House of Commons Hansard #163 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was species.

Topics

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gar Knutson Elgin—Norfolk, ON

Madam Speaker, today marks an important step in introducing Canada's first ever federal legislation for the protection of endangered species.

Bill C-65 is an important bill. This government believes that preventing species from becoming extinct is an honourable purpose, a purpose that will ensure that our children and grandchildren inherit a country as rich in wildlife as the one we enjoy today.

Furthermore, by preventing animals from becoming extinct, we also ensure that we have a healthy environment for ourselves. While it may seem irrelevant at times whether the grizzly bear disappears or the loggerhead shrike disappears, they in and of themselves can become indicators of damage that we are doing that affects us as human beings and the globe as a whole.

Some people have said that this bill goes too far and that it puts too high a value on nature. The government disagrees. Others have said that it does not go far enough in protecting the needs of endangered species. Again, the government disagrees. The attempt of the bill is to strike a balance between the various interests on the planet. The Government of Canada believes that we have the right balance.

This bill is based on the premise that the needs of the economy can be integrated with the needs of ecology, that we can protect endangered species and still have secure jobs and a healthy growing economy. This reflects the government's commitment to sustainable development.

This bill also recognizes that nature does not exist in a vacuum. People and jobs are also part of the equation. If we take away the jobs, people will build up resentments and defiance. We need their acceptance to buy into the laws for protecting the environment.

There are five important aspects of this legislation. First, we have a bill that creates an independent panel of experts, scientists to give us the facts about the status of endangered species in Canada.

What the bill attempts to do is to take politics out of the designation of which species are at risk. It is important to note that science and not politics, hearsay or uninformed opinion will determine what species are at risk, what species need help and what must be done to provide that help.

This independent arm's length group of experts is called the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada or COSEWIC for short. This will build upon 20 years of experience and provide for legal standing for this organization.

COSEWIC will make recommendations to the government which will produce a list of species receiving immediate protection. It will use its expertise and will also draw on the traditional knowledge of aboriginal Canadians to assess and identify species to be listed.

Each year the official list of species at risk in Canada will be made public. In fact, this list was made public last week. The picture it painted underscores the critical need for this legislation. COSEWIC told us that the number of endangered species in Canada has risen dramatically in the past year from 276 to 291, an increase of 15 species in the space of one year. This situation cannot be allowed to continue.

Had the Canadian endangered species act been in place when COSEWIC's list came out, this would have been the basis for demanding recovery plans for every species identified as endangered or threatened. These recovery plans would have been implemented in a timely fashion. All parties affected by the plan, such as landowners, industries, citizens, government would have been involved in the development and implementation of a plan. Without this legislation, the future of these species is in limbo.

Second, the bill recognizes that no single jurisdiction can meet the needs of all endangered species. Fish swim, birds fly and they do not recognize political boundaries. This is why we need partnerships and why it is very important that all governments agreed to a National Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk in Charlottetown in early October 1996.

In October all governments in Canada made commitments to establish complementary legislation and programs to protect endangered species. The accord builds upon legislation that already exists in four provinces: New Brunswick, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

The bill also establishes a council of ministers as a mechanism for co-operation among federal, provincial and territorial governments with the goal of preventing species in Canada from becoming extinct as a consequence of human activity.

With this bill the federal government is doing its part. The legislation respects the traditional and constitutional roles that each jurisdiction has played in wildlife protection and conservation. New provisions have been introduced to more clearly recognize provincial and territorial authorities with respect to the management of endangered wildlife species.

Third, international cross-border animal species are better protected. The bill recognizes the importance of working co-operatively with other countries for the conservation of endangered species.

As part of our committee hearings we learned that the grizzly bear roams from northern Manitoba into southern Alberta and southern British Columbia. It is protected in the United States but would only be protected in Banff National Park in the Canadian jurisdiction. This bill will help deal with issues like this one. The bill also gives us the ability to take immediate action to protect animal species in imminent danger as they move across our borders.

Earlier this month the Minister of the Environment signed a framework for co-operation with the United States Department of the Interior for the protection and recovery of wild species at risk. This agreement helps us build on the excellent relationship we have with the United States on the management of wildlife across the border.

Together our two countries manage several migratory birds and other species. Our success in the recovery of the majestic whooping crane is a symbol recognized around the world of co-operation and partnership between different jurisdictions that share a common goal.

The two countries agreed to exchange information, to work together on recovery plans and to build a partnership with all levels of government, the private sector and the public for the conservation of wildlife and the ecosystems on which they depend. A workplan will be presented to the Minister of the Environment and the Secretary of the Interior by December of this year.

This legislation builds upon the voluntary efforts of a wide range of people in Canada, many of whom joined the Minister of the Environment when he tabled this bill last October. The Government of Canada sees the necessity and the benefits of working together on behalf of all our fellow creatures. This is very good news indeed. When it comes to a bird sitting on a rock, Canadians do not want to see politicians arguing over who has jurisdiction over the rock. They want us to work to make sure the bird can live and fly free. We have put nature before jurisdictional disputes.

Fourth, this bill will generate more public involvement in our quest for a better protection of species. Canadians can take part in all stages of the process, from proposing species for listing, to developing and implementing recovery plans, to participation in the enforcement of the act.

All information relating to work under the act will be made available through the establishment of a public registry. This will allow all Canadians to judge whether species are being protected from extinction and whether social and economic concerns of resources users and communities are being fairly considered.

Partners essential to the national effort include provinces, territories, private landowners, farmers, industry, the environmental and scientific communities, aboriginal peoples and individual Canadians. Each has an important and essential contribution to make. Of particular note are aboriginal peoples whose traditional stewardship of the lands has always included the protection of wildlife.

The Government of Canada recognizes the important contribution that farmers, ranchers and landowners have made to the protection of endangered species in Canada. Operation burrowing owl in the prairies is one of many examples of how the agricultural sector has worked in partnership with governments and environmental groups to protect species on the brink of extinction. These types of partnerships are exactly the sorts of agreements that are encouraged through the Canadian endangered species act.

Individual Canadians can call for investigations and they will have access to the courts for legal redress if they feel measures are not being adequately enforced. Civil actions will allow citizens to take action to ensure that governments live up to their commitments. It helps to ensure the government's accountability. We saw in the United States that when a government failed to enforce its environmental obligations, citizens actions rose and stepped into the vacuum that was left when governments did not do their job. However if governments do their job, there should be no need for citizens actions.

I realize this provision of the bill has been criticized as leading us down a slippery slope toward the American model. In that country the public's right to sue over environmental issues has been blamed for holding up development and a lot of other things. But comparing the legislation before us with the American legislation is like comparing apples and oranges.

Safeguards against civil actions which are frivolous or vexatious have been built directly into the legislation. Before a citizen can launch an action he has to apply to the government for an investigation and then prove in court that the government has acted unreasonably before he can move forward with his own citizen action. This presents a very high barrier to prevent frivolous civil litigation.

Fifth and finally, this legislation is a product of over two and a half years of consultation. Public meetings were held from coast to coast. Discussion papers were issued and an industry and environmental task force spent nearly a year developing key proposals, 80 per cent of which are reflected in this bill. We have heard from the fishing and forestry sectors. They have addressed their concerns. In addition, 94 per cent of Canadians support the legislation. The government has received nearly 80,000 letters and petitions on the issue. Public involvement has been and will continue to be a key feature of the legislation.

A three-year review period has been built into the legislation to enable the Government of Canada to review early progress and to make necessary adjustments to the legislation.

The amendments tabled today help to ensure the protection of endangered species in Canada remains fair, equitable and balanced. As we in government are watching for possible threats to our wildlife and providing the necessary remedies, Canadians will be watching us. They will not let government or industry slide backward. Nor should they. They will hold all legislators to account. We owe it to future generations to make sure the wildlife existing in Canada in the 20th century is still here in the 21st century and beyond.

Just last week experts told us that the Monarch butterfly, a backyard treasure known to every Canadian child, is in danger. There can be no clearer message to the House. We need the legislation and we need it now.

The Government of Canada is fully committed to providing effective protection to species at risk in this country. I call on all members to support the bill.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Gaspé, QC

Madam Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to speak to Bill C-65, but I would like to add that I am speaking on behalf of the hon. member for Laurentides. This bill was supposed to be passed yesterday, and today, the hon. member had to go to her riding on business.

I am pleased there was unanimous consent for having the amendments standing in the name of the hon. member for Laurentides recorded as such, because she did all the work, and she did an excellent job.

To get back to Bill C-65, we are now considering the report stage of Bill C-65, an act respecting the protection of wildlife species in Canada from extirpation or extinction.

This bill comes as a result of a promise the Liberals made in their red book nearly three and a half years ago. It has taken the Liberals all this time to draft this bill, although as soon as she was elected, the Deputy Prime Minister made it one of her pet projects. Today, the Liberals are bringing back the bill just to show they have some interest in wildlife and the environment. Why? Because the Liberal record on the environment is pretty thin, and they must put something on the table at the last minute, to look good before an election is called.

The Liberals, who promised us the moon as far as the environment is concerned, have now stooped to campaign tactics. On every environmental issue, especially the reduction of greenhouse gases, the Liberals have been marking time. From the Deputy Prime Minister to the current minister, the Liberals have been incapable of delivering the goods. All environmental groups agree that their record is miserable.

It is all talk and no action on the other side of the House. They make pretty speeches. They even said at a number international events that Canada was a world leader on environmental issues. What a joke. What a charade on the part of the Liberals.

The biggest role they ever played is "motor mouth", which also means all talk and no action. Their record is just words and more words that have no beneficial impact on the environment. The reason for their miserable record must be sought-I see the Speaker is smiling-among senior ministers who have considerable influence in cabinet. It is clear that ministers who have connections with the business and financial communities lead the pack in this cabinet and the result is that the Minister of the Environment and this whole issue are not even given the time of day.

We should also consider the influence of lobby groups. Obviously, environmental groups and the greens cannot compete with business and industry. Unfortunately, the cabinet ministers with clout are directly connected with the industry and business lobbies. They give them their undivided attention.

Recently I saw a documentary on the important issue of reducing greenhouse gases. Ottawa has set up a representative group which is supposed to submit proposals for reducing these gases.

This task force, which included a number of environmental groups, literally had a number of avenues of reduction closed to it, particularly avenues providing for restrictions and a possible tax on carbon. These proposals were completely ruled out as a result of industry pressure, which came in the form of a powerful lobby, known as the Friday Group. There was no further mention of voluntary measures, and the tax on carbon disappeared.

In the meantime, the Prime Minister was to be seen on Alberta rostrums in the company of the provincial minister of natural resources and industry executives. Then came the tax deal of nearly $6 billion accorded this same industry.

From this report it is clear now why Canada will not achieve its reduction objectives and meet the commitments it made at the Rio summit.

Bill C-65 arises from a proposal by the former minister, which was released in August 1995. At that point, the task force was set up bringing associations with diverging interests-ecologists and industry-to the same table for a rare meeting. The group did important work and produced a bill for the minister. A national agreement on the protection of species was signed in October 1996 in Charlottetown between the federal minister and the provincial and territorial ministers.

The minister tabled his bill in the House on October 31, 1996. This was the start of the Bill C-65 saga, a long tale dotted with the discontent of everyone and the improvisations and incompetence of the minister and the parliamentary secretary.

With the tabling of the bill, environmentalists and groups made it known to the government that Bill C-65 was totally inadequate and amounted to very little in the way of species protection. Groups immediately began pressuring the minister to amend the bill to bring it more into line with their vision. They wanted the federal government to have all the powers over species and their habitats, regardless of jurisdictions or ownership.

Environmental groups have this idea that the federal government must be the national protector and that, with this status, it can ignore other jurisdictions. These groups should change their view on this issue, because the federal government is far from getting a passing grade when it comes to the environment.

Moreover, the cuts made to the department show how little the Liberals care about the environment. Because it is so far away, the federal government is definitely not the ideal level. It is not capable of protecting or preserving the environment.

You realize that for us, members from Quebec, it is difficult to buy the national approach put forward by these groups. In Quebec, we have had very adequate environmental laws and regulations

since 1989. The federal government even patterned some of its own legislation on ours. Anything that results in encroachment, interference and duplication is unacceptable to us.

In addition to these environmental groups, the industry also expressed its discontent. People in the mining, forestry and agricultural industries strongly condemned the bill.

And let us not forget the aboriginal people, who said the bill does not recognize their skills and knowledge. Finally, the provinces and territories jointly sent a letter to the minister, condemning the violation of the national convention principle, and the involvement of the federal government in their field of jurisdiction. This letter was not sent by Quebec alone.

Against the background of this widespread discontent, the committee undertook a clause by clause review of the bill. About 100 amendments were moved by members representing all the parties. The amendments of the Bloc Quebecois primarily sought to protect existing jurisdictions. We wanted to make sure the provinces would be able to manage and to control the species on their territories.

Unfortunately, all our amendments were defeated by the Liberal majority on the committee. Led by the parliamentary secretary, who shares this national, Canadian vision of the environment, the Liberal majority rejected our proposals, falling back instead on equivalency agreements and bilateral agreements with the provinces to manage the various species, with the federal government always having the upper hand.

That is unacceptable to us. While the list of species at risk in Quebec may not be very extensive at present, Quebec does have legislation to deal efficiently with this issue. In fact, according to the premier of Quebec, who strongly condemned the bill, the purpose of the national agreement was to enable the federal and provincial governments to agree on which species to protect and nothing more. That is what the agreement was all about.

From the moment the federal government starts interfering with essential habitats, it encroaches on areas outside its jurisdiction. Finally, the amendments put forward by the minister today do not remedy in any way the encroachment problem. Bloc members will oppose these amendments and the bill itself, since our amendments will be rejected by the Liberals as usual.

I thought the Charlottetown accord was about co-operation between the provinces and the federal government. Once again, the federal government, which is about to call an election, is encroaching on Quebec's jurisdictions, and this will not do any good.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Madam Speaker, Bill C-65 is a glaring example of the prejudice of the Liberal government against people who make their living off the land. It regards us all as thoughtless, irresponsible and uncaring people who have to be restrained by big mama government from despoiling the environment, killing every living thing, all non-human life forms, and, as an aside, from shooting ornery neighbours before breakfast with our unregistered firearms.

Bill C-65 dismisses co-operative effort in favour of coercion by the urban elites who just know they are morally and intellectually superior to farmers, ranchers and woodlot owners. Instead of offering consultation and co-operation to rural people, the government has opted to threaten them with fines and jail terms.

The abundance of proposed amendments to the bill should give some indication of its defectiveness. I draw the attention of the House to Motion No. 86. It refers to a paragraph under section 59(3)(b) wherein the government is prohibited from disclosing the name of a plaintiff in an environmental action.

This is so appalling that I initially thought it was a misprint. This is on par with provincial proposals of snitch lines for welfare cheaters. It is fundamental to a civil society that accusers not have anonymity except in cases where identifying them might endanger their lives. I hardly think a farmer accused of killing a swift fox would take out a contract on his accuser. It is a fundamental principle of justice that an accused must have the right to face his or her accusers. Even murderers have that right.

The bottom line is that with guaranteed anonymity there is absolutely nothing to deter someone, whether an environmentalist or a neighbour with a grievance, from filing a frivolous complaint, a vexatious complaint. There is no penalty, no economic sacrifice, not even community disapproval for making an underhanded move against someone who may or may not have done something against the act. I do not understand how this provision managed to slip through committee.

Motions Nos. 88, 91 to 100 and 104 to 109 propose the deletion of sections 60 to 76 of the act. These are the sections which give private citizens the right to file civil suits if they believe that the Canadian Wildlife Service is lax in the performance of its duties.

When the state introduces legislation to protect what it considers to be the interests of society as a whole, then it should also take whatever action is necessary under that legislation to ensure its effectiveness, not delegate the right to individuals who might have their own agendas.

We do not need U.S. style government by litigation in Canada. These sections open the door for harassment of land owners by eco-vigilantes. It is unreasonable and unfair to expect farmers, ranchers and woodlot owners, many of whom are struggling to make a living, to defend themselves against well financed environmental groups, many of which are partly funded by government.

Within this group I wish to draw particular attention to section 65 which allows third parties to participate in court actions, get this, "in order to provide fair and adequate representation of the private and public interests involved". Really. This is from the government whose original discussions of the background material leading to this bill were held only in cities across Canada.

I quote Nancy Greene Raine on this little exercise in consultation, Liberal government style: "It is a sad day when legislation can be drafted without the input of the people who will be affected".

I would like to backtrack a little and comment on section 52. That section authorizes warrantless search and seizure. This sounds familiar. I would almost think it was written by our Minister of Justice with his well known disdain for due process and individual rights as exemplified in the same type of provisions in Bill C-68. Perhaps he and this government just do not like rural people or perhaps the Liberals are on a power trip.

One of the worst features of Bill C-65 is that if a land owner loses all or part of his or her livelihood due to a government or private action on behalf of endangered species, a requirement to fence out water holes for example, there is no firm provision for compensation. This is also typical of the government's attitude toward ordinary citizens in other matters.

If a government is going to encourage individual Canadians to inform on or launch lawsuits against their neighbours in the name of the greater good, then fairness would dictate that provisions be put in place for those affected to recover all the costs they incur as a result of such action if and when the courts rule that they are not guilty of an offence under the act.

This lack of provision for just treatment of affected people could actually endanger the very creatures which the legislation is designed to protect. This House should be aware that there are already U.S. real estate advertisements certifying that land being offered for sale is free of endangered species. How can they be so sure? Why would they want it to be free of endangered species? Maybe somebody took a bit of underhanded action to see that there were no endangered species left on the land and maybe the reason they have made this certification is that nobody would want to buy a piece of land if they knew there were kangaroo rats on it.

Because of this sort of thing, there is a very strong feeling now in the United States that its 21-year old environmental protection act has been beneficial only to one predatory species, namely lawyers, but not beneficial to endangered species.

In January the hon. member for Davenport was quoted as follows: "We have to take a soft approach at first if people are going to accept this type of regulation". There is a slip of a Liberal lip. The scary part of this is not so much the deviousness expressed by the member but that he probably sincerely believes that Bill C-65 represents a reasonable and soft approach.

In the moments I have left I would like to read to the House a few quotes from a brief presented to the standing committee by the Canadian Cattlemen's Association. This paragraph says it all: "The legislation before the committee represents a U.S. approach to endangered species protection. It relies heavily on regulation and enforcement and contains very little to encourage voluntary co-operation and partnerships. In our view the legislation in its current form will create conflict between land owners and conservation groups and will be detrimental to the future of wildlife on private lands".

Further the brief states: "This bill erodes the rights of individual Canadians, particularly with respect to their rights to own and enjoy property. We believe the erosion of property rights is damaging to the cause of wildlife and endangered species and the record of government in protecting species over which it has direct control and which are not on private land, for example the Atlantic cod and the Pacific salmon, does not create a lot of confidence in its ability to maintain and develop long term protection measures".

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Frontenac, QC

Madam Speaker, the government is playing a childish game only hours before an election is called.

It is introducing bills in the House that it knows full well will die on the Order Paper when an election is called, probably on Sunday afternoon in Shawinigan.

Barely a few minutes ago we were debating a bill apparently eagerly awaited by western grain producers, Bill C-72, that the Pinocchio crowd promised would be passed in this 35th Parliament, and that is going to die on the Order Paper.

A few hours later, in order to look good, the Minister of the Environment is introducing Bill C-65, which, on the face of it, seems quite commendable. When we examine it closely, however, we see that, once again, the government is on the wrong track.

I will read you the title of the bill and you will understand how very commendable it is: an act respecting the protection of wildlife species in Canada from extirpation or extinction. Are you opposed to this? Of course not, neither am I. But a clause by clause

examination of the bill shows that the Minister of the Environment is on the wrong track, and I will tell you why.

I will begin by giving an example. The government has taken so-called positive action with respect to certain endangered species. Listen carefully while I tell you about the case of cod.

Barely three years ago, realizing that cod were declining in the Gulf and on the Atlantic coast, this government's fisheries minister took a positive step: a cod moratorium. Exactly what was needed.

A few years later, however, on the eve of an election, the cod have returned in staggering numbers. They are so large they are hanging off the edges of our plates. So, with an election about to be called in a few days, the fisheries minister authorizes cod fishing. Brilliant if you want to win votes, but for the environment, for the dwindling cod supply, it is a terrible move.

Another example is the peregrine falcon, the swiftest bird in the world. This is the bird you see in period films which is trained to attack on a signal from his owner. It is endangered here, and not because people destroy the nests or kill the birds. The problem goes much deeper than that; it is the environment, the gases we release into the atmosphere, the heavy metals, mercury in particular. What happens is that the female lays eggs whose shells are so thin that when the parents sit on them they break. It is a problem caused by pollution.

What did the Deputy Prime Minister do during her 18 months as Minister of the Environment? She did nothing about this. What is the new, and always dapper, Minister of the Environment doing about this? Nothing. He would like to protect endangered species, but he has forgotten that four provinces are ahead of him in this: Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick. They already have their own rules, their own legislation to protect endangered species. Now he would like to overlap with them, duplicating departments, duplicating regulations, and then to tell us that this will cost less. How very clever.

Quebec created a protective agency in 1989, not under a sovereignist government, but the government of Robert Bourassa himself, who played on the same team as the Liberals. So here we go, more duplication. Quebec, Manitoba and New Brunswick represent at least 60 per cent of Canada's land mass. Once again, this is not such a clever move by the Minister of the Environment.

What is even worse is that the federal government will be appropriating areas that do not come under its jurisdiction. It is not a rare thing to see the federal government come stomping into the provinces with the attitude of: "Gang way and make room for me". It will, for example, be responsible for transborder regions.

Let me give an example of an animal that moves between provinces or between countries, the hare. If you study natural history, you will see that hares do not range much more than about a square kilometre. But if a hare lives near the U.S. border, might it not occasionally cross the border without a visa? Yes. I am taking the hare as an example, because its territory is very limited.

Now, let us take the case of a wolf. The territory of a wolf or coyote is 100 times as big, or 100 square kilometres. So a wolf will tend to cross back and forth from the American side to the Quebec and Ontario sides. So it could be called a transboundary species. However, that is impossible, because it is not a migratory bird like the duck.

I would like to add the following for the benefit of those who are listening at home. When you go hunting in the fall and you want to hunt partridge, hare, black bear or deer, you need a Quebec licence. But if you want to hunt duck or snow geese, you have to go to the post office-the post office, that is a good one-to buy a federal licence for migratory birds. I agree migratory birds should be managed, at least under our present system, by the federal government. But hares, foxes, wolves, black bears and deer are a provincial responsibility.

Another point that bothers me is those appointments. As you know, and I see you are smiling again, I am allergic to patronage and these appointments made by the governor in council or, as it says so neatly in Bill C-65, on the recommendation of our Minister of the Environment, who does not know much about saving endangered species. He only listens to his officials. He will be responsible for appointing the nine members who sit on this committee.

Of course they will be remunerated-the same old story-after being appointed for political reasons, something I saw in my own riding. The president of the EI board of referees-you know who I mean because I think I told you that yesterday-is the sister of the Liberal candidate in the riding of Frontenac-Mégantic. She may be competent, but she is a Liberal first and foremost.

The former president had to be replaced, for some important reason. There was no competition, and the same procedure must have been used to appoint the returning officer in your riding for the next election, which will be called on Sunday, for June 2.

I repeat, it is truly appalling that the government should use political appointments to protect endangered species.

Bill C-65 also refers to federal land. I would appreciate it if the Minister of Environment said "On my land in Canada". For instance, in Mauricie Park or Forillon Park in the Gaspé, they say no moose or partridge shall be shot on this land, but if the moose or

partridge move out, well, the federal government did not buy the whole country.

We have deer on our farm. When the hunting season starts, a friend of the returning officer for my riding goes deer hunting on my property. If the deer crosses the street and is no longer on my property, I cannot tell the hunter: "Go ahead and shoot it, it is over there". I will have to tell him: "You only have the right to hunt on our property".

So I suggest the federal government mind its own business. Sure, it can protect endangered species, but it should first look where the problem is and then try to deal with it.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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12:45 p.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Vegreville, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak at report stage of Bill C-65 to the Group No. 1 amendments.

The amendments in Group No. 1 deal with three of the major areas of concern. It does not allow for the co-operative approach but instead chooses the punitive approach in dealing with a threat to an endangered species.

The second is the area of compensation. There is not any acceptable form of compensation provided for in this legislation.

Third is the area of search and seizure. It allows an anonymous accuser to start a process against someone who has threatened, in their minds, an endangered species.

These amendments deal with all those areas. Many of them were proposed by myself, others by the member for Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia, our critic in the environment area, the member for New Westminster-Burnaby, the member for Skeena and other Reform MPs.

Several of the amendments in this grouping are from the government. That shows clearly that the bill was not very well thought out. That was something we found on examining the bill and the amendments moved by others. This grouping affects the three major areas of concern with this legislation.

I would first like to talk a little bit about Bill C-65, the endangered species legislation. I do not think anyone would argue against the intent of the bill. The government brought in the bill to deal with concern over endangered species. I believe everyone in the House shares those concerns.

However, when looking at the bill realistically and thinking it through, if it passes, even with the amendments that we are debating today, it would probably make things worse for endangered species than not having the bill at all. Let me explain what I mean.

Let us think of a farmer, rancher, someone in the forestry industry or someone who has commercial property on the outskirts of a town that finds an endangered species on their property or in a habitat that could possibly support one of the endangered species on the list.

For example, an endangered species or habitat that would support an endangered species is discovered on the property. The person knows the legislation in place is heavy-handed and would not allow for the species to be protected in a co-operative way. The penalties include fines of up to $1 million and even more important, that person could be forced to cover the legal costs of the case.

That individual could be forced to spend money to fence off a portion of property that would support the endangered species with no compensation. Perhaps the accuser is anonymous, a neighbour who maybe has a quarrel with that individual, who could go to the authorities and that neighbour's name may well never be disclosed. What do members think they would do facing this type of cost, penalty and breach of normal judicial procedure?

In many cases these people may think, much as they would like to protect the species, that with the threat that was brought about because of this legislation they just cannot take a chance. Supporting their families is more important than providing a habitat for an endangered species. In many cases, I believe, they would destroy the habitat and possibly even destroy the species.

That is not what I want and I am certain that is not what the government wants. However, that is exactly what this legislation, if it were to pass, would most likely do. It is wrong and we must protect against that.

Some of the amendments that Reform has brought in would go a long way to doing that if they were to pass. The amendments that I propose deal with the issue of a co-operative approach. More than one of my amendments propose that if the property owners or users who have the endangered specie or habitat on the property can demonstrate that they voluntarily will protect those species, along with others who are interested, then the punitive part of the bill, which is most of the bill, would not come into effect. That gives some protection against the heavy-handed approach of the government in this legislation.

I have put forward amendments in the area of compensation, as did the hon. member for New Westminster-Burnaby. Those amendments would ensure that the land owner or land user would not have to bear the entire burden of the expense.

The bill includes unusual and unacceptable search and seizure measures. It also allows an anonymous accuser to turn in a neighbour. The members for Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assi-

niboia, Skeena and others have put amendments which would help in those areas.

This legislation has not been well thought out. The intent is good, but it has not been well thought out. The best thing would be to scrap it. Whichever party forms the next government should deal with this issue in a much more effective manner. That is exactly what will happen if the Reform Party forms the next government. I hope the Liberals will do that if they form the next government.

There are over 100 amendments which will not deal properly with all of the issues that have to be dealt with.

On behalf of the people who depend on the land to earn their livelihood, whether they are farmers, ranchers, people in the forestry and mining industries, or people who have commercial property on the edge of a town which could lose its value as a result of this legislation, I say that we should throw it out of the House. If that does not happen, then let us pass the amendments which have been moved. At least they will help in dealing with these problems.

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12:55 p.m.

Bloc

Gilbert Fillion Chicoutimi, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to take a few minutes to speak to Bill C-65, although everyone knows obviously that we are simply keeping the House occupied.

We expect the election to be called at any moment, and today, yesterday, the day before yesterday and for the past week, the government has been using every means at its disposal to gain time, to pass the time. Now they put before us a bill we know full well will not get beyond the walls of this House. It will never receive royal assent or come into force.

While it contains a mechanism for inclusion on the list of species at risk and a recovery plan for species at risk, the bill contains over 100 clauses that should be completely reviewed and returned to the drawing board, because they bear no relation to the expectations of those consulted.

The committee consulted many organizations. However, it did not take the representations and observations of these consultations into account. This is not the first time the government has behaved this way. We have seen this behaviour in the case of other bills, where consultation was simply a matter of form, and served either to spend money or to expend people's energy. In terms of time, it cost a lot. Were the opinions considered? Absolutely not.

This bill should be totally reworked for other reasons as well. It is not only a matter of consultation. The bill does not honour a fine promise the government made as enunciated by the Prime Minister, who said, in the speech from the throne on February 27, 1996, and I quote: "The federal government will propose to the provinces a much strengthened process to work in partnership, focussing on such priorities as food inspection, environmental management, social housing, tourism and freshwater fish habitat".

The action taken by this government was totally contrary to the remarks of the Prime Minister. Instead of including provincial authorities in the process of designating and re-establishing threatened and endangered species, the government is excluding them. Yet another broken promise.

Bill C-65 does absolutely nothing in that regard. Worse still, the actions of the Liberal environment minister seem very suspicious. First, he convenes a meeting of the provincial ministers of the environment to get an agreement in principle on the protection of endangered species. However, just four weeks later, the minister tables his bill which, in many respects, is totally contrary to the agreement in principle that he just obtained.

Let me quote Quebec's Minister of the Environment. Even though he attended the meetings and signed the agreement, the minister said: "We could not remain indifferent to the fact that this agreement opens the door to overlap between some future federal act and the legislation which has been in effect in Quebec since 1989 and which works very well. We risk creating more red tape instead of dedicating ourselves to what really matters to us: the fate of endangered species". This is what the Quebec Minister of the Environment wrote to his federal counterpart.

Time proved him right. Just look at the bill before us. It creates all sorts of overlap. The main objection from Quebec to this bill is that the federal government keeps changing the rules by extending the territory where a given species is found. This is important when it comes to determining the applicable jurisdiction. The federal government even tries to gain more power by extending the scope of the definition of "federal land".

The bill requires co-operation between the federal government and the provinces when, in fact, several provinces oppose this legislation. Once again, the federal government wants to impose its own jurisdiction, after promising harmonization. Therefore, this bill directly threatens the jurisdiction of the provinces, under the pretence that the government wants to meet the requirements of the international convention on biological diversity. The Liberal government is trying to interfere in an area of provincial jurisdiction.

This government is increasing overlap. In all areas, particularly regional development, there is extensive interference by the federal government. It goes over the provinces' heads. It negotiates

directly with municipalities and with community, humanitarian and tourist organizations. It has no use for provincial jurisdiction.

This bill is also troubling because it leaves the way open for the federal government to negotiate directly with municipal administrations, as I was saying earlier. This gives the minister the power to interfere in environmental matters because the implementation, and I do mean implementation, of measures and programs related to wildlife conservation can cover a wide range of activities without necessarily respecting constitutional authority.

More specifically, the minister will be able to sidestep provincial governments by once again negotiating directly with municipalities. The Bloc Quebecois introduced several amendments in this regard providing for greater provincial involvement, but they were ignored by the Liberal majority.

I would also like to speak about the discretionary authority this bill gives the minister. In fact, the Minister of the Environment calls all the shots with respect to implementation. He may make appointments to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. He has the authority to decide whether or not species are included on the list. He decides whether or not to implement a recovery plan. All decisions therefore rest with him.

The minister himself is responsible for the composition of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. We know that it will have nine members and that the minister may appoint whomever he wishes. This is another opportunity for this government to reward friends of the regime, major contributors to the Liberal Party slush fund, or perhaps to cheer up Liberal candidates defeated in the election.

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1:05 p.m.

Reform

Philip Mayfield Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to participate in this debate on Bill C-65 and on the amendments. Before I offer a critical analysis of this bill I want to say that the Reform Party and I support unequivocally the responsible protection of endangered species. However, we do not support Bill C-65 in its present form. When I speak to the bill I speak also to the amendments that are coming.

Before I outline why we take this position I will tell the House that there has been a significant outcry from within and outside my riding in opposition to this legislation.

I quote Mr. Roy Staveley, acting senior vice-president of B.C. Hydro: "The next issue I would like to touch on is public involvement. B.C. Hydro agrees that Canadians should have opportunities to share knowledge and participate in efforts to protect and recover species at risk. The most effective way of doing this is by maintaining an open and transparent process. We feel that the Canadian endangered species protection act needs more provisions for consultation with affected parties throughout the process, from listing of species to preparation and implementation of recovery plans.

"The protection of species at risk will best be attained through partnerships with key stakeholders. However, as currently written, the proposed legislation results in duplication of federal, provincial and territorial regulatory authorities. This would be inconsistent with the harmonization and intergovernmental approaches to environmental protection or the national accord and will likely result in jurisdictional disputes, duplication, poor enforcement and administration, public confusion and inefficient allocation of scarce resources".

I like very much the way the hon. Stephen Kakfwi, minister of lands and renewable resources of the Government of the Northwest Territories summarizes this: "I suggest that the fundamental problem presented by the proposed legislation as tabled in Parliament is that it is inconsistent with both the spirit and the intent of the hard work done by all jurisdictions, including the federal government, to establish a co-operative national approach to protecting the interests of endangered species. The irony here is that the best intentions have been asserted but this in turn has given rise to the erosion of the best plans".

The outcry is also locally heard in my constituency of Cariboo-Chilcotin. Let me read to the House some of the letters I have received. A resident in Williams Lake stated: "This legislation will do very little to address concerns about endangered species but goes a long way to starting a war in the courts and opens the door for groups with no concern for the social and economic impact or the inviability this act would bring to working people, be they forest workers, farmers, ranchers or miners. The courts and lawyers are going to have a heyday with this one".

From the city of Quesnel, council members passed a resolution opposing Bill C-65 due to a lack of any requirement to consider social, economic or community impacts; due to a lack of any requirement to provide redress for affected workers in their communities; due to a lack of any guarantee that workers, communities or other affected stakeholders will participate in recovery plan design.

From the village of Clinton the council stated: "Bill C-65 raises some significant concerns for the major industries of British Columbia, mainly forestry and mining. These two industries are the backbone of the economy in British Columbia and will be put at severe risk with the implementation of Bill C-65. Council believes that Ottawa should listen".

I could not agree more with this comment. Ottawa should listen to what the people of Canada are saying about Bill C-65. The people and the municipalities from all walks of life that I have just

quoted have legitimate concerns and they are rightly justified in feeling as they do. They know that Bill C-65 is a bad piece of legislation and they want this government to listen and to respond to what they are saying.

Some of the reasons Bill C-65 is a bad bill have already been mentioned in the statements I have just read but let me elaborate for the House on some of them. These are the reasons Reform cannot accept Bill C-65 in its present form.

First, the committee on the status of endangered wildlife in Canada, a nine member board appointed by the minister, will decide what species are at risk, how much risk, where the habitat is crucial and advise the minister on what should be done to help the species recover.

There is no guarantee that effective stakeholders will participate in the recovery plan design. This means that private land owners could be forced to make special provision for some endangered species. For example, a rancher may have to fence off an area of his land to protect an endangered species nesting ground from grazing livestock. Unfortunately Bill C-65 offers no compensation to rancher for the use of his material and time or for leaving productive land dormant or for the drop in the value of his property.

Let me tell the House a story of a situation that happened in Ontario about five years ago that relates to this point.

Mrs. Strumillo-Orleanowicz owned a 100 acre parcel of undeveloped land near Smiths Falls, Ontario. To start up a business she planned to sever a building lot. Unfortunately the Minister of Natural Resources denied her permission to do this. Why? Mrs. Strumillo-Orleanowicz' neighbour owned land next door to her property that was inhabited by the endangered loggerhead shrike. To help protect the bird, the province designated 123.5 acres around the shrike's home as its critical habitat. As a result Mrs. Strumillo-Orleanowicz could not sever or develop her land to make a profit. Her creditors foreclosed on the property and she lost everything. The government gave her no compensation.

Bill C-65's second flaw is that it jeopardizes the rights and livelihood of responsible land owners by expanding the rights of activist groups to go to court to stop resource development. It is interesting that those who turn in a neighbour can remain completely anonymous, not allowing the accused to face the accuser.

For example, under section 60 of the legislation, a bureaucrat or an eco-vigilante could sue a forest worker, rancher, land owner or company that he or she thinks has harmed an endangered species or its habitat. This means that there is a possibility that the courts will be filled to overflowing with actions against land owners.

How will land owners respond to this possibility of being taken to court? Their reaction will be a negative one and endangered species will come out on the losing end. For example, according to cattle producers who spoke to the environment committee, land owners will have to seriously consider ways of reducing their exposure to legislative actions and loss of income and value resulting from constraints on use. The obvious and cheapest route will be to eliminate wildlife habitat on their land and specifically habitat that is attractive to species that could at some point be listed as threatened or endangered. There is evidence that the American endangered species law has already had this undesired effect in some areas of the United States.

The third flaw of Bill C-65 is that it tramples the basic principles of justice. For example, under the bill authorities could seize private property and provide no compensation if the property is considered a critical habitat for an endangered species.

In addition, Bill C-65 allows bureaucrats to search and seize private property without a warrant if, by reason of exigent circumstances, it would not be feasible to obtain a warrant. This is a characteristic of the government which is very frightening where the government is prepared to thwart the historic rights and privileges of people to impose its own view of the way things should be. This provision is completely unacceptable to Canadians.

Reform has put 42 amendments to Bill C-65. These amendments would require the minister to consider the socioeconomic impacts prior to recommending what action should be taken. We would like to have compensation, a commitment to the preservation of endangered species and we would like the co-operation of all stakeholders involved.

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1:20 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Godin Châteauguay, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-65, the Canada Endangered Species Protection Act.

Although there were a few federal laws allowing the federal government to intervene in order to protect these species, there was no federal legislation directly devoted to protecting endangered species. This was not the case in Quebec, which has had its own law since 1989, or in other provinces such as Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick, however.

In 1978, a body was created which brought together certain organizations such as government agencies, the provinces, certain territories, four federal bodies, and three national conservation organizations.

Before this bill was tabled, the Minister of the Environment brought his provincial counterparts together in Charlottetown to

draft this bill. We are often told that there was an agreement in principle but, four weeks later, this agreement in principle was obtained without the bill, or the texts per se, being tabled and we know there was an enormous difference.

The Quebec Minister, David Cliche, made the following statement on November 26, 1996: "The federal minister has just tabled a bill in the House which worries the province of Quebec considerably. I must place this in its context, for it shows the difficulties of federal-provincial relations. I recently defended the interests of Quebec in relation to the environment and wildlife, while representing Quebec at Charlottetown. We reached agreement, and even signed a document to the effect, as I have already said, that if the federal government tabled legislation for the protection of endangered species under federal jurisdiction, it ought to respect the jurisdictions of the provinces, and in particular of the territories".

Mr. Cliche went on to say: "We thought we had reached agreement with Ottawa on the following principle, a simple one besides, and this is where all of the problem lies in this bill, I believe: If we agree that a species is endangered, it is up to the level of government with jurisdiction over the territory and the habitat of that animal to ensure that it is properly protected in its natural habitat".

Once again, we have before us a bill that I might describe, in a nutshell, as an attempt by the federal government to use the convention on biological diversity to justify encroaching on a provincial jurisdiction and centralizing powers at the federal level. But as we can see, that is not the case. They are trying to enact a law that goes against existing provincial legislation. Again, in yet another area, we will end up being governed by two acts, which will just create more enforcement problems.

What major problems are we looking at? There are four of them. First, we submit that Bill C-65 is a direct threat to provincial jurisdiction. This is the fundamental problem with this bill. The government is interfering in an area of provincial jurisdiction and, with this bill, tries to tell the provinces what they should do from now on.

As I said a moment ago, under the pretence of attempting to comply with the terms of the international convention on biological diversity, the Liberal government is trying to interfere in provincial areas of responsibility. That is the first problem with this bill.

Second, Bill C-65 ignores the distribution of powers provided for in the Constitution-I will come back to this in a moment-and the usual interpretation of this provision, because it is based on a much broader definition of territory and overlooks the fact that, under the Constitution, the federal government and the provinces share responsibility for certain species.

The third major problem is that Bill C-65 gives the Minister of the Environment broad discretionary powers to decide, among

other things, who will be appointed to the COSEWIC. We will recall that this is the committee established in 1978, whose work was done on a voluntary basis. With this bill, the members of this committee will not only be selected by the minister but they will also be paid.

Finally, the fourth major problem is that Bill C-65 excludes provincial authorities from the designation and recovery of threatened and endangered species. This attitude directly contradicts what was said by the Liberals, more specifically in statements by the Minister of the Environment and the Prime Minister and in the throne speech, which were all about harmonization and partnership.

If we look at the Constitution, the protection of species and their habitat is not included in the division of powers under the Constitution Act, 1867, which is to be expected. It is not clearly defined.

However, under this act, the provinces have jurisdiction over the management of public lands belonging to the province, in section 92 on property and civil rights,and over all matters of a merely local or private nature. These powers are sufficiently broad to enable the provinces to pass legislation on plants and wildlife, both on provincial public land and private land.

In other words, we see that although the Constitution Act, 1867, does not clearly define these responsibilities, the provinces have as much jurisdiction over land as the federal government. Today, the government wants to pass legislation that would practically eliminate provincial responsibility and establish federal responsibility once and for all, as we have seen in so many other instances. In fact, we have the same problem with respect to duplication and overlap.

In concluding, I want to say, as I said earlier, that the members of this committee, which has been existence since 1978, at the time worked on a volunteer basis. They will now be paid, which will be an additional expense. Furthermore, they will be selected by the minister.

Business Of The House
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April 24th, 1997 / 1:30 p.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, previously there were consultations among the parties regarding a motion that I would like to propose at this time. I move:

That the House agree to split the current Part III Estimates documents into Reports on Plans and Priorities and Performance Reports and require all departments and

agencies to table, on a pilot basis for the 1997-98 fiscal year, for consideration by the appropriate committees:

  1. pilot development Performance Reports in the Fall timed with the President's Report on Review; and

  2. pilot Reports on Plans and Priorities, including detailed financial information presented according to appropriate vote structure in a consistent manner, to be tabled on or before the last sitting day before March 31 and referred to committees and reported back to the House pursuant to Standing Order 81(4).

For the benefit of the House, I believe there were consultations with the Reform Party member for St. Albert and the Bloc member for Saint Hyacinth-Bagot. I have the signed authorization.

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1:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Is there unanimous consent for the motion of the hon. member?

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1:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-65, an act to respecting the protection of wildlife species in Canada from extirpation or extinction, as reported (with amendments) from the committee; and of Motions Nos. 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 19, 25, 27, 50, 54, 56 to 60, 62, 63, 65, 66 and 82 to 109.

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1:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak on the endangered species act.

In British Columbia, maybe more than any other province in Canada, environmental protection, endangered species legislation and legislation concerning everything from the protection of bears to whatnot are on the political agenda routinely. These issues crop up in our papers. We have environmental writers. We have quite a movement in British Columbia of people concerned about the environment. Perhaps it is because of our ocean habitat, the rivers or the salmon. I do not know what it is. Maybe it is the salt air. Whatever it is, people are concerned about the environment.

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1:30 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Are the Liberals endangered out there?

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1:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

Perhaps they are concerned about Liberals being an endangered species. Just because we are on the eve of an election we cannot assume that. I know for sure the Tories are, but I do not want to get rhetorical here.

I would like to mention two or three concerns of people about environmental legislation. There is broad consensus in British Columbia for public information and education on the environment being near the top of everyone's list of political concerns. Who knows why that is?

My riding gets 60 or 70 inches of rain a year. Everything from how manure is handled on dairy farms to the way logging roads are constructed in nearby mountains are key environmental concerns because what we see up the road today is likely to be washed down into our fields the day after. They are political concerns and real concerns of the people in my area.

There is also the other side. Another group of people have concerns about this type of legislation being so intrusive and restrictive on their economic activity that they cannot go about doing any modern activity without being called down by the government or being called on the carpet for supposedly harming the environment. If we take it to the extreme, too many people breathing in the lower mainland causes some kind of harm to the environment but we understand we have to deal with it the best we can.

The legislation as currently proposed is not the best way to deal with the endangered species problems in Canada. It is too intrusive. It does not take into account safe economic activity on land, whether it be farming, ranching, logging or whatever it might be.

I will refer to an example from my background. Before I came to this place I was a logging contractor. I spent my life in the woods working close to the environment. About 10 years ago the issue of the spotted owl, an endangered species by definition, became a big problem in the lower mainland. To those who are not aware, the spotted owl's supposed territory is all the rain forests of the Pacific northwest including the United States and extending a few hundred miles into the coastal rain forests of British Columbia.

The United States has similar endangered species legislation. The concern there for the spotted owl was so overwhelming that the forests were shut down. Logging was curtailed. Logging towns became ghost towns. Tens of thousands of people lost their jobs. The spotted owl was a happy little owl but the damage it caused economically totalled billions of dollars.

The spotted owl scare worked its way north into British Columbia. The spotted owl patrols began. University students, hopefully biology majors, were hired on summer vacation. Late at night they would go two by two into the woods, because it was environmentally safe to do so, where we were logging and would park their campers. At night they would broadcast tape recordings of spotted owls hooting. If they thought they heard another spotted owl respond in the distance, if they heard it hoot in the background, they would tick on their chart that there was another spotted owl somewhere. It was close by. Although they did not see it they knew it was there. They would say they heard an owl hoot in the night and would therefore shut down the logging in the entire drainage. Who knows if there were spotted owls? Nobody ever saw them but maybe they were there.

To show how silly it was, not only did the area extend several hundred miles into British Columbia but they had on their charts that spotted owls maintain their nests between 2,500 feet of elevation and 3,500 feet of elevation. That is prime logging area. A lot of the logging I did was at those levels of elevation and a lot was done up to 4,500 feet.

This is true confession time. One day we were building road in a valley. No one had ever seen or heard of a spotted owl there. Nobody really knew what they looked like. We came upon a nest in a tree and, scout's honour, it was a spotted owl's nest. There was such an animal and it was in the tree. We shut down all the logging. We shut down the road building and went to the environmentalists in the forest service office to tell them we had seen a spotted owl. We had been to the mountain top and saw the spotted owl.

They were pretty excited. Then they looked at their maps and said: "Wait a minute. You are building road at 4,000 feet. That is not the range of spotted owls. They only go to 3,500 feet. That can't be a spotted owl". We argued with them that it was a spotted owl, that we had seen it and that they should come to see it. They looked again and said: "No. Our range of spotted owls only goes to 3,500 feet so it cannot be a spotted owl. Build the road right over top of the tree". We refused to do that. We managed to get around the tree and save the spotted owl. This shows how ridiculous it can be at times to ask a modern industrial society to make allowances for spotted owls. Then when one is found and because it did not fit into some imaginary criteria they did not care about it.

The other spotted owl site is in a logging area where I spent my youth with my parents. The universities come to investigate the spotted owl that has built a nest right beside the main logging road where 40 to 50 loads of logs go by every day. The university people drive right up to the bottom of this big tree. They all stand there with their binoculars and look at this spotted owl who gets along just fine in an area where there has been logging going on for the last 40 years.

The legislation should not go through in its current form as it has too many flaws. In British Columbia the devastation cannot be overstated. Roads can be built through an entire valley system at a cost of millions. The company we contracted built the roads. After the roads were built they came in to check if there were any spotted owls. After the road is built and the work is done they say: "I think I heard a spotted owl hoot so there is no logging allowed in this valley". Business cannot be done like that.

I remember saying to them: "If there are endangered species tell us and we will work around them, but do not make arbitrary rules and put us in a position where we spend a lot of money that you cannot compensate us for". Reasonable compensation has to be worked into the legislation so that farmers, ranchers and loggers are able to do their work while they protect the environment.

I do not believe the legislation does that. That is why the amendments are necessary. We are grateful the bill will not pass in this session of Parliament.