Evidence of meeting #31 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was conservation.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Peter Kendall  Executive Director and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Earth Rangers
  • Len Ugarenko  President, Wildlife Habitat Canada
  • Sophie Gallais  Project Manager, Protected Areas, Nature Québec
  • Mark Northwood  President and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Earth Rangers

4:20 p.m.

President, Wildlife Habitat Canada

Len Ugarenko

Yes, sir. I tell people that my name's Len, and I wear jewellery and glasses. I've got gold and silver fillings, so I rely on the mining industry.

4:20 p.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

4:20 p.m.

President, Wildlife Habitat Canada

Len Ugarenko

I love to carve. I've got wooden furniture in my house, and it's framed with wood, so I rely on the timber industry. I drive a car, I heat my house, so I also rely on the oil and gas industry. That's the reality.

The other side of that reality, again, is connecting what you're doing with what they're doing. Instead of going in with a baseball bat, go in with an apple pie. Help them because they want to listen, they want to do good things. When you talk to the executives of these companies, or even their workers, they have families and children and they have concerns about what's happening in the environment. They are searching for ways to try to improve the production, improve the supply chain. But, again, many of them are too busy and they just don't have the time to search out the resources. I think they'd be more than happy to come to the table and express their concerns and listen to others, so they do have a place in this national conservation plan, whether it's on their own lands or on adjacent lands, or whether it's helping to fund projects.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Mark Warawa

Thank you.

Next we have Ms. Liu. Welcome back. Vous avez cinq minutes.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I would like to thank all the witnesses and to welcome them here.

Len, in your testimony you spoke briefly about climate change. We know that climate change has an affect on ecosystems, including an affect on invasive species, which we discussed in our earlier study on invasive species. We can name things like the spruce/pine beetle, and the fact that changes in climate had an affect on the proliferation of these species. So it's really important to connect the dots when we talk about conservation.

I was wondering if you had any specific recommendations in terms of how we can incorporate climate change into a conservation strategy or how it can be taken into account.

4:25 p.m.

President, Wildlife Habitat Canada

Len Ugarenko

It's interesting that you mention the pine beetle—and there's only so much that we can put into one of these presentations—because the pine beetle is moving farther north and ravaging the forests up the west coast. It has the potential to go across the boreal forest in Canada.

One way of adapting to climate change is to look at the path of these creatures. If provinces, governments, conservation organizations are going to invest in large tracts of land to protect grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, and elk, we have to think of the future. Will there be the habitat there? Is that the best place to put the money?

If we're looking at ocean-level rise, if we start setting up protected marine areas around estuaries, will those estuaries still be viable when and if sea-level rise does occur?

When we have people coming to us from the Atlantic provinces and they want to look at protecting saltwater marshes, one of the things I ask them to do is to look at the projection maps. If you're going to protect the saltwater marsh now, will it still be there 10 years from now or will it be under water?

That's what I really mean about climate change and managing it.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

I would like to ask Ms. Gallais a few questions.

You mentioned the conservation of habitats, particularly fish habitats. However, according to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Keith Ashfield, the government is in a way changing direction. Just to give you some context, I will cite the following remarks by the minister:

This means focusing protection rules on real and significant threats to these fisheries and the habitat that supports them while setting clear standards and guidelines for routine projects.

How do you accept this change in direction, which emphasizes fishing, whereas we are talking about fish habitat?

4:25 p.m.

Project Manager, Protected Areas, Nature Québec

Sophie Gallais

For us, this is definitely a change that is not headed in the right direction.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Mark Warawa

Madame Gallais, just one moment, please. We have a point of order.

Ms. Rempel.

April 26th, 2012 / 4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Calgary Centre-North, AB

On a point of order, Mr. Chair, I would ask my colleague to rephrase her question in terms of how this affects the national conservation plan.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Mark Warawa

The point of order is that we address the NCP as opposed to getting partisan.

I encourage the questions to be asked in a respectful way and dealing with how we develop a national conservation plan.

Thank you.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

My question specifically concerns habitat conservation, which Ms. Gallais mentioned. So I believe this is absolutely relevant. And when you discuss conservation, you also have to talk about habitat.

I would simply like to hear your answer, since these changes are happening now.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Calgary Centre-North, AB

Mr. Chair, a point of order—

4:25 p.m.

Project Manager, Protected Areas, Nature Québec

Sophie Gallais

As regards the act respecting fish habitat—

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Mark Warawa

Order. One moment, please.

Ms. Rempel.