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 federal.

Topics

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Before we get into debate, I must take a point of privilege from the hon. member for Thunder Bay-Atikokan.

Privilege
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3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Dromisky Thunder Bay—Atikokan, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, that is April 23, in this House the member for North Vancouver made a statement during question period and made reference to a householder that I had published.

First correction, it was not a householder. It was a 10 percenter. However, there is a mystery involved here. I demand that there be some attempt to solve this mystery.

There were only two places where that 10 percenters existed yesterday on the Hill. One of them was in my office and the other was in boxes in the post office on the first floor of the West Block.

It may be just a coincidence that the member for North Vancouver has an office right next door to the post office and somehow obtained a copy of that publication.

Privilege
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3:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I do not want to bog the House down in technicalities, but did the hon. member notify me prior to this that he would be raising a question of privilege?

Privilege
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3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Dromisky Thunder Bay—Atikokan, ON

Yes, I sent you a note, Mr. Speaker.

Privilege
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3:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I understand there is a mystery here. I will tell you what, to the extent that I can I will look into this mystery. I will try to get the information and return with this information to the House. Is that agreeable to the hon. member?

Privilege
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3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Dromisky Thunder Bay—Atikokan, ON

That is agreeable, Mr. Speaker.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-65, an act 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.

(Divisions deemed requested and deemed deferred.)

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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3:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The question of privilege always takes precedence. That is why I did what I did.

Resuming debate.

Pursuant to an agreement made earlier, all motions in GroupNo. 2 are deemed proposed and seconded.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

moved:

Motion No. 2

That Bill C-65, in Clause Preamble, be amended by replacing lines 27 and 28 on page 1 with the following:

"levels of government in this country and that under the National Agreement on the Protection of Endangered Species it is essential for them to work together to"

Motion No. 16

That Bill C-65, in Clause 3.1, be amended by replacing lines 1 to 13 on page 6 with the following:

"3.1 Where a provincial minister advises the Minister that the government of the province does not wish a provision of this Act or a regulation made thereunder to apply in the province in respect of wildlife species and their habitats in so far as individuals of those species are found on lands in the province that are not federal lands, that provision or regulation, as the case may be, shall not apply to those species and their habitats until such time as the provincial minister consents to its application to those species and their habitats."

Motion No. 21

That Bill C-65, in Clause 5, be amended by replacing, in the French version, lines 28 and 29 on page 7 with the following:

"disparition des espèces sauvages et à per-"

Motion No. 24

That Bill C-65, in Clause 7, be amended by adding after line 33 on page 8 the following:

"(3) Notwithstanding subsection (2), no responsible minister may enter into an agreement under that subsection with an organization or person in a province unless the minister advises the provincial minister of that province of the responsible minister's intention to enter into the agreement with the organization or person, as the case may be, and the provincial minister informs the responsible minister that the government of the province does not object to the responsible minister entering into such an agreement with that organization or person."

Motion No. 26

That Bill C-65, in Clause 8, be amended by adding after line 10 on page 9 the following:

"(1.1) Notwithstanding subsection (1), no responsible minister may enter into an agreement under that subsection with an organization or person in a province unless the minister advises the provincial minister of that province of the responsible minister's intention to enter into the agreement with the organization or person, as the case may be, and the provincial minister informs the responsible minister that the government of the province does not object to the responsible minister entering into such an agreement with that organization or person. "

Motion No. 34

That Bill C-65, in Clause 20, be amended by replacing line 15 on page 13 with the following:

"tion of COSEWIC and with the approval of the Council, make regulations estab-"

Motion No. 35

That Bill C-65, in Clause 26, be amended by replacing line 2 on page 15 with the following:

"COSEWIC and with the approval of the Council, may restrict the release of any"

Motion No. 44

That Bill C-65, in Clause 33, be amended by adding after line 24 on page 16 the following:

"(1.1) Where a provincial minister advises the Minister that the government of the province does not wish subsection (1) to apply in the province in respect of a wildlife animal species in so far as individuals of the species are found on lands in the province that are not federal lands, this subsection shall not apply to the species until such time as the provincial minister consents to its application to the species."

Motion No. 49

That Bill C-65, in Clause 38, be amended by ( a ) replacing line 1 on page 21 with the following:

"38.(1) With the assistance of the Council, the responsible minister must" b ) by replacing line 9 on page 21 with the following:

"recovery plan together, with the assistance of the Council."

Motion No. 55

That Bill C-65, in Clause 38, be amended by replacing line 34 on page 21 with the following:

"advice of COSEWIC and with the assistance of the Council, must determine wheth-"

Motion No. 64

That Bill C-65, in Clause 38, be amended by replacing line 2 on page 23 with the following:

"recovery plan, the responsible minister, with the assistance of the Council, must"

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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3:30 p.m.

NDP

Len Taylor The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

moved:

Motion No. 15

That Bill C-65, in Clause 3, be amended by replacing lines 39 to 41 on page 5 with the following:

"habitats."

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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3:30 p.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of the Environment

moved:

Motion No. 17

That Bill C-65, in Clause 3.1, be amended a ) by replacing line 3 on page 6 with the following:

"42 or 45.1 apply in respect of wildlife species and" b ) by replacing lines 8 and 9 on page 6 with the following:

"habitats mentioned in paragraph 3( a ) or ( b ) or section 33;''

Motion No. 45

That Bill C-65, in Clause 33, be amended by replacing line 33 on page 16 with the following:

"equivalent provision. Despite the order, subsection (1) continues to apply on federal land."

Motion No. 74

That Bill C-65, in Clause 46, be amended by replacing lines 21 to 25 on page 25 with the following:

"activity affecting a listed species, its residences or any other part of its critical habitat."

Motion No. 81

That Bill C-65, in Clause 49, be amended by replacing line 16 on page 27 with the following: b ) in the case of a project outside Canada, its continental shelf and its exclusive economic zone,''

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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3:30 p.m.

Reform

Philip Mayfield Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in this second round of debate on the amendments.

This bill is one which presents a topic that most Canadians are in support of, the protection of endangered species. However, this bill as it is crafted creates many problems, problems for land owners and users, problems for those who have a sincere concern for those endangered species, because it not only threatens the land owners and the users and people who enjoy that land, it is also an endangerment to the species that are threatened themselves.

This is a bill that clearly has not been carefully thought through. I would like to begin by reading a short statement from Mr. Jack Munro, chairman of the Forest Alliance of British Columbia. He says: "Firstly, you have an approach in this bill that does not pay nearly enough attention to social and economic impacts. I am not suggesting that the protection of threatened species is not worth paying a price, but I am saying that we should assess that price and be sure that we come up with a fair way of deciding who pays. The furthest this bill goes is the reference in clause 38 to the need for an evaluation of costs and benefits of research and management activities. Presumably that includes social and economic costs such as lost jobs if timber harvest is no longer allowed in a particular area. But where something as crucial as people's jobs and way of life is concerned, we should not have to presume anything. The government should have to do much more than merely a general evaluation of costs and benefits".

In my mind the great difficulty of this bill is the lack of thought that has been put into it. Unfortunately the Minister of the Environment has not given any thought to how much Bill C-65 would cost land owners and taxpayers as a whole. When asked at a committee meeting in February what cost he would be willing to impose on an individual or society, the environment minister replied: "I have not thought of that threshold".

No wonder Canadians are worried about the impact this legislation will have on their lives. The minister responsible for Bill C-65 has not even considered their needs. He has not even taken time to think through the possibility that Bill C-65 may have enormous negative effects on the lives of Canadians, as well as the economic effect on our nation as a whole. This kind of tunnel vision is characteristic of this government as it attempts to legislate for the benefit of one special interest group after another, without keeping in mind the Canadian people as a whole and their needs and the benefits that they deserve and the enjoyment that they are entitled to.

There is a flavour of the legislation from so many areas that this government presents that is of deep concern to me. I am concerned about a general attitude of moving responsibility of matters from the House, from Parliament, to the cabinet table with the increasing amount of discretion that is built into legislation for ministers and avoiding accountability to Parliament, to the elected representatives of the people.

What I have just outlined are several flaws in this endangered species legislation, Bill C-65. For these reasons Reformers, while we are favour of the protection of these endangered species, cannot support this bill. It needs to be changed. It has to be changed to receive the support of the Canadian people. This bill needs to be entirely rewritten. It needs to go beyond the interests of special interest groups and their agendas.

Therefore Reform has put before this House 42 amendments to Bill C-65. These amendments would require the minister to consider the social and economic impacts prior to recommending what action should be taken regarding endangered species. The government should ensure fair compensation to land owners and users. The government should ensure co-operation by all those who are concerned and there should be a commitment most of all to the preservation of endangered species. That certainly is not in this bill.

There is a threat to land owners and users who make their living and derive their income from these sources. If they are told that their land may be subject to being cut off or protected for an endangered species and their economic benefits may be taken away from them, what would be their reaction? The ranchers and the land owners have said the reaction would be simply to plough under, to destroy, to get rid of it so the threat would be taken away.

That is not what we are trying to achieve. What we are looking for is a legitimate and fair means of protecting the endangered species of this country.

I encourage the House to pass these constructive, fair and even handed amendments which the Reform Party has brought to Bill C-65.

To state it briefly, we have three things in mind. We might consider them the three Cs for the endangered species. The first is there should be a commitment made by all to the preservation of endangered species. The second is there should be fair compensation for those who suffer a loss or who are deprived for some reason

in the course of the protection of endangered species. The third is there should be co-operation.

There should be a commitment, there should be co-operation and there should be compensation. If these three Cs were adhered to, and if these objectives were written into the bill, Reform would have no difficulty in supporting it.

I remind the House that Reform supports the responsible protection of endangered species but it does not support Bill C-65 as it is written. This bill needs to be entirely rewritten. Therefore if the government refuses to pass Reform's 42 amendments, I will be voting against Bill C-65.

Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
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3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Gar Knutson Elgin—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have listened attentively to the comments of the opposition parties and I want to make a few comments about the first group of amendments.

Members of the Reform Party made two main points. First, they felt this legislation was similar to the legislation in the United States and that we would have major upheaval similar to the upheaval the Americans have had in their forest communities because of the owl. I want to point out that this legislation is not at all like the legislation in the U.S. It is actually more similar to the legislation in Ontario and other provinces, where there have not been major disruptions. There has not been a major infringement on land owner rights.

Members of the Reform Party should stop whipping up all of this misinformation regarding the bill. They should read it for what it is, do their research and appreciate that we are not in an American jurisdiction and the laws are applied quite differently.

The other point they make concerns compensation. If they knew anything about Canadian law they would know that the right to compensation when a public authority takes away a private right is well founded in law and that people would be eligible for compensation, regardless of whether it is in this bill or not. It is a well founded principle in common law.

The point more generally is that the protection of species can only be met through co-operation and partnership, since no single jurisdiction acting on its own can meet the needs of all endangered species. The beluga whale, the whooping crane and the horned owl do not recognize political boundaries.

We will be able to protect species at risk only through a partnership with the provinces, the territories, municipalities, private land owners, farmers, the environmental and scientific communities, aboriginal peoples and individual Canadians. The co-operative approach has had many successes. The peregrine falcon, for example, last year nested in Toronto for the first time in over 40 years. It is making a comeback, thanks to the dedicated work of hundreds if not thousands of people at all levels of government and in communities across the country.

Biologists from Timber West Forests and MacMillan Bloedel have been working with provincial governments to relocate the Vancouver Island marmot to the Nitinat alpine tundra. The handful of marmots in the Nanaimo watershed represent the entire world population. The relocation project is an effort to restore the species to an area it may have once occupied. These are examples, and there are many more, of what co-operation has done and can do.

In the Canadian context, we must begin with the understanding that species protection is a shared jurisdiction. It is not exclusive to either provincial governments or the federal government. All levels of government see the necessity and the benefits of working together on behalf of nature. There is a long history of co-operation with the provinces and territories to protect endangered species. Continued co-operation among all levels of government will be essential to the success of species recovery efforts.

In Charlottetown last year agreement in principle was reached on the national accord for the protection of species at risk. The accord recognizes that co-operation and collaboration are crucial to the conservation and the protection of species at risk. Conservation of species at risk is essential to conserving biological diversity in Canada.

Governments must play a leadership role in providing sound information and measures for conservation and protection. Complementary federal, provincial and territorial legislation and programs are needed to effectively address species conservation. Last but not least, Canadians must be involved.

The accord commits governments to providing complementary legislation and programs that provide for an effective protection of species at risk in Canada. The accord recognizes the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada as a source of independent advice on the status of species at risk nationally.

Finally, the accord establishes a ministerial level council for the conservation of Canadian endangered species. This council will provide the political direction and energy necessary to make the accord a success.

Four provinces, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario currently have endangered species legislation. Nova Scotia has just recently introduced an endangered species bill and the sky has not fallen. Other provinces and territories have programs specifically aimed at the protection of species at risk.

The government, through Bill C-65, will meet its commitment under the national accord for the protection of species at risk. This legislation meets our international obligations on the Convention on Biological Diversity.

In the same vein, the Minister of the Environment recently signed on behalf of the government a framework for co-operation and protection of the recovery of wild species at risk that occur in both the United States and Canada.

The framework for co-operation will encourage partnerships with all levels of government in both countries and the private sector in endangered species recovery efforts. Both agencies will develop a joint work plan and an initial list of shared priorities species by December 1997. I say bravo to the governments in both the United States and Canada for making such an historic agreement.

In recognition of the continental nature of endangered species and their habitat, Canada and the United States also intend to invite the participation of Mexico in the framework for co-operation. This cross-border co-operation is very important. For example, the monarch butterfly, added to our list at risk only last week, faces ongoing threats to its wintering habitat in Mexico. The monarch butterfly launches from two points in Ontario, one being in Long Point in my riding and then to Mexico where oftentimes it faces the danger of insecticides as well as a variety of other dangers. It is only through shared co-operation between Ontario and Mexico that we can properly protect the monarch butterfly.

Bill C-65 reflects the importance of federal leadership in the protection and recovery of our international cross-border species at risk. The federal government will ensure that these species receive immediate protection on listing and will lead recovery planning efforts, both within Canada and with our international partners.

This legislation is truly an example of co-operation. It does not replace action at the provincial level, it enhances it. It does not replace existing provincial frameworks, it enhances it.

The bill represents 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.

In fact, in a letter to provincial governments, the federal government indicated its willingness and active interest in negotiating an equivalency agreement for the protection of international cross-border species. The bill recognizes that habitat protection is a fundamental requirement for the protection of a species.

We have difficult challenges to face. Our wetlands have been reduced by 70 per cent to 80 per cent in some parts of Canada. Old growth forests are down by 85 per cent to 90 per cent in some areas. Tall grass prairie has diminished by 99 per cent since the earliest settlements. The less natural habitat we have, the more important it is to protect what is left.

Under this bill, when a species is listed, anything that causes damage or destruction to its residence, whether a den, a nest or a burrow, will be prohibited. The legislation also goes beyond the protection of just the immediate residence of a given species. Recovery plans must address all threats to the survival of a species, including threats to critical habitat.

We will rely on scientific experts to tell us what constitutes a critical habitat and what measures are necessary for its protection. We owe it to future generations to make sure that the wildlife that exists in Canada in the 20th century is still here in the 21st century and beyond.

This is an important bill. I believe that preventing species from becoming extinct is an honourable goal, a goal that will ensure that our children and grandchildren inherit a country as rich in wildlife as the one we enjoy today. I call on all members of the House to support the bill.

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3:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak to the motions in Group No. 2 on Bill C-65.

The Bloc Quebecois moved some motions in this group. First of all, I would like to draw the attention of the members, and of our viewers, to some points. I see members from the other side waving at me, so I will reply with a similar motion.

The Bloc moved several motions in this Group No. 2: Motion No. 2, Motion No. 16 on Clause 3, Motion No. 21 on Clause 5, Motions Nos. 24 and 26 on Clauses 7 and 8, Motion No. 44 on Clause 33 and Motions Nos. 49, 55, 64 and 68.

The main purpose of theses motions is to repeat for the government, and enshrine in the legislation, the principle stating that there should be some joint action by the provinces and the federal government instead of a supremacy like the one the Minister of the Environment seems to be going after in Bill C-65.

Let me remind the House that when the present environment minister developed Bill C-65-although develop might be too big a word-I see some of my colleagues turning around, but we never know how the environment minister might interpret something. Let me rephrase this. The minister initiated the process leading to Bill

C-65 during a meeting of provincial and federal ministers which took place in September 1996.

That meeting resulted in the signing of an agreement in principle, a national agreement as they called it.