hudson's Bay Company exists because of fur trapping and so forth. It is a company that has been around for hundreds of years. In fact, the Northwest Passage going down into Churchill and the many different routes there were established because of Hudson Bay.

At one point, Manitoba was no more than just a postage stamp in terms of its boundaries. When we look at the expansion of its boundaries and at a lot of the current roads that are in place, we see they are based on our history and heritage, which in good part played into trapping and hunting, and, to a certain extent, fishing.

There were really two significant companies. The Hudson's Bay Company would have been incorporated, let us say, 350 years ago. That was one of the first commercial incorporations of a company dealing with merchandise here in North America, if not the first.

Let there be no doubt that its expansion and the way it went into western Canada in particular, which is where I will hold my comments to, was simply phenomenal. As the industry grew and settlers, who were quite anxious to come to the Prairie provinces, came through Churchill, it led to the development of many different communities. Ultimately, it attracted a new company, known as The North West Company.

If we take a look at The Forks today, we will see Fort Gibraltar, which is used as a tourist destination. It is used as a place to go for a wedding or to participate in the Festival du Voyageur activities. It is something that is there so that many Winnipeggers, Manitobans, and others can get a sense of the time when hunting and the fur trade played such a critical role in our development as a province.

My understanding is that the number of trading posts, whether from the Hudson's Bay Company or The North West Company or combined, far exceeded 150. We can imagine the impact that would have had in the lives that they would have touched.

It was the wildlife, whether that be the roaming buffalos, beavers or other large and small animals that were trapped and the fur used to sustain the economy, ultimately allowing our province to grow and prosper to what it is today.

I read the section in the bill that talks about the importance of these significant contributions to the development of our nation. It also makes reference to the aboriginal people of Canada who have traditionally participated in hunting, trapping and fishing. For hundreds and into the millennium of years, our first nation people have been very dependent on trapping, fishing and hunting in terms of being able to not only establish but continue to grow and prosper. Even before Europeans came to our country, it was recognized that those three things played a critical role.

Whether we reflect on the past or talk about today, there are many Manitobans who appreciate a good hunt, if I can put it that way. There are mechanisms that we put in place. For example, to hunt elk, there are restrictions and one has to get a licence and so forth.

I have had the opportunity to engage with a number of hunters. My colleague, the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, is an avid hunter, and I understand he was very successful this past fall. I must say that I have fished, but I have never had the experience of hunting for a number of different reasons. However, I do recognize its value.

I have a constituent who goes by the nickname of “Tiny”. He is quite the opposite of tiny, which is why he has that nickname, but he is an avid hunter and spends a great deal of time in rural Manitoba. It is something that he genuinely appreciates. He cares for the land and the people.

Our first nations continue to be dependent in a very significant way on that traditional lifestyle. If members take a trip out to Gimli around Lake Winnipeg, they would see a community that is dependent in good part on harvesting the many fish from Lake Winnipeg, which are ultimately exported beyond Manitoba's borders.

Therefore, whether it was in the yesteryears or today, members will find that hunting, trapping and fishing play a significant role in the province of Manitoba. Even though my comments have been around my home province, I believe that members will find they are applicable to many, if not all, provinces in one way or another.

Suffice it to say that in looking at what the private member's bill is hoping to accomplish, I do not know why people would oppose it. Hunting, trapping and fishing have been a part of our life and our nation. Therefore, I suspect the bill will receive support from virtually all members of the House. Being a private member's bill, it will be a free vote but I anticipate that there will be significant support.

I applaud the member's initiative in recognizing something that is really important to a number, if not all, Canadians. One does not have to be a hunter in order to appreciate the contributions of that industry.

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

November 27th, 2013 / 5:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed an honour for me to rise in support of the bill of the member for Northumberland—Quinte West, the national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day bill.

For me, the love of hunting, trapping and fishing is visceral and personal. We can talk about the numbers all we want. We know that recreational fishing generates $8 billion a year and hunting probably in the order of $3 billion to $4 billion a year. Four million Canadians participate in hunting, trapping and fishing on a yearly basis, but the numbers are cold in comparison to what these activities actually mean to the people of Canada and me personally.

I was born and raised in Winnipeg. My parents were born in eastern Europe. After starting a family, the first thing my parents did was buy a cottage in Whiteshell Provincial Park outside of Winnipeg. They took their children there—I was the eldest—and they taught us the wisdom and the lore of nature. I caught my first fish at age 4, and that is an experience I will never, ever forget. It has profoundly affected me for my entire life and, quite simply, that experience has made me what I am. That is why the bill of the member for Northumberland—Quinte West is so very important. That is why I am so proud to speak in support of the bill. I am also proud to be chair of the Conservative hunting and angling caucus. Of all of the parties in the House, my party is the only one to have a hunting and angling caucus.

I thought long and hard about this particular speech I was about to make, and many thoughts cascaded through my mind as to what I would say. Again, I go back to my parents. Hunting, angling and trapping are family activities. They bind families together and form the bonds of family, as they have for hundreds and thousands of generations. My parents, Joseph and Ida Sopuck, were adamant that their children would spend time in the outdoors. As I said, those experiences have affected me, my brother and my sister for our entire lives.

In particular for me, when I thought about that first fish, I thought about where that fish came from, what made this fish, what caused this fish to happen and what caused this fish to bite the end of my line. That thought process starts a person thinking about the environment. One starts to think about what it is about a river or lake that would produce a fish that people can catch. One thinks about water quality, the fisheries and the health of the environment. In my own case, that led to a 35-year career in conservation.

My very first career was as a fisheries biologist and I have had a marvellous and rewarding career in conservation, as have many in the House, particularly the member for Yukon, who was a conservation officer for many years, and the member for Wetaskiwin, who was a biologist like me. As I said, hunting, angling and trapping cause people to think about what goes on out there. They develop a deep love, care and respect for the environment and conservation. What is little known and appreciated in the larger world is the role that hunters, anglers and trappers have played in conservation. We are the first conservationists, and we are the most effective conservationists.

Back in the 1980s, there was a drought in western Canada and, indeed, across much of the Prairies. Waterfowl populations were in deep trouble because of the lack of wetlands, the difficulties in terms of nest success and so on. Waterfowl hunters from across North America—Mexico, Canada and the United States—got together and decided they needed to do something about it. The hunters said they needed to create the largest single conservation program in North American history, and they did. The hunters of North America created the North American waterfowl management plan, and over $2 billion has been spent on the conservation of North America's waterfowl since then.

I sit on both the fisheries and the environment committees, and I hear a lot of people talking about conservation. The hunters, anglers and trappers of North America do conservation and generate real conservation results. That is a track record matched by nobody else.

Hunters, anglers and trappers are unique among the entire conservation community in that we treasure abundance. We want to see the skies filled with birds. We want to see the forest filled deer. We want to see lakes filled with fish. We tirelessly work to ensure that happens.

Last year our government created the recreational fisheries, conservation partnerships program, the first time that a Canadian federal government acknowledged the recreational fishery in Canada. The budget for that program was $10 million a year.

The program was announced in June of last year. Within three weeks our government had received 135 proposals from across the country and 100 of those projects were funded. Projects were funded from the Maritimes to British Columbia, enhancing salmon habitat, trout habitat, creating walleye spawning areas, rehabilitating streams and on and on.

Community groups were funded by our government to make real and measurable environmental improvements. That is what the hunting, angling and trapping community does.

Why do we want to do this? It is because the experiences that we have in the outdoors affect us profoundly. For eight years before I became an MP, I used to write the hunting column for the Winnipeg Free Press. I talked to hunters across Manitoba about their experiences. I wrote columns about nature and conservation, hunting experiences and so on.

Some of the most profound columns I wrote were based on experiences of parents hunting with their children. I recall an interview I did with a father who told me about hunting with his son. His son killed his first deer on that particular hunt. I must admit the father was choked up when I was talking to him on the phone. He was choked up about the experience. He was on the verge of tears, because of what that meant to him to be there with his son when his son took his first deer.

I will never forget what the father said to me. He said that as a result of that experience, he would always have his son. That is what hunting, fishing and trapping do for families and for our country. Perhaps that young lad will have a career in conservation. That is an experience that is so profound, so moving and significant that it is remembered by all of us who have experienced it.

I had the honour in June of being the guest speaker at the annual general meeting of the Fur Institute of Canada. The fur trade, a number of years ago, was on the ropes. There were many well-funded groups and organizations that wanted to kill the fur trade. I am very happy to say that the fur trade is on a very healthy footing these days. Prices are up and trappers are doing extremely well.

I am a supporter of the trapping industry because it supports a way of life that is very important to our country. The trapping industry provides the dignity of work to people in remote and rural communities who would have no other economic opportunities. Again, between the trappers, the fishermen and the hunters, we have thousands of eyes and ears on our environment who are vigilant about protecting the environment, ensuring conservation programs are put in place and ensuring that a sustainable way of life is maintained.

That is why I am so very pleased to support the member for Northumberland—Quinte West and his Bill C-501, National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act.

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

November 27th, 2013 / 6:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Ryan Cleary St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, I stand in support of Bill C-501, an act respecting a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are great hunters, great trappers and great fishermen, be it for cod, salmon, trout, Arctic char, moose, caribou, seals, rabbit, beavers, turr or grouse. We live off the land. We live off the sea.

Our first nation and aboriginal peoples have lived off the land and sea for thousands of years, and they continue to do so.

Our ancestors who got off the boat, primarily from Europe, made a life in Newfoundland and Labrador on the edge of the North Atlantic, in the most inhospitable of places, to be closest to the fish that sustained them. Life was hard. Life was brutal. Life was work from dawn till dusk, but that life made us strong. That life made us self-sufficient. They were certainly not the richest of people, not in terms of cash dollars, but rich in terms of how hunting, trapping and fishing built character, shaped our culture and formed our heritage.

This bill is important because hunting, fishing and trapping have been instrumental to the social, economic and cultural development of communities in every region of Canada, not just Newfoundland and Labrador—although that is my focus, as the member of Parliament for St. John's South—Mount Pearl, in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Hunting, fishing and trapping still play a vital role in the outports and communities that dot Newfoundland and Labrador, urban and rural. Most freezers in most homes contain local moose. They contain local fish. There are not many outport kitchens that do not have bottled salmon or rabbit or moose.

I was on the south coast of Labrador last spring. The woman whose home I entered apologized as soon as I got there because she did not have anything prepared to eat. By the time I left that house, I had eaten bottled salmon, bottled lobster, rabbit, turr, the sweetest partridge berries I had ever tasted, homemade bread and fresh vegetables from the kitchen garden. I had a feast of food prepared from the land and food prepared from the sea.

However, the best meal I have had so far this year was in a fishing shed in Petty Harbour, just outside St. John's, after a day on the North Atlantic, fishing crab.

When we got in, one of the fishermen pulled out a couple of bottles of moose and cooked it with some onions on the floor of the shed, in a huge frying pan, with a propane flame. I can taste it now. It was lovely.

We still live off the land and off the sea. I am proud of where we come from.

This bill is recognition of the importance of hunting, trapping and fishing to our way of life.

However, there are problems that we should reflect upon in this debate.

Let us begin with moose. The animals, moose, are not indigenous to Newfoundland, to the island portion of the province. Moose were only introduced successfully in 1904. However, since then, the population has ballooned, exploded, to the point that moose-vehicle collisions are a real problem. There are literally hundreds of moose-vehicle collisions every year.

I had a collision myself, in October 2012, on the edge of Terra Nova National Park. I will never forget it. It was dark. It was misty. I was driving relatively slowly. The speed limit was 100 kilometres an hour; I was driving 80. Out of nowhere, in front of me, appeared a moose. I hit it head-on. I remember thinking, “If that moose flies through the windshield, I'm dead”. It rolled over my bonnet and flipped over the windshield. The moose died about five minutes later. I had about $9,000 worth of damage to my vehicle. I lived. I am here to tell the tale.

The Conservative MP for the Manitoba riding of Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia recommended last summer that we cut down on moose-vehicle collisions. How? What was his recommendation? His recommendation was that we kill every last moose.

Let me quote the Conservative MP, a quote contained in a press release that was on the MP's website:

...the obvious solution is to cull (in other words, kill) all the moose on the island. Removing all the moose from the island will be a huge public safety benefit, it is the environmentally friendly action to take, and it makes economic sense.

For me, that makes no sense.

I stand here today in support of An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day. An outrageous suggestion such as killing every last moose, an entire population of a food source, does not respect our culture. It does not respect our hunters or even nature.

Moose may have been introduced to Newfoundland, but the cod are what drew us to Newfoundland and Labrador. Codfish were once Newfoundland and Labrador currency. “In Cod We Trust”: not anymore.

For the true story of the destruction of our commercial groundfish fisheries, such as cod and flounder, I recommend a new book that was released two weeks ago. It is called Empty Nets: How Greed and Politics Wiped Out The World's Greatest Fishery. That book is by a former industry leader named Gus Etchegary.

In case the hon. members of this House do not realize it, the world's greatest fisheries were on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Codfish stocks have been pounded to the point that the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, or COSEWIC, is recommending that Atlantic cod be declared an endangered species.

There is still a food fishery, when Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can fish cod for our tables, but that fishery only takes place during a narrow window, with strict catch restrictions. Newfoundland and Labrador was known for its fish. The day, the decade, has actually come when it is illegal for most of the year for a young boy or girl to fish for cod from the edge of a wharf. That day came more than 20 years ago, a day nobody thought would come. It is 21 years since the Government of Canada shut down the northern cod fishery for the first time in a 500-plus year history, and there is still no recovery plan for that northern cod. It is shocking that there is no recovery plan for a commercial fishery that was shut down more than 20 years ago.

Let us move on to seals. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are proud of our sealing heritage. However, let me read a quote from 1985. This quote is from a sealer, and it was contained in the report of the Royal Commission on Seals and Sealing in Canada:

As a sealer, as a fisherman standing before you today, I say to you that I am the endangered species. I am endangered but I still fight back. I will survive. I will not let animal rights become more important than human rights. I will not let people give souls to animals while they rob me of my human dignity and right to earn a livelihood.

That was from 1985.

Our tradition of sealing suffered yet another blow this week with the decision of the World Trade Organization to uphold the European ban on Canadian seal products. The Conservative government has announced plans to appeal that ruling, but if the government were serious about standing up for the seal hunt, the Conservatives would have made the seal ban a make-or-break issue during trade talks. They did not do that.

Under the current Conservative government, we have witnessed the greatest body blows to the seal harvest in our history, with ban after ban. A national hunting, trapping, and fishing heritage day would be a good time to reflect on the current government's absolute failure to stand up for the seal hunt.

A heritage day would also be a good time to reflect on how the government has gutted the federal Fisheries Act. A recent federal court ruling in Newfoundland and Labrador noted that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has the ability to control the alteration, disruption, or destruction of fish habitat. In other words, if there is no monetary value for a fish, it is worth nothing.

To sum up, I support this bill, but I also support policies that ensure that hunting, trapping, and fishing can continue in this country in a sustainable and meaningful way. It is one thing for the Conservatives to say they support hunters, trappers, and fishermen, but if their policies do nothing to protect our land and our sea and do nothing to protect our culture and our heritage, then the words are meaningless and a fishing heritage day would mean nothing.

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

November 27th, 2013 / 6:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. Like the member for Northumberland—Quinte West, who is an avid sportsman and a conservationist, I enjoy the outdoors just as much as he does, as many Canadians do. I know many people in his riding and my riding do as well. I would like to personally thank him on behalf of everyone here for bringing the bill forward. It is long overdue.

As I listened to the member who spoke before, I cannot help but say that this government has done more to protect the rights of hunters and fishers in this country than any other party in the history of Canada. We got rid of the gun registry, something that should have never been put in place to start with. It was really nothing about safety. It was trying one step at a time to take away guns because people for all intents and purposes are against hunting. That is a known fact.

I want to talk about what has made hunting and fishing such a passion for me. I can remember when I was around age six or seven and my dad, who is still an avid hunter at 81, took me out on a hunt with him. I was not carrying a gun, but he took me along. He stood me under a balsam tree by a pond. I remember standing there as it started to get dark, and a fox came for a drink. At that age in the middle of a big wilderness I remember wondering if my dad was going to come back. Not long after the fox left, a doe came for a drink with two fawns.

I think that entrenched in me the beauty of wildlife. It stuck with me and I have been an admirer and a hunter of white-tailed deer, among other species. My dad gave me my first gun at age 12. It was a Christmas present but a couple of weeks before that he and his friends were going to go on a fox hunt. He unwrapped the gun and said he should not be giving it to me, but he did because we went out hunting that day. I did not shoot anything that day. I did not see anything, but not long after that I shot my first deer with that gun. I did not realize I had that first deer. Being a rookie at hunting deer at 12 or 13 years old, I thought I had missed it. I went off to school with my siblings the next day and my dad checked and I had shot the deer. When I came home from school, there was a strict lesson for my brother Tom and I. My dad told us where the deer was and we were to go back and get it. The lesson in all that was that a hunter never wastes meat. I have taught that to my boys. I know my brothers have taught that to their boys.

People do not understand hunting and do not hunt, and that is fine. I respect their choices in life. However, a lot of them do not understand that it is not just about the kill or the catch of the fish. It is being outdoors, quality time and if a hunter is fortunate enough to take something from the land, he is to look after it well, take it home and consume it. There is nothing any healthier than good venison, a fresh perch, trout or salmon out of Georgian Bay near where I live. It is all very healthy and managed right. There are some bad examples as in anything, but most hunters and fishermen respect where they hunt and where they fish. That is why the bill is so important and we should never forget that.

I talked about getting my first deer and I hunted for years with my brothers and my dad, and then friends. I can remember the day that my own sons got their first deer. I think their dad was as happy as anybody was. It gave me great pleasure in seeing that.

My family still goes to the hunt camp. In this job I do not get there as much as I would like to. It is one of the things that I miss the most being in this place, but that is something that one has to do when one commits to a job.

My family and brothers still go there. It now includes my brothers-in-law, my sons and my nephews, and that is not going to change. On Thanksgiving here recently, we were at one of my brothers' places and what did we do that day? With my nieces, nephews and brothers, we had a skeet shoot that day before a great Thanksgiving dinner.

That is why it is important to remember that hunting, fishing and trapping outdoors is a heritage. The bill would protect that and enshrine it, and I fully support it.

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

November 27th, 2013 / 6:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we heard from across the aisle, I will take the little kick in the pants from the official opposition. I know its members support this bill. I accept that. I thank them and all of the members across the way. I especially thank the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North, who I know is an avid fisherman, hunter, and trapper, and who cares very much about the environment and making sure that those activities continue to be part of our Canadian heritage.

On September 22, 2009, there was a press release that came out of the White House in the United States of America. I will not read it all, because many of the members here spoke of what the President of the United States said.

Toward the end, he stated:

Now, therefore, I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 26, 2009, as National Hunting and Fishing Day. I call upon the people of the United States to recognize this day with appropriate programs and activities.

This is one small part of the reason I brought this bill forward. It is to match the laws of this country to those of the United States for the Americans who come up to every one of our ridings in this place that have fishing and hunting camps or cottages. They invest, and they enjoy our natural bounty of fish and game and contribute greatly to the economy of our country.

I thank the member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River for his wholehearted support for this bill. I thank the member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue, who said how important hunting and fishing were to her and her family and pointed out the fact that women are now an important part of the hunting, fishing, and trapping heritage of this country.

I also thank the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette for his heartfelt support of this bill and his reasons and passion for that.

Finally, I give thanks to my friend from Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel for his party's support for the bill.

As the member who previously spoke said, hunting and fishing are sort of a rite of adulthood. I will use the term, and I know some people might object, but it is a rite of manhood in my family when one's son or daughter catches his or her first fish or harvests his or her first moose or deer. It is part of our DNA. It means so much to a father and son, and to a grandfather, to see his children and grandchildren do this.

It was mentioned before by the member from Manitoba that it was part of the founding of his province. This hunting, fishing, and trapping heritage is part of what Canada is. Our country was founded because the Europeans really loved beaver for making warm clothing. That started the whole trade. However, I will not repeat what the member said.

This bill is really a motherhood bill. It recognizes the importance of this. We have many other days we recognize.

Members heard in prior speeches about the billions of dollars spent annually by people who fish and hunt recreationally. Members heard about those who trap and seal, and the importance of sealing to our northern communities, whose sealing tradition has been their very subsistence for years. We, as a country, support this. Because this bill means something, there is all-party support. It does not cost anything. It sends a signal to all Canadians, especially new Canadians who are coming into a country that has such abundance. We need to protect that.

The previous speaker said that it is the hunters and fishers who are the true conservationists. There are still ducks, moose, and deer all over. The member from Newfoundland mentioned how many moose there are. These are things to be treasured. They are to be harvested because the good Lord expects us to be good stewards. To be good stewards means that we can enjoy nature's bounty, but we are good stewards of it. That is what this bill is about.

I encourage all members of Parliament to put aside our partisanship, put aside our rancour, think about the people in our ridings who enjoy these activities, and please vote for this bill.