House of Commons Hansard #102 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was citizenship.

Topics

Species At Risk Act
Government Orders

May 29th, 2000 / 5:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Davenport.

Species At Risk Act
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I was going to speak.

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5:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I have already recognized the member for Davenport. I believe it is usual for a government member to follow a Progressive Conservative member.

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5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford.

As we have already been told by speakers preceding me, Canadians are placing high expectations on the government to protect endangered species habitat. We must deliver. This bill if strengthened could provide a fine legacy if it were effective in preserving Canada's rich nature heritage. The survival and protection of endangered species is one way of turning words into action when we speak about leaving a legacy, about what we owe to future generations and the like.

We are facing an emergency as has already been indicated by the hon. member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar. I have been told that over the last year the list of endangered wildlife in Canada has grown from 340 to 353. I have been told also that a comprehensive and complete list would have to consist of thousands of species because many categories of Canada's wildlife have not yet been assessed.

Bill C-33, the species at risk act, is intended to put an end to the loss of our rich natural heritage. Can this bill reverse this trend?

According to scientists, the loss of habitat is responsible for over 80% of species decline. Therefore the only way to stop the tide of extinction is to protect the habitat of endangered species. Canadians know this. In fact, there are many people already working to protect endangered species habitat through various conservation projects across the country. Moreover, 91% of Canadians recently asked said they believe a law to protect endangered species should ensure that habitat is protected. This level of support is consistent across the country among both rural and urban Canadians.

The government in recognition of the conservation efforts of individual Canadians, communities and organizations, will provide $90 million over the next three years to fund conservation initiatives. This is a major step forward. The provisions in the bill aimed at offering a safety net should provinces fail to act are also encouraging.

Finally, the bill prescribes in detail what measures must be included in the recovery strategy in order to ensure that all threats to the survival of the species are addressed. However, because Canadians strongly support the role of scientists and because Canadians believe in legislation that will protect endangered species habitat, we must make sure that the bill reaches these objectives.

In my opinion, the bill in its current form falls short of reaching these objectives. Let me explain.

Members may recall that last year 640 prominent Canadian scientists signed a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to introduce an effective endangered species bill. First, they urged that the listing of endangered species be transparent, science based and free from political interference. Second, they urged that the critical wildlife habitat of endangered species be protected wherever it occurred. Unfortunately, these two elements are missing in the bill.

As Bill C-33 is now drafted, the onus is on the minister to convince cabinet of the desirability of establishing the list of wildlife species at risk. The minister must do so for species that have already been scientifically determined as endangered. This approach is not satisfactory as demonstrated by provincial data and experience. Only in Nova Scotia does the scientific list of species automatically receive official protection under its laws. Some argue that political responsibility is needed at the listing stage.

However, Bill C-33 already allows ample political discretion on how and whether to save an endangered species, from the establishment of a recovery strategy to action plans and through the issuance of agreements and permits. Still, should the government of the day decide not to save a species, there are provisions in the bill allowing the competent minister not to act. I am referring to clause 41(2).

Another problem pointed out by Canadian scientists relates to habitat protection. As currently proposed in the bill, prohibitions against destroying the critical habitat of an endangered species will only apply where specified by the entire cabinet. I refer to clauses 59 and 61. Imagine the entire cabinet having to determine the extent of the critical habitat required, for instance by the maritime ringlet butterfly. The minister alone does not have the authority to pass regulations required to protect the critical habitat. Again they are left to the discretion of the entire cabinet.

Then we come to the recovery strategy. Under the bill three competent ministers are required to develop a recovery strategy for listed species, including action plans. However, the strategy on paper will not be adequate to protect the habitat of endangered species. When implementing a strategy, one of the three competent ministers may make regulations only with respect to one, aquatic species, two, species of birds protected by the Migratory Birds Convention Act, and three, species on federal lands. I refer to clause 53.

When it comes to critical habitat, regulations within federal jurisdiction will become the domain of the entire cabinet.

There are good reasons to fear that the minister responsible will be so busy pleading with cabinet for every measure he or she wishes to implement that serious delays in protecting the species will become inevitable, delays we cannot afford because without prompt action extinction will be the fate of endangered species. However a good bill will make sure habitat is protected before it is too late. Therefore I would like to make four suggestions in conclusion.

First, there should be one and only one final list of endangered species, the scientific list. Second, within federal jurisdiction critical habitat protection should be made mandatory, to which other speakers have already referred. Third, the minister responsible and only the minister responsible should be given power to pass regulations to protect critical habitat. Fourth, the federal government should promptly provide an adequate safety net in case a province fails to act.

As can be seen, without improvements this legislation will not stem the perpetual slide toward extinction of Canada's endangered species. If improved, this bill will offer great potential for thoughtful stewardship of our land and wildlife. It is my hope our legislative process in committee will be flexible enough so as to allow for necessary changes to strengthen the bill. It could become the cornerstone of the federal government's comprehensive approach for protecting endangered species in Canada on behalf of all Canadians and in conformity with our international commitments.

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6 p.m.

NDP

Louise Hardy Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member's comment that there should be one list and it should be a scientific list.

I would like to give an example and get his comments on it. I just went with the Gwich'in, the first nation people of Yukon and Alaska, to Washington to lobby with them to get protection for the calving grounds of the porcupine caribou herd. The people of Canada depend on that herd yet they calve on the Arctic coast in Alaska. Canada has protected its side but the U.S. has not.

We have a people who are working to protect the habit of the caribou herd on which historically for over 20,000 years they have depended. They have been lobbying for 20 years but year by year the oil drilling creeps closer and closer to the actual calving grounds of that herd. Without that habitat protection the herd will become extinct, and the Gwich'in people who have depended on that single herd for thousands of years will themselves become extinct. I would like the member to make some comments on that.

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6 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Yukon has outlined the issue very well. There is not much I can add.

We are all familiar with the issue of the porcupine caribou herd which moves across the border between Canada and the United States into the north slope. That issue has been with us for several decades with changing portions, so to say. In part the future of that herd will depend on the determination of the two governments to control and possibly discourage the exploitation of petroleum and other sources of fossil fuels in the Arctic.

There was at a time of high oil prices tremendous pressure to develop the Arctic petroleum resources a way up north, even north of Tuktoyaktuk. At that time, I am referring to the early eighties, the Government of Canada made representations to Washington in order to protect the porcupine caribou herd.

It may well be that representations are again needed. I would encourage the hon. member to make her presentations on the occasion of the Parliamentary Arctic Council meeting which will take place next August in Rovaniemi, Finland. That is a very appropriate parliamentary forum in which representations of this kind can be made.

I am sure that the leader of the Canadian delegation, the member from Lachine, will be quite sensitive to the representations of the hon. member for Yukon.

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6:05 p.m.

Reform

Rob Anders Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the hon. member has heard of and supports a policy called shoot, shovel and shut up.

In the United States, as a result of its endangered species legislation, people are punished for somehow changing habitats. As a result many ranchers and farmers in the United States have gone on a process of what they call shoot, shovel and shut up. They get rid of the animals before the authorities can find out about them because there is no incentive structure whatsoever, just punishment. In other words, there are only sticks and no carrots for preserving these animals.

Does the hon. member intend to put forward a shoot, shovel and shut up policy in Canada and wind up with his incentives encouraging Canadian ranchers and farmers to get rid of the animals rather than providing incentives or carrots rather than sticks in terms of dealing with endangered species?

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6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member for Calgary West had taken the trouble to read the legislation we are debating this afternoon, he would not have asked that silly question. That is certainly not the intent of the legislation at all. As he is raising this question I would have to urge him to read Bill C-33 before he starts spreading fears among his constituents that are totally unfounded.

The hon. member should know that the bill as presented refrains entirely from adopting the American model. Therefore the system of carrots and a carefully balanced legislation has been devised and developed by the Minister of the Environment. In addition the hon. member should know that an allocation of some $90 million has been made to stewardship for the next three years, which will then be followed by an allocation of $45 million every year in order to encourage stewardship initiatives.

To conclude, there is no intention whatsoever to adopt a shoot, shovel and shut up approach. That is the American approach. The Canadian approach will be very thoughtful and hopefully very effective.

Species At Risk Act
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to be a member of the government that is introducing endangered species legislation in the House. It is a pleasure as well to debate the proposed legislation today.

In bringing in the legislation the government is responding to its own stated priorities as outlined in our red book and as included in the throne speech and in our international commitments. Likewise, we are aware that there is overwhelming support from Canadians from coast to coast for strong federal legislation to protect endangered species in our country.

In so doing they recognize perhaps that Canada has stood alone from its American and Mexican neighbours in not having this legislation. This is more than an exercise in comparative politics since 70% of Canada's species at risk are shared with those two countries.

In pressing the government for strong endangered species legislation, Canadians are reflecting their general concern for environmental issues and are demanding that governments at all levels respond to their concerns and make environmental priorities synonymous with government priorities.

Above all environmental concerns, Canadians place endangered species legislation as number one. More Canadians have written to us on this issue than on any other environmental issue combined. They demand a courageous and assertive response from us to protect species much threatened by the infringement of urbanization and expansive economic growth. While they recognize the need to balance the other dimensions which are inherent in well developed government action, they will not be satisfied with half measures and will be unrelenting in their judgment of what they perceive to be half measures.

Polls are indeed a helpful tool in asserting Canadian views and priorities, but nothing compares with spending the day listening to our constituents and having them tell us exactly what they are thinking. Friday of a week ago gave me just such an opportunity as most Fridays do. Not only did I escape the rarefied air of our fair capital, but I escaped as well the sometimes constrained atmosphere of my constituency office to meet with grade 5 students at Portage View Public School in the morning and with grade 8 students at Maple Grove Public School in the afternoon. Both schools are in Barrie.

We talked about our environment. We talked about SARA. More than all the details of protecting endangered species and their habitats that we discussed, what I heard most in their voices and saw most on their faces was the trust they had placed in me to look after their future, to guarantee that their future would be one where the wildlife and the biodiversity necessary to sustain that wildlife would be ensured by a government that had been true to its word, by a government that had taken all the necessary legislative steps to ensure that our precious species, nature's heritage to us, would not be driven to extinction but would be protected and thus thrive for future generations and future times. There is nothing like the faces of children to remind us what our real priorities are and of the commitments we are bound to fulfil.

We have before us an environmental bill that has much to commend it. Vital to this or any act that has as its purpose the protection of species at risk is the listing agency and the listing process. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, known by its acronym COSEWIC, is a national scientific committee that has been operating for 20 years and has developed an international reputation as a credible, objective scientific body.

The new legislation will provide the legal basis for COSEWIC and it will continue to operate at arm's length from government. This is essential and it will allow us to continue what we have been doing right in Canada, which is executing an excellent listing process.

Just a few weeks ago COSEWIC increased the number of entries on its list of endangered species or species at risk of extinction from 340 to 353. There is no doubt that the long wait for legislation at the provincial and federal levels has seen the situation become critical, which compels us to act promptly but with legislation that clearly meets the bar. The listing process will be key to that test.

The new act includes two other components among many which are worth our attention and approbation. The government strategy will emphasize stewardship and will provide compensation.

The stewardship program will include agreements among landowners, managers and governments in the implementation of species recovery plans. It will include private land acquisition programs to purchase land for species habitat and provide economic incentives for better land management. Our stewardship approach will help conserve wildlife species not at risk to prevent them from becoming so.

The proposed SARA provides compensation for individual landowners in the event that protection of a species critical habitat significantly restricts the use of one's land. Compensation differs from stewardship incentives since it would only be considered when stewardship and other safety measures have been insufficient to protect critical habitat and therefore where the critical habitat safety net is required. It is important to note that compensation should not exceed the value of incentives that were made available through stewardship programs.

There are many aspects to this bill that deserve our attention but it is not possible to discuss all of them today. As a newly returned member of the environment committee, I am anticipating the opportunity to do just that at committee hearings and to learn at that time the views and concerns of witnesses who will meet with us to discuss this vital piece of legislation.

It bears noting however at this opportunity for opening debate that many well informed and discerning groups have already studied the legislation at its draft stages and lent us the benefits of their experience and analysis. I make particular reference to the species at risk working group's paper that entails the composite wisdom of a somewhat disparate and eclectic alliance encompassing, as it does, members of the Canadian Nature Federation, the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, the Mining Association, the National Agriculture Environment Committee, the Canadian Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club of Canada. I am impressed when I see un mélange comme ca work together and develop common ground. It is I believe exactly the kind of commonality that will make or break the success of this bill. Unfortunately I have concerns when I read that they too have concerns that the bill does not go as far as they recommended, especially when I consider that they often proceeded from very different vantage points and still came to an agreement as to what this new legislation must incorporate to protect Canada's species at risk. Their contention appears to be that we might need to go further than what is currently under consideration.

The working group strongly supports scientific listing of species at risk rather than the cabinet approval process outlined in the bill. It recommends that the existing COSEWIC list be recognized as the initial list of species at risk. The act recently passed by the Nova Scotia government includes both of those recommendations. The group is concerned that there is no proposed compensation for communities of workers who may be displaced as a result of actions to protect species at risk.

While I, like all of us engaged in the public policy making process, realize that the fruits of the consultative process cannot meet the criteria of each and every interested group or party, still one considers carefully the advice of such a group representing as it does both industry and environmental persons and interests.

Consequently, if I may return to the initial bar which I set for myself, to listen carefully to the next generation who have entrusted us to ensure the survival of their wildlife, I believe it is incumbent on us to listen carefully to all such thoughtful wisdom and, as the committee studying this proposed legislation, to ensure that we are accessible by what means are available to us to the people and places requisite to this very vital piece of legislation.

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6:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have two questions for my hon. colleague. I was a bit concerned when she mentioned a couple of times the necessity to have a compensatory regime. One of the things bothering landowners, woodlot owners and farmers across the country is the government's commitment to developing a good stewardship, compensatory regime.

How does the hon. member square with what the minister said on September 23, 1999 as reported in the Vancouver Sun ? The minister said “Responsible behaviour is something we expect, not something we need to buy”. Could my colleague comment on that?

The other question I have is, why would she not support an amendment at the committee stage for a legal scientific listing as opposed to a discretionary regime left to cabinet?

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6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the minister's statement in mid-1999, that he did not believe there needed to be a compulsory factor to legislation such as SARA, I made reference to an ongoing consultative process. For ministers who are new to their positions, as well as backbenchers who are part of the process, we sometimes begin from a certain vantage point and as we consult with Canadians and take into account what they say, we are open to maybe adjusting our original premises and do not want to appear rigid nor indeed to be rigid. If there has been movement on the part of the government, as represented by the Minister of the Environment, that shows a flexibility and not a retro approach.

With regard to the second question as to whether or not I was in favour of an amendment at committee, in all honesty, I do not believe I was a member of the committee when that amendment was put forward, but I am open to be corrected in that regard.

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6:20 p.m.

Reform

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member for Davenport also talked about the listing process and the fact that it should be a scientific process. I believe that is something we all agree with.

However, I do not quite understand what the member for Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford is proposing. Once the list is established, who then would be responsible for the funds that would be applied to a project to protect an endangered species? Is the member suggesting that the COSEWIC group be responsible for allocating dollars toward a specific project?

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6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, my statements with regard to listing pertain to the recommendations that were made by the species at risk working group. This group recommended that the listing process be under the control of the scientific community. Its suggestion was not that it be left to the political process.

I did not make reference within my opening remarks today to the funding or the appropriate resources and infrastructure that will be required to accomplish the protection of that species. I have no difficulty with our role as a government to be pivotal in that regard.

I believe that the recommendation that the listing be left to those who have studied and are learned in the process is where it should most likely be left. To put together the kind of program that is necessary once the scientific community has triggered the government is very much within the purview of government to make an assessment of how best to move forward and to do so within the costs that will entail. The listing itself is a different process.

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6:20 p.m.

Reform

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-33. It was an issue that was on the table during the last election campaign in 1997 and it has now finally been tabled. It is much needed and it is about time.

Listening to some of the earlier debate, it seems that most people are concerned with what is in the bill but for very different reasons. We in the Canadian Alliance are concerned with some of the things in the legislation, and I will try to outline some of those in my presentation.

After many years and almost as many cabinet ministers, it gives me great pleasure to finally be able to speak to legislation protecting species at risk in Canada. I want to stress how important wildlife and nature is to Canadians and the Canadian Alliance.

Canadians value nature for many different reasons. In the past many of our forefathers depended on nature for their very survival. Today we value wildlife for different reasons. Economic dependence has been largely replaced by the view that wildlife should be treasured for its own inherent worth. The affluence of our society is reflected in the 1996 nature survey which found that Canadians and visitors to Canada spent $11.7 billion on nature related pursuits in that year alone.

Wild species are an integral part of our heritage and our identity and attract tourists from around the globe. Indeed, we as humans are dependent on the diversity of species on earth for our own survival.

The Canadian Alliance recognizes this significance in its policy declaration, which states:

We are committed to protecting and preserving Canada's natural environment and endangered species, and to sustainable development of our abundant natural resources for the use of current and future generations. Therefore, we will strike a balance between environmental preservation and economic development.

It is that critical balance that is the only odd issue out in many of the debates from both sides of the House. It is how that balance will be created and how it will be implemented.

Unfortunately, in its last attempt to introduce endangered species legislation, the Liberal government failed to find this balance.

Private property rights were a major concern in the last bill, Bill C-65, which completely ignored the rights of landowners. It was a heavyhanded bill that relied on government regulation instead of co-operation with landowners to protect species. Due in part to the efforts of Reform MPs at the time, the bill never passed. This was the bill referred to earlier as being similar to the one developed in the United States which has not worked, uses a heavyhanded approach and does exactly the opposite for endangered species than what it should.

The Canadian Alliance recognizes that landowners are an integral part of the species at risk equation and, at its founding policy convention earlier this year, the Alliance recognized and affirmed the historic common law right to ownership and enjoyment of private property.

Since the 1997 election, Canadian Alliance MPs have been advocating the creation of responsible endangered species legislation that seeks out co-operation not confrontation, and compensation not confiscation in an effort to protect species at risk. Not surprisingly, the government did not share this view and it shows in this legislation.

The preamble of the bill begins innocently enough, recognizing the need for co-operation among various orders of government and encouraging the stewardship efforts of individual Canadians, but quickly becomes clear that it actually relies more on a heavy hand than on a helping hand.

On the issue of private property rights and compensation, the true environmentalists and the true stewards in this country are the people who deal on a daily basis with the land: our ranchers, our farmers, our natural resource people, people who enjoy the outdoors and realize that nature is as beautiful and as fragile as it is. No one knows more about the fragile aspect of our environment than the people who are on the land every day.

When we look at compensation, considering that this is a key concern for landowners, it is disappointing that the government has only chosen to pay lip service to compensate landowners. In clause 64, it states that “the minister may”, not must, “pay compensation to any person for losses suffered as a result of any extraordinary impact that this legislation may create”.

We heard earlier from the member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar that he was concerned that our party was not dealing with the full facts when we talked to landowners and property owners. I would like to ask if it is possible for him to go forward and say to them that there is nothing in this legislation that they must fear and nothing in Bill C-33 that would affect their livelihood. We cannot do that because there are things in here that are of major concern to Canadians. We need to be diligent in dealing with them.

There are no details as to how this compensation will be paid out, only a nebulous reference to a provision which grants the governor in council authority to make the necessary regulations. That in itself leaves a lot of concern in the minds of Canadians. If there is going to be compensation, it should be defined exactly how that is going to take place. The government says that will be in the regulations but it is something that should be in this bill. If it was in the bill then we could have a look at it and look at it in a favourable way. If it is market value and if it will help people when their land is expropriated or taken away, that is something we could consider. The way the bill is structured now, we cannot support it.

The procedures to be followed when claiming compensation must be determined, the methods used to determine eligibility of a person for compensation and the terms and conditions for the payment all need to be mapped out. Again I say there is absolutely no reference to fair market value anywhere in the legislation.

The lack of compensation has been the single biggest barrier to the success of the endangered species act in the United States. The problem with the U.S. ESA boils down to the fact that it creates a perverse incentive for landowners to view species at risk on their properties as a liability. That is exactly what we have to avoid.

We cannot put legislation in place that will in any way be defined or looked at as causing an endangered species to be a liability. We have to structure it in a way that makes it exactly the opposite. If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finds that there is an endangered species on one's land, one cannot in any way alter the land and there is no compensation. It is not surprising to observe how landowners have responded.

What can Canada learn from the American experience with regard to compensation? Clearly fair and just compensation is essential to ensure the success of any legislation. Landowners must not see wildlife on their properties as a liability. It must be viewed as exactly the opposite.

Compensation will assist the government in securing the co-operation of landowners in fostering a climate of co-operation that will enable private associations to continue on in their work. Many organizations have been very successful in working with landowners to conserve natural habitats and depend upon the continuing good will of landowners to be successful.

I mentioned the Alberta Fish and Game Association and Operation Burrowing Owl. Last summer it was my pleasure to go up to Brooks on a tour with the member for Medicine Hat. The eastern irrigation district invited us to go. Tom Livingston, a member of the board, and some of his staff took us out and showed us the burrowing owl's tremendous wetland that has been developed all of their own will.

It was very impressive. The land is grazed. It has oil exploration and production on it. The land close by is actively farmed. All these things are going on at the same time that burrowing owls are flourishing in this area. They do it all because of their natural love of the land.

Mr. Livingston explained to me that even travelling across the prairies in a vehicle, just driving across the grass at 10 or 12 kilometres ruins one acre of grass. They are very careful about how they drive on it and how they use it. They manage it very well.

Ducks Unlimited is another organization with purchase and conservation agreements. Nature Conservancy of Canada does a lot of good work and needs to be encouraged in stewardship roles.

Compensation also forces the government to be accountable by taking into consideration the social and economic effects of its decisions. That aspect of it alone is very key. If we are to look at reclamation programs and the protection of habitat programs, we have to take into account the social and economic effects of any decisions to do that.

The concern over private property rights extends into other sections of the bill. When we look at property rights we must look at not only the possibility of losing one's land but at the possibility of people encroaching without just cause.

This comes up in the application for investigation. Although the government wisely removed the civil suit provisions contained in Bill C-65, it retains a section in this bill which would allow any person to initiate an investigation by the government. Any person could go to the government and say he or she suspects something is happening and an investigation would have to be started by the government.

Clause 95 requires the minister to report back to the applicant every 90 days during the investigative period with details of the investigation. This provision is taken into account with clause 90 which gives enforcement officers the right to enter on and pass through or over private property without being liable for trespassing. Added to clause 34 which authorizes the federal government to extend its authorities over lands which are not federal lands in a province if the minister is of the opinion that the laws of the province are not strong enough to protect the species, a frightening scenario is created where the private landowner has very few resources at his or her disposal for protection against vexatious actions.

Those are some of the concerns we hear from landowners and people in the resource sector. When these concerns come forward they are legitimate. They have a legitimate concern that their lands are in jeopardy.

I want to talk about some of the things we would like to see proposed. The Canadian Alliance rejects the type of heavy handed approach in this bill. In the little time I have left today and in the debates that lie ahead of us I will outline how we will hold protected species at risk.

Like most Canadians we have always supported the development of endangered species legislation, but we know that in order for it to be successful it must respect the fundamental rights of property owners. We believe that co-operation and not confrontation will achieve the greatest results. We also believe that governments must be accountable for their actions. To this end we believe that the final listing decision should remain with parliament. It alone has a democratic mandate to balance the competing interests of economic and environmental needs.

That is the key. If we have a fully scientific body that does the listing, we must have the accountability of parliament to recognize that list and to enact any actions that are deemed necessary to protect endangered species. We cannot take parliamentary accountability out of the equation or it gets into a whole other area.

Another opportunity I had a little over a year ago was to tour the old growth forest on the west coast with some people who took us there for two or three days. We flew in helicopters and had a look at the logging practices going on there that are environmentally sensitive. We saw some of the changes that had been made and some of the practices to protect endangered species, to protect the land itself from erosion and to protect the watersheds. The industry is more aware of what needs to be done. It is working hard toward that.

We see new coalitions being developed with environmental groups, industry and land users coming together to try to find a solution to this problem. The legislation put forward by the government has to be such that it encourages that co-operation and that it brings these people together in a way that will truly help protect endangered species and our environment in a very substantial way.

If we include all the stakeholders in the process then we can come up with some meaningful legislation, not only in the endangered species area but in all environmental issues, to make the country sustainable in the long run and to preserve what we have for generations to come.

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6:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

There are three minutes remaining in the day's proceedings. Does the hon. member for North York want to call it 6.41 p.m. and avoid cutting up her time? I would be happy to recognize the hon. member, but she will get only three minutes and then she will have another seven or seventeen, as the case may be, the next time the bill comes before the House.