House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was marriage.

Topics

Division No. 1276
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Division No. 1276
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Division No. 1276
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Division No. 1276
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

The Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 1277
Government Orders

April 11th, 2000 / 6 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

6 p.m.

Scarborough—Rouge River
Ontario

Liberal

Derek Lee Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, on a matter involving the travel of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, there have been consultations among the parties and I think you would find unanimous consent for the adoption of the following motion. I move:

That Group “A”, composed of members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, be authorized to travel to Ankara (Turkey), Istanbul (Turkey), Baku (Azerbaijan), Tbilisi (Georgia), Yerevan (Armenia) from May 6 to 16, 2000, and Group “B”, composed of members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, be authorized to travel to Almaty (Kazakhstan), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Astana (Kazakhstan), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) from May 6 to 16, 2000, in order to examine Canada's foreign policy interests in the South Caucasus and Central Asia, and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

Does the hon. parliamentary secretary have unanimous consent of the House to introduce the motion?

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

It being 6.06 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business, as listed on today's order paper.

The House resumed from November 15, 1999, consideration of the motion.

International Circumpolar Community
Private Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

When debate was suspended the hon. member for Churchill had five minutes remaining.

International Circumpolar Community
Private Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, once again I thank my colleague from Churchill River, Saskatchewan for bringing forth Motion No. 237.

Since it has been a while since the motion was last before the House, I would like to read it again. It reads:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should recognize the 55th parallel as the identified Canadian boundary for participation in the international circumpolar community.

The 55th parallel is very important to me. I have lived in Thompson, Manitoba for about 27 years. We recognize ourselves as being north of the 55th. We identify with northerners throughout the other provinces in Canada and throughout the world.

We have had the opportunity to meet with people and we deal with a lot of the same issues, the same problems. In a lot of cases our peoples are the same in those northern areas.

We find it somewhat interesting that within Canada we do not recognize the 55th parallel as being the boundary which should enable us to belong to the circumpolar group represented throughout the world.

This motion would certainly give us that opportunity. It would give the peoples of those northern communities the opportunity to meet with the peoples of the circumpolar regions of the world on a regular basis, and to discuss more formally how they could address the problems they may be having and the issues they may be dealing with.

I would suggest that at this crucial time in our history, with global warming, now more than ever it is important that the peoples of these regions come together to identify the problems which are resulting from global warming.

In the region of Churchill, Manitoba there is documented evidence that polar bears are not able to sustain their lives the way they have in the past because of global warming. The ice is not staying in long enough, so they cannot get out to eat enough seals to keep their weight on to get them through those long cold winters in northern Manitoba.

Now more than ever it is a crucial time to recognize that Canada, and those regions of Canada which are north of the 55th, should be part of that global family which is recognized as the circumpolar region.

The different peoples involved in these regions are similar throughout the world. Indigenous peoples in the Arctic areas have concerns about the effects on wildlife and themselves of the long range transport to the north of contaminants. Again, this would provide an opportunity for them to come together to address those concerns.

Motion No. 237 asks that the House, by adopting this motion, recognize that northern impacts are not limited to the 60th parallel box. That is the area which Canada recognizes as belonging to the circumpolar group.

It is Canada itself which is recognizing this, so we as parliamentarians have the opportunity to change that. I would hope that my colleagues would consider that. It is important to the northern region of Manitoba, my region, but I am sure it would be important as well to the other provinces of Canada.

International Circumpolar Community
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate on this motion, as it is a motion in which I am most interested.

Like my colleague who spoke previously, I have spent a good deal of my life at 55 degrees north in two different situations. I lived in the north of England in the British Isles, and I lived for three years in Schefferville, which, like Churchill, is about 55 degrees north in northern Quebec. It is interesting that I have lived at both of those locations, at 55 degrees north, and both of them are very different.

I also spent well over a year of my life at 80 degrees north, which is pretty far north. I do not think there would be any debate about that.

It is interesting to note that three of the great cities of the world, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm, are all very large communities and are located at 60 degrees north. Again, they are located at very different locations from Churchill, Yukon, northern Quebec and the British Isles. Those great cities are located in Scandinavia and Russia.

The member uses the argument of global warming. When we lived in Schefferville, in northern Quebec, we argued that Schefferville was in the north, not because it was warm or getting warmer, but because it was very cold. Because of the wind, the snow and the storms, it was even colder than average conditions would suggest.

If we start at Labrador and northern Quebec and move through northern Ontario, across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, into B.C. and Yukon, using average conditions, they get better. I would argue that the town of Schefferville is as far north as one could possibly get in terms of the severity of weather conditions and the lack of comfort.

What I like about the member's motion is that it is a way of raising awareness in Canada of the north and of the importance of the north. It is true that we are a great northern nation, but we lack awareness of that fact.

The other countries I have mentioned, even the British Isles, have a strong sense of the north in some parts, and yet by our standards in Canada we do not think of them as being northern at all. Here in Canada, with our very high Arctic territory, more than any other country, there is a very low awareness of that fact.

The member's motion I think is excellent and draws attention to the people and the conditions of the middle north. He is doing us all a great service by bringing forward his motion.

The government has done a remarkable amount of work with respect to the circumpolar community. It was Canada which really brought together the Arctic Council, which represented the eight polar nations and three great, different, indigenous peoples' organizations.

The Arctic Council came into being after the Soviet Union disappeared. Canada persuaded the United States, through Alaska, that it should be part of a council which would have an overview of the circumpolar community.

The Arctic Council has been very active. It was the Liberal government which appointed, for the first time, an ambassador of circumpolar affairs, Mary Simon. It is interesting to note that Mary Simon was the elected president of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the great international organization of Inuit from Greenland to Siberia. It was the Inuit Circumpolar Conference which brought forward the idea of the Arctic environmental protection strategy, which is a self-explanatory strategy instrument, which has been taken over by the Arctic Council. The council now represents all circumpolar nations and is being used as the basis for the protection of the environment in the entire circumpolar north.

The Arctic Council and the ambassador for circumpolar affairs are both examples of something which the government has done to bring attention to things northern, as the hon. member is doing here very effectively.

With respect to the people at 55° north or anywhere else on the globe, I point to the establishment of the University of the Arctic by the Arctic Council. The University of the Arctic now exists in form. It is not yet offering courses. I believe its secretariat is based in northern Finland at the moment, but it will be a moving secretariat. The University of the Arctic will offer courses through the Internet which will be available all over the world, but which in fact will be particularly valuable to residents of the middle north, the near north and the high Arctic. I see the University of the Arctic as a positive outcome of the Arctic Council which was established by Canada.

Since the Arctic Council was established, I note that the government has continued with activity which has stimulated interest in the north across Canada, as the hon. member is trying to do, and stimulated interest in circumpolar affairs, in which the hon. member has mentioned he is equally interested.

I point out a 1997 review of northern interests entitled “Canada and the Circumpolar World: Meeting the Challenges of Co-operation into the Twenty-First Century”. That was followed in 1998 by the Sustainable Development in the Arctic: Lessons Learned and the Way Ahead conference which was held in Whitehorse. It involved the federal government, the territorial governments of both the Yukon and, as it was in those days, the Northwest Territories government. Now of course it would include Nunavut. Those conferences were designed to gather information about the north from the people of the north and also to stimulate interest in the north across the whole country.

The minister commissioned a consultation paper to order northern foreign policy for Canada. Through it, the ambassador for circumpolar affairs, Mary Simon, whom I just mentioned, conducted hearings not only in various northern locations, but also in southern Canada, including in my own community of Peterborough. Like the hon. member's motion, that activity stimulated interest in Canada in both our north and the circumpolar north, and it stimulated interest in what Canada is doing and what Canadians are doing in their own north.

I am pleased the hon. member is putting this motion forward. I commend him for it. I am not personally sure of the practicalities of shifting to 55° north for the reasons I have mentioned. Of the other circumpolar nations, I suspect those that have capitals and major cities at 60° might well have some concerns about bringing in latitudes as far south as the British Isles, such as Ireland, for example. However, I strongly support his motivation in raising awareness of the people of Canada's north, including my daughter who was born at 55°, and the people who live farther north in Canada.